Monday, August 31, 2009


I took pictures of my friend Katie tonight.

She's due on Thursday so we thought we'd better get around to it before this baby gets around to it.

She used to babysit for me last year and even though it'll be tough since she's so young and kinda on her own, she'll make a great mom if she puts her mind to it.

Stay tuned for shots of her little one in a week or so.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sharpening...and bawling

Tonight after Ava went to bed I packed up all her new school stuff. I carefully labeled each new, shiny marker with her name. Then I labeled each fat glue stick, her 3 ring binder and her sharp new purple scissors. I even labeled her Kleenex box and her "special spray" aka disinfecting hand wash. Earlier today we made her a fancy Pringles can - the schools way of communicating with home - deco poged with all her friends and our families pictures, just so she won't forget us. I packed it all inside her stiff new purple book bag, then opened the front pocket and realized her pencils weren't sharpened. So I sharpened each one carefully and put them back into the little holder that she thought was so cool.

And then I started bawling.

And I haven't stopped. I know this is normal, but I still don't think I'm quite ready for her to be gone all day, every day. The other day, just to make me feel better I went through and marked each day she has off from school. It helped, but just a little. Tonight, John gave her a father's blessing for the start of the school year and the whole time I was thinking, "She doesn't need the blessing, I do!" She's crazy excited and I know she'll do fine but somehow I just feel like her childhood is over. And I didn't get to do all the things I wanted to do with her during it.

So tomorrow she'll get on the school bus and leave me and two very sad little boys. I hope we all stop crying by the time she gets home so we can listen to all the fun she had.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Our Last Minute Stay-cation to DC

About three weeks ago on a boring Friday night we decided the summer was passin' us by and we needed a vacation. So we packed up at 7:30pm and by 9:00pm had arrived at Hotel Monaco, a 4 star swanky hotel in the big city of Washington, DC (thanks,

After the valet whisked away our van, we were greeted by a pair of goldfish, which came complimentary in each room to keep you company during your stay. The kids loved them, especially when John would pretend to drink their water each night instead of the hotel cups.

They also loved the long, dizzying, stripes of the hotel carpet that beckons kids to run down the hallways screaming.

We all loved the location, location, location. We stayed 4 easy strolling blocks away from the National Mall with its plethora of Smithsonian Museums, kitty corner to a Metro station and directly across the street from the National Portrait Gallery. This city has so much to offer that a day's trip really doesn't do it justice.

DC is such a fun city to be in, especially at night. It's relatively safe, clean and well lit and brimming with things to do. We stayed up until 11:30pm each night, stumbling across random fountains and statues on Friday and taking in the streets and ice cream cones of Georgetown on Saturday.

We let Lias wander to his hearts content on the big sidewalks and huge exhibits of the Museums of Natural History and in the Portrait Gallery the next day.

Occasionally he stopped to stare at the new sites and to dance along to the bucket drummers. I distinctly remember thinking these were so cool as a kid visiting DC. It was fun to see my kids reaction to the sites and sounds of my childhood memories.

We even found his (Elias McKean Genho's) namesake in the Portrait Gallery. Thomas McKean was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, member of the Continental Congress, Chief Justice and Governor of Pennsylvania during the colonial years. Somehow, we're related to him through my maternal grandmother, Ramona McKean, so it was interesting to turn the corner and see a picture of him. The inscription next to him reads "contentious, vain and hot-tempered - and notorious for shifting his political allies - McKean was an easy target for the scurrilous press of the 1790s that taunted, "he beats his wife and she beats him and when she's drunk she throws his wig in the fire." Lias sure has a lot to live up to.

John and I both loved taking turns walking through the Portrait Gallery. The kids only lasted a few minutes so we took turns with them out in the courtyard while the other browsed the art. I loved this picture of this little boy shooting marbles.

Another favorite - this harvest picture of the pumpkins. Sadly, I didn't write any of these artists names down but if I wasn't so lazy I'm sure I could find them with a little google search.

But I'm too lazy to be bothered with such things.

The hotel had a very nice comfy bed for such a for mentioned lazy people, who convinced all but Ava to take naps each day. Then Ava would get tired and grumpy around 9pm when everyone else was just getting fired up. Silly girl.

She and I did enjoy the luxurious bathrobes each shower though.

She also loved the cuddling in the big bed with John while he read her her souvenir from the Borders in Georgetown - Natures Babies.

Sunday morning we got up and ventured out on the Metro to see the Arlington Cemetery. I think the significance was lost on the kids after we had to walk almost 20 minutes from the Metro to the gravesites but it was a good place to be on a Sunday morning. It's humbling to stand in the middle of so much sacrifice and service. DC is an amazing place to visit and reflect on our country's pride and patriotism. It's almost impressive feeling to just walk around this great city and realize what a great Nation we're a part of.

We ended Sunday with Sacrament meeting in a downtown ward, where I randomly ran into an old Animal Science friend from BYU. It's so nice to go somewhere where you never think anyone will know you and then end up seeing someone you know. The kids loved the experience of a new ward, especially the lady that sang her testimony over the pulpit.

We were in the car and back home by 5:00 that afternoon - not even gone for a total of 48 hours. Still, we came back feeling refreshed and like we'd just gone on a week long vacation without the stress of a real trip. I think we'll make this a yearly tradition.