We left on Saturday and drove to Charlottesville, VA. If you wondered what seven people in one hotel room looks like, here you go. (The rest of the nights, the room was a little bigger–a lot easier to manage! Plus we had a roll-away, so we only had two kids on the floor.)
We spent the whole day at Monticello. It was really cool–way more fun than I expected. Mason LOVED it and called himself Thomas Jefferson for the next few days. “I’m Thomas Jefferson and I wrote the Declaration of Independence!” He even said it to the woman working at the museum. I think she liked it.
We toured inside the house, which was great. We tried writing with a quill pen. In the afternoon, we split up and gave the kids the choice to go on the Mulberry Street tour (about slavery in Monticello) with Jeremy or the Gardens tour with me. Laina and Mason went with Jeremy, and the other three came with me–and I lucked out, because Ivy and Mason both fell asleep, and Jeremy had to carry Mason. He’s much heavier. 🙂
So Ivy, Iain, Cory and I got to see the beautiful gardens and learn tidbits that make my nerdy, plant-loving self happy. Like did you know Chinaberry trees used to be a sign of status? There are a ton of them on the grounds of Monticello. And all the Floridians have TJ to thank for them. (Cory took the frog photo below, by the way.)
Then we went to the kids’ museum where they got to try out TJ’s bed, make play food, etc. That was Laina’s favorite part.
Museum of the Bible in DC! Wow–we could have spent longer there, but the littles wouldn’t have it. We all LOVED the walk through the OT. SO creative and powerful. Ivy loved the kid play place downstairs.
Also, this is how you do life in a hotel with seven people. When the little three go to bed, the boys read by bathroom or flashlight, or listen to stories with earbuds. And the bottom photo is our lovely view out the window…
Tuesday was a little different, because Ivy needed to get her cast off. We went to the zoo for the morning, grabbed lunch out, and then Jeremy dropped Ivy and I at the hospital for her appointment. He and the other four headed back to the zoo for the day.
Ivy was a champ getting her cast off. And then after–melt my heart–she told me her fingers were kissing because they had missed each other.
We split up for the majority of this day, too. Jeremy took the boys to the Spy Museum (which they LOVED but which I have no pictures of), and I took the littles to wander the Mall. We went to the White House Visitor Center (underwhelming), saw the Monument, rode the carousel (their favorite part!), and looked around the Sculpture Garden. Then we met up again for a tour of the Bureau of Printing and Engraving.
My pick! We started the day at the Botanical Gardens. I could have spent the whole day there. They have a great kids’ area too, where the kids could plant, water, and dig (Mason ADORED the digging part). My kids practiced their photography skills–I don’t remember who took what, but they did pretty well.
After the gardens, we got lunch at the Shake Shack. It was packed and the people waiting for our table when we were done were so very rude–shoving us, not waiting for us to get our stuff picked up, etc. It became a family joke and has brought a lot of laughs. We also spent an inordinate amount of time looking at an albino squirrel. After lunch, we went to Mason’s pick: the Capitol. I don’t know why he was so keen to see it, but he was incredibly excited. We went into the rotunda and he identified a painting (“Hey, that’s the Declaration of Independence!”) and floored the docent who was leading our group. Haha. Smarty-pants.
Museum time! We hit the Air and Space Museum and the Museum of Natural History. We were really tired by Friday and moving much more slowly than at the beginning of the week. Well, most of us were.
Mason in that bottom photo: “We are scientists. Scientists don’t smile.”
At Air and Space, the kids made contraptions that were supposed to fly over a stream of air, staying airborne for five seconds or hitting the ceiling. I think Cory and Iain and Mason did it successfully, I can’t remember. But Ivy played at it the longest and charmed the staffer with her squeals and giggles. Also at this museum we saw a lot of WWII planes, which was cool for Jeremy and the boys as they have been playing a lot of Memoir 44, a WWII board game. At Natural History, we spent a long time in the kids’ area, looking at bones, doing puzzles (um, me), and being generally scientific.
We headed back to PA, visiting Gettysburg on the way there. Right after I took this picture, it started pouring. We ended up doing the driving tour in the rain, which was a kind of fun way to see the area. Everybody was exhausted from a very busy week sightseeing with a ton of walking, but I think everyone enjoyed the week pretty well.