I feel so lucky that I am able to fly several times a year. I know not everyone can and we may not be able to forever but it's nice to be able to see family. This time I flew to the DC/Baltimore area to see my brother's family. My sister-in-law's name is Amon. They've been married for 5 years (already?!) and have 2 little girls, Ellie (who is 2 1/2) and the newest, Olivia (who is 4 months). Olivia's baby dedication was on Sunday. Since I haven't been able to come see her yet, I was psyched that it worked out so I could go for her dedication when my parents would also be there AND it coincided with my dad's birthday. Travis had to work so he couldn't come (Booo!!) but was there with us in spirit. Next time!
I worked Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights and got off on Friday morning. Generally, when I fly on the same day that I get off, I just end up staying up. It's not worth it to me to sleep for just an hour. I feel like it just makes me more tired and groggy. So instead, I downed a Red Bull at 5AM and powered through. After going home to finish packing, Travis drove me to the airport and I was off! I got in a little before midnight, Mike & Amon picked me up, we said our "Hello"s and I was out like a light.
Saturday morning I woke up to, "Momma! Momma wake up!" Ellie was ready to get up, which meant I was, too. When the 2 year old is awake, everyone in the house is awake! :) Later that day we went to Great Falls, which is different from the kind of water falls I'm used to. These falls are part of the Potomac River. The river picks up speed as it narrows through Mather Gorge and then tumbles down the numerous jutting rocks. Doesn't look like a fun place to go kayaking!
Sunday was Olivia's dedication. I know not everyone knows what a baby dedication looks like or what it is, so I will give you an idea. After they are born, many babies are baptized or christened. A priest or preacher holds the baby up and sprinkles water on its head symbolizing Christ's blessing and the acceptance of the baby into the family of God. Not all Christians believe infants need to be baptized, however. In fact, it can be a pretty touchy subject depending on who you talk to. My brother's church is non-denominational and chooses to do a dedication in place of baptism, saving baptism for when the person is old enough to make their own choice about their beliefs. The baby dedication takes place during a normal church service. The family is called up and introduced. The pastor either holds the baby or puts their hand on the baby and says a prayer over the child and the parents. It's called a dedication because the child is dedicated to God. The prayer basically asks that the child be blessed by God, that they will grow up well, that the parents will have wisdom and that the baby will be raised in the Christian faith. The whole church joins in silent prayer, possibly extending a hand toward the baby and family. Then you're done!
After the dedication we headed back to Mike & Amon's house for a play date with our cousin Bobbie, her husband BJ and their son Khi. The little kids sure had fun but we big kids had fun watching them play, too.
Monday was my dad's birthday. I was so excited to be able to be with him for his birthday again. It's been a long time since I've been able to celebrate with him. We made a trip to Ikea that morning. If you've never been there I highly recommend it. No, not all of their products are heirloom quality, exactly but they are at least good enough or better and usually priced well. We have plenty of things from Ikea. My mom and dad don't have an Ikea in St. Louis so they are always psyched to make a trip when they are near one. For lunch we had chocolate frosted angel food cake, my dad's favorite. Yum! Later that night, I got to sit in on my brother and Amon's small group- they're doing a book club of The Hobbit. I haven't read it but it was interesting to hear them talk about it. I just may pick it up at some point. The movie is coming out soon and it might be fun to read it before seeing the movie.
We went to the National Zoo Tuesday and saw all kinds of animals. It's always interesting to go the the zoo with little kids. One minute they're oohing and ahhing over the animals and the next they are crying because they want to stop every foot and look at a rock or piece of dirt. I forgot how short the attention span of a 2 1/2 year old can be.
I had a blast visiting my family. The core-family was back together again :) I only wish it could be more often!