A different feeling permeated our home the evening before the big road trip. Rather than rushing through exhaustion, I allowed myself to sink into bed early, knowing that in the morning we would be exempt from the pressure associated with a specific departure time of an airport. The stress of being mindful and courteous to “other airline passengers” was likewise absent.
Well, with the exception of a few of Eliza’s friends and Flat Stanley ("Hi Callie!").
Our goal was to be out the door by eight a.m.. That realistic hope shifted into when Andrew discovered that the 'model home' in our neighborhood was uprooting three mature Crepe Myrtle trees as the home is in the process of being converted into an actual place of residence. After garnering permission from the head chief that he was free to take the trees, he made plans.
I watched from my front room window as Andrew shuttled two of the trees into our backyard. Placing the uprooted tree onto a large piece of wood, he tied the trunk of the tree with rope and secured it to hitch of our van. Slowly and carefully, he maneuvered our van through our lawn until reaching the trees temporary destination.
The best part of the story is the fact that a construction worker offered to transport them for him for twenty bucks. When he kindly refused the help, the incredulous expression of said worker gave way to peels of laughter as he saw Andrew’s plan in action. He then proceeded to video Andrew and his sleigh full of crepe myrtle with his cell phone. Joining in the laughter, Andrew asked:
"Is this going to wind up on you tube?"
"Not yet." Was the mischievous reply.
In retrospect, the acquisition of the trees and shrubs was worth leaving a few hours behind schedule. It afforded me the opportunity to really clean before we left and I have to say that I love returning to a clean and organized home following a vacation. In a matter of a minutes, all of that chaos from the car will be transferred into the house.
Vacation... oh yes. That's what I was intending to blog about today.
We went to Washington D.C. after accepting an invitation from the adorable Marci Green.Marci is a dear friend of my sister-in-law Jen. In fact, Marci and her husband Chad introduced and set-up my brother Mark to his future wife, Jen! Not to mention, I lived next door to Chad Green for the first 10 years of my life. Chad has a brother named Mark Green. He married Andrew's sister, Liz.That's right. I grew up next door to my future brother in law. Small world, right? And that is how we're all connected... not that you care... but in my world, details always matter. It was clear that as the bonding began between Eliza and Chad & Marci's kids, future connections may very well be in our future. ;)
Here's are my top ten DC moments.
10. The bed in which we slept. It was a piece of heaven. Thanks Marci.
9. Regarding the above mentioned love triangle, Marci proclaimed,
"I foresee a Jane Austen type romance unfolding" We discussed the way Marci's boys (Jacob and Jackson) battled for Eliza's attention. For me, the most heartwarming moment occurred when I discovered Jacob standing outside. It was cold and his feet were bare. I pleaded for him to come inside for shoes.
"... Not until I find a flower to pick for Eliza!!" He exclaimed. There were no flowers to be found. Finally, he came inside and, with the help of his sister, made one for her out of paper. Adorable.
Eliza with Jacob
Eliza with Jackson
Eliza with Jacob
Eliza with Jackson
8. Thanksgiving. Cooking in the kitchen with Liz & Marci, eating the feast and making our gratitude turkey chart with Tehya.7. Staying up and playing games with the adults; even though I lost bad. I liked the "secret combinations" that were going on.
6. Black Friday shopping with Marci and Liz. A manager at Kohls assisted in ushering shoppers to open registers. Upon meeting the three of us (all of whom are on the bubbly side), he semi jokingly accused us of being drunk. No one is that happy so early in the day. Marci is. She is one of the happiest people I've met.
5. New Moon date night. Chad and Marci arranged for twin sisters to come and watch our kids (seven in all) so we could go out and see the movie together. That evening marked my third time seeing the film. In case you're wondering whether or not I liked it, please re-read previous sentence. Thank you.
4. The historical sites!!! My kids loved the DC metro and did well as we made our way from the Washington monument, to the World War II memorial, across the lawn to the Lincoln memorial and finally to the sobering and touching Vietnam memorial.The highlight of seeing the sites came when Eliza and I entered the Lincoln memorial. Doing my best to explain the importance of the man who was seated so grandly above us, Eliza looked up into his face and whispered,
"Can I sit on his lap, Mom?" Smiling, I told her that she couldn't. Instead, she blew him a kiss and said,
"Thank you, Abraham." It gave me goose pimples. She reminded me how children can be so sensitive and receptive when it comes to explaining what's important and special.
3. Ah! I almost forgot. Andrew was 'chewed out' by a DC metro employee when he interrupted her instruction with a question before hearing her out completely.
"I did not wake up at 5:00 this morning to have you interrupt me... of course, I was going to explain that to you. Do you think that I want you pestering one of my co-workers at the other station?"
"I am a station manager. Can security guards give you CPR? No. But I am trained. I CAN!"
It was hilarious. The express of shock and disbelief (and dare I say, fear?) on his face was something I had never before seen. Marci, Liz and I exchanged looks of,
"Is this lady serious?!" She was. And wasn't. She wanted to help, but it was on her terms. She was laughing by the time we finally made it through her station. We went out of our way to "Goodbye" to her on our return visit.
2. The U of U/BYU football game. I was sitting next to the most die-hard fan on the East Coast, my brother in law, Mark Green. Despite the loss of his beloved team, we had a good time cheering them on.
1. The company. Whether it was a trip to the park: (allow me to point out henry in the left corner of the top photo... he was completely amused and entertained as he dragged his hand along the posts of that fence. He walked back and forth, giggling.)a visit to a nearby farm, shopping, sitting around the kitchen table, car pooling together, etc. This trip was complete with laughter, meaningful conversation and service. The night before we left, Tehya (seven) asked if Eliza could spend the night in her room with her since it was our last night. The next morning, I heard Jacob say,
"Goodbye, Eliza! I will miss you so much."
"Don't worry" she soothed. "I'll be back tomorrow morning." She's still recovering from the disappointment. This will sound incredibly cheesy and cliche but as we tucked ourselves into bed on the night of Thanksgiving, I was consumed with a feeling of thankfulness. The sting of being away from family on a holiday remains, but the Lord has blessed us with amazing friends and given me the chance to know, love and learn from Andrew, Eliza and Henry.
Grateful for you I am truly blessed.Our attempt at a photo for this year's Christmas card. I was tempted to use this one.