Monday morning started early for the group. We were heading to the Capital to have our group picture made and then off on a tour of the Capital from Rep Flores's office!! Let me just say one thing...I have never been through so many security checks as I did that day. Those people are serious!!! Most of the boys in the group had on cowboy boots (hey, we are from Texas) and it set the alarms off every time. Derrick, who has metal plates in his face, never set them off. I, who literally stripped down each time, set them off every time. Nice!!!
Aren't we cute!!!
The Capital is an amazing place. Underground tunnels and all. We got to see where the Senate meets, got to see the amazing statues of The Presidents, and we got to see where the President's lay in state after they pass away. That part gave me chills!
This is President Reagan. You can't really see it but there is a small
thin layer of the Berlin War at the top part of the base. Awesome!!
After we finished at the Capital, we gave the kids one last chance to explore!! Randi and I decided to ditch the boys and head out to some of the places we wanted to really see!!! Our first stop was the Library of Congress!! We made a wrong turn and ended up at an annex of the Library. We were a little confused because this building was plain and boring and we had heard wonderful things about the beauty of the library. The information desk set us straight but told us there was a neat little exhibit down the hall. We are so glad we went!! It was an exhibit on "I Love Lucy". It talked all about the show. Randi and I are both fans and thought is was great!!
After Lucy...we headed over to the real Library of Congress and let me just say...WOW! It is beautiful!! Something worth seeing. We also got to see Jefferson's Library. While I didn't know half of the titles, you have to give the man props for an extensive collection. He has a quote that I live by, "I can not live without books"....yep...that's me too!!
The ceiling at the Library of Congress
After our ohh's and ahh's, we headed over to the Supreme Court!! We thought we would just get the quick little tour and be on our way. However, this was an experience I will never forget. First of all, the steps leading to the Supreme Court are incredible. You really get a tingle when you look at them. We started looking at the history exhibit when a docent said that if we wanted to see the Court Room then we should head upstairs. They were about to have a lecture in there. It turned out to be another docent explaining the history of the Supreme Court. Normally they don't let people in the court room except for once or twice a day. It was really cool. The docent was great. She explained the history, the procedures, what the significance of everyone little think. It was AMAZING!! The whole time I kept wanting for the guards to tell us to get out!!
The oval staircase
Pictures are not allowed in the courtroom. When our talk was over, they allowed us to photograph it from out side. One of the things we learned was that no pictures have ever been taken in the courtroom. They have sketch artist who preside over the cases. Very cool. We also learned the each of the Justices have particular jobs for the building. The newest Justice is in charge of the cafeteria and must also get coffee and answer the doors during there meetings. Too funny!!!
Our day was winding down and we were to meet the kids at the Castle and then head over to the Hard Rock Cafe for our final dinner. We all enjoyed each others company that night. Good food, good friends, and a great organization. We headed back to the Center and gave them directions for the airport and told them to be ready to leave at 5 AM!! (That would be 4 am Texas time!) Then the adults went to bed at 9 pm. We were exhausted!!!
The alarm went off way too early. There wasn't a sound on the bus that morning as we headed to the airport. Security was easy and soon we were heading home to Texas. I bet out of the 31 of us on this trip, 25 took a nap on the plane! 5 days of full steam ahead will wear a person out!! We landed safely, gladly handed the kids back to their families, said our thanks and goodbyes and headed home.
I have worked with kids for many many years and I can honestly say this was one of the best behaved and eager groups I have ever had the privileged of chaperoning!! I hope they had as much fun as I did and I hope they learned a few things along the way.
For my friends who don't know about 4-H, I will say this....4-H kids are an awesome bunch. They work hard to achieve their goals and appreciate they opportunities they are given. The parents are always willing to lend a hand and the staff is absolutely incredible!! I am blessed to be part of this group and hope that one day my boys will get to share this adventure as well.
Thank you to the all the kids, especially the Heart Attacks, to Monique for making our lives a little brighter, to Drs. Chris and Randi Boleman for being awesome co-chaparones and a new set of friends. Thanks to the parents for trusting us with their children. A huge thank you to my family for watching over my kiddos while we were gone. And to Derrick for letting me hang with him during "work". I hope I get to do this again because there is still so much more to see.