Sunday, August 30, 2009

Our 30th Anniversary - Chapter 1: The Unveiling

Well, you can't plan a surprise trip for something as important as a 30th anniversary and keep it a total secret - your spouse has to know something. So it was that Dan started planning for this trip early in 2009, and so it was that Barb knew something was being planned soon after. We had been planning travel to see family, and encouraging people to come see us in DC, and in those discussions Dan had to tell Barb that we had to keep a certain amount of time (and budget) aside for the week of our anniversary. But he so dearly wanted to give her a pre-planned, romantic anniversary trip that he told her little more. Through the year, Barb was torn between the romanticism and joy about the idea of a secret trip weighed against her deep desire to know where we were going! But she was a good girl and really didn't ask too many questions .... until the days leading up to our planned departure. She at least needed to know what to pack, and that (and the 8/15 departure date) was about all he told her.

The night before, he started giving her "secret messages" in hermetically sealed envelopes - one at a time as events warranted.

These messages gave her only the minimum amount of information needed for the next step of the trip. On Friday night, it was :

"Be ready to leave at 10:17 AM tomorrow."

After parking on Saturday morning, the next envelope instructed:
"Tell the taxi driver to take us to Union Station." (At this point she knew we were going to take the train.)

And so on.

We enjoyed a relaxing trip on Amtrak as it passed through Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Newark, and into New York. That alone was interesting because that trip is shorter than a drive from Seattle to Spokane but with four major cities squeezed in!

When we arrived in New York, the final "secret messages" instructed Barb of the agenda for the week and to take a taxi to the Sheraton Manhattan, just off of Broadway and Times Square.

And so the surprise was unveiled and our adventure began! Stay tuned for chapter 2, coming soon!

Our 30th Anniversary - Prologue

August 18 was our 30th anniversary. (Yes, we know, we don't look that old - thank you very much!) To celebrate, Dan planned a surprise trip to New York City. Barb knew that we were going somewhere, but didn't know exactly where until an hour before we were to leave. We had a wonderful time. Since this was the first trip to NYC for both of us, we were quite amazed and impressed with all the city had to offer. We took a lot of pictures. In fact, so many that we have decided to share them in groupings over a series of blog posts .... hence the title of this is "prologue". Many pics will be of very familiar sights. For some of you who have been to New York before, these scenes will be old hat. But in the upcoming blog posts we hope to convey a bit of the excitement of discovery that we felt during our time there.

As for our 30 years of marriage, it has gone by so quickly. We have been so blessed through our lives by the God of all creation. We have always wanted our marriage to be a testament to His Goodness and Grace, an example before God to others so they may know Him, too. Through Him we have been blessed to have a love that still grows for each other and our lives have been blessed by three wonderful children and their two wonderful mates.

All praise to Him who is the giver of all good gifts.

Dan and Barb

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sunset Parade

One day while Matt, Laura and the girls were here, we spent the day sightseeing in DC. Dan had worked half the day, at which point the rest of the gang picked him up at his Rosslyn office and we all continued into DC. Late that afternoon the plan was to hop back in Matt and Laura's car, who would then take us back to Rosslyn so we could get our car and go home. M, L & the girls were going to continue on to have dinner with some friends. But first, we wanted to show them the magnificent Marine Memorial statue of Iwo Jima. Unfortunately, there was a crowd gathering and cars were not allowed into the park area, so we were dropped off and M&L went on their way.

We were curious about the crowd - it seemed apparent that there was going to be some sort of event at the Iwo Jima. So we wandered over to find out what was going on. As we approached, we saw Marines in dress uniforms all over the place, and a crowd gathering at the outskirts of the park. We were met with the wonderful surprise that the Marines were preparing for a "Sunset Parade", to start in about 20 minutes. We seized the opportunity to check this out. Barb claimed some ground space while Dan ran down the street to get some dinner for an impromptu picnic.

We learned that the Marines from Marine Barracks Washington DC perform a sunset parade every Tuesday each summer at the foot of the Iwo Jima statue, and have been doing so since 1956 in honor of those who have given their lives in battle. It was free to the public. We watched in amazement as the drum and bugle corps performed first, putting on a display of precision marching to exciting military music.

It was then followed by the rifle drill team. We were treated to an incredible performance by the silent drill team, who marched in precision and performed rifle wizardry without a drill leader.

The climax of the performance came when "TAPS" was played by a lone bugler on the base of the statue in honor of fallen heroes, followed by the national anthem, to which everyone rose.

This was the final performance of the summer and we were so thankful that we got to see it! A must see for any of you who come to visit next summer!!!

Learn more about the Sunset Parade and Marine Barracks Washington DC by clicking here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Summer visitors: Aug. 2009 Matt & Laura & girls!

We had an awesome visit from our nephew, Matt, his wife, Laura, and their two girls, Claire & Alyssa!! They were here for almost a week. They were able to see friends, and we got to play tour guides with them!

Air & Space Museum at Dulles airport

Claire wanted Uncle Dan to explain how the shuttles work!

We took turns landing the space shuttle in the simulator- harder than it looks, isn't it guys?? Dont' crash!!!

Claire & Alyssa; best buds!

Of course the standard White House photo!

At the Smithsonian American History Museum, Claire got to help unfold the American flag, Uncle Dan invented some new eye glasses, and we had fun in the Inventor's Lab!

Of course the day wouldn't be complete without taking a ride on the carousel on the Mall (built in 1967) Claire loved it, Alyssa wasn't so sure :)

When we met Uncle Dan for lunch, the girls just flew at him!

It was SO hot, the girls took a quick cool off run at the Iwo Jima memorial

Our neighborhood pool was a hit!

Another great visit!!

3rd part of trip: Lander, WY.!!

Well, it took me 31 hours to get there, but it was well worth it!!
What can I say about being in Lander... It's one of my most favorite places to be...

Being at Paul & Donna's place...

Watching Paul with the horses...

Going on a horseback ride....


Hanging out with the horses...

And being with my nephew, Justin, who was adventureous enough to take me on my first motorcycle ride!! Thanks, Justin!!!
It was a GREAT week!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

2nd part of trip: SEATTLE!!

My trip to Seattle was amazing!! It started off with an incredible opportunity to see the Christian group, Selah, at Seattle's Christian radio station, KCMS! WOW!! Thank you, Sarah, for inviting us!!

Callie, Angie, & Sarah Taylor & Selah

So many wonderful experiences...
seeing good friends...
Hanging out with family....

and extended family....

watching beautiful sunsets...

seeing new places...

meeting new young friends, and seeing old ones...

going to exciting games...

having part of our Houston family visit...

It was indeed a wonderful 2 weeks!! I wish I could have seen everyone, but ran out of time! Hopefully next time...