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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Washington, DC: The Mall

April lives just a couple hours west of Washington, D.C., so it was a natural stop during our trip to Virginia last week. Since we'd all been there before (and seen and done all there is to see and do), our two days in D.C. were more about spending time together and less about sightseeing or museum-hopping. Still, it was the first time Matt and I have visited the city together, so we decided to spend a day on the National Mall to officially check those sites off our "together" list. You know how it goes.
We kicked off Day 1 by sleeping in and playing with Tasha at the hotel, then rode the metro into the city. Trains of any type are super exciting when you're 19-months old!
Our first stop was the United States Capitol, followed by a nice long stroll to the Washington Monument.

Tasha sacrifices comfort and leans over as far as possible in her stroller to make sure she can hold her daddy's hand as they walk along. It's the sweetest thing!
After letting Tasha run in circles around the monument for awhile, we snagged a quick lunch from a yellow truck (it's very important to buy from yellow trucks, not white).
Then it was onto the war memorials, which held an increased amount of significance to our tiny group that consisted of an Air Force officer, an Army officer, a soon-to-be Army officer, an Air Force wife and an Army baby.
The most poignant part of the World War II memorial is the Freedom Wall, which features rows of gold stars and the message "Here we mark the price of freedom." There are 4,048 gold stars--each representing 100 American lives lost during the war.
My grandpa served in the Korean War, which makes its memorial come to life a bit more. I love the wall with the simple reminder: "Freedom is not free."
The list of names at the Vietnam War Memorial is sobering. While we were there, an old war veteran searched for a specific name, then knelt down by it for awhile, eventually leaving a small token behind. It was really touching, and I couldn't help but wonder what his story might be.
At the other end of the Mall lies the Lincoln Memorial, which features a giant statue of Abraham Lincoln inside the beautiful building. An inscription above the statue reads: "In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever."
After touring inside, we rested in the shade on the steps for a bit while Tasha climbed every single stair at the Lincoln Memorial.
Yes, every single one of those stairs, all at once. Tasha is a determined, independent little soul who happens to be obsessed with stairs, so April dutifully followed her up the entire way as other tourists watched in amazement. By the time she reached Matt and I at the top, she'd lost a pigtail and a half but was still going strong! Must be those Graf mountain climbing genes, eh?
On a side note, the Lincoln Memorial is where you typically take all those gorgeous pictures of the reflecting pool. That is, if the reflecting pool is there. We happened to show up shortly after reconstruction of the iconic pool began. Three nights later, we were watching NBC Nightly News when they reported on "What you won't see when you visit D.C. this summer" -- the reflecting pool. A little late for that revelation, NBC.
Then it was onto Pennsylvania Avenue, passing by the Treasury and Executive Buildings on the way.
The White House is beautiful, and it's neat to think about all the incredible people who have made it their home.
By then, it was getting late and we had a tired toddler on our hands, so we hopped on the metro and ventured out of the city to Falls Church. Alex served his LDS mission in Venezuela and had scoped out a South American restaurant owned by a native Venezuelan. Needless to say, we indulged quite a bit. It was a delicious end to our day!


  1. Any trip with Tasha is extra special! I love her lively spirit; she melts my heart in seconds! I bet your traveling troupe was awesome; I love my family! D.C. is a beautiful, historic district, for all the reasons you mentioned, and more. I can't wait to go back, hopefully soon... but one question nags me.... where do you want to vacation with me?? (Hint, Hint)

  2. I am so jealous that you are able to fly a lot while pregnant. I am terrified to fly while pregnant and have vowed to never do it again because I got so sick when I flew at 11 weeks. I had the most horrible experience. Hopefully I can change my thoughts.

  3. What a fun trip! Kenneth has been to DC for work, and has seen all the iconic sites, but I have yet to go. I can't wait to see all those things myself.

  4. I can't believe how big Tasha is now! What a cute little niece we share.

  5. No reflecting pool! Dang! Would we have changed our summer plans if we knew that? Maybe, but probably not.

  6. I LOVE D.C. I miss it so much. I'm trying to plan a trip there next year. Hopefully next time my wallet won't be stolen!

  7. Such beautiful pictures of your visit!! :) I can't wait to take my own in September.. Super sad to know the reflecting pool will still be under construction! :(

  8. Love D.C. and being there with family is even better. Oh don't babies make everything more fun. Love baby Tasha and you are right on when you talk about the experience while watching things unfold thru her eyes. It make it all more magical.

  9. A very nice summary and good selection of pics. Bravo sis! Can't wait to see what you're putting together for highlighting the rest of your trip to see us. ;) Sometimes I'd almost forget that you were pregnant the way you were trucking around DC with us. :)

  10. What a great trip with April and Alex. These were fun pictures to look through. Little Tasha is growing up!


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