Tag Archives: weekend

in which we visit the rest of the monuments

Jason fortunately didn’t have crazy early meetings on Sunday, so we were all able to cycle through the shower before 9 AM church. During the second hour, Hannah and Mio kindly helped the YW presidency set up for New Beginnings, which we hold during the third hour.
The Personal Progress leaders did a beautiful job with the program, decor and treats. In my recollection, New Beginnings was an opportunity to feel guilty about not having completed more of my Personal Progress; I much prefer attending as a leader.

After church we made pizza and conferenced about our next moves. Jason was exhausted, so he stayed home and took a nap while the girls and I drove downtown. As Hannah and Mariel will attest, finding parking was an experience. We spotted a place a ways away from the Jefferson that seemed good, but at the last minute I realized it was kind of sketch so we forged ahead. Fortunately we found something safe a few minutes later.

The Jefferson Memorial is one of my favorites and I think Hannah and Mariel really liked it too.
My lovely sisters.
We stayed inside for a few minutes talking and reading the inscriptions before heading back toward the Tidal Basin. I should point out that it is easy to find young men ages 18 – 25 to take your photo when you are wandering around with Hannah and Mariel.
We walked around the basin and headed up to the World War II Memorial. From there, we went to the Vietnam Memorial, which is another favorite. It was a little chilly, but the sun was out and we almost didn’t need our coats.

We visited the Lincoln Memorial, where Hannah complimented the purse of the woman taking our picture and it turned out the purse was from Argentina!
We walked through the MLK Jr. Memorial and went up the other side of the Tidal Basin through the FDR Memorial.
The girls found the FDR as weird as I do, but it’s worth a visit if just for a(nother) picture with his little dog Fala.
We drove home by way of Foggy Bottom so I could show my sisters our intern housing, and through Georgetown so they could see how the other 1% lives. I kid. I didn’t realize we would make it there the next night and wanted to make sure they saw the Park City of DC. On the way home we also passed my mom’s childhood home, which has now been fully torn down.

Dinner was ready when we got home thanks to the crockpot, after which we headed up to Sara’s. Kathleen and Bruce came down to see us too, which was very kind. We had a blast seeing Sara’s kids (none of whom were born the last time Hannah and Mio saw her) and eating chocolate chip cookies.

Total miles walked: 3.2

el milagro del pavo

Every year we do a big holiday dinner, usually a couple days before Christmas. This year we just didn’t have time (I blame late Thanksgiving), so we made it a First Sunday of 2014 holiday dinner.

We headed out to Safeway on Saturday morning to get our little turkey breast, not doubting for a moment that one would be available. Not so! Safeway was completely out of turkey breasts. We vowed to go to Wal-Mart in the evening, where we would surely not be disappointed.

Jason worked Saturday afternoon (a super-rarity, so much so that I think this is the first time he has worked on Saturday since we have lived in DC. Made me realize how glad I am we are both on a M-F 9-5 schedule.) so I cleaned up the apartment, made a pie, did laundry, and read. We ate soon after he got home, then headed out in the cold to Wal-Mart.

We picked up some clementines, but were stopped in our tracks when we reached the frozen bins. They. Were. Empty. Apparently Wal-Mart had suffered a refrigeration problem, which is ridiculous since our Wal-Mart is brand new, spoiling all the meats and cheeses. What are the odds? The only meatstuffs remaining: frozen tilapia, frozen shrimp, and beef liver.

I halfheartedly suggested we could just make black bean soup for Sunday, but Jason was not deterred. When we determined the next-closest Wal-Mart was in Reston (!), we opted to try Giant.

At this point it was after 10 PM and freezing cold, which should indicate how very much we wanted this turkey breast. With bated breath, we approached the meat department. Jason spotted the turkey section before I did and triumphantly hoisted a seven pound specimen! It was truly the miracle of the turkey.

On Sunday afternoon, we savored our slow-roasted turkey with gravy, stuffing, mashed red potatoes, and steamed carrots, with a sparkling apple cider accompaniment. For dessert, we feasted on apple pie and whipped cream. Now we have enough turkey for a whole week’s worth of lunches, about which Jason and I are very happy.

Turkey dinners of holidays past: 2010, 2011, 2012

highlights, saturday

- Dave and I headed out for a bright and early (and chilly) run to finish off those last stubborn miles of 2013. For not running since his mission, Dave is a champ!
- We all went to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which was fantastic!

- Post-movie, we dined at the Front Street Bistro.

- We got home just in time to catch up on BYU’s second disappointing sports outing of the week.

- Jason joined the rest of us for another rousing game of Scrabble!

- We all sat around playing innumerable rounds of QuizUp. Dave is good at all the categories, especially US States. Jason’s mom is awesome at Children’s Literature. I am still seeking my QuizUp niche. Jason fell asleep on the couch.

christmas-y things and a reunion

Last week my office celebrated nondenominational wintertime holiday party three of four by visiting the capitol Christmas tree and the botanical garden.20131216-092804.jpg

The botanical garden, as it turns out, is pretty awesome at Christmas time. There’s a pretty big model of the mall, with the buildings made of plant-based materials (bark, I guess?). To be honest, I initially thought the capitol was made of chocolate. 20131216-104928.jpg

The party went long and I ended up meeting my dad at the metro around 7 PM. There was insane traffic (more to come on Friday), so we didn’t get home until after 7:30. By then I didn’t really feel like cooking, so we went to Nielsen’s. Now, I love Nielsen’s, but their customer service that night was not great. The sandwich station had apparently been put away, so we had frozen custard for dinner. Jason also had a soup and my dad ordered a soup, but let’s just say Nielsen’s does custard better than soup.

Friday was Christmas party four of four and the day my dad left for Utah. I woke up at 5 AM to bake pistachio cookies for Jason’s work Christmas party. I grossly overestimated the time it would take to bake them, so I had time to also make a big breakfast, unload and reload the dishwasher, and finish a book.

On Friday night, Jason and I had plans to meet up with the Oswalds and Grant, some of our favorite Bluegrass Ward friends. Traffic, it turns out, was once again horrible, so Grant and I waited at the metro for an hour while Jason battled to drive four miles in that time. We did all make it to Cafe Rio (of course) in one piece and actually ended up right behind el auto de Oswald in the last turning lane. There was much catching up and eating of nostalgic salads and cooing over adorable children, which by and large made for a wonderful evening, traffic notwithstanding. The thing I hate about moving so much is missing people that we like, which is definitely true of the Laytons.

We took Grant to Trader Joe’s for some stocking up, then dropped him off at the metro.

Saturday morning I went for a bold earlyish morning run with a friend from our ward. I haven’t had a running buddy in some months and it felt good to run outdoors. It was pretty cold out and even started snowing the tiniest little bit at the beginning. Worth it to feel hard core.

The rest of Saturday: naps on the couch, reading, watching of basketball, ward Christmas party with excellent food, Trader Joe’s, listening to the BYU-Utah basketball game until I couldn’t take it anymore and fell asleep. Jason stayed up because he is a true fan (or a masochist).

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.


christmas tree V

We finally got the little ernie pine out of the closet and up on the end table, which takes about four minutes but feels like a serious effort. A far cry from our first Christmas, the poor tree is almost overwhelmed with ornaments. This year we added a kayak (from our trip to Maine) and the Mystic Seaport ornament we got on our honeymoon but accidentally left in Utah when we moved away almost four years ago.

Per tradition, I made us take an obligatory awkward picture by the tree. Jason does not love this custom, but I do. Since my dad was in town, we had him take the photo on Sunday. This saved us some self-timer grief. While the terrible photo quality is part of the charm of these pictures, last year’s were so very bad that we gave up in the interest of saving our marriage. Hence, no 2012 living room picture for public consumption. The capitol Christmas tree is for us all to enjoy, right?






of falling leaves and reading

I haven’t been as intoxicated with fall this year as I was last year (and the year before and the year before that, but Kentucky autumn is the best so there’s not really a comparison). Then this weekend we drove to Trader Joe’s and all the leaves were vibrant and beautiful and I was sold.

Granted, Fall Bingo has been going on for some time.

Prior to our Trader Joe’s outing, we made an early morning trip to our brand new Wal-Mart. We don’t go to Wal-Mart and Target very often. In fact, I think my last Wal-Mart experience occurred in Utah two months ago. It’s just far away and at our Target you have to park in a GARAGE, which just makes shopping there seem trying. Our new Wal-Mart is close and has a (small) parking lot in addition to the garage and, wait for it, an abstract sculpture out front. The Payson Wal-Mart does not feature an abstract sculpture. All Wal-Marts smell the same, though, and all feature far-too-early Christmas decorations. I swear, if I heard “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” one more time…

Saturday afternoon was spent eating pizza, watching football, generally lounging, and speed reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix so we could go to the library before it closed to get the sixth book. We made it just in time and I picked up the sixth and seventh books (and three other unrelated books for good measure). Our library is in the middle of a park, so we explored the walking trails for a bit and enjoyed some spectacular fall foliage. In the evening we went out to Silver Diner (much better food than you would think with a name like that) with friends and discovered we are too old or too boring or both to live in Clarendon.

On Sunday we enjoyed the fruits of Daylight Savings Time and I walked to church in short sleeves and balmy weather. We had dinner with friends and brought this salad. Highly recommend. When we got home I finished Book 6 and started in on Book 7 with a vengeance. The series is even better than I remember (which may be because I last read books 5-7 ten, seven, and six years ago). Someday I will make Jason read them and he will love them too.

home weekend + an awkward moment

On Friday night we had friends over to watch the BYU vs. Boise State game. Jason cleaned the entire apartment (including vacuuming. The man also does all our laundry. I’m not sure how I got so lucky.) and I made slow cooker beef sandwiches with pickled peppers from Southern Living for dinner. The game was a good one and we had a nice time.

This weekend marked the first in five weeks that we were both home. We went for a fall run Saturday morning, watched some football, went to the library, and had leftovers for dinner. In the evening we watched the Sox game while I made s’mores popcorn for my Beehive lesson on Sunday. I should note that instead of adding the chocolate chips as instructed I drizzled the finished product with melted chocolate. There might still be a little chocolate on my kitchen wall from enthusiastic flinging, but it worked nicely and was delicious.

Since I’m the secretary I rarely teach. This week, though, the Beehive advisors were all going to be out of town or super busy, so I was asked to step in. (Aside: the “Come Follow Me” lessons are so great–worlds better than the manual when I was in young womens.) The theme for October is “Developing Christlike Attributes” and I chose to teach the lesson on gratitude.

In the middle of the lesson, this happened:

ME: We should all remember to be thankful for our bodies.
(I look down and realize my third shirt button has popped open.)
ME: Ah! Button. (I quickly do it up.) Guess I’m just really proud of my body…
OTHER LEADER: You’re “busting” with pride.

Of course I could not stop laughing and neither could a lot of the girls. Way to drive away the spirit, Amanda.

highlights from a busy weekend

Like last year, I spent much of Friday and Saturday working at Reunion Weekend. Last year I was exhausted and spilled red kabob sauce on my lavender shirt that I had to wear the rest of the day. This year was much better.

- Jason came to hang out with me at the class party on Friday night.

- I wasn’t assigned to come in on Saturday until 11:45 AM, which was a beautiful thing. Also, it only takes 25 minutes to drive to work on weekends, a fact that is both awesome and depressing.

- The bulldog was around for photos.

- There were three food trucks on campus schilling complimentary wares to Reunion goers. I enjoyed pizza, chicken masala, and popcorn for lunch.

- Throughout the afternoon Jason texted me updates on the BYU-Houston matchup. He’s nice.

- I went to the gym during a short break around 3:30 PM and had the worst run of my entire life. I blame this on the aforementioned pizza, Indian food, and popcorn. Note to self: if you usually run in the morning on an empty stomach, think long and hard before attempting an afternoon run on a very full stomach. You’re welcome.

- Post run, I tried to dry my hair and it looked terrible so I settled for a sort of updo. What you don’t get from this picture is the rockin’ dutch (or upside-down) braid going across the back of my head and ending in the side bun. Skills.

-The gala was at the National Building Museum, which is actually a really cool space. I caught up with the other Georgetown Law Mormon and my very good friend Katie, who looked awesome and made me think maybe I should reconsider my personal ban on lipstick.20131022-095057.jpg
(Also: my dress has pockets! So handy.)

- Post-dinner my coworkers had fun with the step and repeat.

- I ate two s’mores on a stick, picked up my car, and was home in time for the last two innings of the Red Sox ALCS-winning game.

And all was well

That nice Jason came home on Saturday night. I’m not sure what about this trip made it seem so abysmally long. He did bring me back a polka-dotted aluminum cuff bracelet this time, which I like very much. I like having him home even better.

I got a few things accomplished before his arrival (though, per usual, only half of the things on my To Do While Jason Is Away list).

- Got my hair cut without crying. Actually, I like it a lot.

- Contributed a roasted poblano corn chowder to the work soup potluck.

- Went out for frozen yogurt with Elayna to assuage my loneliness.

- Did a great 10.5 mile run with Katie on Saturday morning. We went to the temple and back. We’ve had steady rain for the last week, but it let up just long enough for our run.

- Bought new (500 thread count!) sheets and a duvet.

- Ate green beans, popcorn, watermelon, and Trader Joe’s s’mores candy for dinner every night last week.

Clearly I’m not at my best when Jason is away.

We both had Columbus Day off, so we got up early and went for a run around our neighborhood. Then we headed off to Tysons Corner to see No Se Aceptan Devoluciones, or Instructions Not Included. It’s a Mexican film en espanol that Jason has wanted to see for a while. We both liked it a lot.

In the afternoon we ate pizza, took naps, and did a little reading. We stayed up late because only one of us had to work a full day today. I love having Jason home.