Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Day in D.C.

I had seen the Washington D.C. temple twice before. Once in 1979 while on tour with the BYU Philharmonic; once in 1994 when we made a July 4th trip here with the kids. This, however, was the first time I had entered its walls. 
Potts and I spent the morning serving as proxies for deceased married couples who had not had the opportunity to be sealed together or to their children for time and eternity while in mortality.

Randy was also asked to act as proxy husband for an elderly woman who came to the temple to be sealed to her spouse who had passed away. It was a very touching moment for Randy and for all who were in the room. His name was Edwin Fletcher Crittenden. I am certain he was there too, to witness this very joyous event.

We met up with Joe and Emily and ventured into the heart of D.C. by Metrorail.

First Stop: Good Stuff Eatery
Joe had done the research on line for the best burger joint in D.C. 
Absolutely Delicious! Randy and I gave it four thumbs up! I am embarrassed to say that I chose the "Obama Burger" despite the name. I DO NOT find the man himself tasty or delicious, but the burger on the other hand.... MMMMM. It was topped with caramelized onions, blue cheese and horseradish sauces. Hands down the best tasting burger I have ever experienced. 

Next: The Holocaust Memorial Museum. We had planned ahead with tickets obtained online.

Such a moving experience. I had a lump in my throat that I couldn't swallow. What a dark time in history. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Jewish people. Maybe it is because my own great-great-great grandfather, Alexander Neibaur, was a Jew. Fortunately for him and his posterity, he immigrated to the United States in 1841 as the first Jew to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because of my dark brown eyes and dark eyebrows, my own Gammie called me her "little Jewish Rebecca."
Tower of Faces
Tower of Faces: this three-story tower displays photographs from the Yaffa Eliach Shtetl Collection. Taken between 1890 and 1941 in Eishishok, a small town in what is now Lithuania, they describe a vibrant Jewish community that existed for 900 years. In 1941, an SS mobile killing squad entered the village and within two days massacred the Jewish population.

Hard to view was the hallway filled on both sides with actual shoes along with this transcription:

"We are the shoes, we are the last witnesses.

We are shoes from grandchildren and grandfathers,
From Prague, Paris and Amsterdam,
And because we are only made of fabric and leather
And not of blood and flesh, each one of us avoided the hellfire." 
--Moishe Shulstein

Randy and I took our time reading... viewing. Unfortunately, we only made it through the atrocities of the death camps when it was announced that the museum was closing. We were quickly ushered out a side hallway and missed the entire floor of the stories of escape and rescue and hope. My heart was left heavy. I will have to return and finish... Next time.

"Only guard yourself and guard your soul carefully, lest you forget the things your eyes saw, and lest these things depart your heart all the days of your life, and you shall make them known to your children, and to your children's children."
--compare Deuteronomy 4:9

And last:

The National Museum of Natural History

The skeletal remains and dinosaur bones were much more cheery and uplifting!

This museum housed an exhibit of amazing nature photography. You will enjoy this slide presentation of these award winning photographs.

Randy and I have decided that we will have to come visit Emily and Joe annually while they are here to take in a couple more museums, memorials and to eat at our now favorite GOOD STUFF EATERY!

But for now, our trip east had come to a close. 
We kissed our little buddy who slept soundly in his car seat.

And kissed our own baby doll good-bye until next time.

Many flights going out of the Baltimore airport were delayed due to heavy rain storms.
But we got lucky. The skies cleared and our direct flight home left pretty much on time. 
What an amazing few days. Can't wait until we can come again.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Charlottesville, Virginia

Charlottesville is a beautiful community. Emily and Joe are just getting settled into their new place.
This is the front of their townhouse-style apartment.

This is the back - a virtual forest of very tall trees.

You can sit in their screened in patio and watch the squirrels play.

If we had been watching the news or listening to the radio we would have heard the warning, but for us it went down like this -- The rain began to fall. My family knows how much I love a good rain storm; I figured the moisture had cooled the air enough that I could open the back sliding door so we could listen to the drops hitting the leaves. I left Emily and Randy watching out the back and went to the front to watch the rain from that direction.

Anyone know the meaning of torrential? In seconds the front parking lot was a river and the wind began whipping, throwing leaves and branches in a tornado-like spiral. I heard Emily's cry from the back, "The trees are cracking, get away from the window!" She ran to cover A.J. who was playing on the living room floor.

The 50-mile-an-hour winds only lasted a few minutes, but left quite a mess of downed trees.

I hope the driver wasn't in this car.

The power was out for the next couple of hours - so we played games by lantern light.

We woke to the sound of choppers, shredders, and mulchers. By mid-day everything was pretty much cleaned up and Charlottesville looked as good as new.

Picture Day
Pillows, blankets, and a couple of reflectors. Randy made Emily's back porch into a portrait studio.
Add one cute baby...
And voila!
Aaron Joseph at (almost) 4 months.

We drove to see the University of Virginia "grounds". Don't you DARE call it a "campus"!
Joe entering his law school.

The "grounds" provided a great backdrop for their family pictures.

A self-shot picture of the five of us.  It's clear that Randy barely made it!

A.J. and I spent a lot of time getting to know each other as we drove here and there from place to place. I'm quite certain he knows his Gammie now. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Washington D.C. - Wedding Bells

Some friends remain "forever friends" even though time and distance separate. John and Sandi Mumford were neighbors of ours way back in our Boise days. He was our dentist there, and she? -- a friend of the best kind. Our two youngest girls and her boys were the same age and fast buddies. Two years after they moved in, they moved out, but we've kept in contact with each other time and again. 

Their youngest, Catherine, was to be married in the Washington D.C. Temple in August. Sandi called and asked if Randy would be willing to come and photograph the event. They would be happy to fly us BOTH there for the special occasion. We were SO excited! Besides seeing Mumfords again, we would be just two hours away from our Emily and her Joe and A.J.! Of course we said, YES!

Then...  Joe's brother called. He had just offered his hand  to Rebecca and they were to be married in just THREE WEEKS in the Washington D.C. Temple.  Would Randy consider coming to take photographs? It just so happened that event was just two days before the Mumford's big day.  We changed our flight to the red-eye on Friday night. After my concert and Randy's prior appointment we were off! (Lucky us, we were upgraded to the big comfortable chairs of first class. Sorry I don't remember much, I was out like a light the entire trip.)

D.C. Wedding #1
Keith and Rebecca Fairbank

What a treat to see Emily and Joe again! They picked us up from the airport and took us here there and everywhere. Thanks for the limo service, you two!
And our little A.J.! Couldn't get enough of him. He's growing up so fast!
Randy doing what Randy does.
Randy let me play around with his second camera.

With just three weeks to prepare, Keith and Rebecca planned just the temple ceremony and a luncheon for family. Very smart couple. I think most of us would do just that if we had it all to do over again.

D.C. Wedding #2
Scott and Catherine Daly

Randy let me play around with his second camera again...
One thousand hand-made origami cranes for one thousand years of happiness and prosperity.

... until he needed a flash rack (that was me.)

Catherine's grandfather custom made a some personalized Randy and Kathryn cartoons on reception napkins. Pretty cute!

 "Enough Light Now?"

 "What do you say... after this shoot it's back to the Box Brownie!"

"The last guy was so ugly, he cracked my lens!"

Thanks, John and Sandi for the amazing trip to your part of the world. Catherine was such a beautiful bride, and we definitely approve of her choice of a man. We love your family and feel so blessed to have you as our friends.