Washington DC - Take Two

As most of you know, Tyler and I headed back to our nation's capitol last weekend since our first trip was mediocre, to say the least. This time everything was great! We were able to see/tour/do a long list of things and we had a lot of fun too. Some of our favorites were the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the State Department (definitely a secret treasure), Mount Vernon, the National Archives, the Washington Monument, the FDR and Pentagon 9/11 Memorials, the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Center (might be better than the original Air & Space Smithsonian on the National Mall), the International Spy Museum, and the DAR Headquarters & Museum (for me, not Tyler). I know it's hard to believe, but these are just the favorites, not everything we did.

Here a few photos of our little excursion for you to enjoy:

The Washington Monument

The National Cathedral

The Enterprise Space Shuttle is HUGE and soooo awesome! It's hard to describe the feeling you have standing next to a space shuttle.

SR-71, aka Jetfire from Transformers!!

Enola Gay- the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima

State Department mirror Christmas tree and flags

Mount Vernon and back porch view of the frozen Potomac

FDR Memorial

Capitol rotunda w/ the Apotheosis of Washington

The Great Hall (Library of Congress)

Arlington National Cemetery


The Nutcracker. . . .


Last nite I got all dressed up and Tyler took me out to a nice dinner and to see the Joffrey Ballet perform The Nutcracker. It was my first time seeing The Nutcracker, ever, and I absolutely loved it! Tyler may have been a little bored, but he gets the 'Best Husband Award' for sitting through it quietly with me :)

Photos courtesy of www.joffrey.org

I think my favorite part was the Waltz of the Flowers because I was sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time waiting to hear that familiar music which, to me, is the sound of The Nutcracker. I also liked the pas de deux with the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker Prince, the Chinese dance and the Russian dance- but I really just loved it all!!

Happy Christmas!



JayBay let me do an impromptu photo shoot with them the evening before I flew back to the polar north (I think the high in Chicago today was 13 degrees). The photos were taken at Sunset Beach.

I wanted to capture what they really look/act like 90% of the time. Success.

Groms.... for sure.

The sand was Jay's idea. She's definitely a water-baby.


My fav- and how they really look 90% of the time :)

I love these two little kiddos, even though they are light years behind the rest of us chillons, and I am so glad I got to spend a week hanging out with them!! Shnigs!!


The Aina

On my last day in Hawaii, Mo and I headed up to The Point to see if we could see any whales passing by, but it was so windy and the water was so rough that we just watched the waves crash onto Rainbow Rock over and over again instead. We saw some pretty awesome spray and I snapped a few good photos, even though I was almost blown away standing on the edge of The Point.

Later in the day I headed up to Pipeline and Sunset with the chillons to see the surf. The break was quite a ways from shore so I didn't get many good photos- just a few pics of some surfers on the beach, who just looked so Hawaii-esque!

Laie Hawaii Temple

My trip to Hawaii over Thanksgiving break got me there just in time for the Laie Hawaii Temple re-dedication. The temple has been closed for nearly 2 years for some badly needed renovations (it was originally built in 1919), but the work is finally done and the temple is, of course, exquisite.

The front entrance is my new favorite part of the temple, though I do love the painting of Waimea Falls in the lobby and the gold trim on the outside is a charming addition.


"Beach. Yep, beach."

Aloha from the aina!! Tyler and I have had a crazy couple of weeks. I spent a couple of days in L.A. switching out some of our summer clothes for winter clothes so we won't freeze to death during our last month's stay in Chicago, and then I headed out to Hawaii. I first went to Maui for the Maui Invitational, finally visiting another island after having lived in Hawaii for over 10 years. I loved Maui and I loved seeing Lanai and Molokai as we flew over them as well. The tournament was a lot of fun too, even though my team didn't win.

Tyler made his way to the islands a few days after me and was able to spend sometime with Andrew, his cousin, who just returned home from his mission in Texas. We met up Thanksgiving morning and spent the holiday weekend with my family eating lots of good food, playing at the beach, picking out a Christmas tree and playing lots of Pirate's Life!!

Unfortunately, Tyler had to fly back to NYC for a week to take his Series 7 test for JP Morgan Saturday nite. I, however, am still enjoying a little Hawaiian vacation.

I have had my camera next to me throughout the last couple of weeks, but didn't take a single picture until I had a few moments to myself at the beach this morning. I promise to get a few more good photos before I leave though.


Thoughts on Photography

I stopped by the Chicago temple last week to snap a few photos on a very rainy, cold day. I’ve never seen a temple quite like this one and I appreciated its uniqueness.

As I was hurriedly snapping photos (mostly because it was freezing) I realized that in my haste to get a good photo for the purpose of remembering the temple in the future, I wasn’t even really seeing the temple. I think since being in London earlier this year I’ve had this realization at least a dozen times- that sometimes the beauty and grandeur of a building, a flower, or a smile is lost in the rush to capture it on film. Luckily, I have had this realization and am getting better at taking a moment to see what I am looking at.

In reality I often get frustrated with the inability of my camera to capture exactly what I do see in real life. For example, the Washington D.C. temple looked a million times better in person than it did in any of my photos. And the grandeur of the Lincoln Memorial is so impossible to capture that I didn’t even share my paltry photos with anyone.

Still, I love photography for what it does capture. In fact, sometimes a photo can make a thing seem more beautiful or powerful than it may have been in real life. I love keeping up with news from all over the world and have found that in many instances a news story doesn’t resonate with me while the corresponding photo really affects me.

For example, I have felt a genuine concern for the people in Haiti who have suffered in the wake of an earthquake, cholera outbreak and now a hurricane, but the photo below affected me more than any news report, so much so that since first seeing it I have pictured it in my mind and thought about this little boy countless times wishing I could do more to help.

(Photo courtesy of The Big Picture)

The same goes for photos I’ve seen of the recent quake, tsunami and volcano eruption in Indonesia, the riots in France, and the rescue of the Chilean minors. In these instances the emotions frozen on film proves the old phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

However, there is still something to be said about just being there in the moment and actually seeing what you’re looking at without the barrier of a camera lens.

(If you like to view the news in photo format as well, I highly recommend The Big Picture or This Week in Pictures)

The Petts @ Purdue

Two of my good friends from BYU, Brent & Aubrey Pett, are currently living in Lafayette, IN while Brent completes his master’s at Purdue. Lafayette is only a short 2 hour drive from us so Tyler and I headed down for the weekend to visit and play with their cute, baby boy, Colton.

Tyler and Brent went out for some famous burgers Saturday nite while Aubrey and I chatted. The boys joined us later and we stayed up till nearly one in the morning (very late for us old, married folk) talking about everything from parenting styles to sports. It is so nice to have good friends that you can just sit and talk with for hours. I loved it!!

Sunday we slept in (we love daylight savings) and then woke up to some yummy chocolate chip pancakes. After church we headed over to Purdue and took a nice walk around campus. Of course, we also smiled and made plenty of funny “goo-goo-ga-ga” sounds at Colton. Unfortunately, I didn’t snap any photos of the adults, but I did get these cute ones of Colton.

Before we headed down to Purdue on Saturday, Tyler and I visited the Shedd Aquarium here in Chicago. I loved the beluga whales and sharks, but my favorites were the tiny little seahorses. I want one!!


Washington DC - Take One

Vietnam Memorial

Tyler and I have been wanting and planning to visit Washington DC for over a year, and we finally found a way to get there (thank you JP Morgan) this past weekend. Unfortunately, our DC trip went nothing like we planned. To start things off Tyler booked the wrong weekend for both our hotel stay and rental car. Luckily we hadn't paid for the car yet and we have accumulated plenty of Marriott points (again, thank you JP Morgan) to not make us freak out too much about wasting a few on an empty hotel room for a weekend.

Then, Friday nite our flight out of Chicago was over-booked and Tyler volunteered our seats. At first I was a little stressed because I had spent quite a bit of time creating an extensive itinerary for the trip, seeing as DC has sooo many things to see and quite a few excellent museums to boot. However, as you will come to see, us giving up our seats was definitely a blessing.

I made the mistake of planning our DC excursion for Halloween weekend, the same weekend on which the John Stewart "Rally to Restore Sanity" was being held- creating anything but sanity in the DC area. Over 200,000 people were swarming the National Mall and DC area for the greater part of the day making traveling, whether in car, on foot, or on Segway, incredibly difficult.

Because we caught a flight out Saturday morning our entire morning was shot and we didn't even make it into DC until around 2pm, due to traffic and parking issues. Fortunately, our Segway tour reservations were for 2pm and we made it in the nick of time. We did love the Segways, however, because of the rallying masses we were only able to see about half the things the tour was supposed to include in the three hours. We did see the White House, WWII Memorial, Lincoln Memorial (impressive), Vietnam and Korean War Memorials, and the Washington Monument. My photos aren't that great because we were a bit rushed and there were a zillion people though :(

After our Segway tour we hightailed it out of DC and headed up to Maryland where we had a nice, calm evening at the DC temple- aka the most gorgeous building I have ever seen in my life. These photos did turn out and are solid proof of the fact :)

Sunday morning we went to church near our hotel, approx. 30 min. from the National Mall. We had scheduled out every hour, and since church is always on time (yeah?!), planned to have enough time to visit the top three museums on our list, and possibly the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. Well naturally, that didn't happen. Instead of taking 30 min. to get to DC it took us 2 1/2 hours due to all the roads around the Pentagon and up to the National Mall being closed off for the annual Marine Corp. marathon in which over 20,000 people were running. Boo, Halloween weekend in DC is the worst!

So we only had time for two of the museums, the American History and Air & Space Smithsonians, but I will admit that they were AWESOME!! Lincoln's top hat, Dorothy's ruby slippers, Kermit, C-3PO, Abigail Adams' (my fav) pearls, inaguration dresses, the Spirit of St. Louis, awesome 60's flight attendant ensembles, other cool airplanes and space crafts only Tyler can name, and moon rocks were a some of the highlights.

So, our DC weekend wasn't a complete bust (let's just call it a trial run), though we are already dying to go back and see the rest. Getting bumped from our first flight was a blessing in the end because we wouldn't have been able to see everything we had planned anyway because of the aforementioned events, and Southwest both reimbursed us for our original flight and compensated us for our kindness, making it possible for us to fly back without spending a dime on airfare. We are now planning a second take in DC in early December hoping for some snow white monuments and a chance to see "A Christmas Carol" at Ford's Theater- cross your fingers :)

P.S. Did I mention that in our rush to make our Segway tour I spilled honey in my lap and didn't realize it until a nice pool had formed between my legs? And, of course, I only brought one pair of jeans and so enjoyed the remainder of the trip walking around in sticky-crotch pants?! Yeah, that happened.