Summer – Part II (Washington, DC)

How do you know when you’ve officially entered West Virginia? Uh…somehow you just know. And just when I couldn’t think of any great birthday ideas this truck shows up in front of me. We stopped at the West Virginia University exit. We didn’t go see the campus but it looks like an absolutely beautiful area. I have on my bucket list to attend a football game so I can sing John Denver’s Country Roads at the top of my lungs. Who’s with me? Isn’t that song & video great? Love it. On a related note, we had an agreement that we could only call Beth “mountain momma” while driving through West Virginia. But y’all can call me mountain papa or big daddy whenever you want πŸ˜‰


Hey mom. I’m not 2 years old. I don’t get excited by over-sized, light-up, pastel glasses. They looked absolutely ridiculous. They weren’t functional. The flashing lights were a little much. I would have assumed you know me and my style after all these years but I guess that is too much to ask for. And the biggest disappointment with these glasses…is that they don’t even play Happy Birthday when I push the button πŸ™‚

Maybe I was a bit too harsh…I know it’s shocking but we’ve already used those glasses at our next birthday – we’ll try to give them as much use as we can! Remember when Beth used to take her time and make such beautiful cakes – look what child #3 gets (kidding of course, Megan, Colleen, and Molly (summer nanny) made this birthday brownie thingy that tasted yummy).


We started our trip in DC by having an intern give us a tour of Congressman Erik Paulsen’s office and of the Capitol. He wasn’t in his office so we got to take full advantage of taking pictures and sitting in his desk. Sitting in that desk, his job didn’t feel all that hard yet – we could get used to that.



At one point we were looking for Christopher and I think it was Colleen who said something like, “check the ground – he’ll be sitting somewhere”. Sure enough, that was typically the easiest way to find Christopher. His rear-end touched more of Washington, D.C.’s sidewalks than some people’s feet will ever come in contact with. Washington, DC is definitely a walking town and all three kids were absolute troopers on our daily excursions.


How rude for some old dude to be handing out papers or whatever he is doing in that painting while Megan is trying to get a high score. I know Megan is photogenic but I was shocked at how many people were taking pictures while she was there. Give her some privacy people.


Distract the kids with obstacles (or frozen lemonade) to get from one point to another.


Foreground: some building; middle: another building; far away: pointy building.


Another building.


A few of my lovely ladies enjoying D.C.


Time to act goofy while away from buildings and walking.


Lots and lots of money at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.


The face Megan can’t help but make when she is around lots and lots of money.


Whoa – big money.


Error message my dumb computer gives me when I try to open up the previous picture of big money. Uh, yah, I’d like to photo shop this gigantic $100 dollar bill that I’m sure has all of the security features included in it so I can make millions printing copies on my home printer. Is it really that easy once I figure out how to open this in photoshop?


Christopher next to stack of shredded bills. I know it clearly shows he’s worth 1.3 million but if anyone wants this kid for 1.2 or 1.1 let me know and we can work something out.


So we toured the Capitol in the morning. Great tour by the way. Interns rock. While we’re there they say that there is a vote this evening and that kids under 12 can go on the floor and help vote. How cool is that? Sign us up. Biggest problem is that we were at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for a 4:30 tour and had to be 2-miles away at 6:10 for the kids to participate. So we finish looking at money and start walking and looking for cabs. And walking and looking for cabs. And more walking, and no big cabs to be found (no cabs at all to be found). Finally, about 2-3 blocks from the Capitol, Beth hails a cab and we very thankfully ride just those few blocks in air conditioning to arrive exactly on time. As I said before, the kids were absolute troopers as we rushed from here to there. Christopher and Megan got to go on the house floor and hang out with Erik Paulsen, and hold the gavel, and help vote, and walk all around, while the rest of us sat and watched from a balcony with no cameras (they didn’t joke around about security). Erik Paulsen was awesome. Very friendly and great at conversation. They said the kids would be on t.v. Well…I guess that’s true…if you know what your kid was wearing that day. I circled the kids so you can help see them – both Christopher and Megan are circled. They are near those big chairs where people fall asleep on national television while sitting behind the president. Christopher’s head is between the “S” and the “N” and Megan is to the right of 54 and 35 on the screen. Voting was complete chaos. No one listens. No one pauses for anything. Talk talk talk in little cliques. We did see some fairly famous people – I only recognized the mean men though.


And just when we thought this was all done…we hear what sounded like a witch’s cackle behind us (I swear I heard, “I’ll get you my pretty and your little dog too”)..and sure enough, Michele Bachmann is on the steps above us saying what a good looking group we are and that she just knew we were from Minnesota. I held my kids extra tight and tried not to look directly at her (I’ve seen Clash of the Titans, I know what can happen). And then…when we thought it was all done…Erik Paulsen leads us outside (until this point we’ve walked back and forth several times underground to get to the Capitol). The interns seemed surprised that he would walk us back outside but as it turns out he was just leading us to a cool photo op. Cool dude – but did he do enough to earn my vote despite where he stands on many issues?



Pointy building.


Another building.


Water and a building.


The highlight of Christopher’s day (and definitely a highlight of my day – love his smile and laugh and energy). Standing over a hot air vent shooting hot exhaust into the air and watching his hat get launched way up. Ahhh…good times in Washington, D.C. I remember doing the same thing with a vent and pieces of paper while waiting in lines in the huge lobby with high ceilings to go up the World Trade Center as a kid in New York City.



Pointy building. It is the tallest obelisk (tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top) in the world. For five years it held the record as the world’s tallest structure, but it was surpassed by the Eiffel Tower in 1889. Glad we didn’t read this article beforehand (that one of the rangers hinted at while we were waiting for the elevator: yikes).


Backyard / house.


Backyard / house.


We had a great time in Washington, D.C. Two days was plenty of time. Sure, we could have seen more, but this was enough. Arlington would have been nice. Or Mount Vernon. But not with kids – at least not with an 8-year-old πŸ˜‰ The area we stayed at in Alexandria (Old Town), Virginia was great. King Street was awesome (despite a little bit of rain). Tons of cool shops and places to eat. It was great seeing mom and dad too. And being together for some birthdays. That time goes way too fast, huh?



2 Responses to “Summer – Part II (Washington, DC)”

  1. Dad & Grandpa T says:

    We had a great time in D.C. and VA with your family. So glad we could get together. Time always goes too fast though. Your kids did great enduring the long walks and maybe some things that weren’t as interesting to them as it was to others. Hope they learned a lot and gained some appreciation for our country’s history and government. We adults should all be commended for not talking politics. (No need – we all know who is “Right.”)

  2. admin says:

    Yes, yes, we all know who is right…the cranky old men are always right…that part I have figured out. There’s way too much politics in politics. But it was cool to see the city…hard to believe that small area is responsible for so much debt and poor decision making…maybe there’s something in the water. It was great to see everyone as always. Hope we see you again soon!!!

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