Sunday, August 11, 2013

I Survived Seven Days with Two Children Under the Age of Thirteen

I'm back! And yes, I actually survived. We had a fabulous time and I only had two break-downs where I wanted to beat the kids, but didn't of course, because..... because I would never do that.

Me and Lincoln (with a little green paint) Photo by Seth

We flew into Washington DC and stayed there 3 nights and we had 2 full days of sightseeing. We arrived on Friday evening so we just walked around our great hotel near Chinatown. There was a beautiful Chinese arch down H Street. We got the lay of the land and saw a restaurant we wanted to go back to the next day.

On Saturday we saw several of the sights on the Mall. We saw the Washington Monument surrounded by scaffolding because it's being renovated. From there we walked on to the Lincoln Memorial, passing the WW2 memorial along the way. After the Lincoln Memorial we saw the Vietnam Memorial and then the memorial to the signers of the Declaration of Independence on our way to see the White House. From there we took a cab over to the Capitol building (yes we actually did that because we were really tired) and we looked at the Capitol, the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court building. Amazing architecture all built in the Neoclassical style.

The second day in DC we spent most of the day at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. We also went to Georgetown because I really wanted to see the town and the University but we were attacked my a mosquitoes while we were on campus so we left and went back to Chinatown for dinner.

We woke up on Monday to prepare for our first train ride together. I love trains and the kids had never been on a train. So off we went to Philadelphia on the train. Of course the DC Union train station is also beautiful. The architectural style is Classical, Beaux-Arts. It has HUGE columns in the front and an impressive main hall.

The train ride was nice and the kids had a great time on their electronics so the time passed quickly. Soon we were in Philadelphia. We left our luggage in the baggage check area of the train station and we went out on our excursions to see the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the first City Hall, and the City Tavern. We saw other old buildings and sites along the way.

Before we knew it it was time to get back to the train station and our trip into NYC. We arrived into Penn Station before it was dark and Seth's reaction was priceless. He came out of the station, looked around and said, "It's so beautiful and so ghetto at the same time!" What an awesome description of New York!

That night, after we checked into our tiny room and they adjusted to the change from our big spacious room from DC, we were off to ride the subway and to see Times Square at night. They were in awe of all the electronic billboards, the huge Toys R Us and the Hard Rock Café where we had dinner. It was a great first night.

On our first full day in New York we went to the 9/11 Memorial, the Upper West Side, Zabar's and Central Park. I had never walked the part of park that we walked and Seth loved the big rocks that he got to climb along the way. When we got to a big lake, which is the second largest lake in Central Park, the kids saw people boating and wanted to find the source of the boats. We followed a path all along the lake until we arrived at the Loeb Boathouse. (The boat house from 27 Dresses) There we rented a boat and I let the kids paddle me around, against my better judgment, as I kept saying.

From there we went on to American Girl where we bought Haley (Miranda's American Just Like Me Doll) an outfit and as we walked to find the Metro entrance we ran into Rockefeller Center, which the kids recognized from of course, 30 Rock. That was the end of Day 1 in NYC because we had to get to bed early to wake up super early to go see Lady Liberty.

We actually woke up in time, were able to get the kids breakfast, and we were boarding the ferry to Liberty Island at 8 a.m. This visit, unlike my last visit, the pedestal and crown were open but I was only able to get tickets into the pedestal. We actually took all 195 steps up to the pedestal and we were able to see the lady and the view of New York. I must admit it was pretty cool. We were able to visit the small museum inside of the pedestal and learn all the history about how she was built and the history of the pedestal and torch.

We were barely able to squeeze in a walk through Battery Park, and then a quick visit to the Empire State building before meeting a friend and media colleague of mine for lunch at a cute Korean restaurant where unfortunately Miranda lost her pink DSI. Because from there we took a taxi to Rockefeller Center to see the Lego store. Seth had seen the store from across the plaza the day before and we promised to go back on Wednesday.

After a short rest in the hotel room we went back out to look at the Brooklyn Bridge before it got dark. The kids enjoyed the view of New York and Brooklyn from the first arch of the bridge for a while. From there we walked to Little Italy for a great pizza at Lombardi's.

By Thursday morning we were ready to go home. We started our trek out to Newark, NJ and our long journey home. We ended up getting stuck in Dallas and we weren't able to actually fly home from Dallas until Friday morning. (I feel like I'm barely recuperated on Sunday!)

It was a great trip. Yes, I had my moments when I thought I was going to lose it, but all in all I held it together pretty well and I made it. I hope that the kids had a great time and that they enjoyed the experience.

I didn't go with any big expectations. I didn't expect them to want to look at every detail, but I wanted for them to see the main highlights of each of these cities and I wanted for them to have a history lesson about the United States. So that when they study these places and this history in school they will be able to say, "I've been there, I remember that story." I think they will.

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