On Friday the 23rd we set out to meet a friend at the Georgetown Waterfront Park. We were aiming to be there at 9:30 but didn't end up parking until 9:58 (we had to stop at Target to pick up some pants for Rachel and then hit some traffic). Unfortunately, our friend got stuck in such terrible traffic that we weren't able to meet up at all, but we enjoyed the park quite a bit anyway. It's a beautiful part of DC, and made us feel like we weren't even in the middle of a bustling city.
Here's Andrew leading the children around the labyrinth at the park:
Evidently labyrinths are a form of meditation. There was a sign prompting us to focus on x on the way in and y on the way out. Apparently they're used in lieu of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, or simply to reflect on your spirituality or relationship with God. Even Duke Chapel holds one occasionally. Who knew? Not me.
I'm not sure that any of our children took things quite so seriously, but fortunately this park's labyrinth is also just for fun.
Zoë loved looking out at the river. She really wanted to go for a swim!
Here are the kids hanging out at the stroller:
When I mentioned that we were going to Georgetown Waterfront Park, Benjamin heard "water park" and kept on begging to go to the water park the whole time we were there. Andrew said, "Bud, there is no water park. This is a waterfront park. Here's the water. This is the park. That's it." But I said something about thinking I had seen pictures of children playing in a fountain...just as the fountain came into view.
"Don't get too wet," I admonished as the children ran off.
"We won't," were their final words to me.
The three big kids got soaking wet.
But Zoë, my little lover of water, somehow managed to stay dry!
She wanted to play in the water with everyone else, but every time she got close...
...she'd turn around...
And head straight back to me (with a look of terror).
I'm not even sure why because it was a pretty warm day, the water wasn't too cold, she has loved every form of water she's ever encountered: showers, bathtubs, toilets, swimming pools, rain, puddles...
So she stayed dry while her siblings had a blast getting soaked to the skin.
When they were all finished running through the fountain we headed down the river steps to play around for a bit. There were a lot of ducks, which Zoë found entertaining.
Benjamin wanted to play in the water some more:
Zoë tried to climb in to go for a little swim as well (multiple times); we had to keep a close eye on her. This is the look on her face the last time Andrew saved her from dunking herself in the Potomac.
It's also the look on my face when after a lovely stroll through historic Georgetown (which is really quite lovely)...
...we found a ticket on our windshield!!
Apparently the area we parked in was not open to parking until 10:00 am because it's a "high traffic" area. We'd assumed we were in the clear because (a) we didn't see the sign (though there was one (we found it after)) and (b) there were other cars already parked there (who also got ticketed, we saw) and (c) we parked right in front of a police car and the officer watched us unload all our many children, pay for our parking at the meter, and then waved to us. And then apparently he hopped out of his car and rang up a ticket for us.
Ah, the magic of DC.
So we ended up paying at the meter and then through the nose! We're just lucky we didn't get towed because according to our ticket the officer requested a towing for us as well.
Why didn't the meter have a message saying, "You can't pay for parking until 10:00"? Why didn't the officer gently inform the obviously out-of-towners that they weren't parked properly (for two whole minutes)? Because parking is one big money-making racket. That's why.
The line, "Gee, Officer Krupke," comes to mind...
Our day only went up from there, fortunately. We took a tour at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which was pretty cool. Probably. I dunno. Zoë was doing this weird thing where she was fine outside but the minute we took her inside anywhere she'd start pitching a fit. I spent most of my time futilely trying to help her keep her cool. But maybe the others managed to glean something interesting from the tour...?
Seeing the machinery and the process of printing money was pretty neat, I have to admit, even if I wasn't really paying attention, like, at all. I was making up my own little narrative for the baby the whole time.
Here's Rachel with one-hundred-thousand Hamiltons:
And Miriam with the same:
After the treasury we walked over to the Jefferson Memorial. The kids saw all these pigeons in a field nearby and wanted to go chase them, but apparently DC pigeons are unflappable because the children were unable to stir the pigeons up in a cloud of frenzy. Instead they merely lazily hopped out of the way. Rather unsatisfying, in my opinion, but the kids had fun running wild anyway.
Look! We've almost made it to the Jefferson Memorial!
We made the kids do so much walking this trip. When I was talking to my friend Annie about it at soccer a week or so ago she said, "So, did you guys take your bikes?"
And I was like, "BIKES!"
That could have potentially made things a whole lot easier.
But then again, Miriam can't quite start, stop, or steer while riding her bike and I rather hate pulling the bike trailer (and then Benjamin and Zoë would have had to sit beside each other everywhere we went and we'd have to worry about the kids riding in the DC traffic, which would have been nuts.
I don't know if bikes would have been any better.
Here are the kids in front of Jefferson's statue:
Benjamin decided to initiate a little game of hide-and-seek while we were here, a game a expressly prohibited while we were on vacation. I was not too happy to see him running away from everyone. He was not too happy to be caught.
He also didn't appreciate the lecture I gave to him about not playing hide-and-seek in unfamiliar bustling metropolises with 18.9 million tourists passing through annually (approximately 5200 tourists on any given day). Because you just don't do that when you're four years old (it brought me back to that one time we lost Miriam in DC when she was about Benjamin's age (go our team!)).
He got over his disappointment, however, and figured out how to have fun while remaining with everybody else. Here are the kids posing on a platform:
Here's everyone (but me) sitting on the steps:
Here's Zoë lounging on the cool marble:
Andrew had to run Benjamin to the bathroom so I took a few pictures of just the girls while we waited. Or...tried to at any rate.
Zoë wasn't exactly a willing participant.
And here are the last few shots I took of the day:
We stopped by the food court in the Ronald Reagan Building before heading back to Amanda's place, just in time for her to whisk the girls off to the opening night of Man of La Mancha (for which Amanda did the choreography). They came home raving about how good it was and were quite impressed when I kissed them goodnight and told them to dream their impossible dreams.
I've never actually seen Man of La Mancha, but I did read my mom's dissertation...
I really wish Andrew and I could have seen the show. Amanda even offered to babysit so that we could go but Zoë is such a particular baby that I would feel too guilty leaving her with anyone (and knowing that she will scream inconsolably the whole time). But I'm glad the girls had fun with Amanda!