Road Trippin’ to Washington, D.C. – Day 7

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We got up this morning and had a yummy pancake breakfast made by Jen… yum! Then we loaded up the car and headed to the New Carrollton Metro Station. We parked and headed in to the station like pros. We bought our daily passes and headed down to the train.

We hopped on the Orange Line to Eastern Market. Josh was determined to find an Abe Lincoln beard and someone sent us a tip on where to get one. We headed down to a store called Backstage. On the way there, we passed a cool used bookstore for kids. Josh headed in to buy the beard and I took the kiddos into the bookstore. The place was called The Playseum and it was SO cool! It was set up like a city and each room had a theme with books and dress up clothes and toys. The kids had a blast running around playing with everything and we even found some great books and a Unites States puzzle.

After our little excursion, we headed back to the Metro and took the Orange Line to Foggy  Bottom. We walked a couple of blocks to where Aunt Diana and Uncle Hugo live. We spent a couple hours eating lunch and chatting with them. Max and Ava worked on their puzzle and played cars. I tried (unsuccessfully) to get Lia to take a nap.

We decided to head out for ice cream. We walked around Georgetown for awhile and ended up at Gelateria Dolce Vita. We ordered two cones and a cup full of ice cream. We sat outside and enjoyed the yummy goodness. After that, we walked some more. We headed up to the Foggy Bottom Metro Station. We had intended to catch the train up to the White House, but changed plans at the last minute.

After consulting our handy dandy iPhone map, we decided our best best was to walk to the Lincoln Memorial, then to the Washington Monument, then to the White House and catch the Metro from there. So we started walking. It was a nice long walk up to the Lincoln Memorial. It started sprinkling when we were almost there.

We rode the elevator up to the top (we were pushing the big stroller) and walked in to check out Abe. It was jam packed in there due to the rain and SO humid! We didn’t last long in there and headed right back down. By that time, it was POURING outside. We waited inside a few minutes, and then decided to make a run for it as it was getting hot and crowded in there!  A little rain can’t stop the Solars from having fun.

We ran through the pouring rain and stopped underneath an overhang to wait out the storm. The rain started slowing down after about 5 minutes, so we started the long trek to the Washington Monument. The girls had SO much fun splashing in all the puddles on the way and so did Daddy. Max just rode in the stroller… I think he was pretty tired today.

We finally made it to the Washington Monument (it’s quite a walk!) and Max really wanted to walk ALL THE WAY up to it. We did and then started heading toward the White House. It was getting late, so we got the kids each a hot dog from a street vendor. We got to the White House and the kids were surprised to learn that Barack Obama actually lives there. Max said “No Ava. That’s not the White House. That’s where Barack Obama lives.” And then I told them it’s the same thing.

They were pretty worn out by this time, even though they mostly rode in the stroller. If you look at the pictures, you can totally tell they were tired! But I think they enjoyed seeing all the sights! After the White House, we headed to the nearest Metro Station, Farragut West. The entrance we went to was closed, so we had to walk a couple more blocks to find the right entrance.

We finally made it into the station, waited a few minutes for our train, and then we were on our way back to New Carrollton. The kids were crazy hyper in the car and when we got back to Jen’s house, they had a blast playing with her kids for a little while, until we made them finally go to bed.

Tomorrow, we are pretty much just hanging out and Josh is doing two family sessions. So don’t expect too much craziness from us tomorrow… but there will be photos of us wearing an Abe Lincoln beard 😉


The Playseum, D.C. – 5 stars: This place was a great accidental find! What a great idea for a used bookstore! The kids had tons of fun playing in all the themed rooms and we found some fun used books and a US map puzzle.

Gelateria Dolce Vita – 4 stars: Good ice cream is not hard to come by in the city! It was a bit pricey, but we were in Georgetown, so that is to be expected. The place was clean, they had tons of flavors, and everyone was friendly.


Road Tripping to Washington, D.C. – Day 6

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We woke up this morning kinda late… not sure how that happened 😉 We REALLY wanted to hit up the beach again this morning, but it just wasn’t in the cards for us. It took what seemed like forever just to get all our stuff packed up, feed everybody, and load the car. By then it was already 10 am.

The kids were practically crying because they didn’t want to leave the beach. We made a quick run down to the shore to stick our feet in and then headed to the car. It’s safe to say all of the Solars were sad to leave the beach.

It was a LONG drive from Ocean City to the New Carrollton Metro Station. We were starving to death so we stopped at Subway to grab some sandwiches on our way to the Metro Station. We pulled in and tried to figure out where to park. Once we got parked, we loaded up the stroller and headed into the station.

It’s been about 8 years since Josh and I have been to D.C. Thankfully, we’ve been before and ridden the Metro, so at least we had an idea of what to do once we got there. We found the ticketing machines and bought all-day passes. Bonus: the girls both got to ride for free, so we only had to buy 3 passes.

We put our tickets through the slot and headed up to the train terminal. The kids were just amazed at the whole thing! We got super lucky because the New Carrollton station is on the Orange Line and we were able to take that directly into the city to the Smithsonian station. Our train came and we hopped on and took it all the way into the city.

We got to the Smithsonian station and got off the train. We loaded up the stroller again and started walking to the Air & Space Museum. We finally got there about 2:45 pm to meet Uncle Hugo… a little late, but at least we got there!

We spent about 2 hours walking around the Air & Space Museum. Uncle Hugo gave us a great tour… he volunteers there a couple days a week, so we really got the inside scoop. The kids waffled between being SUPER grumpy and fighting like crazy to loving all the things to see and do. Poor Lia was pretty tired today, so she had a couple meltdowns, but we survived.

We grabbed some chicken nuggets from the McDonald’s in the food court before we headed on our way. We had a little bit of time to kill, so we decided to walk down to the Capitol building. Max has been super stoked to see it for awhile now. Every time he sees a building with a similar top, he gets excited and asks if that is the capitol. So, he was pretty happy to see the “real one” today.

After we took a couple pictures in front of the Capitol, we walked over to 3rd & D to get on the Metro at the Federal SW station. We took the Orange Line from there to the Clarendon station. We had plans to meet up with my friend Susannah (who I met at WPPI two years ago) and her husband Josue. They had a quick drive in, so they were already waiting for us when we got there.

We had no idea where to go for dinner, but luckily they had done some reconnaissance and found a few good places. We decided on Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza. It was an easy choice because I knew the kids would at least eat plain noodles. We ordered spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, and a piece of pepperoni pizza. I also got a fountain soda… a Boylan Bottling Co. cane sugar one… yum!

We ate and talked and laughed with Susannah and Josue. And the kids were a bit wild and crazy… not TOO bad, but bad enough that the couple sitting catty-corner to us decided to give us the evil eye for about 10 minutes. We decided we should probably get out of there quickly, so we loaded up and headed out. We intended to try some cupcakes from the place next door, but they looked a little too fancy for the little Solars.

We headed to Pinkberry, but then Susannah mentioned an ice cream shop so we made a quick u-turn and headed straight for Larry’s Homemade Ice Cream. It turned out to be just perfect! By then, the kids were back to being a little too tired and cranky, so we decided to call it a night. We said our goodbyes and headed for the metro station. We hopped back on the Orange Line and rode it all the way back to New Carrollton. We made our way to the car, drove back to Jen’s house, and plopped the kiddos in bed.

Tomorrow, we’re headed back to the city to visit Aunt Diana and Uncle Hugo, do some more sightseeing, and (hopefully!) squeeze in a  nap for Princess Grumpy Butt Lia. (Sidenote: sometimes in the mornings, we like to ask Lia if she is a Princess Happy Butt or a Princess Grumpy Butt. She usually say Princess Happy Butt, but sometimes that doesn’t last long!)


The Metro, 5 stars: I have to say, the stations and the trains themselves were very well-kept and super clean (especially compared to the NY subways!). It was pretty easy to figure out where to go and what to do.

Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, Washington D.C. – 5 stars: This place is really cool! There is a ton of stuff to do for kids and enough to keep the adults interested. And the best part is that it’s free to visit (like all the Smithsonians), so you don’t have to feel like you need to spend all day. It was very well taken care of and very clean… even the bathrooms!

Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza, Clarendon VA – 5 stars: The food was great! It’s kind of a self-service place except when they bring your food to the table. But that’s okay with us. Everything was great (except for the people giving us the evil eye, but oh well 🙂 We’ll eat here again next time we’re in the area.

Larry’s Homemade Ice Cream, Clarendon VA – 4 stars: Yum! The people were friendly and the ice cream was great! A little pricey, but I expected it for the area.


Road Trippin’ to Washington, D.C. – Day 5

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Talk about a late start. Thanks to our late night adventures, we didn’t get yesterday’s blog done until this morning. That, and sleeping in a bit, led to a really late start today. We had planned to drive to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware for the day and then head back to Jen’s house.

When we got up this morning, Jen told us that our friend Heather was leaving Ocean City today and they still had one night left on their condo rental. Score! So we packed up the car and started driving toward Ocean City, MD. We met up with Heather in Cambridge to get the keys to the condo.

Edited to add: Our friend Heather has mad meet up skills… she chose a meet up place and both of our GPS arrival times were within 2 minutes of each other!

Now, if you’ve been reading our blog for any amount of time, you’ll know that we’ve been working hard to knock out our Summer Bucket List. We were pretty stoked about crossing off water gun fight two days ago and treasure hunt yesterday. We’ve been trying to hit up a carnival for weeks now. Every time we’ve had one near home, it’s rained or been WAY too hot.

Well, you know our luck, there’s an amusement park (aka carnival!) on the pier in Ocean City. Sign us up! We arrived in Ocean City around 2 pm and headed straight for the pier.  If you’ve ever been to an amusement park on a pier (this was our second such adventure… remember Santa Monica?), you know that it costs a freaking fortune. So, we opted for the unlimited ride wristbands.  And, yes, this does count as a carnival 🙂

The girls were too little to ride a lot of the rides. Josh took Max on the bumper cars and I took the girls on some flying boat thing. Lia liked it for a few minutes and then started yelling “done! done!” Then we rode the ferris wheel. None of the kids have ever ridden a ferris wheel until today… they all liked it!  Especially Ava.

After the ferris wheel, I went to get us some Thrasher’s french fries while Josh took the kids on the carousel. The fries were amazing! FYI, they won’t let you put ketchup on them 😉 We munched on some fries and then rode on some spinning ride that Lia did not like. Then we rode the (really lame!) haunted roller coaster, which Lia also did not like. That was about the extent of the rides on the pier.

Since we went to the Jolly Roger Amusement Park, they actually have two locations in Ocean City, one on the pier and one in town. The wristbands covered both locations, so we went to the other location. They had WAY more kiddie rides there! There was a kiddie roller coaster  AND a big roller coaster (that Max and Ava LOVED!), tea cups, a helicopter ride, race cars (that Lia LOVED!), swings, climb through playground, and a train ride.

We were SO glad we went to the second park too. I kinda felt like, maybe, I got my money’s worth ;). Of course, you know, we were also really eager to get to the beach. By the time we left the “carnival” it was after 5 pm. We knew we had to eat something, so we headed straight for Dumser’s (our friend John recommended it). Josh and I got burgers, fries, and a chocolate shake (yum!). The kids had a pbj, but we decided to get them some nuggets and apples from Mickey D’s just to make sure they weren’t hungry.

Then we headed to our (oh yeah!) beach front condo. We rolled up and rode the elevator up to this ridiculous place that’s probably about as big as our first house… oh, and it’s got an ocean view from the balcony. We need to send a SUPER HUGE thank you to our friend Heather who hooked us up with the place for the night… AWESOME!!

So we dragged all our junk upstairs, ditched our shoes, and headed straight for the beach (we ate in the car during the 5 minute ride to our condo because we REALLY wanted to get to the beach). It was a short walk down to the beach. At first, all the kids were gung ho about getting in the water. The waves were HUGE! (Sidenote: maybe not huge for Maryland, but huge for us).

We splashed in the waves (can you bucket list, check?!) and played in the sand. That waterproof cast cover I bought Max came in handy since he wasn’t allowed to get sand in his cast or ocean water. He was pretty against wearing it at first, but I think he forgot about it by the time we got down to the water. We were down there about 15 minutes and Lia went too far in and got knocked over big time (hey, she’s little). I took her up to the condo and she decided she wanted to change and go back to the shore, so we did.

We spent a good hour playing. Max and Lia pretty much spent most of the time playing in the sand.  Ava (the crazy one!), wanted to splash and run and jump in the waves. Josh and I took turns running with her. We went out too far and got soaked. We laughed. We giggled. We ran like crazy. And then it was bedtime. We came in, showered up, did laundry, and threw the kiddos in bed.

We’re headed into D.C. tomorrow! We don’t have a lot planned for the day (that’s kinda how we roll in case you haven’t figured that out yet ;). We’re gonna hit up the Air & Space Museum with Uncle Hugo (best tour guide ever!) and meet my friend Susannah and her hubby for dinner. And we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we have enough time for a little more wave splashing before we leave Ocean City in the morning!


Jolly Roger Amusement Park(s), Ocean City MD – 4 stars: We had a fabulous time! Now, just to clarify, if we were rating just the pier location, we would have given it 1 star, because there were only 4 rides the girls could even ride. It was really kinda lame. BUT, our wristbands covered both parks and it only took us about 20 minutes to walk to our car, drive to the other park, park the car, and get inside. Overall, it cost our family almost $100 for about 2 1/2 hours of fun. But, because it wasn’t crowded, we were able to ride all the rides (except the big roller coaster) with less than a 2-3 minute wait. The kids had an absolute blast at the second location and if you have little kids, I would recommend just skipping the pier location and sticking to the in-town location.

Dumsers, Ocean City MD – 3 stars: The food was okay… WAY overpriced for what it was. It cost us over $20 for two hamburgers (the equivalent of a Sonic single burger), one order of fries, and a small milkshake. The milkshake was fantastic! I’ve heard they are known for their ice cream, not really their food. We’d definitely go back, but we would just get ice cream 😉

Sea Terrace BeachFront Condos, Ocean City, MD – 5 stars: Um, we’ve NEVER stayed in a condo while traveling, but this place rocks! There are two bedrooms (the kids’ room has 2 beds!) and two bathrooms, a fully stocked kitchen, two living room areas, and an ocean view balcony… it’s amazing!!