Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lukas goes to Washington

When we learned that one of my aged aunts was declining quickly, Tom suggested I attend the funeral in Pennsylvania and take Lukas with me!  Then my brother Julian, who lives outside DC, suggested we stay with him and drive up to the funeral together (I always forget how close everything is back east)...Virginia to Pennsylvania via Delaware, all in a few hours.  So it worked out that when Aunt Miriam did pass on, everything at home was calm enough that Lukas and I could go.  Aunt Chris came to watch the three younger kids one day, and our sitter Sarah watched the kids on parts of three days, so Tom only had to take parts of two days off from work.  It was wonderful how everything worked out to make this a successful trip.

Last Sunday, Lukas and I flew to DC.  Here we were, saying good-bye to the rest of the family.

This is what Lukas did most of the time on the airplane.  I had grand ideas about how much homeschooling we would get done on the plane, but I had forgotten how loud an airplane is.  And then on the trip back home, it was quite bumpy, so also not conducive to study.

First day, on the metro to DC with Julian.

We were actually at the MLK memorial on MLK were a lot of other people!  It's a beautiful memorial and fits well within the other memorials already in DC.

I love Washington, DC, and it was so relaxing and beautiful to walk long distances...Lukas wasn't so thrilled about walking long distances, so I was more careful that we didn't walk as far after that first day.

Shortly after I cajoled him to keep walking, I turned and pointed...what's that, Lukas?  His face lit up with a big smile.

We briefly visited the Smithsonian Castle and saw the final resting place of James Smithson.

And then moved on to the Air and Space Museum.  Here Lukas is touching some moon rock.

Posing with airplanes from other countries.

And saluting a uniform (his idea!)

A spectacular model of the planets, with an arc of the sun to the side (out of the picture) showing size relationship.  Lukas studied astronomy last year so this was fun for him to see.

Learning about the Wright Brothers.

And the moon landers.

Checking out the flaps on a Cessna.  That was a great first day, although he was less interested in Air and Space than I thought he would be.

The next day we traveled to Pennsylvania for the funeral.  Lukas captured a photo of these photos: the home my mom grew up in, and a picture of her family from the 60s (my mom on the far left).

Lukas was excited to see my cousin Rachel and Cal there from Iowa.  We last saw them on our trip across country in 2010.

As usual, we didn't take enough pictures of the family gathering after all the non-family had left.  Here's one that turned out of my cousins and aunt and uncle.

Then it was back to DC and more museums!  We started Wednesday at the Natural History Museum.

Lukas' favorite part of this museum was the gems and minerals...he is definitely Tom's son!  We saw the Hope Diamond, and many other huge examples of diamonds and minerals.  Here he is with a huge piece of quartz.

And the Tucson Meteorite.

A huge example of amethyst.

Then it was time to stop and run over to the Capitol building for our tour appointment.  Our tour guide snapped this photo of us in front of a model of the capitol.

We saw many statues and Lukas posed with many of he is touching the Helen Keller statue (the only one you're allowed to touch).

Lukas is posing with our tour guide, Ryan, on the star that marks the center of Washington, DC.

Lukas was born on George Washington's birthday, so he posed with George many times.  We also got to sit in the gallery of the House of Representatives while it was in session, and hear them debate about raising the debt ceiling.

 Then our tour was over and we went back to gems and minerals at the Natural History Museum.  Here's Lukas with the Arkansas Quartz.

Lukas was very impressed with their selection of gold nuggets.  It must have come from his study of California history and the gold rush last year.

Thursday I bought sightseeing bus tickets, so we could visit the memorials without having to walk so far.  Here's Lukas at the Thomas Jefferson memorial.

And the Lincoln Memorial.

And the Vietnam Memorial.  Lukas was excited to see this since he had seen the half-sized replica last summer.

Right next to the Vietnam Memorial was a field of Canada geese!

Friday, our last day of sightseeing, we went to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.  They didn't let us take pictures on the tour, but after the tour there's an area to take pictures (and spend money).  Here we see that Lukas' height is equal to about $1.3 million in $100 bills.  He asked me, "Is that how much I'm worth?"  No, you're priceless, Lukas!

After hopping on the tour bus again, we stopped at a fun restaurant near the White House and called home while we waited for our meal.  We actually called home several times a day, and Tom did research on things we should see at the places we were going to visit.

We visited the White House visitor's center (not enough lead time to visit the actual White House), and then we stopped in at the National Archives to see the actual documents of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights (no photos allowed) before stopping at the National Gallery of Art. We had been to the Spy Museum, where photographs were not allowed, and the Bureau of Engraving and National Archives, where photographs are now allowed, so I asked the security guard as we checked in, "Are we allowed to take pictures?"  He said, "NO, you are not!  You are allowed to take photographs, but you MAY NOT take any pictures!"  Lukas can't stop laughing.

Tom's mom was an artist and he has great memories of visiting art galleries with his I took pictures of Lukas seeing a lot of paintings I knew Tom would love to see.


On three occasions, we saw artists copying the masters at the Gallery.  They were good copies!

Lukas posing with George's family.

And George himself.

And one of Tom's favorite artists, Sargent.

Then it was time to head back to the Metro and ride home with Julian.

Julian's kids were visiting for the weekend so Lukas played Scrabble with his cousin Chris.

And we celebrated my birthday with cake and a big candle!

Brigit finally let me take a picture of her, posing with Lukas at the airport as we left.

And the trip wouldn't be complete without visiting the pilots, would it?

Tom snapped this picture of us coming out of the airport after we arrived home.  We were so happy to be home!

Whew!  It was a wonderful trip and we had a fabulous time.  I think Lukas grew a lot and learned a lot and I hope will remember a lot of what we saw.  I loved sharing my favorite city with him.  But we are so happy to be home.  I know Tom and the other kids missed us...a week is a long time in the life of a child.  Dominik preferred Tom when I tried to snuggle with him, Natalie kept saying, "you're back!" when I snuggled with her this morning.  And Konrad gives me nice big hugs spontaneously (more than usual).  Oh, yeah, Tom missed us too!

It's good to be home.

1 comment:

Kristin @ Petal and Thorn said...

such a special trip. he'll remember this forever! i was a very cranky and over-dramatic baby/toddler, but after my mom took just me with her on a trip across country, i supposedly calmed down a lot. everyone needs a little mommy time :)