Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Blank Square on the Calendar

Our morning started out with sad news. Alex's mom, who was supposed to arrive yesterday, but had her flight canceled, wasn't going to be able to make her flight rescheduled for today because of bad weather. We're all so sorry that she won't be able to spend Christmas with us, and hope she can find a way to enjoy her new Christmas plans in Wisconsin.

Partly because we now had a big blank square on our calendar, and partly to keep the kids' minds off of the lack of grandma, we started scrambling for something to do. We ended up deciding to do something I'd heard good things about since we first moved to the DC area four years ago.

I printed out the info page from the National Building Museum, and we were off! Unfortunately we arrived in DC at 10:15, and as it stated super clearly in the first paragraph of my printout, the museum doesn't open on Sundays until 11.

Alex stepped up and suggested a quick trip to Union Station, where we took in the Norwegian train display and Christmas tree. My kids were also incredibly impressed by the player piano.

"I think there's someone inside," was Sam's explanation.

Sam and Quinn also had an opportunity to present A Solid Gold Christmas in front of the train display:

A quick lemonade and french fry snack stop later, we were off through the revolving door ("I went through the round door! I went through the round door!" Quinn joyfully repeated to the amused punk-haired dude smoking outside the station. It seemed really important to Quinn that this man was aware of The! Round! Door!)

Washington was eerily empty at 11 this morning, and we found the dream parking spot outside the building museum.

I have to say that the museum didn't disappoint. Any place that features this:

right in front of you when you walk in has to be good. If you haven't been, there is a giant main room that is nearly empty. The kids' Building Zone lets you borrow tool kits to work on little projects. So dotted around this giant room with giant columns and dozens of busts up by the ceiling, there were parents and kids sprawled out on the carpet learning together. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

In this giant room there was also a station at which you could build a 7-foot arch. Sam was our foreman, Alex and I were the buttresses, and Quinn and Jack were the block carriers. And damn if we didn't build a 7-foot arch.

And what's building without a little demolition?

We did look at one of the main exhibits, but mostly we hung out in the Building Zone, which is a big room with all kinds of building materials for kids and grown-ups to play with. There were giant Legos, cars, blocks, books, construction worker dress ups, a giant playhouse, and more.

Frankly they could have called it the Jack Zone. Jack loved this place so much he even deigned to participate in cooperative play with other kids. He especially loved these brick blocks. He made a castle.

Sam and Quinn also had a lovely time. Sam loved these rods and balls in particular (that sounded dirty, didn't it?).

He's getting so dextrous at building complicated structures. I can't believe what a big guy he's turning into. And Quinn? Well, Quinn wore those goggles for the entire time we were in the Zone.


If any of you are wondering where the Wonder Pets cape is, Quinn left his home today. But Jack brought his. You can see it on Quinn in the first photo. This caused some trouble at Union Station where there were multiple muggings, chokings, and forcible removals of the cape from the neck of a brother, by both Jack and Quinn.

Thank God Sam is sane. (Did I really just write that?)


  1. Well done you it's hard to fill the gaping hole that Grandma leaves.
    BEst wishes

    This is my calling card or link"Whittereronautism"which takes you straight to my new blog.

  2. I am so sorry to hear your sad news. And I agree with Maddy, no one but NO ONE can fill that hole.

    Looks like you guys managed to salvage the day, though. I've been wanting to take SB there for a while now (ever since they ran that article in the
    Washington Post earlier this year).

    In fact, that might be a great idea for tomorrow. Thank you!

  3. WOW! That place sounds incredible! I could drop Nik and Niksdad there and go to a day spa and they'd never miss me...if only I lived a tad closer!

    Um, yeah, sorry about Grandma. Is she stranded at *home* or somewhere in the middle? I remember spending Christmas Eve and morning in the fine establishment known as McCarran Intl Airport in Vegas one year...alone. Fun...not.

  4. I don't know grandma, but it looks like the kids did ok today! So how are you going to distract them TOMORROW!? Now when they don't have grandma's presents to open, there may be some trouble. I doubt your kids are greedy like mine though...

  5. As much as they may love their Grandma, I think your boys were more than just pacified - what a cooooool place!

  6. Great photos!!
    Hope you have a wonderful christmas.

  7. Still giggling at the Solid Gold reference :)

    Haven't heard someone reference that in YEARS!! *snort*

    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas even if Grandma can't make it, she is there in spirit and there is always webcam....

    Hugs and smootches from me to you.

  8. I am so sorry that C. didn't make it! How sad for her as well as you. That place sounds fantastic, though. YM

  9. Thankfully Grandma is at her home and not stranded at an airport or Motel 6 somewhere, which would really be horrible.

    And, yes, all you DC-area moms, you should totally go there.

  10. In your note that there are no sites that list all things to do for kids...You should check out the OurKids website - it is a full listing of area things to do listed by each day or interest. I have signed up for the email, which lists a full weeks of activities in one email. It is wonderful!
    Can't wait to go to the builiding museum.


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