E Pluribus Unum

So this post was started on my phone almost one month ago. Yikes! Today it should be 85. Quite the difference. Back in April I had the opportunity to tour the capital with some of Hanan’s civics class. It may be my favorite tour here. If you plan on visiting D.C. I strongly suggest you call your congressman. You can almost always reserve a private tour in advance.

It was a cold day in…D.C. What did you think I was going to say? Although a temperature reading of 32 degrees in April does sound quite hellish… I’m just glad God blessed me with sunshine.

I got to ride a bus with 50 something middle schoolers into just after rush hour which is still a nightmare traffic. Our mission…tour the capital and hopefully see Congress in session and get a peak at the Library Of Congress. My girl was most excited about the last two things. Who am I kidding? So was I! 

In the end, due to traffic and other constraints we were only able to tour the capital. It’s all good because we spotted a little aloha when we got there. 

Well hello there King Kamehameha! Long time no see. 

We got to go into the crypt room where we learned lots of interesting things about Robert E Lee. It has peaked my curiosity. I think I need to do a little more research about him. I think he gets a really bad rap for picking the wrong side and no real credit for his work to unify the country. That’s a whole other blog post.  


The building is under construction to renovate it before the next inauguration. It’s being restored from a lovely ’70’s palette to match its original colors, particularly in the dome.

Our guide was fabulous. He showed us the whisper spot. His knowledge was incredible. Each state is allowed to donate two statues. They must be bronze or marble (I think it’s been awhile since our visit) and the person depicted must be dead. He knew both people from each state and where you could find it. Father Damien was Hawaii’s second contribution. Sadly, he resides in an unaccessable area. 

I stood outside Paul Ryan’s office hoping he would come out. I have a few budgetary concerns regarding military families that I’d love to discuss with him. 

I hope to go back soon. Hanan really wanted to see The Library of Congress and a brief session. It really was a great day!


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Our Little Life: A Dinner Story

I desperately need to blog about spring break, our trip to the capital, a recent guest… I can’t access my pictures. Blogging from my phone is the devil… Life is busy and well, things just get in the way. Then I remember, I like to document the little things here so that one day the kids will remember things like in between fighting they do love each other and how we laugh. Along those lines, I have a story to tell. 

It’s becoming harder and harder to get everyone at the dinner table at the same time. Last night was one of those nights. We all sat around the table talking about our days. I made what we refer to as Strawberry Salad. It’s a staple around here. I even blogged the recipe a long time ago at someone’s request. You can find it here. Anyway, it’s one of those things I serve too often. Lately, I make it and throw thin sliced grilled steak on top and that’s dinner. It’s quick. It’s easy. Everyone likes it.

Well, cut to last night. I cheated a little. I usually make my own sugared pecans. I been snacking on these new bags of nuts and I noticed there was one with sugared pecans. I bought it. It also had dried cranberries in it. That was mistake number one. Mistake number two was that I purchased a milder (also cheaper) bleu cheese. It gets better. I also purchased a different brand of dressing than my normal Vidalia Onion dressing I get at Costco every summer. That would be number three. Are you following me?

Dinner ensues. It was our typical conversation. Then one of the teenagers says, “I don’t want to offend you but I feel like you know how I look at We Heart It for outfit ideas and I see something really cute but I have to try to make it work with what’s in my closet? It’s cute but it’s not what it should be?”  I nodded. “Well, I feel like dinner is like that. This salad is good but it’s not what it’s supposed to be.” Well okay then. I asked if it was the different dressing, the cranberries or milder cheese. The answer I received, “Yes.” 

Good times. Back to the regular strawberry salad I go. At least all six of us had dinner together?

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68 Would’ve Been Great: Happy Birthday Dad!

This morning while Mom packed her bags for a long drive home, I was busy packing up lunch boxes and backpacks. We’ve been so busy I didn’t even realize what day it was until I starting signing homework packets. April 4…it hit me with the weight of a two ton truck. Today I should be celebrating my father’s 68th birthday…but I’m not. Instead I’m packing Mom up with friends for her drive back to Kentucky. Some days my present is so much more than what I ever thought it would be. Some days I’m reminded ofFullSizeRender what could’ve been. Today is a day for both. Has it really been almost 18 years?

I think my mother should write a book about grief and how to deal with it. I say it’s a huge open wound that with treatment can scab over put it’s always there. At times things pick at it like to today. Sometimes, it’s picked at so very much you have a huge open wound all over again. Mom always says that once someone dies, you only remember the good. I think with time that’s true. Dad and I had a pretty volatile relationship at times. There was no bigger Daddy’s girl. I was also a girl that was way too big for her britches. Bless my parents’ hearts.

I’m sure Dad is the life of the party wherever he is. I’ll choose to remember the fun things today. I’ll remember how he was always ready for a game of Horse and never took it easy on me. I’ll remember how he was loyal…to a fault. I’ll remember how much he loved us. He had his demons like we all do, but Wayne Jackson was a good man, a good friend, a great husband and a terrific Dad. I miss him every day, especially when I think about how he would be with the kids. I can see him running with Hanan, cheering Arleigh on at every band competition and working with Bria until her juggling skills are perfect. He’d be the first one bringing a Millennium Falcon home for Jack to build. That’s what I miss most. I know how much my kids are missing by not knowing him. 

Happy Birthday in heaven Wayne Edward. Keep the party going until we get there! And if you have a family, hug them tight…. pass a soccer ball with your grandchild, go to Chuck E Cheese one more time, make every memory you can make because you never know when you won’t have the chance. 

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Happy April Fool’s

Thanks to my friends Kristin, my streak stands. I was 4:4 this morning with my April Fool’s pranks on the kids. My poor children…

S’Mores cereal anyone? Special cereal with graham crackers and chocolate chips it is! It’s the chocolate that forces them to try it. You’d think they’d be wary of this sort of breakfast on April Fool’s day but they just can’t resist. The trick? It was frozen as solid as a brick. 

I’m glad Grandma was here to enjoy their reaction. I’m respecting the big kids and not posting pictures of them in their pajamas. They were slightly more suspicious. They still fell for it. I’m just that good!

It’s not too late to trick your kiddos. Other mean tricks have included switching out Cheetos for carrots in their lunch, offering bottles of sprite that were actually water and my favorite the cupcake trick. The meanest was secretly videoing me picking them up from school telling them R5 was at Aulani in Hawaii and if we hurried we might be able to see them. They were a little angry for days months years. Who am I kidding? They’re still angry but it’s a story my grandchildren will live. I clearly have no problem living on in infamy so long as I live on. 

Happy April Fool’s Day!

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Our Cherry Blossom Adventures

Mom and I got out for another adventure today. Yes, it involved the metro. No, I didn’t lose her. We are safely at home, feet in the air discussing the history of Cherry Blossoms in Washington D.C.
For as long as I can remember Mom has talked about visiting Washington D.C. to see the cherry blossoms. I can’t tell you how great it was to walk with her down to the tidal basin to experience them together. 

So, because I’m a weirdo I love history I looked up when the cherry blossoms were planted. The mayor of Tokyo Yukio Ozaki sent 3,000 trees in 1912.  Today I learned that the first efforts to bring the trees began in 1885 after a lady named Eliza Scidmore visited Japan and decided the reclaimed waterfront of the Potomac River was the perfect spot for the beautiful trees. The first set of trees gifted were infested and needed to be burned but those 3,000 their genealogy is still there as a symbol of our friendship with Japan. 

You know I have to add a little aloha to the story… On Dec. 11, 1941 four of the trees were cut down. Only four days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, everyone suspected that it must have been retaliation for the attack. I assume that’s the case as well but there was never any proof. The Cherry Blossom festival was suspended during the war. To prevent further damage, the trees were referred to as “Oriental” flowering cherry trees during the war. In 1947 the Cherry Blossom Festival resumed. 

We weren’t there during the peak this year but it’s hard to imagine it being any more beautiful than it was today. The best part of walking around today… talking to Mom about teaching fourth graders for years about the cherry blossoms even though she’d only seen them in a book. I happened to be one of those fourth graders. She told me that she got to choose her curriculum and cherry blossoms were a small part of what we talked about while we studied our nation’s capital. No, I don’t remember that particular class. 

The canopies of fluffy white blossoms snowed just a bit as we walked around the tidal basin. We also visited the Jefferson Memorial and looked out over all the tourists paddling in the calm water. It was a beautiful day. I’m sure I could wax on forever about Jefferson and his memorial but I’ll save that for another day. 

We finished off the day revisiting the American History museum for a potty break and lunch. We couldn’t find an open food truck and I had appointments at home. The one downside… I forgot one of my kiddos would be home and she was locked out of the house for about 10 minutes. Oops. I never claimed to be mom of the year. At least it was a beautiful day.

The blossoms should last for just a bit longer. Come visit! I’m an old pro at this and I promise not to lose you.







And Mom… I just loved our little adventure! Let’s do that again!

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The Most Memorable Spring Break Event

This morning, we are back to reality…back to life. Wait… Let me start again. Kids are back in school. Hallelujah, amen! Ray is back to his normal work schedule, whatever that is. I’m lucky enough to have Grandma here to help me get back into the groove, or shop but don’t tell Ray. We’ve been in 5 states. We had a birthday party at Nana and Papa’s. We visited one dentist. We got stitches out. We went to the emergency room. We visited Discovery America. We spent time at the lake. We got visit the White House. Boy howdy! I’m exhausted. 

In all that excitement… one memory will always stand out above the rest. We lost Grandma! I’m not even kidding. That was without a doubt one of the longest 45 minutes of my life.

I don’t make a habit of taking the metro. When I do, I usually have Ray, AKA Mr. Logistics controlling the situation. Yesterday, it was just me…Bria, Jack and Grandma. It was Grandma’s first time on the metro. I joked that I had three kids. We told Bria she was in charge of Grandma. I had it. In spite of one card not working on one occasion (Of course it was Mom’s) we totally rocked it and got where we needed to be without incident. (Thank you White House Planning Committee and National Parks for all the signs.) 

We enjoyed our day, had a potty break and got back to the metro just in time for rush hour. No big deal. I told Mom it would be crowded, prepare to stand up. The train is coming. We get up and walk to wait at the edge of the platform. A group of tourists with all kinds of luggage came off the escalator and jumped in front of us. I grabbed Bria and Jack, pushed our way on, heard the “doors closing” announcement and turn and look to see Grandma still on the platform. The darn tourists hadn’t moved to the center. Grandma didn’t push her way on. Oh my hell! The doors closed between us and there she stood. I yell through the glass, “Take the BLUE train!” Then I prayed.

It gets better. Remember, I had three kids. Earlier I left my phone on the charger so Grandma’s phone and her metro card were in my purse. I couldn’t call her with directions. The train pulled away. The next stop was packed. I had to make a quick decision, get off and risk Mom not getting off or this happening again or trust she’ll ride all the way to our stop. We stayed on in spite of Bria begging to get off and go around to get her. 

We settled into our spot, me holding two kids on a pole trying to keep them off the door. Jack was yelling, “WE LOST GRANDMA!” Basically the next 30 minutes were one big ball of awesome sauce. I had to text Arleigh and Hanan to say I would be late picking them up because I LOST GRANDMA. I sent Ray a note. I think he was laughing a little too hard to truly appreciate the stress of my situation. The train started to clear and we got a seat. We got off at our stop and Bria and Jack filled out Mad Libs for 12 minutes until the next train started rolling down the track. We held our breath. 

There she was! Big smile on her face! Laughing and pleased as punch to have navigated the metro system on her own. She also made lots of friends. Bless the people of Washington D.C. She told a couple of people what happened and they made sure she got on the blue line. They were just as nice as they could be. 

We treated ourselves to a glass of Mango sangria when we were done. We totally deserved it! We also agreed to avoid the metro during rush hour from now on.

Overall, it was an awesome day! 


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