We loaded up the kids and drove 6.5 hours to Washington, D.C. After checking into our hotel we quickly turned around and got back into the car to head to Arlington National Cemetery. It was a simple 10-minute drive from our hotel. There was more arguing about seats and complaining about who’s touching whom than the whole 6.5 hour drive!
We made it in time to see the changing of the guard at the Tome of the Unknown Solder and explore some of the other must go memorials. It is always very moving to visit Arlington. The children really got into seeing the different memorials are learning about the past wars.
The next day we started at the Washington monument. Kristin decided to see how many back handsprings she could do in a row. She actually went longer than this one video clip but “someone” messed up recording it.
The weather was in the 90’s and mostly sunny. In fact, the weather for most of the week was exactly the same. We took to diving into different museums to cool off while walking the National Mall. Bradley frequently gave Kasey rides, which she enjoyed!
I had scheduled a tour at the White House. After everyone successfully cleared the background checks we were good to go. I had a surprise planned. I secretly, talked with all the children one at a time the weeks leading up to our visit. Kasey was the only child I still needed to talk with. While waiting in line to go into the White House, I took her for a walk and we talked. Like everyone one of the kids, she was happy and excited. The unanswered question was did any of them leak it to Hope.
We waited in line a few more minutes and that allowed me to plan the room for the surprise. Kyle was helping me figure out which room would be best for my surprise. Then we found the perfect room. I told Kyle to let the others know the plan.
The White House seems smaller in person than on TV but is just as impressive. Everyone was awed as we toured the building. When we entered the East Room, I whispered to Kyle and Kristin that we had one more room until my surprise and to remind the other kids.
I distracted Hope to let the kids get into the room first. Once we were all in the Blue Room, I dropped on one knee and asked Hope if she would marry me. She was completely surprised and didn’t see it coming. She simply said, “Are you kidding?” then answered “Yes!”
Most of the kids missed it! They were turned away from the entry way and only caught the very end of her saying yes and tearing up.
The rest of the tour was a blur. Once outside the kids insisted on a reenactment photo outside of the White House.
Why the Blue Room? It is unique for many reasons, two stood out to me. First it is uniquely shaped like an oval, like the Oval office. It is also the only room in the White House where a wedding of a President and a First Lady took place. On June 2, 1886, President Grover Cleveland married Frances Folsom in the Blue Room. It also doesn’t hurt that when the Presidents gives addresses from the White House, the room can be seen in the background.
We spent a few more days trudging up and down the National Mall. Some of the favorite locations included the Air and Space museum, the Capital building tour and a surprise the National Library.
Kristin was very insistent that we needed to go to the National Library. No one else wanted to go but she convinced us to go. The building is amazing inside, probably more ornate than the Capital building. Everyone was impressed and glad that Kristin was so insistent.
Taking a good picture of 7 kids is near impossible; someone is always making a goofy face. So we struck a deal. One good picture, no goofing off, then we would take another picture of them being as goofy as they can be.
The last evening we toured most of the outside monuments via a bike tour. Way better than trying to walk to each of them in the 90-degree heat. This is the way to tour Washington, D.C. It is also the perfect way to wrap up our trip.
After negotiating seating positions for the way home, the kids were once again fantastic during the long drive.