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In April I flew across the country to attend a training for work. It was a quick trip with two full days of learning, but the evenings were my own. I booked my flights so I would arrive while the sun was still up and I wouldn't have to navigate the city in the dark. The elderly woman sitting next to me on the plane was flying out to bury her husband at Arlington. Scattered throughout the plane were members of her family and her daughter sat next to her making sure she was taken care of. Her eyes light up when talking about her grandchildren and great grandchildren. It meant so much to her that they were coming with her.

On Friday night I scrambled to find a Seder for the first night of Passover and ended up at GWU Hillel. I was nervous to be going by myself and so was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I think I am finally far enough removed from the undergraduate life that any social awkwardness is gone. There wasn't a need to fit in or get approval and I was just comfortable to be myself.

The pictures below are from Thursday evening when I walked and walked and walked. Down to the Mall and then from the Washington Monument to the World War II Memorial. The place was crawling with class trips and groups of young adults playing softball and kickball. The key (although I don't think I was ever in any sketchy areas) for being a woman traveling alone - walk like you know where you're going. Head forward, eyes up, confident. This actually got me stopped twice by people asking for directions. Ha!

Washington D.C. :: 2016
the view from my hotel room - Washington Monument just peaking into the picture

Washington D.C. :: 2016
Security at The White House

Washington D.C. :: 2016

Washington D.C. :: 2016
My belly was still small enough I could lay on the grass to get this shot.

Washington D.C. :: 2016
World War II Memorial

Washington D.C. :: 2016
World War II Memorial

Washington D.C. :: 2016
World War II Memorial - view across the reflecting pool towards the Lincoln Memorial

Washington D.C. :: 2016

Washington D.C. :: 2016
This little girl was having fun striking poses while her mom wandered around taking pictures.

washing out the pilot - his last flight

It's been some time since I've made it a regular practice to post the daily goings-on. I miss it, though I have been recording a couple lines a day in my 5 year journal my sister got me for my birthday. That's a fun practice at the end of each day and good time to reflect about what made that day different - especially when they all seem so much the same.

:: I was excited to travel to DC for a training for work. And just as excited to head home. Loads of learning packed into two days.

:: love feeling the baby kicks and choosing not to believe how much bigger and rounder my belly is gonna get.

:: waking up a 4am is no fun, but I'm working on better dinner prep so we can head to bed earlier. Here's to lots of cooking preparations this weekend.

:: looking forward to having friends over for dinner tomorrow.

:: happy to have started the garden and hoping to share pictures of it soon. (4am wake-ups are making that difficult).

:: I more than ready for the weekend!

Mini Book Review: My Pantry by Alice Waters
This book is filled with practical advice... now I just need to find the time to follow through on some of it's suggestions and recipes. I like the simple layout and it's straightforward approach to building a pantry. But I do think it could have benefitted from some vivid photos and less dense text.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Blueberry Park Mini Swap
After signing up for my first Instagram quilt swap I tried to wait patiently for my partner assignment email to come. I busied myself with finding inspiration for the person who would have me. And then I waited and waited...

Welcome to my stop on the #quiltnon2016 weekend of quilting fun! Here I'll share with you a tutorial for the fancy fat cat 6" block.

This was one of those projects that, start to finish, took me much longer than it should have. And then, of course, I procrastinated getting it photographed and blogged...

When Julie (of The Intrepid Thread) offered up this fabric challenge I jumped at the opportunity to participate. What a perfect pairing of fabrics she was challenging people to sew with. Even before the fabrics arrived...

Starting the new year off fresh with a fabric mosaic challenge from Stitched in Color. Our inspiration this time around comes from a vintage twist on the rainbow colors. I couldn't help but play along...

Eight nights of Hanukkah and it is still over in a flash. This year we got to spend the beginning and the end with my folks - a great way to bookend this fun holiday. There were candles and songs and lots of latkes. On the last night our cousins Zack, Marina, and Naomi joined us for the fun. Matt and Zack did an epic dreidel toss battle. Aba cooked the latkes and Michelle made tasty, fall off the bone chicken.

All these pictures have already been shared (and liked) on Facebook, but I wanted to have a little memory of this year's festivities on the blog too. Short and sweet... on to the pictures. (Thanks to Lukas for the edits and photo critiques to keep me improving, just as long as I can remember to do them.)

mendocino tidepools :: baby quilt

The quilt that started it all. My first fabric obsession was with Heather Ross's Mendocino.
Blueberry Park mini swap mosaics
mosaic 1 + mosaic 2

Blueberry Park mini swap mosaics
mosaic 3 + mosaic 4

counted cross stitch

Until fifth grade, we lived in the same little two bedroom house with the big willow tree in the backyard and the park right next-door.  We'd walk to school each morning and then home again in the afternoon.  When summer came, the school yard was just there for bike riding and perfecting my skills at spinning around the horizontal bar.  And I had SKILLS!

Each summer, though I distantly can only remember two, my mom would hire a babysitter for the whole summer - a college kid from HSU.  The first summer I remember this babysitter - paid just $3/hour for three kids (the going rate) - parked herself in a lawn chair with a book and told us, "Go play."  So we did, but we really wished she'd play with us instead of read her book.  What we didn't know is that she was setting us up for the best summer babysitter ever.

Lisa came next summer (and maybe we even had her back the summer after that... she was pretty awesome).  She played with us and engaged with us.  No nose in a book.  One day, she got permission from our mom to take us on an adventure.  We gathered our change and walked down to the corner to catch the bus.  I don't think we'd ridden on the bus before.  The bus took us downtown and dropped us off in front of a big blue victorian house.  The bottom floor of the house had been converted into shops and we entered the sewing one.  Inside, Matt and I both got to pick out a cross stitch kit.  I think Shawna was probably too little.  My kit was one with strawberries and Matt chose one with teddy bears.

I remember Lisa showing us how to make the stitches.  I was proud because she taught me the "real" way to do it instead of putting a knot in the end of the embroidery floss like she did for Matt's.  I remember working hard to make sure the backside was just a neat as the frontside.  Matt's was one big jumbled mess - but Lisa said that was ok.  I remember loving to work on my project but I certainly didn't finish it by the end of summer.

Summer did end and Lisa graduated and drove off in her new little red car.  She exchanged addresses with me and for several years we were sporadic pen pals.  When I was in high school and she had had her first kid we reconnected for a quick visit.  (That first baby is now in college!) We lost connection after that, but again, years later we found each other through Facebook.

Imagine my surprise to learn that this awesome babysitter, who introduced me to cross stitch and planted some seeds for crafting, was also a quilter.  And, the coolest bit... she just opened a quilting shop.  Some day, we'll have to make it out to Chicago - for pizza, to see Lisa, and to visit her wonderful looking quilt shop.

When I saw this cute ABC sampler from Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets Cozy I remembered learning to stitch with Lisa.  It was years later when I finally finished the strawberry kit she'd gotten with me.  And still years more since I'd done any cross stitch.  The sweet little designs were calling my name and I always jump at the chance to have a little handwork for my morning commute.  This project even made the trip with me to DC in October (though I hardly stitched on any of the plane rides).

The last stitch went in the night before I headed down to LA for the baby shower.  That morning, I popped it in the frame and then gently carried across the bay on BART and down the peninsula on Caltrain.  And all the way to Pasadena where it was gifted to the new parents to be.  


My Sweetie Pie Counted Cross Stitch
the details

My Sweetie Pie Counted Cross Stitch
the details - xox