Monday, July 11, 2011
Another sweet surprise, a visit to see Panda! The zoo is located a few miles away from downtown D.C., so we wouldn't have seen it if we hadn't 'accidentally' ended up staying right next to it!!! We explored around the zoo a bit, but mostly enjoyed their special panda exhibit. He was munching on something. Just fun to see one in real life!!!
We could have never planned the adventure that unfolded. We happened upon so many things that were not in our itinerary. God blessed us left and right, showing himself to be right with us, the one orchestrating our visit to the east coast. One surprise was the National Cathedral. We shared with our kids how the builders designed and created the structure as an act of worship! They carefully detailed the spires and beams to the glory of God. It was a great reminder at the beginning of our trip, to look UP. The old cathedrals point to God, as their creators intended. They are beautiful markers of faith, church history, and hope for our returning Savior.
One of my favorite things about family vacation was the kids playing together. They did a lot of things together and bonded as three. So often, at home, we play with friends and get distracted by our own ideas and projects that we don't play enough just the five of us. Vacation was a fun motivation to include more "family-only" time in our schedule at home. While our policy at home will still always be, "the more the merrier," I am going to try to be proactive at planning family nights and excursions that are just for our clan :).
An exciting adventure was had by all! We boarded Amtrack in Raliegh, heading for Washington D.C., heading for a visit to our capitol. Our journey was just like life. Full, fast-moving, entertaining. Yet there was still a touch of apprehension at the unknown. We maneuvered through Union Station, and made our way by taxi to the Omni Shoreham hotel. Unbeknownst to us, we were staying in a beautiful place, the hotel where they celebrate the President's ball! We enjoyed the pool and spa, and walked up to National Cathedral to catch the fireworks. And that was just day one!!!!