Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bestie J gets married!

I went to Utah last weekend to see Bestie J get married.  It was a short trip and yet I managed to get in many things and see my favorite people.

Niece M did my hair (maybe you can't see, but there are about 7 little barrettes throughout my hair).

I hung out with USC Bestie J and her husband (we got J-Dawgs!).  They are fabulous people.  A side note: J's husband took this photo and he is super tall so it looks like we are short.  Another side note: USC Bestie J is pregnant and showing (definitely pregnant showing, not "I gained five pounds and am wearing a too tight shirt") hence the "bumpalicious" shirt, but she totally looks not pregnant at all in this photo!

I went to IHOP with Besties M and H.  Yeah, it was early.  We met at 7:45 a.m. and we were all on time.  FYI: IHOP is dead before 9:00 a.m. on the weekend.

And I had a fabulous lunch with my family! My sister M's family (the boy in the doorway is not an outcast - he's a cousin just trying to see what's going on).

Brother D and his son, Wolverine.

The always fabulous R family.

I love this photo because it's like Uncle J is humoring me, "Yes, S, we think you have super big muscles."

Aunt D!  So glad she came!

With Baby E.  The first day she was totally giving me the stink eye, but the second day she liked me!  I know it doesn't really look like it here (she just woke up from a nap), but I promise she did (as evidenced by all the hand and face marks left on my shirt).

 Brother B's family.  Ask Niece L to show you her magic trick with the coins.  It was actually really good!

The girls played dress up.  It made me happy because I LOVED playing dress up at Grandma P's and now my old dresses are the dress up clothes!
I spy the purple dress I wore for brother B's wedding, one of my old (and washed!) sleep masks, my dyed purple heels, and my sheer polka dot curtains.

And while I love all these people, the best part of the weekend was seeing this wedding.

Everything was SO classy and beautiful - the bride, the flowers, the decorations, the food, the reception hall, the love...  everything was wonderful.

T didn't come with me to Utah, so Bestie M was my quasi wedding date.  It worked because we are both hot and ridiculously awesome.

J's dress was amazing!

Their first dance made me cry.  It's not a surprise though because I also cried when J walked down the aisle, when they said their vows, and later when J danced with her dad.  Crying is just what I do at weddings (though usually not that much - I just really love J!).

We didn't let the groom monopolize the bride all night though - Bestie M and I both danced with her, too!
J's bustle broke shortly after she danced with her dad, but she handled it like a champ.  Later the groom improvised a sash type thing from a chair tie to help keep her long skirt up.

J had a photobooth!  The exact same photobooth I had at my wedding!  Of course we got some amazing photos.  I'll toss them up on the bloggy sometime next week after I scan them in.

Dancing buddies!
I told J that I would dance at her wedding and I did.  And it wasn't pretty.  I have "white man's disease" which is the number one killer of rhythm.  But you better believe I danced to every song (okay, I didn't dance to the slow songs or this one crazy line dance that I had never seen before).  I felt okay looking like a dancing idiot because I really only knew the bride, her family and two other people so I had no image to maintain and I would never see any of those other people again.

The dancing was a ton of fun - there was the YMCA, a conga line, boot scootin' boogie, shimmying by the bride's mom, and lots of hair tossing.  Towards the end, there were only about five of us out on the dance floor so it was our own private dance party.  I just really hope none of my terrible dancing ends up on their wedding video!

They had a sparkler send off and I went home smiling and sweaty.  I give J's wedding an A++.

The next day I spent some time with T's family.  I forgot to charge the battery of the real camera so it died.  But there is always the iPhone camera!

Kids are messy.  And this was before we ate dinner! They are still super adorbs, though. (Twin B left, E right)

The girls totally know how to use their fingers to swipe on the iPhone.  All three were trying to swipe at the same time so we spent a lot of time going back and forth between the same two photos.  Then we took some classic self photos.  (Twin H on left (she's not that big, it's just the angle), A on right)

The newest grandbaby on T's side.  He was so tiny! 

The cute parents of that cute baby boy.

The twins and A (and obviously her baby brother) still don't really know who I am, but G and E do and they think I'm fun.  Because I am fun.  Anyway, I was commanded by G to eat dinner with him and E so I did and it was fabulous.  Little boys are a lot of fun.  Plus, it's fun to be adored.

The cute parents of G, E, and the twins.  G wanted to me to take a ton of photos of him shooting.  I did so he would keep thinking I was cool.  Mission accomplished. 

On Monday morning I just hung out with my parents and it was awesome!  Well, we didn't just do nothing.  My mom hemmed a pair of my pants, sewed a button onto my shorts, and made me a new purse lining.  My dad unpicked the back pockets on my shorts that were sewn shut.  And I provided the entertainment.

We took a bunch of self photos together:  one with my mom's real camera, three with my iPhone, and two with my dad's Windows phone.  The ones I took were the worst, but I don't have access to the other cameras so here you go - a blurry iPhone photo!

Utah trip = amazeballs!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lately (Marine Musem, WWII Monument, MLK Jr Monument)

A few weeks ago we went to the Marine Museum.  It's down by Quantico.  It's a lot like the "Price of Freedom" exhibit at the American History Smithsonian (it talks about all the wars and it's free).  T had fun dressing up in the period costumes in different sections.  This one was from The War of 1812 (I think).

The museum covers everywhere / time the Marines have fought, so obviously there was a section within WWII about Iwo Jima.  It's a great exhibit and it is staffed by former Marines, some who fought there.  It's pretty amazing what they accomplished.  It's close to my heart because my grandpa was a Marine who fought at Iwo Jima.

I'm a fighter pilot!  And T is... French?  (Obviously, not really.  We all know the French don't fight! Ha!)

Separate from, but near by, the museum is a beautiful Marine Chapel.  We didn't go in (I didn't want to intrude on people actually using the chapel), but it looked beautiful.

The atrium has really cool architecture. 
If you live in the area (or really like the Marine Corps), the Marine Museum is definitely something you should check out.  If you are in town for vacation and have limited time, skip the Marine Museum and just take a bit more time in "The Price of Freedom" exhibit at the American History Museum.

The Friday of Labor Day Weekend, T only had to work a half day so we moseyed about part of the National Mall.  We hadn't been back to the WWII Memorial since our first cross country trip together in 2007.  Here I am with our new state.

The WWII Memorial has a great view of the Washington Monument.  The Washington Monument is totally two different colors.  No, really, it is.  They started building it before the Civil War.  Construction stopped during the war.  After the war they went back to the exact same quarry and the stone had changed color, but they used it anyway.  T and I haven't been to the top of the Washington Monument yet.  We're not sure when that will happen... it was cracked near the top during the earthquake and it has not re-opened yet (though you can still walk around it).

Here's T with our new state.  I'll have to dig up the photos from 2007 where I'm with Utah and T is with California.

It's a really lovely memorial.  They all are.

That same day we went to visit the new Martin Luther King Jr. Monument.  It opened to the public the week before the hurricane, even though the official dedication was postponed due to the hurricane.  We are pretty great at those self-photos!
The stone that the carving of MLK Jr is in is actually the center part of one giant boulder (this center part is in front of the two sides - this isn't making sense; check it out here).  On the side of the MLK Jr stone it says "Out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope."  So this monument has some pretty great symbolism going on.

The monument sits right on the Tidal Basin and has a great view of the Jefferson.  If you were to rent a paddle boat, I do believe you could almost pedal right up to it.

Okay, in this one you can kind of see the boulders on either side of the MLK Jr statue.  The MLK part would fit exactly between the two other boulders.  I really wonder how those giant boulders were transported.

Another gratuitous self-photo.

My two favorite MLK Jr quotes from the wall. 

If you're in town for more than one day, you should definitely see both of these monuments. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

By any other name

I've been working on this post for two weeks and it's just not working.  I can't seem to phrase anything right to get my feelings across.  So I deleted most of it.  Here are the bare bones:

Most girls change their last name when they get married.  Some don't.  I didn't.  And not just for this reason:

The real reason I didn't change my last name is because I am very attached to my name.  Very. 

I don't want a crazy long hyphenated name.  I don't want to drop my wonderful middle name to make my maiden name my middle name and have T's last name.  I think I have a fabulous name right now.  I love the way my name sounds all together (thanks, Mom and Dad!) and I love my awesome signature.  But it's more than that.  I love my name because it's my whole identity.  And I love that my name is more than just me.  I love that my name connects me to my ancestors on both sides.  I'm proud of my name.  I'm proud of the people I'm related to.  I'm a *my last name* and to me that name means a lot.  Maybe everyone else doesn't know what it means to be a *my last name* but I do, and I try to live up to that good name.

It's not that T has a bad or unpronounceable last name, I just don't have a strong connection to that name.  But on the other hand, I am married to a guy with that last name and that is a pretty strong connection.  Also, it would make some things (insurance, bills, church, etc.) easier if we had the same last name. I've been thinking about this lately because I have to get a passport so we can go to London next summer.  So if I'm going to change my name, now is the time to do it. 

Anyway, did you keep your maiden name?  Do you have any thoughts / opinions on the matter?

P.S.  I've pretty much decided to keep my name as it is.  At least for now.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Utah! - The second wedding portion

I know, our Utah trip was ages ago.  But here are the photos from the second wedding we attended while out there in June.

The wedding was in a family friend's backyard.  It was a ridiculously nice (and ginormous!) backyard.  In between the ceremony and the reception I got a few planks in.

 (I'm between the two flower pots.)

Mugging it up.

Seriously, the set up was almost as lovely as the bride.

There was many a parent doing this to a young child to keep them away from the pool.

It was hot.  Some people were easier to cool down than others.  It started out like this...

And ended like this.

The rest of us used ice cream to cool down.  Oh, yeah, they had an ice cream bar.

And a candy buffet.  And a cake.

T and some of his siblings:

Part of the backyard had a pond.  It was just as hard to keep the kids away from that as it was the swimming pool.

Babies were everywhere.  They were nice to hold and even nicer to give back to their parents.

I'm glad the father of the bride had time to snatch some noms.

Oh, weddings are the best!