Friday, March 3, 2023

7 Quick Takes about Washington, D.C., Being Very Territorial about Snow, and Times When Life is Actually Like a Box of Chocolates

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


Where I live, the kids have a random week of school vacation that is cleverly entitled, "February break." No one knows why. We decided that we would take the opportunity this year to go to Washington, D.C. instead of being bored and cold at home.

And because we seem to be unable to take a vacation anymore without making it super-complicated, we coordinated with my dad and stepmom so they could meet us there and we could all vacation together.

It turns out that this is an awesome time to go to D.C. This is the lowest tourist point of the year, so hotels were dirt-cheap and there were no lines or crowds. And this year, the winter has been so mild that the weather was in the 50s practically every day. One day, it got up to 70°. We saw daffodils starting to come up and cherry blossoms starting to bloom on the trees.

The sky when walking around the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial. There's no iconic scenery in this picture, but it's my favorite from the trip.


We were driving there, which was economical but made for a long road trip. Before we left, I sought out one of the teenage girls in the youth organization I lead at church and asked her for tips, since she travels cross-country with her family all the time. 

"Bring lots of snacks," she said immediately and emphatically. "Food is the best way to prevent murder."


The younger kids don't really remember our last trip to Washington, D.C., and the older kids only had faint memories of it. 

This time, we took a tour of the White House and got tickets to go up the Washington Monument, and saw the Declaration of Independence.

We enjoyed the beautiful greenhouse at the National Arboretum (I had to laugh when I saw this sign posted inside the bathroom stalls:)

The National Arboretum: making literally every moment of your visit educational.

We saw the First Ladies' inaugural gowns and the original R2-D2 and C-3PO costumes from Star Wars at the American History Museum. 

We looked at the Hope diamond and a endless displays of different animals at the Natural History Museum.

"Ugh. It's a gross thing eating an even grosser thing."
-the 16-year-old, who hates sweet potatoes more than anything

We went to the Air and Space Museum, where it was confirmed to me once again that I'm pretty bored by both air and space. 

And the kids were alternately confused and horrified by the modern art in the Hirshhorn Museum (we didn't stay there long.) 

We also went to the National Spy Museum. In my opinion, it wasn't nearly worth the ridiculous ticket prices, but I really did enjoy some of the interesting tidbits I learned there: 

See: "birds aren't real." Google it.


Just before we left on our trip, our second pet rat, Piper, passed away. The kids were more attached to Scout and she died just 2 months ago, so they weren't as broken up this time. 

We could tell Piper was getting old, but she must've had a stroke or something and was mostly paralyzed when we woke up one morning. The few movements she could make, she didn't really seem to be in control of. It was awfully pitiful to see.

What happened next depends on your age in our family. If you're under 12, the official story is that she died peacefully that night in her sleep. If you're over 12, she was euthanized via carbon dioxide after the younger kids went to bed. 

I cannot emphasize enough that Googling instructions for a homemade gas chamber is NOT what we envisioned when we thought, "Wouldn't it be fun to get pets for the kids??"


We got some snow this week after what's been a really un-snowy winter. The kids had a snow day on Tuesday and went out to play in it first thing in the morning. 

By the time I got my snow gear on and went out to join them, the youngest three were all busy dividing the backyard up into various large circles.

I asked what the circles were for.

"This is my licking area," the 6-year-old explained. "And that's hers. I'm going to go make another licking area in the front yard, be right back."

Kids from big families are weird about food, and will either hide or label a special treat so it doesn't get devoured by their siblings. Apparently it's the same thing with backyard snow. Which apparently tastes different than front yard snow.


My 16-year-old was given this Taste Test of Caramels, where you blind-taste the chocolates and guess their flavors, and she's been debating who to share it with. 

She finally decided that her dad and I were two of the most discerning chocolate connoisseurs she knew, and asked if we wanted to try it with her:

Do we want to? What a silly question.

With great ceremony, the three of us tested the chocolates one at a time. We cut each one into quarters, and after smelling and tasting our slice we voted on what flavor we thought it was and how sure we were. When we got to the end, we elected someone to try the remaining quarters to double-check our answers and make the final call.

How did we do? Well, we removed one chocolate ahead of time because it was espresso-flavored and Latter-day Saints don't do coffee. And we got two flavors mixed up, although we were all skeptical about what the box said and pretty sure of our own guesses. But that leaves a total of 9 correct guesses, and I think that's pretty good!


The results for National Geographic's Picture of the Year contest are out, with both the winning picture and the runners up. 

Check them out if you have some free time this weekend, because they're awfully stunning. Which one is your favorite?

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1 comment:

PurpleSlob said...

My licking circle? Wow, that tickled me!