Sunday, July 26, 2009

A weekend with the Presidents

I know, I spend a lot of weekends doing things that have to do with past presidents. BUT, this one is significant because I finally got to go to Mount Vernon!!!

But first, on Friday, we went to the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum after class! I spent A LOT of time in the Hall of the Presidents, where they had really cool, different portraits of every president, but sometimes there were two. The LBJ was memorable because it was modern and picassoish. Kind of weird. But I loved it. I have really learned to love wandering around art museums and commenting on the sculptures and art. Rachelle taught me about that. We also spent a lot of time in the modern art exhibit-- I love that stuff because it's just so different. I love it when artists take random materials like cans or TVs or men's neckties and make something cool out of them. And there was this weird alphabet thing with a keyboard that you could actually type on. We all typed our names and they were on the artwork for a second-- until they were replaced with other people's names.

After museums, we went home to nap. I don't know what my problem was, but my last couple weeks in DC I was SO tired, ALL THE TIME. But anyway, after resting up, we all went to Rosslyn for the weekly outdoor 80's movie. That week it was "Short Circuit." To sum up: dumbest movie ever. It was kind of funny sometimes, but it was so ridiculous that we couldn't really even laugh at it being dumb. You know, like some old movies are dumb but kind of charming so you like them anyway? This movie wasn't even like that. And we sat there, the whole movie, just trying to figure out what the target audience would have been. Seriously, the movie was about a robot who came to life somehow and escaped the laboratory, then tried to convince this girl that he was actually a living thing. And then, somehow, the scientist dude and the girl fall in love, and then run away with the robot to save it's "life." So it seems like it would have been a kid's movie. BUT, there were all sorts of random dirty jokes and innuendoes. Couldn't figure it out.

The next morning I got up early to go to the Eastern Market. I know, I have discussed my love for that place already. But I'll say it again. I love that place. We waited in line for a good hour, I got my delicious and delectable french toast with pecans, ate it way too fast, and then ran back to the metro to meet Aunt Judy and Uncle Kerry, who were in town for the weekend.

I met up with them fairly easily (they were driving, and the directions were a little bit of an issue...), and we went to MOUNT VERNON!!! This was a FINALLY!!! day for me. I had been waiting/talking about going to Mount Vernon ALL SUMMER. And I finally got to go. All my friends had gone the weekend that I was in Georgia. Lame, I know. At the beginning of the summer I had this grand plan about renting bikes and riding them the ten miles to Mount Vernon. There is a cool riverside bike path up there, and it would have been SO pretty! Nobody had really wanted to do that except Tyson, and then he went home early and my plans were foiled. But it's okay, because I got to do the important part, and with Judy and Kerry, which is always a pleasure.
We took the scenic route there, which means that we got kind of lost... but I enjoyed it because the drive actually WAS very beautiful and scenic. And Mount Vernon was lovely. We toured the mansion, then walked around the grounds and farm for a while. It was actually very similar to Monticello- very green, had cute little farms, a big house, and little shops for everything that someone might need (you know, like a blacksmith and a shoemaker). The cool thing that George had, though, was a big barn/silo thing for separating wheat. He designed it, and it was pretty brilliant. We also walked down to the pier- I always love looking at the Potomac River, even if the water is super dirty and disgusting. After we finished with the grounds and were very very hot and thirsty, we went to the museum, which was actually very well done. I have found that museums you pay for are significantly nicer than museums that are free. I mean, I love my museum, but seriously. Or maybe the difference is that there are quadrillions more people at Smithsonian museums than at museums you pay for, so they just look dirtier and crappier because more people are touching everything. Not to say that Smithsonian musuems are dirty and crappy, because they're not. They are very nice. But if you go to the Air and Space musuem and witness the masses, you will feel the grime and leave the place feeling greasy, sweaty, and stinky too. That place sees more traffic per year than any other musuem in the world. Why, I will never know. I think it might have something to do with all the rockets, airplanes, and space shuttles they have in there. But that's just a hunch.
Kerry makes a perfect George.

But anywho, I loved Mount Vernon. It was a perfect, lovely day, and if I were George Washington, I would have lived there too.

The next day, Sunday, I was feeling very bummed about only have two weeks left in Washington. I kind of fell in to a grumpy state of mourning, and decided to go for a walk. Sunday walks by myself in the city are one of my favorite things. It was a beautiful but humid day, and I just walked down 23rd about a mile to the Lincoln Memorial. I walked up the steps and to the back- my favorite stop- and sat down on the edge, in between the columns, to look out at the river and Arlington. I loved being very much by myself in a very special place, with no particular plans or place to be. I sat and thought about how much I loved Washington. I looked around hungrily, trying to take everything in and remember it all. After a while, I got up and walked up Constitution to the gardens and signer's of the Declaration monument. I hadn't seen that place in the day time. Along the way, I took pictures of everything. Every scene and memory and building. I got to the desired monument and took more pictures. It was a very stoic, solemn walk/journey. It sounds so funny to write about it, but seriously, I was so sentimental, and really quite sad. Plus, I was working out lots of issues in my head, and the walk was very therapeutic. I am really going to miss walking out on the National Mall by myself. I actually think that is what I miss most about the city. The Mall and Monuments. They offer so much peace.
As I worked my way towards to Capital, just as I was about to cross the street at Constitution and 14th, guess who appeared out of nowhere? My cousin Shawn, followed by Anna, Matt, Judy and Kerry!! They just happened to be finishing their bike tour, and were crossing to go the White House! They told me to meet them at the Old Post Office Pavilion (just a couple blocks up, past my museum and right by Federal Triange). Together, we went to the Pentagon Memorial, and then I went home and went to bed.

All in all, a great weekend. I finally got to go Mount Vernon, I went to some of my favorite places- the Eastern Market and the Mall, I spent time with some of my very favorite people- relatives and Washington friends, and I got a good taste of modern art.

And, I spent a lot of time worrying about missing Washington when I hadn't even left yet. :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Oh, Shenandoah's my native valley.

For a brief period in 2006, "Oh, Shenandoah's My Native Valley" was the state song of Virginia. I can't figure out why they changed it, because if I were from Virginia, I would surely claim that Shenandoah was my native valley. Because I kind of wish it was. I mean, I love the Salt Lake Valley, you kn0w, where I grew up, but have you ever been to the Shenandoah??

The Shenandoah Valley is heaven. Literally one of the most beautiful, heavenly places I have ever been. Zion's National Park is beautiful, I love Bryce Canyon, Arches was fantastic, the Wasatch Mountains are breathtaking at times, but I had never seen anything like the Shenandoah.

So, we went on a little trip to the Valley in late July. And by we I mean like 30 of the BYU interns plus some extras from the ward. We drove up in 5 or 6 cars, got quite lost along the way, but found our destination after stopping at a couple of farmhouses and asking for directions. It was troublesome because we were out in the middle of nowhere, there were no street lights, and hardly an street signs.

We stayed in an cool, civil war era house that smelled exactly like my Grandma Janice's. Stuffy and real, real old and spider-webby and dusty. There were three bedrooms that the girls slept in, and one living room that we made all the boys sleep in. I kind of felt bad for them because we all had beds, but the boys just had the floor. Cameron and Erik ended up sleeping outside on the hard wood porch because there wasn't any room for them inside. :( Speaking of the porch, it was big and spanned the whole front of the house, and there were two porch swings! I love porch swings. There was also a really creepy dirty cellar. We all linked hands to explore it, and we had to duck under the spiderwebs when we were going down the stairs. AND, there were slave quarters in the attic!! Creepy, right? There was a secret staircase that led up there. And all sorts of secret closets and cupboards. Cool, I know.

That night we explored, complained about the rain, had smores that we cooked in the microwave, played mafia, looked at the stars, and sat on the porch swing for hours. It was perfect.

In the morning we drove about a half an hour away to Shenandoah National Park to hike. There were amazing waterfalls and streams, and forests of trees where the leaves lay horizontal so you can see all the layers. And there was a butterfly that LOVED me. It landed on me, then went away, then came back, and went away, and just kept coming back! I named it Simon.
That afternoon, after we got back to the ranch house, we went to the water hole. There was a rope swing and raft and a little dock, and it was super fun except that the water was really mossy and grossy. It kind of turned all of us green. That was dumb. But it was really fun until Genevieve cut her foot on a rail that was sticking out of the raft...

At around 4:00pm, we went back to the house to clean up and head home. But before we could leave, I got Erik to walk me up to a small family cemetary that was isolated on top of a little hill. It was old and overgrown and surrounded by trees, a short stone wall, and small mounds that were slave graves. It was so cool!!

And standing at the top of the hill offered a perfect view of the amazing scenery. Just imagine perfectly lush and green rolling hills and lots of trees and white picket fences and a few random farmhouses. It was clean and pure and perfect. Such an amazing change from the city. Even when I was in Washington I sometimes noticed how trapped I felt. I needed to get out in the open air-- away from the slight pollution and second-hand smoke. And the weather was beautiful that weekend. Just fantastic.

We drove home and all crashed that night, exhausted. But it was FOR SURE one of my favorite weekends of the summer. :)

I prefer pure, unadulterated Harry Potter

The movie of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released a couple of weeks ago. I meant to write this post then, but I've been, well, busy.

The night that it came out, all my friends went to it at our theater in Georgetown. I however, stayed home. Everyone teased me when I claimed that I would not see the movie. I told them I was a purist. I prefer pure, unadulterated Harry Potter. The hardcore fans understood my aversion to the movies but claimed that they viewed the books and movies as separate entities. Somehow, it is not within my power to do that. I am too involved. There were some people who had only ever watched the movies, and loved them, and had never read the books. Those are my least favorite kind of people. They say, "oh, I love Harry Potter!" And then you find out that the only Harry Potter than they are not ignorant about is the slight amount that is put into the movies and messed with. I had a deep conversation with one such person. He was slightly offended once he realized that I viewed him a kind of a second-class person. I assured him, however, that we could still be friends. :)

Reasons why I don't watch the movies:
1) Plot lines are altered.
2) Emphasis is placed where it should not be.
3) Important scenes are screwed up for cinematographic purposes, screwing up key ideas.
4) Daniel Radcliffe is a horrible actor, and does not do Harry justice.
5) Dumbledore in the movie is crazy.
6) People who have not read the books watch the movies, and then feel as though reading the actual books is unimportant.
7) It gives people the wrong idea about Harry.
8) What makes Harry Potter so great is the detail- the analysis and the mystery. Movies ruin that.
9) They make me very very angry and frustrated. I simply cannot handle it.
10) I get some sort of weird pleasure out of boycotting the movies and being a purist. I like to be.

And there are many more... It's just so hard to explain.

So, when all my friends went to the movie, I walked down to the TV in the basement, and enjoyed an evening with JK Rowling. There was a primetime special on her and the process of writing Harry Potter. It was absolutely perfect and lovely, and could not have been more purely Harry Potter-ish.

And so, instead of falling to the dark side, I enjoyed an evening of pure Harry Potter.

Also, the second part of the story is that on July 7, the paperback edition of Harry Potter 7 was released. Ashley went to Barnes and Noble in Georgetown with me to buy it. I have been waiting for this paperback for 2 years!!! Now, I can read book 7 whenever I want and take it wherever I want and don't have to worry about it getting dirty! I buy the paperbacks so they can be loved and abused while the nice, pretty hardbacks sit safely on my precious book shelf.

A word of advice: read Harry Potter, and DON'T watch the movies.


Tyson leading the group on our last adventure together...
My favorite view from the top. That's the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial. Lovely.

Friday, July 10th was Tyson's last night with us. To celebrate his time here and mourn the fact that he was leaving, we had a night out with the gang. We went to Potbelly's for dinner (my favorite place to eat lunch and dinner in the Washington, D.C. area), up the Washington Monument (FINALLY!), and to Rosslyn to watch the Karate Kid at the park by the bridge. And then, tradition has it that we like to sit by the waterfront in Georgetown. And so we went down there with Tyson, one last time.
And now I have to say that WE MISS TYSON! We was the group leader- the planner, the person that made things happen. Daily, the question came up, "What are we going to do today?" And then someone would say, "Ask Tyson," or "Tyson wants to do (BLANK)." He always had a plan, a special skill for convincing people that his idea was the best idea ever, and was excellent at shepherding everyone in the same direction. And now, we are without a leader, and the social structure in the Barlow has loosened, and gotten a little chaotic. But it's all good. We only have to survive 2 more weeks. (Survive! Yeah, right. More like try to hold on to every last second and savor every moment).

On Saturday, July 11th, we went as a whole group to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. We watched a movie at the vistor's center and then went up in the "Cyclorama" is a circular mural that shows the whole battlefield and they flash lights and stuff so it looks like there is a battle going on all around you. It sounds cheesy, but it was actually pretty cool. Then, we went to the museum. There was A LOT of stuff in there. Normally museums with a lot of stuff completely stress me out. When there is too much, I don't appreciate anything, and I feel like looking at everything and pretending to try and enjoy are just a waste of my time. BUT, I actually really liked this one. Genevieve, Cameron, and I were completely into it. We went really slow, taking pictures and reading everything... until we suddenly realized that we were supposed to have been back in the bus like ten minutes before. So, we rushed out of the exhibit, speed walked through the building (I didn't even get a chance to go to the gift shop! GRRRR.), and ran to the bus. Everyone was waiting for us, and started clapping when we stepped on. And then, for some reason, I could not escape that little mistake ALL DAY. Genevieve and Cameron weren't teased about it, but I was. For some reason, I am kind of famous for being late to things like this. And I am SO not always late! Adam in particular likes to tease me about it. For the rest of the day, everytime we got off the bus, like 3 people would make sure that I knew when to get back on. Or they would say things like, "tell Audrey an earlier time so that she's here when we need to leave. hahaha." I am a big girl, alright!

But anyway, we rode around the battlefield in our bus with the tour guide man telling us things in very rapid speech that was hardly coherent for like an hour. The battlefield was beautiful, and apparentely it is almost perfectly preserved to how it was at the time of the battle. There were old houses that still had cannon ball shards in them, and all the battlefield land was still just open battlefield land. It was gorgeous. There was a lookout tower that we went up to see be able to see the whole area, it was just incredible. I can't believe that I was in the place where the Battle of Gettysburg took place. Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in that place! It was cool.

The last stop before we dropped off the tour guide man was Little Round Top. Apparently it is a significant place in the battle. It was a very strategic position for the Union army- the best held high ground. While we were up there, we filmed a movie. Matt and Jeff are obsessed with the scene in the Gettysburg movie on Little Round Top, and we filmed a reenactment of the bayonet charge. It was HILARIOUS. They had a script all written out, and they hired extras, namely Genevieve and I. You can watch that video on Facebook, but I am not going to post it here because it is potentially very embarrassing. I live with a whole bunch of really fun nerds, okay? They like to do things like film battle reenactments in historic places. It's fun, I swear.
A side-ways picture of the sunflowers that were all over Gettysburg. It was so PRETTY!!Genevieve!!!Me and Ryan and our matching sunglasses Gettysburg College-- see the tower in the distance? That's where my intern friend Matt goes to school. He says college funny- like "Cawwlidge."
The top of Little Round Top-- by where we filmed our movie. And that little tower thing was really cool!!!

We went to General Pickett's Buffet for lunch (GRODY), and got in a huge argument about whether or not the meat that was on my plate was chicken parmesan or VEAL. I had thought it was chicken, but before I took a bite Cameron informed me that it was actually veal. I put my fork down and refused to eat. Everyone at my table then worked very hard to convince me that it was actually chicken, and that they had just previously thought it was veal. I nearly believed them until Mallory came and sat down and said, "Oh, how do you like the veal?" End of the attempt to get Audrey to eat veal.

The next stop was Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, home to John Brown's raid, a prequel event to the Civil War. We didn't have much time there, and I'm still not sure what Harper's Ferry actually is. I think it is a ferry- like the kind of boat on a river than carries people from one side to the other. But if that is the case, the the actually ferry doesn't exist anymore, because we didn't see it. We just spent our time in the little, historically preserved town. It was very charming, and they had all sorts of people dressed up like the Civil War era. But like I said, we didn't have much time.

Here are some pictures from our wanderings of the little town.
On the shuttle to the village... We were VERY excited, apparently.
Where the ferry was supposed to be... I think. But isn't it pretty?? West Virginia was gorgeous. No wonder Ann loves living there.
Random shot. I added it because my legs look tan. :)

On Sunday, we had church, and then Me, Cameron, Michelle, Amanda, and Juliana walked down to the Einstein Memorial, and the memorial of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The latter is actually on the mall, in the Constitution Gardens, but somehow everyone missed it! It was really cool. They both were. Those are my favorite kinds of things. The little known ones that are actually really meaningful and neat.
The end!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

America Week

At the beginning of the week I was still getting over the plague, but I was mostly better when my family FINALLY CAME TO VISIT ME!!! They flew in on Wednesday night, and I can't even describe how excited I was to see them. I had been talking about it for weeks! I really missed them.

Daily report of their trip to D.C., and my favorite 4th of July ever.

Quick explanation: The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. I have kind of forgotten that fact the last couple of years, but seriously, I used to be obsessed. I would get completely decked out in red, white, and blue. I literally prepared for the holiday for days before hand. I have purchased and worn a flag tee from Old Navy every year since 2000 (except this one. I already cried a tear about that.). I have a festive backpack, visor, flip flops, nail polishes, shorts, pajamas, the works. And I LOVE fireworks. I love it when they are huge and it looks like they are falling on you. And I love America. I am very patriotic. In fact, the whole time my family was here- especially on the 4th- Stephanie often was like, "Well, we should do whatever Audrey wants to do. It's the 4th of July. That's practically Audrey day. It's like her birthday." Because, it kind of is! I love it.

Wednesday: I picked them up at the airport, taught everyone how to use the metro (seriously, guys, it didn't have to be that complicated), and we found our way to the hotel. I should have scoped out the area before they got there, because I wasn't sure exactly where it was, I just knew the general direction. It was a lot more walking than everyone had anticipated, and I think my mom wished we would have just taken a taxi. I kind of agree. But the walking was good for them, and they got to see the neighborhood. They stayed between Dupont Circle and McPherson Square, an excellent neighborhood. McPherson is really close to the White House, so they got lucky! And there are a lot of restaurants near Dupont. After dropping their bags off, we went to find a place to eat. It was getting late, so that was actually kind of difficult. We ended up eating in the hotel restaurant, which wasn't too bad, and then I took a taxi home to Foggy Bottom.

Thursday: The fam came to the Museum That Will Not Be Named! They came down to the Archives Center, where I work, around noon, and I gave them a little tour. It was amazing to finally be able to show them exactly what I do all day every day. And they got to meet all my work friends! I loved it.

And then, I got off work 4:30, and we looked at some of my favorite exhibits in the museum, namely, the Star-Spangled Banner, the Scurlock Studios exhibit (which is what I'm working on), and the Lincoln exhibit on the 3rd floor.

After the museum, we headed to Georgetown. This is what I had been most excited to show them. We stopped at the Barlow Center so I could change out of my work clothes, so they got to see where I live! I think that made my mom feel better about me living in the city, because she finally got to see how safe it actually is. Next stop: Dinner in G-town. They loved it. We ate at Chipotle, not really a local hotspot, but it was good. And then shopping! Georgetown is so great because it is SO cute and quaint and charming and high class, but also because it has amazing food, ice cream places, and excellent shopping! We ended up only having time for H&M (because my family moves slow and it's hard to get everyone moving in the same direction all the time), but that's okay. It was starting to rain and get dark, but before leaving, I convinced everyone that they HAD to walk down to the waterfront to see the river and all the sites from there. We have a good view of Arlington, the Kennedy Center, and Watergate from the waterfront park down Wisconsin Ave in G-town. I love it down there. Me and my Washington friends go and sit by the water probably twice a week, and I had to do it with my family too!

Friday: I don't have work on Fridays, so I got to be with my family all day!! We got up early and met at the metro stop at Arlington National Cemetery. We started there, and it was a long day of walking. After Arlington, which I love, we walked across the bridge back in to D.C., and around the Tidal Basin to go to the FDR and Jefferson (my favorite) memorials, and then back up to the Washington Monument, my museum, and my favorite place to eat near Federal Triangle: Potbellys. It's hard to explain this massive distance, but just take my word for it that it is far (I actually calculated it to be 4.69 miles). But we ate at Potbellys!!! It's my all-time fave recently. I always get a smoked ham sandwich and banana oreo shake (I can't describe how amazing those shakes are. They are literally the best shakes I have ever had. And the oreo banana is breathtakingly delicious). After Potbellys, we walked back down to the Old Post Office Pavilion on 14th and Pennsylvania to go up in the tower so we could see the city. The Old Post Office Tower is the next tallest building in D.C. besides the Washington Monument, so it provides a really good view, and you don't have to bother getting up early to get tickets! A perfect alternative to the real thing. After spending some time in the tower, we walked up Pennsylvania to the White House, and then split ways. Stephanie, my Dad, and Moriah, went back to the hotel, but Elise, my Mom, and me went to the Capitol for the 4th of July concert dress rehearsal!!
We got up to the Capitol lawn and found my friends. They saved a little spot for us. So guess who performed at the concert??!!! Barry Manilow (Elise and my mom are Fanilows!), Aretha Franklin, Natasha Bedingfield (who isn't even American. How weird), Elmo, Oscar, Cookie Monster, Rosita, Big Bird, the Jersey Boys (they were TOTALLY the best part!!! I want to be a fan now), and the National Symphony or something like that. It was SO GREAT!! I was sitting behind this speaker thing, so I could only see about 1/4 of the stage-- but it was totally worth it. My Mommy and Elise left a little bit before it was over because it was getting dark and they still had to figure out how to get back to their hotel. So, I just stayed with my friends and partied with them after.

Saturday: I am a slave driver, I made my family get up and meet me at 9:30 at the Eastern Market!! We got in line for breakfast, which is in my top 5 favorite things about D.C., and waited for like 1 1/2 hours for our food. My Dad was grumbling a bit, but I convinced everyone that the food was well worth the wait. I was starving and nearly fainting by the time I got my french toast with pecans on it, but it was so amazing, that I don't rememeber being miserable anymore. The Market was really busy that morning, but we got our fill of the flea market, the fruit and vegetable stands, and everything. I love that place. I think they really liked it too-- that's what is important.

And then, me, Dad, and Moriah, went to the Nationals game. We were playing the Braves. By the way, the Nats are my team. I love them. Even though they have like the worst record in the MLB. But they have a really nice stadium, I can get in to a game for $10, their colors are red, white, and blue, they have in-between inning races between dressed-up giant-headed presidents, I love baseball, they are the National team, and they are from D.C. What more could you possibly ask for in a baseball team??? (Besides a winning record...) And, surprise, surprise, WE WON!! But, I guess, that shouldn't be too shocking, because it was the 4th of July! But it was a lot of fun. I'm glad I got to spend that time with my Dad and my sugar doll, Moriah.
See the giant headed presidents??!! They are awesome!!!

We met up with Mom, Elise, and Moriah after the game and walked up to the Library of Congress, which was closed. And this is where we split ways. They all wanted to go back to their hotel and watch the fireworks from their roof while they sat in the pool. That sounded like a lot of fun... but I REALLY wanted to hang out on the Mall and watch the fireworks from there. Seriously, I didn't want to miss that opportunity. And although I was kind of sad about ditching my family, I'm really glad that I did! I found my friends- they were sitting between the World War 2 Memorial and Washington Monument kind of by a stage where an orchestra was playing. It was perfect. We sat and played cards- go fish, scum, spit, and frustration. The weather was perfect, the setting was amazing, and the company was wonderful! The fireworks started around 9, and they were literally the best fireworks I have ever seen!! We laid on the blanket and watched the fireworks shoot up and fall on top of us-- they were huge and beautiful and shocking and loud and amazing. And the whole time, among other things, I was thinking about a career change. I am sorely tempted to become a firework show designer. How fun would that be? It would be a dream. Afterward, I told Cameron about my new ambition. He was like, "I thought about that too!! Except, I want to invent and make new fireworks. Study the physics." And so we came to an agreement. He will make the fireworks, and I will design the fantastic shows.
This one was during the finale. My camera couldn't handle the amazingness.

After the fireworks, we walked with the masses of 4th of Julyers home. The minute we stepped into the Barlow Center, though, Tyson convinced everyone that going to Thomas Sweet in Georgetown for frozen yogurt was the best idea ever. So, we went. We got some frozen yogurt, and finished the night at the water front, looking out over the river and the city. So gorgeous and so perfect.

It was an amazing fourth of July: my favorite breakfast ever to begin the day, a Nationals game (what's more American than baseball?!), and fireworks on the lawn of our nation's capitol? It was fantastic. I can't even describe it. Laying there and watching the fireworks was breathtaking.

Also, another huge event occurred that night-- something that will change my life forever. But we'll get to that in another post. I want it to be noted and significant.


I rode the bus and met my family at the Friendship Heights metro station to walk to church. It was a traditionally long testimony meeting, and we sat in the overflow, which is full every Sunday. My ward is enormous. My family was amazed.
My family is so dang cute I can't even stand it.

We spent the afternoon on the Mall, finally walking around the WW2, Lincoln, Korean War, and Vietnam War Memorials. I could do that everyday, and it wouldn't get old. I just love being on the National Mall. That night, after dinner, we rode the metro out to the Pentagon. My last request was for my family to see the September 11th Memorial. It's one of my favorites. And then I went home and went to bed.

Monday: The fam did stuff all day until their flight, but I had to work, so I just saw them at lunch. They got picnic stuff and we ate outside You Know What Museum on the grass. That is my favorite kind of lunch- outside in perfect weather with my family eating simple, pure food.
We all accidentally matched on that last day. :) I guess that's what sisters do.

Sunday was my favorite day with my family because it was less stressful than the other ones. I wasn't as worried about making sure that everyone was happy and having a good time. That felt good. For some reason, being their tour guide was ster-ess-ful!! Every night when I got home I breathed a sigh of relief, and I was SO tired! It was hard.

The biggest frustration of the weekend, though is that my family was NOT used to walking a lot. They walked slow, they were tired, and their feet hurt. All of these complaints were perfectly normal. My feet hurt and I was tired too. BUT, somehow, I could still walk a faster speed. It was SO FRUSTRATING!! And Stephanie and Elise kept getting mad at me and saying, "Well if Audrey would stop riding that invisible scooter maybe we could keep up!" They could have kept up if they would have tried harder. I'm convinced of it. Every time we sat down somewhere and rested for a while, I would say, "Okay, I'm going to count to 5, and then we are going to stand up. So get ready." And then I would count, get to 5, and be the only one to stand up and walk away. GOSH FAMILY! I would get several feet away, turn around, and see them still sitting there looking all tired. Seriously. In the end, I find all of this very comical, but it was stressful and frustrating at the time. :)

The whole weekend, for me, was about doing things so that they would have a good trip. I was totally stressed about not seeing enough cool things. I wanted them to LOVE D.C. SO BAD!!! Because I love it so much. This city is pretty dear to my heart. I wanted them to understand why and love it too.

And I think they had a good time. It was an amazing weekend. I loved having them here. I LOVED being able to show them everything that I do and see everyday. It was a blast. I loved taking them around Georgetown, and walking around the monuments, showing them where I work, what I do all the time, teaching them how to work the metro, everything.

And also, it was the best 4th of July ever.