Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Washington, D.C., Part 3: White House, Archives and Old Town

Our last full day in D.C. was Sunday, July 26th. As usual, we got up early (thanks, E.J.!) and got ourselves ready for another fun day of sightseeing, but not before E.J. and Buff spent some quality time together. They really became buds, probably because one of them was always getting into mischief and the other always wanted to see what it was all about. Kindred spirits, those two.

Trouble times two.

When we got on our way, we took the Metro to Farragut North and walked from there to our first destination: the White House!


Family photo at the White House!

From there we walked over towards some of the museums, and stopped in Woodrow Wilson Plaza on the way. We were reminiscing about our very early D.C. days, before we even actually moved there, when Eric worked a summer job there during college. I went to visit him and we took the very first picture ever taken of us together in D.C. in Woodrow Wilson Plaza:

Eric and Meghan in D.C., circa 2003: still in college, not even engaged to be married yet!

Needless to say, we had to stop by there for a little photo re-do.

Eric and Meghan in D.C., circa 2015: advanced degrees completed, married almost eight years, with two kids!

The whole gang!

Next we stopped into the National Museum of American History for a brief visit. We saw some American culture items, and E.J. practiced for his future days in the presidency.

He's a great orator. Just you wait and see. Vote W.aters in 2052!

Ruby slippers!

Muhammed Ali's boxing gloves

Fancy flag

Our next stop was the National Archives. No pictures were allowed inside, but we did make it in to see the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Unfortunately, it was pretty crowded and the kids were starting to lose it by then, so we had to cut things short. (We did stop in the gift shop and picked up a Washington, D.C. kids book for Ellie and a copy of the Declaration for E.J.'s room before making our exit!)

The National Archives

We decided to recharge with a little ice cream break in the grass in front of the Archives, right next to the original FDR Memorial. A little fun fact: Before he died, FDR was asked what type of memorial he would like in his honor someday. He said he would like a block of stone about the size of his desk, without any ornamentation, bearing only the simple inscription: "In Memory of Franklin Delano Roosevelt." In 1965, on the 20th anniversary of his death, a monument was built exactly to those specifications and placed on the grass in front of the Archives (also as he requested). However, years later the sprawling FDR Memorial was built out along the Tidal Basin. It was dedicated in 1997 and is the largest presidential monument on the National Mall, spanning over seven acres! What a difference from what he said he wanted, eh?

E.J. by the original FDR memorial

Ice cream break!

Ellie was trying to share, because she is the sweetest.

When we finished our ice cream we made our way back to the Metro and to Jeff's apartment, where we got everyone some lunch and put the kids down for naps.

That evening, we decided to do a little walking through Old Town Alexandria. That was a favorite activity for us when we lived in D.C., plus I walked up and down King Street every day to and from work. I was excited to get back out there and see how much had changed, and Ellie was thrilled that we were going to ride the trolley down and walk back. That girl lives for a trolley (thanks, Daniel Tiger!).

She asked to ride this trolley every single day of our trip. On Sunday night, her moment had finally come.

All aboard!

Jeff and Sarah, our generous hosts, joined us for this outing!

Ellie on the trolley

The ride to the end of King Street took a little while because we got stopped at every light plus made regular trolley stops, but Ellie didn't mind. As I watched out the window, I was surprised at how little turnover there had been in the last seven years. Most of the places I remembered were still there, just as they were then, both local and chain retailers alike. Notable spots for us: the first Chipotle we ever tasted, and the Paper Source where I bought all my paper supplies for crafts for our wedding! Ah, memories.

When we reached the end, we had to stop for more ice cream. (Ellie was really living the dream on this part of the trip!)

Ice cream break!


After we ate we walked around the waterfront a little bit, then back up King Street to Jeff's apartment.

Friends in Old Town

Down by the river

King Street

Alexandria City Hall

Isn't it just so charming?

Putting Godfather Jeff to work

E.J. loved laughing at Ellie's silliness!

When we got back "home," we fed the kids dinner then started bedtime routines. Jeff and Sarah were spending that night in the apartment with us, so the four of us were sharing their room and they stayed in the guest room (more on that in my next was not a success). We put E.J. to bed while Ellie watched Sesame Street with Godfather Jeff, then got Ellie to bed, too. Sarah made another delicious dinner and we enjoyed more food, wine and conversation before calling it a night.

Ellie and Jeff flying like Abby Cadabby while watching Sesame Street together

And that's a wrap on D.C.!

For more pictures from the last day of our D.C. trip, click here.

Coming up next: Philadelphia!

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