Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What I Fed My Parents

For me, the biggest stress about having visitors is deciding what to feed them. If I was a normal person, this probably wouldn't be a big deal. I'd just serve the pre-planned dinner that is well-balanced and full of side dishes. But this is me I'm writing about it. It ain't that easy. Thank goodness my parents are easy! Or maybe they're just good fakers. Ha. Anyway, we all (at least, I) ate well. Proof:

Thursday: Baked potato soup. I know it seems simple, but it's so good.

Friday: Tacos with black beans and rice (count them: TWO side dishes). We tried some version of Cafe Rio's cilantro-lime rice, but I know it can be better. Does anyone have a recipe they like?

Saturday: We had lunch at Good Stuff Eatery downtown and were pretty much still full at dinner. We ordered five shakes: roasted marshmallow, strawberry, cookies and cream, cherry, and the salted caramel. Thank goodness for my nine-mile run that morning.

Sunday: Chicken cordon bleu (from the Our Best Bites cookbook) and green beans wrapped in bacon. You know the green beans are good if they get my mom cooking (which she did the Sunday after they got home).

Monday: KFC and Taco Bell. Ha. We were headed to the film festival and needed something quick and easy.

Tuesday: These yummy pretzel hot dogs and this pistachio "salad." (I love calling things like this "salad." Oh, and my mom added cottage cheese. You know, to make it healthy.) Those pretzels are just so fun to eat.

Wednesday: For our last night, my parents graciously treated us to a dinner at Matchbox. I convinced them to try the fruit pizza for dessert. This is not your Relief-Society-function fruit pizza, mind you. It's made on a thin pizza crust and topped with mascarpone and berries. Then it's drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I'm pretty sure any homemade attempt would fail miserably. I'm also pretty sure I could have used another nine-mile run that morning.

Monday, April 27, 2015

My Parents Come to Visit!

Sorry, but it's another post with bullet points and lots of pictures. I just love me some bullet points.

Thursday: Day trip to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Friday: Get car registered, do my calling, Great Falls

Saturday: Library of Congress (the coolest building downtown), lunch at Good Stuff Eatery (with five different shakes), date night at the movies. And yes, that first picture is sooooo classic Ollie.

Sunday: Church

Monday: Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum, Banff Mountain Film Festival at night

Tuesday: Recover from the day before

Wednesday: Memorials downtown plus a quick trip to Arlington Cemetery

Doesn't it just make you all want to come visit us?! You know, stay in our house for free? Go to all the free museums downtown? Yeah, I thought so.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Beautiful Sunday

As Easter Sunday was conference, we waited until the next Sunday to wear the Easter ties. I bribed the boys for pictures, but feel pretty good about that. After church we went to some local gardens and walked around. It was packed, but we still had a lovely day. So happy spring finally decided to come. Now hurry up fall! Haha. Kidding. Mostly.

I picked out these pants for Ollie but when he put them on, we realized they were about three inches too short. So I cut them into shorts because DUH. Boys in little Easter shorts are adorable, right?! After a big fight, Ollie finally kept them on. Seriously. I only intervene with clothing on Sunday. Just give me this one, kid.

Monday, April 20, 2015

I HATE Nature

Obviously I don't hate nature. But obviously I love the Goonies and think of that quote quite frequently. In fact, I've probably even used this for another blog post title. Anyway, I had a super good nature day recently. I was out for a run along my local creek when I saw a heron that is often found there. So I stopped to watch it for a bit. At some point, it started to crouch down and I thought it was going to take off. BUT NO! Its head darted right into the water and came up with a fish! A six-inch (or so) fish! It killed it (strangulation maybe?) and then swallowed it whole. Awesome, right? But even awesomer was that just right after that, it did it again. I saw it do this twice. It was so very cool.

Then later that day the whole family went to some gardens and saw about a billion frogs. And we heard about a billion frogs. And we got a picture of them making their noise with their thingy all puffed. See how much I know about frogs? TONS.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hoodie Up

Oh, also, while camping I came up with an idea that I'm sure is going to make me a millionaire. You know how you're all beautiful and stuff, so campfire smoke follows you? You know how that's soooo annoying? You know how you keep wishing for something to put in your face, but sadly the hood on your sweatshirt is behind you? I had this genius idea to wear my sweatshirt backwards. That way, as soon as the smoke remembered how beautiful I was, I was ready! I convinced the boys to do the same. So each time the wind shifted, one of us yelled, "HOODIE UP!" and we were ready. Saved from the smoke! And seeing as though I can't find that anyone else has invented this, I'm sure it will bring me millions of dollars. Because it was awesome.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Maryland State Park #11: Swallow Falls

Friday morning, we woke up at Herrington Manor, hung out for a bit, and then packed up the car. Which, thanks to sleeping in cabins, was pretty easy. Because we were still battling rain and we couldn't yet check into our other cabin, we found a nature center at another park (one we'll have to come back for) and spent the morning there. It was perfect. The boys had a great time and we were all dry. Then we ate lunch in "town" and by then, the skies were starting to clear and we could check in to our other cabin, in state park #11, Swallow Falls. The cabin there was NOT a full-service cabin. It was basically a tent with bunk beds. But it was a dry tent with bunk beds! That afternoon we took one of the coolest hikes we've done in all the state parks and saw four waterfalls. We got back, did a fire, and tried to go to bed. Worst. Night's. Sleep. Ever. Let's just say a certain seven-year-old was afraid of spiders crawling over him while he was sleeping. But in the morning we woke up, packed up camp, and did the hike again. Then we had to head home. Success!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Maryland State Park #10: Herrington Manor

Four years into our project and we made it to the halfway point! Ten parks down, ten to go.

As last week was Rhett's spring break, we planned to go camping for two nights, kind of a luxury for us church-going people. (Well, church-going people with kids. Without kids, we had no problem skipping church for camping. Ha.) But as we watched the weather reports early in the week, we got more and more anxious about staying in a tent in thunderstorms and lots of rain. So in true "us" fashion, we changed our plans last minute. (Did you catch that? Change plans last minute?! That's not us at all!) Not only did we switch from tents to cabins, but we also switched the park. And not only did we switch from one park to another, we switched from one park to two!

So the first night we went to Herrington Manor State Park. This park is about 1.5 miles from West Virginia, so it's about as far west in Maryland that you can go. We stayed in these lovely full-service cabins, so we're talking beds with mattresses, full kitchen, dining table, loft area with the boys' beds, wood stove...the whole deal. It was awesome. We got there Thursday and after the boys drove us sufficiently crazy inside, we headed out. We walked to the lake and watched people fish. We did another hike (helped in part with "hiking power beans" which may or may not have been Nerds jelly beans which may or may not have been delicious) and then ended with time at the playground. Later that afternoon we made a fire and roasted ate plain, unroasted marshmallows. It was a good day. And had I remembered our pillows, it would have been a good night. But judging by the sound of the thunder we heard that night, it was better than the tent alternative.

Friday, April 10, 2015

New (To Us) Car

Remember how we bought a new-to-us car not even two years ago? Looks like I didn't post what we actually got, but we ended up with a Honda CR-V. It's been great. My only complaint is that it doesn't tell me the outdoor temperature. I thought all cars did that nowadays. Anyway, it's been good. We planned on having it a long time. But we didn't plan on my parents going on another mission. We didn't plan on them asking us if we wanted to buy their RAV4 as they don't want to store both cars while gone. And we certainly didn't plan on saying yes. But they are. They did. And we did.

Luckily, my parents are scheduled to come out next week so my dad is going to forgo the outbound flight to drive our new car to us. Why buy this car when the Honda is serving us well? Both cars (our CR-V and their RAV4) are the same age. They have nearly the same mileage (until my dad drives it across the country, that is). They're the same size. They are pretty much the same car. Except. My parents bought all the amenities, while we did not. Besides the obvious stuff (e.g., leather seats, temperature gauge!), the big deal is the car's towing capacity. Because some day, I just might be brave enough (dumb enough?) to buy a camping trailer.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Conference Weekend

I didn't realize until very late that Chuck didn't have work last Friday nor Monday. Bonus because I had a bunch of errands just waiting for us to tackle. We got all but one done, so not bad. Here was the list (with some notes):
  • BounceU
  • Grocery shop
  • Drop off my bike for repairs (and in only six weeks it'll be done...groan)
  • Movie night with friends (The Wizard of Oz! The boys were only a little bit afraid)
  • Long run (made longer by math embarrassing)
  • Update chore chart (like clockwork, the tweaking of the chore chart)
  • Check bike rack (it works!)
  • Make a vest for Ollie (more on this later)
  • Make a baby gift for Rhett's teacher (well, got one part done)
  • Hair cuts for the boys (poor Rhett hates how short his bangs are)
  • Teach Rhett how to tie his shoes (the one failure)
  • Get rid of junk in the attic (donated to our local pool's garage sale)
  • Make cinnamon rolls for Sunday morning (oh man, I don't believe a bad cinnamon roll has ever been made)
  • Get Easter ready (yes, those hidden eggs were empty...but so was the TOMB, so there)
  • Watch lots of conference
  • Take Rhett to a doctor's appointment
  • Go to Carmax (more on this later)
  • Zoo (us and half a million others...groan)
  • Play outside as much as possible (playground! walks! more walks and more playgrounds!)
Obviously it was busy, but I feel so good to have so much stuff done.

P.S. I will never eat another root beer float as I have been introduced to its far superior cousin, the orange soda float. Our whole family was converted. Sorry root beer, you're out.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

From Ollie's Lips

The other night at family prayer Ollie said, "Bless Mom and Dad that they will be happier," and "Bless we will have a good opportunity." It takes so much energy to not shake my finger and crack up at this boy. And this is pretty much a summary of life with Ollie at all times.