Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spring Break!!! Tuesday...Mount Vernon

We had fabulous weather and crowds luck on our trip to Mt. Vernon! Most schools had spring break last week so it wasn't very busy and the weather, oh my gosh, it was almost painfully beautiful, as you will see later. The girls and I had a really great, relaxed and educational day...doesn't get much better than that!
Just chillin on the Washingtons' back porch, looking over the Potomac. I know we went to Mt. Vernon a couple of times when I was a kid, but I didn't remember anything except a big tree on the avenue in front of the mansion - so weird!
This is an actor, playing the Scottish-born plantation manager with an awesome brogue. His job is to answer questions about, well, his job. Maybe some stuff about what George Washington was like, or what they grew...well, it was not to be with my two. The conversation, after we had ascertained who he was, went sort of like this:

Carly: (whispering to me and looking at him out of the corner of her very dubious eyes): Is he the REAL guy? Is he a ghost???
Me: (whispering in her ear) No, he's an actor pretending to be the plantation manager.
Carly: (whispering back) Does he talk like that at home? Is that a costume?
And meanwhile, Bree, to the "Plantation Manager:" Why you sitting down on da bench? You need to go to work. My daddy goes to work. You need to go to back to work and do you job, man.

It was about this point that the guy had to turn around and try to compose himself and win control over the smile that kept trying to creep in. We left as quickly as possible...not sure how many times a day George Washington's plantation manager gets chewed out by a two year old...
The beautiful amazing kitchen garden!!! Carly wants us to make one just like this in our next house but I told her so sorry we won't have a big enough yard, because that's the real reason, right. Nothign at all to do with my inability to sustain plant life for more than a week or two.

Okay, then. As further proof that the world is ending (as if all these wars and natural disasters and the fact that Brad and Jen still aren't back together wasn't enough), I forgot to pack snacks. Of course my children were starving by 10am and the only place open on the grounds was...well, it involved ketchup and mustard and we'll leave it at that. She did actually swallow that mouthful, thankfully, but not before she'd spilled half of her orange juice everywhere and got a change of clothes.
Bree ran around making faces at people through the glass of the cafeteria next to us while Carly worked on her super cool treasure map. She got all the answers right and got this cool pressed penny to put on the front of her map. She thought it was AWESOME...and has since completely forgotten about it. =)
Hands-On History! Super cool interactive room for kids. There are dressups (clearly), puppets, books, a big dollhouse replica of the mansion, etc etc. Here Carly and come new friends were putting together a Native American-style platter just like the archaeologists who work on Mt. Vernon do. We spent at least an hour in there exploring - it was great!!!
Also awesome? These ladies dyeing wool! We learned all about carding wool, washing, boiling with different metals to make different colors...they knew SO much! They were really sweet toward the girls, which I loved, and we got to see how different combinations of dye and metals make different colors. We even got some carded wool to take home and dye with onionskins later!

There are few things in life I love more than walking in the woods. I know that sounds so dorky, but it's so so so true. Especially when I have a couple of happy curious kiddos with me.
This is the barn from Carly's reading book! We're halfway through the next book now, but she remembered what she read...oh my GOSH did I feel like Supermom in that moment or what?! Haha! =)
This is Ha-Ha wall at the edge of the mansion's lawn. It was to keep the sheep from getting too close to the house, so named because if you happened to be visiting the Washingtons and didn't know about these walls and fell off the edge of the lawn while running around, everyone would laugh at you. I loved to think that for all the serious important things George Washington was, that he might have had a mischevious sense of humor, too. Here is Carly practicing laughing.
We spent another great hour just hanging out on the lawn. The girls ran back and forth, gathered leaves and flowers and had a great time. Of course, zombies DID make an appearance, much to the amusement of a large group of high school kids gathered not too far away. And I sat right under this tree, totally unable to get over how perfect the day was.
(I don't want to move away!) I feel so lucky that we were able to spend an entire day hanging out at Mount Vernon. We weren't in a hurry, nobody was stressed out or was just amazing.
Then I took my two silly historians to Whole Foods in that store...and we tried to make up for our nutritionally deficient lunch. We scored a gallon of apple juice and some rosewater toner and to top it all off, organic pasta sauce was $1.99. I mean, how can it get better. =) =)

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