Monday, June 25, 2012

A Vacation With My Girl - Part 2

This picture was taken seconds before I fell backward into a mud puddle. This was our first stop on the day we arrived. I walked around Washington with my sweater tied around my waist for 7 hours to cover my muddy bottom. It was a priceless day.
So, what did the previous post have to do with vacationing with my girl? Well, Caiti called me one evening in April to tell me she was going to Washington, D.C. for a 4 day conference. So I told her, as any photography loving mama would, "Bring your camera and take lots of pictures. It'll be amazing!" Her response was, "I was thinking I'd bring you and YOU could bring your camera!"
Lord help us, I'm actually showing my mug. This is us in front of the White House (my sweater is wrapped around me). It was hotter than Hades the 4 days we were there. In every picture with me, my face is beet red. 
You need to understand, my husband and I have never been away on vacation - ever. We got married just after he and I turned 21 and 20 respectively. We had our first child when I was 22, and I stayed home to raise our brood of four after the birth of our second, 18 months after the first. Money, especially for vacations, isn't something that we've ever had. I'm going to be 50 in July. Our children have never gone without, and we've managed to scrape together the money for them to have the opportunity to go on trips; they certainly didn't do without the necessities, but the wants weren't always available. We've put them through school and have helped financially as much as we can and have helped with a business s much as we can - vacations away as a family weren't an option. We were stay-cationing before it was popular.
I can't explain the overwhelming sense of awe and pride in my country that I felt when I looked down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capital Building.
So, when Caiti suggested that she buy my plane ticket and take me to Washington my first response was no. I didn't want her to spend her money on me. Gabrielle asked me if I was nuts. We've provided for them and if Caiti wanted to and could afford to take me on vacation I should let her. Well, I relented and I'm so glad I did. All of the kids chipped in for Mother's Day and bought me a Visa gift card to take on my vacation (thank you, I love you all!). It was wonderful to spend so much time with Caiti and hear about her new life and how happy she is.
Rolling Thunder was in town, we were there over Memorial Day weekend. We weren't there for the parade on Memorial Day, I'll bet it was amazing.
Thus began what I call - planes, trains and automobiles. Cait's ticket had been purchased by the hospital she works at in advance. She scrambled for a ticket for me. The price, in my opinion, to fly into Reagan International as she was, was outrageous and I wouldn't hear of it. So, we found a ticket for a flight that was reasonable but landed in Baltimore. The Husband was not impressed. I don't know if he thinks I'm inept or just loves me so much he doesn't want anything to happen to me (that last comment is dripping with sarcasm) - I think it's more of the first. Our flights left Portland at approximately the same time and arrived in our destined cities at the same approximate time. However, I had to figure out how to get from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. For a week Tim asked me several times a day if I had figured out how to get from point A to point B. I told him to leave me alone and I'd figure it out. Finally, I sat down one evening and mapped it out. I'd arrive in Baltimore, take the shuttle to the Amtrak station, the Amtrak into Washington and then the Metrorail to Dupont Circle. Success! I made it, the only complicated part was figuring out the Metrorail the first couple of times!
A statue of FDR at the FDR Memorial
A couple of weeks in Washington might be enough to see all there is to see. I definitely want to go back and see everything we missed. While there, we walked from the White House to the Capital Building down Pennsylvania Avenue and saw the exterior of the important buildings we wanted to see. We didn't make it to any of the museums, but we did see all of the monuments we wanted to see. Just amazing. My absolute favorite was the FDR Memorial. It was so interactive. I'd love to go back and spend an hour or two just at that memorial. Arlington National Cemetary is so amazing - the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns brought tears to my eyes. Seeing President Kennedy's resting place, and those of Teddy and Robert was also humbling - growing up I thought IrishCatholicDemocrat was all one word, at least it is in my family.
President Kennedy's resting place
The Changing of the Guard
Freedom is not free. Arlington National Cemetary may be a tourist attraction, but men and women who serve and have served are still buried there daily.
On Sunday of our trip we took the train out to Maryland and spent the afternoon with my cousin and her family! It was so great to see them, we haven't seen one-another for years. My cousin Sharleen's daughter Abbey has just graduated from high school; we hadn't seen her for nine years. Sharl and Abbey took us to a winery for a tasting. We had so much fun!
Abbey and Caiti
This was an absolutely amazing trip for me to see our nation's capital, visit with family and most importantly - to spend time with my daughter!


  1. Summer heat starts early in Washington, DC, that's for sure! I have lived 20 miles from Washington DC most of my adult life and never downtown! I applaud you for taking the train from BWI - very impressed, indeed! Sounds like you had a wonderful time - and you have a wonderful family, to boot!

  2. You were only about an hour-ish from me! And Rick and I have been married 11 years and have never done a family vacation. The only thing we've done is a weekend overnight here and there. This year we're finally taking one!

  3. I took the train into Union Station from New York many years ago. I loved the mall and the restaurant in the train station, very cool. I attended the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on a very rare day, when one of the soldiers actually failed inspection. It was really interesting to get a glimpse of something few people see.


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