Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Last days in DC!

The last few days were a whirlwind as I tried to call the Dover terminal for a return flight to Spain...

Asher's "Dance" birthday party on Saturday was a big hit and all the kids had a blast.

Sunday we went to church and then to IHOP! Which I was very excited about, since the Spanish don't eat American style breakfast! And the girls and I were missing good old American pancakes!

(Mom and the girls posing in IHOP)

(Me and las ninas)

Monday, I took the girls to the Air and Space Museum...

Reese won a Paper Airplane contest!

She was a little excited...

Rayna posed with Bessie Coleman!
The girls w/ Amelia Earhart!

Here they are with the Space Explorer and the actual spacesuits from Apollo 11!

Ice cream from the huge McD's inside the museum...

And of course we had to visit the Navy Flight Deck and pay homage to Daddy's Aircraft carrier!

"Reese Aaron Arriving"

And Tuesday my mom drove the girls and I back to Dover, Delaware for our flight home (which didn't actually take place until Wednesday at midnight), but which afforded us a fun girls night exploring Dover, eating at Olive Garden (another Americanism we'd missed) and shopping at Target!

Thanks Kay and Asher for hosting us and Mom for driving us back!

We had SO much fun!

Snow Day and the Museums

Friday, Asher went to school so my mom and I took the girls to the Museum of Natural History.

It was snowing and we were a little nervous about getting caught in a blizzard (ha - silly Californians are we...) so, we bundled up...

...and Kay was gracious to drop us off in front of the museum.

Fortunately for us, it was the wrong museum! I say fortunately because had we not mistakenly gone into the Museum of American History, we would have missed out on seeing the original flag that hung above the War of 1816 that inspired Francis Key Scott to write the Star Spangled Banner...AND we would have missed seeing the beautiful First Lady's Inaugural Gown exhibit!

We oooohed and ahhhhed over all the gowns from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama! We saw their accessories - old fans and jewelry from the 1800's and tea sets used in entertaining. We even listened to some of the presentation speeches from the ladies themselves as they donated their gowns to the Smithsonian.

I have new appreciation for Hillary Clinton's gown, which in pictures looks dowdy and unflattering, but in person is gorgeously beaded and a perfect shade of deep purple. I see why she choose it. And Michelle Obama's dress that had mixed reviews was actually also beautiful in person, along with her Jimmy Choo shoes and sparkling diamond bracelets! R&R got to choose which dresses they liked best and were sure to tell me which ones they would NEVER wear! hahaha (ps - I have NO pictures from the American Hist. museum because they don't allow pix in there and I got yelled at about my camera...oops ;-)

We did finally make it to the Museum of Natural History...

... and we had a really good time checking out the exhibits with the animals...the DINOSAURS (especially Rexy - the T-Rex from Night at the Museum - one of the girls' favorite movies).

We also saw an IMAX movie about Dinos, which was fun.

And then we got some lunch!

We wanted to leave before it started to get dark since we were taking the Metro home. And we were awestruck leaving the museum and walking toward the train. It was so beautiful walking down on the Mall. We saw the Capitol building, the Smithsonian castle, and the Washington Monument...and the girls loved walking through the snow!

Washington, D.C. is lovely and I see why my brother loved it so.

Asher's Birthday!

The next morning, we woke up to SNOW!!! It was gorgeous!

It was also Asher's Birthday! The cousins were SO excited to see each other and spent most of the day "hugged up" watching Snow White on the couch and posing for pictures! Kay let Asher play hooky from school and we went to the store for supplies for a birthday celebration! (Her birthday party was scheduled for Saturday, but we wanted to celebrate today too!)

We got Pink balloons, spaghetti supplies, and a giant Lemon cake for dessert!

Happy Birthday Beautiful Asher!

Space A

My brother Mikel's daughter, Asher turned 4 on January 26th and I thought it would be great for the girls and I to go celebrate with her!

The military has what's called, "Space A" flights (Space Available) for active duty and retired military members to hop onto aircraft for free...the catch is, you have to be "available" when they are ready to go and they may be ready to go RIGHTNOW or daaaaaaayyyyyyysssss from when you're ready to go...but again...it's FREE.

So, we got our paperwork ready and registered with the air terminal in Rota to fly to Dover, Air Force Base - the closest we could get to Washington, DC where my sister Kay and Asher live...and were told that a flight was leaving the next day...so we packed up and went to the terminal...

Johann met us there to say goodbye....we waited about 3 hours, had breakfast, checked our baggage, and were whisked off to the terminal. Just as we'd gone through the X-Ray security check, a flight attendant came to get us to say that the flight had been canceled and MAY fly tomorrow, but to keep calling to check.

Um...ok. So, we went home, a little disappointed and a little tired, but, hey, we got to spend 1 more day with Johann who was fresh off a trip from Naples, Italy; so it worked out.

I called every 2 hours to see if the aircraft was ready to go and they said, they'd fly at 3am...then they said 6am...then they said to call back at 10:30am and when I called at 10:30, they said, Yes, the aircraft was ready to fly and they were leaving at 10:45am...WHAT????!!!

So, the girls and I RAN outta the house and FLEW to the base terminal - hence the disheveled look in our pictures...

We checked BACK in and were told we'd be the only passengers on a c-5 aircraft and we'd be flying in about an hour...

So, the girls and I grabbed some lunch at the terminal...I called Johann at work and told him we'd be leaving shortly, he RAN over to say goodbye (again), and the girls hung out in the play area at the airport until it was time to leave.

I was preparing myself for another disappointment, when we crossed into the X-Ray security check...but nope...we went through and out to the bus which took us to the Giant aircraft!

So, several things were "interesting" about our flight...number 1...we really were the only passengers on the plane...it wasn't like a commercial aircraft, the majority of the plane was taken up with storage below and the passenger seats were up on the 2nd story where there were about 60 seats or so...

R&R were thrilled that we had the entire plane to ourselves and stretched out with all their stuff accordingly.

The 2nd strange thing was that the seats were backward...as in, facing the back of the aircraft...which probably would have been even more strange if one could see the world flying by backward but there were:

Strange thing Number 3: No windows.

One of the Air Force guys came and chatted with me about safety procedures, demonstrating the use of some crazy looking "life saving paraphernalia" (my term) and freaking Reese out with his demonstration of what to do should we "go down"...and I had to reassure her that that was only in the event of an "Emergency" and we likely, wouldn't have to use any of it. LoL...

And then we flew for 8 uneventful hours across the Atlantic to Dover, Delaware, where Kay, my mom and Asher picked us up and drove us back to DC!