Washington DC

We had the opportunity to go with 30 pretty amazing high school students to DC the week after Thanksgiving. This is a trip that Scott has organized for the past 4 years for high school students throughout Northern Utah. We were supposed to be the chaperons, but we end up having just as much fun as the kids. This presented some challenges navigating the metro with 35 bodies, going through security check points ad nauseum and counting to 35 over and over. It was almost as much fun as herding cats...but not quite.

One of the perks of helping organize this trip through the Close Up Foundation and Congressman Bishop is the opportunity to go places that most people just aren't able to go in the Capitol. We spent about 2 1/2 hours just roaming around the Capitol building including going on the house floor and discussing the history of the House, the Capitol building and what it is like for Rob to be a Member of Congress. The best part about this tour was that it was at night. Which means that nobody else was at the Capitol. We had the place to ourselves and could go just about anywhere (as long as we stayed with Rob) and ask questions and listen to stories. Rob has quite a few 'tall tales' and 'embellished truths', but there are a few factual ones as well.

The other place that we were able to go was the new Lincoln Cottage. It is located at the Soldiers Retirement Home on a hill about 3 miles north of the Capitol. In the 1860's when Lincoln was President, the White House was unbearably muggy and infested with mosquitoes since they chose a swamp for the heart of DC. In the summers, Lincoln and his family would stay in the Cottage where he ended up spending about 25% of his presidency. It was there that he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation and watched as Union Soldiers were burried all around him on the Retirement Home grounds throughout the Civil War. This was a unique place because they didn't talk as much about the location or just the history of the Lincoln Presidency, they discussed the difficult decisions that he had to make and their effect on the future of the nation.
Despite the cold weather in the first week of December, we had a great time visiting all of the historical and political sights in the Washington DC area. We were able to attend some pretty neat and historical events. We were there for the lighting of the Congressional Christmas Tree in front of the Capitol which was a first. They need to pick a better state than Montana to provide the tree, but it was pretty cool regardless.

We were also there on the opening day of the brand new (and way over budget) Capitol Visitors Center. This is the new entrance into the Capitol Building for visitors and has some pretty cool computer animations and historical models describing how the Capitol complex has grown over our history. One of the unique things about the new CVC is that it is entirely underground and doesn't change the view of the Capitol from the street.

One of the highlights of our trip this time didn't have anything to do with the sights in DC or high school kids (Karen was ready for the break). Our wonderful across the fence neighbors from home, Dave and Jenny Hickman, had been working for a couple of years to get into a Nurse Anesthetist program. Dave was finally accepted to a school in Pennsylvania and they were off. It just so happened that they flew into DC on their way to Philly and we were able to go out to eat with them to reminisce and say our good byes. I'm sure glad that we have free long distance because Karen and Jenny have been burning the midnight oil talking on the phone. We will miss having the Hickmans close (they were really the best neighbors you could ask for), but are excited for them and the opportunities that they'll have in Philly.
Even though we have been numerous times, the stories and the history of DC are still amazing and make us so grateful to live in America. We have become pretty good tour guides (even if we do say so ourselves) through this Close Up trip that Scott leads every year and the other opportunities that he has had to go back to the DC area, so if you are looking for someone to go with, we're game...most likely.

No more turkeys

Alright kids so the turkeys are finally gone. Aren't you so excited, I am!! Thanks to our good friend Dave he changed the background for us. I will be back soon to post some pics of our trip to Washington DC


Big fans of Thanksgiving?

We love Thanksgiving and all, but this is starting to get a little bit ridiculous. Its been 3 weeks since the turkey was finished and the leftovers were thrown away. We have tried and tried (and failed miserably) to change the layout of our blog from these wonderful turkeys to something a little bit more festive for the Christmas season. Even after reading the directions (and following them rather intently) we have been unable to successfully modify our background. You could almost say that we are at our wits end.

If anyone is html literate or can provide any assitance for novice bloggers we would greatly appreciate the help.

Otherwise, we will continue to celebrate Thanksgiving and have constant reminders of our Snow College days in Ephraim with all of the turkeys.