march madness revisited

I’ve been lazy blog-wise lately, which I think started with the end of basketball season. Since then, lots of things have happened.

I did three brackets this year: one with Jason (winner makes dinner), one with the YM/YW of our ward (winner gets nothing), and one at work, which my coworkers kindly let me enter on the condition that I not pay and if I won, we would have a pizza party for everyone who participated to celebrate my good fortune in a non-gambling way.

Well, things were not looking good for me in the first weeks of competition. I pick with my heart, which always ends badly when BYU doesn’t make it to the Elite Eight. Ever. On the other hand, I did pick Kentucky to win in every bracket AND I picked Kentucky and UConn for the final in my YM/YW bracket, landing me in the top 99.4 percentile of ESPN bracket completers. Suffice it to say, I also won the work bracket (which I think everyone could be happy about) and beat Jason by one point in the Frost Family contest.

This was a banner year for the Frosts, though, as we could be equally happy with a UConn or Kentucky win. Of course, if I were basing my allegiance on the fan loyalty of the respective schools, Kentucky would win every time. You can’t beat that Kentucky enthusiasm: whether the Cats win or lose, there’ll be a couch on Fire on Woodland Avenue before the night is over.

new favorite museum

My parents used to live in the greater DC metro area, so it’s sometimes tough to come up with new and exciting adventures when they come visit, especially when we have a foot of snow. They spent Friday at the Holocaust Museum (Happy birthday/Valentine’s Day?) and I made dinner for us at home. For dessert, we went to Nielsen’s.

The four of us went back and forth about what to do on Saturday and Jason finally suggested the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center out in Chantilly. Now, we don’t go to Chantilly much except when I had to pick up my about-to-be-sent-back books from Amazon, but it’s not so far and we had heard good things about the museum. The Udvar-Hazy (besides having an awesome name) is part of the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum and, according to the internet, is “a massive structure with open, hangar-like settings that accommodate large aircraft and spacecraft, as well as entire collections of aviation and space artifacts.”

I expected a reasonably cool museum experience, but was totally blown away by how cool the Udvar-Hazy really is. 20140218-103340.jpg

It really is a giant hangar chock full of airplanes, including this Blackbird spy plane.20140218-103350.jpg

There were lots of planes that appeared to be smiling, like this one.20140218-103443.jpg

And this one.20140218-103454.jpg

Some of the tiny airplanes and helicopters looked decidedly unsafe. This little guy (the “Airphibia”) turns into a street-safe car when the wings are removed. 20140218-103502.jpg

I think my favorite part (and I’m 98% certain Jason’s favorite part) was the second hangar wing where you can see the space shuttle Discovery.20140218-103356.jpg

We all love Discovery.20140218-103420.jpg

It’s taller than I expected.20140218-103407.jpg

We could have spent an entire day. Jason and I will definitely be back even before we have visitors again.20140218-103430.jpg

After marveling at the miracle of human (and nuclear payload, it turns out) flight, we went to La Sandia for dinner. My mom is a hot commodity when she comes to Virginia, so we invited everyone who could come which ended up being two aunts, one uncle, two cousins, and my mom’s best friend of 50 years. We had a great time seeing everyone.

I think that night we played Settlers and half-watched (well, Jason whole-watched) the BYU basketball victory.

highlights, friday

- No walking this morning as the snow from yesterday stayed stuck.

- This is Jason’s preschool ornament. He always looks excited in childhood pictures, which I think is so nice.
20131228-172437.jpg
– I ate pizza for breakfast, after which Jason, Dave, and I went to the grocery store and Dunkin’ Donuts. Breakfast of New England champions!

- We decided to spend the afternoon at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield (which is, interestingly, one of my least-similar dialect cities).
20131228-172458.jpg
We’ve driven past the Hall of Fame a bunch of times but I had never been before. It was really fun and something I think my little brothers would like too.

I discovered I have a tiny wingspan comparatively speaking. I look so much like Mariel in this picture.
20131228-172511.jpg
Jason and Dave engaged in some friendly hoops competition.
20131228-172519.jpg
I pointed out all the Jazz things.
20131230-191843.jpg

We finished off our visit with a riveting film on the NBA slam dunk competition.

- On the way home, we stopped at Jason’s Grandma Funny’s house. Every time we go there I feel terrible because I spend the whole time laughing (and sometimes laughing so hard that I cry). We sat around talking and eating chocolate and looking at old coins. It was really fun.

- Dave made Philippino food for dinner and it was phenomenal. We had (spelled wrong, I am sure) chicken adobo and pork sinigang. Both were delicious and tasted nothing like the Asian market smelled.

- Dave, Mom, and I played Scrabble again. Dave and I lost again.

- The Wade family came over to watch the very sad BYU bowl game.

blue and gold + heard in primary

We went to what I thought was pack meeting on Friday to see our primary class put on a magic show. It turned out to be the Blue and Gold banquet, and thus included dinner, the show, and a cake-making contest. After dinner, Jason and I were tapped to judge the (fifteen?) cakes on taste and presentation, which led to us eating a LOT of cake. We were both jittery afterward from all the frosting.

The magic tricks were cute and the kids were hilarious; I forget how little they really are until I see them in their families. We also (and I am not making this up) were cornered by a Frenchman who liked trivia and quizzed us for a while. When the banquet was over, we helped stack the chairs and headed home, where we watched a lot of basketball.

The best part of Primary on Sunday was when we were talking about the apostles. I was trying to get the kids to name the current Quorum, but they got a little stuck (“Billard?” “Good, BAllard.”). Jason started giving them hints.

“One is named after a country.”

“Holland!” “Turkey!” (They think they are so funny).

“This one is tall and smiles a lot.”

The kids didn’t answer. Jason pressed. “Come on, guys. When he speaks in General Conference he always smiles.”

One kid raised his eyebrows. “How do you…know that?”

Jason and I were both confused. “Know what?”

“That he smells a lot?”

No, no, children, Elder Perry does not smell a lot. SMILE.

basketball + lunch date

Jason had to be in the city yesterday. We commuted in together, which felt like a very urban, dual-income-no-children thing to do. In the evening, we met up at Metro Center and rode home together. The one negative factor in this arrangement is that no one was at home prepping dinner, as is usually the case. We ended up having a quick pizza before heading off to help out at a ward youth activity.

We got home around 8:30 PM, scraped the paint out from under our fingernails, and turned on UK’s first (and, it turns out, only) round NIT game against Robert Morris. We caught the end just as our friends Elayna and Mitch came over for the BYU game. They brought Reese’s chocolate eggs, and we had chips and salsa and more of the rice krispies treats (a new batch, not the leftovers from Sunday. Those things are addictive).

Of course, BYU won and we were happy. It was such a fun game to watch, which hasn’t always been the case this season. We got to bed around midnight, which made waking up this morning not my favorite.

Jason was in town again today and I forgot to make him a lunch, so we met up for our midday meal. We wandered toward Chinatown, but the delectable aromas of Carving Room stopped us dead in our tracks. We went inside and enjoyed delicious cured meat sandwiches and french fries.
20130320-154249.jpg
(An awesome first post-half run this morning + weekday lunch with Jason) * gorgeous spring weather = one fine Wednesday.

the frosts go out on the town

Saturday was the busiest/best day. We got up early and went to the DMV. When we arrived around 7:30 AM, the line was already ≈ 50 people long (we were prepared for this after our last DMV experience). We waited and waited and snow began lightly falling and we finally were let in at 8:00 AM. Upon reaching the front desk, we were informed that Jason would be able to get his new driver’s license, but because I had changed my birth name, I would have to bring in our marriage license to change my license, as my birth certificate, social security card, and current license were apparently not enough to verify my identity. I was mad and felt oppressed, but Jason’s license didn’t take long and we were on our way.

We picked up some groceries, then drove to the Metro and headed into the city. We stopped at my first ever Georgetown work event: a reception/lunch preceding the Georgetown vs. Villanova basketball game. The luncheon was good, and it was fun to spend some time with my coworkers outside of the office. I was also glad that Jason got to meet them.

Jason and I enjoyed the game from great seats, relished the Hoya victory, then left the Verizon Center with a vast throng of fans. We wandered down toward the National Archives, then headed up Pennsylvania trying to decide what to do next. We took the Metro back to Ballston to eat at Rock Bottom, one of the first places we ate with Jason’s family on our original DC sojourn. Afterward, we picked up some black tights for me and got back on the Metro.

We got off at Rosslyn and found the Artisphere, a funky gallery space where Rana Santacruz–a Mexican singer/songwriter/accordion-player from Brooklyn–was playing. When we found out about the concert last week, we considered just getting our tickets at the door. It’s a good thing we didn’t, since the show sold out.  We checked our coats and wandered around the Frieda Kahlo exhibit before the doors opened for the concert.

For those of you who haven’t heard Rana Santacruz, I highly recommend the following clip. (Also, he kind of looks like a Mexican Christian Bale. Just sayin’.)


The venue was really small (maybe 250 seats) and we had lined up early, so we were on the third row. Rana–because we are totally on a first-name basis–and the band were awesome. They played for just under two hours, but it didn’t seem nearly that long.  I’m so glad we got to go; it was a great show, even for a non-Spanish speaker like myself. They played a bunch of new songs, so hopefully a new CD is on the horizon.

We left the Artisphere around 10:15 PM, and made it back to the apartment (by way of Safeway, since I forgot that we needed chicken bouillon for Sunday’s winter squash soup) around 11:00 PM. We were both exhausted, but couldn’t stop talking about our wonderful day. I don’t think we could’ve squeezed in many more (or more disparate) activities. Love days out with my Jason.

wintertime is here

Today is officially the first day of winter. You wouldn’t know it from our Kentucky weather (57 degrees yesterday! No snow yet…and it can stay that way as far as I’m concerned).

I’ve been plugging away at my To Do In Fall 2011 list and am mostly pleased with how many things I’ve completed.  I started the list because I really wanted to read The Book of Mormon again this fall, which reminded me of other fall-y things to do. However, last night at 11:00 PM, I realized that winter started in one hour and I was only in Ether 1. I thought about going to bed and finishing up today, but realized I would feel like a fraud. Instead, I muscled through Ether and Moroni and finished with six minutes to spare! Hallulujah. 

Completed:

food
– Bake a pie
– Bake pumpkin bread or cookies
– Bake pistachio cookies
– Bake graham crackers
– Eat orange rolls and/or cinnamon rolls (thank you, Taryn)
– Bake pretzels (technically I made pretzel-y rolls, but that counts)
– Cook with butternut/acorn squash
– Eat Thanksgiving dinner
– Eat Pre-Christmas dinner
– Drink hot chocolate and/or cider

outings
– Go to/tailgate at a football game
– Go to North Carolina
– Go to Big Blue Madness/a basketball game
– Go to Washington, DC
– Go to an orchard
– Hike to Heublien Tower
– Decide what to do for Thanksgiving (and then do it)
– Decide what to do for Christmas (and then initiate travel plans in a timely fashion)

miscellaneous
– Read The Book of Mormon
– Put out our fall decorations (full disclosure: we only have one decoration)
– Put out our Christmas decorations

- Vote in the gubernatorial election on November 8th
– Watch It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and eat Halloween candy
– Take a midterm (not something I necessarily want to do, but it’s a foregone conclusion and thus an automatic check-off)
– Crochet something
– Watch Secretariat
– Watch General Conference
– Take more pictures, because I realized while preparing this post that we take a preponderance of photos during winter, spring, and summer, but completely neglect fall.
– Take a walk and/or go on a drive exclusively to look at fall leaves
– Figure out what we’re doing with the rest of our lives (or at least after December)
– Read (at least) the six books on my To Read Next list. I’ve since added more  books to my list, and now can’t remember which six were on the list when I made this goal. I did finish Rules of Civility, Food Rules, and have been dually plugging along in Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader and For Whom the Bell Tolls. Also, can my school books count?
– Determine goals for 2012.

Not completed:
food
– Bake Christmas sugar cookies
– Bake ginger cookies
– Eat caramel apples
– Cook lasagna soup (if not during Soup Week)
– Cook french onion soup (see above)
– Cook beef stew
– Cook pork chops with apple-cinnamon glaze

outings
– Go to Keeneland
– Go to the temple
– Go to the Louisville Trader Joe’s (it’s okay. Soon we’ll have a much closer TJ’s)
– Go Bible mini-golfing. I am actually really torn up about not doing this, since we will likely never have the opportunity to Bible mini-golf again. Sigh. Maybe we can make a trip out for the opening of Ark Encounter and include Bible mini-golf in our plans.

miscellaneous
– Carve a pumpkin (though to my credit, I gutted several acorn squash and one butternut.
– Ride a horse
– Run another half marathon
– Watch the Butterball hotline episode of The West Wing.

We still have a few days to accomplish the following:

before leaving kentucky…sigh
Eat at Puccini’s
Eat at Planet Thai
Eat fried banana peppers
Eat at Josie’s
Eat at Graeter’s (if it is open before we leave. We may have to go north for this one)
Eat at The Local Taco
Find a new place to live
Find a job (if your name is Amanda). Working on this.
Celebrate Christmas
Get something for the house that will help us remember how much we love Kentucky