Family, Washington D.C.

My Favorite Traveling Duo Visit D.C.

Today I am backtracking to a couple of weeks ago to when my grandparents made the trek out to visit me here in  Washington DC! If you know me, or have been reading along here long enough, then these two should be far from strangers. They dropped everything, (seriously they switched their flight to cut a vacation short) to fly to Kansas to help me move here about 2.5 years ago, when I decided to uproot my life in a manner of weeks. I call them my favorite traveling duo because they are either always on a trip somewhere or planning out their next one (more like multiple at a time.)

Earlier this year they met up with me Thailand for a vacation after I finished up with a work trip there, and it is hands down one of my favorite memories and experiences to date. If you are thinking that traveling with grandparents is boring or slow, trust me, that couldn’t be further from the truth with these two. They have SO MUCH ENERGY and a natural curiosity for adventure. Without a doubt, I was always the most worn out person at the end of everyday.

Other than the move, this was my Grammy’s first visit to DC and my Grampy’s second (he came in the early 2000’s for work). My pictures from their visit are sort of random… I only carried around my nice camera to Mount Vernon (because I was hoping to catch the fall colors but it was still a bit early) and because I’ve taken and posted lots of pictures of the DC area before, I more just focused on my time and experience with them. However, I laugh now because looking at the pictures that I do have, it looks like I took on the role of the parent. Every so often I’d say, “here, let me take your guys’ picture,” so most of what I have is just the two of them.

They flew in late on a Thursday afternoon and I met up with them at the hotel after I got off of work. They were able to get a hotel just two blocks from the White House, which is pretty centrally located to everything, so I ended up staying with them throughout the trip. We had a quick dinner and then we went on a night walk to the Washington Monument and the WWII Memorial.

On Friday, we had a Capitol tour scheduled at 2pm, so we started out the day at the popular Old Ebbitt Grill and then walked along to the Mall to the U.S. Botanical Gardens, which sits just below the West Lawn of the Capitol. I knew from when I brought my mom here that my grandparents would also need ample to walk through. (Fun fact: My family’s flower shop, which my Grammy started, is celebrating 30 years this year!) Afterward we stopped for a quick break at a nearby pub to kill some time before our appointment. I scheduled our tour through Congressman Walden’s office, which is my home district in Oregon. Our tour was probably one of the better ones that I have been on at the Capitol (please don’t ask me how many times I’ve done one) and I know that was one of the highlights of their trip. At the end, we were also able to catch up with Walden’s Chief of Staff, who is from our hometown and actually graduated high school with my mom.  After wandering about the Capitol a bit more, we quickly went over to the Library of Congress nearby to check it out for the last 30 minutes it was open. The Library is actually one of the few places in DC that I have never been too yet… and now I am kicking myself for taking so long! For dinner I took them to my FAVORITE restaurant in DC, Cafe Berlin. Afterward we walked back down to the West Lawn of the Capitol to see it at night and then I insisted that we take an Uber back to the hotel because my feet were DONE.


At the Library of Congress.

On Saturday, we got up a bit earlier to go get my car in Arlington and head out to Mount Vernon. You should all know that this is my FAVORITE tourist place to visit in the area and I never get tired of taking people there. We did the typical house tour and then I also signed us up for the extra “Gardens and Groves” tour. If you ever visit Mount Vernon I would really recommend adding on this tour. It was only an extra $6 (approx.) per person, and SO worth it. It was a little over an hour and a half, but it really gave us a different in depth perspective of the history, past just the gardening. We spent a large part of our day here, before returning back to DC. Once back in the District we visited Eastern Market and Capitol Hill Books (I was so excited to take my Grammy here!) and enjoyed some gelato while we waited for the K-State football game to start at our designated bar nearby. The game was a bit of a heartbreaker and left us exhausted by going into double overtime, but regardless, I always love when I get the chance to watch a game with my Grampy. (And kudos to Grammy for hanging in there past midnight with us!)

At Mount Vernon.

On Sunday, we slept in a bit and woke up to an expected day of rain, so we headed over to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History for a few hours. The rain started to lift so we took the chance to walk to the rest of the memorials, including the Vietnam War, Lincoln, Korean War, Roosevelt, MLK and Jefferson.

We spent quite a bit of time at the Vietnam War Memorial, because we took the time to look up a few names of their classmates and a relative of my great uncle Joe (their brother-in-law). I’ve been past the wall a few times, but this was the first time I had names to lookup and find, which made it a bit more real to me.

If you’ve been to DC then you know the walk I just laid out for you is a bit of a trek so once again I insisted that we Uber to our Italian dinner in Chinatown.

At the Lincoln Memorial.
In the President’s exhibit at the National Museum of American History.

Our final full day was Monday and also the day I forgot to take any pictures. It was still a bit overcast and raining, but we headed across the river to visit Arlington National Cemetery for most of the day. I have been to the cemetery many times, but it never ceases to amaze me just how big it is. Afterward we headed back into DC and over to the National Gallery of Art, which was my Grammy’s last request to fit in on this trip. We rounded out the day with a great dinner at Founding Farmers, where we were joined by a certain guy named Sam… which up to that point I’m pretty sure my family really thought I might be making him up 🙂

On Tuesday, I had to head back to work, but their flight wasn’t until the late afternoon, so they spent the morning at the Holocaust Museum and then visited me at work for a quick lunch before heading home.

I am so happy that I finally got to share my home with them, and now that they’ve been here once, we already have much of the itinerary for next time all planned out after they realized just how much there is to see and do. I certainly don’t take for granted that we have such a great relationship and the chance to experience so many things together… even if my Grampy does drive me near crazy with all of his constant questions about every single building and random fact that I couldn’t possible know 🙂

Thank you so much for visiting!

So There's That Series

So There’s That Vol. 26

{Sort of like  a “Friday Five”  or a “Life Lately” except it’s probably not Friday, and I gave up on the idea of a catchy alliteration. These are some bits and pieces of my not-so-glam 20-something life. See past posts HERE}

**********

Hey friends, October’s has come at me full force, so away went my recent goal of getting two blogs up a week. That’s OK though, because I make the rules here 🙂 I’m jumping out of order of the posts I had planned, but my next volume of So There’s That was pretty full so I decided to go ahead with a little life lately.

Grandparents Visit

The best of being busy the last couple of weeks was that my grandparents came to visit me for four days here in DC! My Grammy and Grampy are two of my favorite people to go on adventures with and after they were BRIEFLY here when they helped me move in February 2015, it was about time I showed them my new home. We had a wonderful time and I will be doing a full post on their visit by next week so stay tuned!

A Kind Word Goes a Long Way

Saved a screenshot of this message because it really brightened my day so much! It made me think of the amount of times that I have a positive or kind thought about someone else or their work, and never actually shared it out loud. Going to work a bit more on that.

In Case You Missed It On the Blog in September

  1. The Road I Traveled: Series Renewed
  2. The Road I Traveled: Meet Logan
  3. The Road I Traveled: Meet Nicole
  4. So There’s That Vol. 25
  5. My Favorite Phone Apps
  6. The Road I Traveled: Meet Megan
  7. Reverse Bucket List
  8. The Road I Traveled: Meet Alison

Aaron Watson

Late in September I saw Aaron Watson at the 9:30 Club here in DC with two Kansas friends. Of all of the red dirt and country concerts I went to in college I never had the chance to see Aaron Watson live. That was my loss. He puts on such a genuine show and made sure fans had the opportunity to hang out with after the show. If he comes your way definitely check him out!

Sawyer June

Let’s be honest, this blog really should have just been an update of sweet Sawyer June. And if you think this is too many many pictures… I culled more than twice as many from this blog post before I was finished. She turned three months old last week and is starting to show off her personality. Christmas vacation feels way to far away for me!

SNL Papyrus Skit

I can’t get over this skit from a few weeks ago. It gives me life.

Clumsy

Mid-September or so I was walking and talking on the phone  (when I was actually supposed to be jogging) and step off a curb funny and sprained my ankle. I’ve been there before, but man how easily I forget what that feels like. That first two days I was pretty helpless but Sam brought over Bella to give me all the puppy cuddles. #notcomplaining

Out and About

A few snippets (and Snapchats) of life lately.

Work field trip and goodies to take home.

My Grammy made these cute pumpkins from wooden rounds that we used for centerpieces at my uncle’s wedding last summer… and then hauled a set for me in her carry on bag from Oregon 🙂


PSA: You need these candle from Trader Joe’s!

…and you need this lunch organizer. Why it has taken almost 27 years for me to get something like this is a mystery. I got mine at Target from Sistema brand.

My Life in Memes

Memes that are speaking to me right now… both thought provoking and just plain funny.

**********

So, There’s That.

Cheers!

Family

Get It? Got It… Good.

I meant to write this post a few weeks ago, but it got away from me and so I thought I would save it for today.

Yesterday was my Grampy’s birthday, but this post is about so much more than that.

10304343_10152455962286224_3941349490687158181_n
Photo by Josh Ego.

I was talking about March Madness the other day with someone, and after a few of my comments they said, “Wow, you know a lot about basketball, and love sports. What did you play?”

I responded, and then followed by saying, “But I never was very talented, so that’s not really where the love comes from.”

———-

My Grampy is truly one of a kind.
He’s witty, ornery and loves to push everyone’s buttons.
Last year when I moved to D.C., my grandparents flew to Kansas to help me pack up and drive my car and the U-Haul. Obviously I was pretty stressed about the quick move, and we hadn’t even left Kansas before my Mom called to ask how I was handling my Grampy…
I’m pretty sure I had at least three things to roll my eyes at and rant to her about.
But he also gives us quite a bit to laugh at.
We’re talking about a guy who has ran out of gas and been stranded more times than anyone in our family cares to count, and has knack for accidentally leaving and losing spendy items in public places.

But for as ornery as he is, my Grampy is also thoughtful and kind. When my mom was little, my grandparents were in charge a girls group home for a while, and over the years I have seen that kindness extended to so many people. He’s always there to help in any way he can.

33799_1563718888296_1143896_n
Photo by Shannon Boettcher, Fotonovella

My Grampy is adventurous and is always on the go.
He served in the army and is a world traveler.
When he was finishing up his degree after they had moved from Portland to Hermiston, he would hitch hike up and down the Gorge to attend class.
For many years he and my Grammy were known for their beautiful yard and rose garden, a labor of love that filled up the summer months between his job as a counselor and then high school principal. That focus eventually transferred to the family flower shop business after he retired from education, and now it has shifted to the family cabin. He can’t sit still, and has more energy than anyone I know.

———-

But what do any of these things have to do with sports?

Everything.

My Grampy grew up playing sports and has done some radio announcing for a variety of high sports over the years. Early on he coached high school boys’ basketball in Portland, before moving to Hermiston and becoming the head coach for many years. I know that he also spent time coaching youth teams that traveled overseas and assisted in other high school sports, like baseball. Then this past season, my Grampy had the unique opportunity to step back on the court as the head coach of the boys’ basketball team at Hermiston High School, for an interim season.

IMG_3941
Newspaper clipping saved by my Grammy.

That influence sifted down to my uncles Jay and Josh, who were both college athletes and then became high school coaches in their respective sports, girls’ basketball and cross country.

But for my Grampy, I know that it has never the actual sport itself.
It’s about what sports can mean for people.

It is about practicing and teaching discipline, commitment and hard work. In a lot of small towns sports are often the key to keeping kids out of trouble and a stepping stone for them to see their potential to apply themselves. He wholeheartedly believes in the value of investing time and heart into students. I have always heard so many stories about his coaching days, and am so thankful that I was able to see that part of him come alive again for these kids.

(This post title comes from the question and response that he ends each huddle with.)

IMG_3937
Newspaper clipping saved by my Grammy.

It is about chasing the science — studying the game and strengthening your sports IQ. Growing up, he called the high school football and basketball games on the local radio for a few years, and I loved to take stats for him because his live analysis and color comments helped me better understand the mechanics of the game. There is a thrill in the chase, countering strategy and risk, and the feeling of pay off when you succeed. My Grampy would tell you that you do not have to be into sports to understand that feeling, just replace sports with something that you are really passionate about, to fill your life with things that you make feel alive and that are worth chasing.

IMG_3938
Newspaper clipping saved by my Grammy.

But most of all, it is about family and community.
Between my sister and me, we played quite a few different sports growing up, and our Grampy was always there to cheer us on and prepared to tell us afterward what we could do to improve next time. Even at our dance performances, he wanted to know the ins and outs of how everything worked. When my Uncle Josh stopped playing basketball in high school to focus on cross country and long distance track, something he continued into college, that became my Grampy’s new focus and he would run back and forth across the course shouting times. Similarly, when my Uncle Jay became a head basketball coach himself, my Grampy traveled to so many of his games that he might as well of become a (not so silent) extra coach in the stands. And of course, that support and interest extended past our family to our friends growing up.

IMG_3940
Newspaper clipping saved by my Grammy.

I have always known that it is about investing time and finding things that he could do with us. Ever since my sister started taking golf seriously (she is finishing up her senior year at Lewis Clark State College), he was there every step of the way in whatever way she needed him. Because of that, they have played some awesome courses together and even attended the U.S. Open. For me, the past few years have been all about K-State sports for us. When I became a student at Kansas State University, he almost instantly became fan, taking the time to learn about its history and studying up on player’s stats, new recruits and more. He bought my season football and basketball passes each year so that I was always able to go and my friends knew that he was the only person that I would take the time to text while the games were still going on, or he was going to ask for a full summary afterward. Even with me being a news junkie, he would often find out about news before I did. Some of my favorite memories will always be the two football games he came to in Manhattan and going to watch K-State play Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.

gramps
At the K-State vs. Miami game in 2012.
Grampy and I at the Auburn game.
Grampy and I at the K-State vs. Auburn game in 2013.
10802023_10203303533564503_4968908252865626860_n
Grampy and I at the K-State vs. Auburn game in 2013.
1797495_10202741651454707_2018484053_n
Grampy golfing with my sister Janci in Cabo in 2012.
301148_3852757472830_241472685_n
With Grampy, Mom and Dad at the K-State vs. Miami game in 2012.
537768_4349246444744_1628941756_n
With Janci, Grammy and Grampy at the Fiesta Bowl watching K-State play Oregon in 2013.

———-

I love sports because of how much I love my Grampy, and the memories and things I have learned about other things in life because of his own love for sports.

I know this was a long post, but when I lay it all out like this I hope you can see what special guy he is. He truly embodies the phrase, “for the love of the game,” in every way.

Happy Birthday old man!
And let me casually brag that my bracket definitely outdid yours this year.

Love,
Mandy

With my grandparents at my high school graduation in 2009.
With my grandparents at my high school graduation in 2009.
With my grandparents at my college graduation in2013.
So There's That Series

So There’s That Vol. 12

{Sort of like  a “Friday Five”  or a “Life Lately” except it’s probably not Friday, and I gave up on the idea of a catchy alliteration. These are some bits and pieces of my glam #postgradlife. See past posts HERE}

**********

1. One Day at a Time

FullSizeRender

The last two week’s since I returned home from Guatemala have been pretty stressful at work. Everything turned out great, they were just a bit stressful…
I was humored that the next page on my quote book knew exactly how I was feeling.

2. Happy 25th Birthday Megan

megan

“Maybe our girlfriends are our soul mates and guys are just people to have fun with.”
– Carrie Bradshaw

From age 18 to 25, we’ve been asking ourselves lately “how did we get here?” Not sure that there’s an actual answer to that, but I know it involves a lot of cheesy memories.

3. Wheel of Musical Impressions

So I’m not really an Ariana Grande fan, but seriously, I have to admit that her musical impressions were really impressive, and funny.

4. T-Swift Love

Tonight my bestie Megan is going to the Taylor Swift concert in Kansas City with tickets that she won on the radio! The grand plan was that I was going to fly there and go with her. Unfortunately it didn’t work out, (but I am going to visit Kansas for a three-day weekend in October!) Over the last few months I have become a little obsessed with all of the guests that she continues to feature at each of her stops, and I can wait to hear about who shows up at this show!

The Complete Guide to All the Famous People Who Showed Up on Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour
(with Videos)

 5. Curly Hair Problems

15 Things Girls Say When Their Hair Just Won’t Cooperate

#storyofmylife
#seriouslythough

6. K-State Football

People, college football is BACK!

So there is this…

…and then there is this guy.

7. Coach Ego

Hermiston hires Ego as interim boys basketball coach

Almost everything that I love about sports and particularly the game of basketball is because of my Grampy. No matter what it was that my sister and I were involved in from basketball, soccer, cross country and golf to even dance team and FFA, he always played the role of coach and cheerleader, investing in us the best way he could to make sure that we came out on the other side as better people. When I decided to go to college at K-State he immediately became a Wildcats fan, learning stats and hearing big news even before I would hear it on campus. People usually knew that he was the only person whose texts I would respond to during games. Even living so far away from home it allowed us to remain close and share something we both loved. On the outside he’s super passionate about sports, and while I’m very excited to finally see him in the coach’s seat, its not really about that. My Grampy taught us that sports are about investing in other people and challenging yourself. They are about hard work, discipline and committing yourself to something you love.

These kids really don’t know what they are in for this season. I love you Gramps! I can’t wait to discuss your team for a change!

gramps

8. Ready for Fall

IMG_2818

 It’s slowly starting to feel like fall in D.C. and I am loving this candle that I picked up at Target. It has three layers: pumpkin nutmeg, bonfire nights and vanilla dolce. So far I’m loving it.

9. Basic

Just humor me, and take the quiz. I promise a good laugh.
You know you want to.

Quiz: How Basic Are You Really?

IMG_2794

**********

So, There’s That.
Cheers!