frost-holbein beach trip III

This is not what you want to see two days before heading to the beach.20140616-121806-44286821.jpg

We’ve had this weekend on the books for some time, so there was no going back. Jason and I were to leave Thursday night, arriving in Durham around 10 p.m. Unfortunately Thursday was rainy, which meant all the commuters forgot how to drive. My homeward-bound commute took almost two hours, after which Jason and I had dinner, packed up our stuff, and tried to be positive about the rainy deluge we were sure awaited at Topsail Island. We finally hit the road around 9 p.m.

Of course, we hit unexpected traffic about an hour into our trip in the middle of rural Virginia at Mudd Tavern Road. This set us back about an hour. Jason drove the whole way and was very alert. We did finally stop at 1:15 a.m. at a McDonalds along the way (in Butner, I believe) for some sustenance. There is no aspect of stopping at McDonalds in the middle of the night that doesn’t make me feel like a college student.

We rolled into the Holbein’s apartment complex solidly at 2 a.m. They had very kindly stayed up to let us in, and then we all crashed. Jason and I slept embarrassingly late the following morning, but check-in at our beach hotel wasn’t until 3 p.m., so we had no illusions about an early start. We had lunch at Mellow Mushroom (so many memories of Lexington lunches with Mary! A slice and salad, no olives, house dressing.), then embarked on the 2ish hour drive to the beach.

Oh, and we saw where the Durham Bulls play.

We made it to the beach in excellent time, stopping at Harris Teeter on the way to our hotel to pick up important foodstuffs: Nutella and graham crackers, chips and salsa, sandwich fixings, cream soda in glass bottles, etc.  We unloaded the food and suitcases and headed straight to the beach.photo_2[1]

Just a few minutes after we’d settled in, we were surprised by a furious rainstorm. There wasn’t any hail, but the raindrops themselves were painful. We all ran back to the condo. Brittney and I made dinner while the men enjoyed (what else?) the World Cup from an attractive fishy couch.20140616-112039-40839517.jpg

As with last year, actually cooking the superfood salad (with fresh shrimp) was quite the adventure. We’d had the foresight at the grocery store to stock up on salt and pepper packets from the deli (and mayonnaise and mustard for our next day’s lunch), but the condo was not as well-appointed as the one we stayed in last year. With some cuisinary cleverness, Brittney and I were able to put together a pretty impressive spread.

We ate out on the porch in white wicker rocking chairs looking out at the sound–in a word, idyllic.20140616-112039-40839947.jpg

That evening: more soccer, Scrabble (even though some people hate it), Yahtzee! and lots of laughter.

We spent the next morning at the beach (which is maybe 100 very walkable yards from where we stay) enjoying the gorgeous weather. Per usual, the water was warm and wonderful. Jason and I saw a ton (a pod?) of dolphins.20140616-112040-40840616.jpg

That Jason is my favorite.20140616-112040-40840441.jpg

We couldn’t avoid the rain forever. After lunch it started pouring. Good thing this was a) during the World Cup and b) at just the right time in the afternoon for me to take a very long nap wearing my sunglasses and not leaning on Jason’s sunburned shoulders.


We went to Daddy Mac’s for dinner, where our server was named Ammon. Should have given him a pass-along card. En route we saw what happens when you don’t have an adequate drainage system for rain.photo_1[1]

(Yes, this was taken from inside the car.)

We also went for a walk along the beach. We sure like the Holbeins. Every time we get together it’s like we’ve never been apart. Jason and I are secretly praying they’ll get jobs in DC after grad school so we can be neighbors again.photo_5[1]

Oh, we also enjoyed the messiest ever Dairy Queen dipped cones and a truly incredible sunset.photo_4[1]

There is something intoxicating about the ocean. Maybe it’s the rhythm of it? I don’t know, but every time we go I’m just transfixed.photo_3[1]

In the evening: soccer (seeing a trend here?), American Ninja Warrior, which is like that Wipe-Out show but with athletic contestants, and Cranium. Jason and I make a good Cranium team.

Oh, and in case you don’t believe soccer has addictive properties (I think this might be my favorite photo from the trip):20140616-112042-40842004.jpg

Until next year, Holbeins! (But we should really get together before then.)

Beach trip 2012

Beach trip 2013

in which jason’s mom comes to visit, part one

We love having visitors and were thus super excited to learn that Mom Frost would be coming to visit us last weekend! Even though Jason’s parents live just six hours away (in Christmas morning traffic), we don’t get up to Connecticut nearly enough.

Mom’s plane got in Friday evening. We picked her up from the airport, then headed to Lebanese Taverna. She was a really good sport to try a new cuisine and I think she liked it. The pita bread and hummus and kibbeh (and let’s be honest, pretty much everything on that menu) are so good.

The next morning we got an early start at the Silver Diner for breakfast. After some phenomenal omelettes, French toast, and bison huevos rancheros, we headed to the metro for a ride into town.

We started at McPherson Square, then headed down to the WWII Memorial, which Mom hadn’t seen before. I tend to be kind of lukewarm about that particular memorial, but we went the day after the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

There were several wreaths out and lots of veterans visiting from across the country. It was pretty touching.

Jason’s mom served her mission in Belgium. They sent a wreath for D-Day.

We walked down the reflecting pool and stopped by the Lincoln Memorial. By this time it was getting a little hot, but we marched on.20140609-111146-40306350.jpgAmanda_Mom_Lincoln[1]20140609-111145-40305963.jpg

Jason always makes fun of how much I like clouds, but these are indisputably awesome.20140609-222339-80619086.jpg

Crossing Independence, we headed to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, one Jason’s mom hadn’t seen before.20140609-111147-40307074.jpg

Then we walked around the Tidal Basin and over to the FDR. One observation: it seems like we always have guests in the winter time. The FDR and WWII memorials are so much cooler with functioning water features!20140609-111147-40307453.jpg

We walked over to the Jefferson Memorial, which is one of my personal favorites. Jefferson_Boat[1]

I love how it is kind of off on its own and not so crowded. I also love the focus on his writings, which are pretty incredible. 20140609-111148-40308306.jpg

Peeking around the pillars even though Jason didn’t want to!20140609-111147-40307797.jpg

Oh, and the light inside the rotunda is pretty great.Mom_Jason_Jefferson[1]


We had some water and took some pictures before embarking on the next phase of our day’s adventure: the Newseum!20140609-222337-80617164.jpg

We walked (see a theme here?) across the mall and down Constitution, past lots of food trucks and what appeared to be a staging area for the Smithsonian’s Folk Life festival.

The Newseum is one of the few museums in DC you have to pay for, but we’ve been lucky to end up with free passes every time we want to go. It’s right on Pennsylvania Avenue and the building itself is part of the experience.20140609-111149-40309805.jpg

We watched the 4-D movie about the news (the part about Nellie Bly in the insane asylum always gets me), then headed to the 9/11 exhibit.9_11_Sign[1]

There’s a section of the antennae from the World Trade Center on display, along with the front pages of newspapers from around the world. We also watched a video about reporters attempting to cover the collapse of the towers that day. Pretty compelling stuff.Newseum_9_11[1]

We walked out onto the 6th floor balcony to see what I consider one of the best views in DC.



We checked out a few other exhibits, including the awesome Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs gallery, before heading off to the metro to go home.20140609-111148-40308919.jpg

We opted to stop en route for some frozen custard at Nielsen’s, a hallmark experience of visiting the Frosts. Plan on it.

Once home, Jason took a shower and we had pizza for supper before heading up to the Washington, D.C. Temple. We made it just in time for the 7:30 session (literally just in time. We were almost shanghaied by a very nice but very old temple worker who wanted to tell us a joke). The session was great and it was wonderful to be in the temple together.


In spite of our exhaustion, we went home and played a game of Scrabble and ate Klondike bars. Great day.

Total miles walked: At least 6, but probably closer to 7.

cherry blossoms

One day last week I woke up and heard birds and knew spring was finally here. Spring everywhere is great, but it’s especially lovely in the greater DC metropolitan area.

On Sunday afternoon we metroed downtown to take in the infamous DC cherry blossoms.

We’ve been three out of the last four years (just like Kentucky in the Final Four…) and I think this was our most pleasant foray. It wasn’t too hot and there was a light breeze. Of course, the Tidal Basin was full-to-bursting of tourists and locals alike, but we were patient and got some great pictures.

I call this one Pensive Mr. Frost, with Aviator Sunglasses.

The cherry blossoms (which seemed like a fable to entice tourists the first time we went in 2010, which was definitely post-peak bloom) really are incredible, and the effect of the trees surrounding the Tidal Basin is beautiful. The sun started going down as we walked back toward the metro, which was in itself quite lovely.

We walked hand-in-hand along the mall and I remembered that DC is a much happier city when it’s warm outside. What’s not to love about a lazy Sunday afternoon walking along the Mall?


Jason was supposed to be out of town on his birthday, so we celebrated two weeks ago with ice cream cake and Dunkin’ Donuts (per usual). Then, in the best birthday-related turn of events ever he returned home on Wednesday, just in time to celebrate again on Saturday. I’m so glad.

Jason is the best.

I sometimes field questions about marrying young when people do the math and I always think, “Clearly you don’t know how great Jason is.” Who wouldn’t want to marry this stellar man??

He is thoughtful and kind. He’s smart but never makes anyone feel inferior. He’s the most genuine person I know.

Jason teases me like my family does (much to their delight). He is fun and funny. He’s clever, witty, and sweet.

He is a hard worker. He can talk to anyone. He is intellectually curious and always has a stack of books to read next. He’s conscientious and responsible and can grow a rockin’ beard.

Jason makes me want to be a better person every day. Being married to him is my best blessing.

Happy 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

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

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