3 cities visited with three kids in tow. Philly, D.C, and Baltimore were great fun. We got to show the kids some American history, teach them more about how to travel, and sort of feel like we got to go on a real vacation again.
500 dollars over budget because we forgot how expensive it is to feed 5 people when you eat out every meal. Literally every meal. We got pretty creative about ordering three meals to divide by 5 people, buying milk every chance we got so we always had some for Baby Harry, and giving the kids watered down juice to drink.
123 minutes spent in the Hahnemann hospital ER in Philadelphia. Harry had a mild case of croup, but the ER was our only real option at that point. That's why I found myself walking along the streets of Philly at 5:58 AM carrying my baby to a hospital I've never seen. I shared the dawn with hospital staff on their way to work and the battered and bruised homeless population heading out the doors to face another scorching day in the sun. It did not help that the preserved historic facade looked like a place where blood might rush out of the elevators and deceased patients may pull your life support plug.
8 modes of transportation. We saw two airports and three train stations. We drove in cabs, buses, and vans. We took the Metro in DC and walked miles and miles both there and in Philly. Of all the things we did, I think our kids liked the subway the best because it involved tickets, gates, and poles to hold on to. Finally, we drove on home in our faithful minivan where Griffin fell asleep in 2 minutes. Really. He was asleep before we got to the gate to pay for parking.
100 degree weather for 4 straight days. We are from Atlanta and we know what hot feels like. I am used to sweat that trickles down the backs of my knees because just standing outside makes you sweat. I know what it is like to get so hot that you get the chills. It was that hot and we were outside in it with our sweet babies. We made sure everyone drank lots and lots and we went back to the hotel after lunch every day to cool off. My cheesesteak would probably have tasted better if I hadn't been sweating while eating it.
261 times we had to pick Griffin up off of the ground because he fell/found something shiny/wanted to crawl into a hiding place/just likes falling. He careened around our hotel room until he ran into the wall and gave himself a black eye. He crawled on the floor of our hotel rooms, the buses, and every museum we entered. Why does he do that?
2 reminders of why we don't go on guided tours. We heard a "man" who may have been a really good robot tell us about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in Ford's Theater (while Griffin crawled around on the floor, naturally) and suffered through a description of the room where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed (while Griffin stood over an air conditioning vent giggling and yelling, "dat's COLD!"). We did not realize that either of these events involved listening to a park ranger or we would not have entered. You don't willingly take the bull into the china shop.
4 good friends who hosted us in their home in Baltimore. Kim (one of my college roommates) and her family picked us up from the train station, let us play with their toys, fed us Maryland crab cakes, and took us to the airport the next day. We got to tour their lovely town, chat with Kim's hilarious 3-year-old daughter (she has an imaginary deceased husband named Coco), and play some kind of dancing game on the Wii that I loved.
1 great vacation that let us prove to ourselves that one day we might actually be able to return to Europe and show our kids what we love about our favorite places in the world. What joy it will be to get to tell Griffin to get up off the floor of the Louvre, the Coliseum, the Tower of London...