Thursday, July 21, 2016

Elaina's 10 Year Old Trip with Aunt Kat

It's been a hard day so I think I'm going to try to de-stress by posting about our trip to Virginia.
We've got some funny vacation combos going on with our family this year. Claire and Eily get to go on the cruise this coming March, so Elaina got to go with me to visit Jason in Richmond, Virginia.

My cousin, Kathryn, came to me last summer with an idea that I thought was fabulous and fun-sounding. She wanted for me and her to take a trip with each girl as they turned 10. We kept trying to make it happen after Elaina turned 10 and it only took nine months to be successful. :)

Elaina and I left the house very early Monday morning and made it to Memphis in record time. If you are wanting to travel from FS to Memphis and meet no construction on the road, do it in the early morning.  Since "Aunt Kat" happens live in Memphis and we had a couple of hours to spare before we needed to be at the airport (and because she got the call that her car had officially died earlier in the day), we picked her up and all three of us got mani/pedis so we would look amazing during our vacation. :) Elaina found it hilarious that she got stuck with the man worker. Kathryn took us to the airport since she was going to use the Suburban until it was time for her flight the following morning. We got there a little early so we stopped for lunch- BBQ of course! It was the Memphis airport, after all.
Waiting for our flight to see Jason

We finally arrived in Baltimore and then stood in line for about on hour to get our rental car. The man said that they had run out of the kind of car that we paid for so would we mind driving a SUV for the same price? Of course not. So when we walked outside, we died laughing because it was a huge Dodge RAM truck. Oh well, we are from Arkansas, after all.

We drove the hour to the house where we would be staying with Jason. The house itself was fabulous. It was a historical house and we stayed in the servants' quarters in the lower level of the house. We got up early Tuesday morning and drove to DC to collect Kathryn from the Regan airport. I have traveled enough in the past two years to have learned this one things about myself- FOOD is the most important thing to me when exploring a new location. I never care about shops or about what all there is to do, I just want to know- WHERE ARE THE AMAZING RESTURANTS? So of course I had put in some research and knew that the first stop must be 2Amys. It did not disappoint. (Well, Elaina wasn't a big fan.)

They had amazing pizza, amazing appetizers, and the most world-changing wild-flower honey sorbet. 

Pizze d.o.c. means that these pizza had been recognized as official Italian pizza from the Italian government. 
Elaina's drink of the trip was Ginger Ale. She said this bottle was the best of the trip. :)

Risotto balls and delicious deviled eggs

Pizza for everyone!!

We waddled out of 2Amys and made our way (much longer way than we anticipated) to the Metro station. It was a very rainy day and we got a little wet here and there.
They had these funny picture things all along the street. 

Elaina worked on her Metro skills the whole day. I would try to explain to her where we were going and see if she could keep up with where and when we needed to get off the train.

Heading down to the Metro!

Our first stop was the Natural Museum of American History. This is one of my very favorite places to visit in DC. There are always really interesting things to see.

Lincoln's hat he was wearing when he was shot. 
Kathryn and I have a mutual love for food and how to prepare it, so we both get a little "fan-girlish" when we see Julia Child's kitchen.

The kitchen is her literal kitchen. They moved everything to the museum and kept everything in it's exact place. You can walk around and look at it from every angle. I could have spent a couple of hours looking at everything but Elaina was ready to move on to another exhibit. 

I loved looking at the books on her bookshelf. I may copy every single thing. 

We finally left the museum and headed for the Mall. It was really looking very stormy at this point but we didn't let that deter us. I had bought a flimsy umbrella from a guy on the street but Kathryn held her ground and wasn't tempted. She later regretted that. :)

Elaina and Kathryn in front of the Lincoln Memorial

It started raining really hard while we were at the Lincoln Memorial but we saw a taxi sitting by the curb and decided to make a run for it. Well... he wouldn't take us because we were too wet. And believe me, we were completely soaked by that time. My umbrella had decided to invert itself and be of no use and poor Elaina and Kathryn were just drenched.

At this point, we really couldn't get any wetter so we decided to walk back to the Metro station and go home.
The next morning, we went to a nearby coffee shop for breakfast. We bought every type of macaroon they served and a few other delicious pastries. We may have gained a few pounds during this trip. :) Seriously though, the grapefruit macaroon was heavenly.

Our location on the schedule for Wednesday was Colonial Williamsburg. This was by far the highlight of the trip for Elaina. She was desperate to completely envelope herself in the time and place so we decided her birthday gift should be a period dress and hat. She bummed hard that they didn't sell genuine leather hand-made shoes. Haha
They do actually make them there but they are just for the people who work there. Elaina has also decided that she wants to work there one summer. I have to say I agree it would be an amazing experience. I would try to get a job in the shop that made the rugs and cloth. (Plus, their shop had air-conditioning. )

Learning to make a notebook with paper and thread. 

We spent as much time as we could at Colonial Williamsburg. It was so much fun. I hadn't been there since I was a teenager so it was fun to come back and watch my daughter have all the feelings I had the first time I went. It will for sure be a place that I come back and bring all the girls.
We went home again and visited a little with Mr. John, the man who owned the house where were were staying. His wife had left so we didn't get to meet her but she did write Elaina an email that I will attach at the end of this post. Mr. John is from England and his wife is from France. It was fun to listen to him talk and take notice of his impeccable manners. 
The next morning we drove to George Washington's house, Mount Vernon. Now in hind sight, We should have gone there the day before. Once Elaina had been to Colonial Williamsburg, nothing else could compare. She liked Mt. Vernon but she kept mentioning that she would love to just go back and spend the rest of the day at CW. :) She did, however, wear her costume in case there were some other people in their costumes.

That evening, we went with Jason to an artists' dinner down the street at another old, historical house. This one even had the only kitchen in the basement. The poor women helping host the event went up and down the starts about 50 times. And they weren't exactly spring chickens! The granddaughter of the woman hosting the event was also there and she and Elaina struck up a quick friendship. Her name is Colette and they plan on being pen-pals.  

We didn't linger long at the dinner. We were tired and Jason was completely exhausted. We came home and played some cards and watched a cooking show. The next day was Friday and Kathryn and I headed back to the airport. We got in extremely late so I stay the night and left early the next morning. I was very, very happy to see this sign. 

Jason and Elaina didn't leave until the following 
Monday. The spent the weekend picnicking with Mr. John and doing several Plein-Air painting sessions together. The did have an awful time getting home. They ended up having to stay the night in the airport and then catching a different flight home. At least Elaina had this memory to carry her through the ordeal. :)

The email from Mr. John after we were back home:

I believe you are about to land safely so hopefully this will reach you just in time!
Thank you so much for the absolutely wonderful painting - I showed it to Benedicte via Facetime as soon as I returned home and then I took a photo and sent it to her as well. I must say her initial intake of breath was sufficient, it really is beautiful and one we will treasure for all the  time we have left  on this planet - be in here in Richmond or back in England. It will hold a very special place in our home and bring back memories for me which I will always remember. 
Now - I do wish Elaina had her own personal e-mail address so I could communicate directly to her how much pleasure her drawing gave Benedicte and me today. We both thought it was SO SO SPECIAL - and we loved the real message you wrote to us. So Elaina - thank you so very very much.
In particular will always remember you and our talks together -Paris, tailwinds, currencies ( 2000 lira  = $X), the Boston Tea Party, Donuts (thank you Daddy!) how I met Benedicte (and thus discovered how your parents met) the picnic (and your multiplication tables - 9X9 !) English crumpets ( so-so) and marmite (awful !) ice-cream ( my apologies Mummy !) and I loved to see how you looked at Daddy - that was, in the best American way I know,   - "real neat". So - thank you so much for our picture - it's so very special. 
What I did forget to do was give you Collett's address so here it is. Do hope you can find the time to write to her. ( You could always suggest to Mummy that it could be an English lesson !) 
     *removed for privacy*

So - Jason and Elaina - thank you so much for staying with us - it was a real pleasure to get to know you both !

John and Benedicte ( from London)
I told her all about our adventure together  

p/s Just as you are both landing it has start to pour down with rain in Richmond - so you see we are not happy to have lost you both and the sky is angry !  

And this was the email from his wife, who we never met in person but was still a gracious host.

Jason and Elaina,
I certainly couldn't have put it better than John. 
I really was so happy to see both painting and drawing. It is one of my favorite view of Richmond, we often go to the park for a walk and look both to the river and the town. 
Thank you so much for your wonderful gifts, with their own personal and special message, I will treasure them very much. I am just sorry I was not in Richmond for the event as I enjoyed it so much in the past. 
I know John enjoyed having you to stay and I see that Elaina experienced Richmond to the full.
Hope to see you again next year.
With all my thanks


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Apparently I'm chatty now

Not that that's a new thing, it just hasn't been a current thing when it comes to the blog.

We buried my little nephew yesterday. His name is Able Isaac. He was born at 19 weeks but lived 18 weeks. It was a sweet, painful, God-honoring service.

Training for Classical Conversations starts tomorrow. Life just keeps going no matter what's going on during the day-to-day. Eily is with Mom and Dad, the older girls are taking a sewing class, and Nora is going with me to the training.

I have so many friends going through such hard things right now. I feel helpless so I just pray for them. Adulting is no fun sometimes.

Females, do you shave your legs every time you shower?

Whole 30 can be easier than you think. Try it.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Whole 30- Day 1

So I guess that I started the Whole 30 (my version) today. That means that sometimes I eat cheese and I still put creamer in my coffee. I thought I had started it a few days ago but then I found out that a smoothie I was eating to kind of beat the sugar craving had tubinado in it. Super Bummer. So I've started back in on my exercise routine that I was doing before the recent trips, and I ate a smoothie- minus the sugar.
Breakfast- egg white omelet with sausage and salsa
Lunch- Strawberry Limeade with Mint Smoothie
Supper- Zucchini/Sausage Hash stuff that I made up and enjoy, Fried Egg

That's my Day 1.
I feel sleepy but pretty good.
What I have not done well- drinking water

Monday, July 04, 2016

July 4, 2016

This seem like a good day to take up blog writing, yet again. It's America's birthday!

I've been on hold with American Arlines for 22 minutes and 57, 58, 59,...seconds. I have yet to talk to an actual person. It's just great. Oh wait. I finally talked to someone and and she said you can't actually talk to a real person. you have to go online and fill out a report and just hope that you get what you need. Yeah right. I'm thinking we are just going to forget the compensation thing. Moving on.

So that's my holiday so far. I'm hoping the rest of it is more pleasant. If I ever feel like spending a lot of time typing, I'll tell you about Maui and Harmony Hill and Virginia.

Happy 4th!!