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Friday, January 25, 2013

The 2013 Presidential Inauguration and Other Adventures

I'm crazy!

I know that, but I didn't really think about it before I took 11 middle school students to Washington D.C. by myself! We were with a tour group so I didn't really feel like I was by myself, but it did take a lot of organization, head counting and just plain ol' being responsible.

About a year ago I thought it would be neat to organize a trip to the inauguration. I had a few kids sign up and then I went to an orientation during the summer where I kind of when through what the trip would be like. I was super excited and I guess that showed when I got back because I was able to get a few more kids to register just months before the trip.

I can honestly say this is one of the best things I've ever done! It was a neat experience for me to be at, but it also made me feel good that I was helping students to experience something they may have thought wasn't possible.

I had the best time ever! Here are some photos and I hope to getting to scrapbook them this weekend.

Our first group shot of the trip. Little did the kids know I was going to take 100 more group shots throughout the next few days! They knew the drill by the last day! 

We flew out of Las Vegas pretty late on the Friday night. I was lucky enough to have a window seat (my only one of the trip) and I got this awesome photo of the strip. I definitely have to say that this is one of my favorite photos.

We flew from Las Vegas to Philadelphia. We had a couple of hour layover to then take a 20 minute flight to Baltimore. Kind of silly if you ask me. This was the plane that we boarded. It only help 50 passengers and when we landed in Maryland we actually walked onto the runway and then inside the airport. I was a little nervous at this point!

One of the first places we went once we got to D.C. was the Smithsonian Natural History museum. I wasn't too excited about this one, but I actually ended up having my favorite memories by holding the caterpillar (above) and the Hissing Madegascar Cockcraoch (below).


 I loved all of the koala stuff they had in the gift shop. If you know me you know that the koala is my favorite animal ever and all I long for is to someday hold one!

Next we headed over to the American History museum  (my favorite!). We actually went there again on Tuesday, our last day. This is a quick shot I got of Lincoln's hat. We were not suppose to take pictures, but I guess I broke the rules and that didn't stop me.

A beautiful view of the Washington Monument as the sun was setting.

This was the teacher that was in charge of the other group that we were with. She was super sweet and we had actually met during the orientation we were on during the summer so that was fun!

An almost full group shot in front of the White House. 

We did a walking tour at night where we went to the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean Memorial and the Vietnam Wall. These are definitely more powerful at night.

I think this is a cool picture. We were standing around the spot where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his I Have  a Dream speech. Pretty cool because the inauguration actually happened on MLK's birthday.

 A group shot at Mt. Vernon. I really like this place and could definitely spend more time there. I hadn't been there before the summer. I can't wait to someday go with D.C.

Can you believe that George Washington, our country's first president, is buried right there?!

Another thing I wasn't suppose to take a picture of, but did anyway -- Washington's teeth. Despite popular belief, the teeth are not made out of wood, but hippo teeth and some other things. Gross!

Sitting on Washington's back porch.

This was beautiful to see and I guess we came at just the right now. The wreaths were up at Arlington National Cemetery from Christmas. It just added a little something extra that was really special.

We saw the changing of the guard and also a couple of wreath laying ceremonies  It was super packed and I didn't have a great view.

One of the girls on the trip was having a birthday. I saw these cupcakes and thought it would be fun to get a little treat for the group. They tasted OK. I think I was just tired of eating at this point!

We woke up at 5 a.m. to get down to Washington D.C. I couldn't believe how absolutely stunning the sunrise was. I couldn't get enough of it.

A picture looking backwards toward the Washington monument. We weren't super close, but we were definitely up closer than I anticipated. 

One of the highlights to me was seeing former president Jimmy Carter. Bill Clinton was also there so I was in the same vicinity as three presidents. Pretty cool!

After a lot of pomp and circumstance Vice President Joe Biden took the oath of office given by Justice Sotameyer.

Then the Chief Justice John Roberts gave the oath of office to President Barrack Obama. I felt so patriotic at this point!

Another highlight to me was hearing Kelly Clarkson sing My Country 'tis of Thee. She was absolutely stunning and her vocals sounded amazing.

I really have nothing to say about Beyonce. I'm disappointed that she couldn't actually sing while standing there.

After the inauguration we made our way to the Air and Space Museum. I can't believe that I was standing in front of the Wright Brothers plane! I'm still baffled by it. At night we went to an EF ball that was fun. I posted a couple of photos from it yesterday.

Our last morning there we went to the Library of Congress and then did photo stops at the Supreme Court and the Capitol building. It was absolutely bitter cold this morning. So thankful it was warmer on inauguration day. 

After we parted ways from the other group (they had an earlier flight than we did) my group went back to the American History museum. They had an exhibit on the dresses of the First Ladies. I thought they were absolutely beautiful and I loved seeing Michelle Obama's dress from the previous inauguration.

I definitely had fun with the kids on the trip! It was great to head home though. I finally pulled up to my house about 1:45 a.m. on Wednesday. I've worked the last couple of days and it has seemed like the longest week ever! I can't wait to sleep in on Sunday (I'm going to run 10 miles tomorrow morning -- again, I'm crazy!)

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