Sunday, March 22, 2009

Just couldn't do it...

Just thought I'd give you a funny picture to look at while you were reading. No rhyme or reason.

Okay, so here are a few reasons why I haven't been posting...

a. Spencer has been super sick for two weeks. Like not just...really sick for a few days and then get better. It's been like projectile vomiting and full body diarrhea (meaning: up his back all the way to his shoulders...not that his whole body was emitting diarrhea) two or three times a night... there were MULTIPLE sheet changes, clothes changes, laundry and baths at 2 a.m. with one major grouchy baby who wouldn't eat a thing. (I'm thinking of inventing a full body diaper. The diarrhea gets caught going up the back and the throw up down the front).

b. Then once that subsided he started with the bronchial cough, can't breathe and sore throat. Oh, and by the way. I tried the Vicks Baby Rub on the feet thing (the email forward that was going around) and really did work.

c. I'm now a zombie with Spencer waking every hour. Cuz by the time I fall back to sleep, it's really only been like 15 minutes of actual sleep until he wakes up again. (Brian was great on Friday night. He took the monitor into the other room and got up with him all night).

d. I've been way super busy with...let's just say "everything"....getting ready before our trip to Germany (sorry...still don't know when). Getting Girl Scout troop ready for their Patch
Ceremony and wrapping up the cookie season (you guys have no idea how much work being the leader and selling cookies is, but thank you to everyone who bought!!!) and all my church responsibilities, etc.

e. I've fallen in love with Harry Potter all over again and am spending lots of time with him. Thanks to Blaine and Alicia, I have it on audio book on my ipod that I'm constantly listening to it while I'm working around the house. And no, I never read Book 6 & 7. But now, after reading them? I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Book 6 and am halfway through Book 7. I'm sorry guys. But J.K. Rowling runs circles around Stephenie Meyer (yes, I read all 4).

And my last reason for not posting more is...

f. Is everyone bored with my Washington D.C./New York trip now? I stopped posting cuz it seemed like it was becoming "old news". But come on! Doesn't everyone want to see when we went to Philadelphia to visit the Liberty Bell, and then on to New York where we saw a Broadway play, etc.? Anyway, I may still keep posting for journals-sake. But just thought you should know what's been going on in my head that's kept me from posting. :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spencer World-Random Pics from New York

In Spencer's World...

...His Sisters Like to Play Real-Live Dollies With Him...
(Here we were waiting outside for Brian and the girls changed his diaper in the back and thought it would be funny to buckle him in like a big kid...)

...He Can't Move when Dressed in Snow Clothes...'s all 'SOCKS', all the time...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The White House


The "North" Side View (aka the "front" ask I call it)

We actually visited The White House on the second day in D.C. On the first day, we had gone there on our tour and gotten out to visit it, but when we got to the "South" side (the "back", which is the most popular view), there were Secret Service men blocking any close view of it. When we asked why (because of course my idiot-filter was off thinking that "I" could just candidly speak to the SECRET SERVICE. But they were actually very nice and very talkative. I got a lot of information out of them on most of our trip), we were told that Obama was standing outside. They didn't know for what reason... "a photo op, getting ready for a motorcade, or to smoke a cigarette. Could be anything. But whenever he goes outside, we have to block any clear views (aka, shots) of the house."

This information was the girls' undoing! They were already excited to be so close to the President but to have him OUTSIDE was just more than they could bear. They went on and on about how THEY wanted to become a Secret Service Agent so they could meet the President and of course took their mom's lead by asking the Secret Service guys all sorts of questions about how to become one. I don't think they realized that by the time they were old enough, Obama would be long gone.

And yes, my girls are Obama fans. (Keep your political comments to yourself please). I know they have no idea what his views are, it's simply the fact that they were old enough to understand the elections and old enough to get caught up in an election that was history-making. And they witnessed not only the election, but also the Inauguration that happened only 3 weeks before. They are also at the age where they can start feeling hope and patriotism for their country.

I was very proud of them and am allowing them to form their own opinions, good or bad. Even though I voted for Obama (hissss... I can hear from the crowd), I am not influencing them into their support for the President. I don't think they even know who I voted for, even though they've asked. I've kept my political views to myself and am allowing them to enjoy the feeling of their country, give their support for whatever President is in Office, and figure out what they stand for without my own personal views coming into play.

So! If you see my girls wearing an Obama t-shirt, or one of the pins they bought in Washington D.C., please keep your comments to yourself (as a few of you have not done). Please don't kill the spirit in these fine young girls. They are, simply, just displaying their pride in being an American and support for their Leader, no matter who would have been voted into office.

Maybe we could all learn a little something from two 10-year olds from Sierra Vista, AZ.

Climbing on some building steps around the coner, as we were walking from the "North" Side to the "South". It was REALLY cold that day.

And I digress....
This next picture is of the "North" Side. We found out from one of the Secret Service that there is no "front" or "back" as Brian and I were wondering (amongst some of our new conversational topics). There is only a "North" and "South" side. The picture below is the "North" Side (although I still think of it as the "front").

While we were at the "front", we waved to the Secret Service Agent inside the booth at the front gate (you can kind of see the little booth house behind the gate in the next picture. I loved this picture cuz I was really impressed with all the wrought iron that was around the House, let alone how cool are these lanterns?) to come talk to us (seriously? Who am I? No fear, I tell you. Oh ya. I'm a Startup. Ya, that's where I get it... No shame whatsoever. How sad). We wanted to know what they were taking down. It was like this big metal structure right in front of the gates so that it made it hard to get a good look at the House. He was so nice and continued to tell us all about how they were still taking down the big "stand" that was used for the Inauguration. 3 weeks later? That seems like a long time. He must have read my mind cuz he continued to say, "Nice to see our tax dollars being used for such an efficient and quick job." He was obviously being sarcastic and made me chuckle that even they have their own opinions too!? Duh, Christy!

Next picture is the "South" side. The most famous side. We finally got to see it the second day. This was where they were blocking it when we went the day before. The girls were still trying to see if they could catch a glimpse of "something" Obama.

Next picture: At first I thought this Panda was some sort of "something" they were doing for the tourists for the White House and I was trying desperately to find some meaning, some corroboration, if you will, of how the Panda fit with being in front of the White House.
There wasn't.
Just some random crazy teenagers wanting some attention.
I was actually embarrassed we took a picture with them. hahaha.

Only picture of me. hehe. How model-ish do I look?! Woohoo! Brian caught this one of me. I kinda look like I'm off in deep thought about how wonderful this city is, don't I? Wanna know what I was looking/thinking? I was deeply disturbed by the Panda and intently watching it trying to find some meaning. As my mom says, "You can't make Sense of Nonsense"
This next picture is another cool view walking around from the front to back. I know, random of me to take this picture, huh? But I really loved the look of turning this corner with all the wrought iron.
Next Stop: The Smithsonians! (Ya don't get turned off like I was when I heard "Museum". I love museums but sometimes they can all become the same after visiting museum after museum in different cities. But surprisingly, these ones became part of my favorite places!)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Take A Commercial Break

How We Spent Xoe & Xanthe's Birthday While in New Jersey

Xoe and Xanthe have fallen in love. With a guy named Johnny. Johnny Rockets.

They had never been there before, until we were "living" in New Jersey. We went three times while we were there. It helped that it was in the mall right down the street from our "apartment" hotel AND the girls are TOTAL mall shoppers.

But don't take my word for it. Let me let them tell you why they loved it. (And they actually typed this themselves.)

Me: Girls, tell me why you love Johnny Rockets so much.

Xanthe: They have good food and it's so cheap! My favorite part is that they have your own little jukebox and a cup full of nickels and we got to pick any song we wanted. I picked La Bamba, Twist, and Little Old Lady from Pasadena (thank you Showbiz! that was mom typing that.). I loved the banana split and the arcade games in the back.

Xoe: I loved the jukebox that they had on your table. Their burgers were so good and one of the times I ate a huge hot dog. The waitresses were so nice to us and came to talk to us a lot. It was so cool because they danced and sang for us because it was our birthday and we got to decorate as many hats as we wanted.

This is in the movie theater inside the mall. Brian took the girls to see Coraline. They thought it would be funny, however, to pose like Inspector Clouseau.

And here we are cruisin the mall. He loves his new carrier (see previous post). (And ya, Ruth, he wasn't supposed to be turned that way but we were tryin it out anyhow.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Next Stop:

I have started my “Lincoln Memorial” commentary so many times. But I keep stopping and starting because I just don’t know how to quite capture the overwhelming feeling that moved me to tears while there.

It wasn’t so much the massive stone carving of an imposing and remarkable Abraham Lincoln, although that was impressive still.

It also wasn’t just about the beautiful Romanesque building that encased this large carving, with its large stone columns and breathtaking monolithic steps welcoming and beckoning you to come within.

It was, however, the simple and humble words of a leader, tired of contention, and weary of massive bloodshed, who stood on a hill soon after the most brutal battle of the most devastating war in U.S. History, to hopefully bring peace to the land and some form of unity to the People. A Union that, ironically, needed to be “united”, had been split apart for so many years with so many lives lost.

His speech, you all know as the Gettysburg Address, was given as a dedication to the Gettysburg National Cemetery, honoring the 50,000 Americans who lost their lives in this single three-day battle, hoping to bring equality to all the nation’s citizens and bring harmony to a receding country. His speech was then replicated on a 50 foot wall inside a Memorial for all to read, in turn, giving honor to him and the change he made.

I had never read this speech out loud before. Can you believe I'm admitting that? I'm sure many of you have never done the same. Even if you just read it all the way through, I would still be impressed. I had read it a few times in school, and admittedly, sometimes never even got through the whole thing. And if I had made it through, my brain petered out partway through. I had never truly appreciated the words that were spoken, and am embarrassed to say that because it was such a short speech. Only maybe 4 or 5 paragraphs long, and I totally didn't "get it".

But this time when I read it, I had ulterior motives. I wanted my girls to really get something out of it. I wanted them to remember it. (And of course, at that point, I was trying to find any homeschooling lesson out of everything we were doing.) Before I read it, I had just finished doing my best at being a storyteller...explaining to them about the Civil War, quizzing them about why they had been fighting, and teaching them about why it was such a devastating and memorable war.

And because I wanted it to be memorable for them, I kind of overplayed it…just being an overboard mom, putting flexion in my voice and reading it with a lot of drama. I was trying to put emphasis on as many words as I could and thought important.

What a powerful thing I was reading. Such short and simple words, yet every word had been chosen carefully so as to persuade the people to stop fighting and bring peace to the land. And without realizing it, it was I who was being moved at the same time.

Partway through reading, I surprised myself when my voice cracked for a moment. I even had a tear in my eye. And for a moment I kind of chuckled. Was I actually being moved by this?

I was. And I had to take a deep breath in order to get through it. And happily, the girls were moved to. As I read, they just stood there reading along with me.

Once finished, they just stood there quietly. Amongst the hundreds of people who were there, there was silence. And they understood.

What did they do next? The silence was broken when they broke into a run heading straight toward the gift shop and bought a copy of the Gettysburg Address on replicated old parchment paper and carefully placed it in their scrapbook.

Friday, March 6, 2009

In the Meantime...

Some Personal D.C. Pictures

I caught on camera this exchange between Spencer and Brian on the tour bus. This is a daily occurrence and it melts my heart every time I see it. I thought it would be fun for you guys to experience it too. Spencer loves to look at Brian and touch his facial hair. When Brian came back from Germany the last time, he just kept staring at him as if thinking to himself, "I know this guy. How do I know him?" hehe. And now Spencer just can't get enough of him.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Our Nation's Capitol

Washington D.C....Where do I begin? I can tell you with certainty that I never though that a city could actually move me to tears. (more on that later). And had someone tried to convince me that I would, I would have been highly embarrassed and made sure I ignored every opportunity to be moved. It would have changed my whole experience. I'm so glad I went into it not knowing anything.

Going to D.C. was a last minute trip. When Brian's project in New Jersey ended a few days early, we hopped in a car and drove a few hours south. What an experience! I couldn't believe how much the girls were interested in everything we did, and I was surprised at how much I actually knew. It was fun too cuz it got Brian and I into conversations...asking questions about our country that we didn't know. Things like...where was the capitol when the Declaration and Constitution was first signed. It wasn't in D.C. And why did they choose D.C. of all places? It was fun having in depth conversations with him. And Xanthe actually impressed one of the tour guides with her questions that he gave her a prize. He thought it was so cool that she was actually listening.

We thought it would be fun to buy tickets to one of those cheesy touristy city buses that have the tour guides. I love those things cuz I'm in love with Useless Facts. I even used to subscribe to a daily email called the Useless Fact of the Day. And where else can you get random facts to the place you're going than the cheeky tour guides who are full of so much information that they are bursting at the seams to tell us.

First stop on the tour...Washington Monument

This is that big tall looking phallic (sorry, had to) monument. The cool thing that we learned was that it's the tallest FREE-STANDING monument. It has no glue, mortar...NOTHING to hold it together. The elevator we took to the top was it's own structure through the middle. wouldn't have been so scary HAD IT NOT BEEN WIND AT 60 mph! I was laughing so hard cuz it was literally blowing us to the side and we couldn't even walk. It was faster than I've ever felt before. We had to leave our stroller down at the bottom and I had to buckle the seat buckles around a pole so it wouldn't get blown away. Then I went and buckled everyone else's that were starting to blow away cuz how much would that suck for them? And after we got down from being up there, they closed it down from anyone else going up there cuz it was too windy.

So, start with a REALLY windy day, plus a free standing building, and one girl who's deathly afraid of heights...not a good mix. It's a good thing it wasn't like the Empire State Building where you're's totally enclosed and super safe. Check out my hair in this picture. Too funny, huh?

Up at the top of the monument, there were some really cool displays and dedications to the work Washington did. They had all these tiny windows that you could look out of to see a 360 degree view of the city. What I didn't realize til I had actually gone there was that D.C. is pretty small and everything is all centered around each other. All the main monuments you can see from the top of the Washington Monument and it's not that far to get to. Even when you're on the streets. You turn one way, you can see the Capitol, turn the other way, you see the White House.

One thing I loved about being up there is I got to catch random people's conversation and getting their random information (remember? useless facts. :) ). They had these tiny windows that you could look out and see the 360 degree view of the city. One guy was pointing to the Pentagon and describing where the 9/11 plane hit...not just the one side that it hit...but that it hit a flagpole and then nicked the hotel that was right next to it before crashing into the Pentagon.
One thing I had forgotten was that it was the week right before President's Day. I learned from one of the tourists (who obviously had been there lots) that on every president's birthday, they do some sort of tribute. And we had just missed being able to look out one of the windows to the Lincoln Memorial and see Obama giving a tribute to Lincoln. (There was some dispute as to whether he actually did it at the memorial or at Ford Theater. Either stuff.)

Can anyone see what this view is of?

They also had something that I thought was really cool, but didn't get a picture of. As we were going down the elevator, it would slow down and the clouded windows would then become clear...revealing the inside stones. Each state, when the monument was being built, donated a stone that was handcarved with their symbols (like their State Flag, or symbolic people). There was a ramp around the inside of it that people used to be able to walk up to the top. However, they had to close it down and build an elevator because people were stealing pieces to these stones, like noses and toes. How random is that? And saddening at the same time. (I got this tidbit from a Park Ranger who happened to be riding down the same elevator we were. LOVE the conversations in that city.)

I loved this view of the Monument...

Next Stop on our Tour... Lincoln Memorial
P.S. Blake, I totally know that I might have gotten a few of my facts wrong. I'm sorry. And for those of you who don't know Blake, he's a very good friend of mine who lived and worked in the D.C. area for 4 years and was the first person I turned to when needing advice on where to go. He is also one of the most awesome persons I know who carries random historical facts around with him like it's nobody's business. Thanks Blake for the tour via text messaging and email virtually from the State of Washington. :)
Also, PLEASE do I have to explain why it took me so long to get to this post. I'm in California...drove here by myself with the 3 kids. Does that explain enough? :)