Wednesday, September 28, 2011

adventure *day 15*

The next item on the agenda was visiting Arlington cemetery.

I didn't realize the magnitude of this beautiful venue. There are over 330,000 grave sites dotting a vast 624 acres. It is truly humbling and sobering to see them stretching on and on. I am so grateful to those who have fought and continue to fight for our country.

Thank you.

Mary Todd Lincoln.

The eternal flame at President John F. Kennedy's grave.

We wandered up to the Tomb of the Unknowns. While we were waiting for the changing of the guard, we found refuge in the little museum there with pictures of funeral processions and different medals that soldiers have received.

Luke and Liam parked themselves out of the way on the floor and enjoyed the air conditioned room. They were quite adorable in the way they were interacting with each other. And for your viewing pleasure, here is also an unidentified bum.

The changing of the guard was beautiful. I love the way it is conducted with such precision and grace. I also admired these men who seemed unruffled by the stifling heat in their full uniforms.

Wending our way in the sticky heat also made me more grateful for our founding fathers and those in the Revolutionary War. They must have really wanted to form our country if they fought so hard day in and day out in this blasted heat. My thoughts then wandered to those who have fought in all different conditions and those now who endure temperatures of over 110 degrees to fight for our freedoms now.

Again, I thank you.

The heroes of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

We are grateful to Sir John Dill because his beautiful memorial had a large sprinkler placed on it watering the grass.

Although it was not my intention for the boys to run through the welcoming respite from the heat, I think I was pretty positive in the back of my mind that it was going to happen. I didn't mean to be disrepectful in anyway but I speculate that if there were sprinklers available to the soldiers during the Revolutionary War that these men would have done the exact same thing. And it was only for a minute.

A blissful minute.

We definately didn't see everything there but I am grateful for the experience.

We decided to return to the hotel to cool off for a while before heading to Baltimore to see the Orioles play.

Did you know there is another person with the same name as this darling boy who plays for the Orioles?

Yes, it's true.

One of our friends gave Luke a baseball card of Luke Scott and he thought it was the coolest thing ever. When I was planning our trip and told Justin we would be going to an Orioles game, he got super excited and the business man in him took over.

He contacted a few people in the Orioles organiazation to see if we could set up a meeting with the baseball player. They were always super nice but couldn't confirm anything. The best they could do was tell us to arrive early for batting practice and see if we could get his attention. One lady also added that he is on the DL and is a bit grumpy about it so not to get our hopes up.

Somehow Luke took that as we are definiately going to meet his namesake and it was not "if" but "when" he had his baseball card signed he would be so happy.

I was not optimistic and was praying in my heart that his dreams would not be crushed.

We arrived at the field early to try to jockey for position. Once the gates opened Justin pulled Luke toward the dugout and was persistent in his inquiries about the famous Luke Scott. No one would give him a straight answer. Not because they were being rude, but because they couldn't.

Until this wonderful young man emerged. I will refer to him as our knight since I regrettably do not know his name.

I would have given up way before this point. Just told Luke that the man was busy and he most likely would have forgotten about it a couple days later. This is when I am so grateful for a sweet talking husband. Justin caught his attention and asked if Luke (#2) was in the dugout. Our knight said he could go and check for him. Justin added that there was a young fan here with the exact same name. Our knight became what seemed to be genuinely excited and said "No way! That is awesome!" Then into the dugout he went.

By this time, Luke was bouncing up and down with excitement. I was still reserved and hoping that this elusive player would make a boy's dream come true.

And out he came.

He met with a serviceman first to chat with him a moment and thank him for serving our country. Then over to Luke he went.

He said "Your name is Luke Scott too?" and then shook his hand. I didn't catch the rest of their conversation but Luke had a huge smile on his face.

We got his card signed. Mission accomplished.

Needless to say, because of the generosity of our knight and everyone that Justin talked to along the way and the way that Luke Scott #2 treated my Luke, the Orioles are now my favorite MLB team.

We all caught a bit of Oriole fever.

What an awesome day! One more day in D.C. and then headed home. I can't believe our trip is almost over. It has been so much fun!

Monday, September 26, 2011

adventure *day 14*

Oh, how I loved Washington D.C.

I have always wanted to visit and it exceeded every expectation.

It is so rich with history and it was surreal to actually be there. It was marvelous.

We started our day at the Museum of American History.

It was enormous. My favorite exhibit was the First Ladies at the Smithsonian. There were gowns, White House china, portraits, and personal belongings dating back to Martha Washington. I loved all the dresses that more current first ladies wore to the Inauguration. I didn't know if I was allowed to take pictures because there were such fragile artifacts but I kinda wish I would have snuck one of Michelle Obama's ensemble. It was exquisite.

We then walked through an exhibit that spotlighted the Star Spangled Banner. It was pretty incredible. As you walk down a dimly lit hallway you read about the Battle of Baltimore in 1812 while you hear gunshots in the distance. As you round the corner, you come to a beautiful display of the original flag that was flying over Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor inspiring Francis Scott Key to write his most famous lyrics.

After that, the younger boys were done with American History. There was a ton of information and most of it the little ones couldn't understand. I do want to go through again--without kids--to see the entire museum.

We then headed over to the Museum of Natural History. This had more visually interesting displays and we spent a good amount of time here.

The animal exhibits were a big hit.

We were able to explore the evolution of man. I can't remember what period this skull is from but it was Andrew's favorite.

While we were walking through there were quite a few sculptures of naked women and children. Luke would blush and giggle hysterically when he would point out an uncovered body part. We finally got through that section and he calmed down but then he decided he had to use the restroom. Unfortunately, the only way to the restroom was through the naked section and it started a whole new cascade of laughter. Boys. Sheesh.

As we wound around the museum we came across the space section. Liam exclaimed: "Finally, something that I like!"

The Hope Diamond.

It was time for a treat after we crammed all that information into our noggins so we stopped at the ice cream stand outside the museum. I got a double caramel Magnum bar and it was amazing. A little bit of the chocolate dropped on the ground and I am not ashamed to say that I picked it up and ate it. Yes, it was that good.

We left the comfort of the air conditioned halls to brave the sweltering heat as we visited the monuments.

Washington Monument.

World War II Memorial.

Vietnam Veteran's Memorial.

Then the Lincoln Memorial. I got chills when I saw it.

I commented to Justin that I had waited all my life to see this. He answered back with "I don't think you have been waiting your whole life..." but I truly think I have. I have always loved learning about and listening to stories featuring this wonderful President.

It is so crazy that I am standing here on this spot where MLK's famous speech was given. The exact spot.

I was a little sad the reflection pool was torn up. Good thing I have an unbelievable imagination.

Korean War Memorial.

The Jefferson Memorial. We didn't walk all the way over there. I guess I am a wimp.
We did catch a glimpse of Mr. Jefferson standing inside. Pretty amazing.

Nothing warms my heart more than seeing my boys be kind to one another.