So, in all honesty, I feel a bit silly posting about our snowy, freezing, winter trip now that it's June and a whopping 85 degrees already at ten in the morning. However, I promised myself that I would get all of these pictures up, and with this final post, I will have done that! Then, we can move on to more appropriate swimming, sunshine-y pictures.
The last leg of our amazing, wonderful, exhausting trip found us traveling back to Maryland to visit with our extended family and head into Washington, DC for a day.
I love, love, love Washington, DC! I grew up in that area, and have many fond memories of school field trips to the Smithsonian, Mount Vernon, Arlington National Cemetery, and all of the other amazing historical sites that are free for the exploring. I try to take the kiddos there whenever we can (read, about once every three years or so!)
Of course, the ONE day we had to go into the city on our trip, the day started with this view from the car...
Ugh. And not just snow--wet, freezing, slushy snow. That turned to rain as we waited in the line for the Holocaust Museum. The long line. And freezing, wet, cold snow.
Made for one whiny Mommy.
I'm not proud of the moment. But let's get real here, people. It had been eight days of single Momma duty. Hours upon hours of driving. Late night after late night.
And I really, really hate being cold.
So I was whiny. And grumpy. And it wasn't pretty. But we finally made it through the line, into the warm and dry museum, and boy, was it worth it!
I had debated this part of the trip. All of the kiddos had been expressing interest in World War Two and the Holocaust, but I was leery about bringing them into this museum at their ages (well, mostly with Bug, who's 8), and with their sensitivities.
We did it, though, and I'm so glad we did. It was a truly eye-opening, heart-opening experience. We learned so very much and talked so very much about the cruelty that so many had to live through. I don't have many more words to describe the experience, but I encourage you all to try to visit yourselves. (There was one exhibit that we skipped because it was so graphic, and thanks to our sweet friends that we caught up with in the city, we knew it was coming ahead of time.)
That museum trip has led to further study on that time period of history. As a matter of fact, we've just finished our last read-aloud about a little boy who is hidden away during the war--two and a half months later, the interest sparked from that visit is still going strong.
I mentioned above about our sweet friends. It just so happened that one of my very best friends, who lives very far away from where we do, was going to be in DC the VERY SAME FRIDAY we were with her daughter's school field trip. We were thrilled!!! We managed to meet up with them at the Holocaust Museum and got to hang out through there, the American History Museum, and the Air and Space Museum. Above is my oldest and her youngest, who haven't seen each other in about 2 1/2 years and picked right back up, as did her Momma and I. It was a great, great time!
(And, I'm not going to lie, the unbelievingly long, probably unbelievingly loud bus trip back to Tennessee with middle schoolers that they were getting ready to face kind of made our leisurely car ride back home look a little bit better to me!)
When we got back to Maryland, the kids (finally) got to make good use of the snowfall that had made their Momma so grouchy earlier in the day...
It was perfect packing snow, and they were thrilled!
It was also perfect for snowballs!
Our last full day of our trip included a relaxing visit with my four uncles and their families--numerous cousins and lots of introductions for my kiddos who don't get to see their extended family enough. It was very special for me, as they are my father's brothers, and my father's Alzheimer's is getting pretty advanced. Visiting with his brothers was like getting to have a little piece of him back.
On Sunday, it was time to go back home. Ten days, stops in five states, visits with unlimited amounts of family and friends, field trip upon field trip upon field trip, surprisingly few tantrums, and 2500 miles on the car.
We were so very very happy to be home! But what an amazing trip we had!