Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mr. Gavin goes to Washington

Wow, it's been a long, long time. For shame! I have even started a couple of blog posts, but just never finished. Well, let's see if I can get this one published before life distracts me again!

In October Rob had to go to Washington, D.C. for work. We have wanted to do a vacation-on-top-of-work trip for a long while now because hey, it's really great to only have to pay one airfare. It just hasn't worked out, though, either because of scheduling problems or lack of interesting destination. But Washington, D.C.? Count me in!

Our biggest concern with the trip was the 4.5-hour plane ride both ways. Gavin had never been on an airplane before, so it seemed pretty gutsy for this to be our first flight. But I went a-shoppin' and bought more books and toys than you can imagine to keep Gavin busy and happy. We also splurged on a portable dvd player, which will be nice to have for many future trips. So how did the flight out go? It was amazing!! Gavin was so good and so happy. He made friends with the people around us and wasn't fussy or anything! We were SOOOO relieved, to say the least.

While in D.C., we tried to see as much as we could without Gavin going nuts. Basically, that meant we would walk a lot and see sites for as little time as possible before going on to the next. Official tours and solemn places were out of the question.

So what did we see? Let me show you!
First view of the Washington Monument
Here we have a series of pictures that may explain why we are so "into" self-portraits. We are in the mall, about to take a picture with the Capitol Building in the background. A friendly stranger offers to take a picture for us. Sure! What could possibly go wrong? She takes the picture and when we check it out, this is what we see:
What a beautiful picture! Was this taken anywhere in the world besides Washington, D.C.?--because it could have been!
We try to stay positive and tell her that it's great, but could she maybe take another where we are to the side of the Capitol Building? (You know, the whole point of taking the picture . . . ) She says she can do that and takes the camera back. I'm in the middle of saying who-knows-what, and she snaps the picture.
Yes, this is exactly how I wanted my face to look. Thank you, stranger!!
How is it possible that anyone takes a picture and doesn't count to three first?! In contrast to her valiant efforts, here's the shot we got by ourselves.
Love it!!
And for those of you who tend to get concerned about things like this, don't worry--our duck made it along for the trip. :)
 
We also went to the Lincoln Memorial. To get there, you take a nice stroll along the beautiful reflecting pool . . . unless you go after they have torn it out for some reason. Then you get to walk along a really long mud hole with lots of cool tractors and trucks parked in it. That may have been Gavin's favorite part of the trip.
 
And we made it! The kind stranger we encountered here seemed to understand picture-taking much better than the first one.
Seriously so cool!
While in D.C., we had dinner with Rob's buddies Casey, who he knows from high school, and Clayton, who he knows from BYU. They are roommates which is a pretty cool coincidence since they met in D.C. and not through Rob. They are both really great guys and it was a lot of fun to hang out for a bit. Casey was even nice enough to come rescue us when we were lost and couldn't catch a cab to dinner.
 
We ate at this really great restaurant called something. I can't remember. Have I ever mentioned that I have a really bad memory? This place had some of the best macaroni and cheese I've ever tasted, ever. Gavin had fallen asleep on the way there, and kept sleeping while we waited for our table, which was nuts because the place was so loud. When he woke up, he was not happy to be in a strange, dim, loud place, but he eventually cheered up.
Doesn't he just look old in this picture?
We also went to the Air and Space Museum. Gavin took his flying lessons very seriously.
 
We made it to Arlington National Cemetery, which I guess kind of breaks our rule of not going to solemn places.
JFK Gravesite
Gavin was good for the most part . . . until the part at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where they ask you to stand and be silent. Many glares were received from others, but we got the situation under control pretty quickly.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
We were very grateful to find this Jimmy John's open past 8:00 on Sunday night. We were on Utah time, so dinner at 6:00 (a.k.a. 4:00 to us) just wasn't appealing.
 
We saw the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. So cool!
 
Little bit of White house action.
 
I swear this is the Jefferson Memorial. Man, this thing took forever to walk to!
 
From the Jefferson Memorial you can see the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument. It is the thing I wanted to see most while we were there (mostly because it's new), but this is as close as we got.
Way too far away for our tired feets to walk to!
Here is the view from our hotel room.
Can you see the Capitol Building next to the orb?
Our last half-day we went to the National Geographic Society something-something museum. They had an interactive thing called Grossology that had tons of facts and displays about animals. When I heard "Grossology" my first thought was "Oh, like gross anatomy" which means large-scale (like the opposite of micro). Nope, it's exactly what it sounds like--gross facts about animals. Not the greatest experience for an anal-retentive gal like me.
See the tapeworm display with a toilet behind us?
The day we came home, our flight was in the afternoon. Gavin still hadn't had a nap, and he was getting REALLY unhappy. Luckily for us and everyone else on board, he crashed as we were boarding. Yay!! He only slept about 45 minutes, but that's all he needed to be his cheery self again. :)
 
He was great the whole ride home, but was really done with airplanes by the time we got to SLC. The plane was at the gate and everyone was getting their baggage down, waiting for their turn to get off. Gavin just kept hitting the leg of the lady in front of us, and trying to push her out of the way. Poor kid! Overall, though, he was a total champ. We had such a great time!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Hey--

do you want me to get you anything while I'm in here?"

Monday, August 1, 2011

July is over?

I just haven't been in a blogging mood in a really, really long time. I'm still not really feeling it, but I am feeling the guilt of NOT blogging, so here's a post. So what have we been up to?

The Fourth of July weekend was a lot of fun! On Friday morning we went to the hot air balloon festival. Gavin got really excited seeing all of the balloons. We got there early enough to see most of them get blown up and take off.


They had a Darth Vader balloon that was really cool, along with actors dressed as Storm Troopers, Darth Vader, etc. We thought this was a great opportunity for a really cool picture. Gavin disagreed.

Poor boy!!
"Why are you just standing there with the camera, mommy?! Save me!"
He was okay once we got him away from the mean man in white.


On Monday we went to the parade. My sister, Rachel, and her family camp out overnight to get a good spot, and they let us mooch off of their hard work and sit with them. :)


Despite our best efforts to repeatedly apply sunscreen, Gavin's cheeks were bright red by the end. I was so relieved that he turned out to just be hot, not sunburned.

Relaxin' with Rachel
For the 24th of July we went to another parade. Gavin was very pleased about all of the horses in both of these parades. When he sees them, he points and makes his sweet little look-at-that sound. I just really love the atmosphere at parades--everyone is happy and there is a sense of community and patriotism.

The thing that has driven me nuts this year is all the fireworks! Having kids definitely makes holidays more fun, but it can make holidays more stressful, too. I'm glad we're not in a drought for the first time in who-knows-how-many years, but I was not a fan of all the aerial fireworks that were allowed this year. They are so stinkin' loud!! I tried not to be a total party-pooper; I only asked my neighbors to stop one time when it was past 10:30 p.m. and it wasn't even a holiday weekend. If it's a special occasion or holiday, go for it, but be reasonable about how late you finish. And if it's not a holiday, be considerate of the multitude of babies trying to sleep and give their mommies a break, too!! Okay, I'm finished with my rant for now.

In other really, really big news (seriously, it's so huge it's going to be in all caps) GAVIN IS SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT!!!!!!!! This deserves its own blog post, and it might get one at some future date. I have always loved Gavin to death, but when your baby is not a good sleeper, your love is mingled with this awful dread and frustration. Now that I am actually getting some decent sleep, I feel like a new person and a new mommy. I am so much happier (duh, right?) and completely relieved. Man, this took a long time. Please, please, please tell me that the next baby won't take 14 months! Pretty please!

Here's my favorite picture of Gavin in a while.


We went to a luau for Rob's work party last Friday night. It was fun to see Rob for once; he's been working like crazy! Gavin was a big hit at the party. People loved his onesie and couldn't believe he was keeping his sunglasses on. The food was great and I'm sure the entertainment was wonderful, but we had to leave early to get Gavin to bed.

And finally, to end this post, a list of Gavin's latest tricks.
-Says mama (used to say nana, but now it's mama), dada, banana, moo, cracker, and hiss
-Favorite books are Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs; Belly Button Book; That's Not My Tiger; Head to Toe (he claps his hands, thumps his chest, and kicks his legs); and lift-the-flap Peekaboo books
-Loves to growl and actually has a really good growl. My mom gets him to growl so often that he now starts to growl when he sees her.
-Loves giving kisses to stuffed animals and mirrors. When I say, "Give momma kisses" he shakes his head no. Sometimes he'll give me kisses anyway, and immediately shakes his head no when he's done, like he's just realized his error.
-Loves watching videos on our phones and the computer, especially videos with animals
-When you say, "Are you going to relax on the pillows?" he lovingly tackles them and buries his face in them
-Can point to his ear, hair, nose, eyes, and belly button, waves his hands, and sticks out his tongue
-He is really steady standing without holding on to anything. He'll take a few steps here and there, but prefers to crawl. Today he took the most steps ever--he went from the couch to the love seat at my mom's house, which was probably about eight steps. He was completely steady and did it so easily, but when we tried to get him to do it again, he just got mad. Later today he took some more steps on two separate occasions, but he would just rather crawl for now. He is 100% capable of walking, but only 20% interested.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gavin loves dolphin friend

When we went to Sea World, we stopped in one of the gift shops. Gavin saw a display of stuffed animal dolphins and instantly fell in love! He grabbed one by the nose and was giving it tons of kisses and was just so, so happy!

We convinced him to say good-bye to the dolphin and he was so sweet about it. He didn't cry or throw a fit; he just gave it a cute little wave and we were on our way.

After we left the gift shop, we decided that it would be too much fun to go back and buy the dolphin without Gavin seeing it, and film his reaction when we gave it to him. I think he was happy about his new friend. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Family vacation to San Diego

Like I mentioned in the previous post, we took a vacation for our anniversary. We started by driving to Las Vegas for a night.
Gavin felt right at home with pots and pans to entertain him.

The next day we headed to San Diego. After a day of taking it easy/anniversary times, we spent a day at the zoo.
We saw lots of great animals, like monkeys.
We saw lots of the standard zoo animals, like giraffes, elephants, and zebras. Gavin liked seeing all of the animals, but his favorite were the turtles.

We had a great time at the zoo, even if we didn't have time to see most of it.
I guess it must be exhausting to be so adorable, because this is how Gavin spent the last half hour or so at the zoo.

The San Diego temple was only 5-10 minutes from our hotel, so we took Gavin to see the outside.
What a spectacular building! And it's right next to the freeway; literally can't miss it.

The next day we went to Sea World. Despite my very mixed feelings (ever seen the movie The Cove?), we managed to have a great time.
Gavin seemed to enjoy most of the fish/animals. He especially liked when they would move a lot or make a lot of noise.
We saw the big whale show, Believe. It was actually the last week they did that show; definitely cool stuff. Gavin wasn't really into the shows because we tended to show up late and get seats waaaaaay in the back, so he probably couldn't really see what was going on as well.
I just love this picture of my boys!
Outside the front gate. We always thought to take pictures with the sign at the front on our way out, rather than our way in. Hopefully we don't look too worn out. :)

One day we went to the historic Gaslamp Quarter to just walk around and get some lunch. We went to the cheese shop, which was perfect for us because we really, really like great sandwiches.
Rob got the this beautiful number, featuring pork loin and avocado. Mmmmmmmm.
I got the three cheese grilled cheese. Have I ever mentioned how much I love cheese? Because I really, really do.
This grilled cheese was the best I've ever had, if for no other reason than the insane amount of cheese.

We also went to the beach, but it was much too chilly to even think about getting in the water past your ankles.
We went in the evening and it was so, so pretty.
Rob tried to show Gavin how fun the waves can be, but he wasn't really into it/looked terrified, so they didn't stay out too long.
Gavin's favorite game on this vacation was pulling my sunglasses down from the top of my head onto my nose. I would say, "Thank you" in a silly voice. Then he would put them back on top of my head and I would say, "Hi." We did this so often that he would reach for my sunglasses, even when I wasn't wearing them.

Our last full day in San Diego we went to the zoo's Safari Park.
To the left is a hot air balloon you can ride. This picture only shows a very small portion of the grounds there.
Even though everything is so spaced out and a lot of the animals are really far away, we actually got a lot closer to the elephants here than we did to the ones at the zoo. They even had two babies, and one of them got really close to us.

Finally our time in San Diego came to an end. We spent a day driving to St. George. The drive wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great. At one point, we were at a dead stop on the freeway for about 45 minutes 100 miles outside of Las Vegas. People were getting out of their cars and just hanging out. Finally traffic started moving and we never figured out why it was even stopped. Annoying!
I think the wind followed us our whole trip. It was windy while we were in San Diego. It was windy everywhere we stopped on our way to St. George. (This picture was taken in Primm, Nevada.) It was windy the one day we spent in St. George, too. Oh well.

We always like to spend a day in St. George with my brother, Ryan, and his family. They are so, so fun. They said that since they don't get to be around for any of our birthdays, they wanted to throw us a birthday party. Isn't that so great/awesome/unbelievably nice?
They made a big banner for us
and had a whole bunch of balloons.
They had party hats
and gave us all presents. Here is Gavin with his orange ball
and here is Rob with his awesome hat! Not pictured: my pink "Beauty Rest" sleep mask that I love, love, love! Also not pictured: the sweet drawings made for us by Katie and Ellie. Seriously, they could not be nicer.
They even had yummy, yummy cake made by the amazing Karen. Thanks so much! What a perfect ending to such a great vacation.