We have had a crazy couple of weeks around here, what with trying to get the school year FINALLY finished, and an awesome visit from my sister-in-law and niece and nephew, and -whew- have I ever been feeling pregnant lately. But things have settled down a bit and I’m pretty sure I owe you guys some Washington D.C. photos. I’m going to break ’em up a bit so as to not overwhelm you with awesome all at once. So . . .  here’s part I.

The husband was already in D.C. for a work conference, and my parents were in Florida for an event. So the kids and I were on our own to make the trip from L.A. to D.C. Which, really, isn’t as bad as it sounds. Flying with one or two or three little guys is way harder. (Especially if you have to deal with a flight crew like this one. Boo!) I have plenty of big kids to help me. But, I gotta say, we were quite the spectacle.

 We had the whole plane to ourselves for a few minutes in Houston, before we took off again for D.C.

I had all my favorite stuff with me: iPad, pearls, Dr. Pepper, Lulu.

So did Frankie: Lotso . . . end of list.

I think we get counted by passersby more often in the airport than anywhere else. Anyway, we met up with the husband and the grandparents, got our rental car, and headed out to Annapolis for our first night, in the first of many Residence Inns.

The next morning, after waffles (obviously), we headed over to Grandad’s alma mater, the Naval Academy.

Bill the Goat . . .

Fun with torpedoes . . . 

And Heisman Trophies . . . 

And awesome mottoes . . . 

When Jack was three years old, he announced that he was going to go to the Naval Academy and become an astronaut. We’ll have to see how prescient he turns out to have been. But he said the beds seemed fine. So far, so good.

Just a boy and his gun shell . . . 

Gus and Frankie sat on this canon for quite a while, and whenever anyone walked past, they’d shout. “KABLAMMO!” at the top of their lungs. It was pretty great. I wish I’d gotten a video.

Next we met up with the very sweet Julie, of These Walls, who, when she heard we were going to be in Annapolis, offered to set us up on a private tour of the Charles Carroll House. He was the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, so his story is an interesting look into the Catholic history of the colonies.

And Julie and her friend Betsy and all their kiddos and our very knowledgeable docent were all amazing and very fun. Thanks Julie!

That afternoon, we headed back to the city, to Residence Inn number two. (This trip was not sponsored by Residence Inn, but now I’m thinking I should have asked them. I’m a big fan.)

Babies and little kids and pregnant ladies and nanas hit the sack early, but Dad and Grandad and the big kids went to the Marine Barracks Washington for the Evening Parade.

The kids were REALLY impressed. I was almost sorry to have missed it. But it was nice to put my feet up.

The next day was the best part of the whole trip.

First: waffles. Then: down, down, down to the metro. 

We did the reservations only tour of the White House, which was cool, but they won’t let you bring cameras or strollers or even purses. So all I’ve got are a couple phone pictures. I’m glad we did it, but, honestly, the whole process of security to get to a very basic tour of a very limited part of the White House was time consuming, inconvenient, and, frankly, kind of embarrassing as an American. I think we should let Disney take over tours of the White House. They seem to have a better handle on the concepts involved.

Frankie: Word to your mother.

Next we did the Smithsonian American History and Air and Space Museums, which were also cool, but I still had a handful of diapers and wipes and no camera, because of the White House not being good at this. But the husband got this phone pic of Frankie, ready to take on Kid President.

It was hot. Then it POURED rain, which was pretty exciting for my super SoCal kids.

But that’s not even the REALLY good part. Fortunately, we had stopped back at the hotel so I’d have my camera.

Remember my very sweet brother- and sister-in-law, who asked for your prayers for a very special intention?

Well, here he is:

We got to meet our nephew/cousin Luke for the first time! He was adopted as a new newborn last August.

The kids loved all over him and he’s just the easiest-going little guy you ever could meet. He was totally unfazed by our crazy.

And. Because God is good/HILARIOUS, my sister-in-law and I also got to compare bumps.

We have almost the exact same due date in July. So, Luke is going to be a big brother AND an Irish twin, as if being a Tierney wasn’t Irish enough already. Thanks so much for your prayers everyone!

And that seems like a good place to break.

Stay tuned for the rest of the adventure, including “Bring It” Jesus, and a very Bloggy BBQ . . .