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Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Break in DC

Spring break for our girls began a week ago Friday so we decided to take a road trip back to DC to visit some old friends. Our last trip there was way back in April of 2011 when Kate was 15 months old. It's amazing how much has changed in that time--Lucy joined our family, Uncle RyRy and Uncle Paul moved to Singapore the day after we left DC, cancer struck not only me but at least 2 friends of mine from DC, some friends have relocated to other cities like we have...it's a lot to take in.

We got a late start on Friday and no kidding, not 40 minutes into the ride Kate was asking how much longer it was going to be. Oh honey, if only you had a concept of time....
We hit snow somewhere in Indiana and had it off and on throughout our entire journey to our first stop: Akron, OH.  This is not your mama's spring break, kids. No siree Bob.
We stopped for lunch and found the Easter Bunny making the rounds.
I had loaded the girls' Nooks with some new apps and videos which would have been great except that looking at stuff in the car makes Kate car sick. VERY car sick. Suffice to say, the corn and shrimp Kate had for lunch was not as appealing on the flip side. Mercifully, they both passed out and slept for the next hour.
The girls were thrilled to find a pool waiting for them when we finally parked for the night. We had the tiny pool all to ourselves for an hour.



 Len ordered Chinese for delivery while the girls swam and we all finally hit the sack around 10pm.
More driving on Saturday but we managed to make it to my friend Michelle's house before suppertime. Michelle and I worked in kitchen/bath design for a year before she had her first daughter. Her girls, K and J, whisked our girls away immediately to show off their geiko, Mr. Moustachio.






And then they disappeared to the basement until bedtime...leaving the grownups to have an actual, uninterrupted conversation. It was amazing.

Sunday I had arranged to meet as many people as could come at a local playspace in Falls Church, VA followed by lunch at the burger joint next door.

Julie and I worked together in commercial design back in the day.
Justin and I worked together in kitchen/bath design.
Felicia was also part of my commercial design past...my first job in DC as a matter of fact.
Rudy worked with Len at a PR firm.
Felicia's daughters brought gifts for the girls--I'd say they were a hit!


Frances was one of our neighbors in Falls Church.
Justin and Jen and their new baby boy.
Nancy and Len went to grad school way back at UCF. When she moved to DC after marrying her husband, Joe, we reconnected.  Nancy and I went to quite a few Madonna concerts in bedazzled clothing over the years...
Rudy, Amy and their son joining us for burgers.
Paul joined Frances and their boys for lunch as well.
Lucy commandeered Nancy's phone for several selfies.
After going to the wrong burger joint, Laurie found us and we made plans to meet the following day at her house. Laurie was one of the first neighbors we had when we moved to DC from Louisiana. We lived in Springfield at the time, all of us blissfully child-free with lots of time to make fancy cocktails after a long workday. Oh how unaware we were of our impending fates...
After a quick drive by our old house in Falls Church, we headed into DC proper for dinner with Yia Yia, Pappou and Greta. First stop, Dupont Circle to pick up the grandparents...and for Kate to eat the tiny kale sprouting in the rooftop garden.


Next stop was Greta's house near the Washington Cathedral and a walk to the local playground.
Lucy was "helping" Greta walk Sam.
They loved pushing Len on the merry-go-round.

Time to head back for supper.

A lovely table was set for us when we arrived.
You never know what will happen when you drink Greek wine.


Monday morning found us back in Dupont Circle where we walked over to GW University so YiaYia could show off her grandchildren to visit with some colleagues of YiaYia's.

One of the deans, who also happens to be a mathematician, kept us all busy trying to figure out various solutions to the math toys he had in a box. Welcome to college my little ones.
I was actually amazed at how long they kept at these puzzles. Lucy managed to figure out hers while Kate got close but ran out of time before we had to go.
They look quite professorial, do they not?
Rubbing the hippo's nose for luck.

Time for a snack break on our way to the subway to take us to Capitol Hill.
Waiting for the next train.
 Lunchtime tacos!


Our bellies full, we walked over to see the Capitol which is being renovated.  There are a lot more giant metal barriers than there were when we lived here.

Rolling down Capitol Hill.



 A view down the Mall, obligatory protesters (this group was against circumcision--so glad my girls don't read well enough to field those questions at that moment) in the foreground (not to be confused with foreskin, which they were in favor of preserving).
As we were running late, we cabbed it back to Dupont, made our farewells and headed into VA to visit with Laurie and her boys. Even though her boys are quite a bit older, they managed to stay relatively low-key on the trampoline.
Vance surprised us all by coming home early, although he still needed to tie up a few loose ends at work. Vance did all of our electrical work for us when we renovated our basement in Falls Church. In the time since we've moved, he and Laurie have started their own company and are doing quite well. Call Vance Electric if you live in the area--I can personally vouch for his work!
 Laurie and I enjoying a little afternoon cocktail while the kids play.

 As most kids do, they landed in front of the telly with snacks until it was time to head out.
Tuesday morning I met up with my friend Sharon at a local diner. Sharon and I ran the Marine Corps Marathon many, many years ago. Len and her husband Doug became good friends and were in the Lion's club together.
Unfortunately, Doug had just finished his last chemo treatment and was not cleared for visits from kids who could compromise his immune system. Len and Doug met up later that day for lunch.

Back at Michelle's, we worked on a project: plaster of Paris molds.
J brought out their pet rat to join in the fun.




Lucy's finished work.
Kate's finished work.
In addition to this, they played many games of fashion show in the basement, practiced playing the piano and were delighted to go on an Easter egg hunt that Michelle's girls had planned. True city kids, when Kate saw their backyard with the play area, she said, "Look! They have a park right outside their door!" She was astonished to learn that it was their yard and their personal playground.


All too soon it was time to head back to Chicago. I solved the problem of Kate's car sickness with a combo of Dramamine and audible books downloaded to my phone. She happily clapped on her earphones and listened to 4 hours of books on our drive back to Akron.

The one glitch in our trip came when we checked back into the same hotel we had booked for the trip over. Seems in those few days they had completely ripped out the walls/pool which, when you have 2 girls who have been looking forward to swimming ALL DAY, was not a great end to several hours in a car. Fortunately, with the help of an App that finds nearby lodging, I found another suite hotel with a working pool only 5 miles away. Kate's tears helped us cancel our reservation without penalty and off we went to the new hotel.


We arrived home safe and sound, with Bella well-cared-for in the capable hands of Ms. Julie who had graciously agreed to house-sit for us in our absence. Once again I have to say just how much our little family owes to Ms. Julie--we love her dearly.

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