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Friday, August 26

natural disasters

michael is visiting & we were in the city during the earthquake. the earth began to rumble, the stroller lounged forward, michael & i both had our legs thrown out from under us... okay not really. you want to hear a secret? it's kind of embarrassing. as we walked nearby the washington monument that some news sources will tell you was significantly damaged in the quake... um... neither of us felt anything.

downtown was serious pandemonium as nearly every office building, museum, & memorial was evacuated onto the mall lawn. everything closed down, you couldn't get a phone call out, parks services patrol men were roping off whole blocks, yelling, & chasing after mis-stepped elderly pedestrians on horseback.

our metro ride home usually takes under a half hour. michael, the double stroller, & i were twice sardined into a train car for 2 hours and 40 minutes. blek. they had to go less than 15 mph to perform safety checks at every station & platform so we snailed along the tracks. & i fit into spot i most surely should not have fit in. it was ten times worse than any other harried, bustled city experience i have ever had. but the throngs of people we were stuck on top of were for the most part extremely friendly & played with the girls & whined & cracked jokes with us.

for some reference it looked exactly like this crowded train in pakistan. just exactly.

all things considering michael & i laughed hard all day. it was definitely memorable. & kind of a blast.

on saturday we are literally driving to meet the eye of hurricane irene & my parents a couple hours down the coast. haha probably. wish us luck.

Thursday, August 25


let me punch this out real quick. ha. i have almost one thousand pictures. literally.

we had a total blast in idaho falls playing with family we don't get to see nearly enough.
we went hiking at jenny lake near jackson hole & made multiple visits to the shaved ice shack in town as well as the zoo & the park & cafe rio, went raspberry picking in rexburg & camping at granite hot springs & i still have to say the highlight for me was kickin it with this ball of cuteness:
can you handle it?? we haven't seen cousin jack since he was 6 weeks old & he is just about the most chill, laid back, sweet, utterly athletic little boy you've ever met. plus he's a bomb dancer. he channels happy feet. awe-some!
the beans were obsessed with jackers & held hands & played & shared really well together. even if he hated bath time with them. ha! i am pretty sure that jack's solid running abilities, & the fact that she felt left behind, motivated cossette because she became a crazy fast, sturdy walker about a week later. :)

cossette had the worst night of sleep of her life the first night we got in & so i felt like i was playing catch up the whole trip. e & c really struggled 2 different days. at the same time, which is always a treat. eek. i was kind of exhausted. luckily my kids have these aunts & uncles that compare to NONE. on both sides! i know i say it all the time but they are just better than anyone else's. sorry, you can't win this one. they are fun & interested & helpful & invested & i know they love my kids as much as i do (or will) love theirs.
we also got the chance to visit steph in american fork & check out her new classroom & say hi. can't seem to leave that girl alone. & how cute is this of all the hill kids skipping rocks in granite?
& when they are not being fought over by our siblings, they are being coddled & tackled by austin's folks. they are wonderful.
aust has almost 5 weeks off of school & we are thrilled to have him around a little bit! yayuh!
another reason the trip rocked was being able to see all of chief's grandparents & my grandma hodgman & having them meet our cossette.
this did mean driving around like crazies the last day of the trip from idaho into utah for mantua & payson just to go back to slc & therefore quick trips & no time for anyone else we passed but definitely worth the trouble. such incredible people to have in our lives.

elder zachary hill reported to the mtc while we were there. i blubbered when he left. i hate seeing these boys go but it is fascinating to hear all about there next 2 years & all that they get to learn & teach & do. we miss him though.
our really good friends jana & jordan drove all the way up to idaho the last day we were there so we could hang out & meet their sweet little babe sophie. sooo scrumptious & teeny!

then we caravanned down to utah with them & after our many grandma visits met up for dinner with ambre before jord took us to the airport for our 1am flight. yup. haha it ended up being amazing since the girls just slept the whole time. {maybe a certain one year old used a few tray tables for a bed even. maybe.}

thank you everyone! great visit!

Saturday, August 20

now i can say back east

back on the east coast from our 2 weeks away. eventful, fun trip. took the red eye. kids were great. parents are beyond exhausted. my schedule's all off though so can't sleep. guaranteed someone will wake me soon. unpack, clean, grocery shop, mow lawn, plan lesson, & try to sleep. visitor comes in 2 days.

oh & there's mold creeping up the walls in our basement guest room. putting a pump in on saturday. really wanna visit now, eh? :)

Tuesday, August 16

mount vernon

mount vernon is literally in my backyard & it was a great overcast, misty day to go.

we were super annoyed when we saw that the front of the mansion was being restored & is covered in tarps & scaffolding but once we realized that mt. vernon is really known for it's beautiful back view, we got over it.

the house overlooks the potomac & there is so much to see & do on the grounds. plus we learned a lot about good ole george. interesting tid bit: did you know he didn't have any children of his own & that he was martha's second husband? probably common knowledge but i sure didn't know it. & of course in martha's gardens we found 2 different butterflies following cocobean. classic. the interior of the house was very unique with so much of the original furnishings & the boldest wall colors you've ever seen in your life. they did years of research on old paint samples to match it as closely as possible to what was originally put in. it was a status symbol to be able to afford such bright colors. i loved it.

i about had a stroke when steph & i were looking at the 'spinning room' out in one of the small separate buildings. there stood the most perfect, grand spinning wheel from the 1700's. i slowly snuck over the two metal rods to get close enough that steph could take a pic of me reenacting sleeping beauty. standard operating proceeder, right? the most ear piercing, heart stopping alarm of all time BLARES & a red siren light starts spinning inside the room! i hurdled out of there faster than i would have ever thought possible while stephanie (who had been standing with the stroller at the bottom of the stairs) flew past my girls deserting them & their criminal mother without a second thought. hahaha. girlfriend seriously sprinted. HAHA! luckily the pulsing alarm stopped soon thereafter & no one came to arrest me. it was seriously intense!

this is us returning to the scene of the crime once the shaking & adrenaline subsided.

Monday, August 8

chesapeake bay

stephanie lives for the beach. i, in fact, do not live by the beach. with the amount of time we had i promised her a beach-like experience at chesapeake bay directly after she arrived in virginia. we'd never been but the water was amazing & warm compared to my nor cal upbringing of freezing pacific water.

it was the ideal little half day adventure out at sandy point park. i love the bridge behind us & the fact that butterflies just flock to wherever cossette is. do you see that one resting on the stroller right next to her feet? there were no butterflies to be seen but they just seek her out. :) the girls could have splashed around for hours and hours if we had let them. such fun!

Friday, August 5

washington d.c. temple

we did wait for stone to get home from work but these stupid classes are sucking the life out of him & he had to listen to lectures & finish up a project. i don't know what we were thinking taking 2 at once. his average schedule lately has been going to work from 7 to 6, 15 minute break saying hi to us, dinner up in the office while we eat as a family downstairs, homework til midnight or 1. wake up & repeat. we are used to being busy but we miss him. we both get grumpy & it has been seriously terrible.

so we went sans the mr. to the washington d.c. temple.

it's really nice only being 40 minutes from the temple. & this particular one makes me think of my grandma & grandpa kelly.
they served a couples mission here when i was around 11 & my family came to visit. we stayed with them over 4th of july & sat on capitol hill for the fireworks, toured the city, saw all the church history sites on the east coast, & visited the d.c. temple where they spent most of their time.
 clearly happy to be there. hahaha

 how awesome is this??
 & ellers was particularly excited about jesus. she kept sitting next to him & telling me his eyes were closed so he was sleeping & i needed to be quiet.

not that she's queen of reverence, 

 but she tries.

it was the perfect little trip up, showing steph & the girls the visitor's center & the grounds.
 & check out this shot steph took! straight from the camera it looks like this. exquisite!

Wednesday, August 3

visitor #5

my sister is one of a kind & she totally rocks.
she is getting her masters in utah while teaching her first year of high school english at american fork. 11th grade british literature & 12th grade world lit. oh yeah while spearheading the entire volleyball program as HEAD coach. whew! exhausting.
after double days of conditioning she took a week off before tryouts & setting up her classroom & beginning the school year to come play with us in virginia. yeeee!

she is the best guest in the world. do you how much easier my job is when there is seemingly 2 of me?? you're always welcome back bopi! kisses*

Tuesday, August 2

c's birthday

on cossette's actual bday we added our first purple footprint to the birthday tablecloth, sang, & shared a single slice of carrot cake. they were thrilled.

a week later we had dinner with friends, had a fun little hungry caterpillar party, opened presents & ate caterpillar cupcakes with their favorite aunt stephanie, & face timed with the families. they were thrilled.
can you handle these eric carle the very hungry caterpillar dresses that gramvi made?? they are DARLING dresses with an embroidered caterpillar & the different foods the caterpillar eats through. :)

i take credit for finding the butterfly robeez that are designed after the book. & for that face. i take credit for that face. (even if it looks an awful lot like austin should be taking the credit...)

my kiddles have the ultimate in aunts & uncles. seriously though. & they are IN LOVE with aunt steph!

my funny caterpillar cupcakes i modeled after coco cake cupcakes. appropriate isn't it? i tried a new icing recipe that called for heavy cream. can't go wrong there. i made 2 tone green frosting & cut his facial features out of candy melts. his feet & antennae are just construction paper. it was a hit.

but not as much as cossette's new baby doll. the thing looks like a mini me of her with darker hair, bright green eyes, & chubby cheeks. austin was convinced i got it for myself as i was a little obsessed. it is just too adorable! so it was my favorite part of her birthday to see how excited she was, squealing & cooing at it. :)

happy 1st birthday baby bean! we love you!

Monday, August 1

touring the capitol building

another disgustingly hot day so we were suuuuper happy to be going into the air conditioning for our congressional tour.
we did the basic tour of the rotunda which had some pretty incredible art & then onto a few other grand rooms like the crypt. then we grabbed our tickets for the floor of the senate & took turns in the child-holding area to go listen in on the balconies. very cool but also frustratingly empty for a thursday afternoon when our country is seemingly ready to default. : /