And then there were 4...

And then there were 4...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Renuion of Sorts

Visits from family are always nice; visits from favorite cousins are even better!  Especially when those cousins are as fun, laid back, and easy going as my cousins Zach and his wife Sara.  Zach got an internship in Manhattan over the summer that has since turned into a job.  Technically he still has a month left in the internship, but they are planning on spending a few years in the big apple.  The timing could not have been more perfect.  They came down on the Greyhound Bus on Friday night and hung out with us all the way until Sunday night.

When I picked them up on Friday We got completely lost (by "we" I really mean I).  Washington D.C. has some pretty happening night life and there was more than one instance that I was sure we were going to be shot (perhaps I'm a bit of an exaggerator).  What should have been a 30 minute drive ended up begin a little short of an hour; sorry Zach and Sara!

On Saturday we saw a lot of sights in downtown D.C. which included the Air and Space Museum, the National Archives, the Museum of National History and the Capitol Building.  We finished the afternoon off with a Chipotle style Indian Restaurant called Merzi which was actually really good!  Luckily our friends the George's said they would watch Dominik in the evening, so after lunch we headed back home; but not before we saw a little bit of Georgetown. When we got back to D.C. we were surprisingly pretty hungry (I'm so glad that Zach and Sara were on the same eating schedule as us!).  We heard rave reviews about Capitol Hill Brewery (not to be confused with Capitol City Brewery) so we decided to go and check it out.  The food was really good and they served soft pretzels to start the meal off.  We actually heard that they brewed their own root beer and it was pretty good so everyone got a glass.  At first taste everyone thought there was something a bit off.  Finally TJ said that it tasted like ranch corn nuts; that was exactly it!  It was still refreshing though and the food was pretty good.  I would give it a B.  We finished the evening with a trip to the White House, the Washington Monument, and intentions to go to the Lincoln Memorial but once we realized how far away it was we decided to turn around and head home.  I think we actually ended up walking about 10 miles total!  We were all exhausted; but not too exhausted that we couldn't come home and watch Hunger Games!!  Woot, Woot :)  Great movie!!

On Sunday we woke up early, ate breakfast, and went to church.  TJ teaches Sunday school and I teach primary so we felt bad that Zach and Sara were really on their own.  After church we went and saw the Potomac Falls along the C&O canal.  It was a beautiful way to spend Sunday and a fun way to spend our last day with Zach and Sara.  We sent them off with bellies full of BBQ ribs! 

Overall a great weekend!  We are super excited to go visit them in Manhattan and we are currently in the process of planning an epic Thanksgiving weekend!  I sure love Zach and Sara and feel so blessed that such an awesome couple could live so close and also be family!!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Living History at Mt. Vernon

Throughout our journey east we had several opportunities to relive church history.  Our trip to Mt. Vernon was the first time we have relived US history on location.  Mt. Vernon was the home of our nations first president George Washington.  While I knew he was a great president, I had no idea how great until we visited Mt. Vernon.

In terms of the United States being consecrated as the promise land, George Washington was instrumental in this process.  While he was not an actual Latter-day Saint, had the church been restored during his time, I firmly believe he would have been (I'm not sure how his large distillery would have fit into that picture though).  He set the bar for all other presidents to follow, and he set it really high!  He stayed firm in the idea that the people should have the power and no one man should rule.  He was a man of integrity and was the perfect man to establish this great nation. 

Mt. Vernon was full of artifacts and replicas of what was used during the time period, as well as the actual house of the Washington's.  There was a lot of interactive exhibits that were fun for our whole family.  Dominik loved seeing the cows (it's an actual fully functioning plantation), and running around seeing and touching just about everything; good thing most things were kid friendly! 

All Aboard the USS Comfort

A few weeks ago TJ had the opportunity to go do some dental check ups for Sailors stationed on the Navy's hospital ship called the USS Comfort.  Since it was only an hour or so worth of work for TJ, Matt, and Steve (fellow AEGD residents), TJ's commanding Officer, Commander Rudmann said that everyone could bring their families and he would give everyone a tour of the ship.

This ship was massive!  It was a fully equipped hospital ship ready to set sail at the first sign of a disaster.  The ships last mission was for humanitarian purposes and did some AMAZING things for third world countries and people who needed a lot of services.  It would be hard to let TJ go on a ship like this and be away from him for any period of time, but talk about the chance of a life time! 

The George's: Steve, Maryanne, and Maddy

Throughout the tour I found myself more and more grateful that TJ and I decided to go the Navy route.  We have had so many opportunities, and will have so many more opportunities to do some pretty cool stuff.  Not to mention the fact that the Navy does great things for people.  We are truly blessed to be part of the Navy and this experience made me so excited and anxious for everything that is to come!!!

Baltimore Aquarium

We currently live about an hour away from Baltimore.  Baltimore has quite a lot of things to offer, but as far as kids go, the Baltimore Aquarium is a must.  We decided to go a few Saturdays ago, and our good friends the George's decided to accompany us. 

We felt right at home with the downpour of rain, so thank goodness the aquarium is indoors.  The overall facility is amazing.  They have every kind of fish, both freshwater and saltwater.  They have dolphin demonstrations, and tons of different interactive exhibits that Dominik just loved! 

Since Baltimore was an hour away we decided to make it an all day adventure.  Around 1pm we gave Dominik his Binky (can't sleep without it!) and tried to hold him to get him to fall asleep.  We were approaching the shark tank that is about 5 stories high and has a spiral like walk way from the top all the way to the bottom of the exhibit with amazing fish all the way down.  Well it was way too cool for Dominik to pass up no matter how tired he was so he decided to go investigate.  I knew I should take the Binky out of his mouth, but based off prior experiences I knew he would treasure it and never let it out of his grasp.  However, the shark tank was just too awesome because as soon as he leaned over to look at a shark swimming past he opened his mouth to exclaim "WOW" and out fell his Binky; straight into the shark tank.  It slowly floated away just out of daddy's grasp :(  it was completely and utterly devastating for Dominik to watch his precious Binky and the mercy of the sharks.  It got to the point where he was writhing on the aquarium floor screaming "Binky, Binky, Binky."  It was so stinkin sad!  Luckily mama came prepared in case of emergency; I actually brought three just in case!

Other than losing the Binky, the day was a hit!  We even had a caricature done to commemorate the fallen Binky.  To this day Dominik talks about his Binky that the sharks either ate or use to go night-night with; he flip flops depending on the day. 

Spending the 4th with Friends

We are so grateful to our good friends Jessica and Avery Atkinson as well as Jay and Jane Rassmusen for hanging out with us this fourth of July and making it an awesome one!  It was so wonderful to have a relaxing weekend spent with good friends and good food, all the while celebrating the Independence of this great nation.

We were able to spend the night with the Jess and Avery and Dominik was able to spend some much needed time with old friends.  I think he is still pretty confused why we don't still get to see them everyday!  We lit fireworks, played with sparklers, and just had a great time.  While it was so much fun hanging out, it made me miss Portland that much more! 

Thanks again Jess and Avery!  We had a BLAST!!!