After we wrapped up the Police Week events (and I was sufficiently tired from trying to keep up with my Dad and husband for a whole 5k – they’re fast, I tell you), we did the tourist thing.
Steve was so thrilled to be caught in a tourist pic too, ha!
We passed through the Navy Memorial and the hubby was excited when he found the EOD rock!
We always make a point to visit Arlington National Cemetery when we pass through DC. I remember visiting as a true tourist throughout my youth and college years, but it has a bit of a different meaning now that my husband’s fallen comrades are buried here. And since we’re only one day past Memorial Day, our American freedom did not come without a price. My husband and his friend have surely taught me that the old saying – “All gave some, some gave all.” – is truly true. If you’re visiting DC and you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. This time we stuck around to watch the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Very impressive.
If I catch them from behind I find myself calling my Dad, “honey” because they’re both tall and tend to dress in nearly identical clothes. Can you blame me though?
Next stop – the National Air and Space Museum. A little background on my Dad’s deep love for all things space. He’s the guy that takes astronomy classes at the local community college and went to adult space camp. The boys were a little insulted that the museum also seemed to serve as shelter to the public from the sudden rainstorm and crowded the exhibits. My dad was also sad that we only made it to the museum a few hours before it closed – not so sad for me because he would keep me in that place for ten hours if he could. It’s still on our list of places to go back to; however, since we only got to do a quick walk through.
And because we didn’t quite get our fix of aircrafts, we headed to the Marine Corps Museum for – you guessed it! – more airplanes and helicopters. Mitchell was in heaven.
There were a lot of cool exhibits in the Marine Corps Museum, but I admittedly love the parts that showcase my husband’s deployments over the years. This section showed the very places he deployed, featuring the unit that he replaced in Afghanistan. It’s a little surreal to think that he is a part of something our grandchildren will be studying in their history books (if they still have books then) someday. While the War on Terror section is still relatively small, they are in the process of expanding be museum (doubling in size!), dedicating the new section entirely to OIF and OEF. We cannot wait to come back and see what they put together, because it is all about my husband’s job and what he has done as a Marine infantryman. So cool!
Another favorite section was a temporary display of military homecomings. It featured photographers who specialize in military homecomings, one of which photographed Steve’s second homecoming from Afghanistan! The museum felt so personal, and we even recognized a few families featured in this exhibit. They had a whole feature on Daddy Doll’s, homecoming signs, and so on. They were really speaking my language with this exhibit – photography and military homecomings.
We stopped in the museum’s store to snag a few Father’s Day presents and hit the road back to North Carolina.
A part of what made this weekend so great was that our friends were so gracious to offer us their home to stay in. My friend Rachel’s fiancé has a condo situated just a few blocks from the Police Memorial. It’s within walking distance of every place we wanted to go, and it has an amazing rooftop view of all the iconic monuments in DC. Our trip just happened to fall when they were traveling back to Kansas, and they immediately offered for us to stay there. It made the weekend a whole lot cheaper, much more convenient and comfortable! It even came with their sweet little pup too! 🙂 We cannot thank them enough for spoiling us that weekend. It was such a treat to have such an easy travel experience, and for the unexpected visit with my dad for a long weekend!
Mitchell, my dad, and Hudson had sleepovers in the living room every night!
It was fun to see what it’d be like to live in a city for a few days, but we’ve both decided it’s not for us. While Mitchell loves pushing the buttons and riding the elevator to the top floor, we were happy to head back to the comforts of no traffic and parking in our driveway.
The only caveat of the whole weekend was (1) DC traffic and (2) a stomach bug that Julia caught on the way there. I took this picture from the back seat, in between rounds of catching projectile vomit. The car reeked of puke, Julia and I were covered, her car seat was drenched, we were nearly out of baby wipes and plastic Wal-Mart bags. I felt so bad for her – we literally couldn’t stop to take her out of the carseat (see below picture), but I did figure out that it is possible to remove a shirt beneath a five point harness without ever unbuckling the straps. (Arms first, over the head, cinch down the puke-soaked strap when you’re done). I guess it takes a dire situation to acquire this level of mommy-ing skills. I’m pretty sure the stop-and-go traffic wasn’t helping settle her stomach either. But we made it, and after a sink bath, there was no evidence of the stomach bug left, for which we were very grateful.
That wraps up our DC trip. The next weekend we were on to Kansas (more on that coming this week!), and we’re actually headed back to DC for Rachel and Grant’s wedding! I am so excited for this sweet couple to finally marry – it seems like they’ve been engaged forever! I’m sure I’ll blog about them more than you wish to read in the coming weeks, but Rachel is a dear childhood friend who is about to marry her college sweetheart – a recent graduate of Georgetown Law! I could go on and on about all of their accomplishments, but if there was ever a power couple, they are it. I can’t wait for them to experience all the amazing things that come with marriage – making that condo their home together, the luxury of always having your best friend by your side, doing everything together and growing closer as more years pass! I can honestly say that I feel like the luckiest girl, being married to my husband, and I can’t wait for Rachel to be jumping into the married world too!