10 Tips to Save Money and Hassle on Your D.C. Vacation

10 Tips to Save Money and Hassle on your washington, d.c. vacation

our 10th anniversary

Last year, we went to Disney World for vacation. This year we need something more affordable, so we are going to Washington, D.C.!!!!

Alan has been after me to write a post about how to save money and hassle on a D.C. vacation for a while now because it’s something we loved. When we lived in the D.C. area, we had so much fun taking our friends and family around to see the monuments and Smithsonian museums.

So I finally got around to it. I wrote an article for Monterey Premier about Saving Money and Hassle on a Washington, D.C. vacation.

Here’s a snippet:

#8. Most importantly, buy a Metro pass, and you will be fine.
The Metro is a perfectly safe form of transportation, and it is the most affordable way to do D.C. There are even buses that run between Metro stops that you can hop on with your Metro pass.
I used to walk around D.C. with my Metro map, but now that everyone has smart phones, you can give your Google Maps app a good work-out on this trip! Which leads me to my next tip…..

#9. Download the Metro app!!!……..

Click here to read more!

10 Tips to Save Money and Hassle on your washington, d.c. vacation

10 Tips to Save Money and Hassle on Your Washington, D.C. Vacation


East Coast to West Coast in Only 6 Weeks!

working hard

planning, planning, planning!

So much has happened this past week.  Once our military orders arrived, all systems are GO, GO, GO!  You know all those stereotypes about men?  You know what I’m talking about:  “When men are sick they lay down, but women keep working,” and other such derogatory thoughts our society has attached to our males?

Well, let me tell you, Alan blows all those negative sexist remarks out of the water.  That’s right.  I said sexist.  Everyone’s so quick to call female stereotypes ‘sexist,’ but making fun of men is perfectly okay.  What’s up with that? Maybe you haven’t noticed.  I certainly have.  Being the wife of a high type-A, thorough planner like Alan, plus being the mother of four little boys, makes me a little more sensitive to the negative things our society likes to say about our men.

My husband, sick as a dog, plus recovering from surgery, has gotten more done in the day he got ‘request for orders’ than most healthy people could accomplish in a week’s worth of time. Alan, you are AMAZING!!!

Want to know his secret?  This is how he got this move plan running so quickly:

1.  Before he even secured the orders, he got me the smartphone I wanted, complete with synchronized Google Calendars.  This is my Mother’s Day gift.  I love it.  I used up my whole data plan in two days.  Oops.  There’s a learning curve to these things! But with this phone, I can be a touch more organized.

2. He sat down with me and even managed to get my UNDIVIDED attention to discuss EVERY DETAIL of our moving plan.  You name it, it is planned for on the calendar.

My undivided attention is about impossible to attain! I am never doing less than two things at once, and I’m often doing more than that.  C’mon, ya’ll, there are four little boys here!

3.  He went down to the orders office armed with a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts.  Plus, he’d dropped by and schmoozed with those ladies in advance.  Ha! Good job, Alan!

4. He went straight from the orders office to setting up the shipment of household goods. He whipped out the Google Calendar and managed to get the exact dates we had planned for.  Success!!!



5. On Saturday, we had our Yard Sale!!  We got rid of tons of junk this weekend!  But actually, I may never do a yard sale again:  sunburn, people wanting to buy all of my stuff for $1, and Daniel playing tug-of-war with kids that were buying the toys he really never plays with.  No thank you!  Never again.

Everything is running like clock work! At least I can claim the Yard Sale accomplishment as my own.  Remember “The Great Clean Out”?  I have gone through almost every drawer and cabinet, so I’ll be taking credit for that part.  : )


When we rolled into DC, 5 years ago, it was just Alan, me, Joshua, and Caleb.


….and I was 10 pounds heavier…deployment weight.  Can any other military wives relate to the deployment weight??  What causes that?  Ugh!

But look how cute the boys were:

Awww!  That was back when they let ME pick out their clothes.

And we’re leaving the D.C. area as a slightly larger group:


How far we have come!

I can’t believe we’re only 6 weeks out from our biggest move yet!

Here are a few quotes from our crazy week:

It was POURING RAIN the other day, and I had to get all of the children into the car.  As I was buckling Joshua in, he said, “Mom, I will buckle Daniel in so you don’t have to keep standing out in the rain.”

*heart melting in my soaking wet spot*

: )  Thank you, Joshua, and that’s why you’re the one we’re going to send to college. ; )  (I’m just kidding.  Caleb often voluntarily unbuckles Daniel for me, so he will get to go to college too. Yes, that’s what you go by!!!)


and bringing the funny as usual….

Caleb walked into the kitchen and said, “Whatever you do, do NOT talk to the toilet.”

“Why not?” I asked him.

“Because, it copies you.”

Daniel immediately ran to the toilet and started shouting into it.

Just another day in the House O’ Boys!



Life, According to Alan’s Phone


At our house, there is one service provider that inspires great FEAR in the hearts of our boys.  No, it’s not the dentist.  They don’t actually remember the last time they went there.  Oops..

Don’t worry.  It’s been like a year ….and a half…Okay.  Yes,  I feel guilty about that. It’s been a rough year or two.  I’m going to whip out that fourth baby excuse one more time.  It’s just hard to go anywhere.

Yes, I dropped the ball. I will work on that.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t figured out what their fear is yet, then I really can’t help you.  Without that sucker, Daniel looks like this:



Last night I cleaned off Alan’s phone of all the pictures he’s taken in March and April.  There were a LOT!  So this is sort of a random slide show of the last month, according to Alan’s phone…


Joshua, all geared up for snowboarding.


He LOVED it.



This is another sport that ALL of our boys enjoy:  bowling!


We also like junk food….

I really need to make their dental appointments.  This is another good reminder.  Do any of you always have little threads of guilt that like to nag at you?  The thing is that I literally just forget that dentists exist. I don’t skip these things on purpose.


We told ourselves that since this is our last few months in the DC area, we will take each weekend to re-visit the city.  We made good on that idea on Daniel’s birthday.  We took the entire family, on the train, into DC, to the Air and Space Museum. Apparently, we could have just ridden the train into town and then turned around and ridden it back home.  The train ride, according to Daniel, was by far the most exciting part.  He bounced up and down and talked and talked and talked and talked about riding the train.  I don’t think his mouth ever closed.



JD was cool with it too.

The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum:

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We have a great love and respect for napping babies.






Oh yeah!  Another thing that happened last week: Caleb’s first grade program.  I only wish I had a picture of the part where a big group of them did a dance, and Caleb got to dance with his friend Bailey.  Did anyone get a photo of that?


I mentioned in my last post how it added to the American History Museum tour to hear stories from Alan’s grandparents as we walked the museum.  Imagine how much more powerful visiting the Vietnam Memorial would be with someone who’d lost a loved one in the war.


Alan took his grandparents and his dad to the Vietnam and World War II Memorials.  I would have liked to have gone too, but by the time we finished the Holocaust Museum, my back was killing me.

You know you’re either a wimp or in really bad shape when you give out before two 80-somethings.  Embarrassing.  I have got to get back into working on my back problem.

I think I just re-injured it in February.  I need to build back up my core muscles, stretch more, and stop missing chiropractor appointments!!  Oh, and Grandmother says that I need to wear shoes with better support.  She’s right.  Do you think just putting inserts into cute shoes would be enough?








And now for a few photos from the 5K:


lining up for the race


Xavier and his dad, Sean, who also ran the race



The boy was serious, ya’ll!!


….And he’s off!!


I wasn’t there, but it looks like Xavier and Joshua stayed pretty close by each other for most of the race.  That’s Xavier in the photo above.

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They are so cute!!  And so FAST!  Now I want to do a race with them, just to see if I would stand a chance of keeping up.  I’ve never been very quick.


Joshua, post-thorn-bush injury, after the race, before he found out that he placed.  He doesn’t look quite as happy as Xavier!


….but a little medal makes a world of difference.  He called me, so excited, on his way home from the race. He was on cloud nine.  It was a really fun phone call to receive!


the 10 and under category winners


best buds




This is one really proud dad.  They both won bronze medals for their age groups!  One day we’re going to be that family that all does races together.  If only these races were a bit cheaper.

Caleb had actually planned to run it too, even though running is not exactly his favorite.  On race day, he had mild cold symptoms and had tossed and turned all night long, so I veto’ed Caleb’s race plans.  I am 100% sure that was a good idea because Caleb looked very relieved to get to stay home with us instead.


This is what Nonna did all weekend.  She devoted herself to getting JD to drink a bottle.  Her mission was successful.  WAHOOO!!! This was a big deal!



Guess what this week is!!  Banner week!!  I serve on the Staff Appreciation Committee for our school’s PTA, and my job is to help with teacher banners.  I actually enjoy making these banners.  I have a letter-cutting Cricut machine in my possession right now (borrowed), and I will be spending tomorrow cutting and glueing.  I love it.

One reason I like it is that I get to work banner workshops, where I hang out with my friends, and we all work on our banners together.  I derive energy from hanging out with friends, so this is very exciting for me.

The stay-home mom gig is immensely rewarding, yes, but it’s also a little lonely.  But not banner week!!  This week is fun!  Watch out, world, April is leaving her nest.  ; )

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