Monday, April 23, 2012

Getting Our Feet Wet

The last few days have been spent getting to know our new city. We have walked, bused and metro'ed our way around town. Initially we stuck close to home. Each day our excursions take us a bit further afield. It is so much fun exploring this new place, but it is also a bit tough.

Eamon, Aine and I ventured out to the neighborhood grocery store the first night, while Dave and Benton brought in our items from the car. We walked along giggling, running and jumping. It was a bit chilly for this group of desert dwellers. There had been rain all day, but the sky was clear on our walk. We found the store easily and grabbed a bit of dinner too. We shopped by weight knowing we would be carrying our items back. This was met with a bit of resistance initially. By the time we arrived home, we were ready for bed.

The following day, we wanted to find the running/walking path and get more oriented. We ended up going the wrong direction. Instead of the path we wanted, a new area came into view. Going this direction from home, we were able to see the Washington Monument over the river. Eamon spotted it first with an exclamation of delight. 
Aine then spied a beaver's dam in the water. The excitement was palatable. We walked around this different path for quite a while. A train came into view roaring down the track beside our path with the conductor waving at our enthusiastic flapping hands. It was fantastic. On our return, Eamon determined that a faster way home existed and led us there. 
After some lunch, a trip to the park was in order. We hoped to meet up with some fellow homeschoolers and get a bit of cooped up car energy out. Parking is a challenge where we live, so walking or public transportation are the way to go. In Arizona we take the PhART and the neighborhood circular at times. The majority of our time out is spent driving. We decided to take the bus to the park. Of course, I thought I knew what I was doing. I determined that we only had to take one bus after consulting the city's transportation website. A quick lesson on bus ridding occurred as we sat at the stop. Signage, bus etiquette, routes and directions were shared amid a flurry of questions. When the bus approached the kiddos boarded first. I tried to use my fare cards for us. I knew everyone had to have their own card, I just didn't realize the cards were different for bus and rail. Oops. I only had rail cards and money for one of us. Fortunately the driver allowed us to ride and told me what I needed. 
The walk to the park was gorgeous amid older homes. There was a choice as we approached the park of taking the sidewalk or a tunnel path. Of course, we chose the tunnel. I think it was the favorite part of the trip since there weren't any kiddos at the park in the older kiddos' age range (most were under 4). The ride home was uneventful.

Walking has been a bit daunting for Benton whose little legs get a bit tired with everything his mama wants to do. He has been a trooper each day with only slight complaints of sore legs and requests for a ride on daddy's shoulders or for mama to carry him. Foolishly we left our stroller at home, and are now on the search for a small umbrella-type one. Apparently they are hard to come by where we live! I even wished I still had my Ergo to carry him. The older kids are fine with most of our walks. The only issue was when we found our local library. We each obtained a library card, and they were eager to fill their bags. I suggested only getting 3-5 books. Eamon checked out 22; Aine found 16. The walk home was arduous. 
Our first voyage on the metro included all five of us. Despite my claims of an adventurers spirit, I can be a big fraidy-cat at times. I wasn't sure how it would go with three kiddos. With Dave's help, we navigated the subway. I am glad we were together since one of our cards wouldn't work despite having money on it. (Note to all D.C. travelers, the cards will demagnetize easily!) People were very helpful on the metro and asked if we needed help. With a bit of aid we found our way to The Mall.

The weather was warm as we walked along The Mall stopping to see the various monuments. Dave led us to the National Academy of Sciences in search of my favorite statue. Unfortunately the statue of Einstein was fenced off much to my chagrin. I really love this statue. Dave and I are in a photo together on the statue from many years ago. It is a bit tough to find, but is a great discovery along Constitution.
After disappointment over the closing of the Washington Monument, the highlight for the kiddos was the Lincoln Memorial. They weren't in awe of the majesty of the statue, but rather they were head over heels excited about the slippery ramps on the sides on the stairs. They were perfect slides.

Yesterday after a search for breakfast by foot in the rain, we headed out grocery shopping by car to stock our refrigerator. It was a gloriously rainy day. The kiddos jumped in puddles and played under umbrellas. It was a definite novelty for us. Once home, we snuggled in for some book reading, LEGO building and Playmobil playing. It is definitely starting to feel like home.


  1. Heather, thank you so much for all the wonderful pictures! I want to sit on the grass at the Mall, knit, have a picnic and just enjoy the sites. Since all of that is not possible right now I will enjoy DC through your eyes!

  2. loved the photo of your knitting at the Mall :) sounds like you guys are having so much fun exploring. and the library thing made me laugh. my kids ALWAYS leave the library with fully loaded backpacks and we go weekly ;-)

  3. woohoo! looks like you are having a great time. we loved the Lincoln memorial, it is so amazing.
    you are a brave soul to trek out into the world and take the metro. i am such a weenie, i would be too scared. lol
    i do love the homeschool group with all kids too little to go to school. LOL

  4. what an adventure you are having, making great memories for sure. thank you for sharing, it's been many years since i've been to d.c.

  5. Wonderful! I am glad you all are exploring and having fun! I cannot wait to get out there :) Joel said he had over an inch of rain yesterday in Maryland. I am so glad the kids enjoyed it!

  6. I need to get to DC, haven't been in years. It looks like you have had the best time there!

  7. so happy for the update on you all :) ur adventures sound great! as i remember the subway in dc is quite nice, right? that is good! jealous over the weather. was hot out by 8:30am today.

  8. Anonymous4:23 PM

    This is just so exciting! I'm so happy to see you've had "gloriously rainy days"...sigh. nothing like 'em ;-). And helpful people to guide your adventures. LOVE the metro!

  9. you are so lucky to get to have an extended stay! our kids loved dc when we went there a few years ago.

  10. How fun!! I'm glad to enjoy the sights of DC through your lens for now. We'd really like to take the kids in the next year or so. So much to do and see!!
    I love the 22 and 16 books comment! Sounds like us~ we have more than we can carry sometimes!

  11. I love the pictures! And again I have to say what a wonderful writer you are. You need to pen a book on your adventures as a mother and wife as well as world participant.

  12. Haven't visited DC in a long time. We keep saying that we need to take the kids... So why was the monument closed? Construction, hours or other?

    1. Due to the earthquake that hit the area last August, the parks service has closed the monument. Not sure when it will open again.

  13. It has been a while since I visited D.C. (and Chase went last year and is itching to return). It's so nice to see it through the eyes of your family.