Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cousin Time!

There's nothing like cousins.  I loved hanging with my cousins growing up and things don't change much as an adult.  I'm so thankful for cousins.  Especially ones that will travel a long way for a visit!  Don is son to Dad's sister.  Follow that?  His wife, Michele, and their kids, Madison and Morgan, had never been to DC!  Michele asked what to see and I said...make a list.  And she did!!!!  I think we checked off everything plus maybe a few more.  In two days in the city, I'm sure we put at least 8 miles on my sneaks and we saw a lot!  What a blast!  Even more fun was catching up, spending time together and seeing the girls become buddies.  Perfect cousin visit.

Here's what we did:  The first night - The Brooks Family Fun Tour of the Monuments at Night, includes stops at FDR, MLK and Lincoln Memorials, Vietnam and Korea Memorials, Armistice Day Memorial, World War 2 Memorial, and great views of the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, White House and Capitol Building.  The next day we hit Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Air and Space Museum, Natural History,  National Archives and Georgetown Cupcakes.  The last day they were here we did a Capitol tour, Library of Congress Tour, Arlington National Cemetery with stops at the Tomb of the Unknowns and a changing of the guards ceremony as well as the Custus House,  a Pentagon Tour (given by the sexiest tour guide EVER!), Pentagon 9-11 Memorial and the American Girl Store.  You should have heard the squeals when they saw we were at that store!  Phew!  It's amazing what you can pack into a couple days!!  So, so fun!

FDR Memorial

FDR Memorial

Glow sticks for easy recognition. 

How sweet is this?!

Natural History

Capitol bathrooms...prettiest bathrooms...EVER!

Outside Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Hissing cockroach!  Yuck!

Cousins being eaten by a shark!!!

Natural History Hall of Mammals

Natural History

My favorite Mall :)

IMAX at Air and Space Museum

Capitol.  Each state has 2 statues in the Capitol.  This is one that makes me sing the Hawaii 5-O theme song!

Capitol Tour



Capitol Rotunda

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

Arlington headed to the Tomb of the Unknowns

Arlington Ampatheater
The only problem with seeing so much in DC, is that you find out how much more you want to see!!  We just may see these guys again while we are here!!  That would be fun!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Shenandoah National Park

When Hubs says...wanna go away tomorrow?  You say YES!!  We headed west to the Shenandoah National Park.  Even though we are in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of capital living, traveling an hour and a half makes a huge difference.  It almost felt like home!  The leaves were beautiful and the day was perfect and the pictures do it no justice.

Hey...when the kids are taking a pic and say KISS, KISS!  You kiss!!

Just off Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah National Park is Luray Caverns.  We had several people tell us how wonderful it is, so we had to check it out.  Oh, so beautiful!!!  It's amazing how things like this are discovered.  Can you hear the conversation....You go down that hole!  No you!  No you!  I'm not going!  And then finally someone gets up the courage and the earth opens up to this:

Look closely...this is a pond.  Crystal clear water that reflects everything above it.

After this memorable stop, we got back on Skyline Drive and stopped at one of the Ranger Centers.  We learned that during the Great Depression, men were hired to work this National Park.  They built roads and bridges, not because it needed to be done at that particular moment, but for the shear reason that people needed to work, wanted to work.  Men wanted to be busy and were put to work by the park service.  If only that were the case these days.....okay, enough of that.  The absolute highlight of the day was when we were leaving this center.  One of the park rangers was headed out to take down the flag and asked the kids if they wanted to help.  How cool is that?!  Mark and I both thanked the ranger for asking the kids to help.  He said he always asks because he never knows how people will react.  (oh, I have so much to say about that...but I'll bite my tongue for now)  The girls were so excited.  They chatted about that for the longest time in the car.

Awesome day.  Can't wait to go back!