Monday, June 30, 2008

All the extras...

Our Saturdays are starting to dwindle in number, so we are trying to strategically plan each weekend so we make sure we don't leave here with any regrets. This Saturday we went with Ben and Kaylyn downtown and did all of the extra random stuff that was still on our "list". We got an all day metro pass and just went from destination to destination. Here's how it went:

Ford's Theatre, where Lincoln was shot.

Don't worry, it's currently closed for renovation, but this is the outside!

Across the street we went to the house where Lincoln died.

The house has been kept EXACTLY how it was when Lincoln was there, top hat on the table and everything. It was a pretty cool little tour.

On our way to our next destination, we happened to pass the National Portrait Gallery, so we figured since we were right there, we might as well go have a look.

Benjamin Franklin Cummings with THE Benjamin Franklin.

Look who else we found! Joseph Smith was right next to a very small portrait of Brigham Young "The Mormon Pope" as the title said. We thought it was way awesome! Who knew?

Next stop, The White House. We were too late for a tour, but we went to the visitor's center and did get to see police man camped out on the lawn with their giant dogs with muzzles.

This is the front yard, it's very pretty!

It's pretty incredible how many people were out in front of the White House fence protesting all kinds of crazy stuff. This lady was the most amazing. She has LIVED on this sidewalk facing the White House doors since 1981! LIVED! She pulls the tarp over her when it rains, and she loves her beloved squirrels and feeds them peanuts. She doesn't leave! (We didn't think it very nice to ask how she went to the bathroom or bathed...). When Nate first came to DC almost 10 years ago she was here, and he was SO excited to see her still here!

Nate and Concepcion-I don't think I have ever seen Nate so giddy, and with such a real smile! He was ecstatic to get to talk to her and that she agreed to have her picture taken with him. PEACE!

After the White House, we went to the Holocaust Musuem (no pics for that one). For any of you that have been, we got there too late to do the full tour upstairs and everything, but we were still able to walk around and learn from some of the other displays. It was a very sombering experience, and I don't know that I would ever go there again. According to Nate, the downstairs is like Disneyland compared to upstairs. I don't really want to take part in that. We ended our day with Arlington Cemetery again, because when we were there the first time we didn't get to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Changing of the Gaurds. SO we booked our way over and got there just before the cemetery was to close.

This is the amazing colloseum in the center of the cemetery. This is where we tried to come to see President Bush do the laying of the wreaths on Memorial dya, but couldn't get in. It was beautiful, and again made me feel like we should be in Greece or Rome or something.

This is just a giant chair carved out of the stone in the center of the colloseum. Nate was bitter that I told him we could just take one pic and share the chair, so this was the face he pulled. Wow.Here you go, King Nate. A big chair all for yourself.

Looking up at the Tomb.A close up view of the back of the Tomb.

I am still awe struck by the reverence at Arlington. I feel so proud and greatful when I am there.These gaurds are incredible. Everything they do is timed perfectly. They do the same routine every 1 minute and 20 seconds (Nate timed it). You can see where the sidewalk and mat are worn because their feet are in the exact same place every single time they step. It's definitely something to see.The gaurds are at the tomb 24 hours a day, even when the cemetery is closed. They gaurd the tomb rain or shine, and change gaurds every half hour. They sign up to gaurd for like 6 months at a time or something and they live stricter rules than missionaries. No tv, they can't be married, etc. I can't describe how spectacular I thought this all was.This is as up close to the tomb as I could show. It reads " Here Rests In Honored Glory An American Soldier Known But To God".

We recorded the entire Changing of the Gaurds ceremony if you are interested in seeing it. It's about 10 minutes long, and there is a section of about 3 minutes where you can't really tell whats going on, but it's the Commander inspecting the Gaurd coming on to duty. It's incredible; everything is so rigid, dramatic, and perfect. At about 6 minutes is when it gets a bit more exciting. Pretty cool!

We ended our wonderful day with Nate's favorite, CiCi's. We discovered CiCi's with our friends the Banbury's and Morby's back in March on Spring Break (there aren't any in Utah), and Nate was thrilled to find there is one by our friends house. It is an all you can eat (do you already see why it's Nate's favorite?) pizza, pasta, and dessert for like $5.49. It really doesn't get better than that. And the very best part? To die for, fresh out of the oven cinnamon rolls.Yes, this was only the first plate of many.

Being the good friends we are, we even got some for our friends back home! Sorry guys, they didn't last very long.

Well, we have a really busy week coming up! Nate's parents and sister are flying in late Wednesday night and we have lots of exciting plans for the holiday weekend! I absolutely LOVE the 4th, and am really excited to celebrate it here. By the way, if anyone knows someone looking to be the manager for the Curves of Sterling, VA I am hiring! :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Wednesday night Nate's work took all of the interns (and me, the lone wife) to the Washington Nationals game against the Los Angeles Angels. We were super excited to attend our first major league game, not to mention it was a free ticket, free ride into town, free valet parking, and free ride home.
Our seats weren't quite all the way as high as you can go, but pretty darn close :) They told us we didn't have to stay with them the whole time, just as long as were back by the 8th inning. So by the end of the 3rd, after facing the blazing sun and putting up with the cool little engineer interns putting down some beers, we took a walk to see what we could see.

We found a place on the fence of the second level right in centerfield and stood to watch for a bit from a different view. We loved the field, and thought it was much more exciting to be so much closer. (FYI: the stadium is brand new this season and it is really nice! My fave is that there is a play land for kids.)
We continued our walk around and down to the main level and stopped at one point on another fence to get another different view. There was an usher standing right next to us and he casually asked if this was our first time to the stadium. We replied yes, and that it was our first time to a Nats game/major league game. He got so excited, introduced himself (Eric, cousin to Jerome Bettis) and asked where our regular seats were. When we pointed to the high corner of the stadium, he goffed and said, "Oh no, that won''t do. I want everyone to really enjoy this stadium. You come with me." So our pal Eric the usher, cousin to Jerome Bettis, hooked us up with some super sweet seats, plush and comfy, and people offering you a beer left and right for the rest of the game. It was so awesome (not all the beer part), but we really loved the game after that!

So this is where we ended up! Quite the dramatic difference from where we began our evening. It just kept getting bette and better! Not only did we get to watch the game from great seats, as we were going back to meet up with the Orbital people, the Papa John's stand was handing out personal pizzas because they made too many, so free dinner too! Not to mention the fact that the Nats won!!!!! (Apparently they don't do that very often :) Best game ever-mucho thanks to our pal Eric, cousin to Jerome Bettis. As he was hugging Nate goodbye (I guess they had a real connection!) he made sure to let us know that he's always in that same spot, so next time we come, to find him again. You bet, Eric! GO NATS!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Marathon Saturday

What a always. Friday night we explored the Reston Town Center, It's about 10 minutes from where we live. It is high rise apartments with tons of restaurants, stores, and offices below them. Pretty fun, there's lots of fountains, people watching, and free concerts!

We got to spend saturday with some friends from Logan, Chris and Deidra Hartwell. They are in our ward at home, but both have lived here in the DC area so they know what they're doing! They invited us to the Eastern Market for breakfast (yummy famous "blue-bucks" and incredible french toast!). Eastern market is kind of a street festival thing with booths of lots of random stuff and awesome produce, farmer's market style. After the roaming the market for awhile, we made our way to the National Arboreatum (446 acres of trees and land! Very nice to be out of the city). This is one of the few places around here the Hartwell's had never been to, so it was a lot of fun to adventure together. By far, the very best part of the Arboreatum is the Koi pond.

This is the corner of the pond where the fish food that you can buy and feed them is, so I think they are trained to just all be right here! It was so crazy.
You could reach down and put your finger in their mouths if you wanted, because they were all just hoping someone would drop some food into their mouths. Of course, we spent a good majority of our time here, using up all of the quarters we had. These columns were originally part of the capitol, but got moved to the arboreatum. Kind of random, but nonetheless kind of cool.

From the Arboreatum, we made our way to the National Cathedral. This building was spectacular, overwhelmingly huge! It made you feel like you were in Europe.

Did you know there is a "gargoyle" (for lack of the right word) that is Darth Vader? Yep, true story. Thanks to Deidra for the cool trivia; she was able to attend the Cathedral's 100th birthday celebration last year.
Here is walking in the front doors looking down the nave (this picture actually makes it look a lot brighter than it really is in there, it's a very dark place). Many past president's funerals have been held here. There are tombs inside all over the place, a gift shop downstairs, and the Bishop's Gardens outside with more gift shops. The stained glass was my favorite part, don't worry, we didn't do any kneeling. ;)

After the Cathedral, the Hartwell's were ever so kind to invite us to their place in Alexandria for a totally awesome dinner. We all kept joking that it was a never ending day, and that we were all so sick of each other by now, but I really enjoyed myself and had a blast getting to know Chris and Deidra a little more. I am really looking forward to our next marathon adventure! That is, if they aren't sick of us yet...
After dinner, they took us down to Old Town Alexandria. It was really cool! Old Town is a historic place, there's even cobblestone roads! They've kept it very unique, you can even have someone dressed up like George Washington days give you a tour of the place.
Old Town looking over the Potomac River, a really beautiful sight.

Well of course we had to stop for a treat, and I couldn't pass up this place! This is for you, Pop!! We thought about you the whole time we enjoyed our really yummy ice cream!

We met the guy that owns our house yesterday. He is here helping out at the Redskins football camp, and oh don't worry, he decided to stay here in the house while he's here! Because who can afford a hotel room for a few nights when you're retired NFL!!! Oh man, this whole situation just keeps getting weirder and weirder. But I guesss we should have expected this was all too good to be true. It's just really awkward for everyone involved, because really, this is HIS house, but right now, it's our house too! He's really nice, and you can tell he's trying to stay out of the way, but it's still way weird. Whatever, enough of our woes. Here's a video clip of those crazy fish at the koi pond while we were feeding them. Listen for the sound they make!!! Enjoy it over and over again.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Taking it easy...

This weekend we just stuck pretty close to home and "took it easy". Friday night we went to our Ward Talent show and had a blast! It was so funny and random, and it was really great to get to talk to some members we hadn't met yet. We already feel connected to this ward and I will miss them for sure. Saturday we went exploring to the Great Falls National Park. It's about a 10 minute drive from our house, and a lot of people kept telling us we just HAD to see it. Mind you, we have our own falls in Idaho that are pretty cool, but we decided to go check it out. It was beautiful. Half of the fun is driving there, because you have to go through all of these estates to get to this hidden park. Houses that looked like they should be churches!Here's what it looked like following the path to get to the falls. Beautiful!

Oh Nate, can always count on him for anything but a normal smile. :)
I liked this park a lot. It was a nice little trail to get there, and the falls were pretty good. It's no Niagra, but it's cool that this place is so close to home. We might go again tonight with some friends for Family Home Evening, if it's not raining.
That evening we had a stake meeting at the Temple on the 7th floor, and our good friends Clark and Kathy were so kind to let us tag along with them. (We were nervous about the betlway!) It was raining all afternoon, but by the time we got out about 830pm (after the meeting, we stayed and did sealings for awhile), the rain had made the sky just clear enough before nightfall for a pretty spectacular picture. This Temple is SO big, and quite different then most that I've been to. And it's just breathtaking. I've had some ladies at Curves who are not members describe it as Cinderella's castle. There is a really big visitor's center that we didn't have a chance to go to this time, but I'm really excited for the next time we get to go! I loved it!

Yes, I have a crummy new haircut (note to self: if the stylist name is Phu and doesn't speak english very well, maybe you should just wait until someone else can cut it). And no, Nate is not trying a new facial hair experiment. It was either shave, or be more late than we already were. Don't worry, he got a lot of guff for it.

After the temple, we went to dinner with the Kidd's at one of their fave mexican places, The Rio Grande. Fun atmosphere, really good food; it just so happens to also be George H W Bush's fave mexican restaurant. They use to have a pic of him there on the wall. They even make their own tortillas there. We had a good time, and always enjoy being in the company of the Kidd's.

Nate has officially decided he loves our ward because for Father's Day, each sister was supposed to make two pies and the "fathers" were going to get to pick one for themselves. They ended up just doing it free for all style, and I think Nate had a total of five large pieces. My pie was gone before I even got to the gym, so I was pretty proud of myself! -I am not a pie maker.

All in all, it was nice to have a fairly relaxing weekend, but we don't have that many left! We've already been here a month and can't believe it. There is still so very much on our list of things we want to do and see, and work just keeps getting in the way! We need more weekends!!

Happy Father's Day to all who may read this, and way to go to all the wives who read this who I'm sure made it an exceptional father's day for all.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

archives and cosi's

Nate's neices held a birthday party for him this last friday. He even got a birthday crown. We had dinner and cake, then the girls got put to bed with a babysitter and the grown-ups went to indiana jones. We stayed that night in warrenton with sara and her family. We love playing with the girls and spending time with Sara and Hans. That's probably one of my very most favorite things about being here.

Hannah, Sadie, and Nate happy to be having a birthday celebration
Sara delivering the cake-way too many candles Nate!
Nate giving out airplanes to the girls from his cake. Sadie and Hannah really love cake!

We left Sara's house saturday morning, and headed back up to our place to figure out what we were going to do for that day. There is still so much I want to see and do, I can't believe it's already June! We ended up meeting up with our friends Ben and Kaylyn who were already downtown. It was 99 degrees that day and with humidity, the heat index was about 111. We thought that maybe no one would want to be standing outside in line to see the national archives (because there is usually a line around the entire block just to get inside the building, where you have to stand in another line!). We were right! There was hardly anyone standing outside, so we made our way into the national archives and spent several hours inside (where it was nice and cool and lots to learn about).

This is the Magna Carta. You don't have to wait in line for this one; they put it where you can look at it while standing in line for the Declaration of Independence
Here is the view looking into the Rotunda where the Declaration, Bill of Rights, etc are kept. The Rotunda is a really beautiful room; this pic definitely does not do it justice. There are hugs murals on the side of the wall that are of Washington, Jefferson, and lots of others, then the ceiling is a huge vaulted area. It's just really cool.

Sorry if the pictures are a bit hard to see. You can't have a flash on your camera, because it can destroy these very important pieces of paper, and it's pretty dark inside the Rotunda. All of the articles are underneath VERY thick glass, too (just like National Treasure!). It feels so surreal to see these stuff, it's real! I love every minute of it.

We ended our night going to this really cool little restaurant called Cosi's. It has cute mismatched furniture, and yummy hearth baked food. The absolute very best part is that you can order S'mores for dessert and they bring you an open flame to make your own. See look!

SO Nate's smile was a bit overdone, but I was truly that excited to be making S'mores in the restaurant! It was so cool. We're thinking Cosi's would do very well in Logan...

This Friday we have a ward talent night that we are looking forward to attending and getting to know members of our ward a little more. Our friends Clark and Kathy had us over for games last night and we had another blast. We love all of the new games they are teaching us and we really love spending time with them. They've invited us to ride up to the Temple with them this saturday; our stake is having a Temple excursion and we are so happy to be attending. As always, this week just started, but I can't wait for it to be over so we can have another weekend!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY DEAR FRIEND CHRIS AT LOGAN CURVES! I love and miss you, girl. Hope you have a FABULOUS day!