Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Sunsets and Cemeteries

After not seeing Maggi for over a week, it was great to spend some time with her. The clouds looked really neat yesterday so she asked if I wanted to go chase a sunset. 
The cemetery has a great view. It also has old barns that are fun to photograph. 

We were grateful to whomever left us this great pitchfork photo prop

Sunsets are always beautiful. But I know there are better ones to be seen. We need some pink and purple thrown into the mix. I guess that means we will have to go again soon!

Love you Maggi!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

#robertstakeontheeastcoast days 8 & 9

I'm going to throw these last two days into one post because I didn't take many pictures. And both days involved a lot of driving.
Sunday we woke up and my dad had made biscuits and gravy. So we all filled up and got ready to head to Pennslyvania. 
But not without going on a trip to Ikea!! It is a must if you are near one!

They loved the adventure. 

We were just planning on driving to Nazareth, PA to stay the night so we could get up and do the Martin Guitar factory and then go to the Hershey's Chocolate factory. But as we were driving, I realized we were driving through Hershey. So we pulled off and went there first. 

The tour was a ride. It wasn't the tour I was expecting/hoping for. I was hoping to see the actual process in the real factory. This was set up to be an entertaining ride that just describes the process. Still neat but not amazing. 

We finally reached the hotel!!

Since we only had one tour to do the next day (Monday), we decided to try to drive all day and night until we got home. I think our whole family was so ready to just get home at that point. So we packed everything up and headed to the Martin factory. Don was really excited about it and I was happy to go along because I knew how much it meant to him. 

The Martin museum

As we were browsing the gift shop (and Don bought a shirt), the worker asked Don if he wanted to play some of the high end guitars. So we went back to a special room with all the guitars set up. I think these guitars are worth around $5-6k. Don can correct me if I'm wrong. So Don played some of his music for us as we sang along. 

The tour was about an hour long and very detailed. It's amazing that it takes so many people and steps to make a guitar. While I'm not big on the subject matter, it was still an interesting tour. 

Since the factory is so loud, everyone got a headset to hear our tour guide on his headset. Pretty convenient. And of course, we got stopped along the tour by an Asian woman who thought our kids were cute.

It was finally time to head home!! We left a little after 1pm (east coast time) and had a 14 hour drive ahead of us. 

Lots of pretty views from the mountains

I wasn't able to sleep so I stayed up all night and took over the driving around 3:30 (central time) to finish the drive. 
We finally got home at 5am and were welcomed home by these signs!

We've never been more excited to be home! 

Thank you Lovings for the signs, the poptarts, and for collecting our mail for us everyday! 
And after only getting 3 hours of sleep, I do not regret driving all night. We got home sooner and without the crying and bathroom breaks that kids require. 

We had such a fun, exhausting trip! We would love to visit the Outer Banks again some day. 
But now, back to real life!

Monday, September 23, 2013

#robertstakeontheeastcoast day 7

Saturday morning. 
I wake up and feel like I had just completed the hardest workout of my life. Walking so many miles the day before in a pair of flats left my feet and legs sore. As for the rest of my body? A week of sleeping in different beds can make you ache all over. I can't wait to get home to our bed!!
We had planned on driving up to Union Station and taking a trolley tour around the city. There was a chance of rain and the day had a gloomy look to it. We decided against the trolley because we had already walked most of the places that it would take us. Plus, it can be a huge pain to take everything/everyone out of the stroller and collapse it one time. So the thought of doing that all day didn't interest me. 
So we just decided to take the Metro again. Oh fun--couldn't wait. Where is that sarcasm font when I need it?
We rode into the city and got off the Metro at the Post Office. Since the Washington Monument  is closed because of an earthquake, this was the highest point in the city to ride up and look out. 

One of the views from our 360 degree view of the city. 

After this, we headed for the Natural History Museum--one of the Smithsonians. I wasn't too excited about this particular museum because when you leave it up to unbelievers, they are always going to turn a whole museum about nature into a gigantic evolution museum. Evolution was included in almost every display, including a big section devoted to evolution and cave men. "Stepping back in time millions of years ago with our very close relatives, the ape." No thanks. I can't understand how they look at things like sea life, sand dunes, the human body, and explain it with chance and millions of years. I look at it all and am amazed by God's Creation!
There were a few neat things to see in the museum, as long as you didn't read anything. 

We found Nemo!

And Dory!

The lighting wasn't great for pictures. So I barely got any pictures of the day. 

I'm telling you--I love the architecture!!

The Hope Diamond, biggest diamond in the world. It is 45.52 carats and has been around for like "65,000,000 years."

My legs were killing me at this point, but we still had two more museums and the Capitol building to see. The Capitol was a mile away from where we were. We started walking and saw a little sculpture park and my dad and Eileen offered to take the boys there while we walked to the Capitol building. It was a looong walk. But we made it! Another beautiful building!

We started walking back to the rest of the group. I was feeling like I couldn't walk much farther. We got all the way back to where we left them and they said we were headed back (in the direction we had just come from) to go to the Air and Space Museum. Another Smithsonian. We didn't want to spend much time here because everyone was pretty exhausted and it looked like it was going to pour any second. We only had one umbrella and it just didn't seem fun to walk a mile in the rain to get to the Metro. So we quickly walked through the main section of the museum. It was actually pretty neat looking. If I hadn't have been so exhausted, I probably would have suggested staying longer. 

Bad lighting=blurry pictures

We started to walk back towards the American History Museum. That's the one I was most excited about. But since that was still quite a bit of a walk, and the rain was seriously about to just come down, I decided against it. I was very disappointed that I didn't get to see it though. There was a national book festival going on that weekend on the mall and there were tons of people walking around with orange tote bags. So we stopped by to pick some up for us. Who doesn't love free swag? 
They had some PBS characters there for kids to get their pictures with them. I asked Liam which character he wanted a picture with. But I had no doubt in my mind who he would pick. Princess Presto from Super Why. We almost missed her before she went on break but the worker let us go in line!
He was so excited to meet her. I finally got a genuine smile from him.

He hugged her right away

Finally! It was time to head back to the Metro! And we made it just in time. By the time we came out of the tunnel, it was raining, and continued to rain all evening. Everyone was so tired at this point. Kai proved it on the ride back

And so did Kingston

We got back and ordered some pizza and spent the rest of the night relaxing. It was much needed. 

It they were in a hair race, Scarlett would have lapped Evangeline at least a dozen times. (This is Eileen's daughter, Julie's, baby)
We got so much of DC covered in 2 days. That was all I could take! We went to bed early so we could get up and get ready for the next part of the trip!
Moving on to Pennslyvania!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

#robertstakeontheeastcoast day 6

Im almost dreading writing this post. My legs still feel the ache of how much we saw on Friday. I'm thinking the post will be exhausting as well. 

We got up, ate, and headed up to the Metro station. I wasn't sure what to expect while traveling with 4 young children on public transportation. We made it on just in time and started heading towards the city. 
It was pretty fun and exciting--for the first 5 minutes. Let's just say that I am not a fan of the metro. But I'm even less of a fan of downtown driving and no parking!
On the plus side, the downtown stations looked pretty cool. 

We wanted to go see The Mint but tours weren't starting yet. So we decided to walk and see the Washinton Monument and the White House first. (I will post the Washington Monument pictures later on)

Then we walked all the way back to The Mint.

 When I'm writing this, it makes it seem like we just walked a short distance. But everything in DC is very spread out. If I had to guess how much we walked on Friday, I would maybe guess between 7-10 miles. The Mint was pretty neat--and at one point in the tour, we were standing in the room next to $64,000,000 that was just printed!
We were not allowed to take pictures during the tour though. 

Sorry dear. This was the only picture I snapped of you and the one million dollars. 

We were pretty hungry at this point so we started to walk to find some food. We settled on a street vendor for hot dogs because that was the only thing close. 4 hot dogs and 4 drinks cost $38!!! Crazy! I was very thankful that I had packed lunches for the boys. 
The boys loved to watch the pigeons during lunch. 

And do "pigeon dances"

After lunch it was time to go check out the memorials. We started with the Jefferson Memorial

The architecture in DC is amazing. All the buildings are so beautiful. I love the big columns!

He finally got a much needed nap!

Next we walked to the Roosevelt Memorial

(Washington Momument)

Liam loved posing with all the statues and waterfalls

After a lot more walking, we finally made it to the Lincoln Memorial!!
This is the one I was excited to see.

Evangeline got a lot of attention while she was in the wrap. When we were at the Lincoln Memorial, a large group (I counted at least 10) of Asian women and maybe a couple men stopped and started talking to Evangeline in Chinese. They were in love with her. It was precious. They started taking pictures of her and trying to get her to smile. It started with one woman and then the group just starting growing and growing. Only one woman from the group spoke English. She told me that they were so taken back by the fact that we have 4 children because of the one child policy in China. She said they would have more if it was legal. It's heartbreaking. 
My dad snapped a picture with my phone while they were talking to us

The Reflecting Pool is right outside the Lincoln Memorial.

I was stopped by another 2 Asian women right outside the memorial. They also got a lot of pictures of Evangeline. Both groups were very sweet--what mom doesn't love people making a big deal about how cute their baby is? 

I was so excited to finally be done!! The problem? Now we had to walk all the way back to the Metro. Another looong walk! My feet and legs were so sore at this point. 
As we were walking past the White House, we saw 3 helicopters flying over us. We had seen them fly out when we were at the Roosevelt Memorial and Eileen had mentioned that the President always flew out in a helicopter in groups of 3. It was confirmed that it was the President as we walked past the White House and saw the first helicopter land as the other two flew away. We also saw secret service on one of the buildings nearby. It was pretty cool!

We finally made it back to the Metro and went back to my dad's. I was ready for bed at 8 (which is 7 our time!) It's ridiculous how tired I felt. I wasn't too sure I was excited to get back out and walk the next day. We saw a lot of this historic city and had a lot of fun doing it!
It's been a fun week with our family. I'm so thankful for the chance to go on this trip!

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