We enjoyed seeing the White House at night and loved walking around the city after dark. (And we lost a kid - he wandered off by accident - took about 10 years off my life because it truly felt like he had vanished into thin air.)
We visited two Smithsonians (Air & Space and American History) - both were fascinating. The oldest two boys saw an IMAX movie which they thought was pretty cool.
The two youngest enjoyed riding the historic carousel on The Mall (truthfully, Emmi had been begging to ride any "up and down" horsey since we had embarked on the trip). Emmi was especially delighted by this part of the adventure.
(She always chooses a white horse - such a girly girl.)
We walked MILES and visited several monuments. They were all memorable in their own ways (it had been years since Andrew and I had been in DC). The kids favorite was probably the Lincoln Monument and mine was the new WW2 monument.
WW 2 Monument
We also visited Mount Vernon and spent most of Monday at that beautiful home and property. While Emmi failed to appreciate the mansion tour (or much of anything other than the flowers), the rest of us thought it was wonderful. There was so much space for the kids to run and relax. It was so much fun!
"Look, Mom, a butterfly!"
Checking out the gardens while the boys played in a field.
This is how she felt at the end of the day...
We arrived in WV on Monday night and Andrew spent the rest of the week in classes. So, Tuesday and Wednesday, the boys had class and then the kids and I spent the afternoons exploring Harper's Ferry National Park and eating ice cream. We hiked, learned about the local history, discussed the Civil War, checked out a portion of the Appalachian Trail (my cousin through-hiked it several years ago), and just generally had a great time together!
They hid their sticks on Tuesday, so they could use them again on Wednesday.
Boys and their sticks.
The weather was 100% perfect for these outings! We really enjoyed the great outdoors and the freedom from set plans and timelines - we just went at our own pace.
Thursday was our final day of exploration and that day took us to Gettysburgh. I decided to purchase the audio cd and book and tour it on our own. It was awesome. We did the shorter of the tours (still 3+ hours). We got out at most of the locations, listened to the fascinating narration of the events of that battle, and once again appreciated the wonderful beauty surrounding us.
The largest monument at Gettysburgh.
The boys were pretty fascinated with the history.
All in all, it was a memorable trip. We are thankful we had the chance to go and thankful for the time we had as a family. The boys had been asking to visit DC for a few years and so this was a dream come true for them. We found some great books at the library and they devoured them in preparation for the trip and on the trip. We listened to Carry On, Mr. Bowditch and that passed time in the car. Emmi at 3 1/2 was a challenge (which was expected), but she had a lot of fun, too. We are looking forward to our next big trip - perhaps Colorado!