Well, after our awesome day at the Smithsonian we camped out another night at Andrews famcamp with Nan and Grandpa Joe. On Saturday mom and I went over to my cousin Lara’s wedding shower and had a great time. Grandpa Joe and Zoe spent the day together at the campground biking around, eating ice cream, playing, and taking a nap. In the evening, I returned mom to the famcamp and then went out with my cousins and friends for her bachelorette party. Nothing like being the pregnant lady on a bachelorette party!! Actually it was really fun; we went out to a long dinner and then when the girls moved on for the evening, Kristina and I took a cab back. Us ‘older’ cousins were done for the night by 10:30. Nan was, of course, waiting up for me when I got back to the camper. She and dad had a fun evening with Zoe playing inside and searching for eggs (why only do this at Easter?) Sunday was rainy, so we slept in and packed up. Zoe didn’t want to leave Nan and Grandpa Joe and thought they would be driving the camper behind us for the evening. She seemed satified to know they would be back to visit when Avi was born. We drove down to Pope AFB to stay at the Q for the night. It was a nice tiny little base that is inside a hugemongous Army fort…it literally took me an hour to find the Air Force section once I got off the freeway. Anyway, Monday we just drove back home. It was rainy but uneventful. Zoe did great playing with her toys, coloring, listening to audiobooks, snacking, and taking a nap. It’s nice to be home.
Today we all woke up and had a fun morning making pancakes before driving over to the nearby Metro station. A short ride into DC found us at the Smithsonian exit right onto the mall. It was a super nice day out! From there it was a short walk over to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. We booked it straight to the dino’s, and Zoe was enthralled. She named them all and pointed at all the bones; she was so excited to see more she nearly ran through the whole place so we backtracked a bit. She found the gems and minerals fairly interesting, but wanted more bones so we wandered back to the other prehistoric animals like giant sloths and mammoths and such. Nan and Grandpa Joe had fun learning all Zoe knew about dino’s, and then really had a blast in the Discovery Center. It was a great kid’s hands-on room with microscopes, animals, dress ups, and lots of themed learning sections. Zoe especially likes to use the microscopes to see butterflies, spy at everything with magnifying glasses, and explore the “whats inside” containers. Nan read her quite a few books after a bit of coloring and then we all decided it was time for lunch. The cafeteria was crowded with lots of kids on school trips, but that was likely our fault for eating right at noon. It cleared out pretty quickly by the time we were done. Zoe fell asleep on my lap, so we chilled out for a while until Grandpa Joe was so antsy to go see more he carried her around. We all explored the mammals section until she woke up; she loved all the cool stuffed animals and small kid sized exhibits. The museum was getting crowded so we took a break to walk around outside at the sculpture garden and put our feet in the big fountain. It was a nice reprieve from the cool museum to be out in the beautiful warm day. Next on the agenda was a highlight: the Dinosaur 3D IMAX! The beginning was a bit in-your-face so Zoe hid her eyes for a few minutes until the loud intro dinosaur-roaring-right-at-you section was over. Otherwise, she loved it and actually wore her 3D glasses for a bit which made her reach out and try to grab at dino footprints and stuff. When asked later, that was her favorite part of the museum. We spent the remainder of our time in the Bones exhibits…lots of animal bones, a neato human skeleton exhibit, and an archaeological dig of Jamestown proved interesting to all of us. Zoe’s interest in dino bones has extended to her curiosity about all bones, which animals have them, and where her own are. Seeing all kinds of different human bones was quite cool to her. Our final stop was the indoor butterfly garden. Nan took Zoe in and they really enjoyed all the butterflies flying around and landing on the flowers. It was cool. A packed Metro ride later we were in the car back to Andrews AFB and our home at the famcamp. We’ve had a relaxing evening cooking burgers and dogs, doing some marshmallows on the fire, and making ice cream. Now Nan is reading Zoe some bedtime stories about more dino’s!
We successfully made it to Washington DC today; well specifically to Andrews AFB famcamp to meet my parents and stay in their new camper. This morning we woke up and drove around SJ AFB to find the old home my parents lived in when I was born. It, surprisingly, still exists in a remodeled state, though all the ones across the street have been demolished. Zoe enjoyed some coloring and listening to audiobooks for the next 2 hours until we arrived at Petersburg Battlefield in VA where we got our National Parks Passport stamp, did the driving tour, and heated some Ramen for lunch. Another half hour up I-95 found us visiting 2 other parks in Richmond,VA. I’ve always thought of Richmond as kind of a crap-hole but since I’ve never actually been their I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised with something nice….not so much. Anyway, we got our Richmond Battlefied stamp and then visited Maggie Walker Historic Site for another stamp. Miss Walker was the first African-American bank president and helped create alot of jobs and opportunities for others in Richmond. It was neato to me, but Zoe didn’t have the attention. We got in the car for another hour long jaunt to Jacksonville Battlefied where Zoe promptly fell asleep as I pulled into the parking lot. I carried her into the visitor center for our stamp, wandered around the cool old road and house, and then headed out. Hate to stamp-and-go, but I was a bit done learning about the Civil War and Zoe was getting heavy to carry about. On the way to DC there was a huge backup on the other side of the road in the HOV lane due to a bad accident; my direction slowed down alot to watch. Then, the medivac helicopter landed RIGHT BESIDE my car just beyond the concrete barrier…good thing we were slowed to rubberneck pace because I needed to stop for a second as all the dusk wop-wopped by. amazing
Tonight we’re at the Andrews famcamp with my folks. It’s a nice calm little campground in the middle of the golf course. There is a lot of ‘white’ noise from a close freeway, but it blends into the crickets chirping. We had a campfire at the community ring and made pizza mountain pies for dinner. Zoe is having a ton of fun running around playing with rocks, pretending to be “cowgirl kate and cocoa” with Nan, and listening to Grandpa Joe tell stories. Tomorrow it’s off the Smithsonian for a dino-day!
Zoe and I are taking a week long road trip up the Washington DC and back. Yesterday we went to gymnastics, and Bryan joined us!! After that we started our trek north making it to Charleston, SC around 4pm. We stopped at the Pinckney National Park to get our book stamped and tour around. He’s a famous southerner who signed the Declaration of Independence…who knew? Then we drove over to the beach for the evening. Packed some sandwiches and frolicked in the Atlantic surf. The water, surprisingly, wasn’t super cold. As always, Zoe had a blast in the ocean. She also did great in the car; was busy coloring and doing her dino puzzles when we weren’t listening to “Hank the Cowdog” audiobook. Last night we stayed in the TLF at Charleston AFB. Nice, clean, large rooms on a very nice, clean, green fancy base.
Today we woke early to get on the road. I fueled up on base, and checked my tire pressure (again) which was low (again) on the passenger side…hmmm. We drove down into Charleston, which didn’t take long. While I was getting some stuff together for our boating adventure I notice a ‘rock’ in the front passenger tire that I was going to pick out when I realized it was really the head of a screw! aha, mayhaps that has been giving me low pressure these last few days. Oh well, lets get on a boat. We walked over to the Fort Sumter National Park where I had booked us on 9:30 ferry out to the fort. The ferry is the only way to get to the actual fort, and it was really a fun trip. We saw dolphins, an aircraft carrier, Charleston harbor, and a cool old timey ship plus there was a snackbar so we got a bag of chips. The fort was neato too with lots of old cannons and nooks to explore; the ferry gives you an hour to walk around which was perfect timing for us. When we returned to the car, the tire was still pressured up so we drove back to Charleston AFB and took it to the Auto Hobby Shop. The mechanic plugged it in 10 minutes for us! Great. Back on the path. Actually, lets get some lunch. We went to the BX food court, and I got to park in the Expectant Mothers spot!!!! yippee! these spots are even closer than the Handi-spaces. ha ha. Moving on up I-95 found us at uber-cheesy and run-down-ish “South of the Border” for an ice cream and a picture with a dinosaur. From there it was another 2 hours to Seymour Johnson AFB for the evening (I was born on this base). The TLFs here are in an older building, but remodeled with cute little kitchens and a few playgrounds. Plus, wifi! Tomorrow we’ll sleep in and then look for the house here on base where I lived as a baby…looks to me like the housing is newish, but maybe the address still exists. We’ll see. Then, up to DC to meet my folks at the Andrews AFB famcamp for the weekend.