Sunday, October 6, 2013

Twice as Nice (More DC)

After visiting Gettysburg on Saturday, we headed got in the car and headed back down to Washington DC.  I was so excited because we arranged for my wonderful friend Celia to come down to DC while we were there AND she was coming with her new boyfriend, Travis.  I was really looking forward to meeting him and spending some time with my dear friend.  We arrived in the city and checked into our hotel.  While I arranged to meet Celia and Travis, Ken returned the rental car.  I walked the few blocks down to the Lafayette Park just north of the White House drinking in the beautiful evening. Celia and Travis had gotten to town earlier that day and had spent the day taking in some of the sights and I was to meet them there.

It was so great to see Celia again and Travis is super nice!  We took pics in front of the White House waiting for Ken.  He was able to meet us shortly afterward.  We decided to wander up to Georgetown for dinner and some people watching.  It was so fun wandering the streets while we decided on a place to eat.  We ended up at the delicious Italian restaurant that Ken had taken me to the last time I accompanied him to DC.  We chatted the night away over yummy food.  It was such a treat getting to know Travis.  After dinner we walked a bit more and came up with a plan for the following day before saying goodnight and heading back to our hotels.

That Sunday Celia and Travis opted to visit The Smithsonian while Ken and I wanted to visit the Archives.  Maybe I'm just a silly girl, but it I LOVE visiting the Archives.  I have such a reverence for our founding documents and to see them in person is thrilling to me.  I have to say that I got a little teary-eyed while seeing/reading the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  I have such a love for our country and seeing the documents that were created in the founders quest for a "more perfect union" was very emotional for me.  My heart was filled with so much gratitude! 

We arranged to meet for lunch at the Old Post Office Tower and then tour the tower.  Luckily the weather was much clearer than the first time we went up and we were able to see the city much better.  After the tower, we were running out of time before our flight so we parted ways as Celia and Travis were renting some bicycles to tour the mall.  It was hard, as always, to say goodbye to my friend.

We walked around the city a bit more as we wandered back to our hotel to pick up our bags before heading to the airport.  Our flight was easy breezy and we stopped off for a quick bite of dinner on the way home.  We didn't want our get-away to end just quite yet.  We were so thankful to our wonderful friend, the Briggs, for watching our kiddos while we got to spend time together.  It was great to have that time with Ken and we felt refreshed coming home.  Can't wait for our next trip together!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Heading out East (Part 2: The Gettysburg Edition)

We enjoyed a lovely drive in northern Virginia, crossed over into Pennsylvania and found our hotel in Gettysburg.  It had gotten really foggy the last little bit of our drive and we couldn't wait to have a dip in the hot tub.  It was the perfect way to end the day!

We woke the next morning to an absolutely gorgeous day!  We got some breakfast, checked out, and made our way to the Gettysburg Visitors Center.  What a facility!!!  We first did the cyclorama, a fully-restored giant painting that was done in the 1880's that depicts Picket's Charge.  The painting is 377 feet long and 42 feet high and hung in a circle.  The world's first IMAX. :)  Very impressive!

 After looking viewing an overview movie of the Battle of Gettysburg and browsing at the gift shop, we left to get on our bus tour.  It was really well done and our tour guide (a 40-year Gettysburg tour guide veteran) was super knowledgeable.  As we toured around the battle scenes and saw where so many died, it truly felt like we were walking on sacred ground.  As our guide described what took place 150 years ago, history came to life. 

Abraham Lincoln pulled up to this very train station when he arrived to give the Gettysburg Address.
General Robert E. Lee

From the top of Little Round Top overlooking some of the bloodiest land in the USA

Our amazing tour guide
This barn that dates back to the Battle of Gettysburg still had the scar of a cannonball hole
Lots of monuments. Everywhere.

Ken was my model all week.  He was glad to turn the camera on me for awhile.

Site of the Gettysburg Address

We returned to the visitors center and walked through the museum.  You could have easily spent several hours in seeing all the artifacts and reading the amazing stories about the conditions that led up to the Civil War, the horrors of the war, and then trying to rebuild after the war.  That was quite the collection and beautifully displayed.  We got a few things at the gift shop for the kiddos and were sad when it was time to leave.  I can't wait to return, spend more time, and bring my kids to experience this!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Heading out East (Part 1)

Just a few days after we returned from our church history trip, Ken and I were able to get away, just the two of us.  Earlier in the year, we had watched our friend's kiddos while they were on a lovely vacation.  Lucky for us they agreed to return the favor.

Ken left on Monday and I followed him out on Tuesday after doing major laundry, cleaning the house, getting all the kids packed -- again, teaching lessons, and having a Take Note rehearsal.  Wouldn't you know that is was a crazy snowy day here and school actually got cancelled.  I was a little nervous my flight wouldn't get out, but it ended up being just fine.  It was 20 degrees when I got on the plane and it was almost 90 when I got off the plane in DC.

I took a cab to the hotel and was so excited to see Ken. We walked around the corner to a fun restaurant and dined outside.  The night was beautiful and I couldn't get over how warm it was!  Ken and I are usually pretty good about having date nights, but, as much as we love our children, there is something almost magical when we know we can just focus on each other for a few days.

On Wednesday, Ken had to go to work. :(  I slept in and didn't have to go anywhere! :)  That was such a treat!  Ken and I were able to meet up with my friend Rusty and his family for lunch.  It meant so much to me that they would take the time to drive into the city to meet us.  I have been wanting Ken to meet Rusty for years and I wanted to meet the gal who could make Rusty settle down.  I totally loved Jennifer and their daughter.

We lucked out and timed our trip perfectly for the cherry blossoms and I couldn't wait to go see them!  As soon as Ken got off work, we headed to the tidal basin, along several thousands of our friends.  The blossoms were glorious!  I had fun taking pictures, walking around beautiful monuments, and people watching.  So awesome being with my love! After lots of walking with my love, we enjoyed a delicious Italian dinner.  Rusty was on his break for work so he was able to join us for dessert.  It was such a beautiful night and after all that walking we were ready for a good night's sleep!

Thursday Ken again headed out door to go to work, but this time I wasn't too far behind.  One of the perks of a visit with Ken to DC is visiting my former roommate, Naomi.  She is seriously one of my very favorite people on the planet, so any time I get to spend with her is a real treat.  We had a great plan of me spending the day down in Fredericksburg with her, then picking her husband up at Quantico, and then meeting Ken for a nice dinner in DC.  Well some plans just don't work out.  As I was heading down to the airport on Tuesday, I got a text from her hubby saying that Naomi was in emergency surgery.  I was freaking out a bit and was glad to talk to her the next day.  I arranged to rent a car on Thursday and drove down to the hospital in Fredericksburg to hang out with her. (Crazy deja vu moment:  I lived in that area when I was 13 and just as I was passing Patomic Mills mall, Red, Red Wine came on the radio.  That was one of the big songs that year and I was instantly transported back in time.  Very fun to remember back to that time.)  Even though Naomi was unable to get out of bed, she was healing well.  We talked, laughed, and cried as the hours sped by.  I loved every second of being with her, even if it was in her hospital room, and the time passed too quickly.  I finally had to go to meet Ken for dinner.  We ate at an amazing Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo de Ciao and then enjoyed a lovely walk through the city on the way back to the hotel.

It was a bit cloudy and rainy when we woke on Friday.  Ken had decided to take the day off so we could see some cool things together.  We checked out of the hotel and then walked down to the Old Post office, the 3rd tallest structure in the city.  There were some really cool views even with the gray day.  We went up on the hill to meet my friend Erica (my friend from RBHS) for lunch.  She is an congressional aide and it was really cool to hear about her job and catch up.  After lunch, we had a couple of hours to walk past the Library of Congress, Supreme Court, and the Capitol.  I love those buildings!  We walked to the Ford Theater where we had tickets to see the matinee of Hello Dolly.  Great show that we both really enjoyed.  After the show, we went to the car rental and drove around the city before heading up to Gettysburg, our next adventure together.