Thursday, February 22, 2018

Washington, D.C.

I have been trying to write this blog post for three days. I have organized and uploaded photos, thought about what to write and have sat down in my office to do it many times. Every time, I get interrupted. My boss needs something or the kids need something. Right now, Gwen is entertaining herself by playing the very highest notes on the piano over and over while Harris sits at her feet and watches her. This beautiful music will inspire me. I have 30 minutes before June gets off the bus. Let's do this.

Last Thursday, I took Gwen and Harris to the zoo with friends. It was an overcast and rainy day, but in the 50s, and after months of cold, it seemed like Bermuda to me. It reminded me of every winter semester I had at BYU. It would snow and be cold constantly, and then toward the end of the semester, spring would come and there would be a few weeks where I would wear a skirt and sandals around campus and feel like Bob in What About Bob? ("I'M SAILING!"), even though it was finals week and my sleep schedule had become non-existent and my previous 5 meals had been slices of cheese from a huge block I was finishing off before moving out of my apartment for the summer. The weather really affects me! Warm weather after a long winter makes me feel like I can do anything!


Gwen was waaaaaaaaaaaay more into the statues of animals than the real animals and that's where she spent the majority of her time.




On Saturday, we took June to swim lessons and then went directly from the YMCA to Washington, D.C. for President's Day weekend.


The Washington, D.C. temple is closing in March for two years while the Church renovates it, and we really wanted to attend the temple before it closed.

Plus, we really needed a weekend away. Dan works every day, comes home for dinner, helps to put kids to bed and then works late into the night while I go to bed early to rest up for Harris' early wake-up call. It's a good life we have, but we really needed to recharge.

I interned at DC the semester before I went on my mission. I love DC very much. The running joke over the weekend was how nostalgic and sentimental I was and how I couldn't prevent myself from mentioning my old DC life at every street corner, waxing poetic when walking by a restaurant I had eaten at or reporting the minute details of what time I would wake up in order to run to the monuments before work or my various important intern tasks of answering phones and sorting mail and giving the occasional tour of the Capitol building. I was reliving my glory days BIG time, and Dan would patiently listen until I could see the corners of his mouth curl up in a small smile when I would then realize that he was laughing at me because I had started to reminisce once again despite my many claims that this would be "my last story, I promise!"

He's a good sport.

We made decent time driving there, even though it was snowing the last hour or so. We brought audio books, and the girls enjoyed Stuart Little. Everyone began to be antsy toward the end, and just like many mothers before me, I tried to keep the peace by reminding everyone how much fun we were going to have at the indoor pool at the hotel that evening.

We arrived at the hotel, and the pool was under repair. And the TV was broken. Kind of a nightmare scenario.

We even got dressed up in our swimsuits and headed down to the pool when we saw the sign on the pool door. So, like many mothers before me, I attempted to salvage the situation by playing up how fun it would be to take baths in our swimsuits that night!


I don't know if anyone really bought into the garbage I was feeding them, but they humored me for a little bit.

After a semi-restful night in a hotel room with three kids, we got up and went to church.


If you're wondering why Gwen is in the pack and play and Harris isn't in the pack and play, the answer is I don't know.

We went to church, and it was a sweet experience. It was especially touching because the stake president there had died unexpectedly from carbon monoxide poisoning two weeks earlier, and there were many sweet tributes to him in the talks given. What a painful experience for a family and stake family to go through, and yet it was amazing to see how many lives he had touched in a positive way.

After church, we drove into DC and walked the national mall.

We decided to be really honest with ourselves what our kids could handle, and we determined that walking around outside was pretty much it. There are a million things Dan and I really wanted to do, but guided tours and the like would be torture for our crew and everyone else in the tour group.

Despite snow the day before and heavy rain the day after, the weather Sunday was great, and just walking around ended up being fantastic.

Jefferson.


Washington.


Vietnam.



White House!


Lincoln.


All of the monuments are great, but the Lincoln is always a spiritual experience for me. I love it.

Korea.



We also went to the MLK and FDR monuments, but I can't find my pictures for them. They were really cool, too.

And the last monument we saw was the WWII monument. Each member of our family took a picture with the pillar bearing his/her birth state's name on it.


 My Nevadans.


 My Florida girl.



My Joisey boy.


And little ol' me.


 It took about three hours, and by the end June was beyond tired. We only brought two single strollers, and she walked a ton. By the end, she was creative in hitching a ride on the stroller so she could rest.




And was a super champ because she managed to feed Harris while hitching said ride so that we didn't have to stop because our parking meter was up.


The next day, I was able to attend the temple early in the morning. 
It was jam packed due to its upcoming closure. It was awesome sitting in a completely full session at 7 a.m.

And while Dan took his turn, I took the kids to the visitor's center.


This was right after June shouted for the entire visitor's center to hear: "I THOUGHT THAT WAS THE REAL GOD!" referring to the Christus statue.




I have more to say, but no time left. "Done is better than perfect" has become my mantra the past year or so, so I will just settle for this and hope to do better next time.

The end.









Wednesday, February 14, 2018

V Day 2018

My kids love me. They looooooooooooooove me. They love me so much that all three of them were up at 2 AM to wish me a happy Valentine's Day. When I finally got back to bed at 4, I was super worn out from the love fest and slept in way too late.

But we still had to do our V Day traditions.

So we still whipped up pink heart pancakes and had the girls open their V day boxes to see what their grandparents had sent.


Hearts are a little hard for me to make. This next one turned out a little bit like an actual human heart. Educate your kids at every moment! That's what I always say.


Set up from the night before. We had had our usual busy Tuesday with multiple appointments, as well as a couple extra, and I almost forgot to set these out. Dan had the longest day of work known to man, and he banned me from making a path out of hearts from the girls' room to the kitchen because he just wanted to go to bed. It was a good choice.


And this morning:





I comforted myself on Valentine's Eve while eating a bag of treats June's yoga teacher had given her while giving a cynical chuckle at the note I found inside. Because I knew that eating her treats was not going to bring any peace to this household. Tuesdays around here are rough, man.


We packed up the valentines we made for June's classmates and teachers. June has 6 boys in her class and no girls, and she always call her classmates "my boys", which is darling. 




And then we got her and Gwen dressed in pink, purple and red, and I attempted to June's hair in a heart shape like I found on pinterest. This was a bad choice. Heart-hair is above my skill set. I kept messing up and kept asking June, "What if we just put a lot of pretty pink bows in your hair instead?" But she wasn't having it. I finally pulled off a simplified version that doesn't really resemble a heart, but she was satisfied.




Tonight, we will have the sister missionaries over for dinner, and I have planned more cutes-y V-day things for that which I will also not be able to pull off. I love the excitement of the challenge, the frustration at my own incompetence, followed by the desperation of time running out and, ultimately, total defeat and surrender. This is MY Pinterest life.

I'm also excited for Dan to come home with my chocolates this year. I have specifically placed an order with him for expensive chocolates. No Whitman's Sampler for me this year. Poor guy. He is the easiest to please and I'm the toughest to please. Hope he likes his coupon book. Some of them aren't even expired yet.

And now, time for the miscellany from the last week:


We banished ourselves to the Relief Society room for Stake Conference this past weekend. The kids did a lot better than they have in the past, and I only couldn't find someone one time. The conference had fantastic messages about becoming sons and daughters of Christ through his Atonement. The theme was Mosiah 5. Dan and I enjoyed studying the chapter together before conference and actually listening to most of conference as our children could spread out on the floor and draw and play with magnets.

Next--



I feel like I live at the grocery store. I've gotten into the terrible habit of heading to the store anytime we run out of anything. And then I buy even more stuff than the one thing I had intended to buy. So I'm trying to cut down on that. We went into this weekend knowing that we were soon to be out of bread and that we had to save the last few pieces for school lunches. We were out of cheese. Cheese. That's like being out of water. But we all agreed (to be fair, the kids have no idea what they are agreeing to) to just eat what we had. Which is why we toasted hot dog buns and put jelly on them to go with our Sunday meal.

More Snow Days from school means more schooling at home.


I made these worksheets where the girls had to circle the different letters I called out. June loved it. Gwen loved it for 3 minutes. That's about right, and I was satisfied.



June always wants to wear a bow in her hair when I do a french braid, and I try to talk her out of it because I think she looks like Mozart or a founding father or something.


Dan and I went to a work dinner and I wore a new sweater.




Not to sound like Ariel, but I don't go "where the people are" very much, and in these situations, I often find myself silently chanting my Scotty Smalls from The Sandlot mantra, "Don't be a goofus. DON'T be a goofus." I hope I succeeded.

And finally, welcome to the Jolley Family Gym. Childcare provided! As in, we provide it while we work out. A few mornings a week, Dan and I try to get up and work out before our kids get up. But they usually come down and find us anyway and we are all together for more family fun! Can you spot Harris?


The End.