My trip to D.C & West Virginia

Friday, April 19, 2013

What a fun, CRAZY, and last minute trip this was! It went by entirely too quickly, I was so sad to see it end and have to say goodbye to my family. I haven't seen everyone for a year now since we all left Utah and moved around the world. My parents and Jake to W. Virginia, my sister Kim to Georgia, Jon to Afghanistan, Shanon to Hawaii, Joe to Japan and me to Texas. So, this trip to see my family was much needed! Thanks to all my friends and Craig who made it possible for me to go by watching my little munchkins for me.

The reason all my brothers and sisters (except Shanon who lives in Hawaii and couldn't come...poor thing) traveled to W. Virginia, was to see my brother Joe come home from his LDS mission to Japan where he has been for the past 2 years. He is my youngest brother, I call "youngest" instead of "littlest" because he is actually the biggest kid in our family. We always joke and say my parents spent all their good genes on the first and last kids :) Kim with her naturally perfect hair, skin and teeth and then Joe who got all the height! I am the middle of a family of 6 kids.

The airport was crazy fun because my brother Jon's flight landed at 2pm, mine at  4pm, and Kim actually hopped on the same flight as Joe when it stopped in Georgia. He was so surprised when she came and sat next to him on the plane! haha. They both landed at 5pm. Joe had no idea all of us where coming and he was so happy and surprised to see us. I cried as soon as I saw my big sister and we were all together! These guys are my best friends. I left my nice camera at home *tear, so I borrowed my mom and sisters on this trip. Sure did miss my baby though and was really sad I left it.

 There was a balloon for each in-law and niece and nephew that wasn't there to see him. It was so weird being there without my kids!
 I was sooo excited to see my big bro. and we did a happy dance in the airport as soon as we saw each other...we Stanford's don't get embarrassed easily.   He has been in Afghanistan for the past year serving our country, and I am so thankful he's home safe. What an amazing guy Jon is and I'm so proud he's my brother.
 This is everyone watching the funny video Kim took when she surprised Joe on the plane.
 Their baby is home.

The next morning we headed out to Washington D.C about an hour and half drive from my parents home. So, we decided to make it easy and take the Monorail in. Sounds easy, but it was a little bit harder than we thought trying to figure out which color train and which direction to sister can attest to that :) Kim jumped on a train thinking we were all behind her and as soon as she did the doors shut behind her and she was whisked away. I stood there on the platform and happily waved goodbye laughing my head off! The plan worked! We lost her. bawhaha. Just kidding! We picked her up when we stopped at the next station. We laughed about it pretty hard the whole day though.

 This is my and my dad on the train. It was nice to be able to just sit and ride the monorail in and relax and talk.
My beautiful mama...I hope I look as good as her when I'm old. just kidding mom! You aren't old :)
We went to the Holocaust museum first. I have read so many books and studied the Holocaust, but it was a completely different experience going through this museum. I was not prepared. It made my heart heavy is the only way I can describe it. There was actual video footage, pictures and items from these real people. It was hard to see because it was so very real and sunk in deep. But, it was great experience to be able to go and I highly recommend it. It is a part of history and those people deserve to be remembered. This plaque outside the museum said it perfectly.
We weren't allowed to take any pictures inside the museum, except for this one that I snuck with my phone as I was coming out the elevator. 
Even though I don't have actual pictures of  what was in the museum, I have the images burned in my brain forever.

After the Holocaust museum we went and did something a little lighter. We headed to the Smithsonian and Aerospace museums. Those things are HUGE. I could have stayed in each for days and still not seen everything. We were pretty much running through them.
It had all these different "rooms" filled to the brim. Here are few we went in.
Dinosaurs, Ice age and Fossils...
Ancient Egypt..
Butterflies and insects...
We got to go inside a room with all these butterflies flying around. It was really cool. One even tried to hitchhike on Kim's shoulder on the way out.
Gems & Minerals..
I found something I really wanted :) The Hope Diamond
 It was a WAY fun day! By the end we were exhausted. :)
The next day was Sunday, and both my brothers Jake and Joe spoke at church. Joe gave his testimony in Japanese and that was pretty amazing to hear him speak the language of people he has been serving for the past 2 years. They both did a great job. After church we headed back into DC to be tourists again.

The Capitol
Korean War  Memorial
World War II Memorial
Washington Monument

Lincoln Monument
I made my beautiful sis pose for me...
My sister is my best friend. Love her so much.

Then we headed over to my favorite, the Arlington Cemetery. When I walked in a insurmountable  amount of gratitude and reverence came over me. I wish the pictures could show how huge this cemetery was, so so many graves of people that have sacrificed their lives for this wonderful country. I grew up a military brat and I know what it is like to live in another country that doesn't have the freedom we do, it makes me so immensely grateful and proud to be an America. I was a wonderful reminder that our  freedom comes at a price.

I love this one with the rocks on top. My sis let me steal her camera for some shots :)
My favorite thing was the "Changing of the Guard" at the grave of the "Unknown Solider"
I cried as I watched.
After the cemetery we headed home and my brother Jon gave us some amazing gifts that he brought back from Afghanistan for us. I cried when he handed me an American flag that had flown over his camp and was also attached to his large military vehicle sometimes. He gave us all very sentimental gifts and we all sat and cried a little and felt grateful for each other. I love my family so much.

The last day, before we dropped my brother and sister at the airport, my dad chauffeured us into DC to see some last minute things. On the way we stopped to see some famous battlefields...

and snapped a few pictures as a family...did I mention we are weird. My kids call my dad "Goofy Grandpa" it's not ever just Grandpa.

Oh ya, it was SOOO SOOO cold. I went from 85 degree weather in Texas to 30 degrees with wind! W. Virginia is BEAUTIFUL though.
We stopped at the DC temple and it was amazing!
We saw the White house and went to the Smithsonian again before we had to drop Kim and Jon at the airport.
Saying goodbye to them was hard :( I don't know the next time we will all be together again.

The next day it was just me and my parents and Joe. We went to the COOLEST old Town called "Harper's Ferry".  It's location at the intersection of 2 huge rivers was a big deal during the civil war because it was a central route for trade. Lots of battles were fought to secure it. It was a beautiful little town.
I know that was the longest post ever, but it was an action packed few days. I am SO happy I was able to go and to see my family. I am blessed to to have them and that we are still close. Thanks for the great trip Dad & Mom :)

3 Say What's:

Amy said...

So much fun for you to see your family! And to tour D.C. too (without kids tagging along). I can just imagine your entire kooky family having a blast together! Except in my memories Jake and Joe are 8 and 6. I cannot believe how old we have all gotten--except your mom, of course. :) Love you and your family!

10zfam said...

Looks like a blast. I would love to go back to DC. I went when I was in Jr.high and didn''t appreciate it as much as I would today.

Kim said...

this post made me cry and laugh. cry cause i miss your beautiful guts! and your face and being with you for three whole days! i feel like my arm is missing! and laugh cause the subway still is funny! love our crazy family!

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