Washington DC – Day 2 – The One with Uncle Nick

Hot, humid, so much walking, wet, tired legs, family, adventure, so much walking, museums, monuments.

Monday was a very long day. By the time we returned to the hotel, the adults had close to 25,000 steps so the children had many more. There were some points where I didn’t think they would be able to walk anymore. They really deserved that swim at the end of the day.

We started our journey with the long escalator ride into the Rosslyn Metro and headed to our first stop – The American History Museum and then lunch.

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Throughout the morning I had been texting my brother who lives in the area and we made plans to meet after lunch. The kids love Uncle Nick and were so excited to see him when he arrived at The Air and Space Museum. I was happy that they were hanging on someone else for a change. Juliana stayed especially close to him, holding his hand and talking non-stop as we explored.

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After Air and Space we stopped for ice cream and it started to drizzle so we stood under some trees until we finished our treats and then started walking toward the Museum of Natural History, or as my brother and I call it – Yay the Science Museum! Instead of slowing down the rain picked up and we were all soaked by the time we arrived. Between the humidity and the rain it was a very wet day.

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There is a cool new exhibit called Q?rius where kids can touch and examine a huge catalogue of specimens. We pulled out samples like fossils and touched them and looked at them under microscopes. I wish we would have known about the exhibit earlier in the day; we didn’t have much time before they closed.

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Once the museums started to close we started walking some more. Each of the kids had a turn riding on Uncle Nick’s back between the Museum and The Washington Monument. The sun was bright and it was hot and very humid. We reached the top of the hill and took a break for water and gummy worms.

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Next stop was the WWII Monument which was new to us. Then we said good-bye to Uncle Nick – he headed home and we took a short break before we continued our walk. Ruslan volunteered to carry the backpack for a while since I was wearing my camera; he is such a good helper.

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Our last three stops were the Korean Memorial, The Lincoln Monument, and The Vietnam Memorial.

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Then we decided to get some dinner on the way to the metro and ended up walking a very long way, taking the metro back to Rosslyn and eating near the hotel. We were all exhausted but of course the kids had energy to go swimming. It was a long day and thankfully they fell asleep without too much trouble.

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Washington DC – Day 1

Since we didn’t have a beach vacation planned for this year we decided we would plan some smaller road trips. So when Scott found out the Chelsea (Premier League Soccer team) would be playing in DC this summer, the family adventure to DC was planned.

We loaded up the van and hit the road on a Sunday morning. We drove most of the way before we stopped at a Cracker Barrel for lunch.

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Then we made the rest of the drive to Rosslyn, VA. We stayed at the Key Bridge Marriot which is located at the end of the Key Bridge, just inside the VA state line. We had a lovely view of the Potomac River and Georgetown. There was a metro stop a few blocks away and that plus walking (oh my, so much walking) is how we got around. After we checked in and got settled we headed to the metro and bought metro passes for everyone.

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Our first stop was Arlington National Cemetery and we walked up to the top of the Cemetery to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for the Changing of the Guard. The kids sat quietly (I think that they were happy not to be walking anymore) throughout the wait and the ceremony.

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Then we hopped back on the metro and headed into DC to find dinner. Based on a quick search I found a burger and shake place that ended up being really good and quick which we needed for the hungry children (Burger, Tap & Shake). I had the black cherry milkshake – it was delicious.

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Back to the hotel for bed – hotel sleep with kids is not my favorite, but eventually everyone fell asleep.

Sometimes It’s Like We Aren’t From the Same Family

Last night Ruslan was standing in his bedroom crying after his bath. I went in and asked what was wrong and he cried, “The lotion tasted bad and it feels yucky in my throat!” Feeling very confused I asked he said that he lotion and when he confirmed it, I asked why. “Wyatt tried it and said it was good so I tried it too. And it wasn’t good. I thought it would good because the soap tastes so good.”

So far I had learned that Ruslan has eaten and enjoyed soap in the past and tried lotion and didn’t like it.

I settled Ruslan down and gave him a snack.

Then I talked to Wyatt. I asked if he had eaten lotion “Yes”. Why did you eat lotion? He shrugged and said, ” I just wanted to try it because the soap tastes really good.”

After the second confirmation that the soap tastes really good, I decided that I needed to know what soap they were eating. I asked Wyatt to show me the soap and he pointed to the soap dispenser on the bathroom counter – Dial anti-bacterial, foaming soap. Granted it does smell good, but why on earth would they eat it?

Later I asked Juliana if she knew that the boys were eating the soap and she said, “No! The boys are really weird. Sometimes it’s like we aren’t from the same family.” So we know how Juliana feels about the situation.

I explained to both boys that they should not eat any soap, lotion, shampoo or any similar products.

After they were asleep, I realized that there isn’t any lotion in their bathroom. This morning I asked what bottle had the lotion that they tried – it was the conditioner. 

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A Day in the Life – 2015 Edition

Every few years I try to record a relatively normal day in our life. Usually I make a note to do this in a year where our schedule has changed – for example the year that Juliana started Kindergarten. This was the first year of school of Ruslan and Wyatt so during their last week of school I captured a normal day in our lives. It’s always interesting to me to look back and see how much our daily routine changes as the children get older. Life with toddler Juliana is very different than life with three school aged children.

6:00 – Wake-up, shower and get myself ready. Get lunches out of the fridge and add to lunch boxes along with an ice pack. Attach lunch boxes to backpacks and then wake-up the sleepy children. Move sleepy children through the process of getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating breakfast and putting shoes on and then out the door to the bus.

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7:30 – At my desk for work. This was a work from home day for me. If it had been an office day, I would have left for the office before 7:00. I am generally at my desk working and on conference calls all day. The only real difference between working from home and being in the office is that I get to see my children get on the bus in the morning and I am there when they get off the bus in the afternoon – those are good days.


4:00 – The bus arrives and there is a flurry of activity as they hop off the bus and come in the house. Lunch boxes are unpacked, backpacks are put away and the kids have a snack and some quiet time while I go back to my desk.

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5:00 – The evening hours include dinner and activities: soccer practice, gymnastics, etc. This particular evening was trash night which is one of Juliana’s chores.


7:00 – The start of bedtime – baths and reading time and eventually sleep. The boys are usually in bed by 7:30 and Juliana has an additional hour that she can be downstairs and is allowed to read upstairs when after she goes to her room for the night.

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The rest of the day for me includes: packing lunches (including a lunch for me if I have an office day), making sure everyone has clean clothes for the next day, laundry and other household activities, and watching mindless TV with Scott before I drag myself to bed much too late.

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Different Perspectives From Our Family Vacation

We took a quick family road trip to Washington, DC at the end of July. I have lots of stories to tell about our trip. As I was downloading and flipping through the pictures some of them caught my attention. Pictures of people taking pictures and pictures where the story changes.

We were walking along the Mall Monday afternoon when I asked Wyatt to take a picture of us (Ruslan was with my brother). He stood in front of us and I was pointing out how to make sure we were all in the frame when someone stopped and asked if he could take the picture. I didn’t realize how excited Wyatt was to take our picture until I saw how disappointed he was when I looked at these pictures. In the future I will give Wyatt more opportunities to take a turn behind the camera.

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When we reached the Washington Monument we were all hot and sweaty and tired of walking. The kids wanted nothing to do with having their picture taken.
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Things were slightly better by the time we reached the Lincoln Memorial.
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I love the perspective on this selfie.
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I was taking a picture of Juliana in front of the Eleanor Roosevelt Statue when I turned and spotted Wyatt a few feet away – not quite as happy as his sister.
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I took a picture of the boys sweetly sleeping and turned around minutes later to find them wildly repositioned.
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These are some of my favorite pictures from the trip. We had walked from the Mall to the Tidal Basin and around to the Jefferson Memorial. We were happy to be sitting in the shade and I thought I would get a picture of the three of them together. This picture is so typical of trying to get the three of them to look at me and smile.

And then Wyatt moved to sit with them and I suddenly had all three of them looking at me and smiling.

Better yet, Scott took a picture at the same time.

Wyatt’s Second Favorite Day


I made a promise to the kids at the beginning of the summer – they would each get one afternoon at Kennywood alone with me. At different heights and with different likes, taking the three of them together means that someone is always unhappy with the ride choice. Taking one at a time means . . . → Read More: Wyatt’s Second Favorite Day

Eleven Years and Our Winter Get Away

Today Scott and I celebrate 11 years of marriage.

I doubt that Scott and I will ever take a vacation on our anniversary because running away from cold Pittsburgh in the winter is far too appealing. Today is as good as any to finish the blog post I started in February when we . . . → Read More: Eleven Years and Our Winter Get Away

Happy Father’s Day


Happy Father’s Day Scott from Juliana, Ruslan, and Wyatt! The letters aren’t getting any smaller so the children must be getting bigger again. {DAD Series 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014} They are better at standing still and staying in the same space, maybe next year is the year that the stand still and smile.

. . . → Read More: Happy Father’s Day

The Perfect Addition


From the first moment I saw this house 4 years ago, I loved almost everything about it. The rest was cosmetic and we have been slowly working on changes. There were 3 large panels with Chinese drawings separating the front entrance from the living room. It makes sense to have a division between the . . . → Read More: The Perfect Addition

The Love of Math is Serious


All three kids love math. The boys have enjoyed numbers and counting for as long as they could talk. Ruslan used to come home from school counting which he had been doing since he left school. The boys quiz each other on math problems and love math assignments at school – they are fun. . . . → Read More: The Love of Math is Serious