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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Self Portrait of me at the postal museum today
The real history of Good Mail

Ok, so if after reading my crazy pink blog you are not sold on visiting D.C. with your family after hearing about being able to:
  • roll Easter Eggs on the White House lawn while dancing 3 feet from Hannah Montana and waving to the first lady from the balcony for free
  • the cheapest ribbon you will ever find at the ribbon outlet
  • being on the same grounds as George Washington at Mt. Vernon
  • Ben's Chili bowl
  • seeing the Hope diamond at the Natural History Musem (read on for my good mail giveaway)
  • trick or treating at the Air and Space Museum
Then today is your day to plan a trip to Washington D.C.!

Today Jeff and the two littles and I went to The Smithsonian National Postal Museum. It has just gone to the top of my favorite Smithsonian Museums. (Jill you are going to go crazy!) I have wanted to go since our first visit to Union Station when we first moved here. It is right across the street from Union Station.
It is one of the most interactive museums for kids. Annie Kate was in school and I can not wait to take her back. They had small magnifying glasses to look up close at stamp collections. These stamps were amazing.

this was one room where the wall just had at least a hundred of doors that slid out full of stamps from all over the world. They were beautiful.this was a panel from Russia.

Currently there is an exhibit there (it will be gone by the end of the summer - don't miss if if you are close!) that talks about the artwork that gets chosen for stamps. They had about 50 stamps that showed the original artwork that was painted for stamps over the years. It was wonderful. I took this picture for my friend Emily G. as I thought she would appreciate the stamp made of Emily Dickinson. This is the print.
This is the 8 cent stamp that came out the year her and I were both born.

There was a stamp store where you could buy retired stamps at face value. I was going crazy asking the lady how many I could buy, what ones she had in etc. I was just excited buying the stamps as I was buying ribbon by the bolt for $5.00. I thought this lamp was cool that was covered with stamps galore - Jill you should do something like this with all your good mail stamps.
I bought the Happy Birthday Stamps (inspired by Liz who had them all over my birthday package) and some of the Olivia and children books stamps. Even though they are $.39 cent stamps I buy the Tiffany lamp one cent stamps because I like the look of them better than the two cent stamps -
Pony Express exhibit.
The pony express was only running for 19 1/2 months. It was not until today that Jeff informed me that his great, great, great relative was a pony Express rider. I googled him and he came up all over the place and have been reading about him all night. I married into a family of Good Mail originators - who knew?
They had awesome old mailboxes all over the museum.
They had two awesome interactive exhibits.One was where you could punch in someones address and it would print their name on a souvenir postcardwe only did one, but next time I am bringing my good mail list with me. Caroline loved it. So one of my blog readers is getting a post card soon.
then the other awesome part of the museum was learning how custom mail is sent out. You punch in your name, the screen takes a photo of you and gives you a plastic credit card. You take the card through the museum and at the end it prints you a letter and envelope and shoots out of a machine for you to take home as a souvenir. It is awesome!

The girls were hungry and our time became quit limited once Caroline started checking out as we walked through the many stamp collections. I thought about Jill the whole time, the Queen of good mail. Did you know my friend Jill has compiled a list of 100 bloggers address to encourage good mail, she knows all their birthdays and reminds everyone of their special day (birthday post coming soon, i promise)
So I only had 30 seconds in the gift shop to get something for the Good Mail Queen. I can't show the item here as it would ruin her surprise. We ran across the street to Union Station to get some lunch. I was thrilled to add another photo to my "me in D.C." gallery. You can't tell by the photo but the arches as you walk in are eye catching. The amazing thing about Union Station is it has some of the busiest people in the world along side some who have nothing to do. There are men running around in suits everywhere as there are men asking for change. It seems like such an extreme. I watched two men in suits going down to the metro who looked like the veins were going to pop out of their head with stress and excitement. They could have come out of the Capitol trying to get a new law in motion. So many people around there with so many stories to tell.

This was a quote on the wall at the museum
"The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities."

So how could I write about the good mail mecca and not do a good mail giveway.
So without googling the Hope Diamond that sits in the Natural History Museum down the street from the postal museum
how many carats is the Hope Diamond?
The closest guess (by Friday morning) will get 26.2 yards of luscious ribbon.

hey if you spent the time to read this long post you might as well get the chance to win something as well as learn something!

also if you have a minute take a gander at the new exhibit coming up this summer and these stamps...

63 comments:

Jenny said...

I never knew that they had such a museum. How cool! I love buying new stamps. I actually bought birthday stamps last year to send my mom's birthday invitations on and was so sad they didn't make the .41 stamps when they switched the price. That souvenir post card is awesome. What a fun thing for the kids. Too bad I wasn't about 2000 miles closer :)

Woo hoo first to comment!

Jenny said...

And HOLY COW that is quite a diamond. I would guess, but to play fairly I will give someone else a chance. I am not a very good cheater!

Fantastic4Family said...

I am new to your blog but I want to guess!!!
45 carats
I have heard of the diamond before but never seen it
Now I need to go look it up!!!!

Shannon

Nikki said...

I have no idea about the diamond's size without googling it- although now I will have to do that after I post. I can only guess 26.2 carots based on your ribbon yardage.
I love the Smithsonian museums, but never been to this one- obviously a must see when the kids are older and we can make the trip to DC. (BTW love the picture with arches behind you- great shot!)
"Good Mail" is amazing and inspiring. While I haven't participated in the official Jill Good Mail, the thought of sending cards is forefront in my mind. At Christmas time, when normally I'd roll my eyes at the long lines, this year I got choked up and had to hold back the tears seeing all of that Good Mail being sent!

Nikki said...

WOW! I was WAY OFF! :)

Tasha said...

I think the Hope Diamond is like 72 carats or 110 carats. How's that for a nice narrowed down answer???

Those stamps are so cool! What a great day. I miss being so close to so many great things to do and see.

crystal said...

Good Mail via stagecoach! How perfect.

You chose the quintessential place to get Jill a giftie. Good thinking!

As for the Hope diamond, I'm guessing 150 carats. I saw it when we visited DC last summer (bro in law school at GW), but I can't remember how many carats it is! Dang!

Melissa said...

If my memory is correct (it's been known to fail me a time or 2) I'll say that the hope diamond is 45 1/2carats. Now I have to google it and find out if I remembered correctly.

Melissa said...

oh, so close!

Kim Sue said...

it's been on our traveling list for a while but think now Carly is getting old enough to make it an enjoyable trip!

52.4? double your ribbon amount? Like everyone else I have to go find out. I'm not patient enough to wait until tomorrow for you to tell us:)

The monkey bunch said...

Ok, I have seen it a couple times, but it hasn't stuck in my head. I am guessing 53 carats. Some day you have to post how you get to the ribbon outlet and do they have a website?

Heather said...

I'm so sad I lost my memory as I've had my children--but I guess they are worth the trade off. I have seen the hope diamond a few times and know it is huge. I'm going to go with: 350.

Heather said...

OK--embarassing. way over, but fun to guess!

Stephenson Family said...

I'll go with 50 carats. That museum sounds like so much fun. Definitely one to put on our list of things to do when we finally make our trip out there!

stacy{s} said...

That exhibit coming next "A to Z" has me written all over it! It may be time for a visit...As to the diamond I'm going to guess 72 carots.

michelle said...

What a fun little family field trip! I just love great museums, and I've never been to this one. The interactive parts sound so great for the kids, too.

I remember seeing the Hope diamond, and it is huge! I'm going to guess 51 carats?

I loved your description of Union Station, and your self-portraits!

Jessica said...

That was an awesome post, Kristi. I'm going to guess 115 carats!

Staci said...

I'll have to guess 49 1/2 carats.

Jan said...

I'm guessing here but I remember (maybe a Jeopardy question?) that it was around 45.5 carats. Time for Google I guess.

sockiepuppetsmom said...

I would love to go to DC with our girls and see EVERYTHING! My husband goes at least once a year on business, sometimes I get to come too, but we have yet to bring the girls with us. Maybe next year.
As for the hope diamond, I know somewhere in the dusty filecabinet I have the answer:) I'm going to guess 58 carats.

Barb said...

Even before I read below your Union Station self portrait I thought to myself how cool those arches behind you were and how great that you captured them in your picture. I rarely enter contests because I feel international mail guilt living across the border from so many bloggers, but your yardage on this ribbon is awesome - I love the subtle reference to your marathon. So I'll guess 26.2 carats.

Aaron and Rachelle Brown said...

The postal museum is a blast. It is kind of a hidden treasure. We've also recently visited the building museum, which has an awesome play area for kids 2-6. My kids love it. I'll guess 73 carats.

Shauna said...

This looks fabulous! Before I hit DC, I am going to review your blog over and over!
I have seen the Hope Diamond and I cannot remember... but I am going to say 63 Carats!

Kristi said...

hm- I too saw it- just last summer, but don't remember! all your posts really make me want to go back to DC, and I'm not even american!!
okay, my guess- 49.3 carats.

Jill said...

Oh my goodness, I really need to come visit you in D.C.! I NEED to go to this museum! Thanks for documenting your visit so well, it looks like a great place.

I save many of the postmarks and stamps that come my way in the form of good mail, but haven't done anything with them. I think I'm going to need to create something (not a lamp though) out of them, thanks for the inspiration!

The link to the new stamps is very cool. I'm often disappointed by the stamp choices, so I'd love to see the exhibit about how they choose them.

Mikelle said...

I've seen the Hope Diamond, but I can't remember how many carats...my guess is 70.

Jinii said...

I love that post it is awesome to get highlights of a musuem I had never seen before. I have seen the hope diamond and love it. If my memory still work I think it is 45.5 k. I saw it and just wanted to put the thing on!

Judy said...

Love your blog...and you are making me want to move or visit Washington DC
i will guess 47.2

Cristin said...

This museum is right up your alley! No idea on the hope diamond...(and I think I've even seen it...big, blue???) :)

I wonder is Lisa knows about this exhibit...one of our ancestors rode the pony express too!

Looks like a fun day! And FYI --for anyone who saves stamps...they make great Christmas ornaments (cover a block with that year's Christmas stamps and date it) and Martha Stewart made fabulous Easter eggs covered in pastel stamps [a year or two ago]!!!!

Julia said...

What a great museum! We will have to go to DC again...

I just saw the hope diamond a few weeks ago, but I can't remember if it was 44.52 or 45.52 carats. Eric commented that he was going to buy it for my engagement ring, but was worried that it would be too heavy for my finger. So thoughtful of him!

Traci said...

Wow! What a fun museum for sure! Can't wait to take the tykes there. Now i have seen the Hope diamond a few years back- amazing, but of course don't remember the carat weight, so I will guess 65 carats!
What a fun post! Thanks for sharing!

Esther said...

We were there last year and believe it or not, I had to ask my 9 year old if she remembered. We are going with her guess of 45 carats...

I'm usually in DC once a year for business and I make it a point to visit a new site when I'm in town.

Hannah said...

I think it is 45.something...45.5??? I wish I could remember! I LOVE the picture of you with the arches- so cool. I want to come there so bad it hurts- that museum looks AWESOME. Thanks for taking your kids everywhere so we can live through you!

Jenmomof4 said...

We got to see it a two years ago when we were there for a wedding. I could not believe how big it was. We always quiz the kids after we take trips like that on facts. The diamond was one of them. I had to make up a story so the kids would remember the weight. "When I am 45 Your dad will be 52" Which is true we are 7 years apart. So my answer is 45.52 carats.

Cynthia said...

I love the post on the mail museum. I've actually seen the hope diamond and went to my records, it is 45.52 carats! Amazing!

Liz said...

Wow! We have been to DC before, and I really liked it. However, I have not been in that particular museum before. You have sparked my interest.

By the way, I used the last of my birthday stamps on your package and Shawna B's birthday package. I checked at the post office, and they no longer have that one! Bummer! So I bought a "celebrate" one instead.

Ok, the Hope diamond, I can't remember what carat it is but I am going to guess 26 carats?!!

Andie said...

45 and a half!

Michelle A. said...

I am going to guess 26.2 - just because it was one of your numbers in your post. I thought for sure if I asked my husband, who works in the mining field and has vast knowledge of every needles fact, if he knew how many carats the hope diamond was and all he could muster was "big". So I don't really know, but am going to go google it right now. Take care and the museum looks like so much fun! Have you been to the really cool spy museum yet? What am I saying - of course you have!

Missy said...

I went to see it a couple of months ago... 45 1/2?

Missy

Erin said...

I cannot tell a lie, I looked it up. I get excited to google anything. What a great museum. Mail blessed mail!

Anonymous said...

Hi -- Great post, and I hope to be able to go to that museum. Actually, Jeff has two gggg grandfathers that were pony express riders --- Major Howard Egan and his son Richard Erastus Egan. There actually is an Egan station that we visited in Nevada.
Small world. They say diamonds are a girl's best friends, but that might be a bit much for any of us..... SEC

andrea said...

Looks like a great place to visit and love all the good mail references. I just received my package from Backcountry.com. That was FAST. I love all the stuff. Thanks again for sponsoring such fun contests.

April said...

My guess is 56 carats. Now I have to go check and see if I'm right!

Live Simply...Live Well... said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wende said...

kristi, i just love your blog. i grew up in alexandria, va. i live in utah now and i miss it so much. i am totally living vicariously through you. i have been so excited to read your d.c. entries, they make me homesick as they remind me of all that i love there. plus, i totally stole your cute gum ball jars for christmas and they were a huge hit with my daughter's friends. thanks for all the inspiration. ps i've seen the hope diamond many times but can't remember how many carats it is! i'm so embarassed! my guess is 61. thanks again for all the inspiration.

Elizabeth said...

That sounds like a great museum. Someday we will get there and visit all your recommendations.

Laurie said...

I want to come to DC!! I've only been there once, so I think I'm due for another visit and (not to be imposing or anything...) you would be the perfect city guide!

Rachael said...

130 carats?

Shelley said...

I need to go to that museum before I move away from Virgina this summer!! I MUST know more about this ribbon factory. Is it the one is Hagerstown? Or it in IN DC? Tell me more please!!

Price Cream Parlor said...

I don't know what is more fantastic - all these great places that you actually GO AND SEE or that you photo document it all! So awesome! Another reason to print your blog in book form for the future!
I can't wait to see what you bought for Jill!
I am guessing 126 carats!

Stephanie said...

I really have no idea....60 1/2 carats. Love your post. How fun to live in a place where there is just tons of history and fun things to learn.

Lisa said...

Kristi,
I can't believe I didn't see you on Saturday - so close! Who is Jeff's Pony Express ancestor - maybe we are related. I'm putting the exhibit on my list of things to do...

Kristen said...

Wow you already have 52 comments...I guess I have no chance haha..I so love your contests:)

What an amazing post. Just maybe one day I will get to visit DC! I have learned so much from you!

lisa (lost pezhead) said...

I'll go with 63.8 carats...i had no idea this museum existed! so fun!

Marla said...

I love the Smithsonian system...haven't been to DC in about 3 years....can't wait to see the updates sometime soon. I have been fascinated by the Hope Diamond since my dad was on the team the reworked the vault & security several years ago...45 1/2 carats!

LJ said...

I'm guessing it's 26.2 carats!

Anne said...

Don't forget, if you need another adult to accompany your children at the easter egg roll this year you know where to find me.

The archway at Union Station is one of my favorite little photo spots. I can't resist the repetition.

Claudissima said...

67?

Anita K. said...

The ribbon is beautiful! I have been to both the Postal Museum and to see the Hope Diamond. It is 45.52 carats.

RoRo said...

I really want to visit D.C., did you get to climb in the mail truck?

I don't know about the Hope Diamond but since you are making people guess I'm assuming it's something amazing, I will go big and say 100 carats!

Amanda said...

I don't even know so I'm going to guess 75. I loved this post of the museum. I have been saving stamps since I was a little girl. Terry and I are hoping to come down to DC for Spring Break. We will add this museum to our list of things to do!

deidra said...

The Postal Museum is a good one. I had a friend that painted amazing pictures and entered the Duck Stamp contest every year of high school. I loved learning more about that while I was there.

I love the DC Chicken salad from the corner bakery in Union Station. (And cheap goods later in the afternoon at Au Bon Pain... I can't remember when they mark them down, but it was always a tempting treat to a poor intern!)

emily g. said...

Well, I guess I'm too late for the contest. However, I wouldn't have guessed correctly, I thought the Hope diamond was almost twice that size. It's a good thing that I was able to get to the ribbon outlet with you on our last trip and add to my collection--I don't think I've had any hope of winning any of your contests! :-) I like the Emily D. stamp! We'll have to visit the Postal Museum next time we are in town.