Sunday, July 31, 2011

Everyday life in DC

Time is flying by here in DC.  I feel like I have been able to blog a lot since we got here, but the pictures just keep coming faster than I can write! Here is a little bit about what we have been up to during the week days!
Before we left, my Dad gave the hubby two great books from Deseret Book. We have been learning a lot as we read them.  They have given us a different outlook on life.

Meet Caroline :)  Her Mom came in town for business for a few days and needed someone to watch her. We found each other on a nanny website and I ended up being the lucky candidate.  She is an adorable four month old baby that I got to babysit in their hotel room right by the Capitol Building.  I got to enjoy the hotel's continental breakfast every day, went on walks, toured more museums, and played with this cute little girl. 

The hubby finally pulled out his oils and started painting!! I love watching him put together such neat pictures.  It is a good way for him to clear his fast working mind, and be able to relax.  I love the down time it creates!
The hubby brought me some gorgeous flowers home :)  There are ladies that stand by our metro stop everyday and sell them.  They always look really fresh and pretty.
If I am grateful for one thing right now--it is this cart.  Our closest grocery store is straight uphill a few blocks and in the heat and humidity, it makes the walk a little painful sometimes.  This beauty saves me from having to load all the groceries up each arm like I did in Philly.  We have also created a budget for every month to keep better track of what we are spending and saving.  It has turned into a game for me to meal plan for every day of the week, go grocery shopping, and add every item up on my phone's calculator before I get to the check stand to make sure I am not going over budget.  I love it and we have loved trying the new meals. I have been searching for new recipes like mad, and pin them all on Pinterest so I can find them again.  That website has saved me. Anyway... I will definitely be making a purchase for a cart like this as soon as we get back to Philly.
Meet Jane.  She recently got out of the hospital for meningitis! She was in her 70's and I got paid to go to her apartment and hang out with her during the day so she wasn't alone.  I had to check her blood sugar, give pills, make sure she took the right amount of insulin at the right time, and cook her meals. All she ever wanted was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or crackers with melted cheese on top. Other than that, I read and stitched all day long. She was passed out on the couch like this picture most of the day!
This is our laundry room.  I have never had a problem with fighting for a vacant machine--but I have been sad at watching how much money goes down the drain.  It is $3.00 for a full load. To me that is expensive and it adds up quick!

I finished my first stitching pattern and am going to make it into a pillow when I get home to my sewing machine.  I posted a picture of the back to show how big of a beginner I am.  If you are looking for something easy to do while watching a movie or hanging out, you can borrow my patterns. I originally got them at a stitching store in Gardner Village and they are about $8 a piece. It has been way fun! Here is the next one I am working on--it will go in a wooden frame:
Meet Jack. He is another little boy that I was able to babysit for a few days! He was really whiney all the time, which acted as a good birth control for me :)  I don't know if he was teething, or if it was because he is really small for his age from being a super early preemie. Either way I felt bad for the little guy.
This is what the hubby gets to see everyday when he goes to work!  The White House is about a block away, and the second picture is a view straight out of his office window.  Time to be a bragging wife: He has been loving the experience and feels like they are training him for a future position.  His boss has already told a few people in the office that she isn't going to let him go back to school for his last year.  He received 'exceeds expectations' on most of the areas on his mid-internship evaluation and has tried really hard to make a good impression. It is definitely not what he wants to do long term--but at least he can give it his all right now. Proud of him :)

I got crafty and made us a MEMORIES jar.  I gladly topped off the salsa in the jar, rinsed it out, and spiced it up a little bit with some paper and a quote. "Take care of all your memories, for you cannot replace them."  We put memories in there of the little stuff that we know we are going to forget the next day.  The point is, is to fill the jar up and read them all every year on New Years. I figured it could be a cool tradition if we kept up on it, and one day all of the different jars would look neat in a line on a shelf. I have placed small pieces of paper next to our bed, and that helps us to write something down every night before we go to sleep.  It will be worth it in the end, and the hubby is excited about it.  He has put in more memories than me!
Life is good :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Since the hubby and I haven't been married for a year, that still places us in the newlywed category.  We are allowed to be cute and cheesy.  We are allowed to call each other babe no matter how much my father-in-law teases us about it. We haven't celebrated any of our "Monthiversaries"...but we always acknowledge them.  Yesterday there was a deal on LivingSocial that we could not pass up, so we decided to use our Monthiversary as an excuse to celebrate :)  4 cupcakes at Hello Cupcake for $1. Normally they are over $3 for one!!
There were SOOO many to choose from so it made my decision process very difficult.  It is decisions like these, where it would make my life so much easier if there were only four choices.  I could have gotten one of each and happily been on my way. Instead I had to find out what each filling was, and what each frosting flavor was. The hubby was at work so it was all up to me.  I went with a lemon, chocolate w/ strawberry, peanut butter cup, and dulce de leche. The hubby wasn't complaining at all.
His favorite: chocolate cupcake with a strawberry frosting (made with real strawberries!)
My favorite: lemon cupcake with lemon frosting.
We might need to celebrate our Monthiversaries more often!


Guess who we had over for dinner a few weeks ago....Miss Georgie Rawkins!  We were very excited to see her and be around her fun personality.  She is the kind of person that always seems so interested in your life and how you are doing.  She is very fun to be around.  I love when Georgie gets excited to tell stories...she talks very fast and finds humor in everything. The hubby and I could laugh with her for hours. She was a good friend to me when I was a nanny in Spain, and I am glad we have kept in touch over the past few years.  She is from England and the hubby got to meet her last year when we stayed in her flat while visiting London on our two week adventure. 
We were lucky and got to have her over to our place twice this summer...the second time when her boyfriend Louis got into town. He has the most incredible accent--a mix of a lot of different countries from traveling around so much. It is so fun for us to listen to them talk.  We love hearing the English accent. The boys talked business the whole time, so us girls got to catch up and exchange some good stories.

When we first met and were getting to know each other,  I told Georgie that my Mom used to call me Britter Bop when I was growing up...guess what Georgie calls me now???  Yep.  She also likes to make fun of some of the words we say with our "American accent."  Dork is one of her favorites.  She has a great memory and remembers all of my sibling's names and their kid's names.  She'll somehow have the hubby's whole extended family down next time we see her.
The weekend after we had them over, they were headed on a two week road trip down the coast.  They wanted to explore some states they had never been to.  Hopefully they had a good time--we can't wait to see them again!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Tourists

One of the best things about DC is its free tourism.  There is so much to do here, and a lot of it is free. There are outdoor concerts, outdoors movies, museums, live bands, etc. We have turned into quite the tourists, and take advantage of anything new that we can see.
Daniel recently was a gold medalist in the 2011 Congressional Award.  He has been working on this award since high school, and was able to be one of a few (I think--correct me if I am wrong Harbucks!) awarded from Utah.  This event gathers them to DC from all over the states.  It is about service work and how much you have done.  They have all had mentors and people helping them along the way. It took them all a lot of time to win this award so that was a cool accomplishment for him.  Because of it, he went through a three day event schedule filled with a Nationals Game, tour of the Capitol building, ceremonies, and a luncheon. We were some of the lucky people he invited along on his guest list!
Did you know that there is a small underground trolley, separate from the metro, that connects a few of the main buildings to the capitol?  I had no idea, and was amazed. We got to go underground to ride it straight there from a few blocks away. We then went straight through the tourism line and had our own private tour of the Capitol.  It was really neat.
Nat loved the ride!
After, we got to attend a Nationals game.  We had great seats, great company, and the game happened to fall on the stadium's $1 hot dog day! They almost made up for the heat and humidity while trying to watch the game.
We are proud of Daniel for winning the award, and thankful for the invite to all the events.

We have been to the National Mall many times since being here to visit the Smithsonian museums...
...the Iwo Jima memorial, which is across the street from our apartment complex!...
...the Lincoln Memorial...
...National Air and Space Museum...
...Teddy Roosevelt Island for a Sunday walk...
...the US Marine Drum and Bugle Corps at the Iwo Jima Memorial...
...the National Museum of Natural History...
-The hope diamond-
...and many many more.  We are starting to get better about taking pictures to better document our time here.  The hubby has a great camera on his iphone, but it is harder to ask someone to take a picture of both of us when we don't want anyone to scratch it or drop it.  My camera, on the other hand, has been around for years and works like a champ.  We'll stick with that for now.
We are having a great time and are learning a lot.  Feelin' blessed for the opportunity to be here!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Palmyra Pageant

Peaceful. Breathtaking. Unfathomable. Humble. Trials. Nobility. Persecution. Persistence. Prepared.
These are some of the words we thought about all weekend long.  
When we first found out that the hubby received an internship in DC for the summer, I immediately started to look for housing.  I added myself the the listserv (email updates and announcements) for the whole YSA ward here in DC, hoping that someone was moving away for the summer and needed their place rented out.  One day there was a new email from a girl whose family lives in Palmyra.  She was inviting all that wanted to come to stay at her house for the weekend.  She had a plan for those that wanted to see the sites and watch the pageant.  It only runs two weekends of the whole year so she wanted to get the word out.  My grandparents served their mission there and I have always heard about how incredible the sites are.  When I saw this email I immediately wrote her back and asked her if she would let a married couple come along.  To make a long story short, we were lined up with another married couple that wanted to go, and we were on our way to Palmyra on Friday afternoon!!

Palmyra Temple
 This is one of the smaller temples, but it is beautiful.  The church went and bought all of the land that was once owned by the Smith family, and built the temple on part of their land.
Log Home
This was the home of Joseph Smith, the prophet who restored the gospel on the earth today.  His entire family lived in that home, and this is also where he received multiple visions from the Angel Moroni. The hubby and I talked more about it while we were up in his bedroom and you could feel the spirit very strong. Even though there were a lot of people coming up and down, we were able to stand in a corner and talk a little bit about the significance of the room before we moved on.  I feel very lucky that my hubby has so much knowledge inside of that head of his.  It made the experience that much better hearing him tell me things along the way. 
The land there was gorgeous.
As we were walking from the log cabin to the frame home and sacred grove, we stopped in a spot where they have trimmed the trees down so you can see the temple.  What an amazing site. 
We unfortunately did not get a picture of the frame home, or work shop where they hand made their own barrels.  These are two significant places because it was under the bricks of the fireplace in the frame home where Joseph hid the gold plates. Next he moved them to the loft of the work shop and hid an empty box in the floor boards.  A mob came and found the empty box, but no plates.  He also had to hide them in a barrel covered with beans to get them from one place to another. If you want to learn more, click here. There is an unexplainable feeling about hearing these stories by current missionaries, while standing in the actual site.  We were blown away.
The Sacred Grove
It was exactly what we thought it would be.  It looks exactly like the pictures.  And the feeling is exactly as we anticipated it to be.  Peaceful.  Calm.  Somewhere you would want to spend your time, or seek revelation.  We could have spent all day here, but knew there were other sites to see.  We walked around for over an hour trying to picture where Joseph knelt down and prayed. There were some parts where the light was coming down through the trees--it was really neat!

Grandin Building
This was our next stop and it was where the first 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon were printed.  The process that they went through was SO time consuming...they had to align each letter on the page one at a time using tweezers!! Not only did they have to place them in from left to right, but they had to start at the bottom of the page, and they had to go upside down.  Can you imagine?!  
The hubby holding a replica of what the first copies looked like!
This was the printing press machine
After we spent the day looking at sites, we went back to Missy's house and she taught us all how to skeet shoot with a shot gun.  I had never shot a shot gun before, but the hubby was a champ.  I think he only missed one! Everyone was cheering him on and once I got the hang of it and kept my eyes open, we had a competition who could shoot them first.  I'll let him tell you the rest of the story :)

The Palmyra Pageant
We had been in luck the entire weekend to spend time in Palmyra, but it really shone through when we went up to the grass in the front to sit on our blanket we had reserved.  The hubby noticed two seats that were vacant on the front row and dared me to go ask the people around them if they were taken.  Long story short, they were for visually impaired people and since no one had claimed them and it was 5 minutes to the show, they let us sit there.  I don't know who was more center of the stage, the hubby or me.  They were amazing seats and we loved the pageant!!
This was my favorite part and it was when the Savior was resurrected and was with the people.  He then walked over to the left side of the stage and all the children ran to him.  It looked just like the picture you always see with the Savior surrounded by children.  I had tears in my eyes, it was adorable.  
Angel Moroni Monument
This was at the top of the Hill Cummorah.  
Our last stop on our way home was the Whitmer farm.  This is where the church was organized and the first sacrament was passed.  There were over 70 people sitting in that cabin and the service back then was over 7 hours!! 
The whole experience was amazing and I am so glad the hubby and I got to share it together.  It brought us closer and confirmed our testimonies even more.  Best part was that we spent less than $100 for the whole weekend.  Thanks to camping out in tents and eating cheap food!  If you have the opportunity to plan a trip, we highly recommend it.  What a great place to be.  We are grateful to the Cranny's for letting us tag along.