Monday, March 21, 2011


... a little side post until I can get my act together and blog about Ireland!

I've truly been blessed with many great friends throughout my life. I am a believer that certain people are placed in your life when you need them, and I think this is true of the friends I have met and made throughout my life.

"Friends are the most important ingredient in this recipe of life."

My college years at BYU were incredible. I loved it and am so grateful I had the opportunity to attend it. But, certain things happened during the Fall of my Sophomore year that rattled my comfort zone and the life I had built at BYU... and I found myself very alone and in need of friends.

I don't remember all the details of how it all happened, but I had known from the start of the semester that there was (what appeared to me) a very fun and active group of girls living on the other side of my apartment building in two different apartments. I didn't have enough courage to just go over and introduce myself and hope that they would invite me in. So, instead, I tried to strategically place myself in areas where I would possibly get a chance to know one or two of them. Ha, Ha! Embarrassing to admit now, but I REALLY wanted to be friends with them. They seemed SO COOL and that they were all having fun!

So, again, I don't remember all the silly things I tried, but the Lord was watching over me and I did become friends with all of them. And, this blessing dramatically affected the rest of my years at BYU for the better... as well as my life since then! I LOVE that even though many miles separate us, we are still able to keep in touch thank to the internet!

I ended up getting to know two of the girls (Maylene and Nancy) in one apartment first and this led to getting to know all of their friends as well! Months down the road, I ended up moving in with these two girls and the rest is history!

I was able to go to Phoenix about three years ago to see Maylene and her cute family, and ever since we've always talked about how I need to come back and visit, or she needs to come to the east! Finally, around Christmas time, Maylene decided 2011 was her year to come visit the east coast for the first time in her life! We talked about some dates, and decided that this past week would be the best time. Why put it off?!!!

Well, she flew home this afternoon and I can't even express how much fun and how wonderful it was to have her visit! We've both obviously grown up a bit... look a little older... and have become a lot more responsible than we were in college :) BUT talking with her and being with her is just like we never moved thousands of miles from each other!

A little summary of our trip:

I couldn't take off of work since I had all last week off, so Maylene got to hang out with me and the kids! She flew in Wed, but sadly I had to work late... and fortunately another of our BYU friends who lives in this area was free (!!) so they got to hang out. I felt bad I couldn't pick her up at the airport, but Maylene was excited to take a train and a subway for the first time!

I picked her up on Thursday morning and off we went to do some errands for the family. Thursday was a little atypical in the afternoon because I had to keep the kids out of the house after school until 7 pm - ish, so we played with them at the school playground and then came to my apartment for dinner and a movie! We ordered pizza and enjoyed some (scary!!) kid movies.

I asked one of the kids to take a picture of us. Shaky 8 year old hands...

After we dropped the kids off at home, we came back to watch the BYU game. Go Cougs! But, sadly, I am not able to stay up as late as I did in college and a few early mornings this week had me falling asleep at 8:40 PM - right at the start of the 2nd half! Maylene was able to watch the rest though :) She must have thought I lead a sad, sad life given how early I went to bed!

Friday was BUSY! The kids had their first day of spring break, and I had invited two of their friends to join us on our adventures that day - so we had 5 kids total (I was SO glad Maylene was there!). We had a ton of fun going to the Dulles Air and Space Museum and then to this "House of Bounce" where they have about ten huge inflatable structures for the kids to run around and jump on. They ran and played tag between the different bounce structures for almost 90 minutes! I was exhausted watching them. Fortunately, they have some gossip magazines for parents to sit and read while waiting... so Maylene and I caught up on all our celebrity gossip :)

We had a picnic lunch and then some down time before taking the twins to Tae Kwon Do. Then home for baths and dinner. It was a VERY full day, but it was so fun to have Maylene there. The kids loved her, and she kept me calm when my patience level was at zero :)

After work, I took Maylene to see the DC temple. It was a beautiful night! Inside the visitor center they had a really pretty art display.
And, then... the moment I had been waiting three (3!) years for. I was so fortunate that Maylene was willing to make her famous fajitas for us for dinner later on! Oh yum! No one can make them as good as her with all the fixins! She's a master chef in the kitchen! They were so yummy and there was enough for many leftovers! We ended our evening with a lovely chic flick :)

Saturday was another eventful day. Maylene had never been in to downtown DC. It was fun to see her look at everything and ask questions as we drove all over! There is quite a history here... and although I don't know much, it was fun to share with her what I had learned.

We knew we didn't have too much time, but we got to see the White House Visitor Center. Then, we walked over to the White House... or as close as you could get.

Look at the snipers or the secret service on the roof.
Security is TIGHT!
This is the "famous" garden that Michelle Obama has growing on the White House lawn to promote her healthy eating campaign.
Afterward, we headed over a few more blocks to the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Portrait Gallery. I had also never been here before, but was very impressed.

I seriously thought this person was REAL!
I had to walk up close to make sure she wasn't!Next it was on to lunch at one of the closet places to Mexican Food we have here in DC... "Baja Fresh!" Yum.

And, then on to Mount Vernon. The home of George and Martha Washington.

Again, since it was such a beautiful day we were so lucky to have the opportunity to walk ALL over it. They have done such a great job with the museum and the upkeep of all the history there in order to share it with visitors.

A wooden bridge we walked over to get to the slave quarters and farm.
The tomb of George Washington and 25 of his family members.
The actual tombs of GW and MW. GW on the right and MW on the left.
Maylene in front of the house right before we took a tour of it!

This is the view from the back of his home in Mount Vernon. So pretty!

Saturday night we went to my ward activity for a bit and then back home to watch more BYU basketball and another chic flick!

It was a very fun, eventful and unforgettable few days. I am so grateful for friends who... even though the miles may be far between us... when we talk or get together... it's like we were never apart! Saying goodbye was sad, but it makes me look fwd to our next visit even more!

And, Maylene is truly a friend that fits this category:

"A Friend is someone who knows all about you and loves you anyway!!!"


Laura said...

Ha ha ha... at first I thought the fake lady at the table was another of your friends from BYU. I am ashamed to admit that my first thought was, "Wow, she hasn't aged as well as Cara and Maylene..."

Looks like you had a great time, and hurray for good friends!

Unknown said...

I'm so glad I read this post! As soon as I started reading about your sophomore year, I knew it would be fun Liberty Square memories. Oh how I loved that year! And then Banbridge Square. Funny how our lives were so parallel for a while. Your trip w/ Maylene sounded like so much fun-- I love the East Coast and all the sight-seeing options it has! I really hope we can all get a "reunion" worked out one of these years.

Maylene said...

I'm so glad you wrote that all down! I had so much fun...I can't believe how easily I slipped back into the groove of staying up late. We have grown up a bit. Do you think your roommate would have appreciated any of the crazy pranks and general loudness we used to pull off ? :) I'm glad that I could make you yummy fajitas! BYU girls are the BEST!!!

Tami H. said...

looks like you guys had amazing time!!

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Shapiro said...

This was so fun to see! These were all places I saw regularly when we lived 20 mins outside of DC until I was 11. I miss the East!!! :) Next time Maylene goes I'm hitchin' a ride in her suitcase! I love that Garden on the White House lawn. It puts ours to shame. Maybe Michelle would lend out some of her help to us! :)
We miss you Cara - hope you had a great Easter!