September 10, 2014

Our Ten Year Anniversary Trip

When Steve and I were on our honeymoon in August of 2004, we lounged in the surf of a beach in Mexico and promised each other that in ten years, we'd spend a week on a beautiful beach, again. Thankfully, we were blessed with the ability to keep that promise. Last month, we spent a week on the beach celebrating ten years of marriage.

I am so very thankful to my parents and their willingness to come stay at our home and care for our kids so that we could have this week away. Their support, love and encouragement has blessed us countless times over the last ten years, but especially this time.

We spent most mornings on the water enjoying the water sports that our resort provided. The resort photographer even got several pictures for us to enjoy.

We also took approximately 8,000 selfies.

The rest of our days consisted of a LOT of relaxing, lounging and soaking up the beautiful tropical sunshine.

For an entire week, every meal felt like a special date out.

We spent hours talking about the last ten years of our life together. We started with recalling our wedding day then every year that followed; remembering the highlights, the lowlights, the vacations, the deployments, the gift of each child, each home we've shared, laughing now at things we knew we'd laugh at one day, counting our blessings.


I am overwhelmed with joy and gratitude when I think that God has allowed me to spend the last ten years with a man who loves me more than I ever deserve to be loved, a man I respect and love more each year as he shows me over and over what a good, honest, hard-working, loving and faithful man is. Our first decade together has come and gone and I am so thankful that his hand held mine as we walked through it.

After our second honeymoon, we're ready for the next ten years of life together and all that God has for us in the decade to come.

September 5, 2014

Our DC Trip

Our six week stay in the DC area was very well-balance between days that were just flat out lazy and relaxing and days that we spent out being tourists and days spent with family and friends from a part of the country that we don't see as often as we wish we did.

The beautiful apartment we stayed in was furnished by a corporate housing company. It was a roomy apartment with just enough running-around room for the kids, had a great kitchen for me to prepare simple meals and was equipped, weirdly, with three showers in its two bathrooms.


The window washers came by one morning and blew my kids' minds
We haven't had cable TV in a few years and I have to admit that we really enjoyed it. The kids and I watched a lot of the Food Network in the evenings when Steve was working. We don't plan to go back to having cable but we do kind of miss Cutthroat Kitchen. And SpongeBob.
Our apartment building had a very nice gym as well as a small movie theater that we used a few times. We also enjoyed the small pool located across the street quite a bit. The apartment building was one block from a very nice park with a huge playground, and about a half-mile walk from a nice shopping district that we walked to on a very regular basis. Two to three times a week, we would walk over to the park and play for a while and then continue on to Whole Foods to pick up a few groceries, often stopping at Starbucks for an iced coffee for our little walk back home. It was cool and overcast most afternoons so walking around was perfectly comfortable and quite enjoyable.



On June 30th, our little Jack-Jack turned 5 years old. To celebrate, we spent the weekend doing fun things that our little third born loves to do. We spent one entire day at Water Country USA in Williamsburg, VA.

This is how 13-month-olds nap at water parks, FYI.

The following day, we visited the national zoo in the morning, then came home and had cake and presents followed by a trip downstairs to the little movie theater in the building to watch one of the new DVDs he opened.

This year, Jack asked for a cake that was half chocolate chip cookie and half brownies. I was more than happy to honor the request because a) Yum! and b) Jack is our little follower. He rarely comes up with a new idea that is just his and is unique. As the third kid, he just goes along with everyone else. I expected him to request chocolate cake because that's what his brother and sister ask for. But Jack though outside the box and wanted something completely Jack and that made me so happy!

Wrapping up our birthday weekend in the little movie theater watching Planes

On the Fourth of July, we walked over to the beautiful park where the National Marine War Memorial is. We sat out on an open field located between the memorial and the Arlington National Cemetery. We watched the fireworks from the most amazing view, with the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial in sight just beneath the bursts of color. My cousin, Alicia came and spent the day with us and we enjoyed grilling out by the pool and then spending the afternoon out at the park laying in the beautiful warm sunshine, eating hotdogs and hamburgers and cookies while we waited for dark. It was the best Independence day our family has had in quite a few years.



The rest of our sight-seeing and touristy days looked like this:
A day at the  National Cathedral with Lola:

Back at the apartment with Lola.
Steve's mom rode a train up to see us for a few days. She took the kids shopping, took us out to eat, cooked for us, watched the kids while Steve and I went out to a movie, and loved on her grandkids and us like she always does. We were so glad we got a few days with her during our trip.

The picture of the dog pooping was funny. Every. Single. Time.

Lots of time spent on the Orange Line of the Metro, sometimes it was crowded
and sometimes we'd have almost a whole car to ourselves

These tree-things are pretty cool. Wish we had some like this in Vegas. It's hard to climb a palm tree.

Paddle-boating with Dad:

The Library of Congress, Children's Section:

Our tour of The Capital:

With our State Representative, Bill Flores

Daddy, Sleeping Levi, and Ronald Reagan

At the Air Force Memorial:

My handsome husband standing next to a list of Air Force Campaigns
Some, he's been a part of
He's amazing

At the Bureau of Engraving and Printing:
How tall we are in $100 notes. Yes, it's relevant.

At the Washington Monument:
Yes, we are those tourists

At Mount Vernon, George Washington's beautiful home:

Leaves and grass and green things are so fun!!!!
Gabby FREAKED out with excitement the first time she saw a squirrel on one of our walks. It wasn't until that moment that I realized there are no squirrels running around our desert home. All the nature was really thrilling to the kids.
Steven and I at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History on a just-Mom-and-Steven date:

Our visits with more family:
 A very serious game of Jenga between Alicia and myself during her last of several visits
Here we are with some of my very favorite people, my Aunt Sheila, her "hubs" Dave (AKA Jack's BFF) and Alicia. We were at Silver Diner...*drool*

My girl and my Aunt Sheila

Embarrassingly, this is not the only picture I have of us eating at Chick-Fil-A. I personally think it's cruel that the Air Force would send a Texas-family to a state that does not have a Chick-Fil-A. So, we filled up while we were there. Also, we may have become regulars at Silver Diner. It's probably better for our bank account and waist-lines that we don't have any of my favorite chain restaurants around home.
The last bit of picture overload is of one of my favorite evenings during our time there. Steve and I were blessed by Alicia and her willingness to come stay at our apartment with the kids while Steve and I enjoyed a wonderful date night.
We started close to our apartment, where we rented bikes from these little bike kiosks that are all over the city.
We rode about 5 miles down the Mount Vernon Trail


We rode to Old Alexandria, a beautiful river-side historic district full of quaint shops and cozy restaurants and water-front bars on cobblestone streets. We ate dinner at a little Irish Pub and wandered around, sat on the dock for a bit and just enjoyed our time together.

We took a taxi a few miles away to play some putt-putt.

 And ended our evening with coffee and dessert.
We played a few rounds of heads-up and took more pictures at the Metro station waiting for our train home.

Even a Metro ride is fun when it's with my hubby.
Okay, family and friends. That was ninety-six pictures and a lot of words. But, at school when Steven was asked to write about his summer and all he could come up with was that he hung out with his friend the Saturday before, I knew I had to document our summer trip so that I can show it to him and say, "You saw money being printed!! You stood next to a dinosaur skeleton!! You paddle-boated next to the Jefferson Memorial!! You saw fireworks over the National Mall!! You saw the bed George Washington died in!! You read comic books in the Library of Congress!! We consumed buckets of Chick-Fil-A sauce!! You're Welcome!!"
And now, you're all caught up!