Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Deep down, she loves Santa. Deep, deep down.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What Might Have Been. . .

Since we started talking about moving, I have spent nearly everyday on looking for the perfect house. I did not want anything impossible -- a nice neighborhood, an updated kitchen, a moderate sized backyard. A fence would be nice. A finished basement would be great!

Before we moved, we put in an offer on a short sale. We lovingly referred to this house as "Gladys" as it is on Gladys Circle. It was big (over 4000 square feet) and had great curb appeal, but my family looked at it and said it was dated inside and needed some work. The bank wanted $350,000 and no one would be willing to pay more than $310. They foreclosed, and there ended the dream of our Gladys.

When we looked at homes on Wednesday, we looked at a house we called Lizzi because it was on Lizzi Cove. It was lovely. We went back to see it on Friday and the people who had a fickle offer got nervous when we started looking and came up with some hard earnest money and the house went under contract. We lost Lizzi before we even had her. I was truly heartbroken because I really liked this house. I wanted to wrap it up and sleep with it at night. I loved Lizzi.

I really thought that finding a house would be so easy. There are lots on the market. However, as you might imagine, the inventory for December is not the most desireable. We seem to be looking at everyone's leftovers, and boy can you tell.

After three days of looking at 30 + houses we surrendered and today looked at an apartment that we could rent for month to month. It's called a "luxury" apartment with 1300 square feet, but I cried when I saw it. I thought I was finally getting a house, and here I am planning to move into an apartment. I am beyond sad. I have moved into a full depression.

We hope that more will come on the market after Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Go, Macey, Go!

This year Macey participated in the Trike-A-Thon at North Point High School for St. Jude's. Most of the kids brought trikes but Macey wanted to ride her big-girl-bike! They had a course set up in the gym. Some of the tight turns were hard for such a big bike, but she did great!
Here she is receiving a certificate for participating. Yeah, Macey!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

One Last Look Back

Tomorrow we will start looking at houses. Before we start looking toward the future, I thought I'd look back one more time. In the last month at the hotels (9 in total) I'd think about our home to relax before going to sleep. I'd imagine coming home from church, throwing my shoes in the closet, going upstairs to get something to eat -- I'd imagine normalcy.

In this transition, it has been hard to see how much the girls understood about what was happening and why. I think that Macey expects us to go back to Maryland any minute now. Emma, at age 5, seems to understand more. On our last day in Maryland she asked me to drive past the house so she could look at it one more time. How cute is that?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Kentucky Pictures

Our first big stop on our adventure was Louisville, Kentucky. We stopped for lunch and then went to the Louisville Slugger plant. Here is the HUGE baseball bat out front. On our tour, someone asked how much wood it took to make it. Turns out it's painted metal. Who knew? Garry posed with the girls really quick because it was FREEZING!
After the movie, we toured a small museum. I posed with Babe Ruth. They also had a really cool exhibit where you could see or "feel the heat" of a professional baseball pitch. Yep, I think I'll keep my day job.

We toured the plant, got a baseball bat, and Garry bought me a super cute t-shirt. Then off to Thomas Edison's house. Wait, you say, didn't he mostly live in New Jersey? Yep, but he rented a room here for a few months, and Louisville is really proud of that.

We also drove past Churchill Downs, which is not in lush green horse country but rather just a few feet from the Interstate. Who knew?

Kentucky, I hope I see you again when it's warmer!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Congratulations to Garry!

On Wednesday, December 9th, Garry graduated from the FBI Academy in Quantico. He graduated with a high A average, excelling on his briefs, papers, midterm, legal exam and final. Here he is receiving his credentials. Very cool. I've seen them on TV and they look just as impressive in person. After graduation he gave me a tour of the FBI campus, including the Behavioral Unit. They have a talking Hannibal Lecter. Very scary, actually, and I have not even seen the movies, though I did meet Anthony Hopkins when he was filming the sequel at Union Station.
Before we left on the journey to Utah, we stopped for one last picture. Goodbye Quantico!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Iowa, Illinois, Iowa (Again!) Missouri, Missouri, Missouri and Kansas

I think that the go-go-go pace is starting to affect the Cunninghams. We all slept in until 8:00 and did not make it into Nauvoo until a little before 10. We stopped at the Brickyard, the Red Brick Store (birthplace of Relief Society!), the temple, and Brigham Young's home before we gave in. I would love to spend a long time strolling the streets of Nauvoo and taking everything in. But, it's FREEZING and the kids do not do well on house tours. So maybe one day. . .

We hit the state highways of Missouri. Not Garry's favorite. We seemed to always be stuck behind a semi. But, we trudged on and found, quite accidentally, Far West and Adam-Ondi-Ahman. I am relieved to report that both sites are in the middle of nowhere and no construction is currently taking place. We have a few more years to become better people.

Next stop: Liberty Jail. The girls did really well on the tour and took asked the guides why there were not beds. Joseph Smith was there for over four months. Freezing for four months.

Though we hit the most sacred spots today, Garry's favorite part was going to Arthur's Barbeque in Kansas City. I think that he built it up in his head, though, and he seemed to be disappointed with what he ordered.

Tonight we're in Topeka at a Residence Inn. Ahhhhh......Residence Inn.

Not as many adventures coming up. Hello, Midwest!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Illinois, Missouri, Back To Illinois, and then Iowa. What Fun!

This morning started bright and early with a trip to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Did you know that it was actually a tribute to Thomas Jefferson? I didn't! And that it's taller than the Washington Memorial? Who knew! I loved the arch, loved the museum, loved the cool little tram pods. Awesome.

Then it was off to Springfield to see the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln. Actually, it has been far from resting for him. If you are interested, check out the Wikipedia site that will tell you how often his coffin has been removed, attempts have been made to abduct it, and how many times it has actually been opened! Very sad. The tomb is beautiful and full of his best speeches. I am always overwhelmed by his words. Especially when I remember that he did not have a speech writer!

This was an important visit for me to make. When I first moved to Washington, D.C., I always would go to the Lincoln Memorial before I left town to say goodbye to Mr. Lincoln. Now that we are moving, it was good to say goodbye in this sacred spot.

We then got on a cursed state road and made the journey to Carthage, Illinois. The good thing about doing all of this in the dead of winter is that we have these amazing places basically to ourselves. I was grateful for the opportunity to sit in the upper room at Carthage and remember how grateful I was for the lives of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

Just when we thought we could not pack more into a day, we went to Nauvoo! We spent some time at the Visitor's Center, walked around the temple, ate dinner and then went to the play at the cultural center.

Tonight we're in Iowa. Tomorrow we'll have more adventures!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Louisville, Who Knew?

Today we left West Virginia and headed for Kentucky! Who knew that Kentucky in December is not the lush green I always expected. It's kind of brown. And though it's a "southern state" DANG it was cold today! We stopped for lunch in Louisville. We fed the meter, grabbed the kids, and ran across the street to the restaurant.

Molly, who has not really experienced severe cold, looked at her hands and looked at me as if to say, "what on earth?"

We then took a tour of the Louisville Slugger plant. For all the girls out there, it's a place where they make baseball bats. It was a great tour! We saw a movie, took a picture with the wax version of Babe Ruth, and toured the plant and then got a bat at the end of the tour. Well, you can't beat that with a bat!

(I have wanted to say that all day!)

Then we went to Thomas Edison's house. Ahem. I have a few things to say about "Thomas Edison's House." It was actually a room. That he rented. For a few months. If I had to pay for the experience, I would have been robbed.

Finally we saw Churchill Downs. Am I the only one who expected Churchill Downs to be in the middle of lush horse country, miles away from a Target or any other proof of civilization? NOT SO! It's right off the Interstate. Heavily populated. Down the street from a Hard Rock Cafe. Who knew??

Tonight we're outside of St. Louis. 900 miles down! More adventures to come!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Headlines & Differences

Today we started our trip back West. At the beginning of the day I looked at Yahoo! News and saw the one headline you never want to see as you head out on a road trip: "Monster Storm!" And the highlighted quote: "I've Never Seen Anything Like This!"

Big Sigh.

So we scratched our plans to go West by going a little North so that I could see Kirtland, Ohio. Instead, we headed South, and we are spending the night in Charleston, West Virginia.

When we walked into the Residence Inn room, I exhaled. A refrigerator! A separate bedroom and living room! Two televisions! A dishwaser! A cabinet full of glasses! Wahoo!

I told Garry that I could stay here for a month. "Are you kidding?" he said. "This place is horrible. The television is from 1940."

And therein lies the difference between men and women.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Day of Tears

Ironically, my first night in Washington, D.C. was spent in a Holiday Inn. I was here for my internship, and I had to come early because my parents were heading out for their mission in New Jersey and I was essentially homeless. But the intern apartments in Alexandria were not ready, they were being painted, and so I stayed at the Holiday Inn in Alexandria.

I have come full circle, it seems. Homeless in a Holiday Inn. But this time with a husband, three kids and a minivan.

This morning as we said our morning prayers, I started crying. My girls are in excellent schools, and I feel horrible removing them from the programs and the people they love. I told them that I was so sorry, and they, being so much stronger than I am, said not to worry, Mama, there were schools in Utah.

But I cried when I took Macey to school. I cried when I dropped Emma off at the bus. I cried again when I picked them up. On our way back to Virginia, we blew kisses to our friends in Charles County. When we crossed the Wilson Bridge, we blew kisses to our friends in Washington, D.C., and when we got to Van Dorn, we blew kisses to our friends in Alexandria. I hope you felt them and our love!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Adapting. . .

When Garry started training at his new job eleven weeks ago, everything started changing for the girls. Dad was home on Tuesdays and weekends, and the rest of the time they had just me.

Then in November we moved. Watching things get packed up was hard on Macey. She came home and started crying. She asked me to call the packers and tell them to bring everything back!

We moved into the Holiday Inn with Garry and though they saw their Dad everyday again, we were all in one room. No DVR. No DVD player. Not many toys. Just a promise that we would move to a new home soon.

But apparently it has not been soon enough. Today Emma was brave enough to ask me what she has probably been worrying about for awhile. "Mom," she asked me, "is this our new home?"

Bless her heart. It's a lot to take on when you're just five.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


In 1996 I did an internship in Washington, D.C. with the Office of Senator Larry E. Craig (of the airport bathroom fame). I stayed in furnished apartments in Alexandria, VA and brought only three bags with me. The rest of my "stuff" was in boxes in my little car at my uncle's house.

When I finished my internship, I picked up my car and wondered what all this "stuff" was. I had lived happily without it for four months; clearly, I did not need it.

Our "stuff" was packed up on November 19th. I thought that during these weeks at the hotel I would not miss it and realize how silly "stuff" was and even feel tempted to not pick it all up.

That is not happening. I miss my "stuff". Truly, I do. I miss my bed. My couch. My kitchen table. I think that the day it all gets delivered to our new house (wherever that might be) I will dance a little jig. I will moan over having to put it all away and Garry might be trying to throw it away before I remember we had it, but it will still be a great day.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Party Time For Molly!

To celebrate Molly's birthday, we took her to Potomac Mills and got her two new pairs of shoes. Yep, she's starting her birthday off right! We took her to Red Robin and they sang to her. She clapped and smiled the whole time. Megan said that she's never seen a little one so excited to get sung to. She seemed to understand it was her day and her song.
She got presents!

She had a chocolate cake over at the Gruwell's.

Yum!! What a day!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Going to the Lodge. . .

For the Thanksgiving Break we headed to Williamsburg, VA and Great Wolf Lodge. We've wanted to visit for a long time but wanted to make sure that the girls were old enough to enjoy it. Here we are enjoying our Thanksgiving Feast. We had turkey, salad, mashed potatoes, rolls, green beans, cranberries and pie. And no dishes!
Macey loved the wave pool. She could control where she went and how deep it got. She felt safe. Once I tried to join her on the tube. Apparently I bounced too much or went too deep. She took me back to shore and asked me to GET OFF.

Emma loved all of it! She liked the rope challenge, slides, pool, all of it. It was hard to make her leave everyday we were there.

Molly was not a fan. Too loud. Too many people. It was great because she never wanted down. Our little girl who is ALWAYS on the move would snuggle with us. It was like having our baby back.

We had fun!