Thursday, July 23, 2015

Genealogy and Foxes

While Adam, Emma, and friends continue with their week at genealogy camp at the National Archives...

Ellie and I are enjoying our daily mornings on the town.  

We're doing a ton of walking around, which is something Ellie doesn't normally love, but she's being a good sport about it and hasn't complained a bit!   On Wednesday we hit up the Library of Congress (a good 1-1/4 mile walk from the National Archives), then did some watercolor painting in the Botanic Gardens, but weirdly, I have no photos of either.  

After the camp was done for the day, we all went on a little stroll through the sculpture gardens.

Then explored the Natural History Museum for a while.

The kids enjoyed some silly photo-ops...

which got sillier...

and sillier....

and sillier...

and sillier!  

After we finished exploring, we went to the airport to pick up my sister-in-law and nephews.     They've been living in England for the last few months and we were SOOOOOOO excited to see them again!    

After the airport, we got home just in time for me to order pizza for dinner and head off to mutual.   I then had a horrible night's rest when we discovered first-hand exactly what the fox says and it wasn't anywhere near as melodic as that dang song that gets stuck in my head far too easily!   


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How to Charm a Butterfly in a Few Easy Steps

In case you ever wondered how you can get to know a butterfly a little better, Ellie is here to tell you how in just a few easy steps.   

 1. Go to the Natural History Museum in DC on a Tuesday and get free admission into the Butterfly Pavilion.  

2.   Wear bright colorful clothing.

3.  Get warmed up for your butterfly meeting session by getting acquainted with other large insects.

4.  Sit quietly and patiently observe butterflies in action.  

5.   Approach butterflies gently with a small flower petal in hand.

6.  When all else fails, start walking around and looking at other things and wait for the butterfly to land on your shoulder.   

Voila!   Guaranteed success!    


See below for more butterfly acquaintances made today.    

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ocean of Balls

While Emma and Adam attend a  camp in DC this week, Ellie and I are exploring the town every day while they're there!  Our first stop today was to the National Building Museum, where they have a special exhibit called, "The Beach."   Except it has nothing to do with water.   

It's a ginormous ball pit designed to resemble a beach.   It starts shallow and gets gradually deeper and they even have floaties, lifeguards, and beach chairs.  

We  "swam"....

and jumped around in the balls.   

Luckily we had arrived to the exhibit right as it opened, so we had some to enjoy the balls before it got busy.   After a while though, it got really crowded to the point of it starting to feel somewhat overwhelming.  And I freaked out anytime Ellie dipped her head under the balls in fear that either someone would jump on her  or that she'd have a seizure and sink even deeper (especially since she was having a ton of them that day).   I think she was starting to get annoyed that I'd grab her arms every time her head dipped below the surface.  

Crowded as it was, I have to admit that  I was  quite surprised (and somewhat delighted) when I looked over and saw a dog enjoying a little dip in the ocean of balls as well...

He was a service dog belonging to a blind man, and it was actually really cool to observe their interactions together.... 

but it was shortly thereafter that we decided it was time to go.   
It's hard work playing in a ball pit and we came out with sore muscles and scrapes and bruises on our legs.   But it was a fun memory and I loved the mommy-daughter time that we got to enjoy!    

Stay tuned for more DC adventures to come....


Cami didn't come along for our ball pit adventure, but went the very next day with her friends (Katy and Matt).  

Here are her pictures:  

After they were finished at the ball pit, they headed to a portrait gallery where they found pictures of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.   

Friday, July 17, 2015

YW Camp 2015

Our stake held YW camp at a new location this year.  The location was a bit more urban than in previous years, a fact which had its pros and cons, but in general it was a great year.   We had about 150 girls attend, along with another 40+ leaders or so.    The first levels are wearing the light blue t-shirts, orange is second level, pink is third level, green is fourth level, and purple was for the YCLs.  

We had 27 girls from our ward attend. 
(7 YCLs, 3 fourth levels, 4 third levels, 3 second levels, and 10 first levels).   

With the 10 first level girls from our ward, we made up over 1/4 of the 39 total girls that age!   

Emma had a great group of girls her age...

and was lucky enough to get two of her best friends in her cabin! 

The girls in our cabin  (shown below) were energetic and didn't seem to need much sleep, but they were also amazingly in-tune with the spirit and it wasn't that infrequent that I heard in amongst the discussions about which boy was cutest, discussions about certain passages of scripture.   

It was a joy to watch them develop their talents...

strengthen their friendships with one another....

and push each other to do hard things.   
I was in charge of the hikes this year; a task I had thought would be fairly easy.    With the distance between the campsite and the hikes, though, even getting to the hikes turned out to be more of a logistical feat than I had originally expected.   That and the trails weren't super well-marked, so I felt like I needed well-written trail notes for people to follow.   In the end, I planned a five-miler and a three-miler.    There was no shortage of complaining before the hikes began, but I was surprised by the girls' stamina and positive attitude while they were actually on the hikes.   I enjoyed both hikes immensely--not only the beauty of the trail, but also my trail-mates!  

One of the afternoons, most of the campers were participating in archery activities.    The first-levels, however, were too young and as such they got to participate in a "Cupcake War" instead.  And who better to lead a cupcake activity than Cami?   

She hauled all of our baking supplies to camp for the day and led them in an engaging afternoon of creative baking and decorating.   

Cami and the girls seemed to really enjoy it and it was fun to see the beautiful culinary creations they came up with!  

It was my third year of attending camp and I'd probably have to say my most favorite yet.   

I was happy to be there with these girls...

and especially to be there with Emma.  

I looked tired, grungy, and old in this picture, but it was 100% all me.   
No make-up.   No shower.  Grungy clothes.  

Pretty much the face Glen wakes up to every morning.    Lucky him.   


Facts about 2015 YW Camp: 
Theme:   "Courage to Become"
Location:  Prince William Forest Park
Dates:  July 6-10
My cabin:  I stayed with a group of 3rd levels (including Emma)
My roommate:  Julie M from OM ward
My responsibilities (besides helping my ward girls):  Hikes, finding and hiring lifeguards, helping with third levels
Classes/Activities: Zumba, Yoga, Watercolor Painting, Sketching, Kayaking,  Archery, Hiking, Lake time, Cupcake Wars, Certification time, CCC {Civilian Conservation Corps} class, plus some others that I'm forgetting
Total girls:  about 150
Girls from my ward:  27
Best moment:  the satisfaction of the hikes being done with little complaining and zero mishaps (as far as I know).  I also loved hearing their happy chatter along the way!  
Most frustrating moment:  a big misunderstanding with someone about some equipment that was supposed to arrive on Thursday
Weather (in general):  It was hotter and more humid than the past two years I've attended camp, which meant I was covered with a layer of sweat from head to toe 24/7.  
Weather miracle:   Wednesday was scheduled to the hilt with outdoor activities, but since it was predicted to rain we shuffled things around to get it done early.    At home, a mere 30-miles away, it rained torrents and torrents and even closed many low-lying roads in the afternoon, but at camp it didn't rain a drop until nighttime when we were all in for the night.  

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