Vacation with Family

Two weeks ago, I was on vacation in Virginia with my sister-and-brother-in-law  The four of us always have way too much fun when we’re together.  We played tourists in DC and played board games together.  We were silly, laughed, and ate too much.

I adore squirrels!

I adore squirrels!

If you’ve paid any attention to the weather, you’ll know that it’s been unusually cold and snowy out there.  If you’ve paid any attention to this blog, you may know that I have a curse: every single time I go back to the East Coast in the winter, it’s 60, and if we get any precipitation at all, it’s rain.

Yeah, this time was no different.  Well, we did get a dusting of snow the last night I was there, but otherwise, nothing.

We went to Arlington National Cemetery, the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the National Archives, toured the Pentagon, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Jefferson Memorial.

Other than seeing family (and a few friends), I had some highlights in my trip.

We spent all day at Arlington National Cemetery, which I don’t think any of us expected.  We’d budgeted a half day there and planned to go to the zoo later.  I love cemeteries, and always find them inspirational.  I enjoyed doing some writing there and took some photos.  One of the things that really struck me was the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Day in and day out, no matter the weather, the tomb is guarded.  Watching the young man march and the changing of the guard made me misty-eyed.  It was powerful to watch.

The tree is reaching out as if to offer comfort.

The tree is reaching out as if to offer comfort.

The day we were there, someone was being buried who got a 21 cannon salute.  That too, was powerful to watch.

The cannons boomed!

The cannons boomed!

We went to two Air & Space Museums because my husband is crazy about spaceships and planes.  I’m not.  I like going up in planes as a means to an end, but otherwise they don’t interest me all that much.  I liked the Museum of Natural History a lot.  What can I say?… I like dinosaurs and gems!

T-rex!

T-rex!

In the National Archives, I learned some interesting things.  First off, there’s absolutely no photography in there anymore, and when we first went in, I didn’t understand why that would be.  After I saw the Declaration of Independence is, I get it.  The document is so faded that it’s illegible in places.  For many years, it was kept in full sunlight and in bright rooms.  After they put it in a dark room with LED lights, people came in taking pictures, but didn’t shut their flashes off.  Flash photography fades those documents, so they’re now doing everything they can to preserve them.

While seeing the documents was cool, I was actually more touched by a display of handmade birth/ death/ marriage documents.  Apparently, during the Revolutionary War, widows sent these beautiful documents in to the government to prove their marriage to get benefits.  They had a small display of these documents, and I fell in love with the workmanship and the time that it took to make these.  I found a website that shows some of these documents, and you can see it here.

On the last night there, we got a dusting of snow, for which I was very grateful.

That's my snow ration for the year.

That’s my snow ration for the year.

Of course, the week I left, they got 5 inches of snow.  I expected nothing else as my sister-in-law gleefully texted a “guess what” message.  But hey, I got even.  My response to her was, “That’s cool.  I just got out of the pool.”

Modern people are so lucky to be able to travel back and forth so easily to visit with loved ones.  Even if I always miss the snowy weather!

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