Friday, July 25, 2014

SBC, 2014 in Maryland!

Upon leaving Washington, DC, we headed to Maryland for the Southern Baptist Convention and Pastor's Conference.  
I've never been to Maryland, so it was fun to add another state to our list of places visited! 
On the way to Baltimore, we stopped in Anapolis to walk through the Naval Academy, which was so neat! 
I shared already that my grandfather was in the Navy, so it was really special to there myself and to take our littles.  
The museum was especially cool! 
Our boy was in heaven with all the model ships and rockets!
A sweet lady volunteered to take our family's picture on campus.  
Our four troopers!  We really wanted to walk through the chapel on campus, but they have normal services on Sunday, and we would've had to wait a while to go inside.  Plus, we were anxious to get to Balitmore to register for the conference and get settled in our hotel.  
This is our third year to attend the Southern Baptist Convention, and this was probably my favorite year so far.  The lineup of speakers and the worship was amazing.  Matt Redman led worship for an entire day, and it was just awesome! Like throw your hands up in the air and worship awesome! 
It was so great to hear this guy preach! David and his wife, Heather, and I went to college together, and they were also with us in New Orleans.  It was so great to see their faces, and David just brought the Word something fierce! 
We also got to hear Rick Warren preach, and he shared a lot of his story of his son passing this past year.  Such a sad story, but it is so evident that God is working through this story to bring good just as He promises.  After Rick Warren preached,  Meredith Andrews (I know) came out to sing "Not for a Moment," and I will never forget the sight of Rick Warren holding his hands up in worship to God, truly believing that God is all-sovereign.  Remarkable.  
James McDonald preached next, and he was amazing, too!  All of my teacher friends from ATL have talked about him for years, but I had never listened to him before.  Awesome! 
Last for the night was Francis Chan, and I have to tell you outside of David Platt, I was most excited about hearing him preach the Word.  He didn't exactly do that, so it was kind of weird, and that's all I am really going to say about that.  
Each year at the convention, there is a special lunch just for the pastor's wives.  I love this time, and it was even more special this year because I got to meet up with my friend, Sara, whom I met last year at the lunch.  There is a picture of us further down in the post.  Priscilla Shirer was the speaker, and she was awesome!  She has a new book out, God is Able, and all of the women were given a copy to read, so that's definitely on my list! 
Our hotel was located beside the inner harbor, so it was awesome to see all of these boats and fisherman everywhere.  
We ate at the Cheesecake Factory one night for supper, and it was amazing! Then, we definitely shared some cheesecake.  My favorite was the key lime and coconut you see in the middle! 
My sweet friend, Sara.  We met last year and have kept in touch over the past year.  It was so refreshing to see her and hug her neck and spend some quality time together.  We attended the luncheon together one day and another day we enjoyed coffee together and just talked and talked.  She is expecting her third child this year, so next year when I see her I cannot wait to see this little babe! 
Another tradition for us is to attend the NOBTS (New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary) alumni luncheon.  Carter and Summer got to go with us this year, so that was a treat!
The food was great, and it was a treat to see some familiar faces from our time at seminary.  
On our last night in Baltimore, we got to go to watch the Baltimore Orioles play against the Boston Red Sox.  It was awesome! 
It's no secret that we are Braves fans, but it was great fun to watch a baseball game in a new city! 
Our 8 year old!
And our 5 year old! 
From the baseball stadium, you can see the football stadium where the Baltimore Ravens play.  A fella from my hometown plays for the Ravens, so this was kind of neat to see.  
Our party of six!  I had the most fun with these faces on our trip.  The game was great fun.  It did pour down at the end of the 7th inning, so we definitely had to make a run for it in the rain all the way back to our hotel, ha!  Lots of memories we made on this trip! 
Our family did appear on the jumbo-tron twice! Before the game started, you could hashtag your IG pictures, and they chose some to put on the big screen.  It was so awesome to see ours up there!  Then, during on the innings they had a flex time, where all the fans would flex their muscles.  Carter and Tilly both were on the screen flexing, but we weren't fast enough to capture the picture.  Some of our other friends who were also at the game saw us up there, too! So cool! We loved our time in Baltimore.  Up next, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, and home! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Washington, DC.

On Wednesday, June 4, we departed for our first trip of the summer season.  We had  been looking forward to this trip for the longest time!  After church Wednesday night, we changed the children into their PJs and hit the road.  Now our plan (David's plan because I like more of a plan than this, but I'm learning to roll with it) was to drive as far as we could with the hope of making it to Gadsden, AL for the night.  Because we weren't sure how far we would feel like driving, we (David) did not get a hotel reservation for the first night.  Sigh.  At about 11:30PM, we did in fact arrive in Gadsden AL, but would you know it that every hotel room was booked in the whole city?!? What are the odds!  
So, we had to hop back on the interstate and continue to drive.  Forty-five minutes later, we made it to Fort Payne, AL, and found a hotel, which was more of a motel and definitely shady! Days Inn was our home for the night, and that's all I'm going to say about that ;) The next morning, we got up and headed north with Washington, DC being our final destination for this leg of the trip.  
At the recommendation of Coach Tyndall, who used to coach basketball at USM and now coaches in Knoxville at UT, we ended up at Calhoun's on the River.  The view wasn't too bad, actually it blinded my UGA loving eyes.  
You'll notice Neyland Stadium in the background, gasp! Sadly, we would get even closer, as you will see in the following pictures.  
Our kind waiter at Calhoun's told us to go to Gate 7 in order to see inside the stadium.  Not only did we get to see inside the stadium, we got to walk inside! 
All hate for the yucky orange aside, it was pretty cool to go inside the stadium! 
I went to a game in Neyland Stadium during my senior year of college.  That would be the very first time I smelled pot.  I know, I know.  After leaving Knoxville, we made it to VA to our hotel for the night.  We opted to get some good sleep rather than hitting up Washington, DC, that first night.  After a delicious supper at Welcome to Moe's, we were out like a light!  
After a good night's sleep, we were up and at 'em early hitting the metro for Washington, DC.  I have never been to DC before, so this was like a dream come true for me.  And who better to experience this with than my 5 favorites?  
Up first on our agenda was a tour of the capitol building.  
Isn't it grand?  
So, our tour ended up being not at all what we thought, so we kind of ditched it and did our own thing! And then we took pictures out in front! 
One of our favorite things about traveling is eating at places we cannot eat anywhere else, except for Moe's and Panera, and those don't count because we love them so! We ate some pretty awesome burgers at the Good Stuff Eatery.  
Just the girls.  
Family picture in front of the capitol.  
I adore this picture of these two girls.  After lunch, we wandered around walking in and out of museums.  
The Air and Science Museum was by far Carter's favorite.  He loves loves loves things that fly!  He was in heaven.  In fact, we had a hard time keeping up with him inside the museum!  
These four were troopers during our entire travels; David and I were so amazed and proud! 
Our airplane-lovin' boy! 
After the museums, we hit up an ice cream truck for a treat.  Those treats ended up being a hot mess, ha! 
And then we walked over to see the White House.  This was our first view, and I was so disappointed.  I didn't realize that we were going to be so far away from it.  Our family applied for a tour of the White House, but sadly we were denied.  I'm not sure if it had something to do with David being a Baptist Preacher or our littles all between the ages of 4-7 or our conservative nature.  At any rate, we were bummed not to go inside! 
My cute family! After we took this picture, David told me that we could walk around to the other side of the White House to get a closer view.  Whew!  
That's much better!  So pretty, isn't it! 
The weather could not have been better. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and the temperatures didn't get out of the 80s.  
And yes, we definitely took a selfie in front of the White House.   Not everyday you get to do that!  Day 1 in DC in the books.  My Upband clocked us at 17,000+ steps for that first day, whew! 
After paying $60 for our family to ride the metro and seeing that traffic was not so bad, we opted to drive the second and third days.  DC traffic doesn't have anything on ATL or NOLA.  We parked on the street right across from the Washington Monument.  There is a cool app that we downloaded where we could add money to our parking meter every two hours, so we never had to return to our car until we were ready to leave!  So cool! 
We didn't get to the monument in time to get tickets up to the top, but I am not sure that this claustrophobic girl could've handled it anyway! 
Us at the base of the monument.  
By far, my favorite memorial was the WWII memorial.  My Papa fought in the Navy during WWII and was in Japan.  In fact, our family has a flag taken from a Japanese battleship that my grandfather's crew captured. 
 I am pretty sure he would love that I went to this memorial and took my children.  It was pretty special.    
We took pictures in front of our special states.  Georgia, for our four Georgia peaches.  
Mississippi, for our current state.  
And Arkansas, for Daddy's family.  Story was over the states at this point.  Good thing, we only had to do three! 
The children are really too young to fully appreciate the importance of this memorial, but we wanted them to know nonetheless.  It was really neat because we were at the Memorial the day after D-Day, so there were Veterans everywhere.  It was really emotional! 
I had also just finished reading Laura Hillenbrand's novel, Unbroken telling the story of Louis Zamperini, a WWII POW.  It's such a powerful story of courage and redemption.  
On our way to the Lincoln Memorial, we walked through the Korean and Vietnam Memorials.  
The Lincoln Memorial was stunning!  It sits up on top of the hill, and you can see so much! 
Breath-taking isn't it?  And please notice the sky.  This picture was taken with my phone, with no filter! 
I love this picture!  I feel like I need to brag on these two again.  The youngest two spent most of their time in the double stroller, but Carter and Summer walked and ran everywhere we went!  It was amazing! 
Our family at the Lincoln Memorial.  
This was taken from the top of the Lincoln Memorial looking back at the Washington Monument.  
One of our favorite museums was the Natural Science Museums.  Pretty cool to see all of these animals! 
They were huge! 
I snapped some pictures of our favorites.  
So incredible! 
After we left the museums, we headed over to Arlington Cemetery.  At this point, we had no idea what we were getting into.  
The trek to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is straight uphill, and my sweet husband pushed Story and Tilly in the double stroller up that hill!  Mercy! 
On the way, we stopped by the tomb of JFK and saw the eternal flame.  
And we arrived just in time to witness the changing of the guard, very sobering.  
I am so thankful that we were able to witness this powerful ceremony.  
That night, we ate supper at a neat restaurant in Georgetown, where they make homemade poptarts, awesome.  Then, we headed back to walk around and see some more sights.  David really wanted to view the White House at night, so we really just wasted time until dark.  
I love this!  The weather was just perfect for our visit.  
Our sweet troopers!  The two days we were in DC, we skipped naptimes, and they didn't seem to miss a beat.  So proud! 
There was quite a line at the National Archives Museum every time we walked past, so we missed out on it this time.  
The sun finally set, and we made our way over to the White House once more.  Can you spy the snipers on the top of the building?  My conspiracy theorist husband was loving it! 
There, she is!  So beautiful.  So much history.  I absolutely loved DC.  It's no secret at our house that I love the big city.  I cannot wait for our family to go back! Next up, Maryland!