Monday morning was a little rough on us. We were behind on our sleep and were all pretty sleepy when we woke. We got ready as quick as we could and walked down to the lobby to meet our group- but since we were 15 minutes late there was no group. Luckily we weren't the only family late and a couple of the Children's Miracle Network staff members were there to greet us and walk us over to the ESPN Zone!! It was just a block or two down from the hotel, not too bad of a walk.
We walked in and were greeted by several staff members and all of us were handed an ESPN Zone playing card. It was a 3 story building, with level one at the main entrance. Level two was one flight down and had the tables and big screen TV and scoreboard. Another flight down was the basement full of video games, air hockey table, basketball games, etc.
The place was pull of miracle children- some running around, a few in wheelchairs, one had a prosthetic leg and was running faster than all of the other kids- they were all having the time of their lives! Madison is not a morning person and just wanted us to hold her for a while. She wasn't ready to eat, meet n greet, play or anything else. We went downstairs to the basement and found a table with some other champion families and ate eggs, hashbrowns, bacon, sausage, fruit, etc. I was craving a Barq's or iced coffee. I made a mental note to stop at Starbuck's when we got back to the hotel.
After breakfast we were asked to go upstairs for a short program. On our way up we saw Miss America visiting with a few other children so we got in line. Just as we were going up to say hello a TV rep asked us if we wouldn't mind waiting one more minute while they did a quick TV interview. We didn't mind, Madison was still a little quiet and clingy so it would give us a few more minutes to warm up. The camera guy zoomed his camera over to Madison a couple of times but Madison looked sleepy and uninterested (that aired on the DC news). Just as he moved back to the interview Madison perked up- she watched Miss America in awe- she was totally star struck. After the interview Miss America came over and talked to Madison, took a few pictures and then Madison was really awake and ready to visit! They talked all about the rides at Disneyworld and she promised Madison a ride when we go!
The program was starting and we went to grab a seat.
We were stopped by Mrs Benny, asking Madison for an autograph in her Champion book. She loved that!
The room was full of champion families and there was no empty table for us. But Madison and I walked through and found one table in the very middle with only 3 people so we politely asked if we could sit with them. We all squeezed in- I was right next to none other than the Champion from Alabama, Lindsey. She was so sweet and soft-spoken. I immediately fell in love with her!
We were introduced to Mrs Benny, the dancing queen. She helped raise a lot of money at her Wal-Mart by dancing for 2 straight hours. They turned the music on and she gave us a short dance demonstration and boy was she great! I would have watched her dance for two hours and I would have paid to see it! She was a great sport- full of energy and smiles. We could tell that she was having a great time.
Country singer Mark Wills came on stage and sang a few songs- making us all cry. And Miss America came out and sang The Colors of the Wind beautifully. I think that she would make a great Pocohontas at Disneyworld.
Then we got a huge surprise- Screech (mascot) from the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball Team invited us to the Wed game! We all love baseball- so exciting!
We went down to the lower level and played lots of games. Madison and Amanda (DC) got together and rode the roller coaster game- it bounced them all over the place! They held on though! She played a skateboard game (and thought of Nellie and her new board), rode a Harley, threw some basketballs with Daddy, won a couple of car racing games and then went to check out the air hockey table. Miss America was there and Madison played a game with her! Madison is so good at that game and had Miss America swerving all over the place trying to keep up with her! :)
This was by far the highlight of the trip for Madison!
We said goodbye to the ESPN Zone and headed back to the room to wash up and get ready for the tour of the city!
Thanks to our friends with the MS Dept of Tourism, we had plenty of MISSISSIPPI pins to share with our new friends. Madison took a few minutes to give pins to her new friends. Some had their own state pins to share and they swapped. She pinned each new one on her Children's Miracle Network*Wal-Mart*Sam's Club Lanyard that she wore around her neck all week.
This was our first time to ride with our ORANGE bus friends. We sat near the front and were given a box lunch from the Corner Bakery (chicken salad sandwich again!)and a bag of snacks that could easily last a week! We loved driving by all of the monuments, historical markers and big buildings. We stopped at the Jefferson Memorial and the kids had the opportunity to run around and burn some more energy!
We saw the Pentagon and other sites from our bus window before stopping at the Lincoln Memorial. We all had time to walk to the top to see Lincoln (Wes and Madison took the elevator) and enjoy the view for a few minutes before moving on to the Vietnam Memorial, Wes' favorite. (Mine is the Korean War Memorial but we didn't have time to check that one out this trip.)
Our sweet driver dropped us at the Smithsonian- Natural History Museum. Again, Wes could have stayed for hours. I pushed Madison in the stroller so that she could use my camera to take lots of pictures, We checked out the gift shop and bought a CD with 250 DC pictures on it and a couple of science projects that we could do back at home.
I was dying to see some more of the American History Museum but we were all hungry so we walked waaaaaay down near Chinatown and ate supper at 5 Guys Burger- it was my first time to have a BARQ's Root Beer since the before our plane trip! The burgers were great and the large FF order was more than enough to feed the four of us! They threw the fries in a big brown bag. The sign on the wall told us that the potatoes used that day were from a specific farm in Idaho.
We walked what seemed to be 82 blocks (because we were so full). Wes took Madison to the room and Sara F and I stopped at a local clothing store, similar to Ross or TJ Maxx. She was looking for sandals and I was helping her. We also walked over to the bookstore for 5 minutes- just before they closed for the night. Bummer.
On the way back to the hotel room we ran into the Alabama family- they were headed to the swimming pool. I promised to get Madison and join them down there. She was happy to hear this news! I visited with Terry while Madison and Lindsey swam around and sat in the hot tub for a few minutes before we called it a night. We agreed that we would look for each other the next day at the luncheon.
The last surprise of the night was walking back to the room. Madison was showing off, doing cartwheels. She asked Lindsey's Dad if he could do that and he said yes! And then he proved it to us! Hopefully we didn't wake anyone with our giigles on the way down the hall!