Fall Festivities

We have been up to quite a lot this fall.  It has been such a fun time of year.  Jack and Sophs are really embracing Halloween and love to talk about ghosts, witches, pumpkins and more.  We have checked out lots of library books about Halloween and it has been so fun!

We made a last trip to the zoo for the season.  Sophie had a major meltdown while we were there and Jack just had to hold her hand to make her feel better.  She was all smiles by the time we got to the carousel.

We have enjoyed some really lovely fall weather and a lot of fun times with friends.  My friend, Brooke was visiting from AZ and we had a lunch date.  Jack was enamored with her sweet baby Clara.  It was so cute.  And, of course, Jack and his best buddy Ari have spent some time together almost everyday this month.  They are best buds.

I have stumbled across some pretty picturesque scenes on my morning runs.  The sunrise was so beautiful one morning.  Perhaps I was just grateful to see the light finally.  This was at about mile 8 of my 10.5 morning run.  I had survived 7 miles in the complete darkness.  Not my favorite.  And I just loved my neighbors tree one morning.  It looked so beautiful!

We really loved going to Logan a few weekends ago with Dan’s family for the Pumpkin Walk.  We had the best time and some of the scenes made out of pumpkins were really incredible.  The kids were obsessed with sticking their heads in all the characters.  Those Harry Potter ones are pretty killer funny.  I hope this becomes a family tradition.  I loved it a lot.

One day we met with our friends, Annie and Caleb, at Gardner Village.  They had a very fun petting zoo and horse ride for the kids.  I was pretty proud of Sophie who rode the horse all by herself.  She usually lets her fear of animals get the best of her!  And I feel like she looks more grown up than ever on that animal!

And finally, we made it to the pumpkin patch at the Red Barn in Santaquin.  We really loved it this year.  They have added a fun slide that the kids adored.  I could have rode it all day too.  It was pretty fun.  The best part is the pumpkins were free since it was the last weekend before Halloween and they had so many left!  We finished out our time there with fresh apple juice, apple cider donuts and fresh ice cream from the farm.  Delicious!

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DC Getaway

Well I did it folks, I left my kids behind for 6 days and went to Washington DC with Dan.  And I loved it!  DC is one of my favorite places.  I love all of the history.  I love thinking of everyone that has passed through the same halls I walked in.  I love learning about their lives and the impact they had on our country.  I just love it.  We were thrilled to have Melanie and Jake come down from Princeton to spend a few days with us as well.  We had the best time together.

Here is the beginning of our trip.  We enjoyed a nice flight sans children playing Ticket to Ride on the Ipad and listening to music.  Our commute from the Baltimore Airport on public transit was a little long.  But let’s give a shout out to public transportation…it is the best!  By the time we got to our hotel in Virginia, we were so tired.  But I couldn’t be that close and not go into the Mall.  So I convinced Dan it would be worth it and we ventured out.  Of all the things DC has, Dan wanted to the Lincoln Memorial most of all.  Well I didn’t remember that there was not a Metro stop closer than a mile away from Lincoln.  So our short jaunt to see Lincoln turned into a longer one.  But it was worth it.  This monument is amazing at night!

The next day started early with an 8:30 tour of the White House.  We weren’t allowed to bring cameras inside.  It was beautiful inside.  And I think its cool to say that I’ve been in the White House.  But honestly, it was a super short, self-guided tour and, therefore, did not really live up to the hype I’d given it in my mind!  We then ventured to the American History Museum where some of the highlights were Harry Potter’s outfit, Shaun White’s snow clothes and snowboard (love him!), an original sunstone from the Nauvoo Temple, the hat Abraham Lincoln was wearing the night he was shot, and some beams from the World Trade Center.  We spent 3+ hours here absorbing everything.  It was amazing.  Dan and I then went to the Air and Space Museum.  We were tired and, therefore, did not give this museum its due time.  But we could not stop talking about Jack and how much he would love it there with all the airplanes and rockets.  He would have been in little boy heaven!

On Friday we headed to Ford’s Theater for our first stop.  It was my first time and I loved it.  I loved learning more about Lincoln.  I think he was amazing.  And I felt so sad that his life was cut short.  It was also fascinating to learn more about John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators, their few weeks on the run and eventual capture.  We also crossed the street to the Petersen House which is where Lincoln actually passed away.  There they have a tower of the 10,000+ books that have been written about Abe.  Pretty amazing.

Our next stop that day was the Capitol tour.  I love the Capitol.  The tour is so neat because you learn so much about the history of the building and the art inside.  We found Brigham Young and of course had to snap a photo.  Did you know his statue is the only one that has the person sitting down?  He was pretty tired after crossing the plains!  I am just enamored with this building.  It is beautiful.

After the Capitol we went by underground tunnel to the Library of Congress.  It is my favorite building in DC.  I will post more about this later since we made a return trip on Monday.  We also stopped by the National Archives and saw the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights.  Even though the documents are super faded and illegible, it is still cool to see them and think about the power they hold for our nation.  After the Archives we headed to Shake Shack, a burger place that Mel and Jake love.  It was delicious and the ice cream was divine.  That night the boys stayed up until 2 am watching the BYU vs. USU game.  Even though the Cougs won, they regretted their decision because it was a lame game and we had an early morning on Saturday!

On Saturday we headed down early to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate on the Potomac River.  It was so beautiful there.  I really loved it.  I don’t have the words to describe how I felt when I saw George’s tomb.  It was just a sense of admiration for him and respect for all he did for America.  I love the Washington’s after being in their home and surrounding lands.  I especially loved learning how they welcomed anyone who stopped by into their home for dinner and place to stay if they needed.  Isn’t that amazing!

That afternoon and evening we went to the Holocaust Museum which is beyond fascinating to see and so devastating and humbling.  There is one room that is completely filled with shoes from the victims of some of the concentration camps.  It really blows my mind that something like that happened.  That evening we went to see the rest of the monuments as the sun was setting.  It was beautiful.

Doesn’t the Jefferson Memorial look amazing with the sun setting on it!?  I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it!  Or looking at it!

On Sunday Melanie and Jake left in the morning which was perfect timing cause that is really when the weather turned cold on us!  But there were still a few things on our list.  We started at Arlington Cemetery which is one of my favorite places.  We watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  It is fascinating to watch and realize that rain or shine, day or night there is a soldier on guard there.  Dan even pointed out that when the Pentagon was hit on 9/11 which is right next to Arlington that soldier kept on marching despite knowing that something tragic probably just happened.  The view of the mall and monuments is beautiful from Arlington as well.  I just love it there!

We walked over the Iwo Jima statue which is my #1 favorite statue.  It just makes me feel so proud to be American.  And you can’t imagine how big it is in real life.  It is breathtaking I think!

I felt like we hadn’t spent enough time at the White House so we stopped there as well on Sunday afternoon.  It is just kinda cool to walk around the grounds.  Although I have to admit I felt much more enamored by this place when I was here last time since George was its occupant.

On our ride back to the hotel I remembered that I wanted to visit the new Pentagon Memorial.  I almost talked myself out of it since we were on our way home and it was cold outside.  I am 100% grateful that we stopped.  I think it was my most moving experience of the trip.  It was beautiful there.  If you count 3 windows to the left of the 3 doors in the picture, that is where the plane crashed into the building.  So sad.

That night we had a nice dinner and spent some time watching General Conference, Washington DC style…on our phones with earphones in the hotel lobby since our rooms did not have free WiFi.

On our last day we had the wonderful opportunity of being able to go into the main reading room in the Library of Congress.  It is not open to the public.  But since it was Columbus Day the doors were opened.  We were so excited!  I can’t even give adequate words to how incredible the LOC is.  It is just something you have to see.  Every wall, ceiling and floor is covered in paintings or mosaics.  And all over there are famous quotes and scriptures.  What if you got to study here everyday!?  Amazing!

Our last couple of hours we spent walking the mall one last time…talking about our favorite parts of the trip and how much fun we had.  It was wonderful.  I think the best part was knowing that our kids were having just as much fun we were with Aunt Kerri and Grandma & Grandpa.  Thank you everyone for your help!

“Til next time my beloved DC!

 

 

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Birthday Boy

This is so late!  But Jack is now 4!  We decided to have a friend birthday party this year.  It was pretty fun and the kids had a great time.  Jack requested a Captain America Party so I had the kids make their own masks and then we attempted a super hero obstacle course.  The big hit was, of course, getting the bad guy (aka Dan) at the end with silly string.  We had cake and ice cream and then did a pinata.  Nothing like sugaring up a bunch of 4-year-olds and then sending them home to mom and dad!  That night Jack requested a dinner at Texas Roadhouse and we gladly obliged.  We love that place.

About a week after his birthday we went to the doctor for his well visit.  He was 43 inches tall (98%) and 40 lbs. (80%).  I love this big kid.  The doctor asked if he was really comfortable with his colors and things.  And I had to stop her and say…”He is pretty smart.  He is starting to read.  Can sound out anything phonetic.  He can count to 100 and backwards from 30.  He can do simple math and write his letters.  Is there any chance  we can start him in school early?  I’m just nervous that he will be so bored in kindergarten.”  She laughed and said there really is no way to start him early.  And then she said, “And in the long run when you have teenagers like me, you really will be glad that you got to keep him home one more year with you.”  I have to say that just over the last couple of months I really have been catching that vision.  I think about how this is the last year that all of his friends will be home and I really feel grateful that we have two more.  Two more years to live our own schedule and let him grow up socially a little more. Two more years to love him and keep him away from all the meanies in the world.  I’m starting to be glad for my fall born babies.  Just don’t ask me how I feel day to day!  But long term, I am feeling grateful!

 

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Rise and Shout

We have tried over the years to make it a tradition to go to at least one BYU football game with the kids per season.  It was pretty fun this year.  Sophs really embraced it.  She got into the music and loved to join in the fight song.  So cute.  Jack sort of had a rough time unless he had treats.  Must have been just a little bit too late for him.  We had a blast and are so happy the Cougars actually performed like a football team.

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