Thursday, November 11, 2010

OUR VISIT TO THE DISTRICT

This year, the annual meeting for the Casualty Actuarial Society was being held in D.C. Brent's brother Tim was going to be honored at this meeting for receiving his fellowship in the CAS, so we decided that we would go. Not only that, but we have a new niece living in the area that I just had to meet. I was so excited for the trip, and was joyful as we landed at National Airport, which is a part of my favorite area that I served in as a missionary. After we rented the car and started heading out towards John and Valerie's house, I just had to stop off at my old, gross apartment. I loved that apartment and have to say that ten years later, it still looks exactly the same as I left it.

We made it to see Nellie, and not a moment too soon. She was adorable and I just loved her little face. We visited and had pizza with the family, and then checked into a close hotel for the night with plans to see Nellie get blessed the next day. Unfortunately, John was up all night sick so the blessing was canceled. I think we were all very disappointed, but Brent and I just made plans to head out to Suzy and Micah's house a bit earlier. We even had some extra time to stop at my favorite Panera Bread for some lunch.

After a long drive in some rather unfortunate Sunday traffic we made it to our friends' house in Stafford, VA. We were there for a long time, but the hours just flew by as we laughed, ate, and visited. I also insisted that I get some pictures of Emilie and Noah, who are seriously some of the most beautiful children that have ever lived.

Suzy and I met as mission companions over ten years ago, but we are just plain friends now. She was even with me the night I met Brent so she has known (and loved) Brent almost as long as I have. She is about to have a baby any day now (Update: baby Elizabeth was born while I wrote this post!) and I am so excited for her. As you saw, she makes some lovely babies.

Brent's meeting began the next day, and I had two full days to fill with "me" time. This wasn't hard, and has never been hard during any of Brent's conferences so far. Early Monday afternoon I headed on the Metro to meet my friend Kim who I had taught on my mission. We have stayed in touch pretty well, and she is always a dear to see. We chatted for two hours non-stop and had the best time at lunch.

Oh, and I had to snap a pic of the D.C. Metro. I love all of the stops and the lines of the ceiling. It has a very cool feeling, and makes it almost fun to ride the metro.

When I got back to the city it was already 3 PM, and it wasn't going to be light much longer thanks to daylight savings. So I headed right out and took my camera to visit the monuments. My love for the D.C. monuments borders on sappy so please forgive me as I share only a handful of the hundreds of pictures I took of them. First off, the Washington Monument which towers over the city and is such a treasure.

Then I was at the World War II Monument, which was not around when I was a missionary. I like it, but it is not my favorite.

I practically skipped my way down the long walk of the reflecting pool to Lincoln, my favorite by far of all of the monuments. I was smiling at everyone, offering to take pictures of families, I was certainly happy, and I decided to just accept it and be cheerful.

While I was there I got the idea in my head that I should do something I have never done before--walk from Lincoln to Jefferson. I have never walked to Jefferson, only driven there. The walk is supposed to be lovely, but it is long. I asked a ranger how far and he told me it was a mile. I had the time and was certainly in the mood, so off I went even though when I finally spotted it, it seemed REALLY far away.

I stopped off at the Korean War Memorial since it was on the way and all.

So as I was walking on the certainly beautiful Cherry Tree Lane, I got a little bit freaked out because there were tons of people at the other monuments, but here on this walk I was suddenly all alone. I kept trying to remember that I should be fine, and I kept taking pictures to distract myself from the fear of being attacked in the big city. I was sure to take a photo of myself though, so that if anything did happen to me, there would be evidence that I was happy in D.C. (Kidding...sort of.)

When I (finally) made it to Jefferson, the sun was setting and it was creating this reflective glow that I remember looking forward to seeing each day as a missionary. The monuments become yellow, and then pink, and then their lights come on after the sun sets and they glow in the dark. Anyway, this glow only lasts a few minutes and I am glad I made it in time to get a picture of it.

So, the sun has gone down, I have accomplished this lifetime goal of walking to Jefferson, but I am realizing that I am not sure if I have the goal of walking BACK to our hotel. And my hip is freaking killing me! All of the sudden I realize, again, that it has been ten years since I was a missionary and I can't pretend I am this young kiddo anymore. I am older now, I am a mom, and it's time to find a cab. Yeah, no cabs. Just a bunch of Japanese tourist buses that I am too scared to ask for a ride from. So I start walking. The Washington Monument looks tiny, and I know that in reality it is HUGE, which means I have a long way to go. I walk and walk, and my hip kills with every step. But I try to remind myself that the night is lovely, that I am in D.C., and that I am going to make it. And then I did...barely.

That night we had an amazing dinner (I believe Brent commented at one point that it was the best dinner of his whole life) with our friends Nancy and Robert. We had a great time with them, and I am fascinated with their lifestyle as they live in a little townhouse on Capitol Hill, which seems super romantic and posh to me. I don't have any pictures from that night (I didn't have my camera with me) so you'll just have to take my word that we had a blast and that they're some of the best people ever. As we walked back to our hotel, I felt quite crippled, but not nearly as crippled as I felt the next morning. Man.

So Tuesday my sister-in-law Christy came with me to the National Portrait Gallery, a lovely little museum that I had never been to. Which I can't figure out why since I adore portraits. I was sure to get a picture in front of a painting by John Singer Sargent who is the fellow I am going to ask to paint my portrait in heaven. We had a great little visit and went and had lunch.

After that I headed on the Metro to meet Valerie and Nellie. The first thing we did was to head to their apartment, put Nellie in her blessing outfit (made by Christy's mom), and have a photo shoot.

We did a little shopping and then picked up John from work. I made him take some pictures of us together, and then I had Valerie take some pics of me and my new sweet niece.

That night John watched the baby so we could hang out and go to dinner. We stopped off at my favorite DSW and each bought a pair of shoes. Then we went to The Carlyle for dinner. This is one of my favorite restaurants ever. I have loads of good memories from eating there, plus an addiction to a certain flourless chocolate waffle (it is insanely good). My dinner was so yummy I made myself sick, but we still had to make room for dessert, and we did...even though we were both way overfed. Dinner was great, but my company was delightful. And I almost hated it since I had been able to forgot how much fun Valerie is while she has been living in Virginia. Not many people will stand in a parking garage, taking pictures of our new shoes, while people walk by wondering what in the world we are doing, but Valerie is one of the few who will.

So by now you must be wondering (if you are still reading), if Brent was even on this trip, since you have yet to see photographic evidence of the fact that, indeed, he was.

Well, for you devoted Brent fans, Wednesday was the day. We had a few hours to kill before our flight home, so we walked to the National Gallery. I was a bit disappointed that my favorite paintings were not on display, but we managed so see some great things anyway. I was pretty tired and broken though and simply walking was a great struggle. This trip has definitely worn me out and as I sit here typing the tales my hip is still aching. We had a great time though, and I loved every moment of our visit. Still, I was happy to be reunited with Stella and get back to real life. One last thing--a special congratulations to Tim for being done with his tests and becoming a Fellow. Only another Fellow and his wife can truly appreciate what a burden has been borne to achieve this honor. We are happy for Tim, Christy, and soon-to-be baby Lily.

7 comments:

About Us said...

AWESOME! I love the Lincoln Memorial! I haven't been there in AGES! Glad you had a great time!

Christy said...

OH MY GOSH!! Our old apartment! Some fond and VERY smelly moments came to mind looking at that. Then there is Kim! Oh what wonderful memories and I'm so jealous that you got to see her!
I am seriously AMAZED at the pictures you took in DC. I love all of them!! Oh to have such talent! :)
I would seriously love to go back to DC with you sometime and see all those places and especially Kim. :)

Sara said...

Okay, first of all, you look adorable! I love your hair.

Second of all, Panera Bread is my favorite place to eat! Luckily, we have them here in Kansas or I might have had to move back to the East.

Third of all, I LOVE DC! When I lived in PA, DC was our temple and we went all the time. I just could not get enough of the National Mall and all the monuments. We even braved the Fourth of July on the National Mall one year...and believe me, once was enough! Yikes! Anyway, I loved all the pictures. The Jefferson Memorial is my favorite, so I'm glad you sacrificed your hip to snap some photos :)

John and Valerie said...

I loved seeing you guys! And thank you so much for taking some beautiful pictures of little Nellie.

Scarlet said...

Oh, Michelle... I'm such a sap. seeing those pictures of DC made me cry. Is that our appartment in Alexandria? I had so much fun living there with you and Christy and Lora.
You're so lucky to have visited suzy. I miss her terribly. and of course her children are beautiful. Have you seen their parents? Suzy and Micah are that couple that come in the picture frames so cute and so perfect.
(And I stand by the fact that baby
Elizabeth was named for me ^-^)
My favorite monument is the Jefferson Memorial, and the charry walk to it. I loved that. Lincoln is my second favorite.
Thanks for sharing your DC adventure. it was nice to see your pictures and reminiss for a little while. I'm glad you had fun.

Livi Lou Photography said...

aahhhh! I am sooo jealous! You look so stylish and I am dying over all your amazing pics!! We need to take a girls trip to DC and stay with my sister. Glad you all had so much fun!

Kristen said...

I'm a Brent fan! (and of course a Michelle fan too that's a given)