Category Archives: Vacations

Our Adventure: A Trip Up The Rogue River and Beach–August, 2019–Part 2

After riding on the boat all day last Sunday, we travelled to Bandon by the Sea, a town about an hour from the town where the boat was.

We served out a quick dinner of tacos. I had pre-cooked the beans and meat and the rest was quickly put together. It was all devoured! Everyone was starving.

The next morning, Rob and I made pancakes, eggs, fried ham, and fruit. Patsy got a pancake shaped like a fish. It was a complete accident, but she really liked it! We decided it was a perfect beach breakfast;)

Most of us went to the West Coast Wildlife Game Park. It was a place where the kids could pet animals. There were also lots of big cats in cages. Michaela loves those more than anything. This trip was especially for her, but all the kids enjoyed themselves.

That took until early afternoon. We returned to the beach house for lunch and the kids played down on the beach. Then, a dinner of spaghetti was enjoyed, and we dropped into bed. On Tuesday, it was time to make the long journey home after a quick breakfast of muffins and cereal.

My sister decided we’d had enough cooking, and treated us all to lunch at Mo’s. Yum! I hadn’t eaten there for quite some time and enjoyed it very much.

We returned home late in the day, tired, but very happy and full of wonderful memories to cherish for years to come.

Our Adventure: A Trip Up the Rogue River and A Beach Trip–August, 2019–Part 1

We just returned from a big adventure, complements of my sister. She should have been a travel guide…..She planned the trip out to the last minute, got all the accommodations and tickets, and arranged everything. It was amazing. Here’s what we did.

Months ago, she had purchased tickets for the play, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” up at the Keller Auditorium in Portland (Oregon). It was for my birthday present, and started at 2 p.m. on Saturday. We had a wonderful time. It was so well done. I loved it!

When planning the trip, she found the beach house she wanted to rent was only available on this past weekend, the same weekend as the play. She also wanted to go ride the jet boats that go from Gold Beach, Oregon, up the Rogue River 52 miles and back down again. So, we needed to leave on Saturday to make all of that happen. The play caused us to get a late start.

I was in charge of the meals for everyone. Everyone included: My sister, Gail, 3 of her children, myself, Rob and Patsy, and a friend, Debbie, and her 7 children. Jake and his big sister, Caitlyn, came on Sunday night, as he doesn’t do well on boats. So, I packed a picnic for 13 to eat in the cars on the road. We pulled into the hotel around 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning. It’s a distance from here, and we didn’t leave until early evening.

The hotel included breakfast the next morning, which we enjoyed tremendously. The kids loved the waffles with the heart shapes in the center. Rob and I packed a large picnic for the 13 of us who where going on the boats, plus drinks, while the rest of the crew enjoyed the hotel swimming pool. Then, we were off for our 11:30 departure time.

Rob really, really wanted to do this trip. In fact, he declared to Gail (my sister) that he would crawl into the boat if he had to, when the subject was first brought up. He had to!

It was so worth it to him!

At the 2 rest stops, they sent a van down a steep hill to drive him (and us) up to the top, where we could use the restrooms and at lunch time, eat our picnic.

I had a blast, too! My little friend, Delaney, fell asleep between Rob and I on the way back. It was super funny because we were getting splashed with large amounts of water going down the rapids. We tried to shield her the best we could with a blanket that was for that purpose, but in the process, I was absolutely soaked. It was dripping off my hair and down my face. Some got on her, too. Through it all, she never woke up. The people behind us (and us) kept looking down and asking if she woke up, and each time the answer was “no.” Pretty soon, we were all in gales of laughter as each new wave of water doused us, and the child still slept. I guess she was tired:). When she was good and ready, she woke up and enjoyed the rest of the ride.

We saw so much beautiful scenery. There was a lot of wildlife. We saw ducks, egrets, osprey, a bald eagle, otters, deer, and a seal or sea lion–not sure which, and more.

There were a couple balancing on various small rocks. The boat driver was very skilled and got us up pretty close to this one.

We were on the water for around 6-1/2 –7 hours. We went the 104 miles, and had 2 stops. We went from the cool, balmy coast to the dry, scorching hot interior, and back down to the cooler coast once again. The driver did a great job of cooling us off with water when it was hot, and keeping us dry when it wasn’t. Running the rapids was fun. We all had a blast.

We got back into the vehicles, handed each kid a granola bar, and headed an hour north to the town of Bandon.

It was pretty late by the time we arrived, but I had dinner all planned and it didn’t take long to get it on the table. I had taco meat and refried beans premade and they were warmed up. Tortillas, garden tomatoes, lettuce and pre-shredded cheese were put out, along with a Costco bag of corn chips and some salsa. Every scrap was devoured.

Our Monday was very full of fun, as well. I’ll continue writing about our trip tomorrow in Part 2, as this post is getting pretty long, and there’s lots more to tell.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week—March 24, 2019

This week, one of Patsy’s new daffodils bloomed! This past fall, she planted a few special ones amongst the yellow ones she planted the first fall we moved in here. We didn’t buy many, and they were from Winco, so I was hoping we would get a nice one or two. We were not disappointed. I notice there is another one like it about to bloom, too! Hopefully, they will multiply in time as well as the yellow ones do.

We finally got some seeds planted, and just today a few broccoli plants have popped up.

We camped for 3 nights at the beach, using the park pass. We enjoyed some exceptionally nice weather, for the Oregon coast. Patsy and I took 2 nice walks and she collected rocks. Our second walk was abruptly terminated when a sneaker wave filled my rubber boots. Then, we got a lot of cheap entertainment trying to dry out the boots:). And me! Rob made a contraption from duct tape and boards and we propped them up on that until the duct tape gave out and they collapsed. Then, he rigged up a paper plate between the 2 boots, put that over the heater in the camper, and conducted the air into each boot that way. We didn’t want to set rubber boots right on top of a heater vent. We wanted the heat to go inside. By last night, they were about dry.

We enjoyed our camp spot. We got near enough to the ocean that we could see it from the door of our camper when it was not blocked by another camper–so part of the time. It was a short walk to the beach from our site and was easy to see–I walked a few steps and soaked in the beauty a few times. Rob made a big fire, and he and Patsy sat by it a lot. They played cards. Rob roasted things over the fire. I had pre-cooked some things, cooked a lot of veggies and made salads in the camper.

I have a quilt that I started 15-20 years ago. Yes. Really. That long. It has lived in the camper for a few years now because sometimes that was the only time in an entire year I could find the time to quilt. This trip, I really made some progress on it while Patsy watched some DVD’s. We’ve been taking Mr. Jake camping the past few times, and there’s no quilting to be done when that boy is there! After all, how could I quilt with the table covered with Legos? :). This time, he’s on vacation with his family. He will get a turn later in the summer.

I finally have hope that this quilt may someday get finished. It took me quite a while to even figure out what needed to be done and find the parts and pieces, but once I did, the project started moving along. Everything still seems to be there so far!

I worked on my current quilt at home quite a bit this week as well, before we went camping. I have only 1 more 6″ square to complete of the 20 needed for the main body. Then, there is quite a bit more to do to make it larger–there are going to be 2 special rows down below, plus borders all around, but I’m really gaining on it.

We drove back this morning so Patsy could go on her Spring Break Service Project with the youth group. It’s just a couple of days long, but we didn’t want her to have to miss it.

Patsy has an interest in rocks, shells, and fossils. We found this interesting fossil-filled rock on one of our walks. She also collected 2 small rocks with fossils in them. We will hopefully see many more when we go back down to the beach. Last year, Rob and one of his best friends took her on a rock-hunting expedition. Maybe this will turn into a nice hobby for her–time will tell.

How did your week go?

Thriving in My Thrifty Week–September 9, 2018

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Down at the coast again–crazy, I know!  We took one last quick trip camping at the beach this weekend.  We were fortunate enough that Lovana had the ability to get time off and go along, so we took her down there.  She hasn’t been able to go at all this summer until now.  It was a whirlwind trip, and we are back home already.  Because I knew we were going again, I was able to leave a lot of things in the fridge of the camper last week. I left clothing enough in there for this time, and things like my embroidery were also just left in there.  After we returned this afternoon, we really cleaned it out of perishable things and things I would want.  I’m also going to wash some bedding, and actually got in the bunkhouse where the girls sleep while we were down there, and cleaned out a lot of cluttery things and wiped off the window ledges, etc.  That’s not necessarily frugal, but it counts as a feel-good moment, for sure:)

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We went clamming in Yaquina Bay, where Patsy skunked me–getting 11 clams while I only got 5, and mine were smaller:). We just cleaned and froze them, and another meal of clam chowder is on the horizon in the future.  Rob went down with us, and he did get one.  It was a different kind, and he dug for it in a different area while we were raking for ours out further.

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Before we left on Friday afternoon, we had a busy, productive week.  Patsy started school, and Rob and I worked many, many hours with the kids, as they are now on vacation and we will not work with them this week at all.  We got the chore routine going, by having the kids do them several days this week.  Rob took Michaela to her volunteering.  I took her to the zoo on Jake’s first day of school.  She had so much fun.  We went to the tigers 3 times, some other things twice, and skipped several animals entirely.  A cheetah decided to sit down by the viewing window, and Michaela sat there for at least 15-20 minutes, just enjoying the big cat.  I took food with us, and we re-filled the 2 water bottles purchased at the zoo in years past.  If you take the time to wash them and bring them back, they will re-fill them with soda for $1.   We also got one order of fries for us girls to share. (J went with us.). I used our zoo pass for admission.  It was a frugal, fun day.  It was so nice to have a relaxing day after all the canning I had been doing before and after watching the kids.

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I pre-cooked and prepared some of our food for camping so it would be easy while we were there.  I made it super easy, and just used the jarred sauce and didn’t even add meat this time.  We used up parmesan cheese packets that I’d had in a ziplock for ages.  They were from when the older girls ordered pizza at some point.  Lovana took us out to lunch yesterday.  It was a nice treat, and we ate the food I took the rest of the time.

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Before my sister’s family went on vacation, I was over there working with the kids.  My brother-in-law kindly offered me all the rest of the perishable food that would go bad while they were gone.  I got 2 sad bananas and made banana-coconut bread for the trip.  There was cilantro and 2 halves of white onion, so I added garden tomatoes and peppers and made Pico de Gallo.  There were corn chips in the camper, so we ate it with them.  There were some limes, so I juiced them out and froze the juice in tiny containers for when I have a recipe that calls for them, after I used what I needed for the Pico.  Rob saved them a fortune by taking them to the airport and he will pick them up.  Parking is quite expensive up at the airport.

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Rob made stuffed zucchini one night for dinner.  It was great, and a welcome meal after coming home from work.  The zucchini has slowed down to a nice level of production, and we enjoy having it in more moderate quantities.

My aunt passed a few tomatoes on to me, and I got 5 more pints with what I had on hand from my garden, plus hers.  I hope to get another small batch of pints this week, as well.  Little by little, I’m coming to the end of the canning season.  I still have a few more things I want to make, though, like salsa, salsa verde from the remaining green tomatoes once the season is over, maybe taco sauce if I can find a good recipe, some dried herbs, etc.   My focus is still on using the fresh items as much as possible while they are available, but we have started popping open a few jars.  That’s what they are for, and I’m glad to have them.

How did your week go?  Did you have any “feel-good” cleaning moments or save money in a creative way?

 

Thriving in My Thrifty Week–September 2, 2018

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This is one of my favorite times of the year.  The canning cupboard is getting full, the garden is winding down but still producing, and the weather is cooling down.  There is still more preserving to do, but a lot has been accomplished.  It won’t be long until I turn my energy to other projects, like cleaning!  There are some areas in the house that have been neglected, for sure:)

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We spent a few deliciously cool days down at the beach, camping.  While we were there we went crabbing, clamming and fishing.  Since we already had our licenses, were able to camp for free using our park pass, and took our food with us, we spent very little extra money.  It was very restful, which is good, because we hit the ground running once we returned home.

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We purchased albacore tuna from off the docks and canned it once we got home.  We got 40 assorted jars, mostly 1/2 pints.  We caught both crab and clams.  I made clam chowder, ate crab, and froze the rest.  There is just a little bit of each in the freezer, and I need to use them quickly, as they don’ t last very long.

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Before we left, I picked peaches at my sister’s and she gave me some pears.  I put them in the drawers in the fridge, and they lasted just fine until I got home.

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I bought grapes for 99c/lb at the beach and brought them home, since they would have been off that great sale price once I got back.  Marachino cherries were purchased before we left, in a big container at Cash and Carry.  They are much more reasonable that way.   I was all set to make fruit cocktail once I got home.  I also made crushed tomatoes from the ones that had ripened while I was away.

Not long ago, my rickety pear tree in the back yard just fell over one Sunday afternoon.   I was able to pick a few now-ripened pears from it where it lay, and use them in the fruit cocktail.  I cut a bunch of branches off, and will put them in the weed bin once it has been emptied.  It is full now.  The tree is being removed little by little, and then Rob will chain-saw up the trunk for firewood. Ironically, we have not harvested good pears from that old tree until now:)

I also got one load of beef broth canned.  There were two packages of soup bones in the freezer that I wanted to put into a more usable form.  I still have some broth and all the bits of meat to deal with in the next couple of days.  In the next couple of months, our beef farmer will be calling to let us know that our 1/4 beef is ready.  We need to make room in the freezer for that over the next few weeks.

We watched several library movies and I read 2 books I had downloaded for free onto my Kindle before I left for camping.  Once home again, Rob took Jake to the library to pick up some books that were on hold and also took him to garage sales while I canned.  In the afternoon, since I was pretty tired from canning, I read several chapters to Jake of a much anticipated book, since it had arrived at the library!

Jake did not go camping this time, as his big sister took him to Disneyland.  Yes.  Really.  She did.  They had a blast and he arrived at my house yesterday looking like a character from Star Wars–a starfighter in full regalia.  He was so cute, but not in a mood for pictures, so I respected his decision, as hard as it was!

I grabbed a few more school supplies at rock-bottom prices, once I realized I needed a few more of certain items.

I did not have time to grocery shop on Friday, as I normally do, and I did not get time yesterday, either.  I will hang on to the weekly money for later in this week, or save it.  We have plenty to eat for now.

What did you do to save money this week?

 

Thriving in My Thrifty Week–June 25, 2018

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Patsy, Alissa and I had a wonderful time on our backpack trip. We went to Tumble Lake, which is near Detroit Lake.  It was very frugal.  We had to chip in $5 each for gas.  Some of those Mountain House dehydrated meals were donated to the youth group, and we had those a couple of times.  I actually bought one gluten-free one at the store, not knowing if there would be any gluten-free options, and I also took a bunch of other food for myself, but did find a breakfast in the available options that I could have, so used that.

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The hike was extremely rigorous.  Patsy and I were not as fast as the others, especially the football player.  So, we came along at our own pace, and enjoyed the view.  Going out was extremely difficult.  My phone’s app claims we climbed the equivalent of  27 flights of stairs.  I believe it!  But, we made it:).IMG_7370

There were tons of salamanders that the girls enjoyed playing with.  Several of the guys fished for hours, but let them all go but one, since they were so small.  The kids roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, and we played a game that was like charades for hours around the campfire. One girls had an app on her phone and you chose a category, then held the phone up to your forehead so everyone could read the word.  They were to describe it to you, and you had to guess.  If you got it, you ducked your head, if not, you tipped your head back to pass, and the phone kept track of the score.  It was really fun to spend time with the kids, and they were a cheerful, happy group.  Of course, there was no phone service, but the game still worked.IMG_7392

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When we arrived home, we were SO tired, but I was super happy.  I had a really good time.  We put those things away and packed the trailer for camping.  We traded our niece for our nephew and were off again.

I did not have time to pack the usual picnic for our ride to the campground.  Instead, I just fed everyone well (Rob made omelets and there was cereal) and when we stopped at a rest area, I climbed into the camper and  grabbed snacks, bars, drinks, etc. and let them eat what they wanted.  It wasn’t the healthiest, but it worked.

I picked lettuce, snow peas, green onions, parsley, cilantro and mint from the garden to take with me.  I found some chili in the camper freezer that I defrosted and put half with some noodles to make chili Mac for our first supper when we arrived.  I also made a cornbread mix I found in the cupboard.  We used some for dinner, and some for breakfast, and I froze a bunch of it, as it made a LOT!  Usually, I make a casserole or something for the first night, but had no time to do it this trip.  I cleaned out one of the cupboards in the camper as I found a home-canned jar that had popped its seal.  I plan to clean under the seats on this trip, as I think there is food under there as well.  I have a goal to use as much food as I can this trip out of the camper since it’s been in there for a long time.  That will also save on the grocery bill, since it’s all been purchased long ago.

I’m looking forward to a restful week!

 

Washington D.C. 2018–#7–Mt. Vernon

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We spent a day at Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s home.  We spent the entire day getting there on the Metro and a bus, enjoying the site, and going back on the bus, then Metro.  It was so informative and so fun!  We had a lovely day, which actually got up to the low 80’s, which was pretty hot.  Around 11, we ate lunch at the inn.  It was delicious and we had no trouble finding a gluten-free option.

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Of course, I loved the gardens.  I also enjoyed the farm section and the walk around the estate.  I got some flower seeds that had been collected from the gardens and brought them home for Patsy and I to plant in the garden–sunflowers and spider zinnias.

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I sure wanted the butterfly to open up for the picture, but it wouldn’t.

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The building in the background is the greenhouse.  We went in there for a presentation by an actress, who was acting the part of a slave woman from the time period.

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We loved the actress and actor.  She played the part of Martha Washington and he was a soldier.  She told many, many stories as if she was George’s wife, and stayed in character amazingly well. He did not stay long, just played a song or 2, talked a tiny bit, then went off to march around outside.  We stayed in there for a long time, but could have stayed all afternoon and they say we would not have heard the same story or information twice.

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This woman was my personal favorite.  We stayed and listened to her until she left.  She was playing the part of the slave who was the seamstress for the plantation and was so convincing that there was a time where I had tears in my eyes.  She took questions from the audience and answered as though she was really the character.  It was amazing!  We saw a few more people who were dressed up and acted out different parts, such as the blacksmith, and another slave, and a footman/servant.

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We toured the mansion and the outbuildings.

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The carriage was so cool and perfect.

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We ended our visit by walking down by the river.  We saw the boat that some people rode on, the barn, the fish shack and the lower pastures and gardens.  Then, we caught a shuttle from the lower area back to the visitor’s center and grabbed a drink at the cafe.  We had so much fun, but were definitely ready to go back to the townhouse.  It was a great day.

Washington D.C. 2018–#6–Supreme Court, Conservatory, Air and Space

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Our first tour of the day was at the Supreme Court.  It was a lovely walk from the Metro to the building, and I was awed at the sheer size of the columns in front of the Supreme Court.

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This is a model of the room where we had a very informative tour, once again reinforcing many things we had studied in preparation of our visit.  The woman in charge did a great job explaining the process involved with the Supreme Court and cases that were heard there, and I was delighted with the whole thing.

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Upon a tip from a reader, we ate in the cafeteria at the Supreme Court.  It was great!  It was much quieter than the cafeteria at the Capitol Building, decorated up in a fashion that we knew which building we were in, and the food was delicious.

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We spent quite a bit of time peering up into the spiral staircase.  There are 2 of them in this building, and they are amazing.  A kindly worker who was passing by informed us that there are only 5 of these in the world, and 2 of them are in this building, and yes, indeed, he climbed up and down every day.  We didn’t see anyone climbing, but the staircases were not open to the public, or I would have gone up!

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Our next stop was the United States Botanic Garden Conservatory.  I could have stayed there for the rest of my life.  It is divided into sections, with plants from every region on earth, and the orchids are SO beautiful.

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The center section is a huge greenhouse, with a catwalk that allowed us to view it from above.

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There were many full-sized trees growing.

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We had an amazing time before we headed down the street some more to the Museum of Air and Space.

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We had checked the website, and read that the museum would be open until 7.  Sadly, it closed early that day for a private event, and we only had about an hour and a half/2 hours there.  Still, we saw what we could and enjoyed it very much.

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Michaela’s favorite was Amelia Earhart’s plane.  She even found a t-shirt with a picture of it, and bought it in the gift shop.  After all of that, we went back to the townhouse.  We had quickly slipped into a pattern of calling an Uber from the Metro station so we would not have to navigate the streets in the dark, and because our legs were tired.  This day was no exception, and we once again ate dinner using the groceries we had ordered in, and the things in the suitcase we had brought, plus a few odds and ends from the fridge.  By this time, though, everyone was beginning to drag (ya think?), and we decided that the next day would be a little less action packed.

 

Washington D.C. 2018–#5–Bureau of Engraving and Printing and White House

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The evening before, we stopped at Crystal City underground mall for some dinner, and so the girls could experience the mall.  Of course, they would have liked to stay at the mall forever, but we did go back to the townhouse fairly early because the next morning, we needed to be at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing very early for our scheduled tour.

We packed very, very lightly for the day.  We put our passports, cards, and money in our pockets because we had been warned that security was going to be the tightest we had seen when we went to the White House later that day.

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We had a great time looking at the money presses and hearing about how money was printed and distributed.   I do want to point out that the picture is from the visitors center, not from the actual process of money making.  There’s nothing like a speech stating that, “If you even so much as take your phone out of your pocket you will be arrested and your phone will be confiscated!”  They did not want photos taken, and trust me, none were!

After leaving that tour, we walked some distance to the White House.  Although we had driven past it several times, and even walked past it once, it is hard to see since it is tucked back amongst some trees.  We were eager to get inside and look around, and felt blessed to have received tickets, as they are very hard to get.

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The walk was lovely, and the cherry blossoms were such a gorgeous sight.

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Michaela was extremely interested in Abraham Lincoln during this entire trip, and was delighted to find a statue of him at the White House.  Alissa, on the other hand, was starting to feel sick to her stomach.

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Although we had been warned numerous times about the fact that there are no available bathrooms, no drinks, no eating or drinking, etc., etc., etc., she felt badly enough that her mom finally asked an attendant if there was any restroom nearby that they could go to and come back.  Boy, oh boy, those secret service men and women sprang into action.  Before we knew it, my aunt, Ja’Ana and I had been sent on to look at the green room, red room, blue room and dining room, while Alissa, her mom, and Michaela (who plaintively said she wanted to stay with mama), were all whisked away to a hidden bathroom.  After some time, Alissa felt well enough to continue, and they were escorted to where we were hanging around upstairs.  Later on, the secret service woman tracked the girls down, and gave Alissa and Michaela little metal badges and told Alissa she was sorry she had such a hard time during her visit.  I though that was so nice of them.

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IMG_6708In the meanwhile, we saw the upstairs several times, and even got to listen in on a man who was obviously giving a tour to a bunch of schoolchildren, and learned a lot about the dining room.

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You may notice that the rugs are rolled up for all of us tourists.  When they want to use these rooms, they take away the barriers, roll out the rugs, and have their party/event.  It was made clear to us that if an occasion arose, all tours could be cancelled with no notice.  I’m glad it didn’t happen to us.  We loved our self-guided tour.

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Of course, I had to admire their piano.  I wondered if it sounded good, but didn’t play it.  Obviously.  But, it was lovely.

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After our tours, we went back to the townhouse so everyone could rest.  Along with Alissa not feeling well, Ja’Ana had been fighting with a low-grade fever, headache, and stuffy nose all week. (It turned out that she had a sinus infection the whole time!  Poor kid) So, we rested for the remaining part of the afternoon and evening, in preparation for our tours and outings the following morning.

 

 

Washington D.C. 2018–#4–The Capitol Building, Tidal Basin, and Kennedy Center

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My aunt had contacted Representative Kurt Schrader’s office to arrange for a tour of the White House, if we could get one, months ago.  His aide, Adrian, got us several tours.  We were so grateful.

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The Capitol Building was our first one.  We found our way to Kurt Schrader’s office in a different building and were guided through underground tunnels by the aide, until we emerged at the Capitol Building.  Security was quite intense, and we were just beginning to get used to what would be our new norm–emptying all pockets, putting cell phones in little dishes, and going through the security gate.  There, we me another aide/intern(?) and he gave us our own tour around.  The other groups had around 50 people in them, and we had 6.  So, you can imagine, we could hear everything well, and were able to learn a lot on this tour.

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There were beautiful frescos on the walls and ceilings of the rotunda.

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Looking up was breathtaking.

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There were statues everywhere.  We were told about several of them, and allowed to wander about a bit, admiring which ever ones we wanted to see.  Of course, Ja’Ana ran over to Rosa Parks.  You may notice:  Rosa Parks is STILL sitting down!  We got a real kick out of that:)

After our tour, we went upstairs to the House of Representatives, hoping to see them in session.  After another round of security, and having to leave our cell phones and other personal items in a check room, we were disappointed to find out that they were out to lunch and would not be returning for more than an hour.  So, we enjoyed looking around in the required silence, and went downstairs to eat in the cafeteria.

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The flowerbeds were beautiful, and we admired them as we walked toward our next destination.  Our plan was to hop onto the “Hop-on, Hop-off” bus again, as our ticket was still good.  After running back and forth a bit, we did manage to catch up with the bus, and got on.

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We rode past the Jefferson Memorial.  The Red loop was the one that would take us around the Tidal Basin, where many famous memorials were located, so we stayed on that one this time.

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We hopped off at the Lincoln Memorial.  We all wanted to see Abraham Lincoln, but Michaela really, really was in love with everything associated with Lincoln, so we couldn’t miss that one.

I was amazed by how big the memorial is.  I’ve seen it on t.v. and seen pictures, but it does not do justice to the amazing size of the entire structure.

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The view from the top was amazing, and of course, there were a few jokes from the girls about how we needed to run through the water like Forest Gump:). Thankfully, they restrained.

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Then, we walked over to the Vietnam Memorial Wall.  For me, this one was more sobering because I was alive during this conflict.  I was very young, so it did not touch me very closely, but my aunt knew school friends who had gone.  So, it was a meaningful experience for all of us.

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I saw that some schools had left memorial wreaths at the Wall.  I thought that was touching.

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After a conversation with a very helpful gentlemen, who assured us that the Foggy Bottom Metro station was just a block or so this way, and 2 or 2-1/2 blocks that way, we set off walking.  It became a joke for the rest of the trip.  Those were the longest blocks I’ve ever seen.   We walked and walked and walked!   The route did take us past the State Department, and up a hill to the station.  We grabbed some lunch, then took the shuttle to the Kennedy Center, where we watched a play.

After the play, we took the shuttle back to the station and rode back to the townhouse, where we sank into bed and let our tired legs get a good rest.  The entire time, Michaela was still laughing because she thought the Metro station had such a funny name.  It was good to see her in such a good humor.  This may have been the day we got 17,000 steps.