Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bovee/Brothers Trip 2013- Washington DC, Georgia, and Tennessee

If you joined us on our trip 2 years ago, you'll know that we have a really good time when we take a vacation together.  This one was no different.  We did do things a little different by not having one location and seeing sights near and around that location.  Instead, we traveled from one place to the next and saw lots of sights in different parts of the country and didn't have a set plan of anything.  It was fun, but a lot more work with so many in and outs of the van and loading and unloading of luggage.  Amazingly, we all fit in the van with all of our stuff despite adding 2 more children to the mix.  What an adventure!

We also wanted to make sure that we were finding ways to do random acts of kindness.  We had some ideas prepared ahead of time and other things we did just as we were lead into the situation.  I'll try to mention what we did when we did them, so you can get some ideas of ways to show kindness to others.  Some of the moments proved to be very good teaching tools to the children....and to the adults as well.

So, our trip started out with a rainy morning, but with Phil along, gray clouds don't keep us down.  We had a big breakfast, the men got the van loaded, we said our good byes to Aunt Mandy, we got the kitchen cleaned up, bathroom breaks, and all children loaded, then Phil gave the talk to start the trip.  Obviously it was geared to the children.  "We're not just going on a trip.  We're going on a trip and getting along.  We're not just going to the park.  We're going to the park and getting along.  We're not just watching a movie.  We're watching a movie and getting along.  We're not just going swimming.  We're going swimming and getting along."  Okay, you get the idea.  The children got the idea too by the end of the trip.  Doesn't mean that they always got along, but they did do a good job trying.  With a van this full of children, you can't expect everything to go perfectly and everyone to get along at all times.  It was nice when we traveled with sleeping children though.  : ) 

We love to take a first picture of everybody loaded and ready to go.
We were watching the discussion on the Midwifery bill that is trying to get passed.  We watched the debate online and watched the numbers of those voting for and against it.  It was exciting to watch and the children even joined in towards the end.  After we got the final votes of "Yes", we celebrated one more step closer to this bill taking affect/
On our way to Washington DC, we decided to swing by Gettysburg, PA to see some war memorabilia.  \By the time we got there most places were closed, so we drove around to see things from the road, then went and got ice cream cones.  Believe it or not, this was our only ice cream stop for the whole vacation.  We talked about more, but it just didn't happen.
While we had ice cream the men talked about the Civil War and the happenings that took place during that time.  We also talked about what states we drove through.  We were hoping to talk about states a lot this trip to make the children more aware of the states and where they are located. 
Yes, we enjoyed our ice cream!

We arrived late to our hotel outside of Washington DC.  We had big rooms that adjoined, so it was nice to have a kid room and an adult room in the evenings.  This hotel didn't have a pool.  The children were bummed, but it did have a complimentary laundry room, so we made sure to do our laundry while we were there.  After a good sleep we had breakfast at the hotel (which was delicious) and then headed out on our Washington DC journey.  Now people told both of us families that the traffic is horrible.  We had suggestions to take the Metro, but of course since the guys planned most of this trip, we didn't have any plans to do anything really.  So, we drove into the city.  The traffic was horrible!!!!!  By the time we finally found a parking place for our big van, it was lunch time.  We still fit plenty into our day.  Not as much as we would have liked to do, but we still saw some fun things.    
The cherry blossoms were in full bloom and beautiful!

Our first act of kindness happened when we pulled into a parking garage to see where we could park.  A man came out of his booth and talked us through where we should go.  He was so kind and really helped us a lot.  Casie had prepared some papers to tape to Almond Joy candy bars with a verse about "joy".  So, we gave that man one of the candy bars and the smile that came to his face was priceless. 

After he gave us directions where to park, another big van pulled in beside us to also find out where to go.  This van was filled with 2 ladies and lots of children.  It caused us to be so thankful that our men were with us.  Once we got to the parking lot that we could park in, we noticed the other van trying to get parked.  Jonathon jumped out and ran over to help the ladies out.  They don't make parking spots in big cities very suitable for big vans.

Our first stop was to be at the Holocaust Museum, but we were all so hungry, we knew we needed to get a bite to eat before we went in.  Beef hot dogs and pretzels filled us up and we were ready to go.  Did I mention that it was an absolutely gorgeous day?  It really was!  We truly enjoyed the warmth from the sun and the vitamin D we were all able to soak up.
There was much to see in the Holocaust Museum, but we only went through the areas that we thought would be good for the children to see.  We studied ahead of time about the events that took place, but still some of it would have been too much for them to take in.  We learned a lot, did a random act of kindness, and hopefully conveyed to the children how setting people apart and treating them so horribly is a wicked, wicked thing.   
Pretty areas to walk and things to read about.
Look at all those children!

The children with the Capital building in the background.
As we were heading to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, this lady stopped us.  She was trying to get money for the soup kitchen that she helped with.  So, we gave her a little money and she gave the children stickers that talked about smiling.  They wore them around the rest of the day.  It was nice to visit with her.  I'm not sure how many people actually stopped to talk with her, let alone give her money to help her cause.  Hopefully, we gave her a smile too by our kind act. 
Inside the Mammal section at the Natural History Museum. 
What amazing exhibits they have here!
These are the cutest exhibits we found though.  : )
Voted the best part of the museum by our children was the Gem and Mineral section.

That finished out our time in Washington DC.  Seeing just 2 of the museums filled our day enough.  We were ready to get off our feet and out of the heat.  Elli had her sticker on her back.  It said, "I love your smile!"  Hopefully, we left our smiles around the city in different ways.  And hopefully people looked at our big families and thought to themselves that there really is something beautiful about the family unit with many children tagging along behind...or in our case, in between each couple (don't want anybody out of sight).

We headed back to the hotel and had our first geography class.  The Social Commons was a great place for them to put their United States floor puzzle together.  They all worked together at it and it took them a very long time.  Probably didn't help that the toddlers were in the middle of it all.  : )

Puzzle together, now time to label their own United States maps. 
After they were all labeled, I had them call 2 family members.  They asked that person which states they have been to.  The children then put a dot on each state that that person has been in.  They used a different marker for each person and labeled on the back who went with each color.  They took turns calling family different nights and had a good time seeing which states grandparents had been to. 

Some laundry done, some school done, some relaxation for the adults, and some beddy by for everyone ended our Washington DC day.  We were wanting to go back to the city and spend half a day seeing other things like the monuments, but we knew that wouldn't happen with traffic so bad, so we decided to make the next day a lazy day and take our time at getting to our next destination, Littleton, NC.  At our hotel that night they served a complimentary evening social meal.  They had a baked potato and salad bar.  It was so yummy!  I think this was when Phil talked with another hotel guest and found out that there was an Air and Space museum that the hotel shuttle would take us to about 5 minutes from the hotel.  Or maybe he learned of this information the next morning at breakfast.  I don't remember.  So, after learning that information, we decided take advantage of the shuttle system and check out the FREE museum.  Did I mention the other museums in Washington DC were also FREE.  Okay, this is where I admit that I like love live for FREE stuff that my family can enjoy and not break the bank doing.  So, this idea of going to the Air and Space Museum was perfect.  Check out the blog post from Days 3 and 4 of our trip to see all about that.  

Days 1 and 2 of this journey- check.  Was a success.  We found adequate lodging for the first 2 nights, had plenty of food (some which was free at the hotel including a free supper), and our head count of children stayed complete.  That's always the best accomplishment of the day.  : )


Anonymous said...

We live for free too! Have you been to St. Louis? They have a ton of free things to do! Our favorite was the zoo but there are also several museums.

Kim lorent