Thursday, July 30, 2009

New York, New York

This past weekend we took a trip to NYC. We hopped on a China bus early Friday morning and 5+ hours later we stepped off in China town in NYC with a great adventure to follow with highlights such as losing my phone (and then luckily finding it again), walking through SoHo, checking out Times Square at midnight, strolling all around Central Park, examining the buildings at the Financial District, surviving stifling heat, ferrying to Staten Island, walking across the Brooklyn bridge with fantastic homemade ice cream, lunching in Little Italy, buying a Rolex (and another $10 watch), posing on a dump truck with my name sake, getting my favorite perfume for cheap (love those street vendors), surviving the dirty, complicated, sauna of a metro, eating a Melona bar, cutting my toe open, taking a million pictures, visiting Ground Zero, seeing the UN and the blue hats, exploring Grand Central Station, out witting the tricky China bus lady, surviving a bus driver who thought he was driving a taxi, and walking till we dropped. It was a great trip - Thanks to Moms and Dads (and Jansen) who helped make it happen!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sometimes DoD comes with perks...(even for the interns)

Last week was pretty eventful for me at work - well really only two days last week...

On Monday I rode in a black hawk helicopter to a secure location. The helicopter ride was awesome. As we were taking off I got a birds eye view of downtown DC, the National Mall, the National Cathedral (which we went to a couple weeks ago and it's gorgeous), Arlington (which as incredible) and the beautiful country and green between the Pentagon and near Gettysburg. Our secret ride was to Raven Rock, a location used in case there are any big problems at the Pentagon, i.e. chemical/biological weapons, nuclear weapons, or some other extreme form of danger. While Raven Rock is a secure facility it's not exactly secret - given it has its own Wikipedia page found here. Regardless it was awesome - the whole
place is inside a mountain. When we got there they gave us all a big tour of the facility which was neat because typically only high ups go on this tour so they just assumed that I was important (ha, little did they know I'm pretty much at the bottom of the totem pole, or not even on the totem pole at all). It was an incredible experience and I'm really excited that I got to go. It feels pretty dang cool to say that I was in a black hawk helicopter and went to a secret/secure location inside a mountain.

Wednesday I got to have a chat with my friend Mr. Bob Gates (Secretary of Defense). He had a Q&A session with all the interns in the building and it was pretty neat. It's incredible to see all these really powerful people and realize that they're still just normal/regular people. He was very nice and had good responses to the questions he was asked. He's had quite an impressive career and it was interesting to hear his insights to problems/issues that Defense, the government, and soldiers are facing. He seemed like such a nice person, I really enjoyed it.

So that's my excitement for last week - riding in a helicopter, going to a secure location, and chatting with the Secretary of Defense. What was your week like? Hope you had a great one.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My Mom is My Best Friend

My dad is my hero and my mom is my best friend - who could honestly ask for better parents? I know that even if I asked it would be an impossible task to find anyone different that the ones I got. I'm really lucky and really blessed.

My mom is amazing. She can do anything - she can sew cute little zoo print jumpers, she can paint fingernails, she can teach primary songs/young women's themes/books of the old testament while driving in the car, she can cook amazing dinners for 30 some people, she can beautifully decorate a trailer home, she can make incredible professional wedding cakes, she can make any flower arrangement or wreath imaginable, she can tile back splashes with tiny one inch tiles and they'll end up in perfectly straight lines, she's the Queen of Caulk, she can fix a sprinkler system, she can cut hair, and she can make you feel loved and like you can talk to her all day about anything.

My mom is fun. When you get her going in a dressing room with me and my sister she'll have us cracking up like crazy - she always says super cute things that aren't necessarily intended to be funny but end up being hilarious. My mom is thoughtful. She can always look around (whether the house, neighborhood, ward, etc) and see what needs to be done and just do it - she visits whoever and does whatever anyone needs even if she already has a million things on her plate. My mom can read my mind. All through high school she knew what was up - even if she couldn't necessarily read my mind, she could definitely tell something was going on and then get it out of me someway. I don't know how she does it. She's just so easy to talk to.

She's a really amazing person who always puts other people above herself. I'm so lucky to have such a great best friend - and I'm lucky I get to be with her for forever. I just hope that someday I can be as good of a wife and mother as she is.

My Daddy is My Hero

I'm sure that every daughter thinks her daddy is the best one ever, but I'm sure that mine actually is. Ever since I was little my dad has been my hero. He's been the one to save my barbie doll from behind the couch when I thought she was lost forever. He's been the one to help me pull out that one baby tooth that was just a little too scary to touch. He's been the one to guide me through getting up on skis and then guide me through dropping a ski when everyone else thought I was too little to try. He's been the one to give me hugs every night and tell me how special I am and that I'm loved. He's the greatest dad and greatest example of hard work and selfless giving.

As I've gotten older I've started to realize even more how great my dad really is. Some of those realizations have occurred just since being out in DC. The other day when I had extra time at work I randomly decided to search for the award my dad received in Vietnam. I guess DoD has rubbed off on me and being around all those military people made me curious about this award that I've never really known that much about. My dad was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He saved people's lives when he wasn't asked to. He told me recently that "that's just what you do," I think I replied "yeah, but you didn't have to and that's what makes you so special." The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded based on this criteria: "The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States, distinguishes himself or herself by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight. The performance of the act of heroism must be evidenced by voluntary action above and beyond the call of duty. The extraordinary achievement must have resulted in an accomplishment so exceptional and outstanding as to clearly set the individual apart from his/her comrades or from other persons in similar circumstances. Awards will be made only to recognize single acts of heroism or extraordinary achievement and will not be made in recognition of sustained operational activities against an armed enemy." It's the 6th highest award that anyone can get in the armed forces and the highest award for flying. Here's the military website that talks about the awards, and has them in order of precedence. My dad is a real hero - not just to me but to people who's lives he's saved.

This past week my mom and dad came to the Pentagon for a tour. I loved walking from the Pentagon City Mall through the tunnel over to the Pentagon with both my mom and dad in tow. I love how every serviceman we passed nodded and smiled at my dad in his Vietnam Vet Vest. I'm so proud to have such an amazing father who was so willing to serve his country. He's a hero.

My dad has saved my barbies, been awarded because of his valor, and been an amazing example. He's shown me an example of hard work, giving, and love. I've heard the quote that "when Joe has money, everyone has money." (I'm sure that I completely misquoted it but that's the jist). What an amazing compliment to the character of giving a person can have. He's always been generous with his time and money. He's also shown me how important it is to let people know they're loved. When he was in the bishopric he was always the member that gave out the hugs. I think he has a real gift for making people feel at ease, feel special, and feel loved. I know he's always done it for me.

I'm so grateful for my dad. He taught me in junior high or middle school to always say "my daddy is the only one for me" and even though I have a new "one for me," he'll always be my hero. I love you daddy.