Monday, August 31, 2009

Googly eyes

Today I made the 45-minutes trek out to Honey Grove, to hang out with my friends Renee and Jenny. It was so great to just chill, chat, and chang out (haha, hang out). I miss this girl time, so we're going to make it a recurring event. All three of us love photography, so we played around with our cameras a bit. Somehow I became the subject of Renee photography, so that'll be great to have some good pictures of myself. (she's still editing them, as we speak).

She's awesome. Jenny also gave me an upgraded version of photoshop, so I had fun playing around with a photo of Renee. I promised not to post it though, so I'll have to do photoshop some other ones to post. This new version has so many features that my old (at least 9 year old) photoshop program didn't have. Like the googly eye feature! Haha. poor cat

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Social interactions

It's been so long since I have been to church in our own ward, that I felt a little like a stranger there. There were some new faces, and even the "old" faces seemed somewhat foreign to me. It's my calling right now to conduct the music in sacrament meeting. That gives me the chance to scope out who's all there (and who's not). Many times I'm not able to see, or chat with a lot of people, because everyone just runs off to class (which is good), and are anxious to head back home afterwards. In Holland people often stay for at least 30-45 minutes after church is over. Back in Boise, I spent a lot of time with people from church during playgroups, activities, and just hanging out. Not so much in this ward. Of course distance has a lot to do with it too. For example, I would do a lot more with my friend Renee, if she didn't live 45 minutes away. Since we are kind of on one side of the ward boundaries, I miss out on a lot of social gatherings happening in Bonham and Honey Grove. It's okay though, at least I have plenty of time at home for cleaning, reading, exercising, and internetting (is that a word?) So I'm excited about tomorrow's plan to get together with Renee and Jenny Parten, for a little photography session. Both of them also enjoy photography, so we can share tips and tricks with each other.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Shiny windows

So far, so good. The past 3 days have been hard, but successful. I've stuck to my workout, and eating schedule. And I stuck mostly to my reading and cleaning schedule. My house sure looks a lot better than it did when I got home on Sunday (no offense, Joe). I have made it a point to include deep cleaning such as blinds, windows, and dusting (yeah, that's deep cleaning for me), whenever I clean a room. So far I've been able to tackle about 1 room per day. I still have a hard time with the crucial moments, especially putting on exercise clothes in the morning. But once I have them on, I will exercise. I usually start grumpily, looking at the clock every 2 mintues, but usually I get into it pretty well.

Today I had been kind of unproductive/lazy, and I was feeling bored/cabin fever after dinner. So I asked Joe what would be a good 2-hour project we could do. We have so many projects around here, it's not even funny. All the home-improvement stuff takes longer than 2 hours, so he settled on trimming the bushes. Our house has boxwood bushes all the way around the house. Not my favorite kind of shrub, but I'm not about to rip out perfectly fine landscaping either. Since trimming the bushes really is a one-person job, I settled on washing outside windows. The weather was pleasant, even with a breeze.

I am not a fan of washing windows. Of course you would know that, if you had ever visited my house, and witnessed all the cobwebs. It really was disgusting though, and I'm glad I got ..... drumroll please.... 5 whole windows done (yeah, it took 2 hours!). So, that means I "only" have 15 more to go. Argghh. Stupid spiders! (and wasps, and dirt) I did decide that washing outside windows is easier than from the inside. You can use a ton of water, spray guns, and soapy water. The windows that are clean from the outside, now have more spiderwebs on the inside than out. Natural light is great in a home, but they sure have their drawbacks. You know, high electricity bill, glare, and Work.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Crucial Moments

Turns out that while I might take a vacation, the dust, spiders, dirt, and grime don't. I really want to get back on top of things, so I followed the advice of one of my education week teachers, and made a schedule. See, if you first plan the important things, you'll still have time left over for the little un-important things. He gave the analogy of have a bucket, some big stones, and a whole bunch of sand. If you put the sand in the bucket first, there won't be enough space for all of the stones. However, if you place the stones in the bucket first, the sand will fill in all around the stones, and it will all fit.

The past few months I have struggled to get my important stones in my bucket. I haven't hardly touched the harp. I haven't been reading with Ginger. My scriptures have been stored, neglected in a drawer. My workout videos have been wondering why I bought them, and my ab muscles forgot they were supposed to exist. All the windows are housing plenty of spiders (inside and out), dust has long since settled on the light fixtures, etc, etc.

My schedule has all those stones on it, as well as some extras. I made it a point to print it out, laminated it, and hang it on the fridge. That way, it stays in the front of my mind. I have even scheduled eating times in. Tiffani is on a plan where she eats small meals every 2-3 hours. Since we spent all of last week together, she got me on that plan too. At first, I never felt satisfied after any of the meals. My stomach was used to getting stuffed to the max about 3 times a day, instead of 80% filled 6 times a day. It took some adjusting, but it's gotten a lot easier already. I also clearly noticed my withdrawal symptoms when I cut back the amount of sugar I was eating. Don't get me wrong, put me with a bag of chocolate, and I'll still be tempted to eat the whole bag. However, while doing something else, I won't stop, and wish I was eating sweets.

Another thing I learned at education week, is that we all have a hard time changing behaviors because of our crucial moments. A crucial moment is the moment that defines whether or not you will succeed. For me, it's putting my workout clothes on as soon as the kids get on the bus. I don't put them on, and I probably won't exercise that day. I dont' exercise, and I will probably be less conscious of the food I eat. See, by just putting on those clothes, I set myself up for success. Oh, another crucial moment: 10.3o pm. That is my bedtime. If I don't get to bed on time, I'll be too tired to workout in the morning, etc.

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Teachers

It's hard to believe that Winter is starting her 3rd year at Leonard Elementary, and Sterling is a first grader. Somehow we were never informed of the kids' new teachers, so the kids didn't get to ride the bus. It was fun for me to take them in though, and meet their teachers. I was pleasantly surprised with Winter's 2nd grade class size; only 15 students. I didn't count Sterlings', but it seemed to be closer to 20.
Winter's 2nd grade teacher Ms Garner
Sterling's 1st grade teacher Ms Knight
Poor Ginger, with her October birthday, has to stay home for another 2 years. She'll probably go to a little preschool next year, but that's just not the same. No cool school bus. Only one or two days a week, and shorter days as well.
School brings a lot of freedom for me. I have much more time to get stuff done around the house, which I really need right now to catch up. I feel behind on my cleaning, gardening, pool care, and feel totally out of touch with my chicken family. Somehow I have to keep remember that it will take longer than 1 day to catch up, after a month of vacation.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Grown Woman

My parents also flew in on Thursday, for a quick visit. We spent all day yesterday at education week together, and after dessert, I went with them to stay at their friends', the Landwards, house. I snuggled with my little sister Emma, who is now a grown woman! Crazy! We haven't spent nearly enough time together over the past 11 years. Yep, it's been 11 years, since I moved to the United States. Again, crazy! My mom really loves the Parade of Homes, so we spent this afternoon looking at some fun houses. We saw a bunch of really modern homes, which just reminded me of my home land. I do miss Holland occasionally, and Joe and I would love to move there for a few years. My parents and I were talking about all the thing Joe and I would like to do in the future. Like, living in Holland, getting an MBA, moving to Colorado, buy rental houses etc. This is where they gave me this great idea, that we could combine some of these. What if we move to Holland, Joe gets his MBA there, we buy rental houses for extra income, and move to Colorado as soon as we come back from Europe. Sounds good to me! Now we just have to work out logistics. You know... like sell our house, get accepted to school, find a job, buy some houses, and a whole lot more. But the idea gets me really excited!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Talk to the Chef

I finished out Education week, my brain full of useful information. It's been over 2 years since we moved out of Idaho, and since I've seen most of my friends from there. Challis is one of my friends that I really miss. She just happened to be in Utah this weekend too, so we got together for dinner. Tamara Wasden also came (who lived just down the street in our subdivision). We ate in a fancy restaurant. Tiffani and I were sharing a meal, and there was a little hick-up in the food. We ordered Salmon with au gratin potatoes. The potatoes were a huge disappointment, and the sauce that came with the salmon was just gross. So we actually sent it back. If I'm going to spend over $20 on a meal, I expect it to be good!! We switched to another dish, and had the most wonderful steaks. The most amazing part: the chef actually came out to talk to us about the food we didn't like.
After dinner we were on a mission to find some nice/fattening desert. We found a cool ice-cream shop (sub-zero). They poor some cream and whatever flavoring you want into a bowl. Then they spray liquid ice (or whatever that's called) from a big tank to actually freeze the cream. Fresh ice cream! It was awesome!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


It turns out it becomes very difficult to blog, when you are off having fun, and learning to become a better wife/mother/person at education week. For the past 3 days we have spent 12 hours a day at the BYU campus. The campus is just beautiful! There are pretty flowers, and all these new, amazing buildings. Even the old buildings that are left standing, have had a makeover. The trick to attending classes for 12 hours without falling asleep? Go to bed as soon as you get home.

I have learned so many new things, that I can't even remember any of them. Just kidding. I have taken pages and pages of notes, and will have to read over those notes to fully reap the benefits of all the knowledge. Education week offers classes on so many subjects, too many to even think about. We have mainly focused on parenting, marriage, and self-improvement. We have been armed with techniques to teach our children to become independent, responsible adults. I enjoyed 2 hours of wonderful music by Michael Ballam. Some teachers have tried to explain how to influence the people around me, especially my husband (wink wink). While other teachers flat out taught me that I can NEVER change anyone else. (they have to WANT to change themselves)

Last night was really fun. After classes, we met up with my good friend Jill Simmons. We chatted and chatted, talked about her fun upcoming adventure to Germany, and before we knew it, it was 10pm. I love how I can go 2 years without seeing a friend, and it seems like we just saw each other last week. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of us, ... so I guess I'll have to try and remember what we all looked like that night.

When we leave a place of residence, it's amazing how fast we forget the details. Details like street names, locations of businesses, and on campus, the names of buildings. It's even more amazing how quickly it all comes back, when you submerse yourself back into that environment. You remember little details, like the back way out of a building, or a better located bathroom on the next floor etc.

A social experiment should be conducted, in regards to human behavior. When 700 people try to leave a room, and things get congested, how many people will just stand there? How many will stand there, and wait for 15 minutes until they can finally get out? And which people will look behind them, and realize that if they just walk to the front of the room, and around, they can get out of the building immediately? Same with bathrooms. How many people just stand in line, with 20 people in front of them, while they could just go up a flight of stairs, and have no wait whatsoever? I've learned something new about myself this week: I am one of those people, who looks for alternatives. I don't want to be part of THAT croud.

I don't know how many people attend education week.... It's got to be at least 15,000. That's a lot of people on one campus. Especially when 3,000 of those people want to attend the same lecture, while only 500 can fit in the lecture room. Some speakers, such as John Bytheway, are very popular. He has also been lecturing in a fairly small auditorium (500 cap). What does this mean? It means that people start lining up, for over an hour before the lecture even begins. (this picture was taken a full 45 minutes before the class started, and you can't really see, but the line was all the way around the building!) Also, when the hosting staff isn't doing their jobs well, things can get ugly between all those ladies in line. The first day, the hosters were snaking the line back and forth inside. The line went back and forth about 20 times, and this is before the previous class even gets out. As soon as the round of classes got out, things got really crazy! Thousands of ladies (and a few men) come in the building, think they see the end of the line, but then are quickly corrected by the other thousands of women who have been standing in the snake-line for the past hour. No... this is not the end of the line... that's about 10 rows over!

We have just one more day of classes left, and then it's on to applying all these wonderful lessons in my life.

I will never get angry at my kids again.
My time will be organized, and effectively used.
I will give consequences to my kids.
I will influence others around me.
I will understand the gospel better.
I will keep the Sabbath day holy
I will be a better listener.
I will communicate better

I will... oh never mind.... I hope to be able to accomplish all these things, but I really can't say for sure that I'll actually be successful! All I can do is try the best I can, and periodically review the lessons I am learning. And of course,.... come back next year, to learn even more!

Joe and I met right here, in the Outdoor Unlimited at the bike shop. I almost walked back there, until I realized that if I did that, they would probably call security and kick me out!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Escape to peace

After a crazy morning of lice removal, I escaped to the airport. I sat all alone at the gate, reading a book. I didn't have to worry whether my kids were getting in trouble. I could get a snack from a vending machine, without have 3 kids beg me to buy more and more, and more. Oh how I love a direct flight! It's totally wortht the extra 6,000 rewards points, to avoid 6 hours extra travel time, the possibility of missing/delayed flights, and more icky airplanes. I enjoyed my snack, read a book, took a nap, and before I knew it, I could see the beautiful Utah mountains.

This week I'll be spending with my friend Tiffani. Tiffani and I were very pregnant with our 3rd child at the same time. We had the same midwife, and generally became best friends real quick. I spent time with her at Disney, so it hadn't been too long since we saw each other, and we connected right back. Tiffani is from a family of 13 kids. We went to her parents' house for dinner. She expected me to be overwhelmed, but honestly after just spending time at a Benac reunion, this family get together didn't seem that crazy at all. So now we are winding down for the day, and getting ready for a full week of adult education and fun. Oh how I love the mountains, and the gorgeous sunset. (we were going 75 down the freeway, or else I would have taken a picture to share)

By the way: Many thanks to you, Joe!!! I love you, and you can't know how much I appreciate this time off!

Deeley Due

This post was supposed to be all about my cool new Deeley haircut. Cat Deeley, from the TV show "So you think you can dance" has the best hair. The hair professionals always give her great up-dos, and styles. I was watching grandma Benac last night and today, and she always gets her hair done, every Saturday morning. Since I would be with her anyways, I decided to get my hair cut professionally (for the first time in over a year), instead of laboring on cutting it myself for 2 hours and being dissatisfied. So back to Deeley.... Last week while we were driving back from DC, it was the night for the SYTYCD finale. Mom recorded it for me, and I hadn't had a chance to watch it yet, until last night. All of a sudden I realized, with delight, that Deeley actually wore her hair down. I wanted her haircut! I has great layers. I can never quite explain to the hairdresser, what I want. The solution? I grabbed my camera, and started taking pictures of the TV. Now, if you've never tried to take pictures of a TV screen, let me warn you. It took 40 or so pictures, to get 4 decent shots. I went to the salon, armed with pictures of Deeley's wonderful hair. I got a great haircut. It looks the same as Deeley's. Now, this is where I would have liked to end this post. .... However....

Thursday night I was telling Joe that everytime we got out of the pool, my scalp was itchy. He became a little concerned, because Winter had said the same thing. I figured something must be wrong with the pool water, and kind of wrote it off. Joe did do a quick sweep of my scalp, just to make sure I didn't have any unwanted visitors. He didn't find any. Fast forward to today. While I was taking care of grandma, and Joe was working with a friend in Dallas, our kids were playing at that friends house with the wife. I guess Winter had complained to her about her rapidly worse itching head, and she found what no one wants to find: Lice! Of course, this news alone made me itch all over. Since I was still at Joe's parents' house, Liz was nice enough to do what no other mother-in-law should ever have to do. She checked me for lice. Sure enough... she found a nit. I ran to the pharmacy down the street (a nice feature when you live in town), got some treatment, and mom spent the next 2 hours treating and combing my hair. So much for my nice professionally blowdried hair! What should have been a relaxing movie night, and easy Sunday morning, has turned into a lot of cleaning, laundry, boiling, vacuuming, and treating hair. Tomorrow morning, instead of enjoying church, and then taking off on my personal vacation, I will have to buy some more treatment, clean my car, drive home, treat the kids, clean the house, and then drive all the way back to the airport, to THEN start my relaxing vacation. And oh... never mind the emotional agony I must go through, visiting/sleeping at other people's houses. The worry that I didn't kill all the lice, and they'll be spread all over the US.

The only question remains: where did we pick up these little buggers? Was it at the dirty Motel 6 we stayed on, on our way home from DC? Or did we pick them up at the reunion? (anyone else have any symptoms?) Or did we pick them up at church last Sunday? There's really no way to tell. But I do know, that I don't EVER want to get those nasty buggers again! Gross.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Easy to forget

It's so easy to forget what the house used to look like. Sure, our improvements are taking forever to accomplish, but when I look back at what we started out with, I get some hope. Case in point: our master bathroom. It has been torn apart ever since we moved in. Here's whyI despise that wallpaper. I couldn't live with it one more day than I had to. Of course, I started to rip it off, but never finished it. It was torn apart for almost 2 years! Then, while I was off vacationing, my wonderful husband worked for hours and hours, to get it ready for paint. Wednesday I spent all morning painting. Thursday I spend all morning cleaning. And now, voila! My half-finished master bathroom.There's still plenty to be done: new mirrors, faucets, countertops and sinks, towel racks, toilet roll holder, and blinds. We also want to do something about that brass shower enclosure, but haven't quite figured out how to make it look better, without flat-out replacing it. Maybe you know of some special type of paint we can use??

Trash to Treasure

For almost 2 years, a bookshelf left by the previous home owners, sat in Joe's shop. I didn't find out about it until just 2 months ago. When he asked me whether I wanted it, I say yes. Then I continued to do nothing with it. It wasn't until Joe tried to give it away to his cousin, I felt compelled to actually get it in usable condition. See, it was nasty dirty, grimy, ugly, and looked more like trash than a piece of furniture I would like in my house.

A Shelf Makeover
I love this shelf now! It has great lines, a wonderful display shelf for puzzles, and of course I love the color too! Thanks Catherine, for giving me the vision and courage to take on this project.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Random Recipes

For the past 2 nights, our dinner has consisted mostly of home grown items. Last night, Joe made some really yummy goat tacos, with red pepper, and onions in corn tortillas. Tonight I made a stew, which honestly didn't look too appetizing, but that turned out to be delicious! Just in case you ever have a garden with eggplant, red pepper, onions, and rosemary, try out this recipe:

3 med. green peppers (1 lb.)
1 med. eggplant (1 lb.)
5 tbsp. salad oil
1 c. thinly sliced onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 (2 lb. 3 oz.) can tomatoes
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
1 bay leaf
1 flank steak (2 1/2 lb.)
1 tbsp. salad oil
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp. chopped parsley

1. Prepare peppers and eggplant; wash peppers. Halve; remove seeds and ribs. Cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch wide strips.

2. Wash eggplant. Do not peel. Cut lengthwise into quarters. Slice crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices.

3. In 3 tablespoons hot oil in 5 quart Dutch oven or kettle, saute green peppers, onion, and 1 clove garlic until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Remove to medium bowl.

4. In same kettle, saute eggplant in 2 tablespoons oil, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Return pepper mixture to kettle. Add undrained tomatoes, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, rosemary, and bay leaf; simmer, covered, 30 minutes.

5. Trim excess fat from steak. Wipe steak with damp paper towels. Combine oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic.

6. Place steak on broiler rack; brush with half of oil mixture. Broil, 4 inches from heat, 5 minutes. Turn; brush with remaining oil mixture. Broil 4 to 5 minutes longer.

7. Slice very thinly on the diagonal and across the grain. Add to vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes 8 servings.

Note: If desired, prepare peppers and eggplant day before; refrigerate. Reheat to bubbling just before adding meat.

Whenever I have some random ingredients that I want to use in my dinner, I just go to, and do a search. For example: tonight I wanted to use steak (which I had to defrost because we're trying to fix our icemaker), red peppers from the garden, and 2 eggplants from the garden. So my search was simply: steak, eggplant, pepper. Several recipes came up, so I just browsed through them, and picked one that looked good. I have never cooked with eggplant before, and just bought the plant on a whim back in April. When I cut it open, I didn't even know what to look for, to see if it was ripe. So I just assumed it was, and went ahead with cooking. This type of cooking (with the help of online recipe searches), has been very rewarding. Only once or twice have we ended up with a meal that was less than satisfactory. But the majority of the time, we discover a yummy recipe that I'll make over and over again.

Everything is BIGGER in Texas

While I was off vacationing, Joe was being a wonderful husband and taking care of all my extra chores (except maybe the pool) My garden was almost unrecognizable, totally out of control, and huge. Joe doesn't believe in picking veggies while they're still small, so we had some monstrous zucchini and squash. Another monstrous harvest:I don't have access to my scale right now, but my guess is, this bad boy weighs around 60 lbs. The 3 minutes it took Winter to take this picture, was long enough for my arms to scream at me.
Today's harvest:
What to do with all that zucchini/squash? Some suggest dehydrating it. How cool is it that the Taylors just gave us a dehydrator, less than a month ago?

Green Smoothies

While we were in DC, Joe's sister Angela introduced me to the wonders of "green smoothies". They are super healthy, easy to make, and taste pretty good too! Finally something I can eat as much as I want without feeling guilty. Scrap that! I can eat it, as much as I want, and feel good about it.

Simple ingredients:
a few ice cubes
spinach (one large handful)
strawberries, or mixed frozen berries -about 1/4 cup
1 Tbsp Orange juice concentrate

Blend all the ingredients together, and enjoy.

Remember, none of these measurements are scientific. In fact, I do it different every time. I am actually thinking about blending in some other veggies in the future... like red bell peppers... or cucumber...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Last minute

We hadn't been planning on going to DC until the very last minute. The economy has taken a hit on Joe's job, so cash has been tight around here. Plus, taking 2 weeks of work is harder than you would think for Joe. Joe's mom finally convinced me mere days before departure time, that this vacation didn't have to cost too much. We were lucky enough to be able to carpool with Earl and Ruth. We stayed the majority of the time at Nancy's house. Didn't have to buy dinner out. We went to free museums, played in the backyard, went to playgrounds etc. Sure, expenses add up, even with all those things included, but it was definitely worth it. My kids got to spend quality time with their cousins. I got to strengthen bonds with my in-laws and extended family. We were culturally uplifted. Winter has gained a new appreciation for art. And I was reminded why I hate roadtrips so much.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Personal Docent

How would you like to have your personal docent at the National Gallery of Art. Winter and I had exactly that today. Aunt Barbara lead us through special exhibits by Melendez, explained all the little details of still lives, and made 4.5 hours of art watching seem like 1. Barbara geared most of her information toward Winter, but I learned a whole lot myself. Sure, I took a whole bunch of art history classes in college, but I was ashamed by the small amount of knowledge I actually have.To increase Winter's learning, and attention span, Barbara played a little game she used to play with her own kids. She would tell Winter about a piece of art, or art in general. Then, she would quiz her on those facts. For each correct answer, Winter got a tickmark. At the end of the museum visit, Winter would get to pick out something from the gift shop, according to the amount of tickmarks she accumulated. This game is genius! It keeps the child's attention, makes them want to learn, keeps them going longer, and gives them a great reward at the end of it all.
Winter really latched onto this game, and accumulated a whopping 50 tickmarks. With a little guidance, she picked out a sketchpad and art pencil kit. She wanted to start drawing right away, and her first art is a drawing of the nations capitol building. She has talent!So thanks a ton to our personal Docent Barbara, for some great cultural enlightenment.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Monument Stroll

Washington Monuments are gorgeous at night!

World War II memorial
Washington Monument
Ram taught me a cool trick for my camera. When it gets too dark for non-flash photography, I usually get discouraged and sad. I don't like flash. It ruins the mood and light. Or so I thought! Ram showed me it doesn't have to be so. All you have to do is get aperture and speed readings on automatic setting, then move it to manual setting, pop up the flash, and voila! Here's one of my first tries. If I had just used the automatic setting, you would have been able to see Ginger, but not the cool Lincoln memorial in the background. The flash freezes the foreground, and the low shutter speed and high aperture capture the mood lighting in the background! Thanks a ton Ram!!!!
Lincoln Memorial

Saturday, August 1, 2009


It's been a whirlwind of reunions. Cousins, aunts, grandparents, friends etc etc.

Thursday I took some much needed time to myself. I did some laundry, read blogs, watched the bachelorette and SYTYCD, and napped. By the time I got back to the cabins, I was ready to be social again.

Friday was the first official day of the Benac reunion. We gathered at the Witkowskis house, and met up with longtime-no-see family. After brunch, me and Liz headed to the Holocaust museum. This trip really deserves it's own blog post, which will have to be written later. In short; it was a great museum, but very sad too.

After getting home after midnight last night, we didn't get any relief this morning. Before 7am, we got up to go to the kayaking rental place. I took Winter and Ginger in a double kayak on the Potomac (polluted) river, and Sterling rode with Ruth. Winter didn't have her own paddles, but when I let her have a turn, I was pleasantly surprised by her paddling skills. She must have gotten that from her daddy!

After the kayaking, me and my kids headed straight to the National Museum of Natural History. That museum is humongous! We browsed for hours, and still didn't even cover half of it. I finally gave up, when my feet and back were killing me from walking. We rode the metro back closer to Witkowskis house, where I am now relaxing and writing this post. I can't get the pictures of my camera, so I promise to update this post later.

Pfew, what craziness. I seriously want to sit down after I get back home (in Texas), and expand on all our experiences here, but I felt like I was leaving my readers in the dark by not writing at all. So there you go, that's what we've been up to

Marine Barracks

Last night, we went to see the parade at the Marine barracks. For some stupid reason I wasn't in the mood to carry my camera with me, so just got 2 pictures on Jenny's camera. Thanks Jenny!
This parade wasn't what you usually think of as a parade: floats following each other on a route through the streets. Instead, the band performs on the large lawn, which is located in the center of the marine barracks, and goes back and forth. The band performed performed patriotic and old-time tunes. Also, they were amazing marchers. At one point, a fairly large group of marines marched in formations, without any music. The only thing to guide them, was their own marching, and clicking of their bayonets on the ground. It kept going, and going, and going, probably for more than 20 minutes!

President Obama attended this parade just a week ago. Couldn't he have waited one more week? After the parade was over, Winter and Sterling did get to meet the marine's mascot, Chesty, almost as good as meeting Obama.

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