Don't blink! Our trip to Florida was 53 hours long – including flights. Our goal for this trip was to decide (once and for all) if West Coast FL was a viable long-term plan for us or not. The two of us kept going back and forth about the pros and cons; we took FL off the table and put it back on several times without having any weighted deciding factor. By visiting, we would be able to see industry opportunities, look at neighborhoods in our budget range, and see what traffic and locals were really like.
Too much happened over the weekend for just one post! Even if it was simply various forms of vacationing. :) Here's part 2.
The Smith family continued celebrating Christina's graduation by traveling down to Panama City Beach for a weekend of sun, sand, and water. And artisan coffee. And really good Mexican food. Most of us made it down to celebrate with Christina: Conor drove down from Greenville; Sarah, Elena, Bill and Maura flew in from Maryland; and Brian and I flew over from Virginia. We were only missing Samuel, Matthew, and Kristen. I love spending time with family. With siblings growing up and graduating college and moving away, I realize more and more how precious these short days are together. Time doesn't stand still for anyone. And yet we have this unchanging promise: God is good.
In what seems like the blink of an eye, Christina graduated from Samford University. I'm sure to her it did not seem like the blink of an eye. She worked incredibly hard all four years in order to to walk across the stage last Friday and receive her diploma. This summer will be one of further studying – she's going to prepare for the CPA exam, just like Conor is doing right now. Christina, we love you and wish all God's best for you. Your accomplishments makes us proud, but even so, we are blessed to call you ours simply because of who you are.
I took sailing lessons with my hubby! And I didn't fall overboard! Keeping those standards high. :) While this was my first time sailing, Brian was already quite comfortable on sailboats. I'm glad there was an instructional class before we climbed aboard, but even so, I only memorized a little bit of the crazy lingo. I was able to keep track of "Starboard" and "Port" because at the class Brian and our instructor chatted about the origins of the words. Back in the day, the Vikings put the steering oar on the right side of the boat because they were right-handed. That was called "steoboard". Since the steering oar was on the right side of the boat, they would tie up at the wharf on the opposite side. So the "port" side faced the port. Tricky huh?
Sunday dawned with beautiful weather, and Brian and I took full advantage. We met up with Brian's cousin Cathleen and her husband Mike for the annual Annapolis boat show. There were so many beautiful sailboats, and we got to go on board and tour whichever ones we wanted. Brian told me all about the different boats as we walked by them. I know significantly less than him, but at least now I can say I've been on a luxury catamaran! :) I now understand why those are Brian's favorite. They are laid out so perfectly for a weekend getaway to the islands. As Brian, Mike, Cathleen and I sat on a swinging recliner, the sales rep told us we could go in together and rent that catamaran for an evening event or party. How fun! And impractical. ;) But I do like the idea of it. I hope somebody kept her card…
Saturday started bright and early with a 7am workout at the Jefferson Memorial – led by none other than: Revelation Wellness instructor Christina! I stayed at her house the night before to cut down on morning drive time, but she and I were still up at 6am. I think it was especially hard to get up because we were up until midnight watching Despicable Me with friends and then preparing the workout playlist. Worth it? Yes. Anyway, the class was great! We got in our running, kickboxing, stair lunges, push-ups, and squats. Christina talked to us about the elements, and how we can be reminded of God in our daily lives. By the end, I was sweaty, sore, and encouraged in my faith.
This was the event I was most looking forward to while Mom and Dad visited. It was also the most expensive – ha! But definitely worth it. Brian and I took Mom and Dad to the Nats game, and there we met up with Bill, Maura, Samuel, Elena and Sarah. It made me so excited to have them all together again. I think the last time (and really, only time) Brian's parents and my parents saw each other was at our wedding nearly three years ago. So much has happened since then! We did a lot of rearranging seats throughout the game in order to give everyone a chance to chat with each other. Most of the time was spent talking; I'm not even sure if anyone followed the game! Well, other than Samuel, who took some impressive photos (see below). Can I also just say – my husband is such a character! I really love spending days like this with him. He makes everything fun.
Both my parents love walking around botanical gardens. I can understand why – sights, smells, sounds and textures abound in places like the National Conservatory. We made a priority of getting downtown to see it. God's creativity was overwhelmingly evident as we wandered through the living museum of beautiful and exotic plants from around the world. I especially loved exploring the tropics. Did you know – George Washington is the one who had the idea of a national botanic garden in order to teach people the importance of plants.
Brian suggested we take Sasha to Bull Run. We hadn't been there since last summer, and it was good to go back. The four of us walked around the different battlefield sites, re-learning our Civil War history. It seemed appropriate since the Civil War started 156 years prior… almost to the day (April 12, 1861 vs. April 14, 2017). These particular battles at Manassas were fought in the unforgiving heat of July. And actually, the planned skirmishes were so widely known and anticipated that locals even brought their picnic baskets out for some entertainment. Seems an odd choice of entertainment, watching people fight and kill each other. But I digress. :)
Mom and Dad came to DC to visit us over Easter Weekend! Our first stop was the Air and Space Museum. We joined a tour and learned the history behind several planes from the Wright brothers up through WWII, then went off on our own to see all the other cool things. One of the space hangars houses the Space Shuttle Discovery. It was probably my favorite thing in the museum. That, and the stealth jet. ;)
THIS GIRL had a birthday last week! We celebrated in style by walking outside and eating our homemade lunches in the sun. ;) But wait, it gets even better: Christina's birthday was also Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's! We speed-walked over and got in line. Apparently free ice cream is a popular concept! …Though probably not the best business model. It was fun to see the local police officers help out behind the counter and chat with people outside in the street. Made the whole event more festive! It seems like everyone was celebrating Christina's birthday. :)
Source: A Brief History of the Great War / Carlton J.H. Hayes, 1920
This week marked the centennial of one of the most consequential events of the 20th century: the United States of America, under President Woodrow Wilson and with the vote of the U.S. Congress, solemnly entered the Great War.
Different parts of the country produce different naturally-occurring events to signify the passing of time. The Midwest has harvest time. Boston has the changing of the leaves. Florida has the arrival of the manatees. DC has cherry blossoms. We Washingtonians anticipate and marvel in the short window of pink blossoms softening this hard city. We recount our days by referencing these delicate petals. I remember this time last year: Justice Scalia passed away, the unusually warm winter made the cherry trees bloom early, and Brian started a new job.
Hello from Philadelphia! Brian and I needed to drive up to sign the final paperwork for his car, so we decided to make a mini vacation out of it. I'd never been to Philly before, and there's a lot here. Lots of history, which makes sense – this is the birthplace of our country, after all.
Saturday was mid 70s and sunny, the perfect excuse to drive the new convertible up to NJ for a weekend of quality family time. :) There was a good group of us – Tully & Megan with Declan, Mags with Fiona & Joe, Sham & Shan, Brian & me, and Megan's sister's two kids. The young cousins are getting bigger and Brian's grandfather is declining in health, so we wanted to get in some more time with them. The 3.5 hour drive isn't that long when compared to the hike to Louisville or upstate NY. If anything, it was another reminder to Brian and me that we shouldn't wait so long between visits. Family matters to us, and we want them to know that.
The initial reason Brian and I went out wasn't to visit war memorials. Actually, we decided to spend a couple hours walking around the waterfront (where I found the best coffee I've ever tasted). That area is getting built up. The developers have grand plans of a very modern and trendy place to live and work. Soon it will be THE place to be. We wanted to determine if the waterfront was where we could envision ourselves living. It's closer to my job – just a short metro ride away – which is an amazing proposition.
It is definitely a city lifestyle – walking everywhere, expensive "artisan" coffees, and lots of young(ish) people swirling together in a giant melting pot of thoughts, worldviews, and lifestyles. While the waterfront has it's trend appeal, my thought was – this could be a very dynamic place to be a witness for Jesus Christ.
Well well well. Look who's back after three months of crickets around the blog. It's not like much has happened. On the national side, President Trump and VP Pence took office, major demonstrations for and against abortion crowded the streets of DC, the President has ordered a temporary ban on refugees entering the country, and Judge Neil Gorsuch was nominated for Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Scalia. On the personal side, I'm almost 2 months into a new job that I love, Brian and I were thiiiis close to moving but decided against it, we had a break-in where only my keys were stolen, and we purchased a G19. (Three of those things are related; I'll let you guess.)
The morning of NYE (Saturday) we drove down to Harrisonsburg to visit Grandma Bonnie, Mary, Jim, Lisa, Nick and Evan. We spent a few hours at a nearby restaurant catching up with each other. The rest of the group gets together more often since they all live in the same town, but Brian and I hadn't seen these extended family members in several months. It's always a treat. Jim and Lisa (and family) are hopefully visiting Bill and Maura in February, so we will try to make a point to be there, too.
Happy new year! We've arrived at 2017! Here's to a great year ahead. :)