Yesterday was a really fun day! Some friends of ours from Ohio just moved to the D.C. area a few weeks ago. Amberly is their daughter, who is one of Charis's very dearest friends. The girls were so excited to get to see each other--it made saying goodbye in Ohio not so difficult to know we'd be able to spend a day touring D.C. before too long. We met at the White House Visitors' Center, which was surprisingly uninteresting. (I'm sure we adults would have enjoyed it without kids...) So we pretty much made it a bathroom stop, then walked toward the mall.
First stop was the National Archives, where we were pleasantly surprised to discover there was NO LINE. (During the several times we visited with family members during our tour in D.C., we ALWAYS waited in line!) Even more exciting for me was getting to see a rare copy of the Magna Carta! WOW! There are only 4 existing copies, and we got to see one! The kids were thrilled to actually see the Declaration of Independence, though they were surprised at how faded the document really is. After spending some time in the Rotunda, we browsed the displays that talk about how documents are preserved and how they play a role in our lives today--references for movies, etc.
We had a picnic lunch sitting by the fountains in the sculpture garden across from the art museum. It was quite pleasant in the shade. Then we split up--Charis, Amberly, Kenna, Angela, and I went through parts of the National Art Museum, mostly with me carrying Kenna to make sure she didn't get us in trouble by touching things. (If you've ever been to an art museum, you know how picky they are about that sort of thing, right, Dad?!) We didn't see a whole lot--it's incredibly spread out--but we did find some paintings we recognized from some of our Sonlight art books, and the sculptures we saw were interesting. Then we joined the rest of the crew at the Air & Space Museum, where the kids were lined up for a paper airplane contest after a presentation about the mechanics of flight.
We split up again, since Charis and Amberly wanted to see the Children's Discovery Center that the others had already gone through. So Brian took them while the rest of us went upstairs, headed for the space section that the boys wanted to see. The elevator spit us out near an exhibit about the Wright Brothers and the beginning of flight as we know it. We decided that we can see the real thing in Ohio and turned the corner to go to the space wing.
Tobin did not come with us.
It took a little while to realize that we were missing a child, and then began a mad, frantic search, going in and out of the areas around the elevator, calling his name, and fighting down the panic that was threatening to overtake me. SO MANY PEOPLE! Ted, holding onto Kenna, was running around with me, while Angela stayed with Arden, Christopher, and Kiersten. After what seemed like forever, we heard an announcement on the P.A. system--"If you have lost a child, please come to the security desk downstairs." We flew down the escalator, praying that it was Tobin who was waiting for his parents. I have never been so thankful to see his little face! After a joyful (and shaky) reunion, we went back upstairs, with Tobin grasping my hand tightly. We spent some more time maneuvering around the crowded museum before finally deciding that the little ones had had enough. (Lucan did get about an hour-long nap in the stroller during our time there, which is probably the longest nap he's had since we left Ohio.)
We walked the D family to their Metro station and said our goodbyes, then trudged back to the parking garage, where Kenna got her fingers stuck in the elevator door. Poor thing! She was screaming like mad, and the only thing we could do was simply yank her hand out. We did have an ice pack, which she kept on her fingers for a little bit after we were in the truck, and mercifully she conked out and had a good nap on the way back to Claire's house. During the drive, we read more in our Guardians of Ga'Hoole book--we have 1 1/2 chapters left! We also stopped at Whole Foods for Ted to pick up some wheat and strawberries so he could make pancakes for everyone Sunday morning before church.
Claire had a yummy beef and barley stew with homemade biscuits ready for us. Bob and Nathan were at Nathan's football game, but they joined us soon after we had a fire going in the backyard, and the sticky goodness of kids and s'mores began! Lucan had been bathed and put down for the night, but the other 11 kids and all of us parents enjoyed some time around the fire.
It was a bit of a rough night for Lucan, Ted, and me, since Lucan awoke at 1 a.m. and spent about an hour fussing and flailing for some unexplained reason. But he did eventually go back to sleep and actually slept until nearly 8:00 this morning! Ted is now working on the pancake batter--I helped him cut strawberries, and soon the pancake assembly line will commence. So I will close here so that I can help with this process and also get ready for church. I'm looking forward to visiting the B's church and worshiping corporately this morning! Last week we were touring Monticello, so it will be nice to be in a church again!