Tuesday, April 29, 2014

NYR 4-28-14

My Facebook post from today:

"Don't build dams in your river.  Allow the water to flow and go where it takes you."

For great quotes with life lessons included, I am truly thankful.

NYR 4-27-14

I started a writing class this past Wednesday, and our first writing sample was due today.  I have never edited any other thousand words so much in my life.  My Honors College thesis wasn't edited as much as these two pages.

My not-so-secret goal is to write a novel and what I turned in for the class to critique is the introduction for my novel.  I really love what I've written but have never had the guts to let anyone else read it.  If my classmates pan it, I'm going to be devastated and will likely be deterred from writing further.  

So here's to wishful thinking that they at least like it and don't crush my dreams in one fell swoop.

For the power of hope, I am truly thankful.   

NYR 4-26-14

As you know, Mac is on a Little League baseball team.  We got lucky and got the chilled-out coach and parents (which I understand are both a rarity in this uber-competitive place we call home right now).  Their laidback-ness, of course, makes Jimmy and me (okay, me, in particular) look more uptight than we (or I, in particular) already are (or am, in particular).  Nobody (okay, me) wants their kid to be the one to screw up and make the team lose the game.

Mac's coach believes in letting everyone try out different positions, which I think is a great idea.  A 10 year-old kid might think he loves right field until he's had a chance to play shortstop.  They're all developing their skills in different areas of play and it's great to watch.

Mac has been playing first base a lot, but he's really wanted to pitch.  He's pitched at least 297 balls to Jimmy and felt like he was ready.  He was on the pitching lineup for the game last week, but the mercy rule was invoked before they got to that inning.  (Mac's coach is great about sportsmanlike conduct and doesn't let the players steal bases to prey on weaknesses in the other team, but not every other coach in the league feels the same way).

Anyway, today Mac got his chance to pitch.  Being a pitcher's mom, even if only for an inning, is not for the faint of heart.  Everybody's watching this one player and knows if he's screwing up.  I can tell you that a lot of runs have been scored by walking batters, and I didn't want that to happen to Mac.  We knew he was nervous and we knew that he'd lose all confidence if he threw wild pitches or walked a lot of batters, which only compounded both Jimmy's and my nerves.

Well our boy pulled out all the stops.  Of the four batters who came up against him, he struck out the first two, walked the next one and then struck out the fourth batter.

You probably heard the deep exhale of relief from the Westover field wherever you were late Saturday afternoon.

For a great first stop at the pitcher's mound, I am very thankful.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

NYR 4-25-14

We've become friends with a younger family at church, who have two precious little girls.  The youngest girl is about one and I could eat her up.  She's squishy, has just a little hair and a bottom-tooth grin, and  and scooches across the floor instead of crawling. Most importantly, she lets me hold her usually without crying so I can sniff her baby shampoo-smelling head. Totally adorable and I cannot get enough of her. My friend and the girls came over for a playdate this morning and I got my baby fix.  Happiness is...

NYR 4-24-14

Today I cleaned our apartment from top to bottom, front to back and side to side.  I scrubbed grout, I dusted baseboards, I Windexed windows.  C.L.E.A.N.  For a floor that you could eat off, I am thankful (even if I'm so exhausted I could barely move tonight!).

NYR 4-23-14

I am so thankful for positive-energy songs that are playing on our favorite rock radio station right now.  Invariably, my morning round-trip to school includes one of more of the following songs:  "Happy" by Pharrell Williams, "Best Day of My Life" by American Authors, or "On Top of the World" by Imagine Dragons.

When you start the day listening to either of those songs, how can it be a bad day?

NYR 4-22-14

Since I was too tired to cook a proper Easter dinner for my family and I was consumed by both guilt over not properly feeding my family on a major holiday and a personal desire for ham and red rice, we had a proper (Southern) Easter dinner tonight.  We like to continue the Easter celebrations past the holiday like that.

It was pretty yummy, if I do say so myself.  Actually it was only yummy if you like ham and red rice and macaroni and cheese and southern foods like we do.  I even made deviled eggs which Jimmy loves but which are not my favorite.  But for him, I made them.  And they were good.

For a delicious meal of true comfort foods, I am thankful.

And for dessert, angel food cake with strawberries and yummy homemade whipped cream

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NYR 4-21-14

Jimmy and Mac went to a Nationals game tonight with a college friend of Jimmy's.  (That modifier was unnecessary because Mac doesn't have any college friends and Jimmy and Mac likely wouldn't go alone to a ballgame with my college friend.)

I was fairly excited to have a few hours all to myself.  All I had to do was get Mac to Jimmy via Metro and return home.  If all systems were go, that could have been a 30-minute round trip. 

I rode with Mac on the Metro to Jimmy's work stop.  We made sure we got on the train at the exact door where Jimmy always gets on the train so that when we arrived at the correct Metro stop, Jimmy would be waiting at the exact spot where he always exits the train.  The plan was that Jimmy would hop on the train as I hopped off the train, and Jimmy and Mac could continue on that same train without interruption.

It worked like a charm.  Jimmy was right where he was supposed to be and we had gotten on the right car in the correct door. Mac stayed put, I hopped off, gave Jimmy a quick kiss, he hopped on, and away they went.

And thus ends the easy part of this transfer.

I joined the rush hour commuters on the other side of the track and waited for the next train going back to Virginia.  It came in 4 minutes but was so packed that a bunch of us couldn't squeeze in.

I waited another 4 minutes, jockeyed for good position and made it on the next train.  

Which broke down 2 stops into my 4-stop ride.  

Everybody was forced to exit the train and wait.  I debated walking home at this point but I didn't have the right shoes or a jacket or sunglasses so I stayed put.  After a few minutes the out-of-service train was moved from the track and another train pulled in.  Miraculously I squeezed in and got home a few minutes later, nearly an hour after Mac and I had left home. 

The boys were already at the ball park by that time and having a great time.  The weather was perfect as opposed to last week's baseball outing when we froze. 

Upon arrival

Mac never wants a photo with the Presidents so I'm not sure what bribery went into this picture

Mac and Andrew

Great seats

Jimmy ate four hot dogs, which makes me want to vomit.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I was determined to try this foot soak that I read about on Facebook that is "guaranteed" to remove all the old dead winter skin right off your feet.  It's a mix of the gross brown Listerine, vinegar, and warm water.  

I soaked and scrubbed and scrubbed some more. My feet smelled very medicinal and hygienic and may have been softer, but there's definitely still work to be done.

For an evening alone at home while the boys were out having fun, I am truly thankful. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

NYR 4-20-14

For the greatest gift of the Resurrection on this Easter Day, I am especially and always thankful.  

NYR 4-19-14

The Wests left before dawn, and I dropped off my mom at the airport at 9am.  

At that point, there was nobody else's happiness and well-being that I was responsible for and I felt the pressure fall off my shoulders.  

I thought of ordering the following:

In all seriousness, it was an amazing vacation.  We covered a lot of ground - literally!: over 45 miles in one week with seven children under the age of 12, three grandparents over the age of 60, and four or five (five when Jimmy was around) middle-aged parents who were trying to keep children from falling off the Metro platform.  

So many incredible memories made for our children with their grandparents and cousins, and that's what it's all about.

(For the record, after I got home from the airport, I did not leave the apartment for the rest of the day.  HEAVEN!!) 

NYR 4-18-14

Our last official field trip of the vacation was a White House tour.  We showed up before the appointed meeting time, only to find out there was an active "incident" and they'd blocked off all streets around the White House.  We had no idea if the tour would go on, so we hung around at the White House visitor center shop until my cousin - thankfully - noticed the streets had been re-opened.
Photo of our trooper children

The Wilsons, at least one of whom was done with photos and touring and the White House and walking

The Wests, minus my brother who couldn't make it due to work

The Hill sisters, aka the grandmas on the trip

Mac and me

The Wilsons and Swicords left after the White House tour and the rest of us took ourselves to the movies to see the DisneyNature movie Bears, which is a wonderful movie.  

Total Fitbit Miles Walked:  5.38 miles

NYR 4-17-14

If yesterday was history day, today was FUN day with the National Zoo and the Nationals versus St. Louis Cardinals baseball game with a visit to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing thrown in between so we could see where the moolah is printed.

Favorite photos of the day:

Some of the kiddos at the zoo

My new best friend John (my cousin's son) was camera-shy throughout the trip, so I sneaked this photo of his sweet self looking at the sea lion underwater.

Take me out to the ball game... but preferably when it's not 40 degrees, which made for an uncomfortable and shortened game for our group.  AND the Nats got smoked so we couldn't even celebrate a win.

At least it's a beautiful park...

Ball park selfie with John and Jackson.

Total FitBit mileage:  8.18 miles (HOLY SMOKES!!!!)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

NYR 4-16-14

Today was a high-intensity history day followed by a wonderful trip to the National Botanical Garden.

First stop:  Library of Congress where we had a wonderful docent-led tour.
The reading room. I'm sure I'd be brilliant if I studied here.

Soaking up all sorts of wisdom.

Listening to interesting facts about the reading room.

On the way to the Capitol from the Cannon Office Building.

Almost the whole group. 

Jimmy joined us at the Botanical Garden.  He tried to educate the children, not realizing their attention spans were shot after the Library and Capitol tours.

Total Fitbit miles walked:  7.16 miles

NYR 4-15-14

Today we suffered through monsoon-like rain in DC, which always makes for a fun, happy, large family outing.  Every other tourist in DC apparently thought going to the National Air and Space Museum would be a great rainy day outing, but we conquered the line and enjoyed the museum.

In the afternoon, the big kids went to tour the Washington Nationals' ball park and the little kids went to the National American Indian Museum, which boasts a wonderful "exploratorium" for young kids.  

1 of 3 smiling and looking at the camera is a pretty good success rate.

2 of 3 in the photo is a pretty good success rate.

4 of 4 smiles/grimaces is a great accomplishment.

3 of 4 in the Nationals' press box is a pretty good success rate.

Total Fitbit Miles Walked: 4.16 miles

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

NYR 4-14-14

This morning we went to the American History Museum followed by a boat cruise on the Potomac.  My aunt, uncle, cousin, her husband and their 3 sons arrived this afternoon, after which we enjoyed a nighttime tour of the monuments.  Out total head count at the end of the day was 7 children under age 12 and 8 adults. It's a lot of moving parts and people to keep track of!

Fitbit Miles Walked:  8.69 miles

Favorite photos of the day:

Cousin Love on the boat

So, so, so tired. Just need to close my eyes for a minute.

It requires military precision for all of us to cross the street before the crosswalk sign changes.

So many cousins, so much fun.  FDR was a good sport!

Eleanor got in on the love, too.

NYR 4-13-14

After the Palm Sunday service at our church, we headed out to Arlington National Cemetery.  My 5 year-old nephew Blair and I took a slower pace than the rest of the group.  I don't get to hang out with 5 year-olds very often these days, and I forget how refreshing they are and how their brains operate.  I loved this time with him.

Blair had to take a series of rest stops:

Fitbit Miles Walked:  6.16 Miles

Favorite photos of the day (other than the Blair rest photos which make me giggle over and over):
Always a moving place

Gigi, with 4 of her 5 grandchildren

NYR 4-12-14

Last night, Jimmy's dearest childhood friend and his son arrived for a couple days and today, my mom, sister-in-law, niece and nephews arrived.  We joined the 14 million other people who wanted to enjoy the cherry blossoms at their peak on a perfect spring afternoon.  

Fitbit Miles Walked: 5.76 miles
Favorite photos of the day:
Riding the Metro

Peak blossom perfection