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Our first full day in Europe was dedicated to exploring Bruges. In the morning we followed the walk described in the Rick Steves guidebook.

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Chocolate!

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And that’s the last we’ll see of Grace’s right shoe. I actually thought they were a bit loose when we left home, but I only had time to find one rubber band. So her left shoe was rubber banded on, and stayed on for the whole trip, while her right shoe was lost on the second day, somewhere in Bruges!

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The highlight of the morning was the Groeninge Museum, where we learned about the Flemish Primitives. Not what you’d expect from the word primitive; these paintings were amazingly detailed. The word primitive refers to times before the renaissance.

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We took a break in the afternoon, stopping on the way to the hotel to buy gelato (banana and speculoos!) and chocolates to take home.

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Dinner was a street waffle!

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After dinner we took a free guided walking tour. A beautiful way to end a beautiful day in Bruges.

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Hello everyone! I’m back from a really great vacation, and I brought mini Grace. June 9-19, Grace and I went to Belgium and the Netherlands.

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We left early on a Friday morning. Ferry, then bus to the airport.

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Telling our facebook friends:

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We flew British Airways to Brussels via London.

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Then we took an unnecessarily long (track construction) train ride to Bruges.

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Feeling pretty worn out, after arriving at my hotel in Bruges, I went out for dinner (Flemish stew!) and a short walk.

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And that’s it for day 1! There’s a lot more to share, Grace and I hope you’ll enjoy it!

Back in May Charlsea and I took a little trip to Salt Spring Island! Do you know where Salt Spring Island is? It’s in Canada, well below the 49th parallel, just a little north and west from where I live.

Our journey started with a ferry off our island and onto San Juan Island.

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We hung out in Friday Harbor for a little bit, enough time for breakfast and some quick exploring.

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From Friday Harbor, we had to catch another ferry to Canada.

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Here’s our first photo in Canada, just off the dock in Sidney, BC:

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Our priority in Sidney was groceries! Specifically, my sister wanted quite a variety of Canadian candy bars. I also picked up Maple Bacon Potato Chips and Canadian Fanta.

Here are a few photos around Sidney:

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From Sidney we had to ride a bus for just 10 minutes to the ferry terminal at Swartz Bay.

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And we rode our third ferry of the day!

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It wasn’t long before we were all ashore on Salt Spring Island!

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We were able to catch a bus to our hotel.

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Check out the guy who sat next to us on the bus; he has the same shoes as Charlsea!

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We checked into the hotel, then headed out to explore town and find dinner. It was a lovely evening.

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The next morning we started with the Salt Spring Island Saturday market!

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The market was nice, and it sold all sorts of stuff. Didn’t buy anything (well, except for some poutine later from a food truck), but it was fun to look.

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After we had thoroughly explored the market, we went hiking. But first, this bit of Salt Spring uniqueness:

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We hiked around a park close to town. It had a few different trails, a Frisbee golf course, and carved up trees.

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After hiking, Charlsea suggested we go kayaking.

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But Charlsea wasn’t allowed to go because she left her PFD at home, and the store didn’t have any available in her size! So I went without her, and had a ton of fun, even if my arms were crazy sore later.

And the next morning we headed back home. Here are our last few photos of Canada:

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before we got back on a ferry to Sidney,

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then back to Washington. It was such a nice day for being out on the water!

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This is Charlsea reading the ferry schedule, trying to figure out when we’d get home.

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We had quite a lot of time to wait in Friday Harbor. We spent most of it eating Chinese food. But we finally made it home.

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Salt Spring Island is a beautiful, almost magical place, definitely worth three ferry rides to get to. Until the next adventure!

For the first time, I took a Wellie Wisher on vacation with me. And it was fantastic. Kendall went with me on an amazing journey in April and we had a wonderful time. Kendall was a great travel companion because I can carry her with one hand, and she fits inside my coat if the weather requires. Now, on to the photos!

As with all journeys lately, we started with a ferry ride…

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…and then a bus…

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…to the airport!

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Passport! Where could we be going? Well, first we flew to LA. Kendall more or less fits in the seatback pocket!

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Look at this super-cute mural in the tunnels at LAX!

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Girls have loved to travel with dolls for decades!

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Several hours and a couple of planes later, we landed…

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…in Cusco, Peru!

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Here’s Kendall having fun in the lobby of the hotel:

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And we had so much fun on our trip! Our first day (after a relaxed day trying to adjust to the altitude) started with a bus tour

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of the city of Cusco.

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We stopped at several archaeological sites, including Pukapukara,

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Q’enqo,

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and Saqsaywama.

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Our last stop on the bus tour was at this church, called the Qorikancha.

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The next day we took another bus through the Sacred Valley

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with a stop at the market in Pisaq. Kendall got a hat! She also got a few offers to be traded for goods or money. Peruvians love dolls!

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After the market was another Inca site, Ollentaytambo.

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In the village of Ollentaytambo, we caught a train…

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…to Machu Picchu!

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Machu Picchu is breathtaking. I have about 200 photos of rocks and llamas, and they’re all amazing. But I’ll share just a few with you.

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The rain came just as we were leaving Machu Picchu. Kendall borrowed my rain coat, because I was still quite warm. The sun is very close in Peru.

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And we flew home the following evening. Airport in Cusco:

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and a nighttime flight:

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It was nice to get back to America and drink soda with ice and dispose of toilet paper in the toilet. This photo is the airport in Seattle, but the rocks look a bit Peruvian!

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Check out Leonie modeling our only Peruvian souvenir!

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I want to tell you more about what Peru is like, but I am finding that it defies description. Unlike anything I’ve seen before, and probably unlike anything I’ll see again. I guess I will close by saying that I am so grateful for this vast and wonderful world I live in, and for the opportunity to explore it. Adios.

So in addition to a dolly addiction, and a lego addiction, I have a Disney addiction. And in February, I took my 13th trip to Disney World. Jessie the yodeling cowgirl came along, and she’s going to share our trip with you.

Howdy y’all! My pal Marjorie and I are back from Disney World. It was amazing!

At first, Marjorie tried to pack me in her suitcase

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But I insisted on riding in her carry on. I didn’t wanna miss a minute of our adventure!

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We left Seattle on a rainy Wednesday morning…

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…and landed in Florida on a sunny Wednesday afternoon!

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We boarded Disney’s Magical Express and finally arrived at our resort, the Animal Kingdom Lodge!

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No time to rest, we were soon on a bus to Epcot!

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With some time before our fastpass, Marjorie wanted a photo with Baymax.

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We rode Soarin and Spaceship Earth and Test Track.

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And we had dinner at the Biergarten in Germany and watched the fireworks. That’s it for day 1!

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Day 2 began with breakfast at the Contemporary Resort.

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Marjorie’s eaten there a few times (probably 13 times!).

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Then we were off to Hollywood Studios!

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As soon as we arrived, we got annual passes!! (well, Marjorie bought one. They let me in the park for free. Maybe because I’m famous?)

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First ride? Toy Story Mania of course!

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Then Marjorie wanted to meet Moana.

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And we rode the Great Movie Ride

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And went to the Frozen Sing Along

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And Muppets, 3D

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Next was Beauty and the Beast Live, then we rode out to the Wilderness Lodge for lunch. Delicious.

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We rode a boat and then a bus back to the hotel for a nap.

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After napping we went back to the Studios, and we had some free time…

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…to dance with Woody and Buzz before we went to see Fantasmic!

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Here’s our last photo in Hollywood Studios, waiting for the sun to set and Fantasmic to start.

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After Fantasmic we had dinner at the 50’s prime time café. A tasty ending to a fantastic day.

Day 2 was Animal Kingdom Day! And it was a day full of surprises. Starting with giraffes outside our room in the morning (and a few zebra too!)

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The Animal Kingdom was fun as always. We hit all the rides and shows in the morning, then went back to Epcot in the afternoon.

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Looking for animals:

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Riding Primeval Whirl:

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And before we left Animal Kingdom, we saw a cast member holding a Passholder sign. We had overheard a rumor, and it ended up being true! A week before it officially opened, they were previewing Rivers of Light (the new nighttime show at Animal Kingdom) to passholders! So we grabbed our wristband so we could go back to the show that evening. How exciting! Glad I decided to buy a pass the day before!

So we went back to Epcot to watch the films in Canada, France, and the American Adventure. Also to get a photo with the characters on Marjorie’s T-shirt.

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Then it was time to go back to the Animal Kingdom!

It was a long wait for the show to start.

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It was a great show, but not quite worth all the anticipation (the show was supposed to open last summer!)

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Dinner that night was in Disney Springs at a restaurant called Homecoming. Delicious. Then we stopped at the Lego store and World of Disney. Then waited forever for a bus back to the resort. Typical Disney Springs.

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Our last day was Magic Kingdom day, and it was magical.

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Mickey welcomed us to his park in a new welcome show. Not as good as the old welcome show.

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A fastpass glitch meant we had to wait in a long line for Seven Dwarfs mine train, so we made that our first stop.

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Marjorie had a craving for breakfast lasagna, so she made reservations at Crystal Palace. We ate a late breakfast with Winnie the Pooh and Friends.

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Pooh and I played a little!

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Magic Kingdom is always fun. This day was a little less fun because it was pretty crowded. Here are some of the highlights of our day.

New Muppets present Great Moments in American History:

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Street Party with Woody and the other Jessie:

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Mad Tea Party:

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Festival of Fantasy Parade:

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and Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire:

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We escaped for dinner at the Grand Floridian

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then returned for more rides and fireworks. We went home early Sunday morning, then back to work on Monday. Good trip.

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Back in January, I went on a little adventure to Toronto. I say little because I was in Toronto for roughly 24 hours. But I’m so, so glad I went.

Here’s a photo of Charlsea ready to board:

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Do you wanna know what’s in the suitcase? One change of clothes, Alexi, and Jenna. I brought 3 dolls to Toronto! I’ve never brought 3 dolls on a trip before. Charlsea was the lucky one to ride in the Maplelea backpack on the trip out. She enjoyed our window seat on the first flight:

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But then on the second flight she had a seat to herself! She didn’t seem to mind sharing it with some lady’s coat.

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We landed in Toronto in the early evening and got on a bus to the mall.

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Our destination was the Maplelea Seasonal Store!

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It might seem silly to fly all the way across the continent to shop at a store that sells things I already own, but we went because the founder and president of Maplelea, Kathryn Gallagher-Morton, was giving a presentation to adult doll collectors.

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I enjoyed the presentation so much! For weeks on the dolly message boards I would start sentences with, “when I heard Kathryn Gallagher-Morton speak…” It was a small group in attendance, but it was nice to make a few friends:

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After the presentation, we took the subway to our hotel. Charlsea continued to ride in the Maplelea backpack, but now that I was allowed to carry more than 2 items, Alexi and Jenna got to ride in the Maplelea carrier:

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Here’s a cute photo of all three dolls riding the subway!

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While we slept, it snowed in Toronto. I spent some time in bed the next morning planning my day. The dollies weren’t too enthusiastic about going out in the snow, they were content to stay in the hotel playing with their new bunnies:

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In reality, they got packed up into backpacks and suitcases and waited with hotel bell services while I explored Toronto. But I didn’t explore alone…

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…I brought Hoppit!

We took a lovely scenic walk toward Cabbagetown…

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…pausing at the Necropolis cemetery.

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Matthew and Anne drive under that arch in the beginning of the Anne of Green Gables movie!

Right across from the Necropolis is Riverdale farm. Hoppit got pretty excited by this pony:

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but then we saw a real pony!

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The houses in Cabbagetown were super cute! I think it’s pretty cool that Alexi’s character lives there.

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We grabbed a quick bite at Tim Hortons, then walked toward the Distillery District:

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and then walked briefly toward the waterfront.

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It was far too cold that close to the water, so I turned toward the St Lawrence Market.

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As far as markets go, this one was pretty good. Crowded. The lines for food were long and all the tables were occupied, so I actually ate lunch at a burger joint down the street. Yummy.

I stopped at American Girl in Eaton Centre, and at The Bay, which was right next to my hotel. Check out how fancy the Our Generation section looks! So much fancier than at Target!

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And it was soon time to pick the girls up from the hotel and head to the airport. For the journey home, Jenna was in the backpack while Alexi and Charlsea were in the suitcase. Here’s Jenna looking cute on the subway:

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and waiting at the airport (for a looong time; our flight was delayed about an hour):

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On the airplane Jenna got her own seat and some pretzels!

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We landed late at night, and stayed at a hotel near the ferry. We caught an early ferry home the next morning.

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The girls look as tired as I felt. We had such a full day! Alexi has pretty bad bed head in this lovely sunrise photo:

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And here’s one final photo…almost home!

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I had a lot of fun on this trip, even though it was quick. I’ve become a big fan of Toronto and everything it has to offer. And if you’re interested, I mapped my walk around the city and you can see it here. 8 miles is a bit ambitious for the typical tourist, but you could shorten it with the help of public transit. Love you Toronto! Love you Maplelea!

This post is very late coming; I was so busy with the Scotland website (which didn’t even seem to make it into the contest–I’m not sure what went wrong with my entry).  But here we go!

On Labor Day weekend, I went to Washington, DC.  I had a long weekend and I googled about good places to visit, and Washington was on the list.  And I got a really good rate on a hotel, and we had a blast.  I brought Melody because she was so shiny and new, and I knew I was going to buy her clothes during my visit!

Our journey began with a rainy ferry ride

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And a bus to the airport

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Here’s a photo of my favorite bathroom stall at the airport.  The bag hook smiles at you!

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We flew Alaska Airlines and I earned a lot of frequent flyer miles flying from Washington to Washington!

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We landed in Washington (actually it was the Ronald Reagan airport which is in Arlington, Virginia) at nighttime and took the subway to our hotel.

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Our first morning started off early with some Krispy Kreme.

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We were headed to the zoo!

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We arrived when it first opened (8am?) to beat the crowds and maximize our tourist time for the rest of the day.

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And I’m pretty sure a zoo that does not charge admission would get pretty crowded on a Saturday during a holiday weekend. There’s no way I would have gotten so close to the pandas if I had gone later in the day.

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I really do love pandas!

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After the zoo, Melody went back to the hotel. I wanted to get in as many museums as possible, and I didn’t wanna waste a minute with bag check. I went to the Museum of the American Indian (and ate a yummy Navajo taco for lunch), the National Gallery, and the Museum of American History. I’m not a huge fan of taking photos in museums, but I couldn’t resist this celebrity sighting:

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And then I picked Melody back up and we went to a fancy steak dinner…

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…before our evening at the theatre!

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We saw Come From Away at Ford’s Theatre!

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Come From Away is a musical about Newfoundland. I saw it in Seattle last December, and now it’s coming to Broadway! Love it!

I got an early start the next morning too. Today was all about cute photo ops.

White House:

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Washington Monument:

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WWII memorial:

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Lincoln Memorial:

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Korean War Veterans’ Memorial

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Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial (Melody’s favorite):

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FDR memorial, which I found oddly crowded. Turns out it was a Poke-stop or something and that weekend was at the peak of Pokémon-go Mania!

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Jefferson Memorial:

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Anyone who has explored Washington knows that we covered a lot of ground, and all before lunch! Next I put Melody away for a while and went to the Holocaust museum. Very thought-provoking. I do have one dolly photo from the museum:

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It’s from the section of the museum called “Daniel’s story” and it’s targeted to young people. Daniel’s diary in the photo says “My mother says to hurry with our suitcases. We are being sent to a ghetto far away. I wonder what a ghetto is? My father says thousands of Jews are being sent away. Erika is crying.”

After the museum, we got on the subway and went all the way to…

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…American Girl at Tyson’s Corner! Melody tried out Maryellen’s sofa bed and the then-brand-new camper. I bought all the new Beforever outfits, including the rest of Melody’s wardrobe.

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And we met friends! Friends that I’ve met online. Other adult dolly fans. We shopped until the store closed, then got dinner.

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Melody was excited to put on her pajamas before bed that night:

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And we flew home early the next morning!

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We took some time in Seattle to eat lunch with my sister before heading to the airfield. We took a little airplane back to the island!

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And that was the end of our little adventure. Long live long weekends!