The Shaw’s Do DC

So you should know that most big cities are impossible or just too expensive to actually stay inside of.  DC was no exception.  We did find a nice regional park just 40 mins north of the city though that was perfect for us!  Camping there was very similar to state park camping; very wooded, with trials, and bugs (thank goodness no ticks), and for the very first time ever, we did not have a water hook up.  We had to fill our fresh water tank up and try extra hard to monitor our water use.  It was an adventure in and of its self and I feel like getting us one step closer to boondocking (camping without hookups), which is also FREE!

View from our campsite.
View from our campsite.
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Playing at the playground

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Sweet Bean
Sweet Bean

So DC was great!  Better than I thought it would be!  But the very bestest, best part of being there, was that some of our best friends from Texas randomly were there that very same week……WITH THEIR KIDS!  We have just had the best luck on this trip with meeting up with friends and family!  I haven’t had a chance to be lonely even once!

So our first night there, Kim and Bryan came over to our campsite, and when friends come over, I make dinner!  Indian chicken.  The knats flying around our faces while we ate, just gave it that little something extra.

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As an added surprise, Kim brought gifts and letters from everyone in our neighborhood back home! We are a tight group, and this helped ease how much we miss everyone, and somehow made it worse too!

So Kim, being the no-nonsense girl she is, and me being the procrastinator I am, made a plan to go and see the city with the kids the next day while the boys worked.  The girls got to have Lily spend the night, which is a rare treat on this trip!  And the next morning I met her at the train, 20 mins late, with all the kidos.  Kim had a perfectly thought out, survival-like, light weight backpack stuffed with everything from personal water bottles, to dehydrated rations, and boogie wipes.  I on the other hand arrived with my usual diaper bag crammed full of empty bags of goldfish, two crumb-filled diapers, kids jackets (that they would not be wearing on this 90 degree day), and bandaids (I always have bandaids!  Added bonus: it’s the single item Kim never has, so it makes us equals.).  Alright, ready to go!

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This was our first time on a subway as a family, so I hadn’t yet learned to strap Jonah to me while ridding and he ran and fell all over the place; bandaids! I had just thought subway=fast. No. About a 45 min ride into the city.
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We took pictures in front of the white house.
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And went inside the newly renovated white house visitor center, where we got our Jr Ranger books, learned about the white house, and watched a movie on it as well.
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The city is filled with old buildings like this one!
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Jr Rangers!
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We walked all over that city, with Kim navigating our way with subway and city maps. That goodness for Kim! And then we rode the carousal.
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And the kids played in the park while we had a beer.

It was a fabulous day and the kids were all troopers, walking everywhere with very little whining, and only needing a few more band-aids before the day was done.

It was on Joe’s must do list to see Gettysburg while we were in the area as well.  So we all loaded up one day after work, and crossed the state line into PA.  We took the auto tour of the battlefield and enjoyed making stops along the way.

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The eternal flame

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Looking out onto the battlefield.
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Bryan with his huge cannon.
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These kids are guarding a monument that looks like a castle. Some of them were massive! This one you could go upstairs to the “tower”.
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Here is the Pennsylvania Monument. It was the most impressive one was saw while there!
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Very sobering to see how many young lives were lost in this battle.

We also found time to all fall in love with the little town of Fredrick, MD while we were there.  It was an ADORABLE town with steeples, and underground music stores, tons of coffee shops, cool bridges, and ice cream stores.  It was just the right size and had so much to do!  So we spent a couple of days there.  I could have spent the rest of my life there, I liked it so much!

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When you find a good place to eat while on the road, you go there twice! And we did!
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And then we got ice cream, twice!
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Another day we went to the visitor center and watched a movie on the town and then went and saw one of the painted bridges. Cool!

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And with that, it was time to say goodbye to our friends.  We had such a good time with them!  And I always just feel good knowing there are people we know near by.  But all good things must come to an end.  We love you Osborne’s!

We had a few days left in the area, so one of those days I took the kids to an indoor aqua center.  It was pretty awesome!

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I was going to take the kids to a river to swim, but Bean requested “pool water”.

IMG_7559Out last day there, we took Daddy into DC since he had not yet been.  Knowing how much walking we would have to do, and knowing that not having their friends with them as a distraction would mean our kids would whine like banshee’s all day, we decided to do a bus tour of the city instead of walk it.  It was a good call!

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The Lincoln Memorial did not disappoint! It was amazing to see and at the top of our list.
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The capital, under renovations for the next two years.
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It was so cool to stand here and look out at this historical view!
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This is our “The Shaw’s Do DC” pic.

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As much as big cities usually intimidate us, this was a good trip!  The monuments and historical sites, gave purpose to navigating the city.  And as you know, if there’s a gold colored, plastic Jr Ranger badge in it, WE ARE DOING IT!  We all learned a lot while we were there.

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