Growing Pains

Lauren has wanted her ears pierced for oh, about a year now. But every time I would suggest we go, she seemed apprehensive and uninterested. It wasn’t until her very good friend Madison, just recently got her ears pierced that Lauren suddenly had renewed enthusiasm. So the date was set, a mommy/daughter date to get Lauren’s ears pierced. Dean happened to have a rare night off, so he came too with little sister Riv in tow. At the store, Lauren and Dean chose the pricey earrings, I would’ve talked her into the cheap ones, but Dean insisted. Finally the moment arrived; Lauren was in the chair, her ears were marked. Lauren opted for not knowing when it was going to happen. Then, just like that, the saleslady pierced Lauren’s right ear. I was trying to catch it all on tape; I looked at Lauren who was smiling, and River who was simply enthralled. I looked up at Dean who was standing in the background with his arms folded and holding back the tears. I of course teared up as well, not expecting his reaction. Later, I asked Dean why he got so choked up. He said, “It was really hard to just stand there and watch her grow up.“ As we were walking out Dean hugged Lauren, and said “Just be sure to let me know when your getting married.” I had been telling Lauren ‘it’s only going to hurt a little” I guess I should’ve been saying that to Dean as well.


Faux Pas

I have always felt compelled (against Dean’s wishes) to make conversation with strangers while riding in an elevator. So finding ourselves in Washington DC was no different. There we were in the Hart Building, riding an elevator with a very distinguished looking man. Now, you can blame it on my jet lag, but I looked at the man’s “outfit” and said “wow, you sure have a lot of badges on your suit” (Dean ducked his head and slumped down behind me.) The man offered a little smile and a nice courtesy laugh, and said, “I guess, it just shows how old I am.” Then he quickly exited off the elevator as soon as the doors opened. Later I saw this same man on TV addressing the Senate, well actually it wasn’t General Petraous, but these two men were dressed the same. I wonder what this Four Star General thought me, some crazy pregnant lady with blood shot eyes complementing him on his “badges.”


Under pressure

I remember back in the Fall, Willy, said to me" Hil, you really need to start your own Blog." I thought to myself..."no thanks, that 's just a time waster and besides it's just a passing fad anyway." Well, I have since buckled under the pressure. Blame it on all the cute and interesting blogs of my family and friends that I just can't seem to get enough of. But really the truth about why I entered the blog world is simply; to show off my family once in a while. Let's be honest, isn't that what bragging er I mean blogging is all about? If you expect to be amazed at the creative home movies, cool links, intelligent postings and quick wit, then I'll need to send you to Josh's, Will's or Brooke's blog. But stick around if you want to see some mild improvements before your very eyes. Please check back again, I hope to add a lot more interesting items as I become more schooled in the art of blogging. Keep in mind, I am the mother of five almost six, and naturally not too ambitious. So here we go...


DC and back again

As most of you know, Dean and I flew to Washington DC for five days, arriving home just Monday. I'll try to narrow down a bit some of the thoughts that have been swimming through my head all week.

Top Ten DC Highlights - (no particular order)

1 - Hob Knobbing around the Capital Building -

Just hours after flying all night, Dean and I found ourselves in a little bit of a daze, walking towards the Capital building on our first morning in DC. We were soon swept up in the excitement standing in front of the Hart building (where Josh and Will's offices are) watching lobbyists, Senators, and more come and go. It was something to see Josh in his office, right next door to Senator Obama's office, and we peeked in on Will in a senate panel hearing on the War. I was impressed. We got the insiders tour through the Capital building, even witnessing some action on the Senate floor. Kimi met up with us and took us on a tour of her neck of the woods. All she needed to do was flash her hip badge and we were given access to pretty much anywhere. She even arranged for us to eat lunch with the movers and shakers in the Senate cafeteria.

2 - The Metro -

Amie was saying the words, but none of them made any sense; "the orange line, the blue, exit fare, Union Square," it was all so confusing and intimidating. But by the last day we were in DC, Dean and I felt like figured the whole system out. We tried hard to look like we knew what we were doing and tried to blend in. But, possibly Dean's "Man purse" and my large belly gave us away as out-of-towners.

3 - Playing "Scene It" in Maryland.

We've had an open invitation to come and visit Dean's sister Ann's in Maryland for the past fourteen years. So, how could we come so close and not stop in and say hi. We were so happy we did. Ann, Craig and the boys treated us like royalty, driving us all around beautiful Maryland and Pennsylvania. Ann served us a wonderful dinner even packing us a lunch for the next day and little Drew and Ross entertained the night away. Drew was disappointed that his Aunt and Uncle let him down as teammates in a high stakes game of "Scene It." Rematch for sure in August.

4- Ain't nothing like the real thing baby.

As soon as I see the word "Replica" on a sign, I lose interest. But DC didn't disappoint giving us a lot of the "Real Thing." We saw the actual 45 carat Hope Diamond, the actual grave of George Washington, the Apollo 11 command module, Custer's jacket, Lewis & Clark's compass etc. Dean and I were most impressed and humbled to see the actual top hat worn by Abe Lincoln the night he was shot. And just as impressive was seeing the actual Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. Like Josh said, "It looks like a bunch of chicken scratches," but wow, to be there looking at those hallowed documents with our very own eyes, was truly an emotional thing.

5 - Arlington

I've heard about the changing of the guards at the tomb of the Unknown solider. But to be there, to see it was more solemn and weighty than I ever expected. The chiseled words on the tomb read "Here Rests In Honored Glory An American Soldier Known But To God." I can still hear the precise click of the guard's heels as he turned and marched. The 600 plus acres were in full glory the day we were there with everything blooming, and green.

6 - Walking the National Mall at night

Josh and Amie suggested that best time to see the monuments would be at night. It was hard to trust them. I was thinking of all the great photo ops with all the cherry blossoms and sunshine, but I'll admit, they were right. Just as it was about to get dark, Will, Kim, Josh, Amie and crazy tomato Gracie all met to show us around. I can't describe how impressed I was with each monument. The Washington monument was bigger than I thought it would be. The Lincoln monument was more beautiful and brilliant than I expected, the Jefferson Monument with it's columns was so breathtaking.

7 - Ben's Chili bowl

OK, so Will suggested that we all go to a little locals only lunch spot called "Ben's Chili Bowl." So, after a few blurry stops and transfers on the metro, we emerged from below and stepped into a whole different world. Will had pretty much taken us into "The Hood." We were feeling a little conspicuous, being about the only white people anywhere around. The little place is quite famous, and a real Washington Landmark. We waited in line for a bit, and Will advised us to have our orders ready, and to remember cash only. It reminded me of the Soup Nazi episode on Seinfeld. All the boys ordered the famous Chili Half-Smoke, and I ordered as well keeping my raging pregnancy heartburn in mind, but even the milkshakes at Ben's come with a side of chili. So when in Rome...

8- Visiting the Family

I just really couldn't get over how the DC five got along just fine in such a big city. Josh and Amie's house was so charming, it was like something you'd see in a romantic comedy, and so close to all the action. If I were in Amie's shoes a few months back dumped in a strange city with a toddler, I think I would've curled up in a ball, but you should see Amie, nothing scares her, she tours the city like it's her own backyard. Gracie has become so cultured and sophisticated, she has this sightseeing things down to a science, Gracie knows when to fall asleep, when to eat, when to act crazy etc. It sounds like their days on the East coast are not over. Wow... Penn State! GO JOSH ! Will and Kim's place is in a quaint little part of Georgetown, Rex would fit right in with all the other yuppie dogs around. One day Dean and I saw a lady pushing her big yellow lab in a baby stroller, no lie.

9 - Eastern Market -

Just walking distance from Josh and Amie's place there is this cool little outside market. All kinds of fresh fruit, veggies, homemade items, a flee market, music and more. I couldn't find Dean for a minute, but soon located him frozen in place starring at the homemade crepes being made with about thirty different toppings to choose from. The line was long, so I talked Dean into leaving saying they probably weren't that good anyway. The crowd of people salivating who had lined up two hours earlier told Dean otherwise.

10-Spending Time with Dean

My best recollection is that it's been about eight or so years since Dean and I have been away from the kids longer than a day. There is a reason for that. It was nothing short of running a marathon to get ourselves ready, as well as arrange for the kids and all their stuff to go to five different places for the weekend. I have to say thanks to Nadene, my mom, Brooke, Monica, Andrea and Tammy, this whole trip wouldn't have been possible. I didn't worry about the kids at all, just missed them. Dean was a sweetheart on the trip running us here and there sightseeing around the city. One night just as I was about to collapse from walking he pulled out a granola bar for me and told me what a tough little cookie I was. It was all the motivation I needed. It was great to walk hand in hand with Dean to all the places I've read about and seen on TV all my life and finally seeing them firsthand.


(a two minute video of the girl who needs to be everything)       So far my hobby has been micro-managing my kids and as rewardi...