Washington D.C.

Wednesday once I got off work it was a rat race at it’s finest! Immediately when I got home I had to finish packing for my weekend work trip to Washington D.C. where I was working at our expo booth for the Marine Corps Marathon Expo. Clothes here- clothes there, clothes were flying everywhere… I also had to pack for Kirra and gather a few of Tyler’s items as well.

Mac & Cheese was diner- because it was quick. We had our last night at gymnastics at 6:30pm, and the kids got to go in costume! So I dressed Kirra in her bee costume which still fits her, and probably will for a few more years. Good thing she REALLY likes the bee costume! Then we were off to gymnastics. They got to parade around, and show all of the “big girls” their costumes, which was adorable… then it was time to play. Kirra got to go on any circuit she wanted to, and it seems that her favorites are obviously the trampoline, but also really liked the rings, balance beam – when she’s NOT afraid of it, and this board that is suspended from the parallel bars that they crawl on hands and knees.

Gymnastics lasted until about 7:15 and then we were back to the house to pack up. Kirra was staying at Grandma Susie’s and Poppie Rich’s, and Tyler was going to Grandma & Grandpa’s. So, we threw everything into the car and were off by 8pm. I got over to Frank & Theo’s by 8:30pm, said a quick hello and goodbye, and got Kirra over to my parents. My flight left at 7:30 a.m. but wanted to get to the airport in plenty of time, so I had planned to get there at 5:30 a.m. that meant I had to wake up by 4:30 a.m.

Once I got to my parents house they gave me the itinerary of what they would be doing with Kirra throughout the weekend, and I had only brought a fall coat, and its definitely WELL on its way to being winter in Minnesota…. So I left Kirra with my parents and quickly went off to Target to get her a winter coat, and mittens.

Once I got back Kirra was in the BIG tubby… everyone likes the big tubby at my parents because it’s a two person Jacuzzi bathtub that is gynormous so all of the kid-o’s think that it’s a swimming pool! I made some tea for my mom and I and then we were all off to sleep.

Really… 4:30 a.m. came way too fast! I begrudgingly got out of the warm toasty bed of my youth and proceeded to get ready. My amazing dad offered to give me a ride to the airport so that I didn’t have to worry about leaving my car at the airport, or taking the train down so early in the morning.

We got to the airport, and had to check our expo bag as oversized, and over weight, which was really unfortunate since there is a $32 charge to check more than one bag… a $75 charge for being over 50 pounds, and a $175 charge for being over a combined total of 62 inches! So we practically could have just bought another plane ticket for the costs of that!

Once we got through security which was amazingly long lines, we only sat down for a few minutes before we began boarding our plane. I had hoped to see Pam there, but she arrived to the airports front gates/doors at the same time I was boarding the plane. My co-worker Colleen and I joked that while we were taxing on the runway that Pam could see us from the window since we could see thru the airport windows the Maui Waui restaurant. We were off on our non-stop flight!

Once we landed in D.C. we got down to baggage claim which luckily we found all 3 of our bags very quickly and were off to find a taxi. Some guy in a nice suit asked us in his European accent if we needed a taxi…. And we said yes… so he says “here this way” and grabs our luggage, and leads us to the elevator… (THE ELEVATOR??) we take this to the second floor where we get out and go into the parking lot… when he said, I’ll be right back, I need to get my car… so he backs out a black SUV with tinted windows… we had to ask the guy if he was a real taxi driver, and he was, but was a taxi for hire, which is a little different than your typical “yellow cab” variety. I took down his licence plate number just in case while he loaded our luggage in and typed a text message draft to be sent to co-workers in the case of an emergency. Collen I’m sure thought I was nuts, but I wasn’t taking any risks.

Euro taxi man with the SUV got us to our adorable hotel safe and sound, and turned out to be a really nice man. He even waited for us to check in and then brought us to the convention center to drop off our expo materials. I shouldn’t be so worrisome all the time, but I watch too much news, and too many crazy horror films… I just can’t help myself.

After Colleen and I got our expo booth set up it was time for some tourist sight seeing. We saw most of the National Mall. We took a bus down there, and headed for the Capitol, and then were off to the Holocaust Museum. It closed at 5pm so we definitely wanted to get there in time to see everything and not be rushed. It was an experience I will not soon forget. The museum covered things history books wont, and also gave background to how things got so out of control. The moment we got to the main exhibit I was choked up and couldn’t even talk to Colleen any longer. There was at one point a room you went into that had voices of survivors that told their stories. It haunted me, because these were the real stories, and the real voices that endured the horror that Nazi Germany forced them to endure. They had various rooms including either an actual train car, or replica that had a very old musty smell. The train car was very dark and only had one window. You imagined yourself in this car, and quite frankly I could not. They also had artifacts of actual shoes worn by victims of the gas chambers which also had the musty smell… looking at all the piles of the shoes in the room was breathtaking, because you realized that these shoes were probably only from 2% of the total shoes.

It was a great museum, but it had other things that like I said- didn’t show you in your text books that were downright horrifying, and straight out of a Quentin Tarantino film.

Two and half hours later we were back on the national mall, and we realized we weren’t going to make seeing everything we had planned if we stayed on foot. We were going to take a trolly bus but they all closed at either 4:30 or 5pm and it was just a bit after 5:00 p.m. at this point… so we hopped on a “Pedicab” which are people who are on bikes with a buggy on the back that tour you around. It was really neat. Our driver was a history major and definitely knew his facts about D.C. and the National Mall! We got to see the Washington Memorial, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, The FDR memorial the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Wall, the WW 2 Memorial, and the white house! There is definitely no way we would have been able to see what we had!

Once we got off a fairly expensive buggy ride we were off to dinner (at 9:00pm!) We ate at a tavern and I had a cup of Chilly, and had a hamburger. It was all very delicious! The next day we woke up early to work the expo. We were having a motivational speaker in our booth as well so I was excited to meet him.

The expo was HUGE, and well coordinated. Colleen and I took turns taking breaks for lunch, and even just to walk around to shake things up. Standing in one spot for 11 hours can get a bit tiring! The speaker/author – Mike was a hoot! He was an inspiration, as well as very humorous, so the three of us had a lot of fun at the expo.

Friday night we went out for Thai food, and I think if I would have ordered something I liked it would have been really good. I ordered the Green Coconut Curry dish, and I discovered I’m not too much of a fan of coconut milk, but you never know until you try right?

Last day at the expo was fun as well. It was quite a bit more populated with participants than the first day so it made the day just fly by! We each took turns watching Mike’s speech and it was amazing! I called my parents at one point, to see how Kirra was doing, and they said she was laying in bed crying for me L That was pretty sad…. Saturday night after the expo closed and we packed up our booth we went to an irish pub which was packed with Halloween goers. We had an amazing dinner, and a few drinks, and went home to grab some sleep before the start of the marathon!

Marathon morning we woke up really early and were out the door. The taxi cab could get us only so close to the start but we really didn’t have too far to walk. On the way we passed the Seabee Memorial which I didn’t even know there was one, so I snapped a quick photo of it. It was really neat to see.

Once there it was enormous! All of their volunteers were Marines or so it seemed, I think there were over 20,000 at the start which was significant! We watched as about 30 or so marines humped out early with packs on their back (as they were humping the whole 26.2 miles) and then about 100 or so wheelers started!

Finally the massive 20,000+ runners took off and it took nearly 30 minutes to clear the start line! After the start Colleen and I walked over to the National Cemetery to get some cool photos. We even saw JFK’s grave site.

It was finally time to return to home. Our flight was great ,and once I got to my parents I went upstairs to find Kirra sleeping in my old bed, so I crawled in with her and she was sooooo excited to see me!

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