We woke up at 4:20 AM last Wednesday in order to make our 6:00 AM flight. It was a little painful, but well worth it. We stepped off the plane and were blasted by the humidity. This made me realize three things: 1) Low 70s with humidity feels like 90 degrees 2) I realized I had not packed the right clothes 2) I hate humidity.
AIR & SPACE & OTHER MUSEUMS
We successfully jam packed 4 days in that amazing city with as much as our feet and brains could handle.
We started with a trip to the Air & Space Museum. We loved seeing the history of aviation captured with the display of actual planes and spacecraft. One of our favorite items on display was the monkey that the US used to test the effects of space travel on the body. Apparently, this little monkey along with a few other choice animals, were launched into space. The little monkey's corpse is displayed still in his contraption. It was creepy and hilarious.
We also really enjoyed seeing a Spitfire plane on display. Romney's grandpa Dwight was shot down in one of these planes during WWII. He miraculously survived the attack and despite a severe blast to his head, the plane miraculously landed safely. It is considered a miracle because he landed safely, but when his plane landed, fellow soldiers found him unconscious in the cockpit.
We toured and walked to every monument we could find including: The Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, WWII, Korea and Vietnam Memorials.
We took a tour of the Capitol, Supreme Court and the spectacular Library of Congress. It was so inspiring to be in a place where a few select men changed the world. We saw one of three Gutenberg Bibles in existence and marveled at Thomas Jefferson's personal collection of library books. It certainly reinforced a deeper respect for learning.
MARRIOTT HOTEL CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS
Those who know Thomas, are aware of of passion for architecture. He has been drawing intricate designs of hotels and luxury homes since he was 10-years-old. He named his hotel company "Willgin" and has been designing hotels for major cities throughout the world. His portfolio is growing and his plans for his future seem to undoubtedly involve architecture.
To flame his passion for architecture, Romney contacted his college friend David Marriott to see if he could give Thomas some kind of VIP tour of the Marriott headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. David came through and exceeded our expectations. He and his brother-in-law Ron, head of Architecture Department for Marriott corporate gave Thomas a once-in-a-lifetime tour of Marriott's Architecture Department.
We were able to tour the basement where we were able to see mock-up rooms of the various hotel brands that belong to the Marriott hotel chain family. This demonstrated how the room designs are selected and the thought planning behind the layout and design of each room.
Thomas was then taken to the media section where hundreds of cubicles and computer graphic designers create the facade, lobbies and room designs with expensive 3D computer programs. Thomas was even allowed to play on some of the computers.
It was unreal and we could not believe how inspiring it was. Ron thoughtfully told Thomas to call him in 12 years. I have no doubt that Thomas will take him up on that offer.
WASHINGTON DC, LDS TEMPLE
Another highlight of the trip was taking Thomas to the Washington DC temple. My sister Marisa was able to provide several names of deceased family members so that we could do baptisms with Thomas. It was really great and something I am sure we will never forget.
On our last morning, we walked through historic Arlington Cemetery. That is such a remarkable place that instills such a respect for our soldiers and our country. We visited the tomb of the unknown soldier and timed it so that we could see the famous changing of the guard ceremony.
GEORGE WASHINGTON'S HOME AT MT VERNON
We ended our trip with a drive to Mt. Vernon. It was the perfect way to end our trip. Romney and I had never seen it before and we were all in awe of the setting and beauty of the home and surroundings. The tour was remarkable and most of the furnishings are original including the bed where George Washington died in 1799. It was so beautiful and was a highlight for all of us.
HOME AT LAST!
Wow, what a trip. We miraculously made our flight. They closed the door to the plane 2 minutes after Romney ran on board.
My legs still ache and I laugh as I think of Romney saying over and over that, "His dogs were barkin." We laughed and laughed and thoroughly enjoyed our time together. We made memories that will hopefully last a lifetime...(and also get us through the challenging teenage years ahead of us! Please Thomas remember that we are friends!!)
We feel blessed that we were able to have this experience and also that our kids were in good hands. It was a great trip, but were reminded once again how great it is to be home! We came home and were welcomed by this happy scene...