Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Exploring this Town

During our first month of being in Maryland, Chase made sure we went and visited some of the landmarks that I missed seeing the one other time I had been to DC.  One Saturday we visited a lot of memorials including:
The Lincoln Monument
The Washington Monument
The Korean War Memorial
I appreciated this reminder at the Korean War Memorial.  Being a part of the military and meeting families who are risking their lives for our country makes me respect and appreciate the cost of the freedom we enjoy everyday.
The WWII Memorial
"Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid.  They have earned our undying gratitude.  America will never forget their sacrifices."  I was really moved by this quote and the stars next to it represent those lost in this war since my Grandfather Smith's best friend, who my dad is named after, was killed in WWII.
Arlington Cemetery
We witnessed the changing of the guards at the tomb of the unknown soldier.  Chase has such a respect for these guards and the precision in which they march and such after having gone through officer training.  After events like the hurricane yesterday, I have such a respect for these men who take very seriously their assignment.  If you don't know, even in hurricanes, these soldiers remain at the tomb guarding it.  I don't know about yesterday, but during the last hurricane a few years ago, they asked to be handcuffed or chained to their post so they could remain at their post and not be blown away.
"Let the word go forth from this time and place to friend and foe alike that the torch has been passed to a new generations of Americans."  I love this quote and seeing my daughter next to it at JFK's grave.
We also saw the Vietnam memorial, but it was super crowded so no pictures were taken.
During the week we finally ventured on the metro from our place in order to meet up with Chase's aunt and uncle who were in town.  
Chase's uncle took us to the top of his office building that night after dinner where we had the chance to see the capital building and some of the monuments lit up.  It was beautiful.
One Sunday we went to see the LDS Washington DC temple.  Just this past Saturday I was able to go inside and do a session, and I have to say this temple is now my favorite.  It was so nice to walk around the grounds that day, especially since Mila knows the word "temple."  
Love how this picture caught her in mid-run.  She was excited.
She was also very interested in the angel, Moroni, on top.

We took some time to go to the Visitors' Center there at the grounds.  The sister missionary we visited with was so sweet with Mila and invited her to touch the nail prints in the Christus statue.  It was a very sweet experience for me to watch.
We know there is so much more to see...and slowly we are exploring more and more of this amazing city.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Move

On the Tuesday after Labor Day we started our journey to DC.  As you can see in this picture, I had our Rogue packed to the brim.  Poor Mila was boxed in.  All of our stuff weighed over 600 lbs.  Why do I know this?  Because I had to weigh our car completely empty, and then again once I had loaded everything in order for the Air Force to pay me for a partial move.  Anyway, as you can also tell from this picture, my mom and I woke Mila up bright and early at 5AM and started driving.  Doing this allowed me to drive until the first time I had to fill up with gas, which was so nice.
To pass the time in the car, I bought a few new "toys" for Mila.  She was especially fond of her new "Elmo" coloring book.
She also spent time playing with her keyboard.  Thanks Aunt Dayna and Uncle Nate!  Mila did really well despite having to sit in the car with really only one or two stops where we let her get out and run around.
We drove our first day to Nashville, TN.  I have a brother living there who just recently built a house so it was fun to see his family and their new home.  Mila enjoyed soaking up time with cousins and time with Grandma.  She really has been spoiled by having grandparents around for the last 8 months.
Mila and Aliya bonding--I'm so glad that Mila will have at least one female cousin close to her in age.
After spending two days in Nashville we kept driving.  The second day was a longer drive (first day was 8, second day was 11), but man, it was a pretty drive.  I am a fan of Tennessee and western Virginia.  We arrived in DC about 6PM, got things squared away with our hotel, unpacked our car, and showered just in time to go pick up Chase at the airport at 8:30PM.  Mila and I surprised him by walking up behind him at the baggage claim.  It was one happy reunion.  Mila warmed up a lot faster this go around.

The next day I drove my mom to the airport.  Mila cried apparently the whole time we were gone--saying goodbye to Grandma was hard, plus she was worried that her one constant, me, left her.  That first week we stayed in family temporary lodging.  It was really nice, but we were anxious to move into a place of our own.  Finally, after 9 months we have our own place again!
Isn't it cute?  We LOVE being here on base and the street that we live on.  The wives on my street are seriously the coolest.  I mean, they get together once a week for brunch--eating and socializing, what more could you want?!  And Mila even already has a friend who lives on the end of the cul de sac with us.  The Lord truly had His hand in guiding us to this place--such an answer to prayers.  We got a lot done with the house the first week, but now our progressed has slowed.  I have been meaning to do a video tour of the place for family to see but have been waiting for it to be "done."  I'm realizing though that it will probably never be "done."  So stay tuned for an upcoming video tour.

Another reason for us being happy with living on base is because of the hours Chase has been putting in at work.  He goes in to work at 7:30AM MWF (7AM workout on Tu/Th and then reports at 8:30AM) and doesn't come home until 6PM usually at the earliest.  So thank heavens he doesn't have to deal with commuting too.  Mila would never see him if that were the case.  We've been told that this base is unusually busy and that any assignment after this will seem like a breeze, so we are trying not to complain about his long days.  He's loving the work so that's what really counts.  Plus, he is currently in his first court trial!  Crazy, huh?  After one month he will already have one case under his belt.  Plus, he is so, so stoked because he has been put on a case that will potentially require him to fly to Ukraine to interview witnesses since the crime took place in Kiev.  Again, the Lord truly had His hand in our placement.  Chase is excited.  Here's a picture of his "home."  This is the Jones building where he works.  It's really nice.  Chase is loving having an office, although we still need to get his diplomas/licenses framed.
To finish this very long post off, why not a picture of this handsome man?  It's such an honor to be a part of the military, specifically the Air Force.  I love the daily reminders we have here on base of how fortunate we are to live in this country.  The end.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

San Antonio

When my plans for moving to DC early got delayed due to our house not being ready, I decided to jump in the car and visit our cousins the Wilcoxs down in San Antonio.  It was a 5 hour drive, which allowed me to test out a few things before making the 20+ hour drive to DC.  I determined that waking up at 5AM to start driving is so worth it because I could drive the whole 5 hours without having to stop since Mila would go in and out of sleeping.  While we were in San Antonio we were able to hit up Sea World twice!  (Thanks Aunt Debi for the pass!)

The Seasame Street area was the only water attraction open since we went during the school year.  It was a hit with the girls though!
 Mila loves busting a move to "C is for Cookie" so we had to get a picture with Cookie Monster.  Unlike Paisley, Mila was captivated by the large Sesame Street characters.
Mila constantly wanted to ride the "horses".  Good thing I like Merry-Go-Rounds too.

Mila actually wanted to try out other kiddie rides too.  This particular one is kind of like the rocking ships you see at carnivals that goes higher and higher, except it also started spinning.  Mila requested to ride this one twice, even though both times when it would reach its peak she would start shaking and let out nervous little cries.  Why she wanted to ride it again is beyond my comprehension.

Doesn't Mila look so grown up in this one?!  I think it's the fact that she's holding on to the rail.
A highlight for me (and Mila I think) was feeding the dolphins.  I LOVE dolphins.  Mila was able to throw a fish in herself.
Good thing I was with Russell and Trish because they made time for us to ride some adult rides too.  I don't know the last time I have gone on a roller coaster.  It was awesome.  I will say, the Steel Eel really did take my breath away, Trish.
The girls patiently waiting for us to finish our ride.
I have to say my favorite show had to be Azul.  It was full of dolphins, birds, whales, and divers.  There was something constantly going on which was right up Mila's alley.  I LOVED watching how excited Mila got seeing everything.  She was on the edge of my lap the whole time.  I love moments like these.
Russell is quite the photographer, so he got some nice shots of the girls.  We are hoping they come out here to Virginia for school!!  We know Paisley and Mila would be instant buddies like Russell and Chase were growing up.
While I was there I had to introduce them to Rudy's BBQ and Blue Bell ice cream.  I had been craving Rudy's all summer since the closest one to Dallas is all the way in Waco.  As you can see in this picture, Russell got a little carried away in trying all the many flavors Blue Bell has to offer.  So good!
The trip was a nice distraction since I was missing seeing Chase who was in DC at the time for training.    Next post, DC!!!