Tuesday, May 24, 2011

So proud

Last week was a hard week, culminating in an especially hard Friday. I needed the weekend bad. I was a little bummed that 15 hours of that weekend would be spent driving, but I knew it would be worth it. And was it ever!

We drove to NC after school on Friday. After the nasty Norfolk traffic it's a beautiful, albeit long, drive. We met my parents for a late Brazilian Buffet dinner in Greensboro, went to their house, and crashed. On Saturday we were up early and out the door. Aaron, Mom, Dad, Burke and I drove down to Columbia, SC to go to the temple for Aaron's first time. Our Grandma and Grandpa were able to make it too. The NC temple was closed, so Aaron decided it was worth the drive to SC to do it on the day that Burke and I could be there too, even though many others couldn't. And I am oh-so-grateful. It was an exceptionally wonderful day for me. There is just something indescribably joyful about being in the temple with some of the people I love the most, and knowing that we will be together for eternity! It's also so joyful to see someone I love so much make the decision and the sacrifices necessary to be there.

On Sunday, church was really awesome. The best part, of course, was Aaron's sweet talk. He did such a good job and I just felt so happy and so proud that he's my brother. He has just grown right up and he's going to be such a wonderful missionary. It's been a long time since my family has had a missionary out, and we'll miss him lots. But he's out to help people have the joy that I experience on a daily basis, and I am so proud!

When the weekend was over, we were exhausted, had a messy house, were out of food, and I had yet another test to cram for. And yet, I felt rejuvenated. I think it was the joy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

That makes 2

Yesterday we celebrated 2 lovely years of marriage with dinner out and bowling in commemoration of our first date. So two years. Can you believe it? 'Cause I can't. Life seems to fly by! Yet at the same time, it's hard to imagine what it was like before marriage, before Burke. It's an incredible blessing to have someone that I am so connected with, so united with, who has the same goals, plans, and commitments. And we need each other to reach our full potential. Sometimes we recognize that it does take sacrifice on each side, but every sacrifice is so worth it. We're excited for all that life will continue to bring to us, the joy and the hard times, and mostly excited to share it together. After all, "Happiness is being married to your best friend."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

D.C. Days

To finish off our lovely week off, Burke and I took a 3-day trip to Washington D.C. and had tons of fun. We wore ourselves out, actually, but it was a blast. Neither of us had been to D.C. since we were kids. There are so many fun things to do there, so we just had to pick some. We can't wait to go back!

On Thursday we enjoyed three of the Smithsonian museums. It was just a quick breeze-through, but it was enough to find some really fascinating and fun exhibits. Some of our favorites to see and learn about were American Wars, the mammals, the giant squid, plate tectonics, gemstones, the photographs of our solar system, and the Wright Brothers' first in flight exhibit. I think my favorite thing that day was seeing the gorgeous emerald jewelry in the gemstones exhibit. I was mesmerized. I didn't bother to take a picture though, because it seemed like half of the people in the whole museum were in that precious stones exhibit.

In the Museum of Natural History

On day 2 we decided to check out Ford's Theatre, which neither of us had ever been to. First we had breakfast at Lincoln's Waffle House, yum yum. The Theatre is now a museum to Abraham Lincoln, and it was really cool to explore what it was like for him as president during such a difficult time. Then we got to sit in the actual theater and listen to a talk about how everything played out when Lincoln was killed. We could see the very box where he was sitting and understand how such an act could have happened. Both Burke and I really learned a lot and enjoyed it.

We then went to the National Zoo. It was awfully crowded, but we saw lots of animals that we'd never seen before. They have giant pandas, several lion cubs, a sweet "Amazonia" exhibit, a crazy emu, an octopus, and a komodo dragon, to name a few. They also have a high wire line that connects the Ape House to a different building that the Orangutans can use. It's pretty long, and it's open from 11-2 every day so the orangs can climb up there and swing across this wire if they want to go to the other building. Someday we'll go up there and just sit at the zoo from 11-2 or until we see orangutans swinging above us, because I'm pretty sure that'd be awesome to see.
Watching the panda eat reminded us of "Kung Fu Panda"
It was feeding time for the lion cubs
Burke hanging out in Amazonia
We walked to the fence of the White House; you have to plan way ahead to tour it, so maybe we'll get to do that someday. We also walked up to the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial. I wish I knew how many miles we walked that day! We were beat.

We love Abe!

Saturday was a little more chill. We took a "tour" of the Capitol building. We had a great tour guide and we learned a lot, but it was a little disappointing because out of that HUGE building we only got to see 3 rooms. It was neat though and inspired me with a renewed degree of patriotism and gratitude.
The Liberty statue that's on top of the Capitol
The Rotunda

And last, but best, we went to the Washington D.C. temple! It was a beautiful day and when we got there we just felt so peaceful. We have been working on the same set of Burke's family names since we got married and we were also able to get several sealings done. It is so nice to be a part of the joining of families for eternity. What a beautiful and special place.

We are sure we'll be back to D.C. lots more while we live here.

Our Easter in North Carolina

We had a wonderful trip home for Easter! I hadn't been home for Easter since I went to college. I absolutely love NC in the spring. Especially home. It's so beautiful, and Mom and Dad work so hard in their HUGE yard to make it that way. While we were home Burke and I did a teeny bit of yard work and it was great! It brought back those memories of the bane of mine and my siblings' summer breaks--yard work. An hour every day. Now that we've lived in apartments for several years we really miss the pleasure of weeding, mowing, and enjoying a beautiful yard. Mom made tons of food, like usual, including her traditional Easter bunny cake.

On Saturday much of my dad's side of the family came over to our house for an Easter get-together. It was lots of fun! I hadn't seen lots of them in a long time, but some people never change! There aren't any small kids around anymore, except for the kids of one of my cousins, and they are all growing up! I couldn't believe it.

On Monday Dillon had to go back to school but Daddy took off work and Burke, Mom, Dad, and I all went hiking at Stone Mountain. I love the green/blue mountains and the rhododendrons!

We enjoyed playing and relaxing at home with my parents and Dillon and seeing some of my favorite people. It was a great way to spend a break from school!