Sunday, January 22, 2012

East Coast vs. West Coast

I spent this whole week in D.C. while Brayden enjoyed time with Nana and Daddy.

I flew to Washington D.C. on Saturday, Jan. 14 for a work trip that I extended by a few days to see the sights and visit a close friend. While I was away, Brayden lived the life of a mommy-free baby bachelor with his Nana (my mom, Krys) and Dad.

So what is mommy-free life like for little B? Well, it starts off with hot cocoa in the morning (instead of regular milk) with Nana and finishes with a relaxing baby massage at night with lots of love and giggles between. Not bad, huh?

My mom stayed at my house from Saturday until Wednesday morning to watch Brayden and get him off to daycare during the week. My dad joined her over the weekend to help with the toddler cleaning and chasing.

01 14 12 - Your week with Nana (1)01 14 12 - Your week with Nana (5)

Then Brayden stayed with his dad for two nights until my mom got him again on Friday afternoon until I got home Saturday during the day. Brayden had a great time and learned so much while I was gone. He now says “Please” and “Thank You” and my mom even got him to say “Love You”.

My week on the East Coast was split between work and fun. I arrived on Saturday and got to my hotel just in time to watch the football games. Sunday through Tuesday was all work, work, work.

On Wednesday morning, a wonderful, long-time friend of mine, Krissy, picked me up and we started off on a high-impact 72-hour tour of all things D.C. I dare you not to get tired just reading about what we did.

First off was a trip to Arlington National Cemetery. For those of you who haven’t been, it is quite the experience. Acres and acres of gravesites and monuments honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to our nation. I was humbled to be there.

01 18 12 - Arlington National Cemetary (4)We walked all the way up to the top of the cemetery and watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This was moving and somber to watch, and the pictures don’t do it justice.

01 18 12 - Arlington National Cemetary (5)01 18 12 - Arlington National Cemetary (7)

After the ceremony was over, Krissy and I trekked up and over to Robert E. Lee’s house, took the tour there and enjoyed the beautiful vista.

01 18 12 - Arlington National Cemetary (9)

Then we completed the Arlington loop seeing many other sites including the Kennedy memorial with its eternal flame.

After Arlington, we took the short drive over to Iwo Jima which is incredible to see in person.

01 18 12 - Iwo Jima (1)

Following lunch, Krissy headed to work and I went to the Holocaust Museum. There are no pictures from that because it is a memorial and I’m not sure you would want to see them anyway. If you ever find yourself in D.C., you have to visit the Holocaust Museum. Words cannot begin to describe it. I left emotionally bereft but better for the experience. How my Babcie and Dziadzia (Polish for grandmother and grandfather) lived through this atrocity and managed to build productive lives afterward is a miracle.

After changing at Krissy’s work and meeting up with her husband, Ronnie, for a quick dinner, we took off for our private, after hours tour of the White House and West Wing. A friend of Krissy’s works for the White House and took us around. It was incredibly awesome to actually SEE the Situation Room, Oval Office, Rose Garden and other places. You can feel the history there. It was beyond awesome. This is a picture of me right outside the door to West Wing (since you can’t take pictures inside.)

01 18 12 - White House West Wing (1)

What a fabulous day. Because, if you’re keeping track, this was all just one day!

On Thursday morning, Krissy and I did the Smithsonian Museum of American History where we saw, among hundreds of other things, the original Kermit the Frog, Farrah Fawcett’s bathing suit from her famous poster and Michelle Obama’s inauguration night dress.

That afternoon, I visited the U.S. Capitol for a tour compliments of Senator Reid’s office. Here are pictures of the front and back.

01 19 12 - U.S. Capitol (1)01 19 12 - U.S. Capitol (5)

The staffers were really nice and showed me all the cool stuff most people know about like the star in the center of the Capitol Crypt that is considered lucky to walk across…

01 19 12 - U.S. Capitol - Crypt Star

and the neat stuff people usually don’t know like how the Capitol used cats to keep the rodents under control but accidentally let them walk in the wet concrete floor 200 years ago. They say some of these cats still wander the halls at night. Seriously. If you look closely, you can see the paw prints. In the first picture, it’s just left of center.

01 19 12 - U.S. Capitol - Kitty Paw Prints (1)

In this picture, you can see one near the bottom on the left.

01 19 12 - U.S. Capitol - Kitty Paw Prints (2)

I love the idea of Avery’s own fore(feline)fathers helping to do their part to build our country.

That night, Krissy took me to dinner at place famous for making its own bacon. We literally got bacon on a stick for dinner. Disgustingly yummy.

OK, so if all this wasn’t enough, the pièce de résistance was Friday. We woke up early and embarked on the 4+ mile trek around the ENTIRE National Mall to see all the monuments in 30-degree weather.

From Lincoln,

01 20 12 - National Mall (1)

to Martin Luther King,

01 20 12 - National Mall (2)

to Jefferson,

01 20 12 - National Mall (4)

to the Washington Monument

01 20 12 - National Mall (5)

and everything in between (Vietnam, FDR, WWII, Korean War – you name it) we saw it. I was block of frozen, but cultured, Beth afterward. Thankfully some hot wonton soup on Chinatown helped thaw me afterward.

By this point, Krissy and I were both dead. Ronnie drove us around Georgetown to see the embassies and the National Cathedral and I actually feel asleep in the car partway through. Krissy tried to take a blackmail photo but I woke up just in time.

So this, my friends, is how you do D.C. in three days. It was tiring but so much fun.

I flew back to Reno early on Saturday morning and right into the arms of my sweet baby man. It was a great week for both Brayden and me, but I’m happy to be home and back to our normal routine.

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