Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 2015 on FB

April 1: Got april fooled by my own kids today! After school, the twins came home and got pranks ready (unknown to me) for when Kanyon and I came home a little later. When I got home, I went to fill up my water bottle at the sink tap, but the water sprayer had been taped, so I got sprayed instead! I laughed SO hard! And then I forgot about it, and did it AGAIN a few minutes later! At least I wasn't the only one: Kanyon, and Micah (the one who DID the prank!), and Josh also got sprayed tonight! Micah also tried to give Kanyon an oreo filled with white toothpaste, too, but thankfully he didn't fall for it! I was happily surprised with the fun pranks at the end of my day!

April 2: Ammon's on a roll: he got 2nd place again today at his 2nd high school golf tournament! I was so proud of his playing abilities, especially with the crazy weather we endured: in the 6 hours that they played 18 holes, it snowed and hailed, the bitter wind blew, and the sun came out occasionally.

April 5: I loved spending Easter Sunday with my family in Utah today for many reasons: general conference, sunny weather, yummy food, egg hunts, funny kids, great adult company, and an overall fun time!!

April 8: This 2nd grade hall display made me laugh so hard at school today! The pictures were so fun to see (like the old guy with hair coming out of his nose and the old lady with the beehive), but I especially got a kick out of Kanyon's statement of what he will do when he's 100 years old (and I like that his 100-yr-old self has a goatee like his dad Josh!): "I would like to walk, hike, and play with my grandkids. The TV shows that I would like to watch are rated R and PG-13..." What a funny perspective of things to look forward to!

April 9: Stockman's Restaurant in Idaho Falls makes the BEST cheesecake EVER! Even better than the Cheesecake Factory's! Seriously scrumdiddlyumptiousness in every should totally try it sometime if you're in the Idaho Falls area!

April 10: Happy Anniversary to the love of my life Josh! He took me out to a super nice dinner, I treated him to a stay at a luxurious hotel, and we get to attend the wedding of cousin Michael at the Rexburg temple today! It's been a fabulous anniversary get-away!

April 10: Last weekend, the boys each got bags of candy and packages of water balloons for Easter. We've had crummy weather all week long, so there hasn't been any opportunities to use said water balloons until today. Kanyon patiently tried to fill some up using the hose faucet outside, but got tired of them popping, so instead, he decided he would pee in one and see if that worked. And it did. He came inside proudly holding the tied balloon and called it the "EVIL" water balloon, and told me why. EW! The things boys think of doing always surprise and disgust me!

April 13: I've been singing "how do you solve a problem like Maria?" ever since I watched the H.S.'s production of "The Sound of Music" on Saturday night. It was such a wonderful show! I'm excited they're running it for two weeks so I can watch it again this week, too!

April 17: We had a service auction for the youth at our church party last night. It was so much fun! And I think it was the longest ward party I've been to: it lasted 3 hours! I took the 3 younger boys with me to it (Josh and Ammon were gone to a golf tournament), and after dinner, they ran around playing outside with their friends for hours (thankfully it was nice weather to permit that!). When it was time to leave at 9:30, Kanyon was SOOO mad because he wanted to stay longer. I said "isn't that nice that you got to play so long with your friends?", to which he angrily replied "Yeah, for only like 30 seconds!". Apparently, time really flies when you're having fun when 3 hours feels like just 30 seconds!

April 18: Ammon's first prom!

April 23: Josh and I took Kanyon on his monthly date tonight. He really wanted steak, so we went to Bertram's. Forget the children's menu for this kid! It was a big steak and he ate almost all of it, too! When he saw the steamed vegetables on his plate, he said "Is this a mushroom?" and we said yes. Then he said "I love mushrooms". Josh and I both looked at each other with shocked eyes. We've never heard any of our boys say that! I really enjoyed our dinner date tonight!

April 29: Guess what?! We have only 20 more days of school left! I don't know who's more excited about this fact, me or the kids!!

April 30: We finally went to the new ShopKo store in Salmon with the whole family tonight. Everyone took their own money and made their own purchases: Jonah got new socks, Micah loaded up on chocolate, Ammon got snacks, I picked out some red metal stars to decorate the house, and Kanyon bought art supplies. Kanyon used to hate art but has a new passion for it. He has been admiring his new box of 64 crayola crayons all night long; he's never had a 64 crayon box before, and just loves all the color choices, and the crayon sharpener on the back! I remember loving that same crayola box as a kid, and I'm glad he's discovered a love of art!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

1st camping trip of the year

On the last Saturday and Sunday of Spring Break at the end of March, we went 24-hour camping up to Williams Lake, one of our favorite spots that's conveniently close to our house--it only takes about 20 minutes to get there. I'd been itching to go camping for weeks, and it looked like we wouldn't be able to go at all in April, so we decided sort of last minute to hook up the trailer and go. And I'm so glad we did! The weather was nice, and there was only one other person in the campground besides us, so it was a nice mini-vacation. Our cell phones don't work there, so Josh and I de-stressed. We spent a lot of time just relaxing and the boys spent most of their time playing in the great outdoors, something that we all desperately needed!  
Josh basking in the sun while reading a book: his favorite camping activity.

The boys returning from a bike ride around the vacant campground.

I just love all the nearby rock formations and trails for the boys to explore!

They picked all these wildflowers for me along the trail. How sweet!
I put them in this box and filled it with water so they'd stay alive for the
duration of our camping trip. It was a lovely table centerpiece!

They started a game of Phase 10, but stopped when the wind started blowing.

We made tinfoil dinners and banana boats for our meal that night.
The boys were waiting for the food to finish cooking over the coals.

This was the first camping trip that we've let Tiki join us.
She did so well and liked going, too!

No camping trip is complete without a game of SkipBo!!
First it was just me and Micah, then the other 3 boys joined us.
Unfortunately, that didn't pay off for me and Micah as we both finished last!

Monkey Micah climbing a tree in his socks!!

The boys had been playing with a ball, but it got stuck on the
top of the trailer. Good thing Josh is so tall and Kanyon is so small,
because that was the perfect combination to retrieve it!

The next morning, they played a game of bouncing a golf ball
against the rocks--I don't really get it, but they played it for
a while up until it was time for us to leave and go back home.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Spring Break Staycation

At the end of March, we had 10 days off from school for spring break. We pretty much stayed home for most of it. Originally my plans for the week included a family trip to visit my Grandpa Perkins in Spokane, but that never worked out (we will go see him this summer instead). We pretty much spent all 10 days at home. Boring? Perhaps, but we got a lot done! And although I'm a girl who likes to travel, I actually really enjoyed staying home for spring break and getting caught up on work that I'd been ignoring. 

Two of the days were devoted to spring cleaning the boys' bedrooms. Jonah and Micah's room took a lot of time: we cleaned out everything in their closet, dresser drawers, TV cabinet, and shelves. We boxed up all the clothes that no longer fit them, got out the next size of clothes that did, got rid of broken toys, made a pile of toys to be donated, and sold some toys, too. In the end, I think they threw away 5 bags of garbage, donated 2 large bags of clothes to the local thrift store, and had a much more clean and organized room. We rearranged their furniture, too, and they like having more space to play.
Jonah & Micah's newly cleaned room
Jonah & Micah's recently cleaned-out closet

Cleaning Kanyon's room was a smaller scale project than the twins' room. We went through all the clothes in his closet and drawers, again getting rid of clothes that no longer fit and putting in clothes from the hand-me-down boxes that were his size. We also went through all of his toys and got rid of a LOT: we donated some to a few preschools in town, and sold a lot as well. We cleaned out 2 bags of trash from his room, and 3 bags of clothes to donate. After selling all the toys that they no longer wanted or played with, the boys ended up with about $100 total, which I split between the three of them. It was a successful project: their rooms were cleaner, and they were richer too!!

We worked hard, but we played a lot, too! The boys spent many days playing with friends that also were here for Spring Break. On Friday the 20th, I picked up the LaMont kids in Stanley, and Jonah and Micah played all afternoon and into the evening with their friend Mason. They don't get to see him very much anymore, and really liked spending time with him.

On Monday the 23rd, the boys went swimming at a local hotel's indoor pool with the Oliverson kids, then afterwards Stacie took them to her house to play some more. The pool was kind of small, but the boys hadn't been swimming in a long time, and had fun splashing around and playing with diving tools.

That same night, we invited the Williams family over for dinner and Family Home Evening. After dinner, the kids played in the yard together, and then when it got dark, they still stayed outside and played night games. We finally made them come inside after 9 and had a lesson and dessert. That was such an enjoyable night for all of us!

The next day, we invited the Oliverson boys over to our house. They were here all day, and they played so well together. They played legos, wii, and dart guns inside. After lunch, some of the Williams' kids came over again, and they all played outside together for hours in the shop and yard. I'm so grateful to have room for kids to play, both in and out! I always dreamed of having a home where kids would want to be, and during spring break, I felt like my vision was coming true.
The 5 boys playing "lego wars" in the family room. It was a mess,
but so fun to watch them creatively interact with each other!

On Wednesday the 25th, we went to scouts that evening. Kanyon had pack meeting, and Jonah & Micah had 11-year-old scouts. The only other ones at the scout meetings were the Oliversons! Kanyon's scout leader Sister Rice had made a giant log cabin built out of cardboard boxes to have for their activity, which was so cool! After scouts were over, the boys played together in that house for a while. Then we dismantled it, and the Oliversons took it home with them.

On Thursday, I signed the 3 boys up for kids' craft night at a local boutique. They painted and made cute easter bunnies from large tin cans, and learned to make homemade chocolate candy and flavored popcorn, too. They had a good time and liked being crafty and making yummy edibles.

Throughout the week, when the boys were busy playing, I was working on my college education class "Diversity and Inclusion". Because I spent so much time on it every day, I finished it within two weeks of starting it! I would never have been able to complete it so quickly if it weren't for the boys being busy during spring break, so I was grateful they had friends to play with and that they were having a good time. Otherwise, they would've just gotten bored quickly and they would've driven me crazy!

Being off 10 days in a row without a vacation somewhere else surprisingly worked out to benefit all of us--even Josh, who had Ammon to work for him every day at the golf course since he wasn't going to school, and Ammon who got to leisurely golf almost every afternoon, too. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Trial-and-Error Mothering

There is a lot of trial and error in Motherhood. Growing up, I had 3 younger sisters, and I became very good at "mothering" them when I was still young. The experiences from my {much} younger self gave me confidence and a desire to be a mom when I grew up, but now that I am one, most of the time I feel like I really have no idea what I'm doing raising sons! Boys are just so different from girls, and girls are what I felt confident in raising when I was a child. I always try to mother my sons with their best interests in my mind, but sometimes, I just flat out don't know what those "best" interests are, or even how to achieve them! I have a lot of trial and error in discovering what is the best path for my boys.

For the first time in their lives, my twin sons Jonah and Micah were placed in separate classes at school this year. We decided as parents at the end of last school year that this would be best for both of them because they were both starting to have negative impacts from being in the same class together all day: Micah's self esteem was suffering, and Jonah was becoming more arrogant towards his brother. They'd always been able to develop their own friendships, so we knew they would be alright socially without one another. Micah has bloomed this year, but Jonah has had a rough time. Jonah was placed in a class that has a lot of behaviorally disruptive students, and he only has one friend in his class. His best friend Mason would've been in the same class, too, but unfortunately he moved away before the school year started, or I think Jonah's year would've been much better. Jonah has been increasingly unhappy, acted even more arrogant, and his language has become crude throughout the school year. I have been worried about him, and didn't know what to do. We've had several family home evenings centered on positive language, good choices, and being obedient. We've tried to create a more loving environment at home and establish better relationships with each of our boys. But I felt like he needed more; I felt like he needed to be involved in an activity that was just for him (one that his brothers didn't do, too), and one that he really enjoyed, so he could feel more positivity in his life. I suggested lots of things to him, but he didn't like any of the ideas. He said the only thing he likes to do is play on his Ipod, but that doesn't promote an active, positive lifestyle. He finally said he would be willing to try Kung Fu.

The local Kung Fu group has two excellent leaders, a husband and wife team, that are so good with kids: they are patient and kind and positive. Jonah went a couple of times in December and tried it out, and he was interested in it, so I started paying for him to go to it twice a week beginning in January. He liked it at first, but then he started using the fighting techniques on his brothers at home, and was kicking and hurting them, so I talked to him about it and then I approached his Kung Fu teacher with my concerns. His teacher said that he would also talk to Jonah after class. After that, Jonah didn't really like going anymore. He made one new friend in his class, a 6th grader, and he liked having a friend to talk to, but he wasn't interesting in going to Kung Fu lessons. He went all of January, February, and March. By March, he complained every day that he had to go, but I told him he couldn't stop going unless he had an activity to replace it with. He couldn't come up with anything, so he kept {grudgingly} going to Kung Fu. He had Kung Fu presentations at the end of March, and I took Kanyon and Micah with me to go watch him (Josh and Ammon were out of town at a golf tournament). He wasn't very happy when I was taking his pictures prior to the demonstrations...the first one is a fake smile, and every picture I took after showed his real feelings.

The demonstrations were at the elementary school on the Thursday night right before spring break, during which there would be no Kung Fu practice.
Jonah is in the back row, 6th from left
Jonah participated in one routine with a younger fighter named Dylan. Here's a video of it:

During spring break, Jonah said he would play spring soccer as his replacement activity instead of going to Kung Fu. He had previously said that he didn't want to do soccer anymore, so I was glad that he was being independently decisive about playing that sport again (which he's good at and used to love playing). So after spring break at the end of March, he hasn't returned to Kung Fu.

I have noticed positive changes in Jonah's attitude lately. In February, he was tested and accepted into the Gifted & Talented program at school, which meets once a week, so every Tuesday he tells me all the fun things he liked about going to it. He and Micah also purchased new bikes in March, and they've been riding them more and he likes that. He's also started going to scouts once in a while, so that provides an additional activity with positive role models for him as well.
Jonah & Micah both wearing their uniforms and playing their Ipods
while waiting to go to Scouts.  

I've been thinking a lot about whether I had his best interests in mind when making choices that affected him: was it right or wrong to separate him and his brother in their 5th grade classes, and was it right or wrong making him go to Kung Fu? I just don't know the answers. The problem of trial and error is trying to making the "best" choices without having all the knowledge necessary or not having control over every aspect in order to predict a successful outcome, like who else will be involved, what choices others' make that will be influential, and who will be the leader/instructor/role model in a group situation. For example, although we felt like it was right for Jonah and Micah to be in separate classes, we had no idea which kids would be in each of their classes. If I knew the rough kids that were also in Jonah's class this year, would I have still separated them? Probably not...but I didn't know that at the time. Josh has repeatedly told me that that they will be with the same kids every year until they graduate high school, and since it's impossible to pick and choose who will be in their class each year, all we can do is to teach them how to choose good friends among the kids they are with all day. I enrolled Jonah in Kung Fu, hoping that it would help him with self-control, positive self-image, and to build character and physical strength, but when he dreaded going, I don't know if he was learning anything from me making him go.

I went to a relief society activity in January where the women filled out a survey about what kinds of activities we would be interested in having this coming year. The woman who I sat across, a seasoned veteran of relief society activities, said she wanted to have an activity that taught children how to not stray from gospel principles. She kept going on and on about "forcing" our children to do the right thing. I said to her, "You know who you sound like? The devil. The devil in the pre-mortal life". She was visibly surprised that I would call her the devil. I felt like she didn't fully grasp Heavenly Father's plan: the plan of happiness, with the concept of agency at its core. I know that children have agency, and I know through very personal experience of my upbringing that the more you force a child to do something, the more they will rebel. I believe in giving my children choices, and to let them experience consequences for their choices. I firmly believe in teaching them independence. But when it comes to watching them use their agency to make poor choices, seeing their independence used for unjust causes, and observing them experience their painful consequences, I doubt myself and whether I'm mothering them right. I've struggled the last few months with my teenage son and 'tweenage' twins; I struggle with knowing what to say, how to act, how to react, and how to love them in the way they need it most. I've never been through this stage of mothering before, and it's HARD! (Thankfully I have Josh for support! He's taken over a lot of the discipline and also calmly talking to them after they've made bad choices.) I don't like trial and error mothering, but I admit that I learn valuable lessons from it every time. I know where that woman was coming from in her statements, and why she said what she said, but I also understand that forcing my children to do the right thing will NOT help them. They have to understand WHY it's important to do the right thing so they can choose that path on their own. I just have to keep reminding myself of this fact, and repeatedly continue teaching the concept to my growing sons as well.

Friday, April 24, 2015

March MAD-ness

Josh thought the boys would be old enough to make brackets for the NCAA college basketball tournament this year.  When he suggested it to them, they were all interested, so we decided to make it a family activity on Monday night March 16, since March Madness games began the very next day. I've never been interested in participating it myself, so I think the prospect of having all of his boys be just as interested and invested in it as him was exciting. That evening, I told Josh that while I worked on making dessert for Family Home Evening, he could work on finding and printing brackets for everyone. Josh tried and tried to get a bracket to print from the computer, but it just wouldn't work, and it was starting to make him irritated; he was literally feeling "March MADness"!! So....after I was done making dessert (strawberry banana milkshakes), I went over to the computer and got it to print after one minute (Josh and computers don't really get along, but I have a gentle way with them). 

I didn't know any of the college teams in the tournament this year except BYU and Boise State, and they both played in the first four (and both subsequently lost their first game), so I didn't bother making a bracket. Frankly, I get annoyed with all the college basketball games that are on T.V. It seems like every night there's a game on, and if there's a game on, then it's being watched in our home. I spend a lot of time alone in my bedroom during those games since everyone else actually likes watching them. I'm sure if I hogged the family room T.V. every night for months at a time watching 3-hour musicals, then everyone else in my family would understand my grief during basketball season (and NFL season too, for that matter!). Anyway, I literally feel a little "March MADness" too during the tournament!

Josh offered the boys an incentive to the bracket competition: the person with the most correct guesses of winners would win a treat of their choosing. Micah started off as a strong contender, picking the correct outcome in every in the Midwest division in the first 2 rounds (he was on a roll: he was also the winner in our family's grammy winner contest the month before). By the end of the second round, everyone was looking equally strong, but Jonah came out ahead at the end by guessing 2 of the top 4 teams (he originally guessed the overall winner Duke, too, but then he crossed it out and replaced it with Kentucky)! The final score (out of 65 possible was): Jonah-44, Josh-40, Ammon-37, Micah-36, and Kanyon-12 (he had a very interesting bracket--it would've looked like mine I'm sure, since he's not really into it and just made random guesses because he didn't know any of the teams, either). 
The contenders' tallied sheets up to the Final Four round.

It was fun for the boys, and produced male bonding time between Josh and his sons, so I guess it has its benefits, but I was so happy when March Madness finally came to an end with the last game on April 6!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Metro, Museums, and Carpe Diem!

PART IV of a trip I took with Ammon to Virginia.

On Sunday morning (March 1), we woke up fairly early to get ready to go to church with Lisa and her family. They attend an Episcopalian church in Manassas, and we wanted to go to the 8:30am services so that we would have enough time to drive out to the Shenandoah Valley to see the Luray Caverns that afternoon. The services were nice, and I think it was the first time Ammon had been to a church of another faith. It was also the first time he had wine!!! For the sacrament, they dip little wafers into a golden goblet full of red wine. He didn't really like the taste of it, though (I think wine is definitely an acquired taste). After the services, we went to a social room and had donuts (they were huge and very delicious) and drinks with other members of the congregation. Lisa showed me the room where she teaches youth Sunday School, and introduced me to some of her friends in the congregation. 

When we left for church that morning, it was raining. By the time we left church to go back home, it had turned into a freezing rain and the roads were super slick. We hung out at the house for a while, waiting for the weather to let up, but the forecast didn't look too promising. 
Quinn played several songs on the piano while I was there.
I loved hearing him play!

Mack didn't feel comfortable with driving all the way out to the caverns with the slick roads, and he was concerned with having Lisa drive me to the airport on the slick roads early the next morning, too. I had been really looking forward to going to the caverns, and was bummed that our plans for the afternoon were cancelled. But, I decided to make the most of the time we had left. I called and made reservations at a hotel by the D.C. airport for that night; their shuttle would take us to the airport so that Lisa wouldn't have to drive me the next morning. Ammon and I hung out for another hour with the Fishers before we started packing our bags and getting ready to go. At around 1:00, we left for D.C. once again, but this time it was in Mack's truck.  

Quinn took selfies to post on snap chat seriously the entire time we were driving anywhere: whether it was on the trolley, or in the back of the truck. So, I tried to take a couple of backseat selfies, too. Unfortunately the first shot was the ONLY one where the boys sort of smiled for the picture, and it was also the only one that was blurry. 

The rest of the photos were in focus, but the boys weren't cooperating!!
I have several pictures of us that the boys look like this: annoyed & silly.

It rained the whole time we were driving to D.C. When we arrived and checked in at the hotel, we said goodbye to the Fisher's. Ammon and I dropped our bags off in our room, and he laid on the bed and said it was like laying on a cloud and didn't want to leave. I had to convince him that we weren't going to spend the rest of our vacation inside a hotel room when we could still see and do so much! I had no plans whatsoever and had no idea where we would go, I just knew I wanted to GO. So I pulled out a map, and started asking him what sites/places would be of any interest to him. He kind of perked up at the mention of the Spy Museum, so I consulted with the Metro map (the Metro stop was just 2 blocks away from the hotel), and figured out how to get there. The shuttle dropped us off at the metro stop, and we went underground. The Metro had an automated machine, and I mistakenly bought one ticket with enough fares for both of us to reach our destination and back, but then as we were at the gate, the attendant stopped us and I had to go back and buy another separate pass for Ammon. Unfortunately that machine doesn't give a refund for unused amounts on the passes (which is stupid!), because I wanted to cash it in and buy two separate tickets for the same amount. I've ridden the underground system before in London, but this was Ammon's first experience riding the Metro!

When we arrived at our stop in DC, we were just one block from the Spy Museum, so we walked there in the rain. It was a super cool museum with lots of fun gadgets from the Bond movies, as well as historical artifacts from real spies in multiple eras and several countries. 

I really liked this car. The car on display kept showing all the different
gadgets and tricks it could do. 

There were several interactive parts, too. On the first floor, you are given a spy identity, then you have to learn what to do to be more like a spy, then you have to look for clues everywhere that pertain to your character, so that you can answer at the end to see how you did. In another area, there were these old machines that you had to decipher an encrypted code; it took me a bit to figure it out, but I finally did. And there was also this rising bar that was timed to see how long you could hang on--just like in a bond movie. Ammon did very well!!

I had been planning on buying souvenirs for everyone in the family when we went to the caverns, because I didn't want to buy too much on our previous day in the city and then have to tote it around all day. But since we didn't end up going to the caverns, I decided to just buy souvenirs at the Spy Museum gift shop. Ammon and I walked around for a long time looking at all the cool stuff, and I had a hard time on deciding what to buy. He found some trickster golf balls, I got a gnome for Josh, dehydrated Nasa ice cream for the twins (I should've got them pens that shock, but I also contemplated getting the fart gas bombs), and Kanyon got a wand with a button that when pushed lights up the tip and spins it around. 

Right across the street from the Spy Museum is the expansive and impressive Smithsonian American Art Museum. It was free, and open later, so we hit that next. When we walked inside, I started walking rather quickly down the main corridor, just peeking inside each of the gallery rooms because the place was so huge, and I wanted to make sure we would see it all in a short amount of time. Ammon, surprisingly, stopped me. He's like, "Mom!! Slow down! We're in a museum!". The last time I was in a museum this big and nice was in London, and Josh patiently sat by the doors and waited for me to see what I wanted to see inside it so we could move on. I thought that Ammon would be the same, so I was glad that he just wanted to take his time going through it. I followed his lead and slowed down, too!

There were certain pieces that I just fell in love with! Like this giraffe made from bottle caps:

Giraffes are my favorite animal, and I just loved the colorful, reusable materials that decorated it, too!

I also really liked this fancy display made from tinfoil. I'm apparently a sucker for reusable materials...

And this large horse made from wooden branches was so interesting:

This next piece really made an impact on me. I was in the middle of two college history classes when I went on this trip, and had just written a paper about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This display presents a photo from a Life Magazine in 1968 depicting Dr. King's funeral procession. The picture on the left is that photo, the middle picture highlights the number of black mourners present (with black dots on their faces), and the picture on the right shows the number of white people in attendance (with red dots on their faces). I studied all three variations of the same picture...

One of our favorite displays was this huge neon light-up of the United States. In each of the states' frames, there are televisions showing something from that state. Idaho was so boring: all it showed was two short videos with images of potatoes. Ammon and I watched this display for a while; it was really mesmerizing!

My favorite painting was this super odd one. It felt like it had multiple personalities captured on canvas, so here's my split-personality faces to go with it!

After walking around the entire museum, we were hungry. We went back out in the rain and walked down the street to the restaurant Shake Shack (right next to the Spy Museum). I had noticed it two days earlier when we were on our trolley tour, and thought it looked good--and it was geographically close, which was handy. Ammon ordered a Smokeshack burger and a shake, and I ordered cheese fries and a frozen custard. The restaurant was packed; we got the last 2 seats at a super small table. Practically everyone inside the restaurant was either wearing red or sporting Capitals jerseys. I thought maybe since it was a sports bar that the restaurant gave a discount for anyone wearing the local hockey team colors, or something. I asked a girl as we were leaving why they were all wearing red, and she said it's because there was a Capitals hockey game that night at the Verizon Center, which was 2 blocks down the street. I was so excited and asked Ammon if he was interested in going, and he was adamant that he didn't want to. So I decided I wanted to try a new cuisine since we were in the city, so I asked my sister Lisa where the nearest Thai or Indian restaurants were. She gave me a few recommendations, and Ammon and I started walking out in the rain again. We walked right past the Verizon Center, with the crowd of people waiting in line to get inside, and again I asked Ammon if he wanted to go, and again he refused. We walked to the nice Indian restaurant that she recommended called Rasika, but it was unfortunately closed. It was only 6:45, and I don't know if they just aren't open on Sundays, or if they closed early because of the game, so we walked back around the block to a fast food chain Indian restaurant called Merzi that we'd passed a few minutes earlier. Ammon was so annoyed with me at this point because he doesn't care about trying new cuisines (it's one of my favorite adventures in a big city!), and he was tired of walking in the rain, and he just wanted to go back to the hotel. Every restaurant we passed, he'd say "Look, there's a restaurant. Let's just go in there." I wasn't starving or desperate for food--I just wanted to have an adventure of trying something new! I didn't know what to order when we got there; the lady who worked there said the rice bowl is the most popular. I could hardly understand what she said, so as she went down the food assembly line, I just yes to every topping she asked about. I liked the Indian spices, flavors, and masala sauces, but I still have NO idea what meat I was eating (chicken? lamb? mystery meat?). Ammon and I were the only ones in the restaurant, and he just sat there impatiently watching me eat. It was absurd. But I still enjoyed every bite, and the whole time I ate, I tried to convince him to go to the Capitals game with me! I even called Josh and tried to have him convince Ammon, but Ammon wouldn't talk to him. He finally told me "I don't like hockey! But I would go to the game if it was with anyone but YOU." Oh mercy. (I took a moment in my mind, put myself in his shoes as a teenager wondering if I'd want to spend time with my parents...wondering if I would be bold to say what I would've wanted to say as a teenager to my parents...then realized I was glad he was at least stating his honest feelings in the moment and I left my somewhat-hurt ego behind.) Then I calmly told him that we will probably never be in DC again during hockey season, and this was just a one-time opportunity, and that in an arena full of people, it wouldn't matter that I was the one sitting next to him, because at sporting events, you're part of the entire crowd. Then he FINALLYagreed to go! So, we walked in the rain back down the street AGAIN to the arena, bought tickets, and missed half of the first period. But we did it! WE WENT!!! And I'm so glad!

We had nose bleed seats (of course), but I didn't mind in the slightest; I'm used to sitting at the top row of venues! The game was against the Canada Maple Leafs. I had only ever watched hockey one other time when I was in high school (about 20 years ago), so I had no idea what was happening, but it was still so much fun! There was a big group of guys in the row right in front of us, so I kept asking them questions about the game. Ammon was so embarrassed every time I did that, because he always knew the answers, and it made it seem like we were dumb, but I didn't even think to ask him first, since he told me he doesn't like hockey. Hockey has 3 periods. Did you know that? I sure didn't! 

The Capitals won the game 3-0, and it was pretty awesome! We had a great time! The hockey crowd is a fun one! The guys sitting right next to me won a free t-shirt, and gave it to Ammon! He was really happy with that, and I was thrilled! Those guys came mid-way through the second period, and were hilarious! And we had some nice guys behind us too that took our picture for us.

After the game, Ammon bought a nice knit hat with the Capitals symbol on it, and he wore the Capitals T-shirt the next day. It ended up being one of his favorite activities we did in D.C.!!! So...good thing I convinced him to go and {gasp} sit by his mother, huh?!! We had to wait about a half hour for the Metro to pick us up. There was a giant crowd that had just been at the hockey game waiting at the Metro station with us, and it was interesting to observe all the people around us. There were a lot of drunk guys, a few people dressed super weird, a few families, and one couple who kept doing the "ew" skit from the Jimmy Fallon show. They were embarrassing to be around, but I played along with them for a bit. They ended up getting on the same metro line as us, and when they got off, they walked up to my window and blew me a kiss! We walked back to the hotel (still in the rain) from our metro stop, and got to our room about quarter after 10 pm, totally exhausted. Ammon went right to sleep on his bed that felt like "a cloud".

Our flight was scheduled to leave at 6:50am on Monday morning (March 2), so we were up at 5:30. We got dressed and packed, and the hotel shuttle left shortly after 6 to take us to the airport. Ammon and I both got stopped in security--we got in trouble for having too much liquid in our bags. I'd packed a mini gatorade thinking that it would be fine, and he had a chocolate milk leftover from breakfast and forgot. I was nervous that we weren't going to make the flight on time, but thankfully we made it to the gate right before they started loading. I went to a little souvenir shop near our terminal because I realized I hadn't gotten any gift for myself the entire trip. I purchased a cute pink DC hoodie, and by the time I returned, Ammon was frantic because they'd already loaded our section onto the plane. No worries, though, we got on board just fine!
That's his new Capitals hat!
We watched the land below us from the airplane window until around Ohio (we think), then we put the earphones in to listen to the on-board flight "Mockingjay Part 1". We'd both already seen the movie before, and the television quality was annoyingly terrible, so we both dozed on and off for the next couple of hours until we landed in SLC. Then my dad picked us up from the airport, and drove us to Tremonton. We ate lunch with him, then left in our car (that he'd cleaned in and out in our absence, it was so nice and clean!), and drove all the way back to Salmon and were home by 5:30 that night.

It had been a long day of travel, and we were both super tired, but were so happy to be home. Josh and the boys were glad to see us, too. I am so thankful that I went to go to visit my sister and her family! It was a wonderful trip and I'm so glad for the opportunity I took to teach Ammon how to fly and to have this experience with him!