Friday, June 3, 2016

Washington, D.C.

The following day we all packed our lunches then packed up in our mini vans to adventure and explore Washington, D.C.

So 4 adults, 1 teenager, and 8 kids- ranging from 10 years old - 6 months old. It was a handful but so much fun!
Here's Angela and Jerome and their clan of cute kids.

I love Teagan's facial expressions from his hair being pulled by Jaycob then biting his finger. So I decided to post both photos. It's my journey and I want to to remember both.

Seeing the Lincoln Memorial was amazing. From only seeing it in movies to actually seeing it up close. It made this trip even more amazing! 

Walking the sidewalks to D.C. we took up the whole area. It was a sight to see. Almost like we were taking these kids on a school field trip. 

Korean War Memorial. From looking at these statues they might not seem like much. But having a brother in law who is military he was telling me each statues rank, his job, his duty, what he was doing; all from just looking at them. It was amazing to listen to him!

Washington Monument. 

Our girls really like collecting Jr. Ranger badges. So I looked up online and found that the National Mall (where all the Memorials are located) has a Jr. Ranger badge. But the booklet is like 16 pages. So I printed the booklet off ahead of time and we did some of the easy pages on the plane. Like the word search and drawing pages. But most of these pages require you to actually see the Memorial and find the answer on either a plaque, sign, or something like that. So here we are at the
Vietnam Memorial finding a name to copy.

World War Two Memorial

Again our kids are finding the answers to the questions from their booklets. Even though it was hot, humid, and raining they were determined to earn their badge.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. One of my favorite things about D. C. was the quotes that were everywhere. Here's some of our favorites from MLK Jr Memorial.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial was one of my favorites. He has such a way of using his words that his wisdom was so blunt.

Mike and Mason having a little photo op fun.

After hours of hard work our girls were finally sworn in as Jr. Rangers.

Here they are showing off their badges. Ducati's facial expression cracks me up.

The "I HATE WAR" rocks. So powerful!!

I love this quote so much that I will be hanging it up in my home very, very soon.

 Hailey, Lily, and I walking along the Potomac on our way to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. We were surely dedicated to experience everything we could since we're still out walking when it's starting to rain on us. But then again water never hurt.

Like I said before we left we learned a lot about some of our country's history including those we are related too. So I had to take a photo of Mike in front of his ancestor. 

Hailey is rocking her poncho. Seriously we were prepared. We seen that there was a chance of rain while we were packing back at home so I picked up some ponchos and packed them along. So we carried these babies everywhere we went. Rain was not going to stop us.

Arlington National Cemetery. This was on Mike's bucket list. And with the weird freeway exits and our GPS not keeping up with our movements we were weary if we were going to find this place. But it's a once and a lifetime chance since we might not ever be back that way so we went for it and found it. We're so thankful we did.

Walking around and seeing all these headstones.... all the men, women, wives, children, who died protecting our country's freedoms... it was humbling.

We had the opportunity to witness the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

To see this man walking back and forth, standing guard over this tomb, in the pouring rain.... I was crying. There's so much negativity about how this country is being ran that it can easily shift the focus off of all the good this country has done. How free us American's really are. How so many people have fought to protect this sacred ground that so many take for granted. Mike and I both agrees this moment, right here, filled our hearts with true Patriotism and love for our country.

After a long day walking around, soaking up our country's rich history our day was not done yet. We drove for 2 hours so I could meet my aunt and 2 cousins who I never met before. My mom and her side of the family aren't the type to reach out. They will talk among themselves but there's not really communication beyond their phone call. So for so long I felt isolated. But thanks to Facebook I was able to find and start a relationship with cousins I had never met. So this was a very important moment for me. Meeting my cousins and aunt for the first time. I loved every minute of it.
My Hailey played with my cousin's Hailey.

Here I am smiling like a goofball because I just talked my aunt's ear off asking her so many questions about things I never knew. I never knew how she and my uncle met. They were both in the Army and stationed in Germany. They were together for 22 + years. My uncle moved to Maryland from Chicago when my aunt was called to duty during Desert Storm. Her family helped my uncle since he was taking care of Chris (my cousin who was not able to come) and twin baby girls. I learned about my uncles death. I learned about my uncles twisted sense of humor. He performed autopsy's and would bring his girls to work with him and close the door to the freeze with them inside. I learned about my cousins and their families. How they met their spouses. The work they do. Some stories about their childhood. It was just amazing!

This was so special to me. I wish I could visit them more. I'm thankful I had this moment so I won't get greedy. After dinner with them we hugged and took the drive back to the base.
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