Sunday, April 24, 2011

We did it!

It seems like forever ago when Zeus first mentioned a family expedition to Washington D.C. I listened and then forgot. He brought it up again, this time to the kids. Of course, Eris jumped right on it. The rest were lukewarm (or downright cold) to the idea. Zeus continued to discuss and plan.

The timing soon became critical and this spring seemed to be the logical time to do it. Bubba is a senior in high school and at the time it looked like he would be leaving home shortly after graduation. Littlest Ms. is 5 1/2 and old enough to participate and remember the sights and events that we would see.

Preparations would take months. Books about Washington D.C. were handed out, suggestions for an itinerary were taken, maps were studied, Internet searches were conducted. Monthly meetings were held. Assignments were made for researching airline tickets, ground transportation, ticketing, availability of sights, hotels, etc. Christmas gifts were luggage and spending cash.

In the last two months the trip really started to come together. Spreadsheets magically appeared, sometimes color-coded. There was an abbreviated course on U.S. History 101 taught by Eris. Reservation confirmations finally arrived and dog-sitters were all in place. Binders were made with all necessary information tabbed and organized. Little and Littlest Ms. received ID tags. Our trip mascot was named and prepared for the journey.

We met at the airport on April 2nd and began this once-in-a-lifetime journey. For eleven incredible days my family shared the sights and sounds of our country's capitol and other historic sites. Starting with five spring days in Washington D.C. began with Arlington Cemetery. We toured five Smithsonian's, the Capitol, Library of Congress, The National Archives, the White House and countless National Monuments. We walked the Tidal Basin where the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. After leaving D.C. we headed east to Pennsylvania where we spent a very rainy afternoon doing the auto-tour of Gettysburg, a very sobering and beautiful place.

The next day found us in Philadelphia to see Independence Hall and the rooms where the documents that formally established this country were signed. Our final day was back in Baltimore where we finished up our fabulous vacation with an afternoon of our national pastime, a major league baseball game with the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers.

While in D.C. the family was out sightseeing each day for 10-13 hours. According to pedometers and GPS we walked an average of 10-15 miles daily, plus hours taking in the various museums. We used many different modes of transportation: airplane, metro, bus, taxi, shuttle, light rail and rental cars. Even the little ones were experts at navigating the metro by the time it was over.

Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that this adventure would go so perfectly! As we arrived in Salt Lake City and collected the piles of baggage there was a profound sense of sadness for me. After being a family of eleven moving in unison for over a week we would now head for home in separate cars, a situation that I found totally unsettling. There were long hugs goodbye and even tears shed.

One week later we are all recuperated. Feet and legs are not achy anymore. Returns have been made to school and work. Dogs have been properly pampered and reassured. Suitcases are stowed and ready for the next adventure. There were seven cameras in action with over 1,200 shots.

Photos have been edited and printed. My scrapbook is nearly complete. If you are interested please click over to the Numismatically Shooting blog where you will find my favorite images from our trip. There are eight separate posts.

And one more thing: I now know for certain that I have the best family in the entire world! Thanks to all of you for making this dream come true!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What happened to March?

A quick catchup before the big post:

I'm exhausted just thinking about all the happenings around here in the last few months. It is April 14th and my brain is screaming that it must be at least June!

Three weeks ago we made another trip to Arizona, our second one this year. The purpose of the last trip was to get my brother-and-sister-in-law's home ready to sell so they can relocate here. The little town of Ajo is quaint and quiet, but it is also a two hour drive to get medical care other than the GP variety. With advancing age and some pretty serious health problems the timing seemed to be right. I spent a week prepping the house to be put on the market. Thanks to the wonderful ladies of SIL's church it was ready to have a "FOR SALE" sign placed in the yard. I will freely admit that I was running on empty by the time we boarded the plane and headed for home on the seventh day.
(Yes, that is a cat on my blog. Sam lives in AZ and is the only cat in the entire world that I would allow here. She is a cranky 14-year-old cat whose sedentary life was turned to chaos when I stepped in the door and started dismantling her home. I also slept on her bed and wouldn't let her in, even at 4 am as she cried at the door. By the end of the week we had made peace and actually shared some nice kitty moments.)

My poor suitcases didn't even get put back in the closet. Our long-awaited trip to Washington DC with Athena and Eris and the gang was only five days away! Mike and the girls had been working on this educational experience for months. Reservations for hotels, tours, cars and shuttles were set. We had been holding regular planning meetings for months and Eris had prepared us with a 90 minute history of the United States. It seemed like a dream when all eleven of us boarded that airplane and headed east for what turned out to be the best trip EVER! We returned home three days ago and each one of us is still working through the exhilaration and exhaustion.

My goal is to have another post and photos up in the next few days.

Quilt report: finished one! That's right! Bound and ready for auction at a church dinner this coming Saturday! It felt so good that I might just do another one.

Dimple report: Have been off medication for four weeks. The unpleasant side effects are now gone, which means that I am sleeping at night. Surgery is scheduled for the first week of May, a procedure that hopefully will be simple and easy. It's done as an outpatient but requires an entire day at the hospital. I'll just be glad when it's over because that means summer is here and it's time to play, slathered in sunscreen of course!

New wheels: I now have a new-t0-me mountain bike! Trail riding is much harder than on pavement, also muddier! Doubtful that I'll ever be a true mountain biker but so far I have really enjoyed coming home with mud up my back!

Coinage was counted before our DC trip. Unfortunately, the total for the last eight months was a paltry $84. Bicycling has really taken a toll on the numismatizing.


(Apologies for the random spacing. I'm out of practice at blogging!)