Saying goodbye

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It has been 2 months to the day since the passing of my father-in-law Al and has taken me a long time to write this blog post.  A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of him or there are small reminders that he is still around.  Seeing his shoes that Jake now wears by the door, the t-shirt pillows in the girls room, the blue cheese in our refrigerator.
Al was a loving and devoted husband, father, and grandpa.  He had an electrifying energy when he came into a room, and a hardworking man whether for the city, manicuring his perfect lawn, or throwing balls for Jake at batting practice.
He treated me like a daughter from day one when I met them at GNC while visiting Jake.  He was kind, lovable, so interested and invested in our conversations.  He gave tough love and advice but was one of my biggest cheerleaders.  We would spend time on the golf course together riding in the cart heckling Jake as we both beat him, preparing and running with Al in his first 5K and laughing as he would burn EVERY meal on the grill until he got a thermometer that would beep at him when it was done.  But one of my favorite memories was you would say to me “You are a good Mom to those little girls.”  I will always be thankful for saying that as he was the kind of man who didn’t say anything unless he really meant it. A few nights ago Kendall was talking on her pretend phone and I asked her who she was talking to, she say “I’m talking to Grandpa”.
Al was a good man, loved and respected by so many as it was proven at his visitation as the line was flooding out the door and people waiting in a 2+ hour wait.  We are going to miss him very much and are grateful for the 2 years we had with his post diagnosis that were filled with extra special memories.
I owe this man a debt of gratitude, for raising such a good man to be my husband.  I’m proud and thankful to be his daughter-in-law.
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Babies, Pumpkins, Candy, Fall Fun, oh My!

We kicked off the fall season with a trip to the Pumpkin Ranch in Winterset. You would have never guessed it was fall as it was gorgeous 80 degree day out there. It was our first trip there and won’t be our last. The place it great and we could have spent all day there if it wasn’t for a little one desperately needing a nap. We found the “perfect” pumpkins to decorate for the fall season.

pumpkin ranch

pumpkin ranch

Friends and family littles

Friends and family littles

swing

swing

slide

slide

Boys supervising

Boys supervising

little pumpkin

little pumpkin

how about this one

how about this one

pumpkin picking

pumpkin picking

We kept the Halloween events going all month long and seriously in the area there is something that you could have done every single weekend. I love that the kids get to dress up and wear their costumes more than one night. Peyton this year was Maleficent (villain from Sleeping Beauty) and Kendall really wanted to be a donut but I could not find a Donut costume for the life of me, so she opted for Minnie this year. But come Beggars night they opened up the dress up closet and chose new apparel. This year we ventured over to Blank Park Zoo for Night Eyes, to the YMCA for Healthy Halloween, and then capped off the holiday with Beggars Night and a neighborhood party. We also got some pumpkin carving and decorating fit in as well. This year we opted for painting pumpkins which was way more fun and the girls actually participated. I don’t know why we even attempt to carve pumpkins as it starts out as a family activity not even 2 seconds later it’s Jake in him lonesome doing it!

hugs for clifford

hugs for clifford

Night Eyes

Night Eyes

scary

scary

pumpkin painting

pumpkin painting

The lone survivor in pumpkin carving

The lone survivor in pumpkin carving

Healthy Halloween at the Y

Healthy Halloween at the Y

More Halloween activites

More Halloween activites

Beggars Night

Beggars Night

Neighborhood girls

Neighborhood girls

Our turn to celebrate Halloween

Our turn to celebrate Halloween

Well what else have we been up to??

Peyton is loving school and loves to come home and writes us notes. She is getting good at spelling and we find little notes randomly all over the house. But when they say Mommy I Love You…how do you throw them away?!?

We have Peyton enrolled in tumbling and swimming lessons and has been doing them both year around. You can find her doing round offs and handstands all over the house. And swimming is something that she loves. She just moved up a level in this last session and is the big pool at the Y. I was watching her lesson the other day and the teacher was talking about the backstroke, thinking to myself my child doesn’t know how to do this, and next thing I knew Peyton took off and started doing backstroke down the pool!

Little fish

Little fish

Kendall has been up to her busy sassy self! She loves to play school and be the teacher. She will tell you where to sit, what to say, make sure you know the rules “listen to your teacher” and “don’t touch your friends”, and what your job is for t the day. Then she will get in front of the white board and teach you letters.

Kendall’s vocabulary has also expanded. Her new word is beautiful and will say mommy you beautiful, or that picture is beautiful! Another phrase is “oh my gosh” and yes she will use it in the correct context!

The biggest thing that happened was a week ago we said goodbye to binkie. Binkie was only allowed in the bed and I have always threatened her that if she had it outside of a bed I would throw it in the trash. Well just last week she decided that she was going to throw binkie away and went to the trash and tossed it in there. I couldn’t believe it. She LOVES her binkie and I was fearful of our nights to come. All I could envision was a sleepless night full of tears for this plastic soother! But MUCH to my surprise there has been very little tears and no melt downs over the throwing away of the bink! So to say the least we are all sleeping peaceful and binkie-less in the Olson household!

too cool for school

too cool for school

Goodbye Binke!

Goodbye Binke!

Kendall's family portrait

Kendall’s family portrait

girls selfie

girls selfie

At the end of October was a big change for me. I left the YMCA and took a position with the Iowa Department of Public Health as a Community Health Consultant. I am now working with early childhood nutrition and physical activity, youth obesity, and adult chronic disease. I am super excited about the new position and a place that I have been since I have gotten my masters. I can not say enough great things about the Y and the team that I worked with. I went to the Y each day and it never felt like work. I am going to stay on part time teaching a class and working with a personal training client as I can’t totally leave it!

Goodbye YMCA

Goodbye YMCA


Our family also grew by 2 this month! Joy and Nate had their babies….twin girls! Breslyn and Tiernan made room in our hearts. 5 girls on the Olson side of the family bring on the pink, painting fingernails, and boys in the far away future!
<3 her new cousins

sweet baby

sweet baby

Party like it’s your 5th Birthday

instead of birth”day” it was more like birth”week” for Peyton and turning the big 5 and she loved every minute and cupcake of it!  We started the celebration with a friend party swimming at the Y.  So what does a 5 year old want for her birthday?  Shopkins, legos, shopkins, oh and did I mention shopkins? 🙂

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Scooter fun!

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splish splash

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gym time fun

The rest of the weekend was spent with family celebrating and also had to celebrate another special birthday..my Mom’s (Peyton’s birthday buddy).  She turned the big 6-0 but she is amazing and doesn’t look a day over 40 and so glad we could celebrate her.

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Cousins

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Ice cream for one….tequila for the other

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make a wish sweet girl

On Monday Peyton’s actually birthday she had a birthday celebration at school and then afterwards went out for a family bowling outing.

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To wrap up the birthday week was my gift to her…tickets to the Taylor Swift concert! She has been in love with Tswift and her songs and couldn’t wait to take her to her first concert. She watched it so intensely singing along to almost every word and even getting up to shake it off! Watching her watch the concert was one of my favorite things and it was THE best concert I have been to. I’m officially a fan!

Got our tickets

Got our tickets

tour bus

tour bus

found our seats

found our seats

ready for it to begin

ready for it to begin

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A Letter to my 5 year old- Peyton

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My dearest Peyton,
P…..
Peyt….
Peanut……

Today you are 5! No longer my baby but you will always be. You are a full-fledged little girl now. You have been waiting for this day for a long time and when you woke up on your birthday you asked me if you were really 5 and not just almost 5! This is the most excited I have seen you about a birthday!

Do you see this smile? This smile lights up my day, everyday. You have such a pure heart. You love to see other people happy. I love to see you happy. You get so excited about simple things that sometimes it makes me pause to think about life and what it really means. You love donuts and cereal. You tumbling in the yard and riding you scooter. Stay at home days are your favorite days of the week. You like to clean pull off all of the pillows and cushions off of the couch and having a pillow jumping party in the living room. You love watching random YouTube videos on the iPad. Doing crafts is one of your favorite things and you are in your element with the kitchen table filled with markers, papers, glue, glitter, stickers and etc.

Scooting around the neighborhood playing with all of your friends is the highlight of your day. We are barely pulled into the driveway and you are scoping out who is outside playing. You are in your last year of Preschool and you love going to Kids Company each day. You became boy crazy this year and say that you have 8 boyfriends and kissed one of them in the tunnel at the school playground. You are doing amazing things. You are starting to recognize words and their sounds. You love to write on the whiteboard and spelling words. You will write notes to your friends and family. We love watching you learn and grow up.

You are a wonderful big sister and the two of you are so close and it makes me a little teary to see you playing together. You teach Kendall about the newest toys, her shapes and colors, how to do flips, and all about Taylor Swift and how to do the whip and nae nae. You have your fair share of fights too, but that is what sisters are for!

You are a night owl. If we would let you stay up until 10pm every night you would. You love to read books in bed, snuggle with your bunny, and sing songs before you finally close you eyes and drift off.

I love you so much Peyton. I think about that day 5 years ago when you were born. You changed my life for the better and I’m so happy I’m your mom.

Always,

Mama

Welcome Fall!

Sadly we have packed away the swimsuits, pool, and slip ‘n slide for the summer but are ready for the fall days ahead. The girls start their school year at Kids Company with Peyton now in the oldest class, The Owls and Kendall in the big 2’s room. They both love their school and often I will get scolded by Peyton for picking her up too early!

First Day of School

First Day of School

Kids Company

Kids Company

With fall comes football and a very excited Kendall to wear her Iowa Jersey. She would wear it every day if we would let her. Peyton on the other hand has been brainwashed and thinks that she likes the cyclones. We think she is just going through a phase!

Go Hawks

Go Hawks

Hawkeye Baby

Hawkeye Baby

Black and Gold

Black and Gold

Speaking of Cyclones our old daycare provider Karmen (she’s a fan) had a beautiful baby girl so Karmen’s Kids reunited one evening and went and met “Karmen’s kid!” I love seeing all of these girls and Maddox together playing like nothing has ever changed.

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With colder weather looming ahead it calls for a lot of dance parties and who’s kids these days aren’t dancing and singing the whip and nae nae? Kendall has picked up on the trend and this was her the other day!

Bikini Days and Cool Treats

Our summer looked a lot like this: Bikini’s and Ice Cream. Trips to the pool, going down the slip ‘n slide, or running through the sprinklers you could find the girls in their bikinis. And after a hot day of playing outside it would end with some ice cream from our favorite place, Waukee Ice Cream Shoppe!

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Kendall 2.5

Here is a Kendall update as we reach our half way mark through her 2’s!  Everyone says it’s the terrible 2’s but in all honesty I like this age, they haven’t quite developed an beatitude yet, still love to cuddle, and now know how to play and interact.  So what does our 2.5 year old like…..

In the 25th percentile for height and weight….she is a little peanut

Wearing 2T-3T clothes

Goes to bed around 8:00 and wakes up around 7:00 and typically have to wake her up.  She is like her daddy and loves to sleep and will tell you when she wants to go night night early and up she goes!

Wearing big girl undies all of the time except for bedtime.  Will someone please remind me how do you train them again?Speaking of clothing, a lot of time with this girl it’s optional.  If she could run around in her naked (luckily we get undies on) in this summer heat that is often how you may find her in our backyard.  A big fear when potty training was going to places with a nasty port-a-potty or no restroom available at all.  What we have learned is this girl is a true country girl and she can pee in the grass and even asks to do that instead of coming inside when we are at our home.  Funny story, we were at the neighbors house hanging out on the deck and the girls were swimming, yes Kendall had her bikini on.  Her bottoms were falling down, and I thought she was tugging on them to pull them up, nope she was actually pulling them down and then proceeded to just go pee on the deck.  Right there, in front of everyone.  And she was perfectly content doing so.

Sings the ABC’s, twinkle twinkle, baa baa blacksheep, thankful song from school.

Can count to 10 and then skips to 14.

Knows all of her colors, starting to recognize letters and her name.

Her binky and blankets.  I know I know we should have ditched this this over an year ago but we keep on setting a date that we are going to pull the trigger and never do it..ugh, I’m weak.  But she is only allowed it in the bed.  Check back when she is 3 if she still has it or not.  She does love cuddling with her blankets and has this brown and pink one that she calls her purple blanket.  No clue why, she knows her colors but it’s the purple blanket.

I think her future calling is teaching.  She loves to write on the white board and will come and ask you “what letter” meaning what letter would you like her to write out.  She could spend hours writing and erasing on the board.  She is also going to be strict as her favorite saying is “listen to your teacher”.

Favorite foods: frozen yogurt, cereal, peaches, shredded cheese, pizza (ask her what she wants for dinner each night, it’s pizza).  She is a terrible eater for us at home but I guess at school she will get seconds and thirds almost on a daily basis.  At least she is eating somewhere.  If we can get her to sit still for 5 minutes at home it’s a success!   She loves her self some fizzy water and if you want one yourself makes sure you hide it from her.

Favorite Movies/Shows:  Everything is Peppa Pig.  Who knew a British talking pig would be such a hit.  We have about 15 episodes recorded on our DVR.  When we watch movies in the car it’s always “Ariel” that she wants to watch.

She is very independent.  She wants to do everything herself. “Kendall do it” Shoes, potty, getting dressed, getting in and out of the car, buckling in, brushing her teeth.  I am glad she is wanting to do these things but when we are in a time crunch (which is pretty much everyone morning as we are running out the door 10 minutes late) it’s not always convenient but I let her do it.

Feisty.  Watch out, if you cross Kendall you better watch your hair, head, or legs and she is feisty and a fighter.  She will pull hair, pinch or swing at you if she doesn’t like what is going on or doesn’t get her way.  We try to tell her and explain to her to use her words but that goes in one ear and out the other, or maybe just doesn’t even make it in the one ear.  If she knows that the other person won’t challenge her back she will keep on going. Her poor friend Emmy gets the brunt of it and her Peyton.

I love her vibrant personalty and will be silly one minute stretching her mouth out as wide as it can go making a silly face, squishing your cheeks together as hard as she can, giving random kisses to your lips, cheeks, and shoulders all of the time, and squeezing your neck with the biggest hug when cuddling in bed.

Trike ride

Trike ride


 

Pool baby

Pool baby

she looooooves ice cream

she looooooves ice cream

dog walker

dog walker

white board drawing and writing letters

white board drawing and writing letters

<3

firetruck driver

firetruck driver

in her element

in her element

Cheers ‘Merica

We gathered the neighborhood for our 2nd Annual 4th of July Bash.  While it was hard to top last year’s white trash bash it was a pretty great party this year.  The theme this year, “Sorry we can’t hear you over our freedom”  Our neighborhood has gotten bigger as well as the party.  It has all of the makings of a great party, 80 degree weather, kids bike parade, waterballoons, bags, adult slip ‘n slide flippy cup, great eats and beer that was flowing, and fireworks.

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Quaters, T-ball, and Underwear

Not that June was busy enough, we threw in some big moments and scares in there as well.

First up Quarters…..all probably thinking why is she posting about quarters, well let me tell you. My kid (Peyton swallowed one, yup you can’t make this stuff up!) It was a Saturday night and Peyton all of a sudden came over screaming and jumping up and down. We knew that she was messing around on the reclining chair and had some pretzels with her. She wouldn’t tell us what happened because she was screaming and flailing her arms around, but she was breathing, it was bed time so we sent her off to sleep after she calmed down. We were thinking either she bruised her collarbone or got a pretzel stuck. The next day (family pictures) she would randomly rub her chest and say her throat hurt throughout the day and we were concerned and were about to take her into urgent care but then she went and ran around with the neighborhood girls for a few hours with no complaints so we didn’t take her in.

Come Monday morning she ate breakfast normally, and went off to school. I got a call around noon that she was saying her chest hurt and that she had worked herself up and threw up. So we came and got her and decided to take her into urgent care. We got right in checked her out and said that her throat was a bit red but she may have just scratched it. So we load up into the car and drive home. As we pull into the driveway this is the conversation that took place…
P “Mommy, I swallowed a quarter
E “you what?”
P “I swallowed a quarter”
E “oh really, so when did you do that?”
P “When Nana and Papa were here” (Saturday)
E no words came out but my thoughts where “holy s%#!, what the hell.

I immediately called back to urgent care and told them that we were just there but it wasn’t a pretzel my daughter swallowed but a quarter. They had us come right back in for x-rays. We went and got x-rays taken and were sitting in the room when the doctor popped her head in and asked us what hospital we wanted to go down to because there was a quarter stuck in her throat, right in her trachea.

I call Jake who was home with Kendall to meet us at the hospital, so he frantically dropped Kendall off at the neighbors and met us down there. Everyone at the pediatric ER was wonderful and did a great job of keeping Peyton’s nerves at bay and making her comfortable. They ended up giving her this drug up her nose to make her loopy before they gave her the IV and put her under. Whatever the drug was it was a miracle, as she was giggly, cracking jokes, and even said that she loved the hospital as they were putting in her IV. If you ever wanted to know what a drunk 4 year old would look like, this drug did just that.

Put they put her under but not full sedation and went in by scope and removed the quarter. It look about 10 minutes and so lucky and grateful that everything went smoothly and she didn’t have an infection and wouldn’t have to spend the night and we could go home in a few hours.

It was a whirlwind of an evening and I get sick thinking about the what if’s and if she would have coughed and the quartered moved…ugh. Someone was watching over her. The doctor couldn’t believe she wasn’t in more pain, and that she didn’t have trouble breathing, or wasn’t drooling. Girl’s got some pain tolerance.

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Yes that is the quarter is her throat.

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The quarter came home as a souvenir and a reminder we don’t put anything in our mouth.

Peyton’s weekday nights have been filled with tumbling, swimming lessons, and softball. She has been looking forward to softball since this winter and it finally is here. We teamed her up with her bff’s Georgia and Hannah and they took to the field each Tuesday evening. Jake coached the all girls team and I would have to say they did pretty well. Peyton preferred hitting over defense but when she got to be in the pitcher position and actually got the ball, she loved it.

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defense

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teammates and bff’s

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up to bat

Peyton has been on the go the beginning this summer, when not in activities you can find her zooming around the neighborhood on her scooter. We can’t get her off of that thing. At school they take a break from regular school year stuff and have field trips 3 times a week. I have been able to sneak out of work and join her in a few of htem.

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lunch date

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Swinging w/ her teacher, Miss Rebecca

And now Kendall….We have had some BIG milestones with her and that being she is potty trained! It stressed me out thinking about potty training this one because if she doesn’t want to do something hell or high water she won’t. So I figured she would be 5 and in diapers! But one day she threw a fit (insert strong will child) because she didn’t want to wear a diaper. There was no way she was going to lay there and get it put on. I wasn’t going to fight her so I told her no diaper then she has to pee pee in the potty. And guess what….no accidents! She went almost a whole week without wetting her underwear. I couldn’t believe it, she just decided it was time and did it. We didn’t really work on potty training at all before it either. And a few weeks later she understand the poop and has been going both in the potty! I thought Peyton was easy but she may have taken the crown on this one. Ahhh no more diapers (expect bed) but I am one happy Mommy!!!

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potty!!

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undies…this is how you can find her running around this summer

Kendall has spend the summer running after the big girls and wanting to do everything that they do. Go down the big slide, ride her scooter like them, swim with them. Her and our neighbor Alexia are 3 weeks apart and are two peas in a pod. They go everywhere and do everything together including their favorite activity, sneaking in the pantry and getting snacks.

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mowing with Daddy

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splash pad smiles

June Adventures

June is the month of Jake and celebrating him as he turns another year older, celebrate our 8 years of wedding bliss, and celebrating what a great day he is!  Take a look at our fun adventures!

Waukee had a town celebration called Celebrate Waukee and they had a Amazing Bike Race Waukee style. So like what you see on the tv show you have a partner and have to find destinations based on clues and have to complete challenges before moving on. We grabbed our besties the Eagles and formed husbands vs wife teams and took off. It was an absolute blast and rode 12 miles around Waukee and having to eat hot wings, make a corsage, know down 75 bowling pins, make some kind of boy scout knot and build a fire, and much more. Sadly the boys beat us and won the $250 cash prize, but we all went out for a great dinner and spent their winnings!

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Ready to race

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making a corsage

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cheers to finishing

For Jake’s birthday we last minute decided to take the day off, which was a Monday and go to adventureland with the girls. It was a perfect 75 degree day, no lines for anything, and had so much fun as the girls could go on a lot of the rides. To my surprise Peyton was our adventurous one and loved the trill rides. She rode the galleon about 5 times and even tried out the Outlaw roller coaster and liked it. Kendall on the other hand, preferred the nice little kid rides that went around in a circle and didn’t like the water ones that got her hair wet!

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family photo at adventureland

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raging river

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boats

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pink hogs

For Father’s Day we let Jake sleep in for his gift! This does not happen in our house so it was real treat for him! Then we headed up to Ankeny for the afternoon for some family time and fishing.  At Kids Company they celebrated Dad’s with Doughnuts for Dads in the morning and the girls got to give Jake some gifts/crafts that they made.

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fishing

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peyton’s catch

Doughnuts

Doughnuts

On our anniversary we spent it on the tball field and pizza for dinner! In a few short weeks Jake and I headed to Washington DC for a wedding sans kids. It was our first kidless vacation in 3 years and went 5 days walking walking and more walking exploring the city, trying to figure out the metro, eating some delishious food, and celebrating one of my best friends from high school Jillian her marriage to Stephane. One of the neatest things is that we were out exploring DC when they made the announcement and ruling on marriage equality at the Supreme Court. So we hoped on the metro to the Supreme Court house and it was filled with media everywhere and people celebrating love. The environment was so positive and really cool to witness.

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Deb, Jill, and I

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Lincoln Memorial

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Vietnam Memorial

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WWII Memorial

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white house

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Media frenzy at Supreme Court House for marriage equality ruling

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my wedding date

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love this girls! Red car gang

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Changing of the guard

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DC view from Arlington Cemetary

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white house selfie

And here are some adorable pictures from family pictures!

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