Monday, September 26, 2011

Reason to Celebrate

Last week we had a good excuse to get gussied up and go out.  Adam received an offer from a firm in Salt Lake City to work next year!  This means that we will be heading back West next Spring.  We couldn't be happier and we girls can't express our love to daddy enough for working so hard.

When I told Caroline that we would be going out on Friday night somewhere fancy, she heard that word and rolled with it.  
"Mom, I need to wear a fancy dress, and so do you!"
"Do you think the restaurant will have fancy highchairs with whales on them that are wearing fancy, big hats?  Olive could sit in one of those!"
"Don't forget to drink with your pinkie up!"
"....oh and say Chip, Chip, Cheerio!"

The places that Adam and I had talked about going for dinner were not fancy.  There was Ray's Hellburger, or Ben's Chili Bowl.  At the last minute we decided to go to Old Ebbitt Grill, right across from the Treasury Building and the White House.  
It did not disappoint, fancy enough to leave Caroline in awe, but not so fancy that we felt uncomfortable taking her and Olive there with us.  
She daintily placed the linen napkin on her "fancy ensemble" (a term she used to describe the outfit that she picked out for the occasion).  
And Olive was just happy to look at the brass dog in the window behind her and Adam, and at all of the model geese and ducks displayed throughout the restaurant.
I had an old box of artificial nails that I got as a stocking stuffer from my love our first year of marriage (maybe he thought I was a bit high maintenance :)  Caroline helped me put them on and she loved how they looked.  I was a bit embarrassed and was kind of hiding my hands at first.  
Luckily I don't wear nails because by the end of the night I had only 5 nails left.  Maybe I am not careful enough, or maybe it is because the glue was over 5 years old (pretty sure it was the latter).
After we ate, we decided to go to the courthouse where Adam is working as a Judicial Intern for the Honorable Judge Rader.  Adam showed us around his office in the Judge's chambers and Judge Rader just happened to be working late.  In fact, he had just returned from a reception with President Obama at the White House.  He was extremely nice to take time away from his work to visit with us.  
He even scooped Olive right to take a picture with the girls.
Here is the view from one of the windows in his office.  (sorry about the flash)  That building is the Treasury Building where I interned many years ago, and the White House is right next to the Treasury in those trees.
After visiting Adam's work, we walked around outside and visited the White House at night, which was beautiful.  Now that we know we are not sticking around the East Coast, I feel a sense of urgency to "conquer the world," (a phrase Adam frequently uses to describe my need to see and do it all).
I have a list forming in my head of things we have to do before we leave, and it is getting pretty long.
Monticello, Gettysburg, bike to Mount Vernon, tour the White House, drive back to New England?, Outer Banks, NC . . . 
We really enjoyed our experience in NY this summer, and we truly love the East Coast.  However, we feel extremely blessed to have an opportunity to get back to Utah and be close to both our families.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It's not often that a brand new memorial is unveiled here in our nation's capital.  However, at the end of August, a majestic tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. was opened.  Directly across from the Jefferson Memorial, the stones that are engraved with words of peace and justice sit right on the Tidal Basin.
The theme of the memorial is, "A Stone of Hope Cut from the Mountain of Despair."  The two stones in the foreground represent the Mountain of Despair and set forward in the Stone of Hope stands the towering frame of Dr. King.
We learned that the night before he died he gave a very prophetic speech:
"Well, I don't know what will happen now; we've got some difficult days ahead.  But it doesn't really matter
with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop.  And I don't mind.  Like anybody, I would like to live a long life- longevity has its place...I just want to do God's will.  He's allowed me to go up to the mountain.  And I've looked over; and I've seen the Promised Land.  I may not get there with you...."
I get chills all over when I read the quotes at these solemn memorials.  It is nice to have an inspirational reminder of all that these noble men have done for us.  A reminder of the huge price that was paid to get where we are today.  
Thank you Dr. King.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pom Poms

I know that these pom poms are used at so many wedding showers and baby showers, but I can't help but love them!  They make me happy and add so much to the decor.  
A lot of people have asked how to make them, or where to buy them.  The tutorial on is what I used when I made them.  They are super easy to make, but I did make one adjustment to them.  I doubled the amount of tissue paper used because when I used 8 sheets of paper, they didn't turn out full enough.  
If you don't want to make them, you can get them at select party stores (in Utah), but they are hard to find.
These are the pom poms from our mustache bash baby shower several months ago.  
I didn't have the heart to throw them away so they are still hanging above my daughters bed, and she loves them!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hoppiest place on earth!

The crisp and fragrant season of fall is upon us and so is the wonderful anticipation of school beginning.  
I was always beyond excited for school to start.  New class, new teacher, new pencils and fresh new clothes.
I was even known to sleep with my socks on so that I could get ready faster in the morning.
Caroline couldn't wait get back to Preschool!  We knew that Mrs. Lockard was going to be her teacher and Caroline was thrilled.   Last year whenever she would walk Caroline to the car, I could just tell little C had a special place in Mrs. Lockard's heart.  It was so comforting to know that all of the zest for life that Caroline has, was appreciated by her teacher.
There were no tears from me or Caroline this year at drop off....just huge smiles as we took her into the frog class.
Picking her up is the greatest part of the day!  She loved telling me how she played Rapunzel on the playground with Joanna, and how she saw Annabelle and gave her a big hug, and that she poured her own water at snack.

While we were driving home, she couldn't wait to show me the portrait she made for me and daddy.  
"See mom!  I have blonde hair, and blue eyes.  There's my glasses, and I have bangs.  
And I gave myself a check mark smile!  See!?"

Make room walls, there is a lot of original artwork coming in to fill you up.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A few favorites...

When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I am feeling sad....I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feel so bad!  Okay, so maybe its not quite that dramatic, but I do really enjoy the following items: This website is such a fun one for learning letters, sounds, and teaching children to read.  Adam's mom (a 20+ year preschool veteran and current kindergarten teacher) filled us in on this beauty.  Caroline has loved it for years, and Olive is now enjoying all of the pictures, games, and music as well.

New Animated Nursery Rhymes at

Bibs by Sally Huss:  I have loved the bib that we have like this.  A lot of the patterns are pretty hyper and not my favorite, but if it's function you are going for, this is it.  
The bottom part snaps so that it makes a bowl type area to catch the waterfall of food that toddlers produce.  I have washed mine in the washing machine and the plastic has held up great.
They used to sell them at Wal-Mart, but now Amazon is the place to go.
Dex Dura Bib Big Mouth

Funky pop-beads:  A new variation on an old favorite, B. Pop-Arty has taken pop  beads to a whole new level.  These were found at Target, and our girls love to play with them every time they 
visit Grandma Mary's house.
B. Pop-Arty! Funky Pop Beads. Additional View 2
And last, but certainly not least, Utah Football! Good luck this weekend boys.  Go Utes!!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

IV's and bedpans

Luckily while in Utah, none of our little family had to have a visit to the hospital.  The last two weeks we were in Utah, however, we spent a fair amount of time at a couple of hospitals with family.  Our darling and hilarious 9 year old Luke was in the hospital for a ruptured appendix and an appendectomy.  Here is a picture  during happier times earlier in the summer at his birthday party.  I don't have any pictures from the hospital because when I was there with him, he was so, so sick.  It brought tears to my eyes every time I walked into his room.  I had to pull myself together so that I didn't worry him.  I don't know how my sister did it.  She is a rock.
I was so grateful for the time we got to spend with Luke.  We had a nice walk slowly down the hall, with his little body hunched over and his hand holding the IV pole.  We are so grateful that he is home now!
While Luke was in the hospital, we had fun helping with the 3 other boys.  They slept over at my parents a few times and at my sister Erika's.  The days were full of fun activities to stay busy.  
Hiking to Doughnut Falls was perfect for a hot summer day.  It was nice and cool up Big Cottonwood Canyon, and the hike was easy enough for the girls.  Caroline walked the entire thing by herself and Olive wasn't far behind that.
Caroline still laughs when she tells people about hiking there.  She says, "It's not really REAL doughnuts falling, it's just water." (as she laughs to herself)
While not at the hospital, we also spent our time driving in style...and never taking the goggles off for the entire day.
And doing lots of sewing projects with Grandma Winegar.
We also spent time at Intermountain Medical Center with Grandma Beckstrom, Adam's sweet mom.  She was admitted to the hospital just a few days before we left, and that is where she was on the day we flew out.  After arriving back in D.C., bad news came of more cancer found in a lot more places.  Scary places.  We have felt helpless being so far away and hearing such hard news.  There have been a lot of hugs given and a lot of tears that have fallen.  
Gratefully prayer and fasts have been answered and she is home with the pain more controlled.  
The time spent at the hospital was sweet as all the grandchildren were there (baby Enoch not in the picture.)  We sat by the ginormous windows and enjoyed a sweet and simple ice cream cone that cheered everyone up.    Actually Grandma's happy attitude usually cheers anyone up, no ice cream needed.
She is a contagious optimist and such a fighter.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Real life

We are back!..and real life has begun again for us.  We have returned to D.C. apparently at a good time, after all of the natural disaster scares.  I knew summer was overall really relaxed (in a strange, move-3-times and live out of suitcases, sort of way), but I didn't quite grasp that feeling until being back where real life does happen.  Appointments need to be kept, cars need to be registered, pre-school orientation needs to be attended, fun must be had with all of our incredible friends out here, boxes need to be unpacked  so we can start living.  All things considered, I was a bit anxious the morning after our arrival.  Realizing our extended vacation was over was bittersweet.  I loved how Adam said, "Just remember, nothing HAS to get done today."  It was the perfect thing to say dear hubby.  Those words ran through my head several times that first day as I walked to and from the gas station while getting the inspection done.  

We have been hard at work reorganizing our place.  Going through all of our stuff has been overwhelming.  In New York we started out without a single toy.  A friend gave us some that she was getting rid of and so we had a few more, but that was it.  It was a liberating experience to have such minimal stuff!  There wasn't much to clean up, the place was so uncluttered and refreshing to be in.  I loved it.  After going through all of our boxes, I told Adam that if I come home with ANYTHING new that he should give me the self-issued advice, "take it back dear."  At the end of our third day of unpacking, I told Adam that there were two boxes that were still down in our storage space that needed to come up.  When he arrived with the boxes he asked, "How many boxes did you say, two?. . .how about nine!"  Needless to say, our family of four definitely fills out our two bedroom apartment.  

Today, after emerging from our nine unexpected boxes of clothes, children's books, picture frames, toys, etc. we went on a much needed outing.  We were on our way to the Dairy Godmother in Del Ray, but realized it was too close to dinner for such a sweet treat.  Instead we headed to a staircase on the Potomac behind the Lincoln Memorial.  I have driven past these stairs several times while on my way to the zoo and I have always wanted to just go sit on them and watch the boats or crew teams pass by.  I had no idea where to park to get to them, but we found the road just the other day.  
It was a perfect spot for relaxing..
Sweet shoe loving Olive chose rain boots as her sixth pair today, and the ones that she wanted to walk around the 80 degree weather in.  She doesn't lie when she says, "I schweet."  We couldn't agree more.
We walked across the Memorial Bridge and actually chose a granite bench on the bridge to have our picnic.  We thought it was a funny place to stop and eat after we realized we were sitting right by the road.  I hadn't even noticed the cars because the water was so soothing to just sit and stare at.  
The next little gem that I have had my eye on is the little path that sits between those trees.  It is right across from the lovely staircase.  Whenever we take Adam to school, I get all pumped up seeing the runners enjoying their morning along there.  I can't wait to join a very s.l.o.w. pace.  

As we drove home we were feeling rejuvinated and thrilled to go home to our clean apartment!  I turned around to see our little girls, only to find their sweet little hands clasped so tenderly.  
I sure do get excited to hang out with them everyday, this current stage just might be my favorite.