Cherry Blossoms

I had lived in the Washington DC area for over twenty years and never experienced the most quintessential DC tourist attraction – Cherry Blossoms.

We went on a weekday during spring break to avoid the huge crowds.  March was unusually warm and the blossoms were near peak. 

We took the Metro from Reston to avoid traffic and parking. It was our first time taking the metro as family. I have to say driving, even with the traffic, is still easier, and cheaper, when you have 6 people.

Complaints were rampant as we had to do a lot of walking and standing in big crowds. But we can at least check Cherry Blossoms off the bucket list.

The most memorable part was probably right after taking this picture, when a tourist lost her phone in the water leaning over the railing trying to get a good angle for a picture.

Hershey Park

We took an overnight trip to Hershey Park this summer. There are plenty of rides, roller coasters, and a water park which means non-stop walking. I set the record for number of steps in 2 days on my pedometer.

One of the first rides we went on was the Super Duper Looper, a roller coaster that even Thing 4 was tall enough to ride. As the name suggests, but apparently nobody realized except me, looper means it goes upside down. I pretty much ensured that Thing 4 will never ride another roller coaster.

There isn’t enough chocolate syrup for Thing 3.


We went on a fun tour of the chocolate factory and made our own bars.


It turns out Thing 3 is the thrill seeker in the bunch.  I rode several roller coasters with him.  Even the ones where he was barely tall enough.  We waited in line for 30 minutes for this one, the Wildcat, which had an 80 foot vertical drop.  After waiting that long and getting to the front of the line, there was a long delay while the poor girl in the blue shirt cleaned out the car where the previous rider had gotten sick.  The wait was too much for Thing 3, who really really really needed to go to the bathroom.  So we climbed down without actually riding so he could use the bathroom.  I wasn’t sad to miss the 80 ft drop.


Waiting for the 4D movie is lots of fun…unless you are Thing 3.


Getting ready to enter the park in the morning.  Price of admission: sitting on the bench with your brothers and sister to get a picture.


Lessons From Our First Football Game

Yesterday was our long anticipated first trip to a pro football game. We’ve been to baseball and basketball games this year, but there is something about your very first football game that you never forget. Being there yesterday brought back my first Giants game with my dad. Also, having not been to a football game myself in many years, it brought back all the not so great memories that makes football probably the worst live viewing experience of any sport – the traffic, crowds, bad weather, poor views, and outrageous prices.

But it was all worth it to see Thing 1 and Thing 2 experience it for the first time. I hope they have vivid memories because it may be a while before we go to another one.

Lesson #1: “Possible Obstructed View” means you have a big pillar right in front of you which kids can’t possibly see around. This was the view from our original seats.

Leave it to greedy NFL owners to have the nerve to build a stadium with seats like this and charge good money for them.

Since it was preseason we were able to move to empty seats in the upper level where we could see the entire field even if it looked like a bunch of ants playing.

That is, until it started to rain and they wanted to go back to our original seats because the seats were covered.

Lesson #2: When you have young kids with you, splurge for the parking lot closest to the stadium. I pre-paid $35 to be in a grass lot that was ideal for tailgating. We threw the footballs around and had a fun time eating sandwiches, snacks, and peeing in the portable potties (Thing 2: “How do I flush?”, Thing 1: “Where does it go?”). They were very intrigued by the games of beer pong going on all around us and Thing 1 wanted to know the rules.

But then we had to march from the parking lot about a half mile through the other parking lots to get to the game. Which was fine, except I didn’t realize how hard it would be to do after the game in reverse, in the dark, with Thing 1 and Thing 2, exhausted and 2 hours past their bedtime. I may have been completely slightly at fault for taking us in the wrong direction after the game but it doesn’t help to hear “is that the car?” and “maybe they know” and “are we lost” and “I’m tired of walking” every 10 seconds. It took us nearly an hour of walking to find the car. Which didn’t matter, in the end, because we still sat in a ton of traffic.

Animals At The Zoo

I took the animals to the National Zoo today in DC. Urban Uncle went with us. Who knew it would be so crowded. Sure, it’s Memorial Day weekend but I thought everyone left town for the start of summer except for the thousands of bikers here for Rolling Thunder. And I didn’t think the Harley crowd was into pandas.

Thing 3 was more interested in the dirt on the ground than the animals.