Washington DC - Day 5

Tuesday morning, we went to the Capitol and had breakfast with our congressmen. After breakfast, we toured the Capitol building. To say it is beautiful is an understatement.
After our tour, we met outside on the steps with Senator Moran and Senator Roberts. Senator Roberts said hello and then had to get to a meeting but Senator Moran sat and talked with us for over an hour. It was pretty fun watching some of the kids be star-struck and listening to them ask him questions. I, on the other hand, didn't even take a picture of them. Politics and me just don't mesh but I'm not saying I didn't enjoy meeting with them because it really was interesting.

The morning was a long one for the kids (suits and tie for the boys and dresses for the girls) so after everything at the capitol, we headed to the mall. It was a neat 3 story mall but ohmigod, the best part was walking around all by MYSELF! I even went in Sephora and asked a few questions about some eye stuff. And I won't lie, I spent over an hour in William Sonoma and didn't buy anything.

After the trip to the mall, we went back to Iwo Jima for a performance by the Marine Drum Corp and Silent Drill team. It was awesome. Very moving and something I won't ever forget.
On the way back to the motel, we made a quick stop by the WWII Memorial. I was pretty much over memorials and monuments by this point but am so glad we stopped because it was beautiful. Probably my favorite one.



Well, this definitely isn't a post I planned to write anytime soon but unfortunately it's a part of our story and that's the purpose of this blog. Boone died last Sunday. We have no idea what happened, TJ just found him in his dog box. We assume it was a snake bite or a heart attack but I guess the truth of the matter is that it doesn't matter why. He is gone. It was a very lonely night in Washington DC and I would've given anything in that moment to be home with my family; however, I had to make the most of the situation and came to terms with the fact (with some coaxing) that there wasn't anything I could do at home. It wasn't overly comforting to walk in last night and see all his ribbons displayed on the wall but it did remind me of how so proud I was of him. I loved him so much but I am sure the hurt I am feeling, TJ is feeling tenfold. I do have some comfort in knowing he is in heaven with Dutch and we will see them both again. They say you only have one good dog in your lifetime and we were blessed enough to have two.(Sorry Merle.)


Washington DC - Day 4

Monday morning was the Youth Conference at the hotel and we got to sleep in a little because Chaperones weren't needed until 10am. You know what time my internal clock went off? 6:30am (5:30am in Kansas) Nice job, internal clock! We started the day eating lunch at Ben's Chili Bowl. Lots of famous people have been there and it's all over Food Network and Travel Channel. Neat place.  
After lunch, we hit up the Smithsonian Air and Space museum. Notice I only have one picture. 
 After that, we headed to Mt. Vernon. By far my favorite place that we toured but I will admit that I had no idea what Mt. Vernon was before I left Kansas. Ha! (I asked some friends after I got home and they weren't sure either.) 90% of it was authentic which made it all very interesting. Again, no photography in the actual house.
He also requested that he be buried at his home so this is where his tomb is.
We had dinner at Mt. Vernon and then had about an hour drive back to Washington DC. I'm not sure one person on that bus was awake, except the driver! We picked up our peronal tour guide, Amy, and then headed to more memorials. Even though we got a late start, this was possibly the most exhausting day we had. Everything was packed, I was exhausted, and I guess emotionally drained. All of these places were neat but I wasn't awed or saddened by them.

 Korean War Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
 The exact spot Martin Luther King stood to give his "I Have a Dream" speech. I didn't know this until I went but he gave this speech at the Lincoln Memorial. For obvious reason, his memorial wasn't created until after he was killed.
Vietnam Memorial
By this point, my body was barely moving but our last stop was the Roosevelt Memorial. It was very, very beautiful.


Washington DC - Day 3

We started out Day 3 (Sunday) with a short devotional at Iwo Jima. It was the perfect morning to go as we were the only ones there. The neatest part about this trip was that we had a bus driver that was with us from 6:30am until 10:30pm. He took us where we wanted to go, we hopped off, did our thing for 10 minutes, got back on, and went to the next stop. That, my friends is how we crammed in so.much.stuff in 8 days. There was no metro, no mapquesting, no finding a parking spot, and 99% of the time we got front door service.
After our devotional, we headed to Arlington National Cemetary. I think this is one of the things I was the most excited to see and was probably the most disapointed. I was looking forward to some neat photos because I've been totally awed by the beaty in all the pictures I've seen but those people must work HARD for those shots. I guess I just didn't have it in me. 

Tomb of the Unkown Soldier
After that, we went to the Holocaust Musuem but no photos are allowed so I left my camera on the bus. Turns out, I could've taken pictures of some of the quotes and architecture outside but it was too late. This was a very humbling experience but possibly one of my favorites. It was a very modern musuem and one could spend hours in there. The TV's sat down inside big cement walls because the images were so disturbing that you had to blantantly walk over and look down inside the hole if you wanted to watch. The 2 things that stood out to me from this musuem were the personal testimonies from survivors and the rooms full of shoes. There was a quote above the shoes that read, "We are the shoes, we are the last witnesses. We are shoes from grandchildren and grandfathers from Prague, Paris, and Amsterdam. And because we are only made of fabric and leather, and not of blood and flesh, each one of us avoided the Hellfire." Disturbing.

Next up? The Smithsonians. For as bored as I was, I sure took a lot of photos! Definitely not my thing. If I would've went right out of highschool, I probably would've been more interested but you had to read about everything to figure out what it was and what happened and I just wasn't into that much learning. Especially since we just spent 2 hours reading in the Holocaust Musuem.
Apparently this is a painting by Divinci. See? Not my thing.
Some girls and I ended up sitting at the Sculpture Garden for a couple hours soaking our feet and taking cat naps. It ended up being an awesome way to spend the day.
After that, we took a short jaunt to Union Station for some dinner and then sent the kids on a cruise on the Potomac. Aw, quiet time!
 Things I found interesting: Almost everywhere in Washington DC has a "No Gum Allowed" sign posted and the guards/policemen actually watch for gum chewing.


Washington DC - Day 2

It is hard for me to even explain how amazing this trip is. I am forever indebted to my work for giving me this opportunity. It is honestly the trip of a lifetime and I am very grateful that they allowed me to come. And it is only Day 2! (5 days left and I'm finding it hard to believe that there is anything left to see.) I guess I've been pretty vague as to what I'm actually doing, but I am the chaperon for the Kansas Youth Tour delegates. All (most?) of the Electric Coops in the state pick a high school student to send to Washington DC for Youth Tour week. There are over 1500 kids in Washington this week, at this same hotel. Kansas sends 34 kids and since Hawaii only sends 4, they join us for the week. Now, on to the good stuff!
First stop this morning was the Pentagon Memorial. It was very humbling.

The benches facing the Pentagon represent the people killed that were actually in the Pentagon and the ones facing the other direction, represent the people that were on the plane.
After that (before most of you were out of bed) we swung by the Air Force Memorial. Beautiful.
Next up? National Archives. And I'll admit, I had no idea what that building housed until someone told me. Apparently this is where the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights are kept. Unfortunately, no photography allowed but it looks a lot like what you probably think it looks like.
Shirts for the day. It says No Place Like Home in Hawaii'n.
Obviously, The White House.
Madam Tussauds Wax Musuem
This place was UNREAL. I've never been to anything like it. I should probably know who this is/was but I have no idea.
I know who this is though!!
I think we did all that BEFORE lunch. We dined at the Hard Rock (good-bye diet!) and then headed up the block to Fords Theatre. It was very, very interesting and pretty impressive to sit in the theatre and look at the box that Abraham Lincoln was killed in. It did, however, lose it's cool factor once I found out it wasn't authentic. It has been turned into something else and then back into a theatre to look like it did back then. Eh.  
All the books written about Abraham Lincoln.
We finally got back on the bus...but no rest for the weary! We headed to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and watched Sheer Madness. It was hysterical. And who am I kidding? It was pretty nice to sit down for 2 hours. (No photography there, either.)
This picture is of the Air Force Memorial, taken standing on top of the Kennedy Center.
Things I found interesting: There are so many curves and winding roads. There isn't hardly any straight streets. The city was built around a circle and the "blocks" are nothing like in Kansas. It's hard to fathom that people actually know their way around. I was also suprised by how small The White House was. I'm sure if I was standing on the front porch it would be HUGE but its nothing compared to all the other buildings we are seeing. The airport is apparnetly right in the middle of the city so there are planes flying over all day long. I can't imagine how hard that is for the people that worked in the Pentagon on 9/11. It also suprises me that you can see all the monuments from all over town. It seems like we are miles away or in a whole different area but sure enough, when you get off the bus...there is the Washington Monument or the Air Force Memorial off in the distance.