Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Adventures of the Winter Vacation (DC)

The Drive
Last month my children had winter vacation. What is winter vacation? A bizarre north east tradition where “they” attempt to make mothers insane by keeping children out of school for an entire week in the middle of winter. This might make sense somewhere where the temperature occasionally rises above freezing, but here it means a week trapped indoors with stir crazy kids. Don’t we pay teachers big bucks to do that?

Anyway, my dear husband had the last half of the week off and we decided to do something fun, like lay around the house or see who could put on the most amount of weight in the least amount of time. Finally, Friday morning, we decided to actually attempt at creating happy memories for the kids. (Not to imply that memories of your parents staring entranced, at various electronic screens aren’t happy ones.) We would drive up to Boston, get a hotel room for the night, and take turns going to our temple. We threw clothes and toiletries into a couple bags for an overnight trip and loaded up the kids. With the Suburban loaded, Peter and I ran in to get some soda and snacks (didn’t want to miss out on the gain-the-most-weight contest) and I told Peter we’d better make sure we both had our temple recommends. You know, before we made the 2 hour drive. We both had them alright; they had both expired 2 weeks before.

What to do? What to do? Well, we didn’t want to waste the whole drive up if we couldn’t go to the temple, but also didn’t want to waste the energy spent loading the kids in the car, so logically we decided to drive 3 times further away to Washington DC and stay an extra night. Of course we ran up and packed for the extra night. NOT!! We decided to stop at the store and buy and extra shirt for everyone. I would tell you how we handled the underwear and socks, but it wasn’t a particularly pleasant (or nice smelling) solution.

The drive to DC was not too bad. Except we forgot to take the Pennsylvania route and got trapped in toll road land. When I said we decided all this Friday morning, it was really more like Friday midday. By the time we reached Baltimore, it was pretty late in the evening so we found a hotel just outside of town (thank you GPS) and called it a night.

The Hotel

Turns out children need to eat on a regular basis, even when travelling! Luckily there was a Bob Evan’s restaurant across the parking lot from our hotel. After unloading our bags, we headed over. Unluckily, while we were waiting to be seated, our youngest puked all over himself and the floor in front of the register. Of course everyone in the restaurant choose that exact moment to pay for their meals. And the employees ignored us while I tried to clean it up the best I could with paper towels from the bathroom while Peter rinsed off Matthew. I headed back to the hotel with sicko while Peter fed the non-vomitting children.

Once everyone was fed and settled back at the hotel and Matthew’s jacket had been rinsed and hung to dry, I decided to get ready for bed. Only when I went to take out my contacts, I realized I had forgotten solution. My 1st solution to no solution was to wear my contacts to bed. Unfortunately, they already felt dried up and suctioned onto my eyes. Removing them after a night’s sleep might feel like ripping a band aide off my eyeballs. My 2nd solution was to pay a fortune to buy some contact solution at the hotel lobby “store”, but the fact that they didn’t have any to buy deterred me. So I drove to a gas station and paid an even greater fortune for the solution to my lack of solution.

Washington DC
That morning we loaded up and headed to a store to buy breakfast and extra clothes. I also remembered to buy a stroller because, even with our in-depth planning, we neglected to pack one. I needed other baby supplies anyway, as I had packed diapers for an ordinary one night trip not a two night stomach flu trip. Any guesses what store we stopped at that had clothes, food, and baby supplies?

We finally arrived in DC and parked near the Washington monument. We then walked and gawked all the way to the Smithsonian museums. Oh, how we love Washington DC! We went through the air and space museum (they have already blacklisted poor Pluto from the list of planets) and the natural history museum (where we spent hours and only finished the 1st floor). We also walked past the capitol building and white house.
We finished the day visiting the Vietnam and Lincoln memorials. By this time it was late and we were all regretting our winter induced out-of-shapeness.

We left DC and headed north to Gettysburg, stopping at a hotel just outside the town. With all the wonderful things we saw on our trip, it should come as no surprise that the highlight for the kids was the indoor pool and all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. Gettysburg was awesome (as always), although a little cold and windy. And by little I mean we left the car once and didn’t freeze only because we were moving quickly so we wouldn’t get blown away. As we left, Joseph was upset because he thought we had promised to show him a real battle. Poor kid wanted to see actual fighting. You’d think his brothers and sisters in the car would have fulfilled that dream enough already.

We drove home through Pennsylvania and arrived early enough for the kids to get a good night’s rest before school started again. At least that is my claim (just in case one of their teachers happens to read this!). And that was our impromptu trip to Washington DC. All in all, it was a great trip and one we will make again. Someday maybe we will plan something farther ahead than an hour. But I wouldn’t hold your breath.
P.S. I couldn't help but include a picture of one of the exhibits that gave us the most enjoyment. We laughed and laughed. You mean the climate CHANGES over time?!?


  1. sounds like you all had a good time. last minute trips are always lots of fun.

  2. hilarious! I just read "Cheaper by the Dozen" and for some reason kept thinking of you and your family . . . :)

  3. lol you guys are fun. You should have made it a "little" longer and come down to NC. Who won the weight gaining contest?

  4. I love road trips, especially impromptu ones. We always manage to have someone barf or have 'bathroom troubles' whenever we travel. I guess it just adds to the memories. :)

  5. AUGH you are not a temple recommend holder? J/K Since you only have to renew every two years, it's easy to forget. We forgot and found out after Landon got a speeding ticket trying to get to the temple on time for ward temple night. He was bugged because of the ticket but decided to still go and then when he got there they told him he couldn't come in. We laugh about it now.
    You were so nice to clean up after Matthew in the resturant. I would have just left them an extra big tip.

  6. I too love DC! Sounds like a great trip. I loved seeing the Christmas pillow being used. Loved the pictures. Maybe a longer trip to El Paso?

  7. It isn't a vacation unless someone vomits! I had the same omygosh-are-our-recommends-current scare when James and I went last week. Luckily, we're good till Sept. Sounds like y'all had a blast!

  8. My friend lived in DC last summer and said the Wal-Mart there looked like it had been robbed. The shelves were poorly stocked and employees were not very friendly.

    What a fun weekend trip! Someday we'll make it back east and see all of it (and all of you) for ourselves.

  9. DC is a fantastic place to visit. Everytime we go it seems we find something new we haven't seen yet. Last time our favorite was the Mint and Ford's Theatre. You are lucky that your kids are good in the car for long trips.

  10. I love that you are spur of the moment people. What a fun trip. Should I not mention that if you'd had your Temple Recommends you could have gone to the DC Temple while you were there?

    I'm surprised the govt left up that display about climate changes. You'd think they'd at least try to HIDE the facts they so readily ignore.

  11. Wait. Let me understand. We are in the end of an ice age and thing may get warmer still? Nah, it HAS to be humans doing it. No way that the earth warms and cools on its own...

  12. Oh, the joys of family vacations...the vomit just sweetens the deal, in my opinion.

  13. I love your adventures. We were so very throw-a-roadtrip-together-at-the-last-minute before we had kids, but have somehow lost our spunk. I hope we get it back soon - those last-minuters are always full of the best (and funniest) memories!

    I love the shopping for everything at Walmart. Even more so because we have done the exact same thing - toddler + lake = new clothes now.

  14. Ok, one MORE reason to come visit you guys- I've never been to D.C.! Looks like a ton of fun, makes me want a vacation really bad!!

  15. I too have never been to DC, my kids would probably love it. Some day....some day. Loved the part about the solution solution....reminds me of the peanut butter solutions..remember that one?

  16. I am so jealous of that. I think the last family vacation we had taken was almost 9 years ago.

  17. That is so awesome!! I want to go on a family trip like time...come and pick me up...a couple more hours wouldn't hurt the kids. hahaha. Sorry to hear about Matthews sick spell...that kinda sucks. But D.C. Is one of my FAVORITE places to go. I love it!! I think it is the perfect place to decide to go on short notice. I miss you guys soooo much!