Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Last Seven Days

I don't even know where the past week has gone. If I really think about it, I need to say I don't know where the last seven months have gone. How is time flying so quickly? I guess that is just how it goes, that's how I know I'm getting old!

But this last week has been a crazy, busy - but good, one.

Here is a run down of what we have all been up to this week.

Ryan - I wish I could tell you, only I haven't had a chance to really talk to him or see him this week. He has been involved in a few small political deals recently - he may have played a rather large role in the crafting of the Cut Cap Balance Act on the Senate side - did you hear of it? It turns out it took a lot of his time, only to have it tabled by Harry Reid (insert expletives here). They continue to argue on the debt ceiling so his hours continue to be long. We have seen very little of the guy, and we miss him!

Connor - He has become quite a fish lately. After completing a month of swim lessons he has become quite a good swimmer. He would have been even better, but he spent the majority of his practice time "picking up girls" - as he put it. There was a cute blond who swam just after him, so he spent his time swimming in the lanes just to impress her, only he would stop often to see if she was still watching. Where did that come from? I have since talked to him about age appropriate activities at the pool.

Tate - This boy actually WORKED at swimming! After his lessons, instead of staring at girls and stalking innocent blonds he swam laps. He swam and swam, then swam some more. He only stopped to get a drink and rest his arms. Yesterday he swam 15 laps! He is looking forward to swim team next year, while his brother is probably looking forward to the life guards.  I love that boy and his determination.

I would like to think that both of the boys are somewhat like me. I really liked boys and I was real determined to make them like me. But instead, I think they take after their father, confident and hard working.

Gage - well Gage is up to his same old antics. He keeps me on my toes - I think I've been saying that about him for about 5 years now. Just today I took him out to do errands with me and he gave me an earful. He said, "Mom, did you know that the other kids don't like you very much? I thought you should know, they don't like you as much as I do. Do you think I should ground them from the xBox so only I can play it?"

This was followed up about a half an hour later by this little conversation. I gave him a kiss in the grocery cart, he quickly wiped it off and said, "good thing no one saw that mom or you would be arrested for kissing in public. That's illegal!"

McCall - McCall is busy being spoiled rotten. But during all of her spoiling she managed to be potty trained. I made a deal with her. I told her if she stopped using diapers that she could go to Aunt Megan's wedding and wear a pretty new dress. Apparently that's all that she needed, she will do just about anything to be a big girl. She has not had even one accident since she started, and it's been over a week. There is something about a tiny little bottom wearing little undies that is so stinking cute, add to that a little tan line and I just think she is so darned cute!

Our lives keep spinning madly on, but we are enjoying the ride.

Friday, July 29, 2011

2011 Congressional Baseball Game

We are slowly learning about all the traditions and activities associated with Ryan's new job.
Some of the traditions are just plain old fun!
Like this one -
The Congressional Baseball Game.
Senators and Congressmen play a ball game on the Nationals field.
It's the Democrats vs. Republicans.
 The boys were so excited to be at the baseball game!
They had big plans of catching fly balls and such.
Only those old men can't hit it out of the park :)

 Each politician wears the uniform of their favorite team.
Some were MLB teams, others college teams.
It was fun to see them play.

 We had so much fun with friends, who have become family out here.
We're so grateful for them!


We made it down to Jamestown  and loved it!
We learned so much and had so much fun.
This was the first settlement in America.
The hardships were immense, only 1 in 10 of those who sailed to what later became America lived.
It was the Indians who, in the end, saved the settlers and taught them how to survive.
Amazing people, amazing stories, amazing place.
The next time someone comes to visit us I think we take them here.
 There was an Indian village - brilliant people really.
They made the very best with what they had and lived so much more comfortably than the settlers.
They knew what they were doing!
 Here the kids learned the many uses for a deer.
They helped make a needle out of a bone, helped skin and tan a hide.
They were enthralled with the process.

 McCall was only concerned with getting her picture taken.
She had no clue what was going on.
 Gage loved the Indian huts - with the raised beds filled with furs.
He was pretty sure that Grandpa Gulbranson would LOVE the beds and could probably make his own.

 Connor was excited to find a turtle shell and learn the many uses for it.

 They were all excited to explore the ships - exact replicas of what the settlers sailed over on.
They did NOT look comfortable, roomy or exquisite.
No wonder so many didn't make it.  

 It was fun to try out all the armor.
It was heavier than they thought and not very comfy.
Turned out it wasn't the best costume.

 But then the heavy lifting began.
The boys initially filled the water buckets all the way to the top.
They quickly changed their minds as soon as the yoke was placed on their shoulders.
Much to heavy for their liking.
Even without the additional load, it was still pretty over whelming.

In the mean time, McCall continued to pose and request that her picture be taken.
We had a wonderful time and can't wait to go back - but in the fall when it's cooler!

Spoiled - by brothers!

This little girl is so spoiled by many.
We take her to the office and everyone goes crazy for McCall.
They give her gifts, lip balm, soda, gum, etc.
I go shopping with her and perfect strangers stop to talk to her and tell her she is so cute.
She takes it all in stride and knows she is the best thing to ever happen to this world.
But of all the places she is spoiled - at home she is the most!
And it's NOT by me!
The boys can't get enough of her.
They do anything she wants them to.
They give her anything she asks for.
They fawn over her and smother her with kisses, hugs and treats.
They sneak things for her.
Sympathize with her when she is told no.
They are ruining her - but I love that they are loving and protecting her.
It won't be long before she annoys them and this is all over.

I do worry that she will go to kindergarten and expect that all the kids - especially the boys - are supposed to love her and give in to all her wishes.
She's in for a big surprise, but not for a few years.

DC with Uncle Blake

While Ryan wasted his time in his office, doing who knows what, Blake, the kids and I toured a little DC.
We started with Ryan's office, but that got boring, quickly!
 So we headed to the Capitol. Which was much more interesting.
 We found Brigham Young. He was excited to see us BYU alumni.
At least that's what I think he wanted to say.
 McCall didn't like that Blake was getting in all the pictures and she wasn't.
She sat here and told me to take her picture.
 Then we picked up Ryan and headed to see some monuments.
Gage of course dominated Blake's time and attention.
He does that.

 Ryan got off the phone long enough for us to snap this shot.
But then he was back on soon enough. He was working on something - turns out.
Maybe you heard of it? More on that later.

Monday, July 18, 2011

"Old" Friends

I love people. I always have and I'm sure I always will. I love friends, new and old and everything in between. People bring so much enrichment and emotion and pleasure into our lives. I have been pleasantly surprised at how many visitors we have had while living out here in the DC area. Many are on their way to work related conferences or seminars. Others are coming to visit the area and see all the many wonders of DC, while others actually came just to see us - or at least that is what I like to believe. Regardless, we have been greatly blessed by many friends and family who have made their way eastward over the last 7 months.
The most recent to visit us was Blake. We LOVE Blake - he is Uncle Blake around these parts and the kids absolutely adore him. He wrestles with the boys, snuggles with McCall, teases and jokes and tortures - just as an uncle should.  We were so glad to have Blake here for a few days and we had several fun adventures with him.
It also turns out that our good friend Matt, and Kristen and family, live out this way now to. Just two hours south in Richmond. They arrived here 5 months before we did, so they are the resident experts! They have tenure here. So we all ventured down to the Richmond area to see what it had to offer and we were not disappointed. It was BEAUTIFUL. We can't wait to go back!

 Hard to believe that 17 years, ummm, let's just stop there!
It's hard to believe that we all met 17 years ago! Is that possible?
Holy crap, I feel old now.
Well, I'm sure we all still look 18 ....

But look what has happened in 17 years ...
All these fun kids (lined up according to age).
Hannah, Connor, Katherine, Tate, Gage, Elizabeth, Olivia, McCall and Jonathan
We had a great time!
Thanks for having us!


McCall and I both got makeovers this weekend.
Mine involved feet eating fish and was not entirely pleasant,
But it was unusual and strange. Not necessarily a good idea for a girl who hates to have her feet touched or tickled in any way. And they were not minnows - I'm sure a relative to piranhas. But I survived to live another day. However, I cannot yet post pictures - too traumatizing!
McCall just got to sit in my lap on Sunday evening to get her hair put in curlers and her nails painted.
She enjoyed every second of it.
And in the end declared herself beautiful.

I have to admit, I love this part of having a little girl. I think I have become more girly myself because of her. I wonder how long this will last though?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Family Photos in DC

Our friend Scott was in DC for several weddings last month.
Between living in his car and shooting weddings he crashed at our place whenever it was convenient.
We met up with him in the city one night to do some family shoots at the Capitol.
The kids were in dandy moods - McCall was whining (big surprise).
Gage was not about to sit still for anything.
The older boys were "bored"!
I was roasting - it's hot here!
But it all turned out great.
I'm so pleased with how they turned out.
Scott is amazing!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fourth of July - in our Nation's Capitol!

The 4th of July in DC is absolutely FABULOUS!
We spent the afternoon on the lawn of the Capitol visiting with friends and eating delicious picnic food.
The crowds of people were amazing - we were told that there were "hundreds of thousands" of people there.

 McCall loved the day.
She had her daddy to give her attention.
She had her friends to giver her attention.
She had the office staff to giver her attention.
And she had the film crew to give her attention.
It was heaven for her.

 Gage was in heaven with an iPod and office interns to swing him around.
Not to mention all the candy.
 McCall enjoyed passing out cookies to everyone.
 I had fun laughing with people and at people.
A great past time of mine.

 Stacy and Paul and family came with us.
We had so much fun - and her fabulous s'more brownies.

 Can you believe that this bunch made it on camera?
PBS was filming the entire production and we made the cut :)
We were on the program at least 3 times that we saw.
The kids think they are pretty famous now.
But the most exciting part was getting the texts and phone calls for the next
several hours from friends and family who saw us on tv.
Made it feel like we were not so far away!

 Gage wanted to be a GI Joe man, this is what he came up with.
Only, we never took any of these props with us.
So I'm not sure where he got them or how.
But it entertained him for a good hour!
 Ryan was looking so cool in these patriotic sunglasses.
I'm pretty sure he is going to bring back the look.
 This fella was there to play his banjo.
And I was this close to him - it was a little exciting.
 The views were stunning.

Overall, WONDERFUL day.
We would recommend everyone do a fourth of July in DC.
And remember to invite us!