Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

December 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

Seasons Greetings! We hope you are doing well and thought we would write a quick update to let you know how we are doing.

In June we moved from our home in Claremont, CA to Arlington, VA where we will be for the next two years while Robert is doing a rotation in the National Tax Practice at PwC. We’re feeling settled in here and love our neighborhood in Arlington and the beautiful greenery and fall colors throughout the area.

Robert has transitioned to his new office in Washington DC. He enjoys working closely with the technical experts of his firm and learning daily. The shorter commute and better work / life balance in the office has allowed him to spend more time watching his daughter grow up. He particularly likes the D.C. area and the countless places to visit with his family.

Melarie has her hands full at home running after Julia, literally. Melarie has started running almost everyday while Julia sits like a princess in her jogging stroller and watches the dog walkers. Melarie likes that it gets her out of the house and into shape and Julia likes stopping at the park afterwards. During the winter months when its too cold to run with Julia she hopes to take advantage of the free admission to the many museums in D.C. Melarie’s church calling helping to plan the monthly Relief Society enrichment meetings has also helped her make friends with a lot of the sisters in the ward.

Julia (19 months) has entered toddler hood with gusto. She definitely has a mind of her own and is sweet and well behaved, as long as no one gets in her way. Then, watch out! She really is a lovable little girl and enjoys giving hugs- to mom and dad, to her dolls, to random kids at the park, and even to the bonze statue of a turtle at the latest museum we visited.

We love visitors and have a guest bed in our basement available, so just let us know when you’d like to come for a visit! Have a very Merry Christmas.


Robert, Melarie, and Julia Wheat

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Utah Fun

We've been having a lot of fun in Utah visiting my family. They all adore having Julia around since she is the only grandchild, so she has been getting pretty spoiled with all the attention. You might say she gets treated like a princess. That's okay with me though, it makes my job a lot easier.

Some of the fun things we've done:

Saturday night we started the evening off by going out to dinner at a Filipino restaurant in Salt Lake. Then we went to temple square to see the lights, and then the boys took Julia home and all the girls went to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert. Sunday we had a lot of family over and Julia stayed up late playing with (second) cousins.Then on Monday we went to the Christmas Carol Sing-A-Long at the Energy Solutions Arena with a live orchestra and performances by Jon Schmidt. My family has gone for the past three years, but this was our first time going. Here is the row Robert and I were sitting on. It is entirely made up of my family members- uncle, cousins, aunt, more cousins, siblings, and finally another aunt and a teeny tiny Julia standing on a lap at the very end with a Santa Clause hat. We had fun and Julia loves to sing so she had a lot of fun too.
This was one of the songs Jon Schmidt played (but not actually last night's performance obviously). At the sing-a-long Jon Schmidt talked about how surprised he was that this video got over a million hits, so of course I had to look it up when I got home.

Finally, we woke up to a bunch of snow this morning and decided this snow looked inviting enough to go through the trouble of bundling up enough to go play in the snow. Julia hated being bundled up so much and she could hardly walk at first. She kept whining while trying to walk through the snow. I guess she got used to it though because after a while she loosened up and starting jumping into the snow and throwing snow up into the air. We played outside for close to two hours this morning and went back out again this afternoon after Julia's nap. Julia was introduced to the wonders of snowmen, snowballs, and even a snow slide that her uncles made for her.Checking out the snowman we built. She wanted to give him a hug. Then when she did give the snowman a hug she buried her face into him and realized that he actually tasted pretty good. She kept going back to him and trying to eat him.
This is a video of the first run down the snow slide. We later expanded it and the snow melting a little naturally made it more slippery and smooth, so it turned out to be pretty fast.

I figured out Julia gets more out of it if she goes down with me, so here are Julia and I going down the the snow slide together.
Unfortunately we found out my Grandpa Sandberg passed away on Sunday. He has been in constant pain for a while though and has not had a very high quality of life from being so sick. He has also really been missing my grandma who passed away last year. So although we will all miss him a lot, we know that he is happier where he is now. My grandpa's last gift to my Dad was in the timing of my Grandpa's death. He died just in time for my Dad to come home from Iraq for Christmas. My dad gets to leave Iraq for 15 days (including travel time) to come to the funeral. He has already left Iraq and is probably in Kuwait someplace now. We are hoping he makes it to Utah by the 23rd or 24th. It really is a Christmas miracle. The funeral will be next Wednesday in Panguitch, UT.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

It's Christmas Time!

Julia got to see Santa at our neighborhood Christmas party on Saturday. Last year Julia was too young to know what was going on and she really didn't care who was holding her. This year she didn't want to go to Santa at first, but he offered her a candy cane she decided he could hold her, but she was still a little unsure about the whole thing.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

A Bryant Park Santa

While we were in New York we went to Bryant Park and Microsoft was doing free Santa pictures to showcase a new photo editing program they have that makes it easy to get the "perfect picture." They took three pictures of us, then they showed us how to replace people's faces who weren't looking or had their eyes closed in one for the best face in another. We were pretty much the best group for the product because someone was doing something wrong in every picture, but we still got our perfect picture (Tyler never looked at the camera- at least we can see the side of his face right?)

You can see the rest of the photos here

U.S. Capital Building

We had a great time over Thanksgiving with Robert's family. Starting the Saturday before Thanksgiving we went to Philadelphia, New York City, and then came back to Washington D.C. for Thanksgiving and more sightseeing. We saw a lot of cool things and since I'm not really in a rush to post about them all at once, I'll probably just do a few different posts over the next week.

One of the places we saw in D.C. was the U.S. Capital. We got tickets from our Congressional Representative in Claremont and one of his interns showed us around.As long as Julia gets to hang out like she wants she does well sightseeing. It's when we force her to move along and go places she's not interested in that things get hairy.
Tyler and Kevin standing in the crypt room. There is no one really buried there, but it is where the designers of the capital wanted to bury George Washington (he's buried at Mount Vernon).

The fresco on the ceiling in the Rotunda, The Apotheosis of Washington, depicting Washington becoming a god surrounded by Liberty, Victory, and the thirteen maidens representing the thirteen colonies.

A life size model of the statue on top of the capital, the Statue of Freedom. It was really cool to see the inside of the capital. We went inside the House Chambers and kind of felt like I had been there before since it's such a recognizable room.

Monday, November 15, 2010

National Arboretum

Looking at our past posts I think it's safe to say that over the next two years anyone who reads our blog should have a good idea of what they want to see in D.C. area from reading about our experiences. So, your welcome future D.C. visitors. We're doing all the research for you. =)

Saturday we visited the National Arboretum in Washington D.C. We figured it was a good time to visit a place dedicated to trees when all the leaves are changing color. I think we will have to go back in the spring when all the flowers are in bloom as well. Also, the place is quite large (446 acres) and with Julia wanting to walk most of the time we didn't get to see it all.

The National Capitol Columns, they were the columns on the front of the Capitol building until the 1950s when the Capitol Building was expanded. They were installed at the Arboretum in the 1980s.

Bonsai trees, so cute and mini.

Julia giving hugs.

National Grove of State Trees.
They are suppose to have the state tree of every state, but some states have a substitute tree that will actually grow in this climate. Here is me with Utah's Blue Spruce and Robert with Idaho's Western White Pine.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Correcting a Missed Bloggertunity

Over the summer we went on an great bike ride, but unfortunately forgot to take our camera or phones (which incidentally led to us getting a little lost and making it such a great long bike ride). Saturday we went for another nice long ride, not in the same area (this time along the Mount Vernon trail through Alexandria) but we did remember the camera. So this is what the last post would have looked like...

Julia hanging out in the trailer. It was a little cool so we had the rain cover on to keep the wind off her.
Stopping for a break.
Julia and I with the Potomac in the background (and the teeny tiny capital bldg.)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Julia and I were pirates for Halloween, Arrr! (Robert refused to dress up) On Thursday we went to Robert's work and went trick-or-treating around his office. At first Julia was a bit confused, but she got the hang of things after a couple desks- Take one colorful candy from the bucket at the desk and put it in my pumpkin bucket. What a fun game! Little does she know that the colorful candy is actually edible and yummy (we'll save that lesson for another day). Robert and I can still keep her entertained for hours by letting her take candy out of the big bowl at our house and putting it in her bucket and then back into the bowl.
She thought it all was such a big adventure. The office was like a giant maze to her as we maneuvered through the cubicles and at the end there was a pizza party and pumpkin decorating.
Right after the work party we went to our ward Halloween party. We got stuck in traffic getting out of D.C. (wow, just, wow. It took us half an hour to go four blocks) so we got there for just the trunk-or-treating. I also convinced Julia to put on her pirate hat for the trunk-or-treat.

I had thrown all the Halloween decorations from home that we didn't put up this year into the back of our car and told Robert to put them up. He managed to put something together in the ten minutes before the kids came streaming out of the church and we ended up getting third place in the decorating contest. (This is him taking it all down afterwards)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's Finally Here!

Ever since we moved here everyone has been telling us the summers here are hot and muggy, but the fall is beautiful. We've had a few trees change colors, but this week I've noticed a big change. Most of the trees have finally changed colors, and it is beautiful. I love that wherever you go here there are a million trees everywhere.

Friday, October 22, 2010

American Indian Museum

Last weekend Robert's brother Kevin and his wife Ellen came down for a visit. On Saturday they watched Julia while Robert and I went to the temple and then we went into D.C. Robert and I went to check out the National Museum of the American Indian. This may be my favorite Smithsonian because it's all about the indigenous cultures of North and South America (with an emphasis on Native American tribes in the U.S.), and they do special performances! We will definitely be going back for some of the other events they have and to try out the native food at the cafe. The day we went they were doing a celebration of Bolivian music and dance. Julia had fun dancing along. Her new word for the weekend was "dance" and now when she hears music playing she will say "dance" and dance along.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Frying Pan Farm

Today our ward's playgroup went out to visit Frying Pan Farm. Julia loved it of course. The first thing she saw when we got there were a bunch of cows and she got really excited and started mooing because it's the first time she has seen a cow since she learned the cow says moo (she also thinks the cow says baa and the sheep says moo and baa).

I had a hard time convincing her to leave the cows and move on to see the sheep. Then I had a hard time convincing her to leave the sheep to see the pigs, and so on. It was just a small farm for kids but we stayed for two hours while Julia got acquainted with all the farm animals.

And While We Were On the Farm...

this is what Robert was doing. He was in NYC for the day for a business meeting. What a difference from what we did today!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Julia's Fashion Sense

Uh-oh, bare midriffs are a no-no Julia. We should pull your shirt down to cover your tummy.
Oh wait, we can't because you're sporting the new upside down onsie look. It's like a cowl neck onies.
Julia's quickly becoming the epitome of a squirmy toddler and getting her dressed in the morning has become quite a challenge. This morning in my haste to get the onsie on I failed to notice it was on upside down until her daddy managed to catch her.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Dad and OIF

Bonus Points for anyone who knows what OIF stands for.

My was dad deployed to Iraq for a year right after Robert and I were married, and he is now back there again for another year. Last time he was in Baghdad, this time he is in Mosul. Last time he was talking to Iraqis to gather intel and opinions and this year he is in charge of a few teams who are doing the same thing.

Here are a few pictures that he sent along with what he said about them.

North Central Iraq. Northwest of Mosul. This is what most of the terrain away from the river looks like at this time of year. Not much there. If you look real close towards the top you can see what looks like a strip of green just on the horizon. That's where the Tigris River is.

Kuwait, early in the morning before it really starts to get hot

Inside of a Black Hawk.

A view of the Tigris River north of Mosul.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Julia 18 mo...

Julia trying to get up after climbing into her old baby bouncer and leaving out a leg.

... at 17 months and 9 days. So we're a little early, but she never did get her 15 mo. checkup in with the move and all. Here's her 17 mo. stats:

Height- 31 in. (43%)
Weight- 22.15 lbs (37%)
Head Circ- 18.5 (70%)

vs. her 12 mo. stats:
Height- 28.5 in (25 %)
Weight- 21.4 lbs (52 %)
Head Circ.- 18 in. (65 %)

So she's gotten a little taller, gained a tiny bit of weight, and still has a larger than average head. She eats plenty though, so I think her lack of weight gain is just from being so active. Like the picture above. She's average size when comparing height to weight, so she is just naturally petite as well. Up next for her, trying out nursery this Sunday!