Thursday, November 29, 2012

O Captain! My Captain!

Even though I am wanting to take a nap right now while Mila is napping, I felt I should take a moment and let my husband know how proud I am of him.  I also wanted to document this event since it was a pretty big deal.  

Being new to the Air Force, we are trying to learn the ins and outs as quickly as possible, but often times I feel we learn things a bit too late.  Luckily, it's not all in vain, since we are able to pass along advice to a few of our friends who are a few months behind Chase in the JAG program.  Before today, I didn't realize how big a deal Chase's promotion from 1st Lieutenant to Captain was.  Chase isn't one to want to be doted on or have a spotlight placed upon him, and so he often down plays things.  However, after attending the ceremony today, I realize this is a big deal.  I am so glad I was able to be at this ceremony and hear his SJA talk highly of all Chase's accomplishments in the 3 short months we've been here.  It was also fun to pin on his ranking.  I felt like my mom when she'd pin stuff on my brothers in Boy Scouts, ha ha.  I only regret not making our family more aware of this event.  I think it would have meant a lot to Chase.  Although, with all the empty chairs beside me that are reserved for family, Mila was able to sit in her own chair, which was pretty adorable to watch.  She also knew to put her hand on her heart for the National Anthem...melts my heart every time.  
Hopefully there will be other promotions--at this point we're planning on sticking with the military for awhile.  However, the next promotion won't be for another 5 years probably.  Thank goodness because throwing the traditional promotion party can be stressful.  I'm definitely glad that's over with.  We provided a luncheon complete with Texas BBQ from a local BBQ joint  and a large sheet cake (thank you Costco). 
Some of his coworkers were encouraging us to cut the cake together like it was our wedding day or something...awkward.  We just had Chase cut it. 
 Mila was pretty stoked about having cake.
After devouring some cake Mila had some sugar to burn off.  Luckily we were having the luncheon in the trial room so she had some fun places to explore.  Can't you picture it?  Judge Gunnell?
Congratulations Chase!  We sure are proud of you!  Keep up the hard work.

Monday, November 5, 2012

All Things Halloween

To fulfill my need to take advantage of what every holiday has to offer, I organized for a group of some of our new friends that we've met at church to go to a nearby farm called Montpelier Farm with attractions for little kids, a corn maze, and hayrides.  The Lord sure knows me and knows I needed friends.  I think that's why He first placed us on the street that we live on, which apparently is known for its socialness--I sure love the women on this street.  And, He had us meet some amazing people on our first Sunday here when we were invited to a BBQ for dinner.  We really are enjoying getting to know these peeps.
Here we are in the corn maze.
"Hey guys, this way!"
"Follow me!!"
There was a small hay maze for kiddos, but none of the kids were actually walking through it.  So Mila followed suit and began climbing on the stacks of hay.
We finished the night at the farm by taking a hayride.  Why is it that Mila always looks like a deer in headlights?!
Loved having Jackie there that night!
We finished the night with yummy food at our house and some intense rounds of Catchphrase and Oh Heck/Mormon Bridge.
The weekend before Halloween our church had a Trunk or Treat/dinner at our church building.  It was a fun night.  Here's Mila with her buddy Tyson.  This area of the gym was probably Mila's favorite.  She kept wanting to stand in front of this backdrop.  
We decided on Mila being a butterfly this year for a few reasons (I try to make our costumes meaningful and not just random.  See our whole family's costume from last year here).  One, Mila loves bugs, and right now her favorite book is The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  She also has a butterfly mobile above her bed that she says "Good Morning" to every morning.  And two, the wings are a great investment for her dress ups collection I am starting.  I was actually very surprised that first night she wore her costume that she didn't pull at her wings, but gladly kept them on all night.   

And here's some shots from actual Halloween.  Had to get pictures of Mila in her Halloween shirt.  Although not shown she also sported candy corn striped socks sent to her from Grandma.
Luckily she is picking up on saying "cheese" for pictures from her friend Sarah which is helping her from looking like a deer as previously seen in this post.
Before trick or treating began we had our traditional Halloween dinner--dinner in a pumpkin and homemade rolls.  Although Mila would only eat the rolls, it all seriously hit the spot for me!
We then went outside to see everyone trick or treating.  Here's Sarah seeing Mila for the first time in their costumes.  Melts my heart!
Sarah was the cutest little ghost.  Chase and I couldn't get over how cute it was to see her skirt swish as she'd walk around.  Our neighbors had a sweet display outside of their house for the trick or treaters.  
And she's off.  
We didn't really go door to door trick or treating.  Chase was out with the missionaries that night and so I felt bad not being home to pass out candy.  So, we just stopped by various neighbors' houses.  Then Mila and I camped out outside of some of our neighbors' houses in their driveways in order to pass out our candy since they had a bonfire set up.  By the end I think we had 5 or 6 different households in the driveways handing out candy to the kids.  It was awesome.  We were just trying to help the kids be more efficient in their trick or treating so they could hit up more houses :)

Mila definitely didn't get the concept this Halloween, and frankly by the end she was ticked that I wasn't giving her all of the candy we had for the trick or treaters.  Hopefully next year she'll understand it all better.  Evidence right here.  Here I am giving candy to the girls and Mila's just taking it for herself.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Charlottesville, VA

Last week Chase had a week long training at the Army's JAG school at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.  Mila and I decided to tag along for the week.  
The drive down was gorgeous!  I am loving the east coast in the fall.  The leaves actually change colors for longer than a weekend :)  The hotel room was pretty small, but we could fit the pack n play in the bathroom so it worked out just fine.  Mila enjoyed being able to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse every morning.  I enjoyed the fact that she slept until like 9:30AM every morning, probably because it was pitch black in the bathroom.
Every day we had lunch with Chase and then he'd finish up his instruction around 5PM so we had a chance to explore at night.  We really enjoyed the University's campus and the city of Charlottesville.  I enjoyed a week of not cooking and eating out using Chase's per diem (so did Mila).
To pass the time during the day Mila and I went to a park where we saw a hot air balloon pass right over us.  This solidified my desire to want to ride in a hot air balloon.
We went to a local bounce and play place.  Mila could have spent all day here I think.  I have to find one of these here in Maryland.  The toddler area was her favorite, but she did go down the inflatable slides in the bigger kid area.
The had an area where the kids could just paint to their heart's content on glass.  This is right up Mila's alley.

The highlight of the week for me though was visiting an apple orchard.  Those who know me know that I love doing festive things.  I love taking advantage of the different seasons and holidays and what they have to offer.  So I have been dying to go to an orchard this fall.  Mila and I went down into the orchard where the pink ladys were and picked a few.  Then we purchased apple donuts, apple butter, and apple cider.  I was in heaven!
I had to keep a close eye on Mila because she kept picking up rotten apples off the ground and taking a bite.  Gross!
Look at this gorgeous view from the orchard!
I hope to go back to Charlottesville.  It was fun to be in a college town again.  I really don't mind college towns and all the things they have to offer.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Reuniting with Friends

Since moving here we have had the chance to reconnect with old friends we made in Provo who either are now living here or have come to visit.  One day Mila and I met up at the zoo with my old friend from back at the Grandview Village condos, Holly Petty and her adorable daughter.  They had moved out here for med school right before she was born so I was so excited to finally meet her.  Sadly, we didn't get to meet the baby panda since it had passed days before.  Did you know that captive born pandas hardly ever survive?  Sad huh?
One of the first people we had over after we moved in was Miss Jackie Skinner.  The moment we found out we were moving to DC I instantly thought, "YAY!  JACKIE!"  We met 10 years ago in the dorms at BYU and have been buds ever since.  I love living close and having our monthly girls' night.  Here we were celebrating her birthday with some yummy desserts.
Most recently we had the chance to play with the Hardys.  Di had some business in DC and Rod ran the Baltimore half marathon, so they both were out here for a few days.  Mila and I first met up with Di at the National Museum of Natural History.  I can't wait to go back to this museum.  It was perfect for Mila because it had tons of animals, but since they were all dead, they didn't move and were close up for Mila to see.  It was awesome.  Next time we go though we are definitely taking the metro since I ended up getting a $100 parking ticket (don't get me started on that whole drama).
Then, Rod, Di, Mila and I all went to the National Museum of the American Indian (sadly Chase was working during these Smithsonian trips, however, Chase did get to spend time with the Hardys when we drove to Baltimore for a tour of downtown and a yummy dinner).  Here Rod's letting Mila look out the window. 
They had a fun area for kiddos to experience life as a native American.  Mila enjoyed the canoe.

We cannot wait for more people to come and visit.  Come on, you know you want to!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Visit from the Checketts

The weekend of General Conference, Chase's sister and family came down from Connecticut to visit us.  It just so happened that Andrews was holding their static air show that weekend as well.  So, Saturday morning we went to the historic hanger where the outgoing president always gives his "final" speech before flying one last time on Air Force One home after his presidency term is over.  We didn't get to tour Air Force One, but we did get to go inside Air Force Two.
Here's Will peeking out of the cockpit.  
 Gabe manning the controls.
We had the amazing opportunity to meet the very first Air Force One pilot, Eisenhower's pilot. 
 Here are the helicopters that most of our friends here fly.  Mila loves helicopters.
We also spent the weekend enjoying each other's company.  Gabe enjoyed going into Mila's room every morning when she woke up and reading her stories in her crib.
 We also made sure to carry on the Stratford tradition of Eggs Benedict during Conference.
Gabe was cracking us up walking around strapped to Mila's Bebe Pod.  He reminded me of a bumblebee.  It was quite ingenious though since he had a seat to sit on everywhere he went.
Dayna taught us a new way to entertain kiddos.  We made swings out of blankets in the living room.  Mila to this day will grab a blanket and ask to "swing."
 Thanks for visiting Checketts!  Can't wait for Thanksgiving!