After eight-and-a-half years of living in the desert, we finally made it back to our old stomping grounds: Washington, D.C.
You see, this place has such a soft spot in our hearts because our first three babies were born there.

This is the only picture I ever got of all three of them together in the city:
Is that sad or what? I still kick myself every time I think of the fact that I never took them in there to do a little photo shoot before we moved…darn, darn, darn.

So I sat the three of them down and gave them a good “talking to” before we left. The title of that “lecture” was: “You better have a good attitude about taking pictures in D.C. or else…”

And those sweethearts took it to heart (yeah, not much choice in the matter.) Here they are in ALMOST the same spot as they were all those years ago:

And as long as we’re going down memory lane, here’s our very first ever family Christmas card picture:
Here we are again in almost the same spot:(Wow, we are getting old.)

Yes, my family indulged me very nicely on taking pictures of everything my heart desired, yet some of my favorite parts of the whole trip couldn’t be captured by a camera. Things like watching the kids march like little ducks in a line behind us as we ran to and fro, trying to capture the whole D.C. experience in a few short days without turning our childrens’ fragile “sight-seeing” interests to mush. And the full-heart feeling of having sleepovers together every night and watching the wonder of the kids as they saw the stuff we studied before we got there. I must say that seeing Lucy through the airport glass when I was coming through security after missing her for a week was a pretty big highlight too…and then having the kids run full-speed out to the car to give her humongo hugs as soon as we pulled into the driveway when we got home.

But since pictures are what we got, I’ll tell the story of our travels with them.

Our kids’ favorite parts of the trip?

1) A stop for ice cream when we were dying of the humidity:
2) The abundant squirrels (Max grabbed my camera and took this shot he was so enamored):

3) Hanging with our beloved friends whose kids match up perfectly with our kids (except that they had a dog instead of a Lucy). They used to live right around the corner here in the desert and broke our hearts when they moved out to Virginia (our kids thought it was better than a trip to Disneyland to get to stay with them for a couple nights…thanks guys!):
4) And these folks:
(My littlest brother Eli and his wife Julie who graciously hosted our whole family in their tiny apartment for three nights…and who my kids idolize.)

But let’s back up for a minute and start from the beginning:

When I went up to the Motherhood Retreat with Lucy, Dave and the other kids flew out to Virginia (I was pretty sad they were flying without me, because man alive, they were SO excited to go on an airplane and I missed it, darn it! But the Motherhood Retreat was a pretty good alternative I must say…). I took the red-eye from Las Vegas to meet them at our friends’ house the day after they got there. We loved getting to catch up with them.
(excuse the super-blurry photo)
The kids played non-stop and we had a great bbq with some other friends from BYU days.
We drove around Northern Virginia a little bit and reminisced about this place.
I love how on main roads, even the freeways, you can’t see anything but trees and trees and trees:
…and then houses and houses and houses:

We visited some other friends too…we lived across the hall from Heather and Garth as young couples when we were just starting our families (sadly, Garth happened to be out of town the day we visited). We each had three teeny kids when we left. Boy howdy everyone sure as heck grows like weeds I tell you.
On our first D.C. day we had a tour of The Capitol:

This is how Claire felt about being there:
(We lucked out that my brother could join us…we were so excited to see him.)
Man, I love that building.So much history and beauty.

I was mad I didn’t take the time to read “The Last Symbol” before we got there…Love that rotunda.

We loved the new visitor’s center where you have a good view from the inside:
And a life-size replica of Lady Freedom who is perched on the top:

After our tour we took a walk:

…and headed to the Library of Congress: one of the most beautiful buildings ever (at least as far as I’m concerned).

After that beauty we headed over to the National Mall to visit as many Smithsonian museums as we could jam in:Claire decided she wanted to be a pilot….and Elle decided she’ll be a flight attendant.We loved the hands-on stuff:

We drove out to McLean to visit our house we lived in when Grace was born, which happened to be the house I lived in when I was my kids’ ages. (We rented it from my parents when we were there.)
(I painted all that trim cream when we lived there, I might add. That old house is chock-full of so many memories, from when I learned to curl my hair with a curling iron and built a tree house clear up in the front pine tree to the years of swinging my own kids in the huge swing that hung from one of the trees.)

And we had to just do a drive-by of my old elementary school which the kids were enthralled about (I kid…they were ready for dinner by then…)
We drove back into the city at the perfect time to see the Lincoln Memorial all lit up:
The feeling in that place is so very peaceful and sacred. I love it.
I love the view from it’s front steps too:We headed back to Eli & Julie’s apartment where we all slept like logs after quite a day.
And with that, I must head to bed too. More tomorrow.

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  1. wow! your pictures are incredible. Did you end up getting the 5d mark ii ? Incredible. The lighting ohhh the lighting. I want to go back there too. We lived in Kentucky for three years while my husband went through law school and had the opportunity to visit D.C. one time. What a great place it is. It looks like you had a great time.

  2. Wow…your photos are beautiful! I love the before and after photos showing how much the kids have grown… you haven't aged a one bit!
    Looks like you had fun… if we ever holiday in America I want to stop over in Washington.

  3. Gorgeous photos! Mine somehow don't quite turn out so beautiful 🙂 I love D.C. and really enjoyed seeing it through your eyes! We recently took a trip to Little Rock to show my 12 year old where she was born. It's so much fun to go down memory lane like that!

  4. gotta love DC…we live in Woodbridge. I could send you some squirrels, holy cow we have a lot!!

    Glad you had fun, still enjoy reading your blog Your family is beautiful!


  5. Your pictures are absolutely STUNNING. They need to be in frames. This post makes me want to travel all around DC. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Gorgeous, gorgeous pics! I too lived in DC 'back in the day'~~great to see some current shots of ye ol' stomping grounds! So glad you had a great time!


  7. I am so glad this is just Part 1 – I cannot wait to see the rest of the pictures. This is a dream vacation for me… I have our ING Savings account set up as "Historical Tour 2014" – we are going the year my oldest graduates HS… I am so excited. Even more now after seeing your pics!!

  8. No kidding. I am exhausted just reading this. Oh, but what family memories! One day they will take THEIR kids to D.C. to show them YOUR old school and the home where Grace was born. …And the circle of life continues!

    How can I LOVE a family I've never even met???!!! 🙂

  9. I love, love your pictures of DC. They are awesome. I miss that place soooo much! I was hoping to capture a really neat picture while I was there but nothing like what you captured. Are you selling them? I will purchase 🙂 I remember Garth and his wife. It was fun to see her and the kids. Everyone is getting so big. Glad you had such a super time, how could you not?? Loved reading your adventures.

  10. I love your photographs. I would love to know what kind or brand of camera bag you have or do you just put it in your purse? I love my "big" camera but hate the hassle of carrying it and a purse. I would love to know what you do.

  11. oh it all looks so beautiful! love all the pictures and your very photogenic children!

    thanks for sharing your memories with us


  12. Great photos Shawni. So many favs. I esp. liked the shot of the capitol shot from the New visitors center. Very creative angle and of course I love the jumping once of the kids with the capitol behind. What a FUN trip. So happy for you. Hugs the kids for us!!!

  13. Oh, oh! I have that first Christmas photo of you all in an album in my living room. And you look the same .. except for Max (I've got the one of him inside the pumpkin too.)

    And I love that Dave's expression is the same as Newel's is in all of the pictures I make him stand in. It just screams — enough already. Glad I'm not the only one who has to beg.

  14. What amazing pictures! I love DC and can't wait to take our kids back to one of our favorite places. My favorite is the Library of Congress too. I could sit and read the quotes all day. Thank you for making my day with your beautiful pictures! (Max's picture of the squirrel made me laugh, I think on my first trip to DC when I was ten, I took more pictures of them than anything else!)

  15. Your pictures are gorgeous. I love DC, and you capture it beautifully. I have to say, though, my favorite picture was your old Christmas card picture – you guys were so adorable!

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