For as long as I've been living here, I've tried to take a decent picture of the Washington Monument. It would seem an easy enough subject. It always stands as still as a statue. It doesn't blink when you use the flash. Never turns its head to look at the TV when you're trying to photograph it modeling that dress Grandma sent for the latest birthday... and yet, for some reason it remains, for me at least, much more difficult to photograph than my children on their worst day.

When The KnaveofHearts was here over his winter break, we decided to take him to the Washington Monument since he didn't remember the last time he was there. (As well he shouldn't, I think he was six.) I thought it would be pretty cool to watch the sunset over Washington from atop the obelisk so I got the latest possible tickets in the day. Then the park rangers thwarted my plan by kicking us out before the sunset even happened. And when I say "kicking us out," I mean that literally. They actually turned off all the lights and left us standing up there in the dark while we waited for the elevators. It was subtle encouragement to leave, I guess.

I still can't say I've taken a photo of the Washington Monument that I'm spectacularly pleased with, but these two are my best so far.