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Sweet Summertime in Virginia

IMG_0009 So we took this trip to Virginia in early July, meaning I am only about a month behind! We flew home to surprise my mom on July 7, then spent an extra week there visiting family and savoring that awfully muggy green gorgeousness of a Virginia summer.

With my mom, we visited a local farm with a carousel, jumped through sprinklers, bravely pulled off band-aids, and rode the neighbor kid’s bicycles:

becca-garber-virginia-summer-1.jpg IMG_0119 becca-garber-virginia-summer-2 We also met Lena and Gil’s first and only cousin for the very first time! Eden, Elliott’s older sister, got married two years ago to Charlie, and their son was born in April. We were thrilled to meet him and spend as much time with him as possible!

IMG_0078 On Saturday morning I took the kids into D.C. to have breakfast at Jimmy T’s Diner with my sister, Emily. She lives a few blocks from where Elliott and I lived when we first got married!

IMG_0396 Later we all met up with our mom and her friend Berta to visit the Kenilworth Gardens in D.C. for the Lotus & Water Lily Festival. I had never seen a lotus in person, and they are so intricate and beautiful. I had also never seen an aunt who got her face painted right along with her niece and nephew… what a sport!

IMG_0211 becca-garber-virginia-summer-6 becca-garber-virginia-summer-3 IMG_0407 Another night, all the Garber siblings (and my sister) met at Jon and Erika‘s new apartment on Capitol Hill for a sibling picnic. Such a magical evening!

IMG_0100 IMG_0408 becca-garber-virginia-summer-4 In between visits to D.C., life at my parents’ house looked like this: wagon rides around the neighborhood and playing with toys on the living room rug. The stuff of childhood that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

becca-garber-virginia-summer-5 And then home again to San Diego and to Elliott, who we missed very much! Lena and Gil waited so patiently until they were buckled in their seats before they could open their backpacks and find the treat (gummy bears, I think) that I had stashed there for them.

IMG_0285 And finally, two great little travelers. I love them so!

IMG_0289 Some of you know that we’ve already made another trip back to the East Coast in the past month, so there is more updating to be done! Plus I’m excited to share my July book reviews, which hopefully will be coming soon with some good end-of-summer reads for you.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

xoxo

24 :: in DC, family, home sweet home, life lately, travel, Virginia

All the Happy Christmas Memories

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A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, friends! Did you have a wonderful Christmas? I think 2014’s holiday season might have topped the charts for me. We spent two cozy, leisurely weeks in Virginia, first with my family and then with Elliott’s. All the people I love the most all in one place… eating, laughing, giving gifts, sleeping in, talking in pajamas all day long. Let’s do it all again tomorrow!

But since we can’t (le sigh), here are some of the best memories:

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Both children fell asleep on my lap on the flight from San Diego to Baltimore. I was so stressed out imagining how everything would go, but every single detail  (food on the plane, attitudes on the plane, entertainment on the plane, you catch my drift) went so much better than I’d anticipated. Maybe that’s what happens when you expect the absolute worst? Elliott rolls his eyes at my pessimism about travel with children, but at least I’m never disappointed!

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At my family’s house, Gil and Lena looooooved helping Grammie make peppermint bark, although they got a little sidetracked during the peppermint crushing stage.

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Gil and Lena truly believe that “smile for the camera!” means to open their mouth or bite their bottom lip, respectively. We’ll see how long this lasts.

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Christmas morning with my family! I gave the grandparents and great-grandparents a photo calendar again, the same simple gift I’ve been giving them for the past three years now.

Also Lena got footie pajamas, which is all she wanted for Christmas.

becca-garber-christmas-2015-virginia-4 Gil didn’t really care about his presents (he preferred the unwrapping process), but he did pause to admire the generous Amazon gift card that did not belong to him.

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The next day Em and I got a manicure and a pedicure (and an unsuccessful selfie), and my mom took Lena and Gil for a walk “in the wagon.”

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And then we drove all of three miles away to enjoy the Garber family Christmas! Elliott spent most of his childhood Christmases in this house, but this is actually the FIRST Christmas we’ve spent at the Garbers’ since we got married 5 years ago. We’ve been overseas for every one of them until now. This felt like a homecoming in the best of ways.

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This year we skipped big gifts and just exchanged stockings, which was a new tradition for me. I loved it! I had the best time picking out little treasures for Gil and Lena and then stuffing them with Elliott into the stockings I’d sewn by hand.

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The Garbers’ beautiful dog Mia got her own stocking and her own new toy! Lena, meanwhile, helped everyone unpack and examine their stockings bit by bit…

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Afterwards Uncle David told her a story (in her second pair of footie pajamas that she received for Christmas, so I guess she made that request loud and clear). I admired the beautiful contents of my stocking, all given to me by Jess, who knows me very well!

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Unfortunately, Jess was pretty sick the whole time we were there. Not sure if Lena’s little visits helped her recovery or not…

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On the last day of 2014, we visited the Botanic Garden with Elliott’s parents. I’ve always loved the Garden since we lived within walking distance of it on Capitol Hill as newlyweds. I even have memories of visiting the Garden alone with Lena when she was just a couple weeks old… and she slept through the whole thing snuggled into the Moby wrap on my chest.

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The Garbers welcomed in the new year with stories, knitting, games, and “whoops, quick, let’s count down!” at midnight. My kind of party.

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We spent some time on Capitol Hill and around D.C., most of it without our kids, and these were gloriously refreshing times for me and Elliott. Some of our happiest memories together come from these few blocks around the Capitol, and we love coming back. The photos above are from Union Market (SO COOL) and a chilly morning eating pretzel bombs and sliders at the delicious Pretzel Bakery where Uncle Jonathan works.

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On our last day in D.C., Elliott and I spent the afternoon wandering through the Hirshorn Museum, relaxing at a cafe in Mt Pleasant, and then returning to the church we attended as newlyweds. So refreshing on so many levels.

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Two of my favorite things: family loving on my children… and a new knitting project in my lap! I knitted up a storm while I was home, finishing three pairs of gloves and this beautiful scarf (in deep red) for my sister Emily.

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And then… time to fly West again. We miss you, Virginia and D.C.! There’s no place like home.

22 :: in DC, family, holidays, home sweet home, life lately

a day in D.C. with Uncle David

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Hello from Sicily again!  Lena, Gil, and I flew home on Tuesday and oh-my-goodness I am glad that is over.  I was so nervous about flying with both kids by myself for the first time.  Praise God, though, it went really well, and we all survived and even had fun.  (The fact that I never cried is kind of amazing, therefore making it a success in my book.)  I credit the dollar bin at Target, the prayers of many friends and family, and God’s good grace.   It’s so good to be home… and back with Elliott/Daddy after four weeks apart!

On our last Saturday in Virginia, the kids, my cousin KT, and I drove into the city to see my brother-in-law David.  He lives in an awesome neighborhood just sound of Capitol Hill called the Navy Yard.  Elliott and I went there for a date night before Elliott returned to Sicily, and I decided I had to bring the kids back at some point… because of all the fountains!  It’s basically a water park down there, thanks to some amazing recent additions to the neighborhood.  Things like “splash pads” and wading pools in the middle of a well-planned and beautiful city make me so excited to move back next year!

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^ We started off our adventures with lunch at a food truck festival.  When in D.C…

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^ My cousin KT currently lives in Muskogee, Oklahoma, because of her husband’s job.  She’s headed to law school next year… and they hope to come to D.C. for that!  I hope she comes too. :-)

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^ Tommy Wells is running for mayor of D.C.  He was eating lunch at the table next to ours and gave Lena a campaign sticker afterwards.  Go, Tommy!

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^And then on to the watery attractions.  The shallow pool and rain garden were just perfect for little Gil!

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^ “Come on, Lena, the fountains are fun!”

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^ … even when you do take ’em to the face…

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^ After plenty of fun at Canal Park, we headed over to Yards Park where there is a deeper wading pool.

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^ Lena’s making new friends in the background…

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Thanks for such a fun day in D.C., Uncle David and cousin KT!  Maybe next summer we’ll be back to stay?

5 :: in DC, family, travel, Virginia

a little update from Virginia

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Friends, I’m sorry.  We’ve been in the States for almost a week now and I haven’t managed a single post.  Here’s a quick attempt at an update, and then later in the week I’ll hopefully have more news, photos, and… the most amazing giveaway this blog has ever seen.  (I’m especially excited about that one!)  In the meantime, here are some fun photos from this past weekend and a little update on life.

Anyway… we’re in Virginia!  We left Sicily on Thursday after a whirlwind, last-minute decision to fly commercial instead of taking our chances with free military flights.  After Elliott spent hours on the phone calling military terminals, he could tell that it would be unlikely that we would be able to fly all the way home on Space A/military flights.  With the chance of being stranded in Spain or Maine with two lusty-lunged, jet lagged children, we opted for the last-minute bargain on Delta flights.  This mama is so glad we did!  It’s good to be “home.”

We were especially keen to get home because of Reunions this past weekend at the University of Virginia.  Elliott graduated in 2003 and I graduated in 2008, meaning that this year is his 10-year and my 5-year reunion.  How could we not go back for that?!

We had a fabulous weekend visiting with so many old friends, some of whom we haven’t seen since we “walked the Lawn” at our own graduations years ago.  More wonderful friends of ours — Will and Johanna — offered their house as our home away from home, and that’s just what we needed with two little children and jet lag.  We spent the weekend visiting our favorite old haunts in Charlottesville, reuniting with some of our favorite people, and dreaming about moving back there one day….

If you were there this past weekend, it was wonderful to see you… and let’s not let too much time go by before we meet again!

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Waving at the pilot as we boarded in Sicily &
he slept on my lap like this all the way from Rome to Paris

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Charlottesville City Market early on a Saturday morning!

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A photo that I stole (hi, Kim!) from a lunch with some dear friends.  Kelly (far left), Tara (next to her), and I were all in nursing school together at UVA… and now we’re all grown up, married, and have kids!

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Lena and Gil met and loved our friends’ children: Sasha on the left and Cornelius on the right.

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Hanging out in the Center for Christian Study with Cornelius… which we all hope they will be doing again as students in about 18 years!

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My dear friend/roommate Abi and her new baby Lucie (Gil was born on Lucie’s due date!) &
Auntie Jess (now a nurse in Charlottesville) snuggling with her nephew for the first time

13 :: in DC, family, friends, Instagram, life lately, travel, University of Virginia, Virginia, weekend

at the National Zoo

Last week Elliott’s dad, Elliott, Lena, and I took a trip to the National Zoo in D.C.  Elliott has been visiting at least annually since he was 10 years old and he even did an internship at the zoo while he was in veterinary school.  We toy with the idea of Elliott taking a zoo animal residency at the National Zoo, but… well… maybe some things are better left to enjoy while visiting grandparents instead of every day and night and most weekends for three years as a resident.  You know?
Also, can I just say that I love going to the zoo?!  Multiple times I would forget about showing Lena the animals and just stare in awe through the glass at the fantastic reptiles and crazy gorillas.  I would love to live in D.C. and be within driving/walking distance of this fabulous zoo again.  If we move back to Capitol Hill, Elliott and I could return to our newlywed days of biking to the zoo on our way to church… but this time we’d have kiddos riding on our bikes with us!
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8 :: in DC, family, Lena

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