Monday, February 24, 2014

The National Archives and Muchos Memorials

We almost went to Gettsyburg on Kami's last day here but decided that we would enjoy it a lot more on a warmer day. We found a great runner up idea: the National Archives. You can't take pictures inside, but we were able to see the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. They are all on display in an area called the Rotunda, and it almost felt like we were on sacred ground in there. We also happened to visit while they had the Emancipation Proclamation displayed; they only have it out for a limited number of days each years because it's so fragile.

There was a special area for the kids with coloring books and special paper to write their own proclamation on.

Jansen wanted some privacy to write his.

The Capitol is always an impressive sight, even from the car.

I still can't believe Kami and I are both having little girls that are due within a week of each other. 

Nate had a bird he was hoping to see while we were out. A red-necked something (he will be so disappointed that I can't remember. I'm going to go with red-necked Grebe.) And he did see it! That means I can rest easy because he will pretty much be happy for the rest of the day no matter what.

After the National Archives, we stopped to see the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

Kami and Natalie with a chilly view of the Jefferson Memorial in the background.

A view of the Washington Monument while we are at the FDR Memorial.

I didn't get any great pictures at the FDR Memorial. This was about the point that everyone needed to use the bathroom, was hungry, cold, and ready to go home. My kids aren't old enough to really appreciate all these places we "drag" them around to, but I'm hoping between their memories and this blog, they will thank us later. :)

Friday, February 21, 2014


Oh my goodness I loved New York City. I am so grateful for friends like Kami that push me to go new places and try new things. I have great desires and intentions to be adventurous, but I usually need a little shove to make things happen. 

Kami arrived on a Wednesday afternoon just before the BIG snowstorm. We spent Thursday pretty much snowed in, and most of the day I worried and hoped our trip to New York would still work out. It did, and although there were a few hiccups, it really went very smoothly.

We took a bus from Union Station in DC to Penn Station in NY.

Right before the bus ride began, the driver complained to us that someone had used the bathroom and peed all over the floor. He was very upset. I think he scared all of us, because not a single person used the restroom for the whole 4 hour drive. Luckily we stopped at one rest stop because, ahem, Kami and I are both pregnant remember.

I got so excited when I saw this sight from the bus.

Our hotel had a modern and Japanese flair to it, and it was awesome. The room was really small, but that wasn't a problem at all. It was just a couple blocks from Times Square and ended up being in a perfect 

That first night we went to a  few places including Times Square, Rockefeller Plaza, and also inhaled some incredible bread pudding at Magnolia Bakery.

 By some stroke of crazy luck, we scored discounted Newsies tickets hours before the show...on Valentine's Day no less! We were on the 7th row. I just loved every second of it. 

 On Saturday we took one of the bus tours that takes you all around and you can hop on and off when you want. It was so nice to be doing New York with someone who is also pregnant. She understood the eternal dilemma of needing to drink lots of water but not wanting to need to use the bathroom every hour. She understood when I would say, "This is the fastest I can walk" as I sometimes practically limped down the street. And we could complain to each other at night that we were so, so tired and our legs and feet hurt. 

It snowed quite a bit on Saturday. There were moments when we were really cold and just needed to find some place warm, but for the most part it was awesome and added to the New York experience. Looking back (which is always easier than being in the moment), I don't think I would have changed a thing.

We did a little shopping in Chinatown...

The 9/11 Memorial was really something special. There were two pools set in the footprints of the original Twin Towers, and thirty-two foot waterfalls spill down into them and then keep falling into a center "void." The names of the victims (about 3,000) are inscribed in bronze around the edges of the two pools. I am so glad we went.

Not the best day to view the Statue of Liberty, but I loved seeing it nonetheless and also Ellis Island. I can't wait to go back there someday.

In the later afternoon it started to snow quite a bit. Perfect time to shop! We hit a few stores while it was really coming down. 

The trip went by so quickly, but I also feel like we saw and experienced so many things in such a short time.
We took the train back to DC and arrived at Union Station a little after 2:30 am. We were so pooped. By the time we got home it was about 4 am, and I had maybe slept 20 minutes on the train. I'm already itching to go back to New York City...I definitely have at least a little city girl in me. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Snowed In

Gosh, the days just seem to fly by in between my blog posts. There just aren't enough hours in the day to do it all. I wanted to do a quick post about our big snowstorm. Kami flew into town late Wednesday afternoon, and the storm came later that night. We are so glad it didn't interrupt her arrival! Her first day here was spent "snowed in." Not what we had planned on when she scheduled her trip, but it was fun nonetheless. No school for the kids and no work for Nate. 

First things first: this is Nate refilling one of our feeders the morning after the storm. Gotta take care of those birds and squirrels!

For Jansen, snow means snowball fights.

Nate built this great igloo, but some rain that came later in the day destroyed it pretty quickly.

 Kami whipped up some delicious sugar cookies during our snow day. I never make sugar cookies, so it was a fun treat.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

What's Up February

For the longest time May (the month the baby is due) has seemed so far away. But now it's suddenly February. If cruddy old January can sneak by like that, I have a feeling these next few months will be passing quickly as well. I am about 25 weeks. This is a significant time in my pregnancy...I was this far along when we lost our little Noah. He has been on my mind and in my heart a lot lately; he would have turned four years old in January. I am very aware of this baby's movements, and it's so reassuring each time I feel those little kicks and jabs. I remember all too well four years ago when I laid on the floor for a long time just waiting and praying for some movement. Something to tell me that everything was okay with our little boy. We love our Noah so much. I'm extremely grateful to have the incredible experience of carrying a baby again.

This is a recent drawing Emmy did of our family. Snowman style I guess. I am the hugeness in the middle, and it makes me laugh every time I look at it.

Natalie is so proud of her penguin sculpture she created at school. She had many worry filled nights when she thought it might explode in the kiln. I was glad to see it finally come home in one piece.

We had a day of freezing rain, so school was cancelled. It was so cool to stand outside later in the afternoon and hear the trees crackling as the ice was melting and breaking. Natalie spent some time in the backyard "harvesting" icicles which = breaking them off and putting them in a ziploc bag.

Thankfully, the roads were perfectly fine, and we found ourselves at Einstein Bagels after I picked up my new iPhone at the Sprint store. I've been waiting for this day (to be eligible for a discounted new phone) like it was Christmas. My old phone was certainly great, but the camera was really struggling, and I love to take pictures.

Jansen is discovering the most awesome combo in the world: food and a good book. So far February has been good to us.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Proud of These People

 Jansen and Natalie's school had one of their quarterly Soaring Eagles assemblies. Jansen received the Principal's Writing Award, an art award (for use of observation, memory, and imagination in artwork), and recognition for perfect attendance. What really stands out to me is that we've made it this far through winter without having to miss school for sickness! Natalie also got the attendance award and an art award for use of line, shape, color, and textures to express ideas. I would also like to point out that Emmy should receive an award for great behavior while she sat through the whole assembly with me.

And the one I am very most proud of right now is Nate. After 2 1/2 years of work on a research project looking at how obesity increases risk for injuries, we found out a week ago that his paper was accepted for publication in the main journal of the American College of Sports Medicine: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 

 Last Wednesday night was the Raingutter Regatta at the church. Nate always has AU basketball games he has to be at on Wednesday nights, so lately I *get* to take all 3 kids to scouts at Emmy's bedtime every week. The 20 minute drive and freezing cold don't help the situation. Here I go complaining. To be honest, things usually go pretty well, but this night Emmy was tired and mostly just wanted to sit on my lap. I love her rosy little cheeks.

 It was fun to watch the boys blow those little boats across the water.

Jansen actually ended up winning. I have no idea if it was his technique or his boat or the leftovers he had for dinner, but he was pretty excited about it. 

Some brilliant person rolled out some butcher paper in the back of the gym for the kids to color on during the meeting. It was very helpful.