After we dropped off Jared in NYC (took us forever to get there in rain and traffic), we set the Google Navigation on my phone for Washington, D.C. and headed out, following the navigation instructions as we left the airport. But then, out of the blue, my phone died. I had no idea where I was going, so I pulled off at the next exit to figure out what was going on with my phone. The phone was just completely drained and wouldn't hold a charge. I dug around in the back of the car for our old atlas. But, of course, it wasn't there. I was pretty frustrated. And really anxious to get to D.C. at a descent our, especially because we were staying with some friends there and I didn't want to inconvenience them. I really hate inconveniencing people.
After a few minutes, when the phone still wouldn't start up, I called Jared with the kid’s phone that I remembered we had with us and luckily caught him before his plane took off so he could look up directions and tell me where to go. The directions were a little bit tricky and I was pretty stressed about missing something since I wouldn't be able to use my phone to guide me. But it all worked out in the end. There was more traffic and we got to our friends the Archibald’s house an hour late, which wasn't at all ideal (but they were very nice about it). When Margaret Archibald showed us to the three lovely rooms where the six of us could spread out during our stay, we climbed into nice, comfortable beds. It was heavenly. There’s nothing like a good bed after seven nights of camping out at my sibling’s homes in Boston and NYC.
The other night, we met up with Jared’s sister Michelle for some delicious Thai food. SO great to catch up with her and enjoy a nice sit-down dinner after eating on the run for so many days. After dinner, Michelle took some of the kids in her fun convertible and I took Isaac and we planned to go see the memorials together. But Ashton inadvertently took my phone with him in Michelle’s car, leaving me with no phone and no exact idea about where we were supposed to meet up with them. Plus, no GPS to help me navigate. Luckily, I reached way back into my brain and remembered how to get to the Lincoln memorial where we talked about starting our tour of the memorials. But I couldn't see any sign of Michelle and the kids (or their car) and couldn't find a place to pull over to find a cell phone to borrow. Isaac and I circled all the monuments several times and eventually, somewhat miraculously, we found Michelle and the kids by the FDR memorial. Wow, that added some extra time and frustration to my life the night before the big D.C. retreat the next morning. It seems that I’m always destined to go into retreats exhausted. Once we did meet up, we had a great time checking out the FDR memorial – one of my very favorites.
The next morning, after a very successful retreat, and the cleanup and goodbyes (and the part where someone dropped the kids phone in some water), I got a call from one of the ladies who attended the retreat, letting me know that she had inadvertently taken my car keys with here when she left the retreat (Toyota keys can sure look similar to each other). Luckily, she realized she had my keys and hers when she stopped for lunch on her way back to Pennsylvania (four hours away). So glad she realized before she got all the way home. She was only about a half hour away, so she brought the keys back to me. And a couple hours later than planned, we finally headed into D.C. to enjoy some of the last things we wanted to do there. On our way, we had to stop and pick up the sleeping bags we’d left at Michelle’s house which actually turned out to be great so we could say one last goodbye to her and the apartment she is selling. We all have fond memories of that place.
By the time we finally made it into D.C. to meet up with Eli, everyone was pretty tired and grumpy and the kids were driving me (and each other) crazy. As Eli gave us a tour of his great Capitol Hill neighborhood, there was serious bickering going on. And a few times, I was seriously tempted to drop certain kids off by the side of the road. Somehow that 20 minute ride seemed longer than many of our 10-hour stretches on the road. I guess all the short nights and excitement is catching up with everyone. But we made it to the monuments and it was a perfect equilibrium evening – not hot, not cold, just gorgeous. We all gained new energy and got along better as we strolled along, enjoying the beautiful monuments.
It's so great to spend time with my youngest brother Eli.
Oliver and Silas were so excited to see this on the steps to the Lincoln Memorial. They wrote a big report about MLK Jr. last year in school and thought it was so cool to stand where he stood when he gave his speech.
We loved seeing the new MLK Jr. monument
This is one of my favorite quotes. This trip is definitely giving us all a chance to see how we'll act when things are less than ideal. Sometimes we come through with flying colors. The kids have been great to buck up and enjoy most of the time despite some short, uncomfortable nights and plenty of times that they've had to walk a long way or wait for food or the bathroom. But of course, there have also been times when we've all lost our tempers or gotten pretty whiny....
We saw the Jefferson memorial from across the water but didn't quite make it over there. It didn't seem wise to press our luck any further.
Then we went back to Eli and Julie’s apartment for a “slumber” party. The great thing about overtired kids is that bedtime is quick and easy and they go to sleep in about two minutes flat.
I guess one lesson this trip has taught me is that it all works out in the end, and if it hasn't worked out yet, then it isn't the end (from the movie Magnolia Hotel). I'm working on remembering this in the middle of those crazy moments.