Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Our trip to DC

A bit belated, but I have finally taken the time to go through the myriad of pictures from our trip and show a bit of what we saw. I already shared a bit about our trip there and back and some of the lessons that stood out in my mind, but on to the bulk of the trip . . .

The capitol building

Washington DC contains building packed with history. Every brick, every gallery, every building, every street has a story to tell. We reveled in the amazing magnitude of each building. Grand arches and pillars, huge domes and ornate ceilings, innumerable artifacts and records of our history.

The main bulk of what we spent our time on fell into the two miles between the Capitol building and the Lincoln Memorial. You don't realize just how humongous the building are until you are right there. They are incredible.

Paige at the base of the Washington Monument

Everything was done on a grand scale, although they were separating from Great Britain, they were still so used to their way of doing things that you see European influence everywhere throughout the mall area. The Washington Monument towers 600 feet into the air, and showed that even early Americans sometimes set their sights too high. About a quarter of the way up the brick color changes because the original effort ran out of money and when the government decided to finish the job, the same stone color was not available. That seems a lesson in itself.

Of course the Smithsonian museum is a must see. Not just one museum, the Smithsonian combines 19 museums, 9 research centers, and a zoo. We visited just two, and that had plenty to keep us busy for a very full day. We enjoyed the Museum of Natural History with numerous fossils and animals on exhibit. Of course, I always try to have clear conversations with my kids about Creation when in a place like that. I want others to overhear as well and maybe pause and think about the 'fact' of evolution that is presented. All fossils fit well into a creation, catastrophic flood model. I would love to get to the Creation Museum in Kentucky some time.

The kids loved meeting the Wright Brothers also and getting a first hand glimpse at their real plane (with a new cloth cover, of course). We had just listened to a Story Hour tape about their experiences so this had even more meaning for them.

The Museum of American History was closed for remodeling so we did not get to see that, but did enjoy the other museums that we did visit.

One day we hung out with the Washingtons at their home in Mount Vernon.

Just walking around the estate, it was clear why George Washington loved the location. For those that have never been, or not recently anyway, Mount Vernon was incredible. We could have easily spent the entire day there. So much of the grounds and buildings have been restored to their original splendor. There are also two buildings (air conditioned!) that offer visitors an amazing, in depth look at Washington and the Revolutionary War time period. For some reason I had not realized that the Declaration of Independence, written in 1776, came so long before true independence at the close of the Revolutionary War and another 6 years passed before the first president came to power. Sometimes we blur historical events together and yet nearly 13 years passed between the writing of the Declaration and the swearing in of George Washington.

Mount Vernon also shares much of what happened in those early years of establishing the United States. I enjoyed reliving that time period and seeing so many of the places that hosted these happenings. Totally unimportant, but for some reason interesting nonetheless, they have a set of Washington's dentures on display as well and show the process of making them in those days. His pursed lips in the portrait on our dollar bill? Probably a result of the new dentures he had just received. No wonder older paintings rarely show people's teeth.

Vacation time gave us a closer glimpse into each of our children's lives in a different environment than we usually find ourselves in.

Nathan loved the rocks. Anytime we found ourselves on a gravel pathway, he was on the ground picking up handfuls. We discovered how much Paige loves fountains, and we visited many of them in those few days.

We realized anew Faith's attention to detail. Especially in the Natural History Museum she wanted to see every little thing and find out what it was, why it was there, and what it meant. We spent a long time looking at the detail in many exhibits there.

And, Brooke just loves getting her picture taken. Blake, in the background shows one of his loves, humorous photography. He got some good ones in on our trip.

Of course, our kids might tell you this was their favorite part of our vacation:
All in all, an amazing time. I really enjoyed seeing downtown DC and getting a closer look at our nation's history. The highlight for me was spending time with family and the opportunity to learn more about each other and Washington was a great back drop for doing so.


Jules said...

It looks absolutely fabulous :o)

Lisa said...

You took some wonderful pictures of your vacation! It looks like you ahd a womderful time!