And some days aren't. Today was not a good day personally. I should have just stayed in bed.
The plan was to be at the National Cathedral at 10 a.m. Three kids were fed and ready to go at 9:30, Katherine was still laying in bed. By 9:45 we were all finally out the door.
I proceeded to get on Route 50. Going the wrong way. We turned around in a nearby neighborhood.
I got off 50 onto the GW parkway. Going the wrong way. We turned around at the airport (after I asked Ian if he didn't want to just scrap DC and go to Mount Vernon because we were going that direction anyway).
GW Parkway to 495, into Maryland. It's past 10:30 *sigh*. The activity we were going to (the Gargoyle's Den: http://www.cathedral.org/cathedral/programs/family.shtml#Crafts) is listed from 10-2 and I had no idea if it was for 4 hours or was a 4 hour block for drop-in. Next time, I write an e-mail and ask. It's also listed for ages 6-12 but I hoped they'd allow the boys to hang around anyway.
Parking in DC, what a hassle but on the side roads there are places to park so we made finally it. It was 11 a.m.
Entering the side door, we found the first staircase down into the depths. The program was in the Crypt Classroom but we saw chapel after chapel and no crypt. A helpful guide brought us to the other side where we were welcomed by the volunteers and the Gargoyle Den is indeed a drop-in activity. They were a little on edge with the boys, but since the boys were just as excited to do the projects as the girls, the ladies warmed up quick and helped them along, just like the big kids.
From one table to the next they made "stained glass" bookmarks, rubbings, paper mosaics, and imaginative air-dry clay gargoyles. Then they donned protective goggles and aprons to pound on blocks of limestone, then we all gathered on the rug to build a miniature arch using a wooden support and flying buttresses. It was a fun time. On the tables were papers with Cathedral Connections like specific windows to look at in the nave and gargoyles to spot outside.
The last time I was at the Cathedral was when I graduated high school. I didn't pay attention to anything about the building then, but it is an amazing creation filled with universal hopes and prayers. Stained glass depict scenes from our history, one is a vision of space, another a scene of peace. It's truly a place for every man. The boys would need to be bit older to take on the guided tour, but I think it would be well worth it.
I have to send huge thanks to Jennifer back in Manila for clueing me in to the National Cathedral as a family outing. There's a different program coming up in April and if the kids are up to it, I'll schedule it in. We'll have to bring binoculars to find Darth Vader too.
It was 1:40 by the time we left and everyone was hungry. Since we'd come through Bethesda, we figured we'd go back through and stop at a place to eat there, say, the Cheesecake Factory. I parked too far away and yelled at Ian because I hate parallel parking our monster of a car, so Ruby Tuesdays it was. Crappy service and the food was OK. Another strike against my day.
Finally we arrived home with a sleeping Jonathon. Arg. A phone message said that the audio book I'd returned yesterday was missing a tape. Rebecca found it then she and I went over the library, only I missed the turn and had to go into another building lot and turn around. What is going on with me? It was 4:50 and the library closes at 5. Becca found the next audio book she wanted and the line was so so so long. Arg. But we got it and went home.
Since we'd had such a late lunch no one thought about dinner until it was nearly 7. We decided we'd walk over to the Cheesecake Factory and have a small dinner with really big desserts.
The walk went fine, thank goodness, but the Cheesecake Factory was -packed-. We were told an hour and given a buzzer. We went shopping. Of course we ended up at the bookstore where Ian bought some DVDs. The boys were getting annoying with it being so late so I went outside with them. Ian decided to buy some books and I yelled at him. He put them back. We went back to the restaurant and were told another 20 minutes. We left. Well, I left and the rest of the family followed. Ian was irritated with me, the kids were hungry, I was cold. I sent them all off to Wendy's while I continued home to pout about my crappy day, then realized that I was really acting like a baby and headed back out into the night to meet them at Wendy's.
They were on their way home with a Papa John's pizza.
Now I'm going to bed. Because tomorrow just has to be better.