Saturday, August 22, 2009

Catching up, yet again.

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Wow, it's been a while since I've updated this blog. (I've found Facebook to be a pretty effective timesuck, in case you were wondering.) First off, a meme from my SIL Laura's blog - she tagged me in one of those 'Seven random things about yourself' dealies and in case you haven't noticed by now, I love talking about myself and could do it all day.

1. I consider myself to be pretty low maintenance. I've still never had a pedicure, I color my own hair (when I remember to, anyway) and the only place I buy shoes these days is Goodwill.

2. Speaking of which, even if we were millionaires I'd still shop at Goodwill.

3. I actually resisted getting a digital camera for a really long time. Matt still teases me about this from time to time. As it is we're only on our second digital (and unlike most scrapbookers, I still have a fairly basic point-and-shoot).

4. I love the bonus features on DVDs, especially the previews. (This is actually a trait that Porter shares with me!)

5. I write fan fiction, but until recently I didn't really admit it in public! Now I don't care who knows. And I am really addicted to reviews as a way of boosting my ego. Horrible, I know.

6. If I ever have the time and money, I'll probably go back to school. Because paying off student loans is just so much fun!

7. They haven't really bothered me yet, but I need to get my wisdom teeth removed.

Moving on... the kids are in school now, and I am loving it. Betsy's in first grade and she seems to be adjusting really well so far. Porter is in afternoon preschool this year so four days a week, I am down to one kid between noon and 3:30. Which is pretty awesome, especially because Amy still naps.

But because summer isn't over yet, we went to the State Fair last weekend. Which is always fun, and to prove it, here's pictures!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Now that I've piqued your curiosity...

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I guess it's about time I told the full story of our trip to Washington D.C.! We drove out on Wednesday and got there with plenty of time to go to Celeste's bridal shower with my mom and Laura. (Unfortunately, Emily and Catherine were stuck in traffic, so they missed it.) We did our best to scare Celeste away from the family, but for whatever reason it didn't work. Sorry, Celeste. Thursday morning, we went down to the nearest Metro station and rode the train to the National Mall. Betsy loved riding the train, by the way.

Unfortunately we only had one day on the Mall so we didn't really get to see a whole lot. But, because Matt and I are slightly obsessive about our vacation planning (Really!) we'd mapped out a pretty good strategy, allowing us to see the highlights of each museum while hopefully avoiding too much boredom on the kids' part. We started at the National Air & Space Museum, which is a perennial favorite. I really liked the new exhibit about the golden age of American air travel; the kids were more amused to learn that astronauts wear diapers in space. When we got done there we hooked up with all four of my sisters and went next door to the American Indian Museum because Fodor's said that they have the best food, and if I'm going to pay too much for overpriced museum food, I at least want it to be good overpriced museum food. Which it was, actually. I had this overpriced chicken soup with lemongrass and cilantro in it and I lapped up every overpriced drop. After lunch Emily wanted to see the American Indian Museum because her kids are half Navajo (the other half) and Catherine wanted to see some art, so we split up again and headed over to the American History Museum. This one is actually my personal favorite, because I'm a little bit of a history junkie, but we also knew the kids would be bored so we kept it brief. America On The Move was my favorite - it's all about how transportation changed the American experience in the 20th century and vice versa. I'd worn my favorite skirt in honor of that one. We also hustled through The American Presidency and The Cost Of Freedom (a history of American wars - all the wars, even the unpopular ones) but didn't really have time to do them justice. Not to worry, though - the Smithsonian also puts together top-notch online exhibitions, so I can enjoy them from the comfort of my own home (and with cheaper food).

We met up with my sisters again at the Natural History Museum, or as my kids call it, "the museum of dead things." I skipped out on seeing the Hope Diamond because we'd already seen it on our last trip in 2003 and... well, not to call a giant diamond overrated, but if you've seen it once, there's no need to see it again. Maybe if they let you try it on or something. Anyway, my sisters and I all completely loved Written In Bone, which is a relatively new exhibit (and it's only there until Feb. 2011, so plan your trip now). I wouldn't have pegged myself for someone who's interested in forensic anthropology (despite my near-obsessive love of NCIS) and, in fact, hadn't even planned on visiting that one but my sisters wanted to. But I got absolutely sucked in. When you have a few minutes to spare, be sure and check out the interactive webcomic, which is slightly cheesy but tells the fascinating true story of one of the skeletons from the exhibit.

After the Natural History Museum we were pretty worn out, but we also wanted to avoid rush hour on the Metro, so we wandered around the Mall for a little while. There's actually a lot more to see than the museums we went to - there's gardens and sculptures and interesting buildings and monuments and whatnot. But, there was also ninety-degree heat AND one-million-percent humidity, so we kept it short. Also, on the train on the way home a pair of extremely well-dressed women (I love people-watching on the Metro - there are some seriously well-turned-out people in our nation's capitol) complimented my skirt, so that felt pretty good. It also felt amazing to go to bed that night.

Mike, Mandy and Miles arrived that night so the next day we all headed to the National Zoo together. We saw a lot of the same animals as the zoo here, of course, but we also saw giant pandas and a baby gorilla, which we don't have (and which totally cracked me up). Again, it was really hot and it started to rain, so we only stayed until 1:30 or so. But the Zoo has free admission, so it was all good. One thing I learned from this trip is that it's not enough to use Mapquest to get directions to a place - you've also got to get the directions back, because they may not necessarily be the same. Pretty much every time we went somewhere, we got lost on the way home. Coming back from the zoo, for example, we ended up in Georgetown, in a pouring rain. But, it was an adventure, and I didn't really mind. A GPS-enabled phone would have been nice, though.

Anyway, Friday night was the rehearsal dinner, or at least what passes for a rehearsal dinner in Mormon culture, since we don't have wedding rehearsals in the strictest sense of the word. It was more like a post-decorating-the-stake-center-for-the-reception dinner. Only we didn't help with the decorating but still showed up and ate lots of barbecue. Sorry!

Saturday was the big day in more ways than one. First of all, Emily cut my hair, which is always nice. And Matt and I got to dump our kids on my mom and go to another state (we were staying in Virgina and the temple's in Maryland. Only about half an hour away, but still.) Only one small wrinkle ensued. See, while I was ironing my dress, Porter was outside climbing trees with Graypa, and he somehow managed to fall and bonk his head. he didn't actually fall out of the tree, but he managed to give himself a big ol' lump on his noggin (I believe it even had cartoon birds tweeting around it at one point.). Now, not to sound callous, but Porter hits his head pretty much all the time, and he'll usually cry for a minute or two and then shake it off. I think his skull is actually made of cement, or lead, or something equally hard and impregnable. So, we didn't think too much about leaving him in Grammie's capable hands while we went gadding about.

The wedding was really, really nice. The Washington D.C. temple is beautiful (not to mention huge, a fact I'm sure I failed to appreciate the last time I was inside of it, in 1983). And neither Kevin nor Celeste had changed their minds (or done anything really boneheaded like left their temple recommend inside the other person's car the night before) so they got sealed together for all time and eternity. Yay marriage! Anyway, once we got outside Dad turned his cell phone back on and there were like three messages from my mom. Apparently after we left, our cute lil' head injury victim had been dazed and cranky and, most importantly, pukey. Oh great.

So, we posed for a couple of quick photos outside the temple (and I'm just going to apologize to Celeste right now for making a 'my-kid-fell-on-his-head-and-I'm-the-worst-mother-ever' face and probably ruining the shots) and hurried home. Luckily, there was an urgent care right up the road in McLean. Unluckily, almost as soon as we got there (we meaning me, my dad, and of course my son) Porter ralphed in their trash can. Apparently they have a very strict 'no tossing your cookies in the fixtures' policy because they sent us up the road to an actual hospital. With, I might add, incorrectly Mapquested directions. So maybe it's just a D.C. thing.

And that's why there's a picture of my son in the E.R. on our vacation.

Fortunately, the E.R. wasn't too awfully busy that day. Kevin and Celeste's sealing was at 1 p.m. and the reception wasn't until 6, so we had a little window of opportunity or things like hospital visits. Still, there's always a lot of 'hurry up and wait' where things like this are involved. The triage nurse didn't seem hugely concerned (I think Porter impressed her by reading the Pain Scale faces on the chart. You know, No Hurt, Hurts a Little, Hurts More... Did I mention that my four-year-old spontaneously learned how to read in the last two weeks? No?) but the vomiting was a bit of a problem. We ended up getting him a CT scan to make sure everything was all right, because we'd be heading home the next day and didn't want to be in the middle of nowhere and suddenly have a problem. Luckily, the scan showed that everything was fine, he'd just bumped his head pretty darn hard, and they even burned me a complimentary CD with images of my kid's brain (I think I've found my new screensaver!)

So, it was a pain in the neck but could have been worse (although, we'll see how laconic I feel once we get the BILL) but it still ate up a pretty good chunk of the day. By the time we'd gone back to the house, changed Porter out of his pukey clothes, found a pharmacy that was actually open and filled the prescription for anti-barf pills (Thank you, Dr. Anne-Marie Langdoc!), and battled through the usual inexplicable traffic jams, we were an hour late to the reception. Where Porter promptly ran onto the dance floor and started spinning in circles. And then ate all the frosting off a piece of cake. I think people would have thought we made the whole thing up except for Porter's hospital bracelet (and the visible lump on his head).

So. Kevin and Celeste's reception was very nice, and they graciously waited on all the first dances until we were there. The cake was insanely delicious (all those flowers that you saw on the cake in the previous post? They're candy) and K & C did smash it in each other's faces, but tastefully. Honestly, I think if I'd thought about beforehand, tasteful cake smash would be a pretty safe bet for the two of them. And Kevin's car was decorated with Oreos and we all got to blow bubbles to "whoosh" them off on their merry way.

That was pretty much the end of the festivities but since all the Blinns were staying together, we all stayed up way too late talking. (Some family friends we used to know in Rochester live in McLean, VA so of course my parents invited them to the wedding. They couldn't make it because they were heading out to Utah for a family reunion and would we like to stay at their house instead of a hotel? Would we!) And, the next day Matt packed up the car in a pouring rain and we headed home. It was a quick trip, and we're already thinking about when we can go back to D.C. again (but if we do, it will not be in the summer). And now it's Sunday again and the kids are starting school this week! I can't decide if I will clean the house, scrapbook, take a nap or just finish a sentence?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sneaky peeky!

3 witty remarks
I don't have time to do a proper write-up of our trip (sadly, the laundry ISN'T going to wash itself. Ask me how I know) but I thought I'd share a few shots. I actually wish I had taken more photos, but I was busy trying not to DIE FROM THE HEAT. Hey Kev, thanks for choosing to get married in August! But seriously though, we had a pretty good time. It wasn't totally uneventful, though. I'll tell the full story later on. Here you go!


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