family,  travel

Spring break 2016: dc (part two)

[Catch up on the other Spring Break 2016 posts:  Palmetto Bluff, SC; Williamsburg; DC (Part One)]

On Thursday morning, we woke up bright and early (and grabbed some Dunkin’ Donuts of course!) and headed to Congress!

We had gone through the process of requesting tours with our local Congresswoman, Doris Matsui (CA-6), back in January. We had requested tours of the White House, United States Capitol and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Since we only gave about 2 months notice, we didn’t luck out with an appointment with the White House or the Bureau of Engraving and Printing during the very busy Spring Break week… BUT we did have a personal tour set up waiting with our Congresswoman’s office!


We didn’t have too much trouble finding her office location in Rayburn Building and met Andrew, the Congressional office manager and our tour for the day.


We left all of our bags in the Congresswoman’s office and then proceeded through security and over to the visitor’s center. It was PACKED with people waiting for their tours to begin, and it even took Andrew an incredibly long time to get our passes from the special “Congressional tour” line.


Once we had our official stickers, we could begin the tour through the Capitol!


Miss L was an eager tour participant, and was often leading the group through the halls so she could hear everything that was being said by our guide…


One of my favorite spots in the Capitol was the old Supreme Court chambers… it reminded me of what we saw in Williamsburg and having all of the branches of government in one large state house… and what the good/bad of that would be. (In other words… a spot for a political science geek like me to geek out)


When we came to the National Statuary Hall, there was a statue that Miss L recognized by name and face… Rosa Parks! She had recently read “I Am Rosa Parks” and when we saw this statue she just lit up and started telling us all about her.


After touring all of the main attractions of the Capitol, we got to the highlight of our visit that day: walking the floor of the House of Representatives. I had been on the floor once before back in 1997 at JSA Summer School, so visiting 19 years later was a treat! And just like back then… there were still no cameras allowed inside!

While we sat there trying to reconcile the smallness of the room with the enormity of it on TV, Miss L discovered the voting buttons and wanted to know how it all worked. I figured it was the perfect time for a small civics lesson, so I explained how bills and laws were passed and how the debate and voting worked in as simple of a manner as I could.

Suddenly, she stands up and says, “Resolved, that kids have to do all the work and grownups get to play all day.” Then, her finger forcefully lands on the “Nay” button and she pushes it down with quite a bit of emotion. “So that’s how it would work?”  Yep, kiddo… that’s EXACTLY how it would work. (And the tears welled up a little in my eyes too!)

And with that…  our long tour day at the Capitol was complete!


We walked outside to admire the cherry blossoms that were blooming all around DC… then grabbed a cab to head on up to lunch at Momofuku CCDC.


Mr. M and I couldn’t resist ordering the same thing: Beef Noodle Soup.


And Miss L opted for the Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder. (Which was yet another place where they questioned if she would eat the food that she ordered. So I’m thinking that DC kiddos aren’t really eating out too much? And seriously… NEVER underestimate Miss L’s consumption of delicious PIG and pickles!)


For dessert… we of course indulged in crack pie. Because, let’s be honest, who knows if I’ve been making it properly at all these past years!


Miss L got Cereal ice cream… and she didn’t like it. Seriously. She put away that entire bowl of food, and was like “eh… this doesn’t taste good” about cornflake ice cream. So we ate it… and were very pleased!


We headed back to the hotel, but around 6pm we all started to get the munchies again. Miss L and I decided to walk down the street to Corner Bakery to grab a light dinner to bring back to the room, but we took a little detour to see the White House.

Then we all crashed hard after watching Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall and got ready for our final day in DC!


So what does one do on their last day in DC?  Why… let’s start out by visiting the National Archives! The weather had turned cold and rainy that Friday, so we figured a day around the museums was just perfect.

Mr. M had never visited the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, so we figured it was a must stop for the last day. Somehow staring at old pieces of parchment and faded ink really just gets your emotions going for the day… even Miss L couldn’t muster up many words inside the exhibit. There were many Hamilton fans in the Rotunda that day… seeking him out in the various paintings in the room. I think that was one of the best parts: realizing that being there and seeing our founding documents was “super cool” to hipsters from Brooklyn.

From the National Archives, we wandered down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Museum of American History. Sadly, we did not have an umbrella, and we underestimated the popularity of the museum that morning… which means we ended up SOAKED outside.

Once inside (and now the proud owners of a pretty Smithsonian umbrella), we once again indulged Miss L in her George Washington fandom.


A lot of the exhibits were closed due to some big ones coming in 2017/2018… but we did get to stop in my favorite First Lady’s display!


Miss L, ever the foodie, decided that we needed to have a fancier plate to eat our oysters on, like this one from Lucy Hayes. (I looked up the prices on eBay… so yeah… she can wait to register for that for her wedding!)

My favorite exhibit was the Star Spangled Banner exhibit… probably because when we walked into the dark room and saw the illuminated flag, Miss L put her hand over her heart and started quietly singing the national anthem to herself. (again, the tears… seriously…)

After a quick lunch at the museum, we hopped on the metro and decided to spend the early afternoon visiting Georgetown University.


I was the most useless tour guide, as my memory of the university from my summer there two decades ago was quite far gone outside of the general landmarks! Oh well… we at least made it to the bookstore where Miss L got a Hoyas baseball cap and Mr. M got some tennis shirts.


Instead of waiting in an insanely crazy line for Georgetown Cupcakes (really? aren’t we so over and done with cupcakes???), we went and got macarons instead at Olivia Macaron. And we didn’t regret that one tiny bit!

For dinner, we went to Burger Tap & Shake in Foggy Bottom… where Mr. M had the best bacon burger of his life, and I had a crazy boozy Oreo Speedwagon milkshake. That’s the way one should truly end all vacations!

When we hopped on the metro, Mr. M asked if we could make one more visit to the rock shop at the Museum of Natural History. And really… how could I say no at this point?

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So… we took one last museum photo… bought more rocks…


…walked back to the hotel amid the cherry blossoms…


… and said goodbye to DC early the next morning.


We definitely made the most of Miss L’s first official Spring Break… and I can’t wait to see what adventures await us in 2017!