This week is our first - and apparently last - experience with public school February vacation. We decided to use some of the days for a long-weekend trip to DC. We love DC. It is hard to believe it is only AK's second visit - although it was LP's fourth.
And, boy has life changed since our last visit. First, instead of eating, napping and playing with the AquaDoodle on the drive, the girls insisted on playing games on my "new white phone". There was no napping. There was lots of snacking. There was limited fighting - at least once the girls figured out a schedule for playing the lame matching game on my Blackberry and Angry Birds on the new phone.
Our first stop on our way down was with the Rak family: Mrs. Rak was a post-college roommate of mine, Mr. Rak was the Hoos' college roommate, and Little Man Rak is their one-year old. He did not exist when we last visited DC. We had a great time and I am sure the Raks found the silence deafening when we left. Either that or the noise and energy of LP and AK just wore their eardrums out.
We checked into our hotel relatively late and let the girls take a pass on bath time. They snuggled into their bed together (LP told the Hoos that she would hold AK so she didn't fall off the bed) and eventually fell asleep. The Hoos and I used the Lumia to get the address of the restaurant we were meeting another friend at for brunch the following day. He then stole it from me to play Angry Birds.
Since our hotel, the Embassy Suites, includes hot breakfast we had a
"snack" before brunch. We also took quick drive into the city to check
out the monuments. It was cold, but the girls were troopers. AK kept holding my hand and yelling, "Let's run, Mommy!!!" forcing me to get perhaps the most exercise I have had in months.
We then went to Carlysle Grand in Shirlington for brunch. It was really surprising how much Shirlington had changed. 15 years ago, Shirlington was an outpost with an arty movie theater. In fact we saw the subtitled "Life Is Beautiful" there with the Raks, before they were the Raks and before we were the Bows, in 1998 or so.
As I ate brunch with one of my friends from high school and her gorgeous family, we figured out that we had known each other about 25 years! And yet there we were, watching our daughters play really nicely together. Hard to believe so much time has passed!
After brunch we had promised the girls a trip to "the dinosaur museum" (aka the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History). Unfortunately we couldn't find parking and gave up and returned to the hotel. The girls didn't mind too much, since we spent an hour in the pool to pass the time.
When we came out of the metro we were 100% confused. To say things have changed on and around the GW campus since we graduated would be an understatement. Although one thing that didn't change was the Bertucci's in 2000 Penn. We ate dinner there and it tasted just like I remembered (do not consider that an endorsement). The Hoos remarked, "When we used to eat here in college on special occasions, I remember thinking, 'Who are there people that are eating here that aren't students? And why?' Now we know the answer."
After dinner we stopped at the new Whole Foods (seriously?! A Whole Foods?! On CAMPUS?!?) and I ran into someone I worked with at my first job after college. The world is shrinking!
The next morning we finally made it into the dinosaur museum. And the Botanical Gardens. Surprisingly, I think everyone enjoyed the Gardens more than the museum.
From there we headed to another friend's house out in Virgina. We got to meet their perfect new son and the girls got to expend even more energy with their 4 year old.
Despite all of the fun we had so far, the next part of the trip was the highlight for the girls - swimming in the hotel pool at night. Go figure!
The next day we packed up the car and prepared to hit the road, only to discover a huge puddle of oil under our car. Since the Hoos had an oil change the morning we left for our trip, we were a bit concerned. I was able to whip out my fancy new Nokia Lumia and quickly look up a service station to bring the car to for a look-see. We also used the phone to look up the number for the place we got the original oil change to let them know we would be bringing in the car and a bill when we returned home. (Yes, Nokia sent me a free Lumia to test out, so yes, I am talking about it a lot, but I swear, I am actually using it. I am amazed at how much, honestly!)
While the Hoos hung out with the car, I walked with the girls up to the Courthouse are of Arlington. Originally we were going to play at a local school playground. But apparently, it was recess. I guess February break is kind of a northeast thing. So, instead we went to Cosi and made our own smores - at 11:30 in the morning.
Eventually we headed home. And had a quick and easy trip. The back of the car was filled with paper for many, many projects. The highlight of which was a cardboard computer the girls used to video talk with their "old friends." They would type in the name of who they wanted to talk to, "Mom? How do you spell Mary Kate? How about Timmy? Can you spell Phoebe?" and then "chat" for a few minutes.
Now we are back home. Or at least the Hoos and I are. My parents picked up the girls this morning for the second half of the break. So now mommy gets a vacation from vacation. SWEET!