Sunday, February 27, 2011

Iwo Jima Monument

Technically, this monument is called the United States Marine Corps Memorial.  And it is amazing.  You should definitely see it.  It is right next to Arlington cemetery and you can see it pretty quickly if you absolutely need to.  It is based on the famous photo from WWII in Iwo Jima, but honors the sacrifices of all Marines.

 As T was headed to work on the 23rd I noticed that there were tons of Marines in dress uniforms at the monument (remember we can see the monument as we exit).  Some quick googling let me know that it was the anniversary of the actual flag raising at Iwo Jima.  After I dropped T off I tried to go to the monument, but the parking was blocked off and I ended up being forced on to some freeway and getting completely lost.

So after we went to the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum on Saturday (post coming soon) we visited the Iwo Jima Monument.

You can see the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument in the bottom left corner.

You can see the names and dates of all the wars that Marines have fought in.  There were so many that I didn't know about.  The current war has not been added to the monument yet. 

If you can, go at sunset.  It is powerful.

Really, don't skip this one.  It is worth it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

21 months!

Wow!  We are rapidly approaching the two year mark!  And we still have SO many pictures so share.  These are from my Aunt J.

Here is my Dad welcoming everyone to our little party.
 I really heart my dad.  A lot.

 Bestie E and her T


Grandma and Grandpa are the best!  I am so glad they came to our wedding!

Cousin S's baby T.

Niece R

Cousin S and her husband J

Love, Love, LOVE this family.  

I hated that my dress kept bunching around the middle.  It drives me nuts in SO many pictures!

T and I officially cut the cake...

But my wonderful Aunt J cut the rest of the cake for the guests.  It's harder than you think!

I am still totally in love with our cake.  It looked wonderful! and tasted even better!!!  If we lived in SLC we would totally get an anniversary cake from our baker every year.  It really was that good.

Like always, more to come next month...

Check out the other months if you missed anything: four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 11, the whole wedding, a year!, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 19.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mount Vernon

On President's Day T and I went to Mount Vernon even though it was sprinkling.  I know.  Are we patriotic or what?  We were planning to go anyway, but we definitely decided to go when we saw that admission was FREE on President's Day instead of the usual $15 per person.  We are glad we went on the free day because, really, Mt. Vernon is not worth $15 a person.  Maybe $5...

It was pretty busy but not unbearable or unpleasantly so.  We started off by watching a short film in the welcome center.  The film was both boring and violent.  You wouldn't think that was possible, but it is.  The violent stuff was pretty violent and when it wasn't violent it was boring. 

Next we moseyed to the mansion.  Apparently admission to the mansion is free, but it is timed.  You can't get in line until the time on your ticket.  We arrived about 12:30 and our ticket time to get in line was 3:40.  Seriously?!  That's a long wait, plus about the 45 minute wait once you are in line.  This was kind of irritating because we could have seen the whole mansion in about 15 minutes.  Plus, I have been to this type of thing before and while there would be some things in the mansion that were owned by the Washingtons, most of it would have been just things from the era. 

So we gave the tickets back and just wandered around the property.  Nothing too amazing at all, it's like This Is The Place Park in Utah or an old working farm.  The huge back porch, which was designed and built by Washington, is pretty awesome.  It has a wonderful view of the Potomac.

We saw Washington's Tomb.  Well, as close as we could get without waiting in line for 45 minutes.

We walked down to the wharf and saw the slaves quarters and the mill.  We also went to the museum, educational center (they are separate from the mansion), and gift shop.  Washington lollipops, anyone?

There are many five minute films throughout the museum and educational center, but I didn't care for any of them.

Overall, I wasn't too impressed.  I think the grounds would look amazing in spring, but I don't think we will go back.  The information and things in the museum were almost the exact same things in the Revolutionary War area of The Museum of American History which you can visit for free.  Oh, I guess the Mt. Vernon museum did have Washington's actual dentures on display.  The mansion, museum, and educational center all have a "no photo" policy.  But sometimes that is nice because then you can just enjoy the exhibits without worrying about taking pictures.

If you have young kids this is not the best place to visit because there is SO much walking - a lot of it on hills.  The walking was actually the part that I enjoyed best - but I know that would be different if I had to carry small children or push a stroller.

A few other things:  Mt. Vernon is about a 30 minute drive from D.C., the volunteer workers are SO nice, parking is free, and dogs are welcome (which I thought was horrible).  Of course the food prices were high and I was kinda disappointed that there were no cherry pies to be bought (maybe there were some in the sit down restaurant that we didn't visit).  We were there for two hours.  If we had gone through the mansion it would have taken us three hours, most of it waiting in line. 

To be clear, just because I didn't like Mount Vernon doesn't mean I don't like George Washington.  I actually think he was the greatest American President.  When I was visiting the Revolutionary War portion of the American History Museum, I had this overwhelming feeling of awe of George Washington and the wonderful things he did and the great leader that he was.  But I just didn't get that vibe at Mount Vernon - maybe because it was crowded and maybe because I had already had the George Washington experience at the American History Museum.

I only got through the first 50 pages, but I do think I am going to give "1776" by David McCullough another try.  But I will probably read this version because it is abridged and there are pictures.  Pictures make everything better.

Ultimately, if you live in D.C. this is something you should do once.  If you're a casual tourist, Mount Vernon is something you can skip.

Oh, on the drive home we saw this sign.  Everyone has seen it a picture of it before, but we actually saw one in person.
It's blurry because it is an iphone picture taken from a moving car, but it says, "Church parking only violators will be "baptized.""

Friday, February 18, 2011

Some things

Our U-Box mess has been resolved.  Our things arrived last Friday.  We were without our things - including our bed - for 24 days.  We unloaded everything on Saturday.  Nothing appears to be missing, even though the lock to our box was missing (and that was a serious lock).  T's friend helped us move our stuff.  It went much faster than expected.  We got to the U-Box storage place around 2 p.m. and had everything completely unloaded in our apartment by 5:30 p.m.  Yay extra hands! U-Haul corporate completely refunded the shipping charge of our box, so we only had to pay for the truck rental and the drop off charge for the box (at our SoCal apartment).  

Every day for the last two weeks we have driven the same way to T's work.  Just yesterday I noticed that you can see the Iwo Jima monument on our drive.  It is less than 100 yards from the exit ramp!

My bangs need a trim.  I think I'm going to do it myself.  But I think I will wait to do it after we have dinner with one of T's co-workers on Saturday.  You know, just in case it doesn't turn out well.

T gave me some pretty tulips for V-day!  He's a pretty amazing guy.  I heart him.

We set up our porch swing inside the apartment.  LOVE!  I could swing for hours.  I totally get why Baby M likes to sleep in his swing.  It is so soothing.  But we might not have the swing up for long - we are going to buy a real couch sometime soon-ish.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


My wonderful brother J let us stay with his family for two nights on our cross country trip.  They are the best!  Now here's a bunch of pictures!  Mostly of that adorable blue-eyed baby!

I was trying to take a self portrait.  But the camera is T's nice big one so it's hard to handle one handed.  "A" for effort, but "D" for results.  Also, he spit up during not one, but two attempts.  Good timing!

He wasn't too happy when I tried to pose him with this bear.  Apparently he wasn't feelin' the love.

This self portrait is better.  This kid loves looking in the mirror.

 I think if T and I didn't do one of these shots every time we got out the camera we would probably explode.

All bundled up to go out. He does the raised eyebrow quizzical expression thing a lot.  It is really cute.  It must be so disorienting to be a baby and not really know what is going on.  Or maybe he knows exactly what is going on and thinks we are all crazy...

We went to the Wal-Mart museum.  It's pretty small and pretty cool.  The chocolate mint Moon Pies we bought there kinda taste like the Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies. Yum.

This one makes me giggle.  J and L look so great and Baby M is like, "C'mon! You wanna piece of me?!"  He's even making a fist!  Haha!

Baby M likes to stretch like this.  J and L are so cute with him.  They might be new at this parenting thing, but they are already very good at it.

Two of my favorite dudes.  An interesting tidbit: T let his beard grow the entire trip.

We played a trivia type game.  I won the first round and T won the second.  Some of the questions were really out there.  Here's one question that obviously no one got:  "Why are all Bourbons Whiskey  but not all Whiskeys are Bourbon?"  The answer was something along the lines of "Bourbon is a whiskey that is produced only in the United States."   Also, here's one more attempt at a self portrait with Baby M.

Baby M sticks out his tongue a lot (left).  He also often has quizzical eyebrows (right).  Soooo cute.

Baby M has quite the range of facial features.  These were all taken pretty closely together time-wise.
Clockwise from top right: 
  1. "Oohhh.  A surprise for me?"
  2. "I'm upset about the goings on in the Middle East."
  3. "Hulk ANGRY!"
  4. "'Sup, man?  I'm just chillin'."
J definitely knows what to do to make that baby happy.

Baby M is not impressed with T's superman.  He's saying, "Really?  That's all you got?"  I was a little nervous Baby M would spit up on T during this particular game.

We played Wii party on Sunday night and Rockband on Monday night.  Baby M seemed to like Rockband - as well he should.  We also watched The Princess Bride.  I haven't seen that movie in forever and it is just as good as I remembered.  I was especially interested to watch the movie because I had started reading the book.  They are incredibly similar - right down to the dialogue, unlike some books that were made into movies and end up with a completely different plot (I'm looking at you Count of Monte Cristo).

We forgot to take a picture while we were all out to eat at this delicious BBQ place (Really it was delicious!  And I rarely say that about meat!) so we took one early on Tuesday morning before we left.  Baby M is fighting ninjas in his sleep.  Hi-yah!

We are SO glad we got to stop in Arkansas and hang out with J's family.  They fed us so well and the company was amazing.  Plus, we got to see that baby!  We thought we might not get to see him until he was already walking.