Chris' internship was originally supposed to end on the 24th of June, so when Kari set her wedding to be July 1st, it was almost too perfect! And since we would be on the east coast anyway, why not enjoy some of Washington DC (where Chris served his mission) as well? So perfect.
And we were so excited :)
Do you know what is ironic? That little people under 48 inches can require so much stuff. Packing consisted of approximately 3/4 of a bag for Chris and my stuff, and the remaining 4 bags for Riley. What? Yeah. Weird.
What caused us the most anxiety in the anticipation of this trip was the flights. Flying all the way across the nation with a baby who is adamant about learning how to walk sounded like a death sentence. We just packed an entire bag of distractions for her and hoped for the best...
|Boarded on our 5:30am flight. We had woken up at 2am, and Riley was having a blast being awake :)|
And we shouldn't have worried about it! It turns out that out of the 5 flights we had that week, Riley ended up sleeping at least an hour in every single flight. ?!? Praise!! Can I just tell you how grateful I was?! SO GRATEFUL!
|Right after take-off. Can you tell we are SO HAPPY?!|
There was so much drama around getting a car. I won't even go into it all, because re-living it brings back flashbacks of frustration and nightmares of taunting vehicles. Suffice it to say, our original reservation fell through because we had no credit card. A few days later, because of a bad credit check (?). And lastly, because our last ditch effort involved an hour of brainstorming with WellsFargo bankers which led to a mysterious disappearance of an expedited credit card from what was thought to be a cancelled account. There ya go. This drama punctuated our entire D.C. trip, unfortunately, as we scrambled to get a car at least for our New York trip. Although it all fell through, we are very grateful for an incredible Metro system that we became pros at, an impromptu flight from DCA to BUF, and a pricey shuttle system that saved our little fannies from traveling pioneer style from Buffalo to Rochester. Thank goodness, because I hear handcarts are hard to come by these days.
But lets move on to the GOOD STUFF! When we weren't putting our heads together trying to find solutions to our transportation issues, we had a good ole time!
We stayed with the G's, who rescued us from our stranded situation at the airport, and housed and fed us until Monday morning, when they left for their own vacation out west. Jake is Chris' friend, and I had barely met them before. All the more reason to commend them for their kind hospitality and thoughtfulness towards us! We absolutely loved staying with them and getting to know them better. Hopefully we can return the favor sometime when they decide to come out west! Somehow, in the 30 hours we hung out with them, I didn't think to take a picture of all of us... :/
The very first night, the G's took us to the Lincoln Memorial and Korean War Memorial. It was neat-it was dusk, and the fireflies were just coming out as we approached the beautiful Lincoln Memorial building. So magical! ...and so many people! I totally forgot this is tour season. For some reason, Riley was more interested in crawling around on the ground lights than posing for pictures with statues (isn't that every 9 month olds dream?!)
|Outside the Lincoln Memorial while Riley tries to get away.|
|Sleeping peacefully. ...on Chris' side of the bed. Chris was on the couch at this point.|
|First ice cream cone. She enjoyed it. I'm not sure if you can tell.|
|Eating dirt is one of this girl's favorite pastimes. She finds the scummiest dirt with the |
highest bacteria count and disease probability the most appealing.
She thinks her dad is pretty funny.
Because we had counted on having a car when we landed, we hadn't thought through what we would do if above mentioned car were not available. The result was hiking through town with all our luggage. We looked really cool.
If we thought tromping through Crystal City with all our stuff was amusing, it didn't even hold a candle to lugging our stuff off the metro to our hotel. When we saw that the metro station was only a half mile away from our hotel, we rejoiced and happily skipped our way off the metro on our way to the hotel. Easy peasy.
...only 'easy peasy' turned out to be a horrible nightmare. The sidewalk quickly ended, only to reveal an incline of dirt stairs that ascended farther than the eye could see, and Riley was getting tired and hot (who am I kidding, we ALL were tired and hot! Riley's complaining was just a little more vocal).
Once we reached the summit, we could see our hotel right across the street! ...only it was a three-laned, two-way street where cars were cruising at top speed to enter the freeway. Oh, and I forgot to mention there was no crosswalk. At this point, I'm glad Chris still had his common sense, because I was about to try our luck at frogger rather than continue on. But his voice of reason won out, and we continued down the sidewalk-less road to find a crosswalk.
The next intersection-no crosswalk. (the hotel was far enough away that we couldn't see it anymore. Frogger, anyone...?)
Next intersection: a crosswalk! Whew! We hurried across the street in delight and exhaustion. Now we would just have to go back up the other side of the road to get to the hotel!
...only this side of the road didn't have a sidewalk either. And we quickly came to realize that there was no crosswalk to the hotel from this side of the road either.
Chris scouted around as we let Riley down to wiggle around. When he was unable to find anyway to safely cross the treacherous road, he called the hotel office to see what they could do. They said if we were at the metro, they could pick us up for free.
But they couldn't come get us because we weren't at the metro.
-_- -_- -_-
After Chris came back to relay this tragic news, I was just getting started in building a lean-to and starting a fire with Riley's extra diapers when we saw a cab rolling up in the apartment parking lot near us. We looked at each other, and the look of wildness in my eyes was all the encouragement Chris needed. He chased down the cab and asked if we could have a ride to the hotel across the street.
He said yes.
The overwhelming relief felt like he were rescuing us from a deserted island. We were going to live!! He brought us across the street, and we stumbled into the hotel like hot and sweaty neanderthals. (isn't it amazing how fast a person's humanity leaves in desperate situations?)
We got into the room, collapsed, ...and the rest of that day is shrouded in a napful blur.
The rest of the DC trip was a lot of fun! Admittedly, the trip was very different with Riley. If it had just been Chris and I, I'm sure we would have been trying to maximize efficiency and see as many things as we possibly could. With Riley, we were very aware that no meal could be delayed and tours had to be about 5 minutes max or she would be begging for baby mercy.
Although it wasn't your typical Washington DC trip, we had a lot of fun together!
The Metro is really neat! We enjoyed being able to travel so quickly and reliably. And Riley made friends almost every time we went! Chris and I noticed how much more attention we got having Riley with us. If we had done this trip just the two of us, people would barely have looked our way at all. But since we had Riley, just about every Metro trip we took and every place we stopped was accompanied by people waving back at Riley and smiling. It is fun to see the friendly side of society, especially in a bustling city like Washington DC where people are so busy.
|She was so good at taking naps on the Metro!|
|Using the escalators at the metro before realizing there were elevators at every station|
|How does she sleep like that?!|
|Napping on the go. Chris was really good at getting her to sleep during the day.|
|We would go up and down escalators for distraction purposes as we waited for the trains|
We made sure to go to the National Zoo. We figured that was a place that Riley could enjoy the animals, and it is free! Can't beat that!
Unfortunately, it wasn't as successful venture as we had envisioned. She only saw the animals that were really close us, and even then she was more tired than anything :/
BUT she did have a favorite place. The Amazon! Surprisingly, it wasn't because of the cool animals or neat things to look at. She loved it because she could get WET!
Sanitary? Highly doubtful. But fun? Oh yeah! Well worth it! I'm pretty sure she went through about 3 outfits this day just from all the times she got wet.
When we got back to the hotel, we decided to try out the pool. This girl is a little guppy. She LOVES the water!
Here is footage of her monkey crawl. She commonly crawls like this.
Alexandria is a town Chris loved from his mission, so one of the things we wanted to do is walk down Old Towne Alexandria during our trip.
It is a cute little city with a ton of little shops and hole-in-the-wall restaurants down the main street, and there is a little free trolley you can take down the main road to the waterfront. It was such a cute little place, with brick sidewalks and and older feel.
We got off on the last stop by the waterfront, and there just happened to be a Ben & Jerry's! Chris would save up his mission funds and get a carton from time to time, so him, Ben and Jerry are old friends. We took it as divine providence and decided to get some ice cream as an appetizer to dinner.
|We need to work on her funny faces...|
|The waterfront in Alexandria|
One of the last things that we were determined to do before our plane left on Wednesday was to go to the Butterfly Pavilion in the Natural History Museum. It cost $6 for Chris and I, but overall it was a great place that Riley was able to 'interact' with the animals. They kept landing on us too, which was pretty neat.
We loved it! The only tinge of fear that we felt was that Riley would grab one of the butterflies and eat it, and that it would happen to be Wooly Egyptian butterfly or something, and that it was the last of its kind. Mass extinction of a species would have been memorable... but not desirable.
Even though the Butterfly Pavilion was the only thing on our agenda that morning, we were still running like crazy to get back to the hotel to check out in time by noon. And after a crazy frantic return trip...
Voila! Right on the dot!
We made it to the airport with time to spare, which was good because the check-in was insane. We were getting through security as Ray was trying to FaceTime so we could say bye to Alexis before she was dropped off at the MTC. As luck would have it, neither Google Hangout nor FaceTime worked for some reason, so we just sent a good bye video from the airport. I can't believe she is gone...! I'm excited for her though.
On to New York...
|Flight from DCA to ROC. And Riley using the Safety Instructions as a chew toy.|