Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Photo Dump Part 3: Brea's Birthday Bash in Boston (B^4)

Weekend in Boston! Going to Palmyra for Steff's birthday was so much fun, so we decided to go to Boston for mine! My parents flew out on Friday evening, and Saturday morning Mike, Steff, Whitney, Ally, and I were on an airplane to Boston. As this was my second time and everyone else's first, I let them take the reins in what we saw and did. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip, but I'll let the pictures tell the story.

 Cemetery where Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and Mother Goose are buried

 Occupy Boston- their chants didn't make sense as "down with Verizon, no war, and I don't like banks" were all chanted simultaneously

 The town hall building (balcony) where the Declaration of Independence was read to the citizens of Boston. I love how historical buildings are mixed in with sky scrappers in Boston. History mingled with modernity--so great!

 We ran into a movie set (RIPD- to come out in 2013). Yes, that is Ryan Reynolds, People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive for 2010. My roommates were gaga for hours. I was less enamored, and cared more about  finishing the Freedom Trail, than watching the same scene filmed 40+ times. (though I do admit Mr. Reynolds is pretty attractive in person, but his stunt double is even more so!!!)

 Sunday afternoon in Lexington, where "the shot was heard around the world."
We enjoyed a beautiful day in Lexington, the weather was perfect, leaves were in full color, and I was surrounded by history. Lexington and Walden Pond might be my favorite parts of Boston

 Getting a birthday hug from a Red Coat!

 Harvard Square- touching the toe of John Harvard supposedly brings good luck. Why not try?

 Ahh Fenway! Someday I'll come to Boston when baseball is actually in season!

 Sailing on the Charles River
Yep, sailing! Ahoy, we sail! Whit's friend goes to MIT and students there can certify to take the sailboats out on the river. We all had a chance to hold the sail and steer the rudder. Sailing on the Charles was so fun and such a thrill!

 Siri sailed! (I got my iPhone for my birthday just a few days before, so she came everywhere with me, including sailing.)

After sailing, we took a tour of MIT. We saw some pretty cool labs. MIT is sure interesting and full of innovations and budding technologies. It was a bit science overload, but cool.

All in all, we had a great weekend! I still have to go back to see a game at Fenway, tour the USS Constitution, and run Heartbreak Hill--plus Mike's Pastry has some pretty good canolis!

Boston was just the beginning of birthday celebrations...Happy Birthday to me!!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Photo Dump Part 2: Mom and Dad visit DC

For federal employees (or contractors), Columbus Day is a wonderful holiday! As I might have been the only person with Columbus Day off, I thought it was a great weekend to have Mom and Dad come visit me in DC!!! It was both their first times to the Capital and we made it a great trip! Mom and Dad were troopers and walked all over this city. We went everywhere from Mt. Vernon to Gettysburg to the Monuments to the Capitol to the Temple and even Baltimore. Whew! What a trip! I absolutely loved having my parents come visit me and I think I even convinced them to come back.

 Mom with Abraham Lincoln at the Gettysburg Visitor Center

 Gettysburg Battlefield, view from Big Round Top

 Baltimore: Mt. Olivet Cemetery
Dad did some family history research before they came so we could locate some of the Didenhover relatives. The Didenhover originally hailed from Baltimore, MD before going west to Oregon and Washington. I don't remember the timeline, but I think we have Didenhover records dating to the 1700's in Baltimore and then the westward expansion occurred later. This picture shows 3 unmarked graves of Didenhovers. We spent a good amount of time trying to locate the graves based on cemetary maps. Luckily with modern technology (iPhone) and logical reasoning, we were able to locate the unmarked graves.

 Outside the Cemetery gates

 After doing family history, we decided to go the Inner Harbor at Baltimore. We enjoyed a gorgeous afternoon, sunny and warm in mid October!

Dad loves boats!!

Next stop was Arlington Cemetery, where we watched the Changing of the Guards. This picture is in the Memorial Amphitheater, which someday I will make a speech from.

 Dad in front of George Washington's tomb at Mt. Vernon, the 1st President's estate

 Washington's back porch overlooking the Potomac River. Gorgeous!!

 Mom and Dad before their Capitol Tour

 Every state provides two statues to the Capitol, one in the Statue Hall and another placed elsewhere in the building. Washington's statues were less than well known, so Mom and Dad got a picture with Brigham Young, representing Utah, of course.

 Birthday dinner with Mom, Dad, Mike, and Mike's mom

 Washington D.C. Temple. We were able to do a temple session together, which was wonderful!

 Dad at the White House
No White House tour this time, so I guess M&D have to come back

 Hope Diamond at the Natural History Museum

 WWII Monument, getting caught in a fierce DC Rainstorm

 Lincoln Memorial

Brea & Dad (two peas in a pod!)

Mom and Dad, I loved the visit!! Please come again soon. I promise it will be worth it!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Photo Dump Part 1: Palmyra and NYC

To my few faithful readers,

In an effort to catch up on my blog, I decided to just do a photo dump. As usual, I am months behind and have gone on several adventures in the past six months that are note worthy. Most of you know the stories, so I'll be brief with words and simply post the important stuff- the pictures. Of course those who know me best, know that verbal brevity has never been my strong suit, so be prepared for some story telling.

I have an unwritten standing goal of going somewhere once a month. I don't really plan it that way, but when I look back I realize that something "fun" occurs minimally monthly. Some people choose to spend time and money on books, cars, clothes, homes, crafts, food, etc. I choose to spend my resources on travels.

In September, a few friends and I decided that to celebrate Labor Day and my friend Steffany's birthday, we should go to Palmyra, NY. None of us had been and Palmyra is the early home of Joseph Smith and where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized. Many marvelous events of the Restoration occurred here and it plays a significant role in Church History. With Palymra only a few hours away, we decided it was well worth the trip. That same weekend, Mike got assigned to attend business meetings (aka Table Tennis tournaments) in New York City, so quickly we decided to pit stop in NYC on the way there. The girls played in the city, while Mike worked.

 On the bus from New Jersey (hotel) into the city. This was our ride each way.

 For Steff's birthday, she really wanted to see this show, "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying" I think mostly for Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter. After the show we waited for an hour for a chance to meet him, but alas he never came. Later we learned that he never greets fans after matinees.

 Times Square...need I say more?

If you look really really closely, you can see the Statue of Liberty. We didn't have time to take a ride to Ellis Island, but we watched the boats come in and out for a bit. It was a beautiful day in September!

From NYC, we drove onto Palmrya to stay at the Palmyra Inn. School had begun the week earlier, so I think we might have been their only guests. It was definitely owned by Mormons, since Ensigns were placed in the Lobby and rooms.

 Joseph Smith Farm with the Sacred Grove
This was a particularly special morning as we wondered around the Sacred Grove for at least an hour. The rain was falling slightly and each of us just walked our own path and pondered on what occurred in this sacred wood. I am grateful that a young boy decided to pray; it has changed my life and the world forever.

 Niagara Falls