Monday, December 10, 2012

Today I realized I'm a nerd

Because Kelly and I had a serious discussion about the pros and cons of having an ewok as a pet. Then I wondered whether it would be ethical or not since ewoks are kind of intelligent lifeforms.

Also, we would name it Bubba.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Moving Day...well, days...many of them

I know that I haven't really waited that much longer than usual to post, but at least this time I had some excuses besides pure laziness.  For those of you who haven't heard, Kelly and I were pregnant and I was SO TIRED all the time!  So of course I didn't feel like writing about moving to a new place. Fortunately I was never morning sick, though, so that's good.  Just about when the tiredness finally started to become manageable, I lost the baby.  It has been a really difficult thing for both of us, albeit in different ways.  It has been a heart softening experience.  Most of the four years Kelly and I dated were long distance, and even though we knew we were going to get married we had to wait and be apart.  It wasn't always fun, but it made me appreciate Kelly and our marriage and just being able to be with him so much.  I know when we do have a baby we will appreciate it that much more for having to wait and go through heartache to have it.  Also, thank you to everyone for your kind words, the cards, and flowers.  We felt your love and prayers and love you all.

Well, there's where we've been for the last few months.  I started writing this post about moving at the beginning of August (only slightly delayed, right?)  because we moved at the end of of July, but with taking pictures and uploading them and school starting and being tired or crying all the time I just never finished it.  Anyway, come tour our new apartment!

We are officially more than established in our new apartment by this point.  Of course we still have some work to do, but we've got most things hanging on the walls and our furniture where we want it.  The problem with moving into a bigger place is all the sudden we feel like we need to buy more things.  Fortunately we have a bed and a couch and a table (we hate two of those three, but they're all functional for now), unlike our last move when we loaded up our '98 Ford Escort and drove across the country with ourselves, our car, our clothes, a box of books, and a few wedding presents.  So we're good.  Actually while we were moving we were thinking "How on earth did we get so much stuff!?!?!" Especially considering what we started our marriage with.  So we spent six, yes SIX days moving.  We got the keys to our new apartment on Thursday July 26 and had to be out of our old apartment on the 31st, so while Kelly was at work from 8AM-7PM on Thursday and Friday, I scrubbed everything in our new apartment and made as many trips as I could with stuff I could carry by myself and fit in our car.  On Saturday we rented a U-Haul truck and our friends from church/heroes of the day Ben and Devin came and helped us carry all the the big stuff down three flights of stairs, load it into the truck, drive it to our new place, and then unload and carry it UP three more stories (stairs, of course) to our new place.  Thank goodness we only have a few heavy heavy things (actually the three pieces of furniture mentioned above, the couch, the dining table, and the queen-size mattress.)  The rest were all IKEA bookshelves and chairs and the box spring and stuff like that.  So Saturday was the first night we spent at our new home.  On Sunday Kelly and I made a couple more trips--mostly bringing our FOURTEEN BOXES OF BOOKS!!! (Are we insane!?!) And Monday and Tuesday I cleaned everything in our old apartment and brought the last few things to our new home.  Anyway, I thought I'd share some pictures.  First our old apartment/first home together.  Yes, it was kind of sad moving away from the setting of our first three years of marriage, but by Tuesday we were both really ready to be done moving and basically say "good riddance" to the place with its rocking toilet, drippy faucets, crooked stove, missing tiles, and chipped bathtub.  Okay, pictures:
Why yes those ARE all filled with books!

Empty Living Room and broken blinds that we don't miss

Goodbye tiny bathroom that required us to take turns getting ready

Little kitchen and the drippy faucet that could have institutionalized Kelly had we stayed any longer

Libby is excellent at photobombing.  And she kind of looks like an owl.  Is it just me?
Last picture of us in our first home together.  Yes we were that tired.

Libby made sure we didn't leave her behind

And now our new home, which has a nicer kitchen with more cupboard and counter space, a second bedroom and bathroom, bigger living room, dining room and balcony, and more closet space! Although the faucets work like this:

If you visit us, you have been warned.
But we are loving it here!   Here's a tour of our new home:

Home is where your stuff is...ish

 Welcome to our humble abode.  Here's our makeshift entryway.

 ...and our wall o' books

 ...and our couch, with a random desk behind it.  Eventually we're going to get some chairs and have a reading nook back there.  Don't mind the nerf gun under the couch.  Kelly got it after I miscarried so I wouldn't have to get off the couch to keep Libby from scratching the carpet when she wants attention.  Kelly has also gotten shot with it when I want attention.

Here's the aforementioned random mix of furnishing that will someday be replaced with comfy chairs and a little table.  And behind the curtain is the sliding door that leads to the balcony.

 The console table behind the couch and our tv set up.  Although that has changed a bit since I took this picture.

 Here's the whole front room put together for you.  It still needs some work, but hey, we've only been here a few months.

 Here's the dining room.  It's attached to the living room.  Also, I hate that table. but it was free and it works for now. "Buy a new dining set" is on the agenda.

 This is the view of the kitchen from the dining room

 Much more spacious and so much more storage than our last kitchen.  Although the curtains need to go.

 Here's our open shelving and system to hold all our fancy kitchen stuff.

 Kelly was super excited he could watch TV from the kitchen.  I'm not complaining either.

 If you walk through the dining room there's a hallway and the first door off that is a closet, but the next one is the second bedroom.  I was working on it as a nursery, and I think I'm going to paint it and do some stuff to it anyway.  We're planning orange, grey and white. 
 Here's the chair I bought to cuddle with my baby in.  And I will,  just not as soon as I thought.

 Right now we have our old desktop in there, but we're looking to replace it and move it elsewhere.  This is where the crib will be.

 This picture isn't really anything, just the closet in the second bedroom, but while I was walking around the house taking pictures Libby was following me and would wait patiently until I moved to the next room.  I thought it was cute.  She loves me even though I shoot at her with nerf guns.

 Here's the hallway looking straight out from the second bedroom.  Our room is straight ahead, a bathroom and frame wall is on the right, and a pantry and washer and dryer is on the left.

Here's a better look at our frames.  We filled them with random stuff we like that are too nerdy to display where guests would see. Ha ha.  The one with the glare is a Keep Calm and Carry On poster. 

 Our washer and dryer is across from the frame hall.  I can never go back to the laundromat. It would kill my soul.

Our guest bathroom.  It's actually Jack-and-Jill, so the master bath and the guest bath share a shower

 This shower, in fact.

 And our bathroom.  Now that is a mirror and vanity for two looks like.  Hooray!

 And our bedroom.

 I still need to hang something above the bed.

 Our dresser with my green Craigslist mirror that is now black and looks like it was made for our dresser.   The door on the left leads to the bathroom, and the door on the right leads to the hallway.  Those closet doors in the hall is where the washer and dryer are to give you a frame of reference.

Now you've been through our whole apartment! Hooray!  Our cat was really scared at first and was running around while staying as low as possible and hid inside our couch for a few hours.  She's good now.  She's liking all the space and the way bigger balcony.

We have already done a few fun things here.  I had my 25th birthday.  Kelly gave me a saphire necklace.
You can also see my first attempt at a 5 part braid in this photo

 Over Labor Day we watched my TFA buddy's dog Pepper.  He's a yorkiepoo (Yorkie and Poodle mix.  I can never get over how funny that name is hahahahahahaha) and so little and cute.  We had fun, but we're glad we don't have a dog.  We're kind of really really really lazy people, so playing fetch and keeping a dog company so he doesn't cry every single day would not be ideal for us, but we had fun with him for a couple days.

We also had some of Kelly's friends from Michael's over for games and food on a Friday night in September, so we have hosted some people here once so far.  That was pretty fun, even though I didn't know most of them very well.  So we're settling in and it's our home now.  We are still working on the second bedroom even though there isn't a  baby coming to stay in it at the moment.  It is kind of theraputic, actually, and I feel better about painting fumes and that kind of stuff without having to worry about what it could do to the baby.  For the time being it works great as a guest room, so if you know us come visit.  If you don't know us, either make friends with us and build a trusting relationship first, or stay away!

 For Thanksgiving it was just Kelly and me here in Baltimore.  Kelly and I made dinner together (okay, he made most of it.  I helped a little).  We had a rotisserie chicken and parmesan mashed potatoes, stuffing, peas in cream sauce, salad, cranberry sauce, and rolls, with Kelly's creme brulee for dessert.  We mostly just enjoyed having a couple of days off. I gave Kelly his xbox I got him for Christmas early so he could enjoy it on his time off, and I uphostered our shoe bench and a chair.  I'll post pictures of that later.  Meaning probably in March.  Hopefully not.  Anyway, to finish this LONG post up, here are some pictures of our Thanksgiving:

 Kelly cooking Thanksgiving dinner--apparently at the speed of The Flash judging by the blurriness of this picture.

 Our third Thanksgiving together.  And our first at our new apartment.

Kelly made us a feast for two

 Kelly's mom always sends us a little package each holiday.  This year she sent us some Turkey salt and pepper shakers for our table.  I'm sensing a family tradition in the making.

For the whole month of November we wrote down things we are thankful for and put them in this jar.  It was a good thing for us to do while grieving.  Even though we have sad and difficult things happen to us, we were able to think of so many things we have been blessed with and are so thankful for.  We read them right after dinner and it was really fun.  I was going to be all fancy when I made this and printed out a template and was going to Xacto knife it out and made a stencil and spray paint the words, but I got my Xacto on a killed it, so I got frustrated and just freehand wrote the words with a sharpy.  Sometimes cutting corners works out. Don't tell my students I said that.

 Kelly playing a game on his early-Christmas-present-xbox.

Now I can't think of a good way to end this.  I always was terrible at writing conclusions to essays.  In fact, in high school on AP tests I would write my whole essay and write a sentence and a half of my conclusion so it would look like I ran out of time so I wouldn't have to write it!  Of course, it only worked on the last essay, so if there were three I still had to write two conclusions, so the reviewers could probably see right through me after reading two weak conclusions and seeing I conveniently didn't have to write the last one.  Anyway, in conclusion, we love our home, come visit if you know us, and s--

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Part of me wanted to keep this to just me and Kelly and close family because it's private and sacred and, although I should know better, I feel like I've failed.  The other part of me wanted to scream it to everyone and have the whole world to cry with us. 

I didn't know how to say it, but my mom so eloquently did.  Thank you, Mom, for your beautiful words, initial enthusiasm, love, support and your shoulder to cry on, the best even from 3000 miles away.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Power is Out: What We're Learning

It's Day 7 of not having electricity.  Baltimore has been treating us so well!  (That was sarcasm, for any Sheldons out there.)  In 2009 we had "Snowpocalypse" (or "Snowmageddon" if you are of that school) when in snowed so much they wouldn't allow non-government vehicles to be on the roads and we lost our power for a few days (however I also got six snow days off of school, so I wasn't complaining too much), then last summer we had an earthquake (some of our pictures are still hanging crooked from that...don't judge me) and a few days later Hurricane Irene hit us and we were without power for 3.5 days.  Then last Friday (June 29) we got hit with some kind of freak storm and we have been without power ever since.  In a heat wave.   And it's very humid, which I think is the WORST THING EVER!  If you know me even a little you probably already know that because I complain about humidity all the time.  Anyway, our power company keeps giving us times that the power should be back on, the first being July 4 at 12:30 in the afternoon.  Then 10:30pm.  Then 6:30pm the next day.  Then nothing.  Then 4:00 today.  And now it's set for 6:30pm tomorrow.  Kelly and I don't believe them anymore.  We have also almost given up hope of ever having electricity in our home ever again...or at least until we move at the end of the month.  At the rate we're going, that might really be the case.

So, since I am now an expert at living through a heat wave (100+ degrees outside four 5 out of the 7 days so far) with no power for a whole week I will share ten things we learned.

1.  Some things you should definitely own in case of a power outage or emergency:
-flashlights (or even better a lantern; see ); at least one per person so you don't always use the buddy system in your own home.
-candles and matches in case your flashlight dies
-a cooler
-ice packs or a lot of ice in your freezer for your cooler
-car charger for your phone
-food that doesn't need to be refrigerated or cooked, because even if you have a gas stove, in the summer you will NOT want to turn it on, and eventually all your food in your fridge will go bad.  And if you need to evacuate, it's easy to take with you and eat on the go. Also, make sure you have adequate food and water stored in your house, and necessities like soap, basic first aid stuff, and TP in case of an emergency, because the grocery store could be closed or cleaned out. When snow is forecast here, the first things gone at the store are bread, milk, and toilet paper.  Also, we are lucky because we found out that some people in the area don't have water or electricity!
-books to help with boredom
-something to cook with if you don't have a gas stove, especially if it's winter, or businesses around you are also out of power so there's no where to go get groceries or go out to eat.
-it's always good to have warm clothes and a giant warm blanket on hand, in case you're left without power in the winter.
-lots and lots and lots of batteries, especially extras in the right size for your smoke alarm and flashlights.

Story time:  our smoke/carbon monoxide alarm's battery has died twice since the power went out.  Those things go faster than you think when it's entirely reliant on the back up battery instead of electricity.  The first night we had to go get a 9-volt battery at 3:45 AM because the thing kept chirping and we couldn't sleep.  It turned out to be a good thing, though, because we were able to get ice before there was a run on the bank, which leads us to the second thing we learned:

2.  Get ice early.  We actually learned this lesson in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.  When the power didn't come on on the second day, we got worried about our food going bad and I went to 9 different places trying to find a bag of ice.  I was lucky to get the very last bag at the gas station I stopped at last.  This time around the power went out at about 11PM on June 29, and we got ice at 3:45AM on our battery run.  The next day most places were running low or out, and the day after that there was none to be found.  Unfortunately, when you get ice the first day, and there is no ice after that to replace it with, after 7 days, all your food will be bad if the weather is very hot.  Case in point:

Although our power's not on yet, I cleaned out the fridge because it was as warm inside it as outside it and had been for a couple days, and things were stinking!  Even our pickles went bad.  That's how hot it got in our house.  And don't worry, I scrubbed out the whole thing after I took these pics.

3.  This one is only for summer, open all the windows at night.  If it is still too hot, sleep next to the one that gets the most breeze.  It's the only way we are still alive.  If you are in a super hot/humid place like Baltimore that doesn't cool down at night and you are on the top floor, go ahead and leave all your windows open all the time, otherwise it will be even hotter inside than it is outside, also you will not be able to breathe.  Seriously, the air feels heavy out here and even worse inside with no circulation.

This was our sleeping situation, next to our screen door out to the balcony.
The baby gates by the window is to keep Libby from scratching the screen since it was installed brand new with the new windows on Tuesday.  Libby sits on our mattress during the day when she's not sleeping under the couch, which is where she's been spending the majority of her time as you can see below.

4. Again, only when it's really hot, block direct sunlight coming into your house.  We actually are moving in a month and the windows were scheduled to be replaced in our apartment this week, so we had to take down all our curtains, which would have done this job pretty well, but such is our luck.  We have a tree that shades the windows into the main part of our apartment, but nothing over the window in the bedroom, so we are keeping that door closed and try to not go in there, because it is at least 15 degrees hotter in there than in the rest of the apartment.  In the living room we have vertical blinds that block the light pretty well, and in the dining room we set our air mattress against the window during those hours when the sun is coming in.  This tip and the last one when I said to keep your windows open all day in certain situations are kind of opposites, so we experimented and figured out what worked best for us.  We kept the window open, but for a few hours when the sun was coming in blocked the light and then as soon as the sun passed overhead opened everything back up again.

5.  If you can, buy a battery-operated fan.  We only managed to scrounge one up yesterday evening, and it made all the difference.  When I walked into Bed, Bath, & Beyond and saw one left, I knew God saved it for me (sounds dramatic, but that's how it felt when I saw this little beauty waiting for me).  We actually slept last night, and this morning we agreed it was worth the cost of the fan and the 8 D batteries it took to run the thing.

My new best friend--tied with Kelly.

6.  A lantern is so much cooler than a flashlight.  It lights up 360 degrees instead of only where you point it. It has a hook so you can hang it on things.  It has feet so you can set it down and use both hands and it doesn't roll away.  Ours is made by Black Diamond and takes 4 AA batteries, and those lasted for 4 days, so keep your extra batteries handy, those sell out almost as fast as ice.

Our lantern, which Kelly's brother Ben gave us for Christmas a couple years ago.  THANK YOU BEN & HOLLY!!

See how we hooked in the shower?  P.S. get used to cold showers.  I have.  Kelly hasn't.  Guess who smells better. (Just kidding about the smell!  However, while I can take a quick normal shower, Kelly takes forever trying to wash his hair without the water touching anything but his scalp, and basically sponge bathing to keep out of the direct line of fire cold water.)

7.  Make sure you have a cooler.  They also sell out as fast as ice.  Fortunately we already had one, but during our quest for a fan that lasted about 6 days, we heard a lot of people asking for coolers and a lot of store employees saying there weren't any left.

8.  Don't live on the top floor of your apartment building in a summer outage.  I know you can't help this (neither could we) but I'll tell you ahead of time, it sucks.  When we get about half-way up the last flight of stairs, it's like walking through a wall of hot hot air.  I've never experienced anything like it in my life, except maybe the opposite version of walking into a restaurant freezer and feeling that super dramatic change in temperature from one step to the next.

9.  Find out where there is electricity and air conditioning and spend the hottest part of your day there.  If you have work, this is one of those rare times when you'll actually look forward to going there.  If you are on summer break like I am, find places you can loiter in air conditioning without getting in trouble like the mall or go to the movies or explore stores you always wanted to go to but never had time.

10.  Know ahead of time places with WiFi and outlets available for you to charge your computer if you don't have a smartphone (I don't.)  Out here Panera, Dunkin' Donuts, and Barnes & Noble are currently acting as second (and third and fourth) homes for me and Kelly.  I have discovered Panera has the most comfortable seats, best access to outlets, and the best food, but it's awkward to stay there very long since it's a restaurant, and also go after 2pm to get a seat with an outlet.  Barnes & Noble is okay to stay at for longer amounts of time, and you are not obligated to buy food first.  Dunkin Donuts is open the latest, but you will need to buy at least a donut or they'll probably give you dirty looks.  I haven't tried not buying something first, so that's only a guess. We've figured when to migrate from place to place.  For example, I started this post in Panera over lunch, and am now finishing it at Barnes & Noble with my new friends (I get more everyday) who also don't have power at home. 

Bonus tip: when you pass 5 trucks from your power company on your street and all the people are inside of them sleeping, take a video and narrate with the temperature,  how long you've been out of power, and general venting about your feelings on the situation. I tragically didn't think about this and Kelly told me I should have done that when I told him about it later.  For the record, it was 101 degrees and the power had been out for 6 days by that point.

So if you ever lose power for 7 days and running, go to Barnes & Noble and check out some tips from a survivor, albeit a whiney one.  Also, if you have a cat, don't try to move it to the coolest part of the house, because it will just run away again.  At least if your cat is as dumb as Libby.

**Update!  Our power came back on Friday night!  It was so hot we went to a late movie and when we came home as we were driving up to our apartment we saw the outdoor lights of our building were on!  At first we both just thought "why does this look weird?" and then at the same time we realized the power was on and did a seated-and-still-driving-happy-dance, which may or may not have included some happy crying and nearly jumping out of the car while it was still in motion and then running up three flights of stairs to our apartment so we could turn the light on. So, we all survived (except for all of our refrigerated/frozen food, minus three kinds of Tabasco (I don't know why we had three kinds, we just did), soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, an unopened jar of relish, an unopened jar of capers, and a Costco box of York peppermint patties...yes, all the Yorks are deformed now, but still edible.  I'm sure we could make some kind of meal out of that right?).

Also, at about 3AM Monday morning we woke up and the power was out again.  Kelly called the power company and they said it would be on by 6AM, but it's kind of hard to trust those guys!  Neither of us could get back to sleep because it was such a horrible feeling, knowing we had just gotten it back and had replaced a bunch of stuff in the fridge and now it was out again. When we got up at 6:30 the power was still out and I was on the verge of tears, but as Kelly was getting ready for work the fan in our bedroom turned on around 7, so there was much rejoicing. And the power's been on since then, so hopefully it doesn't go out again, or one of us (probably Libby) is going to need a padded room and a straight jacket.

Other than being terrified of the power going out again and an empty refrigerator, the only lasting effect has been forgetting to turn on both the hot and cold water.  Weird right?  When the power was out, we both just turned the hot water handle in the sinks and shower, but it doesn't work so well when the water heater is actually working!  We've both been surprised by too-hot water when we're washing our hands, or getting a gulp of warm water when we're expecting  cold.  Who knew you could get so lazy about turning on the water taps?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Crouches Come to Baltimore

Once again: I'm the worst blogger ever.  Now that I got that out of the way, here's some cool stuff I've been up to!

Okay, I haven't  been up to too much that qualifies for the category of "cool stuff" but that's okay.  I'll tell you about the boring stuff too! Lucky you!

So since February, which is the last time I posted, the thing I did most was teach the third trimester at school.  I had a few students who are pretty awesome people.  Then again, most stopped coming around the beginning of May, although last year only 12 students passed my class in the third trimester, and this year 36 did, so attendance was up a little from this time last year! Hooray progress!  Fortunately, each of my classes are only 1 trimester long, so many more passed US and World History during the 1st and 2nd trimesters so I'm not a complete failure of a teacher.

In other teaching news, we had our second graduation and that was nice to attend.  Some really amazing students graduated and are going to go on and do better things than high school.  It was fun to go and support the ones who really worked for it.

 Kelly turned 25 and graduated in May.  Fortunately not from high school (that would be ridiculous).  He graduated with his B.A. from Towson University, and now he's all good to go for teaching Spanish starting in the fall!  I hope his first year is 18 bajillion-trillion times better than mine.  Anyway, his graduation was long and boring and I had to sit all by myself since both our families live a few thousand miles away.  We decided neither of us are going to walk when we get our masters.  I should be done in August, so that will be good to be done and not have to do all the pomp and circumstance (ha ha ha I'm so hilariously funny!  Get it?  Because I'm talking about the stupid hats and ceremony, but that's also the name of the processional music.  Do most people know that?  Or just us Bountiful Elementary kids who had Music Start?)

Kelly's birthday cupcake.  A quarter of a century isn't that big a deal, I guess.
Towson University Graduation...well, the one Kelly was in.
Believe it or not, that blur is Kelly walking across the stage.
Kelly: college grad.  And tired and hot and ready to get the heck out of there.

School ended on the 13th and it was a bit of a drag to pack up everything in my classroom knowing that I would have to unpack all of it again in August.  I was hoping Kelly would get a job somewhere that is not Baltimore so I could quit, so most of this year I was thinking this was the last one...but alas, it wasn't.  Anyway, the best part of the last day of school was my parents and younger brother and sister flew in that evening! 

They timed it perfectly because the weather was so amazing the whole time they were here!  It had been either super hot and humid or very rainy before they came, and their last day it started getting really muggy and hot again, but the week they were here it was very pleasant and not too humid. (Humidity, if you can't tell, is my least favorite thing about living here.  Kelly keeps thinking I'll get used to it someday, but I never will.  I am meant for desert air, not the sauna I currently live in.)

I stole some pictures from facebook that my mom and sister (Cami) posted because I didn't take very many, I guess because I was too busy enjoying just being with my family (minus Kevin & Lindsey, sorry you couldn't make it guys).

The evening they got here we got burgers at Abbey Burger, which was tasty as always, and louder than usual on account of the O's game.  Then we came home and we ate crème brûlée Kelly was nice enough to make, and they met our cat, Libby.  I think Kelly and I need to have a baby because they way they played with and watched our cat is kinda like how Kelly's family is with our nephew Liam.
For some reason my family couldn't get over how fat Libby is.
The next day we headed up to Gettysburg and spent the day driving around the battlefield.  Kelly wasn't feeling very well, so he didn't come.  We had all done Gettysburg before, except my brother Bryan, so we didn't do the museum part.  My dad loves the Civil War and told us a lot of awesome things about the battle.  We packed sandwiches for lunch and watched squirrels and cardinals while we ate until a bird decided to break up the party by splattering the picnic table with poo.  Then we went to the cemetery where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address.  When we came home we watched Catch Me if You Can because Cami is obsessed with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Cami, Mom, Dad, me and Bryan on an observation tower at Gettysburg.

Cardinal at lunch.  Who knows, this could be the bird that pooed at us.

This is where Lincoln stood to give the Gettysburg Address.
The second day we split up.  We had planned to go to the second part of the Air and Space Museum, but Cami didn't want to.  She decided she wanted to go to the Holocaust Museum instead, so my mom, Cami and I went there, and the guys went to the Air and Space Museum.  I tried to tell Cami that while amazing, the Holocaust Museum is very sobering.  I don't know if anyone can really understand the feeling unless they've been there or somewhere similar.  It is amazing how there can be so many people milling around in there, and still be nearly silent.  There was a bunch of middle school kids there who had been laughing and goofing off coming in, but once they got into the main exhibit they were so quiet and respectful.

After that, we cheered up a little when we met up with Kelly, Bryan, and my dad at the National Zoo.  It is so fun in the spring because there are baby animals!  There was a tiny baby howler monkey and Bryan, Kelly and my mom saw a baby burrowing owl, Cami and I didn't because it was in the bird house, and we're both scared of birds, but upon seeing the pictures we both agreed it was adorable.  The tamarins are always fun, and how many people get to see a gorilla pull poop out of its bum with its fingers?  I think we were all worn out by the time we got home.
Somehow this is the only picture I got at the zoo.  Well, I tried to get some of the baby howler monkey, but they were all blurry.  Bryan has some of the baby burrowing owl, so ask him if you want to see it.

On Saturday we headed up to Philadelphia and went to Independence Hall and saw the Liberty Bell and went to Reading Market for lunch (of course we got Philly cheesesteaks!)  Then we headed to Longwood Gardens, which I've written about on here before.  We saw the fountains and the idea garden, which weren't open the last two times we went.  They had some really cool ideas for home vegetable gardens.  We also did the conservatory, of course, and then ended off the night with a fountain/light show.  Kelly and me and my mom enjoyed it (I liked the fact that the music was big band), but my dad and Bryan got bored, I think.  Cami didn't come because she was tired of museum and history stuff.
Bryan, Me, Kelly, and my dad walking to Independence Hall for our tour with the "saucy woman" national park worker, and a random guy walking to the Liberty Bell.

Kelly and me at Independence Hall
My parents and Independence Hall
Inside Independence Hall where they signed the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

My dad, me and Kelly at Benjamin Franklin's grave.  My dad and I got good luck for tossing pennies that landed on the headstone face-up.  Kelly's rolled back to us under the fence.  It was only later that I realized that sounded kind of mean throwing pennies at someone's grave, but the proceeds are used to keep up the grounds.

On Sunday, Cami and Bryan stayed in bed but my parents came with Kelly and me to church.  After church we went back to DC to drive around some of the monuments because Bryan hadn't been there before. (Cami, once again decided  not to come, but hung out in our apartment instead of the hotel, so she could watch movies and get online and play with Libby.)  We also went to the National Cathedral.  It is so huge!  There was some information about the damage it received in the earthquake last August, which was really interesting to learn about.  It is amazing how such a small quake did so much damage.   We did go into the Lincoln Memorial since you don't really get the whole experience without going inside, and then we went past the Vietnam War Memorial and found the name of a man my dad knew.   We came back home pretty early and Kelly showed off his cooking skills by making chicken marsala and cheddar chive biscuits.

National Cathedral, view from top.

National Cathedral
Me and Kel at the National Cathedral

 On Monday we finally did something Cami wanted to do:  Ocean City!  We drove 3 hours to the beach and just relaxed all day on the sand and walked up and down the boardwalk.  It was nice after all the walking we had done in the days before.  Then we hit some outlet malls to bought Kelly some "teacher clothes," and asked a local for a restaurant suggestion for dinner.  The Captain's Galley was not that great.  I got my first real sunburn ever.  I think the only part of me to every burn before was my hair part, but at Ocean city I burned my legs, arms, and face.  Kelly thought it was hilarious the next day when I was surprised that being in the sun hurt.  Joke's on him though, I'm already tan and he'd still red!

Kelly sleeping on the beach.

Cami and my mom at Ocean City, MD

Boardwalk at Ocean City (my mom took this picture)

Tuesday was our last full day with my family here, and nothing really worked according to plan.  We were going to go to Fort McHenry for the Sail-ebration commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.  Fort McHenry is what Francis Scott Key could see when he wrote the National Anthem, so it's kinda Baltimore's claim to fame.  Unfortunately, it was apparently too full, because cops blocked the road so we couldn't get there.  So we went to Annapolis instead.  Kel and I hadn't been there before, and it's basically a tourist trap of a state capital.  So that wasn't great.  So we came back to Baltimore and tried to go on the Constellation, (it's a ship in the harbor) but it was too late, it had closed.  So we wandered around the harbor and cooled off in the Barnes & Noble.  That was probably the funnest part of the day.  Then Kel and I tried to take my family out to eat crab, but the place was closed.  So we came back home and watched Malcolm in the Middle on Netflix while eating steak and salad Kelly, my mom and me quickly whipped up.
Annapolis Harbor from the US Navy Academy
National Aquarium-we didn't go inside, but it sits right on Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
Wednesday was sad because my family went home.  We met at the Towson mall since Cami wanted to go in there because it was across the street from their hotel, and we wandered through there, then let them check out the Trader Joe's since there's not one in Utah, and had brunch at Towson Hot Bagel.  Then we said goodbye and they got home safely that night.

Kelly and I had so much fun!  It was our vacation too, since Kelly starts his summer training next week and we're moving next month, so I'll spend the summer packing, moving, and unpacking.  We hope my mom and dad and Cami and Bryan had as much fun as we did, and we miss them a lot.  The next day we just chilled at home and rested.  Yesterday we went to Brave, but it was a letdown.  It felt like a second-rate Disney movie--definitely not up to Pixar's usual standards.  Think Brother Bear plus How to Train Your Dragon (but not as good at that one) plus cliche oh-no-I've-cursed-us-we-need-to-break-it-before-time-runs-out.  Not horrible, but pretty ho-hum.

So that's that.  Aren't you glad I haven't been posting for all these months since nothing happened until my family came?  You're welcome for being so considerate and making a super long post all at once instead.  Hopefully I'll post a little sooner next time with pictures of our apartment before packing stuff up, and some of our new apartment when we get there!  I'm so excited to move!