I mean, I don't want to bury the lede, so I am just going to tell you, WE STOPPED AT OXFORD ON THE WAY HOME AND HAD BAGEL AND DELI AND IT WAS MAGICAL. But first, I have like more days of DC to tell you about.
Thank to Blogger, though, my photos uploaded in a way that leaves me scrambling for narrative form.
We ran out of the food we brought from home and were feeding the kids for breakfast, so we took them someplace fancy on Wednesday morning.
Last time, though, I told you there would be Pandas, and, indeed.
We started our day super early at the National Zoo, and it was fab. We LOVED the zoo.
We could have stood by the pandas all day.
Especially the Beatrix panda.
Harry took the very best panda pic:
It is currently his phone home screen photo-- he changed that pic about 64 times during our trip, but he thinks this one is here to stay.
And also, these guys matched.
Behind the scenes:
Cooper spent a lot of the trip working on his photo skillz
Like the rest of the trip, Dorothy;s favorite thing was something she could actually do and play with, in this case prairie dog tunnels which were actually a vast kingdom over which she presided:
When she got off the ride, she told me she was impressed with her own bravery.
After the zoo, we tempered the unmitigated joy of PANDAS with a trip to our national cemetery.
Arlington was lovely and sobering and sad and grand. Ben took some really excellent photos, and JFK's grave made me cry.
We took our car back to the hotel and walked back to the mall, stopping for our, like, 15th trip to Subway, which is the one place all of our kids eat at with no complaints. We took a break in Lafayette Square to meet up with an old friend of mine who works for the White House Historical Association and gifted u some DC swag. I CANNOT BELIEVE I didn't take any pictures! MY WHOLE LIFE IS PICTURES.
Next up, Harry and I went to the Holocaust museum, which was hauntingly beautiful. I was deeply moved by the exhibit and the photographs-- oh the pictures, you guys. Little kids SMILING while they wait for the trains with their parents. But! I have read a lot about the Holocaust-- including the letters my grandfather sent home after his unit liberated a concentration camp-- and tons of historical fiction set in that time period, so I knew the scope of the horror. Harry, though, was fairly unprepared. The museum is interactive, and you can spend as much or as little time with each part of the exhibit as you want to. We skipped some of the videos and kiosks because Harry was overwhelmed. He spent the longest time looking at the walls of liberators and the photos of soldiers freeing camps-- ostensibly looking for his great grandfather, which was adorable, but also because they were the only hopeful images.
Ben took everyone else to American History and the White House Visitor's center for First Lady dress viewing, White House trivia, and more Smithsonian toy shop souvenirs.
We took a moment to decompress at the Washington Monument after I bought Harry Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl in the museum gift shop.
I needed a stiff drink after THE SHOES, so we headed back to the hotel for happy hour and decompression in our room.
Then we got in the car and went directly to Shake Shack. Which, YES, PLEASE. (Also, we walked an average of 13 miles a day, so the kids were so happy to drive somewhere!)
"On the way" (a phrase that probably even now makes steam come out of Ben's ears because this place was like 45 minutes IN THE WRONG DIRECTION) we stopped at a Wizard of Oz park that my friend recommended. It was AMAZING.
Even though it was cold, we stayed for over an hour and ate a snack of-- you guessed it-- MUNCHKINS on the bench before we hopped in the car and drove SEVEN AND A HALF HOURS to Oxford, Ohio, stopping precisely once for gas and more Subway because Bagel and Deli closed at 8 due to spring break for Miami of Ohio, and we were really only stopping in Oxford to eat.
Luckily the park wore everyone out, and the drive was excellent:
The bagels were even better. This is my fave, a Wam-O. Ben had a Gandy Dancer, a Doyle, and a Terrapin for dinner. Harry tried an Original Breakfast. Jack had an All American, and Dorothy and Cooper got plain ones with butter. Then the next morning, I grabbed a Miami to go, and Ben snagged a David Letterman. THAT'S A TON OF BAGELS.
Our hotel was SUPER CREEPY and very axe-murdery with only like 6 guests in the whole place, all of us sharing one long outside hallway.
But there was a pool!
And also a hot breakfast. With a gravy dispenser that might have been the highlight of Harry's trip.
Even though the kids were about to spend like 6.5 more hours staring at screens in the car, they played with their iPads so happily we almost didn't want to disturb them to take pictures and get milkshakes.
But we did because gas station milkshakes are my favorite.
I hope to recreate this picture in 10 years when he is an incoming freshman.
From Oxford, we drove to Lafayette for lunch because the kids love checking out college campuses.
Purdue did not disappoint:
the Purdue OWL.