second half of the long weekend

Sunday was the usual: church, skipping of Sunday school because my mom ran into old friends (she grew up in our ward), Boggle, and some tasty taco salad for dinner.
I don’t think I could love Boggle any more than I already do.

I made chocolate chip cookies, which we took to my cousin Sara’s in the evening.

On President’s Day, we took the metro to Rosslyn and walked over to Georgetown by way of Design Within (not our) Reach.

We had lunch at Farmers Fishers Bakers, then walked from Georgetown to the National Gallery. We headed home in the late afternoon and more than one of us fell asleep on the metro.
Total miles walked: 4.3

We went back and forth about the eating of dinner and finally decided Nielsen’s and a game of Settlers would sate us. I made sugar cookies that night for the YW valentine’s day activity. We went to bed later than we should have, considering my parents’ early flights, but I always want to wring as much time with my parents as possible out of every visit. I love when they come see us because we get to hang out with slightly-less-distracted versions of them. My mom and dad are pretty great.


On Monday everyone in the greater DC metro area started obsessively checking the weather. Now, back home in Utah you realize it is snowing because you go outside and see snow. Then you continue your daily activities because 1. You have seen snow before and 2. It isn’t a big deal. Life goes on.

How do you know it will snow here? Don’t worry: someone (or everyone) will tell you.

We have had a couple of much-hyped and ultimately disappointing storms this year, but this one seemed different. My forecast app (which does not lie) made me suspect this might be the real deal.

The only problem was that my parents were flying in for a quick long-weekend trip on Thursday, right at the tail end of what I am affectionately calling “Snochi.”

Jason and I both knew on Wednesday night that we wouldn’t have work the next morning, so we slept in Thursday. I made breakfast and we watched some Olympics. By midmorning we had 10 inches of snow. Jason did the laundry (all of it, even the sheets and towels) and I cleaned the kitchen in preparation for my parents’ arrival. Meanwhile, my dad’s flight from Denver was delayed and my mom’s straight-through flight was diverted to Detroit. The snow started up again around 2:00 PM and I was pretty sure they would not make it in that night. I was wrong, though, and my dad’s plane touched down around 6 PM. He waited for my mom’s flight, which would supposedly be in an hour later, and then the two of them kindly agreed to take the Metro out to our place.

Jason inspected the car situation and discovered that our accumulation had increased to a good foot. The car was stuck behind a bunch of snow and in spite of Jason’s best efforts the Jetta just wouldn’t move.

I called my good friend Lara to see if we could borrow a snow shovel and she offered their crossover. Her husband (our home teacher) confirmed that the roads were terrible and that it would be unwise to venture out sans four-wheel-drive. He very kindly picked Jason up and drove to the station to pick up my parents when they arrived, then dropped everyone back at our apartment.

We had supper and stayed up talking until almost midnight. I’m so glad Mom and Dad made it, especially right in time for my mom’s birthday!

mio & hannah, day four

We realized on Sunday night that we hadn’t booked a trip to see the temple into the itinerary, so we got up super early on Monday morning to go see it.

When we got home everyone was starving, so we went to the Silver Diner for breakfast. Sorry, Dad, no one ordered the roasted beet salad. I think Hannah and Mariel really enjoyed their french toast and pancakes instead.

We hopped on the metro and headed to the National Museum of American History. I could spend days in the National Gallery, but American History requires a more strategic approach (or you may drive yourself crazy in the American on the Move exhibit). We hit up the must sees, including Bob Dylan’s jacket…

Kermit the Frog, the Sunstone, the Fort McHenry flag, the First Lady dresses (best part, in my opinion)…20140121-165744.jpg

and a select portion of The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden until the Kennedy assassination made us sad.

We did also see the giant conestoga wagon, not pictured below. In other news, Jason’s facial hair is here to stay (for now). I like it. He likes it. My coworkers like it. 20140121-165753.jpg

We marched up the mall and past the Lincoln Memorial, over the bridge and up to Arlington National Cemetary. 20140121-165803.jpg

We got there just in time to hike up to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for the changing of the guard, which was a big hit of Mariel’s last trip. We also saw a wreath-laying ceremony. Afterward we went to the Kennedy grave site. I always prefer the RFK area. We skipped the Robert E. Lee house and went back to the Metro. At this point we were hungry again, so we went to Foggy Bottom and walked up to Farmers Fishers Bakers.


We ordered and split the Georgetown honey fig pizza, a meatball pizza, a Farmer’s Daughter sandwich, the pickled vegetable potato salad, and of course the pretzels.

In the evening one of the YW from our ward came over to talk to Mio about BYU-I. When she’d gone, we ate cookies and played Mental Floss and painted our nails again in between gales of laughter. Seriously, by the time the game was over my sides hurt from laughing so much.

The next morning the girls and I woke up at 4 AM and left for the airport at 4:30 AM. We stopped by Dunkin’ Donuts on the way (a must for any east coast trip, or so the New Englander in our family would tell you). I dropped them at the airport a little after five o’clock. I was terribly sad to see them leave; I get used to having them around and then there’s a big sister-shaped void in my life again. Thank goodness for technology or I would never survive living 2,000 miles away from my family.

Total miles walked: 5.9

Hannah and Mariel go to Washington, day one

For Christmas this year Hannah and Mariel requested a trip to come see us, which is at once very flattering (someone wants to visit us!?!) and intimidating. When we have guests I feel personally invested in their having a Super Awesome Trip. Thus, I spent many daydreaming hours of the last few weeks concocting the perfect four-day itinerary for their time here.

Things started out contrary to my ideal plan when unexpected–or maybe it should be expected by now–traffic made Jason and me very late to the airport to pick them up. The girls were really good sports about it, though, and enjoyed people watching at the Dulles baggage claim.

On the way home we stopped for dinner at Lebanese Taverna, which never disappoints. Jason had a bishopric meeting at nine PM, so we sisters sat around talking and laughing and painting our nails. (Have I mentioned my newfound commitment to painted nails? It’s a 2014 thing.)

We got a bright and early–especially for the still-on-Mountain-Time girls–start the next morning. Jason went to work while Hannah, Mio, and I metroed downtown for a tour of the U.S. Capitol.
When Mariel was in town last time we went on a tour set up by Rep. Chaffetz’s office and it was truly terrible. The intern barely knew where he was going, much less which room was which. (“So I think this round room is called…I don’t know, the rotunda or something?”) This time I scheduled the tour through Senator Hatch’s office, since I know firsthand that those interns are required to pass an exam before giving tours. We reached the senator’s office early, so one of the front desk staffers showed us around the suite, including the very tiny desk where I spent so many hours in 2010. He also showed us the senator’s office, which was pretty cool.
Our tour guide was great and conveyed accurate information. We got to ride over to the capitol by way of the underground shuttle. So cool.
We saw everything we wanted to see at a leisurely pace. I think my favorite room is still the rotunda.
After the formal tour was over, our guide took us to the Senate gallery to see the day’s thirty seconds worth of business and some pages braiding each other’s hair, and then to the House gallery where the august body was not in session. Both chambers are stunning.
We had lunch at Good Stuff Eatery, of course, where the girls got to try the Obama Burger and Milky Way malt. Afterward, we walked to my work where I introduced Hannah and Mariel to my coworkers and showed them my office. We were all pretty beat from our early morning wake-up call, so we also used this opportunity to rest our weary feet.

When we had recovered our strength, we went to the National Gallery. To our surprise, the renovations to the east wing meant all the art has been taken down!! We wandered back to the less awesome west side and were greeted by Dali’s Last Supper (one of my favorites in the east wing) hung temporarily in a stairwell. Weird. We checked out the impressionists, a new Van Gogh, some Flemish paintings, and finished our artistic jaunt in the oft-creepy Medieval exhibit. We also saw a da Vinci portrait and really old Roman sculpture.

Upon leaving the building, Mariel pointed out that the archives are across the street, so we made a quick detour to see the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights.

We went back across the street for a quick run through the sculpture garden. Hannah and Mariel really liked the aluminum tree.
I really liked this.
We walked over to the Washington Monument, which is still partly scaffolded. I think it is set to reopen this year.
We decided to finish our long and productive day in the city at the White House. As we approached the front, however, a guard informed us that the road was closed. Hannah cried “Oh, no!” and looked sorely disappointed.

The guard eyed us. “It’s not closed forever…”

Indeed, as we walked down H Street, the north side of Lafayette reopened and we were able to walk up to the front gate.
When we got home, we made pizza per Frost family tradition. We rounded out the day with a visit to Nielsen’s for the best frozen custard in the world.

Many thanks to my parents for making this trip happen!

Total miles walked: 6

snowy days

We got back to beautiful (snowless) Virginia on Wednesday afternoon. Thursday was a long back-to-the-real-world adjustment, but Friday was my first of four work holiday parties, so I got home a little early and took a nap.

On Saturday morning, we picked up my dad and headed to the temple. Afterward, we stopped at Silver Diner for breakfast. I feel sort of a ridiculous amount of pressure to provide memorable dining experiences when we have visitors, and I’m glad Dad enjoyed Silver Diner as much as we do. The Oaxaca omelette is where it’s at, I tell you. We dropped my dad off at the metro and went home to get ready for a Christmas party we thought started at 5. Upon further inspection of the invitation, we discovered it had started at 3 and we’d essentially missed it. Instead, we spent a quiet night at home.

Sunday brought our first snow of the year! The second and third hours of church were cancelled and Jason only had early meetings. Hooray!

We went to church, got home a little after 2 PM (I could get used to that) and settled in to read while our turkey and black bean chili simmered away in the crock pot. I woke up a few hours later and got supper on the table, after which we played half a game of Settlers.

Jason and I both had a delayed start on Monday morning, thanks to icy conditions. I am a huge proponent of the delayed start.

Tuesday morning was when the real fun began, though. Right around rush hour time, we had heavy snow, to the tune of 3-4″. Jason was off, along with everyone else in D.C., and I opted to work from home. Highlights of the day included surprise donuts for breakfast because Jason is the best, spending an entire weekday together, and finishing our Settlers game with my dad in the afternoon.20131211-160344.jpg

I don’t think a few more snow days this year is too much to ask.


24 hours in Zion

Because my mother is awesome, she organized a trip to Zion National Park for the fam the day after Thanksgivjnf. (I am just giving up on this whole turkey-day-spelling thing. Shouldn’t autocorrect step in here?)

We rolled out of Payson around 9 AM, but not before recreating a classic Pullan family photo.

We stopped for lunch at Arctic Circle in Cedar City. Jason had never been to AC before, but the halibut sandwich won him over and he is now a devotee. Squeezed together on the hard plastic chairs listening to Adam and Grant joke around reminded me of how fun it is when my family is all together.

We made it to Zion around 2, then took the shuttle up to the top of the canyon.

We did the River Walk trail out to the beginning of The Narrows. 20131208-090125.jpg

I say this every time we go to Utah, but there is just nothing on the east coast that compares to the scale of the west.


The river was beautiful, but it had also gotten a little cold out, so we headed down the canyon.

En route we saw lots of deer and a guy free-soloing one of the sheer red rock faces. I have been on a climbing book swing for the last three books or so, but I don’t think I could ever do something so terrifying.

With those sweatshirts, the Pullan fam is hard to lose.20131208-090213.jpg

We stopped at Oscar’s for dinner. We were all starving and only minded a little bit when the eight of us were shoehorned into a booth-table combination meant for maybe five. There was much rearranging of plates and knocking of elbows, but the food was good and the restaurant was warm(-ish. Apparently Mariel was not well-situated under the heating lamp. We were on the patio after all.) Cuisinary winners of the night: Hannah’s pistachio quesadilla, Jason and my dad’s mashed potato stuffed poblanos, and Adan’s Who O Pass burger.

We went back to the hotel, which was right at the base of the canyon and very nice. Against Adam’s wishes we played a game of Settlers (which he and Grant won in spite of their low probability resource strategy) and went to bed.

The next morning my mom and I spent fifteen or twenty minutes sitting in the hotel’s back porch rockers talking. It was a good thirty degrees, which was a little unpleasant, but I love talking to my mom so much.20131208-090333.jpg

We made good use of the breakfast buffet at an adjacent restaurant. I’m sure they lose money when teenage boys come to town.

We rode the shuttle again up the beautiful canyon. Apparently the shuttle does not run in the winter except on Thanksgiving weekend. We got on the road early enough on Saturday, though, that crowds weren’t a problem.20131208-090305.jpg

My dad’s foot hurt (see 58 mile walk from Payson to SLC completed two days earlier) and we weren’t sure how much hiking we would be able to do. We started up the Angel’s Landing trail (of which Jason had seen many terrifying photos in the morning) figuring we would go as far as we could. As we got going, though, Dad’s foot pain ebbed.

Zion is beautiful.20131208-090358.jpg

I thought this trail-edge drop-off was sheer. Then we continued hiking.20131208-090407.jpg

We reached the saddle for Angel’s Landing and were surprised by what lay ahead. I had heard that Angel’s Landing included some exposed trail and that there were chains you could hold on to, but I assumed that was a 5-10 foot section. I did not assume we would be climbing up the spine of a rock face with 1400 foot drops on either side. 20131208-090432.jpg

Mio and Grant had really terrible shoes for such climbing and Dad and Hannah kindly stayed back with them. Jason, Mom, and Adam and I pressed forward. At one point, though, Jason and I almost decided to go back. There’s a degree of comfort you have to find hiking on sandstone and I wasn’t there yet. Add that unease to the cliff and hoards of people trying to get down and I was a little bit of a mess. Adam and Mom headed up, and after a few minutes Jason suggested we just get ‘er done (though he did not use those exact terms. He is an easterner, after all.)20131208-090449.jpg

We made it and met Adam and Mom at the top.20131211-104112.jpg

Whew. Glad that was over (as you can see from how very tightly I am holding on to that man of mine).20131211-111342.jpg

The four of us made our way back to the saddle, which was unexpectedly not as bad as hiking up. Seems many people had stopped for lunch, making the trail far less crowded. We reunited with the rest of the fam and headed back down the trail (after taking what is arguably the best recent photo of all eight of us together).20131208-091009.jpg

In the interest of getting Mariel home to a date, we headed for home as soon as we’d finished the hike.20131211-102229.jpg

We switched drivers around Cedar City and stopped at Del Taco. A visit with the Pullans is truly not complete unless you visit Del Taco.

We switched drivers again a while later and I took a turn in the Pathfinder. Maybe half an hour into my driving stint I heard a tapping noise. Thinking I had driven onto the rumble strip, I veered right. The noise didn’t stop. My dad directed me to pull off at the next exit, which was fortuitously less than a mile away. I parked the car at a gas station and the boys inspected the damage. The tire was stripped.

Mom and Hannah and Mariel went the rest of the way back to Payson in the Accord, leaving Dad, Jason, Adam, Grant, and me to change the tire. I did very little. It was fun to watch, except when we had a really hard time releasing the spare.  It was also, as you can perhaps tell from my grimace, very cold.tire change

About an hour later we were ready to go and my dad drove the rest of the way home.

Once back in Payson, we had Indian food from Tadka for supper and watched the last bit of the BYU vs. Utah State basketball game. It had been a whirlwind–an awesome whirlwind–twenty-four hours.

pullan thanksgiving

We forwent our traditional Thanksgiving hike this year in favor of getting up at 4 AM to go to Utah. Turns out Thanksgiving (which my chubby thumbs keep spelling “Thabsgiving” on my phone keypad) is an awesome day to fly: the security line was literally three people long when we got there and you can watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the seatback television on Delta. I use the term “watch” loosely, since I also spent much of the trip reading a few pages at a time in my book before slumping onto Jason’s (or the stranger sitting next to me. Oops.) shoulder asleep.

Our flight made it in on time and Mariel picked us up from the airport and drove is to my Grandma Pullan’s house where we met my mom. We hadn’t told my grandparents that we were coming, so Mariel and Mom went in first and Jason and I followed a few minutes later. They were definitely surprised!

We stood around, per Pullan tradition, in the kitchen and watched Grandma make her orange rolls (one reason I have been so excited for this trip). My dad, brothers , and Hannah arrived a few hours later. The men left Payson Tuesday morning and walked the 58.8 miles to Salt Lake over the course of three days. Hannah joined them for the last ten miles. They were beat and all say it was fun to do once, but need never be repeated.

Dinner started at 2:30. Everything was wonderful, as it always is. Jason quietly insisted that the pilgrims would turn over in their graves at the inclusion of jello in a Thanksgiving feast, but that’s what you get in Utah! For the record, his disapproval had nothing to do with the specific jello. My mom made it and it was awesome.

We got to see most of my cousins and aunts and uncles throughout the day, and Jason made it outside to play football with the boys.
This is as good a time as any to point out that I have the cutest cousins in the entire would. It is actually kind of ridiculous.

Hannah and Mariel made time for naps.
We were especially excited that my cousin Rachel made time to come all the way down to see us. It was so great to catch up!

Around pie time that early morning wake up call was taking its toll. We embarked on the two hour saying of good-byes and headed out with Mariel and Hannah for the drive home. It was so good to be with the Pullans on Thanksgiving for the first time since 2009.