Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Not Quite a World Record

March 30: 
Our local Chick-fil-A restaurant was trying to set a world record today by serving more than 349 cars through the drive-through in one hour.    We stopped by to pick up some chicken nuggets so we could be a part of it, but alas they only got to 276, so no world record breaking today.
Then, for our real dinner,  I made potato soup and bread bowls, which was Ellie's choice for her birthday dinner.   

We've also been studying up on Cami's mission and it looks like it's a BEAUTIFUL PLACE!  


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Day Late and 11-Miles to Go

March 29:
(All these pictures are actually from yesterday (3/28), but they got overshadowed by Cami's mission call, so they're going on today's blogpost!)

It was the last day of Spring Break on Monday.   Most people planned last hurrah trips to fun places, like the zoo or a museum,  but not us.   Fun is boring.   We like hard things.    So my kids begged me  to take them on an 11-mile hike to Glen's work.  

So we did. 

We started at the 11.5 mile marker in Vienna (no picture)... 

and trudged in the cold wind (and losing Ellie's new water bottle along the way)... 

to the 22.5 mile marker that's right by Glen's office in Sterling!   

Then we stopped in at the trampoline and arcade center that's next door to Glen's work while he finished up a meeting.   

The kids were a little underdressed for the whipping wind, but, all in all, they were all troupers who only complained a little.    We finished the day tired and happy at the Buffalo Wild Wing Factory.   

It was the second 10+ miler we'd done in the last week, a fact, which made us all proud!   
Way to go, family!  You're awesome! 


Monday, March 28, 2016

Cami's Mission Call

March 28:  

Dear Sister G.,
You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  You are assigned to labor in the France Lyon Mission.

We are so excited for Cami and know she will be an awesome missionary!   

I can't wait to dive in and learn all about the beautiful area of the world (including southern France, western Switzerland, and Monaco) where she will serve the Lord for 18-months!  

We are proud of our Cami Rose!  

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

March 27: 
Happy Easter!

This song is one that the primary children sang today in our Easter program and it's been stuck in my head ever since.  What a powerful testimony of Christ's love for each of us personally.   

Jesus climbed the hill
To the garden still
His steps were heavy and slow
Love and a prayer
Took Him there
To the place only He could go

Jesus loves me
So He went willingly
To Gethsemane

He loves me....and you!   

"The Savior has suffered not just for our iniquities but also for the inequality, the unfairness, the pain, the anguish, and the emotional distresses that so frequently beset us. There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that you or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Savior did not experience first. You and I in a moment of weakness may cry out, “No one understands. No one knows.” No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did."



March 26:  
No make up. 
Sweat pants. 
Dam shirt. 
Evening time.
Changed clothes.
Went to Women's Conference
Felt uplifted and inspired.   
Ready for Easter. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Chorus of Angels

March 25:

On Friday,  everything came together for  the first official performance of "Savior of the World."  The cast has been practicing regularly for over three months and all three of my thespians were very excited {and nervous} about performing in front of an audience.    

Ellie's jitters translated into a nervous energy and an ear-to-ear grin the entire night.  

The performance came together beautifully.... 

and I was surprised at the high quality of the music and the acting.   

Here's a video of the final scene of the play. 

There's one more performance left!  If you're in the area, I highly recommend altering your Easter plans to include this meaningful family activity!  

Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016

(admission is free, but you'll want to come at least an hour early to pick up your free tickets)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Just a Quick Jaunt

March 24: 
Ask me what my idea of a perfect day is and it will certainly include a hike of some length or another.       So when my friend invited me to come along with her kids on a 10-miler on Thursday, I was only too excited to sign us up! 

It was a cool urban hike that had us hiking across a river (where they had to stop and throw a few rocks)...

 and across the Virginia/DC line and onto Georgetown University.  

Despite the urban setting, we still got to see some wildlife, including some deer who were very unjittery around humans....

and a big bullfrog! 

The blossoms were beautiful.... 

and after TWELVE WHOLE MILES (yes, it was two miles more than we expected)...

they were good and ready for a celebratory Slurpee!

Beautiful day, long hike, great company.... 
it was a great day!   


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl!

March 23:  
After weeks and weeks of counting down, my baby girl is ELEVEN YEARS OLD today!   

We started the day with Daddy's special crepe breakfast.  

Then Ellie's primary teacher dropped by with a little treat for her.   

Then, because her birthday is right in the middle of spring break this year, she got to have her birthday party on her actual birthday!  

We made these fun crafts...

watched "Inside Out," played minute to win it games, 

decorated cupcakes, 

and had a lot of fun laughing and being silly together!   

Now, here are ELEVEN things we love about our new ELEVEN year-old!

1. Ellie's enthusiasm for life is unparalleled!  
2. Ellie knows how to get things done! 
3. Ellie is easy-going and is happy to go with the flow!
4.  Ellie's sense of fashion is way better than my own!
5. Ellie is a great conversationalist! 
6. Ellie loves people and is good at showing it!
7. Ellie loves furry things, especially dogs and horses, almost as much as she loves people!
8. Ellie has a naturally cheerful and optimistic personality!
9. Ellie isn't afraid to dive into complicated projects and recipes!
10. Ellie is very in tune to people's feelings and tries hard to help others to feel comfortable and happy.
11. Ellie is a truly creative thinker and often astounds me with her outside-the-box way of looking at things.  


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Whizzing By

March 22:   
Sometimes life seems to go by in slow motion, 
and other times it whizzes by in a blur (like this beautiful Cooper's Hawk we saw today).
Right now we're in whiz mode and I feel like I need to stop and take a breath, so I don't miss anything important.   I don't know exactly what it means to stop and take a breath in real life, but I am working on it.  You know, like by getting sick right before Ellie's birthday party that's tomorrow.   And letting myself get really shook up by the terrorist attack today in Brussels.   

One thing I do know is that there are a couple of "extras" in our lives right now that play a huge role in why it feels extra busy.   For instance, the experience of Glen, Emma, and Ellie participating in the "Savior of the World" production has been a meaningful experience that they will never forget.    But I won't miss the frequent practices at far-flung locales.   Nor will I miss teaching the civics class for the coop.    Nor will I miss the ongoing battle I have going with the unreasonable jerk person to right a wrong. 

So for now, I will just think happy thoughts between coughs and keep on keeping one day at a time! 


US Naval Academy

March 21: 
Today is the first day of Spring Break, but today is also the only day of the whole week that won't be taken up by "Savior of the World" practices and performances.   In typical Lara fashion, I woke up and knew we wanted to go somewhere, but hadn't planned a thing and had no clue even where to go. 

Google to the rescue!   

After a little research we decided on a day trip to Annapolis!    After almost 19-years living in the area, I still had never been.  Glen and some of the kids had been before, but somehow I had missed ever going. 

The first place we stopped was the US Naval Academy...

 and we were very excited to have serendipitously arrived just in time to watch the daily ceremonial noon meal "Formation" (skip to about 3:44 to see where it gets interesting).   

We opted not to take the paid tour and ended up just wandering around the beautiful campus instead.  

The US Naval Academy Museum in Preble Hall was full of interesting old artifacts from the US wars, including many intricate model ships.    We learned a lot about some of the traditions of USNA and were fascinated by the ceremonial "baptizing" of the class rings and the ensuing ring dance (read a little more about it here in the section entitled "Ring Dance).  

After a few hours on campus, my kids were ready to join the Navy on the spot just so they could get some food to eat.    They wouldn't accept them just yet though, so we headed to the Iron Rooster in old-town Annapolis instead.   

 They are famous for their pop-tarts, so we ordered a mixed berry and brown sugar/cinnamon one as appetizers.

The food was absolutely delicious and we highly recommend it for anyone looking for good eats in Annapolis.   

Emma got the cast-iron scramble, Ellie got the waffle burger, Adam got the chicken and waffle, and I got a parmesan crusted chicken sandwich with garlic aioli sauce!   YUM!  

After wandering around town for a couple more hours, we decided to stop at the Annapolis Ice Cream Company for  some ice cream.     It is considered to be the best ice cream store in Annapolis (and there are A LOT of them).  We only ever tried this one, so we can't speak to the rest, but we agree that it was high quality frozen deliciousness! 
We had a great time, hit zero traffic either direction,  and would gladly go back to Annapolis anytime!    


Monday, March 21, 2016

Critical Hike

March 19: 
 The last few weeks, Glen, Emma, and Ellie have had their Saturday mornings occupied with their "Savior of the World" play practices.    So Adam and I decided to take advantage of their absence and go on a hike every Saturday while they're gone.   This past Saturday we tried out Scott's Run loop.   We'd hiked here before, but this time I was there with critical eyes to determine if it would be a suitable location for our upcoming YW hike.  

 The scenery was good. 

The waterfall a fun perk.  

And these two sets of stepping "stones" across Scott's Run added a little novelty to the trail.  

Our only complaint was that it wasn't long enough.    
We usually go 5-8 miles and we were looking for a 5-miler for the YW and this loop is only 2.5 miles.   We may just try to add a couple more loops on to increase the mileage or we may try a different trail.   We will see!   

In a major small world moment, I met someone on the trail wearing a Minnesota sweatshirt and I was more than a little surprised when she mentioned that she graduated from the same high school as me!    


March 20:  
Savior of the World practices are picking up in intensity and tonight they wore their costumes for the first time.   I'm trying to be loving and benevolent about all the time away from home, but truth is, I'm definitely looking forward to the whole thing being over next week.   It's been a fantastic spiritual experience for all of them, but I miss our Saturday mornings and Sunday nights and Thursday nights. This week it will be every night but Monday.   

Glen is counting down until the day he can shave! 


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