Saturday, November 29, 2014

A Capital Idea

We're back!  Actually we got back last night (Friday) from a lovely few days in Fremont.  We've spent today putting up Christmas and wallowing in Wolverine defeat.  (Actually there wasn't much wallowing.  The game was on but we were all much more involved in pretzel crust pizzacake batter soft pretzels, putting out the correct smelling soaps and scentsy and of course arguing about who was going to put the angel on top of the tree - the Bean won that one.)  It was a good day at the Gatchel's.

Tomorrow I hear there's rumor of two kiddos getting to go see Big Hero Six and then being taken to do some Christmas shopping, but in between all of that, we have two states (kind of) to tackle this week!  So without further ado...

I don’t think that the nation’s capital of Washington D.C. deserves its own week during the state project, but I couldn’t let it just slide by without a mention.  I also don’t want to do a whole huge usual Monday blog (they take quite a while to write as you might imagine) but I do want to share a few of the choice items that I’m going to bring up with the kiddos over the next few days.  So Washington D.C. – you’re up!

To me, the most important thing to impart to Thing 1 and Thing 2 was that this city was literally designed to serve as the capital of the nation.  French architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s self-named plan specified that most streets would be laid out in a grid. To form the grid, some streets would travel in an east-west direction, while others would travel in a north-south direction. Diagonal avenues later named after the states of the union crossed the grid. The diagonal avenues intersected with the north-south and east-west streets at circles and rectangular plazas that would later honor notable Americans and provide open space. There were early disputes between the Northern and Southern states about where the capital was to be located, which was eventually resolved by the passing of the Residence Act in 1790.  George Washington selected the final location (by right of the Constitution) and the government was set to begin operations from the new city in 1800.

There are obviously no shortage of landmarks in D.C. and I’ve had quite the time narrowing it down.  But when all was said and done, I went with:

The last thing I wanted to share with the kiddos was something that is on my personal ‘bucket list’ – a trip to see the cherry trees bloom at the National Cherry Blossom Festival!  The first 3,000 trees, located on the National Mall, were originally given to the nation as a gift from Japan in 1912 as a symbol of friendship. (By the way, we gave Japan flowering dogwoods in return in 1915.)  The festival officially began in 1935 and is held annually to coincide with the flowering of the trees. If you, like me, have an interest, make sure to keep an eye on the Bloom Watch which helps predict the Peak Bloom Date which is defined as the day when 70% of the Yoshino Cherry blossoms are open.

Since we’re already tackling Missouri this week (and because Washington D.C. is technically not a state) I decided to keep it at that with the Dynamic Duo.  I think that’s plenty.  But just in case you’re interested, you can find all kinds of fun Washington D.C facts here or here or here.  I’ll probably throw in the oddity about DC this week, but now we’re onward to Missouri!  So until then…

Washington DC Fun Fact of the Day:  DC residents pay taxes to the federal government like all citizens of the US. But, they do not have a voting representative in Congress. So that is why you will see DC license plates on cars that say “Taxation without Representation.”

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