Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Birthday, Baseball & Sakura Matsuri

One of the fun things about living out here in Baltimore is all the fun that surrounds us. This weekend the National Cherry Blossom Festival wrapped up down in DC with the annual parade followed by the Sakura Matsuri, or Japanese Street Festival. Monday was also Aaron's birthday! We celebrated by going to the O's game with some friends.

We caught quite a bit of the parade, and even got to see Miss America sing!
Here's a video of a bit of the street festival and some of the yummy food we ate. I'm not sure it was completely authentic Japanese, but it was good.

Aaron eating some of the "chicken on a stick" as the sign read. Others called it "chicken teriyaki." Whatever it was it was delicious!
We got to see Ryan & Laura while they were here visiting! We only got to see them for a few minutes on Saturday before they were off seeing the rest of the DC sites, but we got to have dinner with them Sunday down in Virginia. Thanks Shanna for hosting all of us!

Some of the Taiko Drummers performing for the crowds.
They were pretty awesome!

The Cherry Blossoms had pretty much all fallen from the rain a couple of days earlier, but the tulips were blooming beautifully!

The Tidal Basin... hooray for Spring!

Monday, April 12th! Aaron's Birthday at the Orioles game.
Justin, me, Aaron, Marilyn, Michael
Thanks for celebrating with us!

Me and the old man. Happy Birthday Aaron!

Unfortunately Aaron ate all of his surprise birthday eclair from Vaccaro's before I could take a picture. It must have been good though. :) Happy Spring!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Blossoms, Basketball & Easter Eggs

Last week the National Cherry Blossom Festival kicked off down in DC, so we ventured down to DC a little early to enjoy the blossoms before we met the Hunters for the Wizards v. Jazz game.

Some gorgeous non-cherry blossoms

The Waterfront with some beautiful blossoms & the Jefferson
I love how the colorful blossoms pop out from the winter barren trees!

Wizards v. Jazz. . . go Jazz!

Easter Egg Hunt up in Owings Mills with Aaron some dental school friends and their families. It was so fun to watch all the kids search for the eggs!

Dying Easter Eggs!

My pride and joy - the rainbow egg!

The dashing egg model... so hot right now
With spring literally blooming and Easter and General Conference drawing our attention to our Savior and His miraculous resurrection I am so grateful for the hope that comes only through Jesus Christ. I love the constant reminders of miracles and rebirth that surround us this beautiful season. After a cold, dark, snowy winter, the hope of warmth, color and life is finally realized once again! Happy Spring!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spring Break!

For Aaron's Spring Break a couple of weeks ago we decided to take advantage of our proximity to family and church history sites via a rockin' road trip. Here are a few highlights (and by a few I mean a whole ton of pictures - brace yourself).

1st Stop: Madsen Family of PA

My aunt and uncle and their family live just a few short hours north of us, and we have been wanting to visit again since we have settled in Baltimore. We decided they would make an awesome first stop on our road trip. Thank you Madsen's! We'll be back!

Spencer & Aaron zoned into the wii.

Caitlin watching her dad bowl!

The best group shot of our bowling adventures, and yes that is saying something.

2nd Stop: Palmyra

Christus at the VC. Notice the Sacred Grove as the background.

More of the inside at the Visitors' Center. Beautiful "stained glass" depiction of Joseph receiving the plates from Moroni.

Hill Cumorah monument.

Aaron "searching for the plates" on the back of the hill.

At the Smith Farm. The attic of the log home (right) where Moroni appeared to 17-year old Joseph Smith, and the frame home (left).

The Sacred Grove. We were hoping to catch "early Spring" like Joseph Smith recorded, but I think we were a little too early. The Spirit there was amazing though, and it was so nice to have the whole grove to ourselves!

Grandin Building, the location of the first printing of the Book of Mormon, 1830.

The site of the Martin Harris Farm, just out of town.

Stop 3: Fayette, NY

The Peter Whitmer Home & Visitors' Center in Fayette, NY

Stop 4: Seneca Falls, NY

Fayette was so close to Seneca Falls I couldn't resist. We stopped in at the Women's Rights National Park and learned more about the fight for women's rights in America.
(Notice that Aaron wouldn't be in any of the pictures...)

Stop 5: Mendon, NY

Tomlinson Inn where the Young family was introduced to the gospel. Samuel Smith presented Phineas Young with a copy of the Book of Mormon.

Tomlinson Corners Cemetary
The grave marker of Miriam Works Young, Brigham Young's first wife.
Solomon Kimball's (Heber C. Kimball's father) restored headstone.

Half of the original John Young home (Brigham's father). The other half has been moved across the street. The senior missionary couple who are living here saw us taking pictures and invited us in. They were so sweet, and told us more about the home and the area! Thank you!

Searching for the site of Brigham Young's home and saw mill. We're not sure if we really ever found it, but it was a fun adventure!
This could maybe be it... maybe...

Spring Break! continued

Stop 6: Kirtland, OH
(including Hiram, OH, Amish Country & Fairport Harbor, Lake Eerie)
Historic Kirtland village.

Upper room of the Newel K. Whitney
store where the school of the prophets
was held.

The Newel K. Whitney store.

The Saw Mill The Ashery. Wicked cool.

The stone quarry where the saints got the stone to build the Kirtland temple (since the bricks in the area were sub-par). You can still see the marks from when they cut the stone!

The John Johnson Home & Farm. All of the paint colors are authentic to the original home, and it's a sign of prosperity (white and red were the cheapest colors - and thus the most common). It amazes me how much the Johnson's were willing to give up, including their beautiful, large dream house to follow the prophet!

This is the bedroom Joseph & Emma slept in
when he was attacked by the mob, tarred &
feathered but then preached on the steps the
next morning.
(Notice the checkboard floors.)

The Elder preaching where Joseph Smith
would preach on the steps of the John Johnson home.

A shot of the carriage house and barn.

Riding in the Amish buggy at the Middlefield
Cheese Factory. Yes, we did find a cheese
factory! And I loved it!

Mary Yoder's Amish Restaurant. Yay for Amish country.

Fairport Harbor on Lake Eerie. Some of the saints sailed into this harbor on their journey to gather in "the Ohio." There's a really cool story about the harbor in New York being frozen over and none of the ships being able to get out, but Mother Smith (Lucy Mack) prayed that the company with her would be able to leave. The ice cracked and it was open long enough for their boat to leave and then closed right up. Looking at the frozen harbor (at the end of March) I can totally understand how frozen the harbors could get.

The Lighthouse at Fairport Harbor.

The Kirtland Temple - absolutely amazing! I can't believe how the Saints were able to build this, and then for it to last for so long.

The Kirtland Cemetary.