The first leg of the Light family road trip proved to be quite the adventure; a week of packing, the trailer ordeal, forgetting Tia… And of course our stay at Cherry Hill Park and visit to D.C. was just as eventful!
The Light House Meets the White House
So, I’m not sure exactly how my husband always seems to pull this stuff off, but a few days before we left for D.C. he makes a phone call about possibly getting our family into the White House. Within a day he was informed that a certain White House Press Secretary just happened to be a native New Englander and lifelong Pats fan… the rest was history.
Megan, thank you for being that phone call, and making this one of the coolest family vacations ever! xoxo
Saturday, June 24
It was time to get everyone ready for our visit to the WH, and I was super stressed about making everyone presentable.
First of all, my boys had no dressy clothes. None. I’m not even sure Will has ever worn a belt before. They have about 35 pair of basketball shorts (many which belong to the Anderson, Pereira, and Maling families in town), 4 or 5 presentable t-shirts combined, and not a single pair of intact closed toed shoes.
Looking back, I should have made a run to the school’s lost and found box where most of their wardrobes reside. But it was too late for all that, so I popped into Kohl’s the night before we hit the road and grabbed pants and shirts with zippers and buttons.
Second, Murphy’s Law has my number. I was certain the minute I got them looking like respectable Americans, something was going to get soiled, ripped, or otherwise damaged. But by golly, I got them all the way from the RV to the WH gates unscathed.
After clearing 8 security check points, providing a blood sample, a retinal scan, and a thorough cavity search, we finally got to meet Press Secretary Sean Spicer. (Obviously, I’m kidding. There were only 6 check points.)
Mr. Spicer was awesome! So down to earth and kind. He told us about growing up a Pats fan, and how his trips back and forth from D.C. to Rhode Island through New York traffic with the family were just as enjoyable as ours had been the day before. He’s just a regular guy with a really tough job and it was an honor to meet him.
Our first stop was the Eisenhower Executive Office Building just beside the WH. This is the place most folks who “work at the WH” actually work. To be honest I can’t really remember all the names of the rooms we went in (except for the Harry Truman Bowling Alley), but each was rich with character and history.
Below is the library which is still in use today.
The detail and craftsmanship in the stairwells and on the ceilings is absolutely stunning.
Mr. Spicer giving Matt and the kids the history of this incredible office suite. The vast history which fill these rooms is almost too much to take in!
One of the coolest parts of the Administrative Building was the Harry S. Truman Bowling Alley, where Mr. Spicer let the kids knock down a few pins.
My favorite part of the WH was seeing the press room. I love watching the daily press briefings at home, so this was pretty cool for me. It almost felt like a movie set and was much smaller than it looks on T.V. (maybe because Matt was standing in it).
All the formal rooms in the center of the WH that people get to tour were really beautiful. Despite looking like museum exhibits, we learned they are actually used regularly. I could totally live here.
Lunch at the W Hotel Rooftop Lounge, POV
For as much as my kids are most comfortable catching frogs and snakes, getting dirty in the outdoors, and despise wearing pants with buttons on them, they sure do LOVE the W Hotel. It’s the weirdest thing. So, when Mr. Spicer suggested it as a lunch spot with a great view, they were pumped.
And what a view it was! We could see the Executive Building, the White House, and the Washington Monument right from our table.
As you can see, my children know how to conduct themselves in nice restaurants.
Back at Cherry Hill Park
Up until this point, we hadn’t really had the opportunity to check out our campground, and the kids were eager to get back and do some exploring.
The first thing I did was hang the boys clothes up so they would be ready to put them back on for church next Christmas.
Next for me was to clean and organize the RV. The best advice I would give someone who wanted to get into RVing would be to keep the thing clean and organized! Just take a few minutes several times a day to pick up dirty clothes, wash and put away dishes, sweep or vacuum, and organize all your gear. It doesn’t take long for things to get out of control with this many people in a space this small.
A First Class Campground
This place was hands down the best campground we’ve stayed at so far! The campsites and grounds are well manicured, there are two pools, a splash pad, a mini golf course, an arcade, a cafe, an excellent laundry facility, and an attentive staff. I honestly think we could have easily spent a week there!
Sunday, June 25
Big Bus Tours From Union Station in D.C.
Since we really wanted to do some touristy things in D.C., we decided to book a bus tour with Big Bus Tours. They offer two story, open air busses, which is a great way to see the city and get a glimpse of the monuments.
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
Since the kids were eager to get back to the campground, we only made one stop on the tour at the Museum of Natural History to check out some dinosaurs! It was a wonderful museum, but pretty crowded and Miss Annie was a bit under the weather, so we cut it short and made our way back to Cherry Hill Park.
Back at Cherry Hill Park… The Bee Incident.
That afternoon Matt decided to take the three oldest kids for a round of put-put while Anna and I hung at the pool. She was having a blast and I was doing (for the first time) what most people do on vacation; relaxing.
All was well until I noticed a bunch of kids gathering around Anna in the pool. Then adults started coming over. At first I assumed she was doing her usual, look at me, I’m the cutest and funniest four year old in America bit, until a concerned dad shot me the “you’re gonna wanna see this” look. I hate that look.
Apparently the biggest, stingiest looking bee I’ve ever seen had somehow got tangled up just enough in her hair that it couldn’t fly away.
Seriously, is that thing mutated?
So, here’s my predicament: If I try swatting it away and it can’t really go anywhere, it’s going to sting her. If I try to kill it while it’s on her head, it will probably sting her anyway, and then I’ve hit my kid on the head.
At this point the lifeguard is over and I’ve got Matt on the phone begging him to come deal with this thing. Of course Matt is giving me the whole “are you really calling me for a bee” talk before finally agreeing to come help.
By the time he got there we were about 20 minutes into the whole ordeal. After admitting that this was quite a head scratcher (haha), he decided to take a swat at it with a hand towel. To our relief the bee went flying off her head. To our horror, it went straight at the face of a two year old little boy. He runs off screaming to his parents who had seen the whole thing, and I head over to smooth things over with them.
Why? Why can’t I just sit at the baby pool and go numb for an hour or so? Is that asking too much?
Will Light drives Through the Cherry Hill Guard Shack Gate.
That’s right. Five minutes before this picture was taken, about an hour after the bee incident, Will Light drove his bike, full-speed, right through a closed security gate, sending it about 10 feet down the road. Thank you Lord for break-a-way bolts! Luckily the gate was handlebar height and he only sustained minor injuries to his knuckles… and not his face.
Every time we went past the guard shack for the remainder of our stay we had Will duck in the car so they didn’t know we were his parents. Is that awful? Maybe, but until it’s your kid damaging private property, you can’t really judge.
Monday, June 26
Just like keeping the rig clean and organized, keeping up with the laundry is a must on a trip like this. Cherry Hill has an incredible laundry facility, so I was able to do two loads of laundry and two loads of towels at once. Easy peasy! As an added treat, and visual bonus, I’ve added photos.
While I was doing laundry, Matt was preparing the RV for take off and the kids were saying goodbye to the other members of their newly formed campground bicycle gang.
Next stop: Chincoteague Island, VA for a few days on the beach. Post to follow!