Thursday, September 25, 2008


Heather nominated me to write this entry because I have the computer this week while at work.

Several weeks ago I was scheduled for a normally lame trip to DC due to the long hotel stay. We were scheduled to fly from Cincinnati to Washington Dulles late Monday night and out early Wednesday morning. That meant for a company paid hotel (Holiday Inn) for 33 hours. It would be a boring stay in any other city due to being alone so long.

I floated the idea to Heather for her to come along and quickly we started making plans for a mini-vacation. We took the Paschals (great friends from our ward) up on their offer to watch Mattie so we could get out of town before Reddin arrives.

Heather accompanied me on my deadhead to Cincinnati to start the trip. In CVG Heather boarded our lovely Freedom Airlines jet. If you didn't know, it is an Embraer Regional Jet, aka ERJ-145. That was our only flight for the day.

The next morning we got up and out to the Hotel Shuttle around 10am which took us back to the airport so we could catch the bus into DC. By noon we were in the "Mall" with little idea where to go. I knew I wanted to see one thing, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

As for Heather, she had an odd request, the Library of Congress. I guess she loved the movie National Treasure. Certainly it's due to Nicholas Cage's hair. That's why I enjoyed it so much. Why do you think they made a sequel?

After checking out both of those places as well as passing by the Capitol, we both were getting tired. I estimate we trekked nearly 3 miles so far. Little did I know we had still had another 3 miles to go. We jumped on the Metro and set off for the White House. While there we saw a lady that has set up camp in front of the White House. Supposedly she has been there since 1980??? Wacko? Maybe. Jacked-up toes? DEFINITELY.

Heather was ashamed when I zoomed in on her toes as she was snoring away in her chair. I was only doing my duty as I saw the need to document this anomaly on the blog.

I was impressed that Heather was still truckin on, being pregnant and all. We were both in flip-flops and tiring quickly. We wandered around looking for a bite to eat before we met up with Adam Berger for dinner. We stumbled upon a shoe store and Heather made an unthinkable purchase. She stepped across the invisible yet clear line, a line which very few can cross and continue to be productive members of society.

However lame they were, it saved her. So in a few short hours I wentfrom one of their biggest opponents to an avid supporter. Though purple, they worked great.

Adam finished up with work. Before our reservations he made for dinner, we quickly toured the National Museum of Natural History. Did you know the Hope Diamond is there? Deer have fangs nowadays?

Six o'clock, and we were off to have dinner, which he so graciously treated. "The Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington’s oldest, most historic saloon, was founded in 1856," according to their website. The food was excellent. Adam and I shared some oysters (my maiden voyage and I'd be happy to sail that ship again). Heather enjoyed
Cannelloni di Casa, house-made pasta stuffed with spinach, mortadella ham and three cheeses, baked in a cream sauce. Adam savored Maine Mussels tossed with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil over white wine and linguine with garlic bread. I relished Seafood Gazpacho with clams, mussels, calamari, scallops, shrimp with fresh basil.

We had still wanted to see the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial but it was getting dark. Adam suggested we go to his house by metro and then return in his car. By the time we returned it was dark and possibly even more breathtaking. While walking from the Lincoln toward the Washington we saw the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and WWII Memorial, both of which were very impressive.

Adam dropped us back off at our hotel later that night. It was a near perfect and complete day. Especially after seeing those "monumental toes".

Many thanks to the Paschals for allowing Mattie to boss you around for a few days. Thanks to Adam for dinner and the drive around town.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Mattie

Last weekend, we started the celebration of Mattie's 3rd Birthday. It actually started on Saturday with a "big girl" birthday party. We weren't going to have a party for her at all this year, since Matt and I had decided long ago that we would hold big parties on the 1st, 5th, 8th, 12th, 16th and 18th birthdays. All of the other years would just be celebrated with family and maybe some close friends. We had a big party on the beach for her first birthday and then last year we just had some cupcakes and a pinata after church at our friend's house. So, this year we were going to do something similar, like have a cake and maybe go to dinner, but Miss Mattie started planning her own party about 5 MONTHS ago! She kept telling me what she wanted to do at her party and who she wanted to come to it. I thought maybe she would let up, but that's all she would even pretend to play at home! She would ask to put on a frilly dress and then get all her dolls and play Birthday Party. Matt and I talked it over and decided, that since we were going to be having another baby soon, and that's sure to shake up her world some, that we would let her have a 3rd birthday party. We planned it, with lots of help from Mo, and it was a blast.

Like I said, it was last Saturday, and it was Dora the Explorer themed. Anyone who knows Mattie, knows that she loves Dora! We let her invite some of her 3 and 4 year old friends, and we had a morning of game playing. Matt made an awesome "Map" on the computer and we printed them out for each child to have.

The Map showed what games the children needed to play to get to Mattie's birthday cake. There was Boot's Slippery Stones, (which was kind of like a cupcake walk). Each child had a chance to win a lollipop and a Dora sticker.

Then they played Pin-the-Tail on Swipper, which Matt also made on the computer. After that game we headed out to the backyard for a Dora pinata. The kids had a great time picking up candy.

Our last game was a simple scavenger hunt, that would eventually lead back inside to Mattie's birthday cake. Matt found clip-art of things around our yard and then we printed them on cards for the kids to find. I personally think that they liked this game the best. When they found the last card, we had the cake waiting for them, along with juice boxes. We sang to MoMo and she blew out her candles. We decided on a pull-away birthday cake this year, which was cool.

I had never seen one before, and found it when I was looking online for a cake. It was 18 cupcakes on a cake board, and then the tops of them got decorated like a normal cake, and you can pull away a cupcake for each person.

After pumping the children full of more sugar, they wanted Mattie to open her presents. She got a lot of wonderful things, which she has been playing with nonstop since Saturday.

After Mattie finished opening her presents, she passed out a "present/goody bag" to each child. Matt had found great idea online for goody bags, and we used it. We created a "Backpack" for each child.

We bought purple bags and then put the Backpack's face on the bags. Each bag had a card game (Dora for the girls and Diego for the boys), a pencil, a whistle, a crazy straw, a ring and Matt's pick... those Bubba teeth things!

We had a super fun time spoiling Mattie for the morning. My sister came down, and we went to lunch at Jason's Deli with her and my mom. It was fun to compare our pregnancy bellies, since we are due around the same time.

On Monday, we went to Walt Disney World. Grandma took off a day of work to come with us. We have the FL resident passes, which have black-out days (usually the time of year a Floridian
doesn't want to go to the park anyway), and the days just opened up again.

We started out at Hollywood Studios, since they just opened a brand new Toy Story section, with a ride. By the time we got there, all of the Fast Passes had been distributed for the day, so we actually had to wait in line for this ride. We waited 50 minutes to ride it, and I will say that it was worth it. With that said, I of course would never wait that long again!

The ride was 3D, and it takes you through a Fair, and you have a gun-like thing that lets you play 6 different fair games. It keeps track of how many points you get, and its fun to compare each others scores. Matt creamed us! After riding that ride, we headed over to Magic Kingdom, so that Mattie could ride her beloved Barnstormer! She kept asking to go the roller coaster! Before going on the ride, we let Mo get her face painted. We had promised her all year that for her birthday she could get her face painted. She picked out the Cinderella face. Cinderella is her favorite princess right now! Mattie sat very still while getting her face done. That girl does love
makeup! She looked so cute!

Matt took Mattie on the Barnstormer a couple of times, and then we spent the rest of the day just doing what Mattie wanted to do. It was a lot of fun. At the end of the day, we did go on the Buzz Lightyear ride, because Matt loves that ride. Matt always wants to compete against me, and he always does better than I do. But this time, I KILLED him!!!

I'm not quite sure how I got as many points as I did, but it was very funny watching Matt's face when he realized that I had smothered him! We got ice cream on our way out, and over all had a super great day celebrating Mattie.

Three years ago, we were blessed with our beautiful princess, and she has been an amazing joy to our family. I love that little girl so much! She makes me laugh everyday. I love how she gives me kisses and hugs, and tells me that I am her best friend in the whole world! She is my buddy,
and I could not be more grateful that she is part of our family.