Monday, August 29, 2011

DC Recap

Full disclosure: I almost never read blog posts that have "recap" in the title, especially when the subject matter is an event that happened a while ago. And that's exactly what this blog post will be. So if you don't want to read it, I completely understand. I usually don't believe in catching up, in a journal or a blog, but DC was so special that I have to record some thoughts about our time there.

Also: overenthusiastic blog post alert. You've been warned.

Okay. Here we go.

I've heard stories, and I bet you have too, of Provo moms who tag along with their husbands to an East Coast city and complain the whole time. No family. No friends. No Cafe Rio.

I don't fault these women for feeling this way (except the Cafe Rio part), but I didn't want to be one of them. I knew this would be my only time in DC with no obligations except taking care of one easy-going two year old, so I made a goal to have one outing a day in DC. I made a list on the sidebar of this blog of the places I wanted to visit and if I ever wondered what to do for a day, I just checked it out and we went somewhere on the list. Well, we didn't do something touristy every day. Some days, the outing was Costco or something equally pedestrian. But we did some awesome things.

And I hardly took any pictures. Goodness, I'm lame.

Anyway, we hit all the big museums. Summer's favorite, by far, was the Museum of American History. The "Invention at Play" exhibit was there and my little girl and I got to play with fans, balls, magnets, laser-type thingies that change depending on the pitch in your voice, etc. The museum also has a rad exhibit featuring transportation throughout the ages. We saw cool, old, trains! And metros! And cars! It's amazing to me that places equally as enchanting to a 28-year old and a 2-year old actually exist. We had a blast.

My favorite museum was the National Gallery of Art. Not because I'm an art buff - I wish I was. What was so special about this place was the building itself. Walking through the museum, I felt like I was transported into another place, a place far more beautiful (and blissfully air conditioned) than anywhere I'd visited in a long time.

See? Doesn't it remind you of a palace? So pretty. I could spend all day there.

We went to the zoo four times. I almost died of the heat every single time. I don't know how those people wearing jeans survive. Still, it was worth it to see a baby panda slumped over sleeping on a rock.

We also managed to squeeze in a couple of weekend excursions outside the city. The first was the cardboard boat races in Oxford, Maryland, on the Chesapeake. They do it once a year, and when I found out it was during our time there and Nathaniel was free, there was no question about whether or not we would make the trip. Everyone in a beautiful, sleepy town on the Chesapeake comes out to shore and joins the visitors to watch, well, a bunch of cardboard boats do races. The best part was watching the unfortunate souls whose boats capsized swim along, dragging their boats. Maybe there was some sort of rule about not giving up, EVER. If so, I'm glad, because it was hilarious.

We also visited Nathaniel's (famous) friend in New York City. We ate some really big pizza, and some really big chocolate chip cookies. And we rode the subway a lot, and walked a lot, and our legs just about fell off. Central Park was great. I like that method of entertainment because you pay IF you're entertained. And if you have some cash in your purse.

If anyone reading this blog post happens to have options of a number of cities, and DC is one of them, I highly recommend DC. Yes, housing and food are expensive in DC. But entertainment? Free. Only once this summer was I subjected to a playground, and never did I pay to enter a museum or a zoo or any other amazing attraction. The suggested donation for a morning at the Met in NYC? Twenty bucks. DC is the right choice, so choose the right choice and be happy, you must always choose the right.

I have one major regret about my time there. Despite my love for sugar, I'm sort of obsessed with nutrition and I'm fascinated with the ways the government influences what we eat. At the Archives, there is a temporary exhibit about the, well, propaganda the government has used to influence American's diets. How did I not go to that?  I missed the poster that explains that one of the major food groups is butter and fortified margarine. And the one encouraging Americans to eat carp. Tragedy.

Our summer in DC was really a special time for me. I'm not sure exactly why, but it was.

Late one morning, I was walking on F street, I think, looking for some food. I was waiting for the light to turn green when a man in a suit with a kind face looked at Summer and laughed. I looked at her and discovered that she was out cold. "Tired her out, huh? Too many museums, probably."

The guy seemed so nice it didn't bother me that I apparently had "tourist" written on my forehead. But I was bummed that Summer was asleep, and that the most reasonable thing to do was go home. I turned around and headed back toward the mall where I was parked.

As I walked, I realized that I didn't have to do the most reasonable thing. Sure, there was no chance that she would take a good nap in her stroller, and because of that would likely be grouchy the rest of the day. But I was in my favorite place in the whole world with a sleeping toddler. I could do anything. I could go ahead and get some food - something that I couldn't get anywhere else. I could return to the art gallery and actually sit and enjoy the indoor gardens. I could see the food exhibit at the Archives. The possibilities, while not endless, were many, and tantalizing.

As I walked, I looked down at my comfortable gray dress and metallic flats. The humidity was making a mess of my hair, despite my attempts to tame it with a braid. Tourists streamed out of buses and passed me on either side, speaking a variety of languages I didn't recognize. Rain started to trickle down, and I watched a few drops fall on Summer's hair.

Sometimes I reflect on the summer before I got married with aching nostalgia - I want to go back to the dance parties, the days spent by the pool, the belly dancing, the tingling excitement of new love. But that day, as I walked down Constitution Avenue, pushing Summer's cheap blue umbrella stroller, I felt like I had hit another high - a new standard - a time I would want to return to again and again and again. This was the good life.

The rain woke Summer up and I didn't get to do anything of those things I still dream of. But when people ask how our summer was, I have to reign in my excitement and say, "It was awesome. I can't wait to go back. Only two more years." Let the countdown begin.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Because I Don't Want to Go to Bed

Maybe it's because I spent most of the day barefoot and in the kitchen, and it still doesn't look particularly clean. Maybe it's because my best law school friends are scattered throughout the country and none lives near me. Maybe it's because I have finally realized that Nathaniel's legal skills are currently far superior to mine and fundamental principles of specialization dictate that I should give up trying to practice. Maybe it's because Pita Pit is making way smaller pitas than they used to. Maybe it's because Provo is just really weird. Whatever the reason, I'm felling pretty blah. 

So there's only one thing to do. Make a list of all the things in my life that are super awesome. 

1. Summer is alive. This is my proudest achievement to date. She had a check-up today and she is doing great. She's in the twentieth percentile for weight (25 lbs) and the tenth percentile for height (33 inches). The doctor was very impressed with her verbal skills and told me to keep doing what I'm doing, which actually involves quite a bit of sweets and at least an hour a day of Curious George. Hey, doctor's orders...

2. Nathaniel was home early today, which is always wonderful. Nathaniel, for those who are unaware, is the most perfectest husband for me. 

3. I got a Bosch. My house smells like bread and I have several loaves waiting for my little fam when they wake up. I'm sure Summer is going to be so delighted with the mini loaves. If anyone wants some bread, just ask! I make no guarantees as to quality, but I promise I'll have a great time making it. 

4. In my (functioning!) freezer I have two "ice cream" sandwiches made from coconut milk. Heaven.

5. I know cool people in my ward here. I was nervous to come back, but it was so nice to see many familiar faces at church last Sunday. 

6. Summer and I went to BYU today to drop off Nathaniel's helmet and mail off a package, and Summer decided to wander into the arcade. So we played a few rounds of ski-ball. You guys, you totally want this girl on your team when you play. She has mastered the art of climbing up the ramp and under the steel net to put the ball in the highest hole. 

7. My mother in law, besides being awesome in general, is an amazing gardener and is also very generous. Today I ate tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, carrots, thyme, and green beans from her garden. 

Okay, so do I feel better? A little. But going to sleep would probably make me feel best. Why didn't I think of that earlier? Okay, I'm off. 


Friday, August 19, 2011

I'm Alive!

You guys, we don't have internet at home. I'm typing this at the law library at BYU. I'm sure that when the powers that control the purse strings decided they needed computers that the public could access, they totally had little bloggers like me in mind. So here we are. Wanna know what our little family has been up to lately? Good.

  • Summer is just being adorable. And totally obnoxious, cause she's two, you know? But we are seriously best friends and we make each other laugh and I can't get enough of her. Most of the time. Her new favorite phrases are "I'm too special" (she does not know what this means), "I love it," and "We need to have another baby." Her concept of us having another baby sort of involves finding one and returning it to its mommy, a la Dora and the baby blue bird.
  • Nathaniel is doing all this boring law review training stuff. He really loved being a summer associate, so the adjustment back to law school is going to be rough for him.
  • Speaking of rough adjustments, I'm pretty bummed to be back in Provo. Sorry to be a downer, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't having Smithsonian withdrawals. But hey, we'll be back in just two years!
  • We'll be back in two years instead of one because Nathaniel got a clerkship for a judge in SLC. So we'll be in Provo for a year, then Salt Lake/Farmington for a year, then to DC for, well, ever, hopefully.
  • I've been a vegan for a week and it's going really well. I feel awesome and all happy and whatnot. If you want to talk to me about it you should totally call me because, yeah, no internet.
  • Oh, and my phone isn't working right now because we are moving back into a new (and waaaaay better!) apartment and our crap is all over everywhere and we do not know the location of my phone battery. But I'll find it, and then we'll chat when you call me because I have no more phone numbers because I have a new (worse) phone, too.
  • I've been contemplating making crab apple jam and plum jam from all the fruit trees that surround our apartment complex. The only thing is jars. I have to buy jars. That seems so wrong.
  • I think I have somehow turned into an introvert and I'm really nervous to go back to church in our old ward. I used to be the relief society president - are people going to expect me to, like, talk to people? The thought makes me anxious. I guess this is how my dad feels all the time. I really wish we were going to a new ward were I could just slip into obscurity. 
And that's it! Oh, and I had a birthday that involved driving through Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia (ugh), Pennsylvania, West Virginia again (?!?), Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. I experienced, for the first time, a desire to be in Indiana. I was driving late at night attempting to reach our final destination before 2:30 AM (we failed), when I realized that I had no idea where I was and I hoped Indiana was it. Alas, we were still in Ohio. I don't think we're going to do that again.