We arrived at the Hall of the States building at 9:40am and parked in the garage.  If you’ve ever tried to find parking in Washington, DC, you know what a chore that can be, especially if you’re seeking a monitored garage, so that your MacBooks, ipads, and cooler stay both cool and free from theft.  Considering it was a short walk to the Capitol, where we had a 10:10am tour reservation, this was a huge win. After touring several areas of the Capitol (sadly, we did not enter…

After stopping briefly at the South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia welcome centers, we stopped for a few hours in Richmond, VA.  The first priority was dinner, and in order to describe my choice of restaurants, a bit of back story is in order: Since I try not to be profane around the children, my “go to” inappropriate word to provide levity in times of turmoil is “bottom.”  Examples go like this: child:  “DADDY!  She’s ruining my train tracks!” me:  “My bottom likes to ruin train tracks.” child: …

On July 16, the oldest child in our house turns 8.  This shouldn’t seem like that big of a deal.  It’s still single digits.  Our state and federal governments confer no additional privileges upon 8-year-olds.  She won’t change schools.  It should just be another number signifying that she’s still a decade away from moving out (i.e., not soon).  Right? Not to me. 1983–the year I turned 8–was huge.  In a way, it was the beginning of my childhood.  That fall, we moved to Hendersonville, Tennessee after moving 6…

For 10 days, the 5 of us are going to travel from Georgia to Delaware to Florida.  Along the way, we’ll visit Richmond, Washington DC, Lewes (where we’ll stop in DE), and Amelia Island.  The children will have been in 10 states (if the District of Columbia counts) when we return:  AL, GA, FL, TN, VA, SC, NC, MD, DE, and “DC.” Here’s what the Odyssey looked like right before we pulled out of our garage: We’ve never used my “cargo shelf” on the minivan before (it usually…

Before I was born, my parents lived in Charleston, South Carolina.  Dad flew C-141s there, and they had a boat and several sets of wooden water skis.  Dad would slalom.  Mom would drive the boat.  Then, they’d switch places, and he’d pull her on a pair of skis.  A few years later, I came along, and two years after that, my little brother.  We never got to live in Charleston, but every summer, we’d get together for a week with two other couples my folks knew from the…