Our Guilt Trip To DC

Last year we accidentally started a tradition of “last day of spring break Guilt Trips.”  This is how it began (THIS year’s guilt trip will be in a future post.)…

Over spring break, we did nothing all week.  And I mean noth. ing.  Unless you count sleeping and playing video games.  Well, just sleeping for me.  I saw all the fun trip photos everyone else in the world seemed to be posting on Facebook and came to a terrifying realization.  When the kids returned to school and were asked what they did during spring break, they’d have nothing fun to tell.  Noth. ing.  And I’d look like the slacker Mom.

With one day of break left, I declared it National-go-somewhere-fun-so-I-look-like-a-good-Mom day.  We live very close to DC so could go anytime we want.  But I chose one of the biggest tourist days of the year to go.  Brilliant.

We spent 2 hours getting there (including pit stops on the way for the bank, gas station and breakfast, of course) since the rest of the country was also on the way there.

We planned to go to the Spy Museum, since we’d never been.  We usually go to the free museums, but I knew I’d get extra “good Mom points” for spending money.  Unfortunately, lots of other Moms must have been going for those points because the line was out the door, down the block, around the corner, and down another block.  I had already spent the morning on the road, I wasn’t going to spend the afternoon waiting in line just to ease my conscious. Not when we could literally come any other day of the year.

Plan B, free museums.

One problem.  Zero parking spaces.  Parking garages full.  We drove and drove.  And drove.  At one point Eric asked “Didn’t we pass that same building 20 minutes ago?”  He was right.  We did.  We finally found a space near our house (kidding, but it seemed that far away).

We started walking down the busy sidewalks and after watching many people dodge us, I realized we were taking up the entire sidewalk.  Not only weren’t we walking single-file, we were walking hexadic-file.  (Yeah, I made up a new use for that word.)

There they go, just a walkin' down the street.   Getting in the way of everyone they meet.
There they go, just a walkin’ down the street.
Getting in the way of everyone they meet.

As we strolled toward the National Mall, Eric very excitedly yelled “A PIGEON!!  A PIGEON!!  I’VE NEVER SEEN A PIGEON BEFORE!”

We really don’t get out much.

They were equally thrilled over the DC castle.  What?  You didn’t know DC has a castle?  Some may call it the old Post Office but it is Chez Parcel Palace.  Like I said, we don’t get out much.

Post Office Castle

Plan B included a request to go to the Pencil Building (National Monument).  Unfortunately it was roped off for earthquake repair and this was as close as we could get.

Washington Monument Construction

Moving on to Plan C, we headed to the Lincoln Memorial.  We had to take a break on the steps.  After all, we had had a busy day of…nothing.  Oh wait, we had the pigeon sighting.

Steps

We discovered my cell phone camera had magical cloning powers.  Must have been the pigeons.

Jimmy clone

The Vietnam Memorial was the serious part of our day.  Seeing the names of every fallen soldier etched into the wall was an indescribable experience.  There was complete and utter silence, even though there were hundreds of people walking through with us.

Vietnam Memorial

As we exited the memorial, the somber moment ended abruptly.  I will attempt to recreate the scene.

Close your eyes.

Imagine hearing music that is getting louder and louder.  It is blaring.  You realize the blaring music is coming from a boom box.  A boom box in a flowered basket.  A flowered basket attached to a (very) small bike.  A (very) small bike driven by a (very) large middle aged man.  A (very) large middle aged man riding with no handle bars because he’s waving his arms in the air to the beat of the blaring music.

And the song that is blaring?  “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?” 

Bike rider Don't Ya Wish Your GirlfriendWas Hot Like Me

After that excitement, I was ready to call it a day but the boys wanted the FULL Nation’s Capital experience, which meant souvenir shopping.  They went from street vendor to street vendor like kids in a candy shop. “A GIANT dime for only a dollar???” “Moooom!  They have an AMERICAN FLAG tie!!” (Remember, we don’t get out much.)  The result: tacky tourists extraordinaire.

Tacky Tourists

The most expensive item (the tie) was $5.  We made out like bandits compared to what the spy museum would have cost and had four ecstatic guys.

Jimmy even got to put his FBI beanie to use.  Greg, you aren’t bribing an officer with that giant dime are you???

FBI

We ended the day with the holy grail for boys: Phillips all-you-can-eat buffet.

Remember the tidbit of information about the restaurant.  It is crucial to the chain of events for THIS year’s Guilt Trip to Bawlmer (Baltimore).

Quote of the day (after observing many joggers): “It must be a pain to run in DC with all the crowds and roads.  It’s run, stop, wait, run, run, stop, run, stop.  Hey Mom, YOU should jog in DC because you stop all the time too.” ~Jimmy

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***The information below is sponsored. I was compensated for sharing these tips on purchasing a bike (hey, now maybe we can go on a fancier Guilt Trip next spring break!) but all opinions, stories and shenanigans are my own.***   

Cycle of Life: Buying Kids’ Bikes Online

Buying kids bikes online has many benefits, but it can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if you are looking for your child’s first bike. Size is an important factor when bike shopping (something boom box man obviously didn’t consider).  A good rule of thumb is your child should be able to touch the ground with the tips of their toes while sitting. One of the best bargains in buying a bike online is to simply buy it used. Because kids outgrow their bikes, parents often post these bikes for sale on the Internet. Another option is to go to a local store and test out bikes there. Once you’ve figured out which bike works best, go online and order it. Not only can you be more confident in your purchase, you’ll save money through ordering it online. The final thing to do before you purchase is to make sure you’re in shape!  Once your child learns how to ride the bike, they may not want to stop and you might have to dash after them!

12 thoughts on “Our Guilt Trip To DC”

  1. We don’t go out much too! Summer is coming to an end and we have yet to go out on a FUN adventure. Our summer bucket list is going down the drain so I can foresee a guilt trip for us in the near future. Pfft.

  2. You had me at ‘A PIGEON!!! A PIGEON!!!’ but Fat Man on a Tiny Bike has made my sides hurt and my son look at me in a troubled sort of way. I’m glad I’m not the only one for whom family days out are more of a misadventure than anything else. Nice move with the stalls vs gift shop rip-off experience.

  3. Hilarious, as always. My 4 yr old just about lost her mind when we saw pigeons last weekend in the city, which we never go to but had to attend a family Christmas party (in May. Long story.) I can totally relate. Those stairs looked exhausting. Once when we visited Philadelphia (for less than a day, literally only so I could tell my son he visited the Rocky statue) we climbed a set of steps like that, and I thought I would need an ambulance less than 1/2 way up. He went ahead, slowly followed by my husband, while I sat with … my thoughts. Luckily no one tried to kidnap my son because there was literally nothing I could have done about it. That picture of the man on the bike w/the boombox in the flower basket is PRICELESS. I think that would make a great Christmas card!

  4. I just love your new meaning for the phrase “guilt trip.” Great story about how sometimes the best times are those least planned. I love that it didn’t take much to make your kids happy. And I LOVE the picture of all your boys with their souvenirs!

  5. We went to DC once. We did go to the Spy Museum, because the government was shut down and everything else was closed. Our trip was wacky, random fun, just like yours! (But with way more bathroom breaks because my kids are little with bladders the size of a pebble.)

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