May 26, 2008

One Smyth in DC is Good... Four Smyths is Better

The last time I saw any members of my immediate family was Christmas. So I was stoked that my Mom, Dad, and Megan came out for Memorial Day weekend. My dad had a work conference, and the ladies took advantage of the opportunity to come out.

I met up with them after work at the National Air & Space Museum. We had some dinner, checked out a few exhibits, and saw a film about flight which was similar to Soarin' Over California at Disneyland (one of our favorite rides). We then went to Old Town Alexandria for some ice cream and met up with my friend, Becca. It's funny that Becca never got to meet my family when we were both in school at BYU, since it's only 45 mins from my home. But I guess it's better late than never, right?Friday:
I took the day off and we drove down to Charlottesville to see Monticello (Jefferson's home) and Ash Lawn-Highland (Monroe's home). The contrast between the two was indicative of the presidents that lived there. Monticello was very well designed at great expense, but Jefferson could never operate the estate at a profit. Monroe's place looked like a fairly normal home. Nothing too fancy. It even kind of smelled like an old home that had been lived in. Seeing these homes and learning about the presidents was really good. We learn about the Founding Fathers at a surface level in school, but there's a lot more to these inspired men.
My dad was in conference sessions all day, so I took my mom and sister on a walking tour of the Mall and the monuments. We started at the Washington, worked our way down to the Lincoln, and then swung over to the Jefferson and FDR (my favorite). It was a lot of walking, but I really liked seeing them all in one day. That's one nice thing about having friends and family come into town: it reminds me how lucky I am to live here and that I shouldn't take it for granted.
After church, we went down the road to the residence of President George Washington, Mt. Vernon. I've been there several times, but I hadn't done the tour of the inside. We enjoyed seeing the setup inside and how nice it was. I particularly liked learning about how Washington operated his property back then and seeing the types of tools used.When we'd seen most of Mt. Vernon, we headed up to Arlington Cemetery and got to see the Eternal Flame (JFK's grave) and the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Monday:
Sadly, all trips must come to an end, and Monday was the last day for my parents and sister. As a final activity, we walked up the street from their hotel to the National Zoo. Judi also joined us, which was really nice. We saw lots of fun animals, had some tasty treats, and enjoyed being together for a few more hours. I'm so glad they were able to come to DC and that I got to spend so much time with them while they were here. Can't wait to see you guys at Thanksgiving!

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