D.C. Trip – Day Five (Final Day)

Need to catch up?

Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four


Day Five – Wednesday

Did you breathe a sigh of relief when you read the title of this post? Go on now, you can admit it, you’re getting tired of hearing about our trip, right? 😀

I apologize if this has been boring for some of you, but considering I blog to journal my life, and our vacations are a big part of our lives (because we’re homebodies, for the most part, and when we get out, it’s a big deal to us), I, of course, have to chronicle our adventures and record my thoughts about said adventures.

That and if I don’t write it down? I’ll forget it in like two weeks. *sigh* I WISH I were kidding.

We had done so much by this time that we were sort of at a loss as to what to do next. I had mentioned something about the National Geographic Society’s Explorers Hall (NGSEH) being fun because the book described it as such:

It’s like walking through a couple of National Geographic TV specials. Located on the first floor of the National Geographic Society’s headquarters, this small collection of exhibits showcases weather, geography, astronomy, biology, exploration, and space era castles under siege, to imaginary monsters and manipulated photographs.

Doesn’t that sound like something a couple of teenage boys MIGHT be interested in, if only for an hour?

Uh, no. Either the person who wrote this review was on crack and IMAGINED all of these cool things, or the NGSEH changed their exhibit because when we got there? It was the entire history of China.

Now, nothing against China, or it’s history, but we weren’t expecting to see huge photographs of cute little China children or read about the history of trade relations with China. We were expecting … well, I’m not sure what we were expecting, but it wasn’t what we saw.

Oh sure, the model ships were cool to look at …

National Geographic Museum

… but other than that? Snoozeville.

To top it off, this exhibit was on the ground floor of the NGSEH headquarters, which meant, it was swarming with business people … trying to go about their, er, business, and here we were, in the middle of them all, smelling like warm flesh, gritty from sweat and dressed comfortably (i.e. like tourists, i.e. sloppy and without one thought to fashion).

Can we say … AWKWARD? I couldn’t WAIT to get out of there. I felt so embarrassed and totally out of place trying to be a tourist and navigate myself through the sea of suits. I think we might have stayed for 20 minutes, tops. We zipped right out of there and back onto the streets faster than it takes you to fast forward through a National Geographic special (oh come on, you KNOW you do it).

We found ourselves back on the streets of D.C., in the business district, with nary another tourist in sight. I’m telling you, it was weird and we all felt pretty uncomfortable. And we were getting that snooty once over that people give each other whenever they are feeling superior to one another.

It was close to lunch by this time so we thought we would grab a bite to eat. We went to Potbelly. This was a new place to us, we had never even heard of the franchise before laying eyes on it, but we went in, ordered some sandwiches (which were DELICIOUS, btw. I had a tuna sandwich on toasted wheat bread – doesn’t that just make your mouth water??), and sat down to eat our meal. About ten minutes later, the whole place was crawling with suits. And our table was near the door, which meant we were literally surrounded by D.C. business people.

*sigh* I’ve never felt more self-conscious in all my life.

We quickly finished our meal and headed back to the Metro station. We hopped on, transferred lines, and hopped back off at the Archives Station (we really were becoming pros at the whole Metro system).

FINALLY. We were back in the land of tourists and I began to relax once more. We walked to the National Archives and got in line. The line wasn’t too bad when we got into it, but as per usual, the line increased about ten-fold shortly after we arrived. (This ALWAYS happens to us – we arrive someplace, it’s not that crowded and then *BAM*, suddenly the place is packed! It’s like, “Oh look! The M family has arrived! And they are so cool! We MUST do what they are doing so their coolness will rub off on us!” Seriously folks, it’s kind of creepy how everywhere we go, it gets busy. I’m sure it’s a coincidence, or is it ….? Sort of like how every time we go to a new restaurant, and we like it and we SAY we like it, it goes out of business three months later. Weird.)

So, we’re in line at the National Archives and we’re about to see the Declaration of Independence. The Archives hadn’t been on my list of must sees and I don’t really know why. I guess I was thinking the boys wouldn’t really be all that interested in seeing actual documents of our nation’s history …

Oh, how wrong I was.

Continue reading “D.C. Trip – Day Five (Final Day)”

Monday Morning Meme

Monday Morning Meme – June 30th

All you have to do is answer the questions below either in the comment section, or on your blog. And elaborate! Make these questions show your unique and special personalities. This meme entry will post at 12:01 every Monday morning and will be the first postentry listed on WFK all day Monday morning. (This is an all-day Monday meme, so please, play all day!)

Monday Morning Meme at

June 30th Questions:

1. What’s the last thing you grab before you run out of the door in the morning? Are you pretty good at being on time? Or do you constantly run behind? If/when you’re late, what is usually the reason(s)?

2. What is the last thing you bought from a vending machine? Where were you? How much did you spend? Do you use vending machines very often?

3. What does the hand-soap in your bathroom smell of? What color are your bathroom walls? What color are your guest towels? What sort of decor, or theme, do you have in your bathroom? (Post a picture if you dare!)

4. What three words do you think of when someone says ‘body’?


Win a FREE book at
Enter your name NOW for a chance to win a FREE book! Drawing will be July 3rd..

Washington D.C.

D.C. Trip – Day Four

Need to catch up?

Day One
Day Two
Day Three


Day Four – Tuesday

I’m a big walker, but I have to admit that by day four, I was getting just a BIT tired of doing it. And I can’t imagine how the guys were holding up. I routinely walk six miles about four times a week, so I was semi-prepared for this “walking” vacation. But the guys …the hubs is an accountant, therefore, he has a sit-down job. He’s in pretty good shape, he works out on the Total Gym, but I don’t think his endurance was where it needed to be for this trip. In addition, he wore his sandals the whole trip, the man doesn’t own a pair of sneakers, so I can only imagine how his shins were holding up by this time.

Even though I walked the boys on the treadmill, (yes, sort of like dogs – what, you don’t treat your children as pets? *grin*), they should have walked, i.e. conditioned, more. GD has flat feet and wears arch supports. This helps him whenever he has to walk/run short distances, but not so much whenever he walks long distances. I worried how his legs and back were holding up.

However, my guys were/are tough. None of them ever complained, (though MK reached his endurance on days four and five and would just plop down in the middle of the street or a crowded aisle just to rest his legs for long seconds. One time, I freaked out because I couldn’t find him in the Air & Space Museum – he ended up being in an astronaut’s bed.) And they were real troopers about keeping a stiff upper lip about their discomfort.

But then again, they knew that complaining would only irritate me so really, what’s worse? Complaining or enduring my snappy coldness. Exactly. 😀

The day dawned bright and beautiful. We had shuffled our touring schedule around so that the day we went to Arlington Cemetery would be nice.

It was. In fact, the weather the whole time we were there was just perfect (thank you, God).

We hopped onto the Metro, yet again, and headed to the Metro Center station. There, we planned on transferring from the blue/orange line to the yellow/green line. Only, when we got there, we didn’t see the Arlington Cemetery station on the lists of stops. We were a bit dumbfounded for a bit until the hubs figured out that we would have to go down to L’Enfant Station and make the transfer – apparently, the Metro Center station only transferred to the red line.

Sound confusing? It was. But we figured it out and arrived at Arlington Cemetery in one piece.

We walked to the visitor’s center to get our bearings. The cemetery was HUGE and quite frankly? We were getting sick of walking everywhere. Plus, we had planned on going back to the Air & Space Museum in the afternoon (thereby escaping the hottest part of the day – we’re so freaking smart) and walk through the second floor. We swallowed our cheap gene and checked out the tram tours. We could ride the basic tram to JFK’s gravesite, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and Arlington House for $7.50 a person.

It was a small price to pay to conserve our energy.

There were a lot of people there, but not so many that we had to wait an insane amount of time before we caught the train. It was SO NICE to be able to sit down and enjoy the cool breeze.

On Tram in Arlington Cemetery

We rode up to JFK’s Eternal Flame gravesite and spent a few precious minutes soaking in the humbling experience.

JFK Gravesite

In fact, the whole Arlington Cemetery experience was humbling. We talked, at length, about the importance of appreciating, and maintaining our freedoms. It was awe-inspiring to see the thousands of gravestones of men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country. And we talked, at length, about how important it was to honor their memories and their endeavors to insure that no one tried to take those freedoms away from us – either foreign OR domestic.

After the JFK gravesite, we rode to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. We were fortunate to witness the changing of the guards and I admit, I teared up at the sheer beauty and respect everyone displayed for these soldiers.

Changing of Guards at Tomb of Unknowns

We also walked over to look at the (original) mast of the USS Maine

Original Maine Mast

from the ship that began the Spanish/American War. The Americans thought the Spanish sunk it when it fact, it had been an accident. The boys thought that was pretty interesting.

We also saw the memorials of the astronauts who died in the name of science.

Challenger's/Columbia Memorial.

Do you remember when the Challenger exploded? I’ll never forget that day. I had tears running down my face as I looked upon their memorial.

We then visited the Arlington House …

Arlington House

… which unfortunately, was being renovated and was bare. All of the furnishings had been removed to be restored so we walked through an empty house. However, it was still interesting to read about the history and to enjoy the spectacular view.

View from Arlington House (Robert E. Lee's House)

We rode the Metro back to Foggy Bottom and ate lunch at Wendy’s on the George Washington University campus. The hubs actually found the restaurant quite by accident when he was searching for the campus bookstore to buy some t-shirts and hats. It was the only fast food restaurant we ever saw in D.C.

After lunch, we rode the Metro back to the Air & Space Museum and paid to visit the Albert Einstein Planetarium. We watched a NOVA special about black holes and I think the boys really enjoyed experiencing the whole 3D effects.

By the time we neared the end of seeing everything on the second floor (complete with walking through a simulation of the space station, which was interesting), we were beat. We ended our fourth day at our hotel room, with our feet up, eating organic pizza for dinner.

We saw so many interesting things that day, but what really stuck out in my mind was the fact that the kids finally understood what it meant to be an American citizen and it was evident, by their questions and interest, that they developed a very real and passionate devotion to our great country. It was amazing, and satisfying, to witness their patriotic maturity.

(To be continued …)



Book Corner

A New Book to Mooch


I just added another book to my Bookmooch collection. I’ve reserved this book for 7 days on my Bookmooch account. This means, if you’re my friend on Bookmooch, you’ll have first dibs on this book. Not a friend? No problem. Just sign into your bookmooch account and add me (take2max) to your friends!

Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell


Book blurb:
Book blurb:

The new novel that fans of the bestselling author have been waiting for, about three sexy, powerful career women who will do anything to stay at the top of their fields

Victory Ford is the darling of the fashion world. Single, attractive, and iconoclastic, she has worked for years to create her own signature line. As Victory struggles to keep her company afloat, she learns crucial lessons about what she really wants in a relationship.

Nico O’Neilly is the glamorous, brilliant editor of Bonfire Magazine—the pop-culture bible for fashion, show business, and politics. Considered one of the most powerful women in publishing, she seems to have it all. But in a mid-life crisis, she suddenly realizes this isn’t enough.

Wendy Healy’s chutzpah has propelled her to the very top of the cut-throat movie industry. When it becomes clear that a competitor is trying to oust her, something has to give—and Wendy must decide between her career and her marriage.

In Lipstick Jungle, Bushnell once again delivers an addictive page-turner of sex and scandal that will keep readers enthralled and guessing to the very last page.

If you would like to join Bookmooch (or if you’re already a member, look me up!) and mooch books off of me, you can find my inventory and my account information here. My Bookmooch ID is: take2max – in case the link doesn’t work and you want to find me. 🙂

Sorry, I’m only shipping to the U.S at this time. International shipping just isn’t in the budget right now. 😦

I’ve got some bookmooch points burning a hole in my pocket. Any bookmoochers out there that want to get rid of some of their books? If so, leave me a link to your inventory in the comment section and I’ll take a look!

Check Dear Reader soon for my review of Lipstick Jungle

Book Corner

BAFAB: Deadline July 3rd


And the winner is

Yep, it’s that time once again – time to give a book away for no good reason!

So how does this work, you ask? Here’s the short version, I’m participating in the program and would love to buy someone a book of their choice ($20 max). If you would like to put your name into the pot and win a free book, please enter your name in the comment section below. If I draw your name July 3rd, then I’ll buy you a book!

Winner will be announced on Write From Karen after 11:00 a.m. (U.S. central time) July 3rd.

And … if any of you are feeling generous and would like to buy ME a book, I’ve included a link to my wish list to make it easy for you. 😀

Easy-smeasy, right?

Want to learn more? Read the long version.

Please help spread the word! Copy the code below and paste it into your blog today!

Banner Code:

Win a FREE book at

To include this banner (130 pixels wide) in your post or sidebar, copy and paste this code:

<a href=""><img
src="; alt="Win a FREE book at" /></a>
Washington D.C.

D.C. Trip – Day Three

Need to catch up?

Day One
Day Two


Day Three – Monday

There are moments in my life when I can safely say, “I’m a smart cookie.”

This wouldn’t be one of those moments.

I mentioned last time that our first night in Washington D.C. sucked – royally. I got virtually no sleep what with the sirens wailing, the horns honking, my husband sawing logs right in my dad-blasted ear and our possessed refrigerator making this weird, shuddering, popping/grinding noise every 45 minutes – it was truly bad.

But did I think about how I was going to get through the next night? No. Did I prepare myself for all of the night noises that would surely keep me up for a second night in a row? Of course not.

But GD did, God bless the boy.

When we found the Safeway and bought groceries to feed us for the remainder of our trip, GD suggested we buy earplugs. BRILLIANT! Why didn’t I think of that?! Because I was brain dead from lack of sleep, that’s why. (Or I’m an idiot … that works, too).

Luckily, Safeway had earplugs and I stuffed those mommas so deep into my ear canal the only thing I could hear was the beat of my own heart.

I slept sounder than a cat drunk on catnip. Wait, do cats pass out from too much catnip? Sorry, I wouldn’t know, I’m not a cat person …

Where was I? Oh yeah …

Monday rolled around and my physical and mental batteries recharged; I was ready to face another full day of walking my shins off.

And that’s exactly what we did. We boarded the Metro and headed to the Smithsonian station. Another thing we bought at Safeway was a detailed map of Washington D.C. (and for future reference, if I start talking about going someplace for vacation, especially someplace NOTORIOUS for confusing streets and horrendous traffic, you have my permission to knock me out cold AND THEN remind me to buy a detailed map of the area when I wake up). So, we exited the Metro, pulled out our handy-dandy map and found our way to the Air & Space Museum.

May I just say – WOW. This place was entertainment pay dirt for my guys. We could have easily spent our entire vacation in the Air & Space Museum – it was not only gigantic, but LOADED with cool facts and of course, AUTHENTIC artifacts.

Case in point:

Red Baron
The Red Baron

Original Spirit of St. Louis
The Spirit of St. Louis (A personal favorite considering I’m from Missouri)

Apollo 11 Capsule
Apollo Capsules

Air & Space Museum
And the original Wright Flyer (Well, the canvas was replaced, but the frame was original).

In addition to the above cool stuff, they had the Cray computer, turbines, propellers, heat sensors, rockets, hands-on experiments and all sorts of interesting facts about our air and space history. We arrived at the Air & Space Museum about 11ish? We FINALLY finished the first floor about 2ish.

And we still had another floor to explore. That’s how much fun we had at the museum. We also ran into a dog tag booth. As soon as I saw the booth, I knew what was going to happen – I braced myself for the beg fest.

I wasn’t disappointed. As soon as MK spotted the dog tag booth, he went into full charm mode. “Mom, you said we could buy souvenirs at each place we visited.”

“I said that?” Of course I said that, but my boys are teenagers now and charm mode? Doesn’t come along very often, so I’m going to milk the opportunity as much as possible when they come along.

“You did. So,” MK nodded toward the booth, “can we get some dog tags?”

I threw up my hands and caused a huge scene explaining the down side to having dog tags. I raised my voice, smoke billowed from my ears and when I finally calmed down and was sufficiently sure that I had embarrassed my boys as much as I possibly could, I said, “Why yes son, you certainly MAY have dog tags.”

HA! I had you going, didn’t I. I didn’t cause a scene. In fact, I had my credit card out and was in line before the boy even finished his begging.

I’m awesome like that. 😀 MK wore his dog tags the rest of our trip. In fact, you can see the dog tags in the slideshow I put together, if you’re interested.

Our stomachs, which had been grumbling for the past two hours and which we had dutifully ignored so we could absorb some more history goodness, finally caught our attention. We headed to the food court only to slam smack dab into a wall of people about twenty bodies deep and as far as the eye could see.

We didn’t really want to wait in line for an hour and pay a butt load of money on sub-par food, so we exited the museum, walked across the street and ate at a rather largish kiosk and paid a butt load of money for sub-par food.

*sigh* Food is not cheap when you’re on vacation.

After stuffing our faces, we decided to leave the second floor of the museum for another day – our brains simply couldn’t take anymore information overload. In the meantime, as we were in the park eating our grub, a park police helicopter flew overhead several times. Then, a slew of sirens wailed and nearly every single EMT vehicle in D.C. descended upon us.

We threw our trash away and began walking toward the commotion. We stopped a guy in a business suit and asked him what was going on. “Oh nothing,” he replied. “They are just showing off for the public.”

We raised our eyebrows, looked at each other and said, “D.C. is so cool!”

We were in The National Mall park. It’s a long strip of land that separates countless museums (along with the Smithsonian Castle …

Smithsonian Castle
… isn’t it cool?!)

and that has the Washington Monument at one end and the Capitol at the other end. To walk from the Capitol to the Monument, end-to-end is half a mile. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re walking it, at the hottest part of the day, in 90-degree weather and after walking for four straight hours in the museum, it’s not something you really want to do on the spur-of-the-moment.

And yet, that’s exactly what we did.

We walked down to the Capitol to see what all the fuss was about. Apparently, it was some sort of publicity thing and after allowing the public to get close and take some pictures, they shooed us away so they could have some professional photographers come in and do their thing.

In the meantime, we took some pictures of the Capitol.

In Front of Capitol
(As you can see, I wasn’t QUITE ready for him to take the picture. And I was hot, hence the reason my sleeves are rolled up and I look like a hick from the sticks. Oh wait, I AM a hick from the sticks – never mind).

After the excitement died down, we walked the half mile to the other end and visited the Washington Monument. By the time we got there, we were extremely hot, tired and I had a sweat mark slashed across my shirt due to the book bag I carried the whole trip (it had all of our cameras, water and money in it).

If you look closely, you can see my sweaty slash mark …

View from Washington Memorial
Never let it be said that I ONLY post flattering pictures of myself. I think we can all agree this one is anything BUT flattering.

We spent quite a bit of time at the monument, catching our breath and praying to God for strength to get us back to the hotel just sort of soaking in the atmosphere and we took some pretty awesome pictures of the flags that encircled the monument. Again, you can see those in the slideshow.

After taking our pictures and catching our breath, we started the LOOONG trek back to the Metro station and stumbled back to our hotel room. Our leg muscles were screaming bloody murder by that time, but we were happy and that’s all that mattered to us. (And I’d like to add, brag really, that the boys never ONCE complained about all the walking we did – 1. because they are the coolest boys on earth and 2., they knew it would do them no good and why waste their breath? *snort*).

We ate our TV dinners and fell into bed early because we had yet another full day of walking ahead of us the next day.

(To be continued …)



Saturday Photo Hunt

Saturday Photo Hunt – Bright

This week’s theme: Bright

This is MK, he’s about … three here. I was taking pictures of him and he ran to grab his sunglasses because the light was too, “bwight.” 😀

Too Bright
Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.
Photo Theme. Join the blogroll. Visit participants.


Win a FREE book at
Enter your name NOW for a chance to win a FREE book! Drawing will be July 3rd..