Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanks for Thanksgiving


Wasn't that weekend fantastic? I know how much I loved it. Sometimes, you need a weekend to do nothing. I feel like I really needed that.

I made rolls and pie crusts with my mother-in-law Wednesday, and Thursday we all went over to a friend's house for Thanksgiving. Layne and I brought over baked brie, but otherwise the whole thing was just taken care of for us. Yet another thing to be thankful for! Friday I set out to lie around the house the whole day and that was precisely what I did. My efforts were largely helped by ABC Family's Harry Potter marathon. It was nothing short of marvelous.

Saturday we saw Frozen and spent time visiting friends. It was another great day to just relax. We did spend an hour or two shopping since the movie theater was connected to the mall, but save for a few stocking stuffers we skipped the Black Friday madness.

I hope your Thanksgiving weekend was as pleasant a kick off to the holiday season as it was for me!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I am Thankful

Tomorrow I will be busy feasting on turkey and enjoying my time with family and friends. So today, I wanted to take the time to express some of what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for Layne. I know at some time in my life I must have done things without him, but I swear I can't remember how. I am thankful for his continuous support, patience, and love, and I am grateful that I have found someone who loves me for me. I am thankful for all the ways he challenges me to grow and become a better person and the hundreds of times each day he makes me laugh.

I am thankful for my job. This new job has given me heightened confidence in my abilities and a renewed vigor. I love going to work each day at a place I love and feeling as though I am making a true contribution to the overall mission of the organization. I love being a part of a team.

I am thankful for my home. It may be a tiny 600 sq ft apartment from the mid-century with no A/C, and I can hear my neighbors talk and smell the weird foods they cook, but it's mine. It is safe and it is clean and it is exactly where I want to be when I want to go home.

And I am thankful for my friends and family. The people I talk to and laugh with and enjoy when I need a moment of respite from the rest of the world. Thank you for confiding in me and loving me.

That is my life. It's small and simple, but there's room for everything I need and love. I am thankful for all that I have, and for my happiness.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bedroom Mood Board

I shared the mood board for my family room last week. While my family room was a matter of switching out some throw pillows, a few frames, and the curtains, the bedroom was a little more detailed. I mean... My dressers were turquoise. And we had three of them. So...

Here's a look at the mood board for my new bedroom! I didn't post the dressers because I have a surprise ready with them.

I'm actually really excited for these changes. It's kind of an Old Hollywood feel, don't you think? I just wish I could paint my apartment... I would paint the walls that ice blue and it would be the perfect final touch. Instead, they are blah oatmeal and will be until the end of time. Boo!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Favorite Friday: Ahh...Thanksgiving

I seriously do love Thanksgiving. Even more so since marrying Layne, since it is his all time favorite holiday. In light of the pending feast, I wanted to talk about my favorite thing about Thanksgiving.

My favorite thing has definitely evolved through the years. When I was a little girl, flipping through catalogs and circling toys I wanted for Christmas topped my list as the best part of the day. I never ended up getting any of those presents, but it never dampened my enthusiasm for turning through each magazine, page by page. I would lay on my stomach for hours as my sister Jenny and I would pass back and forth every Black Friday ad we could find.

As I got a little older, I liked helping to set the table. My mom would make place cards, and Jen and I would bicker over who should sit where as if it were just as important as the meal itself. Those fights got heated at times, but despite the fighting, we always placed our names next to each other in the end.

Now that I'm older, I have realized how much I enjoy being a part of the cooking on Thanksgiving. Something about everyone in the family piling into the kitchen with a specific task to help make the meal a success brings such a warmth to the day. It really kicks off the holiday season. And being a part of all those smells coming together makes the meal itself that much better!

I can't wait for Thanksgiving this next week! What do you love most about the day?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Family Room Mood Board

I've been wanting to share my family room mood board for a while now. When Layne broke my heart and told me that he did not absolutely love the home I had slaved to put together for him, I had to re-think everything. This is what I came up with.

It's a lot of the basic elements that I already had, just minus the navy and pink and green. Now it's black and white and silvers and golds. I learned that Layne prefers neutrals and elegant, so hopefully I can build in that direction!

I've begun work on the room and some things have already changed from this plan, but these were my initial thoughts when I started this whole mad journey. I have to admit, I already like it so much more!

What do you think?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Best Advice

Back in September, Layne and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. I honestly can't believe that it has been three years already! I feel like every day I'm just hanging out with my best friend and the weeks, months, and years are just flying by in waves of laughter and really good food.

I guess three years is enough time for people to assume we have the hang of this thing. It's true that I have been sad to see some of my friend's marriages fall away in less time, and while we certainly haven't always had smooth sailing and wedded bliss, we've managed to pull through even the darkest hours. And honestly, we're happier than ever because of it. We're more open with each other and truly understand each other. We take care of each other, and we can do so because we know what the other person needs.

The other day, a newlywed asked me for my best marriage advice. It was the first time someone had deliberately asked me for general advice on a happy marriage, and it took a while for me to articulate my thoughts. I definitely feel that every couple is different and everyone learns something unique to them at different times.

That being said, the biggest lesson Layne and I have learned over our time together is to throw away the expectations for a white picket fence. Accept the other person for who they are right now, today. Not who they have the potential to be someday, or who you want them to be for you. The most you can expect from your significant other is that they continually try their best to love you and you do the same in return. You're a team, and you're both trying your best. Life can be really hard sometimes. Dreaming of a better tomorrow will only get you so far. You have to learn to be happy with your present, and you have to work as a team. Isn't it better to have a shoulder to lean on than to just have someone to point the finger of blame at?

Not to trivialize it, but Layne's first instinct will most likely never be to put his dish in the dishwasher right away. Love him to death, but it's just not his priority. It's mine, because I have major OCD that necessitates a clean house. And Layne knows that, and so he'll try to put his dishes away or at least bring them to the sink from the table.  And it's my job in turn to not flip my lid as I clear dirty dishes from the table day in and day out, potentially year in and year out. I have to trust that he's working on it, and he deserves to trust that I will give him that benefit of the doubt.

This has taught us both so much patience, so much acceptance, and heightened our abilities to forgive. It has allowed us to discuss the things we need to work on without feeling judged or getting defensive, which only leads to fights. Every day I get to focus on the progress we have made as a couple. I feel supported and cared for. And if (when) I mess up and I'm careless and I hurt him, I know that tomorrow we'll start over and he will already have forgiven me and let me try again.

So now I'm curious - how long have you been married, and what's your best advice from what you've learned in that time? If you're not married, what have your past relationships taught you?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Apple Festival

As I mentioned here, we went up to Philly for Layne's Birthday Week. We've been up to visit Thorn and JoAnna before, but this time we were able to squeeze in a few hours with our friend Joe as well, who is usually way too cool for us because he's in med school or some such nonsense.

When we got to Thorn and JoAnna's, we decided to get out of the city itself for the day and enjoy the Pennsylvania countryside at an Apple Festival. We drove to the middle of nowhere, got a little lost, made JoAnna car sick, and then suddenly ran into this massive crowd of apparent apple lovers. It was the sweetest little town, and this Apple Festival was no small potatoes farmer's market.

There was apple tasting, apple butter, apple syrup, apple sauce, apple cider. There was also an apple pie eating contest. We entered Layne and Thorn, but it was a lottery and only Thorn was selected. He really tucked in and received a very honorable Honorable Mention.

We finished up the day by meeting up with Joe. We all went out to dinner at a hibachi restaurant right on the water. All in all, it was a fantastic way to end Birthday Week!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America

That's right. This weekend, we rocked a monastery. We went because Andrew heard about it on the radio and it had catacombs and how cool does that sound?

Way, way, way cooler than it actually was.

The monk who gave us the tour droned on. And on. And... oooooooon. The tour was supposed to be 45 min. It was an hour and half! And it ended up being of the church as well as the catacombs, so the first hour was just spent going through this Catholic church as he described every detail about every single stained glass window, wood carving, and bas relief. And then he would throw in a few Biblical stories that he felt might somehow be slightly related to the story that was actually being depicted. It probably would have been a little more interesting if I was Catholic...

When we finally got to the catacombs, our excitement was at an all time high. Those hopes were quickly dashed. Little did we know, they were just a modern replica of the catacombs in Rome, made entirely of plaster and cement. It was another half an hour of slowly walking through rooms with no dead bodies, skulls, bones - nothing!

The afternoon was only salvaged because while we were waiting for the tour to begin we spent some time in the gardens and they were beautiful, so that's the part I'm sharing with you.

Absolutely amazing fall colors.

They had this really pretty dome thing - not sure what it was about.

And some arches by a rose garden. It had rained earlier, so they were still dripping.

They had this tomb down in the lower gardens, and a really cool statue of a saint up on a wall.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Favorite Friday: Thing About Fall

My favorite thing about fall is a total toss up, so I'm just going to list two. It's my game, so I can make and break the rules as I want - right?

1 - The leaves. Am I right here, people? I loved watching the leaves change on the mountainside in Utah, but Virginia takes fall to a whole new level. If you've never been out here, you may not realize that the famous D.C. humidity makes everything lush and green. The highways are lined with forests - not trees, but overgrown, tangled, walls of forest. And when fall comes, those forests separate into sudden, bright, individual trees of sunny yellow, burning orange, and brilliant red. There are trees throughout the whole city, and because the city is so old (the street I live on has been around since at least 1860) all the trees are mature and solid and they each drop millions of leaves. It's paradise.

2 - The clothes. This is by no means a fashion blog, but I have to admit that I love switching over my closet for the seasons. I tuck away the polos and pull out my sweaters, snuggling into their warm softness and rejoicing! Scarves, gloves, coats, cardigans - I can wear them all again! I miss certain outfits when they're in storage, and for the first little bit of fall I get to enjoy my wardrobe anew.

What's you favorite thing about the season's change?

P.S. Don't miss my other post about what we love about fall! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Baby Sister as a Blushing Bride

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for... Mrs. Jenny Free!

I am by no means a pro photographer, but I tagged along for the bridal session and managed to get in some okay shots between fluffing the dress and teasing strands of hair to fall just so. It helped that the scenery was GORGEOUS. Welcome to American Fork Canyon, people. I miss those mountains so dang much. Too bad we otherwise aren't fans of Utah!

Jenny's dress definitely pulls on my heartstrings. Our great grandma made it in 1952 for our grandma's wedding in 1953. Then our mom wore it when she married our dad. Jen pulled it out of storage, gave it a few quick updates, and made it her own. Three generations of brides in one beautiful, handmade, heirloom dress.

Keeping with the heirloom theme, Jen wore this Navy locket from our great-grandpa, and Trevor wore a tie clip from our grandpa, the husband of the dress's original owner. Jen's custom ring really completed the look with its vintage design.

 But seriously... these mountains...

Cute candid - ooohhhh! They love each other!

Here's to a happily ever after for my baby sister and the wonderful man she married.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fall with the Fletcher's

I thought I better share my favorite bits of fall before the winter weather truly sets in. While I hate to put away my sundresses, there is a large part of me that shivers with excitement at the idea of pumpkin treats and spice cake, Thanksgiving turkey and tying a scarf around my neck. I know I'll be kicking myself come February for ever enjoying the dropping temperatures, but I can't help but enjoy the falling leaves.

As it grows colder, the Fletcher's become even bigger couch potatoes. We love to curl up and sip hot chocolate with white, pillowy, mountains of whipped cream. And then a little bit more whipped cream. Just to top it off. We're all about scary movies and popcorn and lots and lots of blankets.

When we go out, we try to soak up the last little bit of decent weather. I never fail to feel a smile steal across my face as I watch the falling gold and orange leaves dance through the air to the ground. And the sound of them crunching underneath my boots is potentially the most satisfying noise in the world.

A few weeks ago, I dragged Layne to a combo pumpkin patch/apple orchard in the countryside. As you can see, the rolling hills of Virginia were gorgeous.

Amy, Andrew, and Emma came with us and we attempted a little photo shoot, but Emma was not having it after about two seconds.

What an adorable brat, right?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Favorite (um?) Friday: Book

Ok... blogger fail. I do recognize that it is now Tuesday, but I couldn't not put this up just because I missed Friday last week somehow!

I wanted to tell you about my favorite book. Well, one of them at least. I LOVE reading, and pretty much fall in love with any book that I'm reading at the moment. I can't help it! I get sucked in and even as I close the book, my mind remains cocooned in the pages of some far off, fictional place and I imagine what the characters are doing and thinking and saying between point A and point B. When I was younger, I used to walk around with a book in one hand and my nose shoved into the pages, breathing in the smell of ink and glue that always sang of possibility and hope to me. Reading can transport you anywhere in the world and you can experience things beyond your own imagination. You can crawl into other people's minds and explore times and places that would otherwise remain mysteries. But I don't mean to wax romantic about reading...

One of the last books, that I really, really, REALLY loved was The Book Thief. And, yes, I read it like five years ago, and, yes, you have probably read it by now because everyone and their mother has had it recommended to them, but if there is any chance that you have not read it yet then GO. NOW. The movie just came out, and I think we can all agree that you must read the book before you see the movie because the book is always better.

The Book Thief follows the story of an orphan girl during WWII and it is narrated by Death. It is fantastically written with the most beautiful and poetic descriptions and even though He tells you what is going to happen from the beginning you don't realize it until it is too late and then you're sobbing for your friends on these pages and begging for things to be different. But they can't be, because that was life and fate and even when it's terrible and tragic, it is incredibly exquisite. Plus, I have a thing for WWII books. The characters are always fantastically strong and I think it is because the people of that time were truly strong people.

I'll leave you with the preview to the movie, just in case I haven't convinced you yet. But seriously. Do yourself a favor and just read it.

Monday, November 4, 2013


We do birthdays big around here.

(Well, Layne's birthday anyway. I have always hated my birthday because it's smack dab in the middle of December and everyone is always so busy with the holidays, and then in school we always had finals, and my mom just had me celebrate it a month later in January with my little sister's birthday so I have no real connection with the day itself.)

But back to... Layne's Birthday Week. If you think 28 is too old to still be making a fuss out of your birthday, you are kidding yourself. I ADORE Birthday Week! I've been in charge of it since we've been married and at the beginning of October I begin badgering Layne with gift ideas and to make a  list of restaurants for us to try, etc. We even bought a Birthday Menorah (one candle for every day of the week, and one to grow on!) We partied hard all last week, so here is one giant recap for you!

Saturday - Coffee cake and bacon for breakfast. Mini shopping spree at the Leesburg Outlets and through Georgetown. We went to a French restaurant for dinner called Bistrot du Coin where the bartender spilled beer on us and we both sent back our entrees because they were totally gross. The appetizers were ok, but we stopped at Wendy's on the way home and ended up having foie gras and chicken nuggets for dinner. #FoodieFail

Sunday - FOOTBALL was the theme of the day. We did our usual Sunday Steak Night and watched the heartbreaking game and tried a new brie and took it pretty easy. I made lemon bars from scratch to redeem myself from some recent kitchen blunders and Layne loved them. So even though the Skins lost, I consider the day a "W."

Monday - Got rescheduled for this week. 

Tuesday - Our Halloween celebrations always squeeze their way into Birthday Week, and this time was no different! We went to our ward Halloween party as the Ratatouille cast. The ward mission was hosting and we're ward missionaries, so we spent the whole party helping kids pop balloons and pin the face on the pumpkin. Afterward, we got peking duck, which had been on the list for a while and did not disappoint!

Wednesday - BIRTHDAY DAY!!! This is usually the day Layne gets his biggest gift, but we're still waiting on it this year. I got him a new iPad. We repeated at The Palm again for Birthday Dinner, but it was so good last year, how could we not?

Thursday - As scary movie lovers, we finally watched the original Halloween together for the first time. We also gorged ourselves on candy. I <3 candy like a small child.

Friday - Layne hit the town with his friends to watch the Wizards home opener. Sadly, they blew it in the fourth and Layne was let down by another Washington team, but the company and wings were good enough to save the night.

Saturday - A trip up to Philly! I'll recap that in a separate post.

Now Birthday Week is over and I'm so sad! I really love making every day into something special.

What are your birthday traditions?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Birthday Shoutout

We are deep in the thick of birthday week and celebrations, but I had to emerge to wish this guy a happy birthday.

What a stud.  <3 xoxo

Friday, October 25, 2013

Favorite Friday: Horror Movie

I've decided to launch a new initiative on my blog. We'll call it "Favorite Friday." (I'll hold for applause and shouts of elation.)

Basically, I'll just highlight my favorite "fill-in-the-blank" every Friday! Any ideas, suggestions, or requests are welcome and encouraged.

Since it's only October for a little while longer, I thought I'd start with my favorite scary movie. I should start by saying that I begin making my scary movie list in August and save them all up for October. And because Layne and I are such homebodies, we buy a movie off Vudu or Amazon Prime pretty much every night and gorge ourselves on horror. And while I enjoy a lot of them, a few really do stand out. I love a good Hitchcock, like Rear Window or Psycho. I recently watched Scream for the first time and it was terrifically suspenseful.

But - my absolute favorite scary movie, or in fact series of scary movies - are the Paranormal Activity movies.

 Oh. My. Gosh. They are absolutely spine chilling. They're the perfect movies to make your skin crawl and you just want to yell and point at the screen and you are truly insane if you watch them alone. I own the first three, so if you're close by feel free to borrow them. If not, hit a RedBox and get into the spirit of the season!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Little Baby Emma

My friend Amy asked me to take pictures of her little baby girl before she was born. I was incredibly honored, but even more terrified! I don't take pictures of people, and I did not want the responsibility of once-in-a-lifetime photos! The day I took pictures was a little too cloudy, but I tried my best to deal with the low lighting and get some decent shots of the most beautiful baby you have ever seen. It has been more than a few months now, but here are some of the shots from back in April. I know they could be so much better, but I thank Amy for taking a gamble on me and letting me be a part of such a special event in Emma's life.

It's belated, but welcome to the world Emma Louise Harrison!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Drumroll, please!

Remember a few weeks ago (ok, waaaaaay back in August) when I said exciting things were headed our way? Well, it's time to share!

In the summer, we started thinking about what direction we were moving in. We love D.C., we liked our jobs, we were happy. But it had this indefinite feeling. We could have gone on forever just as things were. And while things were good, they could be better. We'd love to own a home one day and stop renting, we'd like our kids to have a yard, and I want to take some time off when those kids come along. So, we made a decision.

Layne and I are both changing course.

He has decided to go back to school next year and get his MBA! He's been in consulting for the past few years but he's just not sure if that's the career path for him. He's always wanted to get his MBA, and now seems a great time to hit the reset button. So he has begun studying for the GMAT.

I decided that if I might be taking a career break in a few years to pop out some adorable Fletcher babies, I wanted to get as much experience as possible. So, I got a new job! I have officially been in my new position for a week. My last job was in communications at a high-tech trade association. I don't think a single person in my family understands what this means. Basically, I worked for an advocacy organization (read: lobby shop), doing their communications like design, social media, traditional public relations and media outreach, and about a thousand other little things. I'm switching to another lobby shop (you can't escape working in something political in D.C.), but this one focuses on intelligent transportation. And instead of traditional communications, I will be doing event marketing! I am really, really, really excited for this change! (Plus, I'm like a total adult now. I have an office with a door and windows and everything.)

Yay for planning for the future! This is what it feels like to be a grown up, huh?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

What do you do?


When you're young, they make it sound so easy. They boil it down to three simple words: Choose The Right. They inscribe those three little letters on an adjustable ring that will turn your finger green and leave an even longer lasting impression on your mind. It's a lifeline when you're lost. So deeply a part of you that no matter the question, it is the first answer that comes to mind.

But when you grow up, some things aren't as clean cut. Not everything is right and wrong, black and white. There is a lot of gray. And right now I'm standing in a silver, paralyzing fog.

I'm in this situation - I don't really want to get into the details - but this crazy situation that I can't seem to make heads nor tails of. There is no right. A lot of wrong has been done. But how do I make it right from here? Fight for justice, or turn the other cheek? Do I keep pushing for others who may be put in a similar tight spot somewhere down the line, or do I take the paltry penance that has been offered and begin to pull myself back together? When you have been so deeply wronged, what do you do? What is right?

All I know at this point is that I need to be able to look myself in the eye at the end of this, integrity in tact. I need peace.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

That Dude is One Tough Mudder

That's right. I'm talking about that total stud, my husband, Layne Fletcher.

The team - my heroes.
A few months ago, Layne did the Tough Mudder in West Virginia. It was probably the sexiest thing I have ever seen him do. It was 10-12 miles through the hilly countryside, the course slick with mud and strewn with about 20 obstacles to basically just screw you over and wear you out as much as possible. Climbing and swimming through the mud,  crawling on your belly through tubes half-filled with water, scrambling over wooden walls, under barbed wire, through electric shocks, and everyone's favorite challenge - the Arctic Enema. This course is so challenging and shocking to your body, someone actually died on the course the day before Layne competed.

Into the ice bath, the Arctic Enema.
Jumping over fire.

Climbing Everest (Ninja Warrior, anyone?)
Getting electrocuted.

Did I mention that it was about 60 degrees and you basically are wet the whole time from all the mud and water obstacles?

And he did it. All of it. So sexy, right?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Off the Wagon

I know, I know.

I fell off the blogging wagon.


I keep trying this blogging thing and then I keep letting it fall away. I have ideas on what to write about; I guess I just sometimes feel like maybe nobody cares. And it's not that I'm offended if nobody cares about my little, inconsequential life. It's just that because nobody cares, then what does it matter if I get around to blogging or not? It's time consuming. It's hard to feel inspired and find the time. It can be challenging to know where to draw the line on what to share while still being honest. My life isn't all sunshine and roses and I don't want to create that illusion, but the world wide web isn't exactly the proper place to have a full on "woe is me" moment either. My life is pretty good, but it also has some crappy bits. Overall, I'm ecstatically happy because for the most part I have my dad's sunny outlook on life, and because I married the most amazing guy ever who makes me just gush with love every single day (yes, I am disgusting).

So, maybe... what do you want to know? What do you like to read about? I've done recipes, and daily life, and random thoughts in my head, and photo shoots, home decor and crafts, or just highlights when we do something fun or something happens... But what do you want to read about most? If I feel like I'm actually catering to an audience with a purpose, maybe I'll write more.

Or... maybe not. Worth a shot though, right?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Three Amazing Years

Taking the day off from blogging to celebrate three amazing years with the man of my dreams. I love you, Layne Fletcher (so much... too much).

Photo by the incredible Sanae James.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Navy Yard Shooting

It is always frightening when someone opens fire on the general public. It is more frightening when it is in your own backyard. I tried to pacify myself by recognizing that I work in Northwest D.C. and the Navy Yard is in the Southeast, but the District is only a few miles wide. It put a definite chill in my veins today to think about potentially two lose gunmen around any corner.

While the news reports are still twisting and contorting as they worm their way toward the truth, I just wanted to take a second to recognize today's fallen. Be safe everyone.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

RIP Navy

Guys. My whole life just flipped upside down. I was floating along so blindly, just trying to buy some pink craft paint and then - BAM. All my dreams, dashed in an instant.

Perhaps I'm being a tad dramatic, but the whole color scheme of my home is at stake here. I just learned that Layne does not like bright colors.



SET! As in dresser, highboy, vanity, and matching mirror. I painted it LAST SUMMER. And he just sat there, letting me do it. Letting me decorate my home exactly as I pleased without expressing his alternate opinion for even a moment. What madness is this?!

While it is very sweet that he lets me do whatever I want, I just can't continue living this lie. I want my husband to come home to his home as well as mine. I want him comfortable and loving it, not existing in it without opinion. Equality is a pillar of our marriage; I think it should extend to everything.

So, I marched him straight to Pinterest and we went through pages of bedrooms and living rooms and I made him point out to me which rooms he liked and specifically what he liked in each of them. In conclusion, the geometric prints and bright colors have gots to go. Welcome to my life, Neutrals! So long Navy, Pink, Green, Turquoise, and Orange! (Now that I list those colors, I actually feel a little overwhelmed myself...) I am actually pretty excited for this new adventure in decorating. Layne and I have a surprising amount of overlap in our tastes, so there's no reason not to go full force. I have never stayed neutral, so this is a big step.  We're breaking into whole new territory here! Wish me luck my friends. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Today, We Remember

I don't really seem to have it in me today to explain what this day means to me. I am tired and sad and nostalgic. My mom told me that a boy a few years younger than me from my church at home died this morning. He had been battling cancer for months, and while we all knew he couldn't hold out much longer and I am glad his pain is over, it seems almost cruel to mar this day with another tragedy. 

I was in sixth grade in 2001. Just on the cusp of teenage angst, but holding onto my childhood as it seeped away, cupping the last of it like water in my hands. I was zipping my backpack, waiting for the horn to signal the carpool mom outside, when my dad walked in the house shouting, "The towers have been hit." I was too young to know what in the world he was talking about, to understand how the burning buildings on the screen would change me. But that was the moment where the last vestiges of my childhood slipped away and I realized we aren't as safe as we assume. The world is a scary place outside the circle of my mom's arms. That was my tipping point, when I knew I was growing up. I had to.

As I have reflected on 9/11 over the years, my reaction is always the same. A lump forms in my throat, tears sting my eyes, and my chest feels hollow and heavy simultaneously. But it took on new meaning when I moved to Arlington. I drive past the Pentagon almost daily. I tunneled under it on the metro today. I see the massive building, the swarms of people who work there, and I think... it's too much.

We can't live every day focused on the reality that we live in a cruel world. I read somewhere once that humans need to live embracing a certain amount of denial or we would constantly be paralyzed with the fear of the dangers around us. But today, we remember. I remember, and I pray for the safety of my family, and those who risk their lives to protect us, and I thank God for this nation that I am so proud of, so grateful to be a part of. I hope you carry a prayer in your heart today, too.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

We Missed the Cherry Blossoms!

On my blogging, um, hiatus (we'll call it that instead of a batch of extreme laziness), cherry blossom season happened. Cherry blossom season is nothing short of magical. If you have never seen our National Monuments sprouting from the thousands of blossoms of pale, pale pink, you have never seen beauty. I loved it so much last year that this year I actually took a vacation day so I could start taking photos at sunrise and walk the whole Mall. It is my favorite thing about living in D.C.

Get ready for a photo heavy post!

This should show you how dumb the National Parks Service is. Right before prime tourist season, they begin work reinforcing the Monument, visible from basically every spot in D.C. Hence, all my shots are in silhouette.

Look at just how thin the blossom leaves are - they are so incredibly delicate!  The wind blows, and petals dance in the air on the way to the ground.

The blossoms grow in clumps and feel so soft they could melt away in your hand,

I loved how still the Tidal Basin was all morning, before the paddle boaters are out.

By the time I made it around the Basin, the sun had fully risen.

01 09 10