Traveling with kids to DC

Mid-August we took a family trip to Washington, D.C..  It is one of the most beautiful cities!  Our kids were, I think, perfect ages for seeing many historic sites, monuments, and museums.  (Oh, and we can’t forget Georgetown Cupcake as my little one is a fan of the show “DC Cupcakes”!)

Some photos from our trip:

 

Pool Time!

Pool Time!

Arlington

Arlington

The White House

The White House

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

There is so much to see in DC that realistically, you cannot do it all in one vacation.  I wanted to see as much as possible but also pace ourselves so we’d still have some down time.  Weeks before the trip I gave the kids the DC tourist guidebook (get a free one here:  https://washington.org/visitor-request-form) and let them each pick five things that they really wanted to see.  I put priority on seeing those things and planned out our days to be most efficient getting around the city – and we were able to see everything on the lists!  Now don’t get me wrong, we were still exhausted from lots and lots of walking – but we were back to the hotel before dinner most nights so we could just hang out and relax!

Although we were turned down for a White House tour (BOO!), we still saw lots of great stuff.  Our favorites were going up into the Washington Monument (yes, it’s worth it!), the Lincoln Memorial, The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and my personal favorite, Ford’s Theatre.  So much in DC has free admission – which is good, because lodging and eating out are not cheap!

For us, one of the perks in going to a large city for vacation is the amazing variety of gluten-free restaurant choices.  Traveling with celiac disease can be challenging because you really have to research restaurants ahead of time.  We found some fabulous restaurants with gluten-free menus and so all was good.  I primarily used the following websites to research:  www.findmeglutenfree.com, http://www.tripadvisor.com, and good old google. The best ones we found that had gluten free menus and great food – b DC Penn Quarter and Pi Pizzeria.

I highly recommend finding an affordable hotel downtown as it will cut down on travel time and allow you to do the most sightseeing possible.  (Just a warning that most downtown hotels charge ALOT daily for parking.)  We stayed at Hyatt Place – National Mall and loved it.  I also recommend getting SmarTrip cards from the metro (either when you first get there, or save yourself hassle and order them online ahead of time and have them shipped to you).  These cards give you lower metro fares and can also be used for the DC Circulator bus routes at a rate of $1 per person for 2 hours of hop-on / hop-off rides.  The savings is worth it!

All in all, we loved DC!

Sweet, sweet summer

Well, summer is in full swing here! I love the laid-back schedule and feeling that we can do anything we want, whenever we want! (Full disclosure-very soon the lack of routine will leave me crying. But for now it’s all good!)

Memorial Day weekend we decided to give away our kids’ fort to our neighbor. I didn’t realize how sad they would be – or how sad I would be about it! Just another reminder that they are growing up too fast! But it was a good way to start out the summer because I now find myself more likely to be enjoying the present- to be in the moment- with the kids. More likely to say, “sure!”, with actual anticipation when they suggest an activity.

Here’s a picture I took of them years ago in the fort. It’s one of my all-time favorite pictures of them!

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And here’s a picture I took of them the day we gave it away.  Oh, my goodness!!

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There are all too many reminders these days that our time is limited with all three kids at home. I want to thrive this summer- not just survive!

Here are a few things I’m trying this summer to keep myself sane and able to fully enjoy the kids:

Get them to help more with cleaning.

Don’t neglect my first-thing in the morning time of prayer.

Get in the pool with the kids, often.

Say yes to time with friends without feeling guilty.

Do something creative every few days (write, practice hand-lettering, scrapbook, work on redecorating our living room).

Do one extra organizing or cleaning task every day. I’m pretty good at doing maintenance chores around the house like cooking, dishes, laundry- but then I tend to let everything else go. I’m challenging myself to do one extra thing each day so I feel like I’m making progress! So far so good, but we’ll see how long it lasts!!

How’s your summer going so far?  How do you thrive during the summer?

trying something new

So July kind of stunk (mostly) because of an unexpected hospital stay early in the month. I had what was to be a simple outpatient surgery late in June (don’t ask, it’s a long story) and about 24 hours later was in the ER with sepsis.  No fun.  It took me nearly all of July to recover.  On the bright side, since I spent so much time on the couch, it gave me plenty of time to practice a new hobby- hand lettering.

I’m hoping to use this to make some decorative signs and gifts.  This is definitely something that needs to be practiced.   I’ve noticed the more I do it, the better it gets.  And bonus- I think it could help with scripture memorization, too!  Bible journaling, anyone?

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I bought an art journal and pens to practice with and here are some shots of my practicing… What do you think?

*Last Day of School Tradition*

Yippeeeee!

Summer vacation is here!

Yesterday we ended the school year with what has become a bit of a tradition for us:

Apple Cider Doughnuts

Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts

Well, the tradition is the homemade doughnuts, although the kind has varied every year.  I bake the doughnuts and use the excuse that they are healthier (the truth is that frying things in a couple inches of hot oil scares me).  🙂

This year’s recipe I think was the best – they were light and fluffy with good flavor.  Even though it seems like the wrong time of year to have apple cider doughnuts, YES, you can still buy cider in June!!  The recipe came from Family Circle March 2012 issue (link here).  I did make a couple of changes – used light brown sugar instead of dark brown, and used 1/3 T ground ginger instead of fresh.  They turned out just fine.

In case you’re interested in the other recipes we’ve tried:  Funfetti and Baked Chocolate Peanut Butter Donuts with Vanilla Peanut Butter Glaze.

 

I am thrilled that the school year is over.  I love the break from what should be an olympic event called “getting your kids to school on time”.  

Last night was the last award ceremony of the year… and I’ve got to tell you I’m so proud of my kiddos.  They enjoy school, they work hard, and their teachers have a lot of great things to say about their little characters.  They are all smart cookies – my oldest had the highest GPA in the whole 6th grade!  My son got awards for spelling and bible study!  And my little one got an award for best overall achievement in all the subjects!  I love them all to pieces and am excited to see God’s plans for them emerge as they get older.

How are YOU doing?  Has summer vacation started for your family yet?

where did may and june go?

hi everyone.

sorry for my lack of blogging!

i feel like we have been going full speed since the beginning of may.

may and june have included (aside from the stuff I’ve already blogged about):

the end of the MOPS year (and the end of my years as a MOPS mom!)

sharing the salvation message at the last MOPS meeting

a field trip to Albany with my sweet girl

memorial day

planting the veggie garden

filling our flower pots

field day

the big wedding!

my sister from montana visiting for a week

my 39th birthday

a tastefully simple party

and

father’s day celebrations

whew!

today starts the last week of school for the kids – and i am so excited for summer vacation and a more laid-back schedule!

i made this wreath for our door that sums up what our motto is going to be for the summer:

 kick your shoes off and play awhile!