11 August 2013

Days 10, 11, & 12

We were in Virginia so we got a chance to visit Gettysburg on our way up to the river.  I don't know if Gettysburg is always crowded or if it the site was impacted only because the 150th anniversary had just passed.  I suspect it's the former given all the tourist trap-like businesses around town.  At least we found some rocks for the boys at one of the sites along the auto tour.

We finally reached the campsite!

The first day was just for setup and reminiscing with old friends, some of whom James has known since birth!  There used to be around 20 of them who'd come camping and rafting, but now, with all the children in tow, we numbered around 45 this year.  The second day was occupied by our drifting  down the Delaware River.  Pics from A2's waterproof camera:

Okay, sometimes, the water was a little rough and drifting doesn't properly describe it. Pictured are 2 of James' childhood friends.

James and A1 decided that the muddy water looked refreshing enough for a swim.  Ew.

All in all, even with the water snake and the white water and losing half our party part way down the river, the boys still LOVED it!

And I loved seeing a second generation of friends--these fire-obsessed boys are the sons of James' neighbors when he was a child and a college friend.  It's well worth my having to sleep in a lean-to for two nights.  Again: ew.

08 August 2013

Day 9: DC, part 3

The National Museum of American History didn't exactly excite the kids before we entered, but they were pretty pleased with the actual exhibits once inside.

I'm already a big fan of war posters in general, but this "...you ride with Hitler!" one may be a new favorite of mine.

The Holocaust Memorial Museum was pretty powerful, especially having just seen all images of  Japanese American internment at the US History Museum.  The boys were starting to get a much fuller history of how far we've come as a species...and how far we still have to go.

We hadn't planned on a Bureau of Engraving and Printing tour, but were able to get same-day tickets and the boys had a great time watching bills get printed (though they admitted that they preferred watching the minting of coins a few days ago).

We found our way to the WWII Memorial to look up their paternal grandfather and great uncle.

The walk to the Lincoln Memorial melted the boys. 

He is being repaired from some recent vandalism.  Such a shame.

The boys used the marble as a slide.  It was a smooth, fast ride.  And it was probably totally inappropriate.

I was happy to snap a shot, but my teeth and knees were clenched in hopes of telekinetically keeping him from plummeting to the ground.

You want us to walk to the Jefferson Memorial?!?  It's sooooo far, Mama!  (It got a thumbs down.)

It's so far that they have to take a break to climb the trees.

But it's worth the effort.

07 August 2013

Day 8: National Firearms Museum & Herr's

There were beautiful, well kept, well displayed collections that the entire family enjoyed!

There was also a Hollywood collection that had this little gem:

We took the Herr's factory tour.  The factory was fun to see and the samples were really delicious, but I think the best part was learning about how far a little American ingenuity and a whole lot of dedicated work can go.

Day 7: DC, part 2

The boys loved the tour of the Pentagon!  Sadly, and completely understandably, no photos were allowed once we left the visitor area.

Then we walked...and walked and walked

...until we reached the Natural History Museum.

Impossible to see back there, but he's giving the thumbs up to his first grade project: the sugar glider.

I only have these pics of us waiting outside the building (note how all three security guards are looking right at the boys, waiting for a false step) for our Supreme Court lecture.  The boys were less thrilled by this visit, but I absolutely loved it!

The National Gallery of Art was yet another visit that I enjoyed more than the boys!  Here they are, looking pretty happy before entering the museum, having not yet realized that they will be staring at paintings for the next hour or so.

This was as close as we could get to the White House.  The last time James and I were in DC (eons ago, well before the children arrived), we knew someone who knew someone who was able to get us in for a brief tour.  It was pretty awesome.

Day 6: DC

I've always believed that learning should be experiential.  Monday was fantastic in that regard, but I was so enthralled with the process, I forgot to capture most of it!

The U.S. Capitol tour was excellent!  For me, it was totally neat to see in person things I'd only seen photos of.  The Apotheosis of Washington on the dome ceiling was amazing.  This tour was very well timed as A1 had just covered, at the end of 2nd grade, the branches of government including careful study of the Senate and House of Representatives.

Sadly, there was lots of walking so sometimes A1 looked sad (shown at the US Botanic Garden),

...and sometimes it was A2 who looked miserable (shown at the Air and Space Museum).

Looking goofy at the National Museum of the American Indian:

Running upstairs at the Library of Congress:

The Washington Monument was closed for renovation and earthquake proofing so no goofy children have been position in front of it for this photo:

Day 5: Franklin Institute

We were going to drive out to Gettysburg but this fantastic science center took up our entire day.  No regrets there!

There were tons of fun and informative exhibits but I mostly got shots of the bubbles.  It's always the bubbles...

They had really cool live programs that included some messy stuff that the boys got into, including the bubble monster that ate A2's shoes and a watermelon falling from the sky that attacked A1:

Then we spent the rest of our day driving from Pennsylvania through Delaware and Maryland to finally land in Virginia.  But that's nothing for a road trip-experienced family like ours!