Monday, July 15, 2013

A Capital Fourth

Mike's sister, Carla is living in Washington D.C. currently and she invited us to stay.  We were so excited for the opportunity to explore the capitol.  Even better, to be in Washington D.C. on Independence Day was a once in a lifetime experience!  We really wanted to take advantage of teaching our children about our nation's history and to think about all those brave men and women who sacrificed for the United States of America.

We began our day by dressing up in our red, white and blue best.  I couldn't resist!

The boys were so excited to ride the Metro.  Just look at those faces!

Then, we headed off to the National Museum of American History.  There were scores of people lining the streets to watch the parade, but we decided the kids would quickly lose interest in it, so we went to the museum first.  I am so glad we did, because it was relatively uncrowded at that time.  We went right in to see the original Star Spangled Banner.  It was surprisingly emotional to read about it's history and to see it in person.  I may have teared up a bit.  Luckily it was dark ;).  We walked through the exhibit "The Price of Freedom:  Americans at War", filled with artifacts and information about the wars our country has been involved in.  We had a sneak peek into the Presidents' and First Ladies' White House lives.  On a lighter note, we also saw all kinds of transportation, Julia Child's kitchen (my request), and a fascinating house, deconstructed to show how it changed over four generations of owners.  You really could spend days and days in just one Smithsonian museum!  As we were leaving, the parade must have ended not too long before and there were so many people, waiting in line just to get into the museum.  It was nice we beat the big rush of people.

We attempted to tour the war monuments on the Mall, but they were blocked off for the fireworks.  It was a very hot and humid day, and the kids were so tired of walking.  So we sat in the grass and looked up at the beautiful sky before trekking back to the Metro and Carla's house.

We watched the fireworks near the Iwo Jima Memorial, near Arlington Cemetery.  It was a beautiful night, and we had a great view of them with a much smaller crowd than was down on the Mall itself.  Even better, we had our own light show before the official one began, via some fireflies lingering under the tree we sat next to and a bevvy of glow sticks.  One more layer of fun for the main event, pre-show fireworks for our mouths, in the form of Pop Rocks.  The back story:  Mr. Two commented a few days before our trip, "I call Pop Rocks edible fireworks!"  I shared that on Facebook, and so Carla made sure we had lots of Pop Rocks for the 4th.  Mr. Two (and all his brothers) were delighted.  The fireworks were so awesome.  There were audible gasps when they started, and especially when some of them lit up "U S A" in the air.  We walked home with hoards of patriotic onlookers chanting, "USA!"  What an experience!


At Carla's house, we ate a late hot dog dinner (we had a late lunch earlier) and then lit some sparklers outside.  The kids really loved that, especially Mr. One and Mr. Three.  Mr. Two didn't want anything to do with them until he saw how much fun everyone else was having, including Mr. Four, then joined in.

After a big day of walking, learning, fire, red, white and blue, our four little boys didn't even argue about going to bed.  It was a not-to-be-forgotten day.

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