Saturday, July 08, 2006

How I Spent My Summer Vacation by HoosierGirl

This past week I embarked on a grand adventure: I went on vacation with 7 other people, 6 of them children. My Significant Other (known here as the Baron) had been planning this trip for himself and his girls for as long as I've known him. As things evolved between us we began hatching a joint family vacation. I was cautious, as I know things can get tense on a trip, but I can not fully express my gratitude to him for including me and my family in his family's trip. We had a few tense moments, but all in all, it was a great vacation. This is a pic of us (aren't we cool with our shades on?)

We left Saturday, July 1 (my 42nd birthday, by the way) in 2 vehicles - his minivan and my Taurus. I borrowed a portable DVD player from my sister (thank you, terri, a million times, thank you) and we put it in Baron's van. The idea, which worked well both there and back, was that we would rotate kids and movie selections. The 2 youngest children were my son Aaron, age 6, seen here on a submarine in Baltimore Harbor:

and Baron's 6 yr. old daughter, PrettyGirl, so when they were in the van, they watched stuff like Shrek and Spongebob. One of the older kids, usually my 12 yr.old son Daniel , seen here in front of The White House, would ride with them.

The 3 older kids -my 16 yr.old son Joseph, my 14 yr. old daughter Rachael, and Baron's 15 yr.old daughter, FunnyGirl, would ride in my car and take control of my CD player. Then we would switch and they would watch stuff like "HellBoy" and "Wedding Crashers", and I would get the little kids. It worked well and the kids got along very well.

Anyway, we DID have a great time.
Here is a picture of all of us in Luray Caverns in Virginia, which was our first stop.

Our next day trip was to Baltimore Harbor. We saw the USS Constellation, rode a water taxi, saw Fort McHenry (where "The Star Spangled Banner" was written by Francis Scott Key), saw a submarine, and most importantly it seemed to the teens, went into a huge Barnes and Noble, located in an old power plant and had Starbucks! Here is a picture of the kids on the water taxi:

On the 4th of July we took the Metro down to the Capitol. Aaron was absolutely thrilled with all these cool modes of transportation, and the subway rides (and the escalators to and from) were one of the highlights of his trip. It was so thrilling for me to be there with the kids in our nation's capital, watching the fireworks on Independence Day. And they were truly amazing.

Here is what my daughter Rachael was doing on the Capitol Building lawn, while waiting:

It's hard to tell from this pic (my camera wasn't the greatest), but she's talking to her boyfriend on her cell phone!

The next 2 days we went to the Smithsonian. We saw the Air and Space Museum (Daniel and Aaron's favorite), the Museum of Natural History (another big hit - dinosaur bones!), and the Museum of American History. I could go on and on about the last one. It was great, especially the section on American pop culture. Here is a picture of PrettyGirl with Dorothy's ruby slippers, which she was thrilled to see:

We also went past The White House, which was Daniel's dream to see. The kids got to see the various groups protesting the troops in Iraq and Rachael, FunnyGirl, and I all signed a birthday card to President Bush which requested he get our troops out. It was great to see our kids and their developing social consciences. We also walked up to the Washington Monument and saw the reflecting pool and the Lincoln Memorial way off in the distance. It was a great trip for the kids. Baron, my oldest son, and I were the only ones who had ever been to Washington. Who knows if the other kids will get to go again? I was so proud to provide them with even just a glimpse.

Special thanks to Baron's daughter, FunnyGirl, who was our primary photographer. She has a great eye for unusual shots, and did a great job:

Anyway, I know this post sounds more like a travelogue than a blog post, but I just wanted to share some of what I've been doing for the past week. I am planning some more reflective pieces for the rest of the week. I have LOTS of thoughts about things I've learned about myself, my kids, my relationship with the Baron, my relationship with HIS kids, patriotism, road trips....oh the possibilities are endless.

One last pic:

My children and I in front of the White House.

More to come!


MJ Norton said...

Looks like a good trip! I haven't been to the DC area (aside from passing through on the beltway) in over 20 years. I enjoyed a wonderful October week there mostly taking a walking tour of the Smithsonians.

eatmisery said...

Welcome home! I'm glad you had a great time.

me said...

looks like you all had a great time!!!! :)

sunShine said...

Happy Belated Birthday! It sounds like you had a great vacation. WHen my baby gets older we really want to take the kids to DC. I have never been!