Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm leaving on a jet plane...

In about 1 day from now I'll be on my way to Colorado.  All our worldly possessions are on a large truck , somewhere between here and there. Jack and Leo are driving out right now, and the baby and I are flying there on Tuesday. What an adventure!
I can't help but feel nostalgic about the 4 wonderful years we've spent here in the DC area. I have felt more at home here, than any other place we've lived. I love the history, art, and energy of this area.

I will miss our lovely suburban neighborhood in Virginia, our kind neighbors, and all the dear friends we have made here. I will miss the spectacular Spring and Fall seasons- when every plant is blooming with flowers, or ablaze in color. I will miss the lakes, the trails, and the numberless trees. I will miss fireflies in July, the famous cherry blossoms, dogwoods, and azaleas in Spring.

There have been so many times, when driving into the city, that I have caught a glimpse of the Washington Monument, or the Capitol Building, or the Lincoln Memorial... and it literally takes my breath away.  I almost have to pinch myself... "I can't believe we LIVE here!"  We've been to the White House, The Library of Congress, the Capitol Building, and to every national monument. We've spent time in every Smithsonian- the Air and Space, the American History, the National Galleries of Art...  there is so much to see and do.

It has been such a delight. I feel honored to have lived here, to have experienced Washington DC and so much of what she has to offer. This place will always hold a very special place in my heart.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Farewell, Dear Friends

This is always the hardest part.

We have made some wonderful friends here in the DC/Virginia area over the last 4 years, and we knew it would be hard to say goodbye. We will miss our neighborhood, our ward, and all of our dear friends.

We had a potluck at our house tonight- just two days before the movers come. We cleaned out our fridge, and had our own version of Iron Chef- getting creative and trying to make something tasty.The weather was cool enough that we could sit outside, and enjoy the day. It was so fun to spend time with everyone, and watch the kids play together.

The kids played on the swing, and chased each other around the house. They raced fire trucks down the driveway, and looked for bugs in the grass.  It was so fun to watch Leo playing with all his friends. I know he will miss them very much.

 Lena had fun bouncing in her bouncer.

 Leo and Ben racing their fire trucks.

As it started to get dark, and kids bedtimes got closer, people started packing up to leave. I didn't want the party to end, and I didn't want to start saying our goodbyes...

More Miracles

Lena's life has been full of miracles. I posted about some of them earlier, but there have been even more!

Normally an adoption is finalized after 6 months. That is the law. Unless there is "just cause" to finalize early. We didn't realize that until our attorney contacted us a week ago and said that because we were moving to Colorado we could petition the court to finalize before our move. "Do you want to finalize early?" he asked?  YES, yes we do.

So we wrote up a letter, and he submitted our petition to the judge. She approved it, and our court date was set for 6 days later.  So last Thursday, June 19th, we finalized our adoption! An amazingly 2 months early. We were so thrilled. It really was a miracle that just dropped right into our laps. Wow.
Wow. Wow.

We celebrated with Mexican food.

We decided to do Lena's sealing and baby blessing here, before our move. We set the date just two days after our finalization.  Saturday, June 21st at 7pm.  (Summer Solstice!)

We only had a few days to plan, which meant my family wasn't able to fly out here for it- but we were delighted to have all our amazing friends surrounding us.  JD Evans from our ward, was our sealer, and Norm VanDam helped check us in at the desk. Everywhere we looked we saw familiar faces of friends who have been our family for the last 4 years. It was so special.

The Washington DC temple is magnificent. And we loved that it was cool and cloudy outside- which made for some great family photos.

Lena looked radiant in her little white dress. She smiled and looked up at Daddy the whole time. Leo was cute too- all dressed in white, like a little gentleman. Jack and I were so happy, so excited, and feeling so grateful for all the miracles that had made these things possible.

Our forever family.

On Sunday Jack gave Lena her baby blessing. He explained why her middle name is "Love"" and said that she will be a beacon of light and love throughout her life.

Our precious Lena. Our miracle baby. We love her with all our hearts, and are so grateful to be an eternal family. My heart is overflowing with gratitude. Praise God!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Summer Fun

Today was the perfect summer Saturday.  It was awesome!

It started with an essential oil cooking class and Brunch. A lot of people from my doTERRA team came, and we had a great time learning about how to cook with essential oils. We had perfect weather, and all the food was delicious!

Nassera is from France, and she taught us some great recipes using essential oils.

This was my last Team Event here in Virginia, so it was bittersweet. It was hard to say goodbye, but it was also wonderful to think about how large our team has grown over the last 3 years. (We now have over 1000 people, all over the U.S., and around the world!) And to think that it all started with that first class at Little River Yoga.  I made a lot of phone calls to set up a class, and got a lot of "no"s, but I got one "yes" and a huge part of my team came because of people that enrolled at that first class. I cherish the relationships I have made with all of these wonderful women and men on my team- it is such a privilege to work with them, and to be sharing these amazing gifts of the Earth. I am so blessed.

After our brunch the Hansens came down from DC, and we went to our pool. We barbecued some chicken, and ate potato salad and corn on the cob. The kids swam for hours, played on the adjacent playground, and munched on watermelon. Rebecca, Mike, Jack and I chatted poolside, and got in to swim a few times too. The weather was perfect (not too humid) and there was a slight breeze. It was the perfect summer day.

 We have spent a lot of time in this cute little baby pool over the last 4 summers- Leo was just 6 months old when we first moved here!  Now Lena is 4 months old- so she loves it too.

They had a bounce house set up this weekend, so the boys enjoyed some bounce time.  This photo makes Leo look like an amputee.

After the fun at the pool we returned to our house, where Jack built a little campfire in our fire pit. We roasted marshmallows, and then dipped them in toppings:  chocolate chips, graham cracker crumbs, caramel sauce, chopped nuts, etc.  Yum! We decided that we could never go back to plain old s'mores again.

Rebecca and Mike. Aren't they cute? 

We put up the baby swing in our tree, and Lena got to swing for the first time. She loved it.

As the sun began to set, we reflected on our fun summer day and didn't want it to end.  We leave for Colorado soon, and this will definitely stand out as one of our very favorite memories of our last summer in Virginia.  *sniff*

Monday, June 9, 2014

She Found Her Feet! (4 months old)

Lena is 4 months old! This last week she has found her feet, and she LOVES to play with them. She has also found her voice- and loves to screech and babble as loud as she can! 

She is sleeping through the night now (hooray!) and her naps are getting longer, so she's up longer in-between naps too. And today... on her 4 month birthday- she rolled over onto her stomach for the first time! We were at the Hansen's house, and she was laying on their futon when she rolled onto her side. Then she just rolled over, but her arm was pinned underneath her body. She struggled and grunted for about 2 minutes, until she finally got the arm out, and was fully on her stomach. I put her on the floor and she proceeded to roll over two more times- much more quickly this time, and was able to get her arm out more easily. She figured it out!

 Lots of changes at the 4 month mark.

Here are some more of our favorite photos from this month.  She gets cuter and cuter every day.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Day Trip to Baltimore

 We drove up to Baltimore on Saturday and had a really fun day. We started at the National Aquarium, which we went to a few years ago. Leo enjoyed it much more this time. He loved the sharks and rays the best.  He also like the funny little puffins.


My favorite is always the jellyfish display. (Which is ironic because when I've seen them on some of our scuba dives, I do NOT like them. Jellyfish stings really hurt)  But behind glass- I love them. I think they are so beautiful, so ethereal, and surreal looking. I could watch them for hours.

The water front in Baltimore is a lovely area. Jack and Leo bought tickets to tour 4 historic ships in the harbor. Their favorite was the submarine. Leo thought the torpedoes were pretty cool.

We ate lunch at a crab place right on the water. Jack was in heaven!  (That man LOVES crabs)  He got the crab cakes, which Maryland is famous for.    (We were sitting under a red awning, so we are all looking pretty rosy in these photos)

Lena napped in the stroller. But Leo was pretty sleepy too. He crashed as soon as we got in the car. He slept the whole way home.  Later that evening we went to our neighborhood pool, and swam for two hours.  It was pretty much the perfect Saturday! Hooray for Summer!