My sister Amy, lives in Washington DC. She is always asking me to come out and visit. The last time we visited is when I was pregnant with Wyatt. Since we have been throwing all our extra money on to our credit card to get out of all consumer debt by the end of the year (just school loans and mortgage left), we couldn't put the money towards plane tickets. So Amy finally wanted us to come so bad, she and Brian offered to buy our plane tickets. Talk about generous.

So I flew out first with Wyatt and Hank and Willie came a few days later. It was a little stressful and I found myself praying for coping power several times, but we made it. I think the hardest part was when I couldn't have the stroller, like going through security and on the plane. I had to put Hank on the ground to get the stroller through security and he was taking off crawling behind the security desk. It was a little crazy. On the plane I had a hard time getting my seatbelt on with one hand and things like that. I eventually found that I could put Hank on Wyatt's lap and tell him to hold on tight and I could get my seat-belt on or get our luggage from the overhead compartment. Wyatt was a wonderful traveler. He took a nap on our second flight and so did Hank. I couldn't reach my headphones and when both of them were sleeping I thought I would watch TV. I would try to get Wyatt's headphones off and he would stir and pull them back on.

Once we arrived at Amy's house it was only fun from there on out. Our beautiful guest room had little snacks and water by each of our beds. When I went to bed that night I saw that all the snacks were gone and I was afraid Wyatt had eaten them all. I found them all stashed in our suitcase, display plates and all. Wyatt wanted to makes sure we could take them with us. He recently admitted that he wanted to eat them all but couldn't get the packages open.
Amy's house is recently remodeled and beautiful. It's so classy, down to every detail and impeccably clean. Amy and Brian have a nanny from Ethiopia named Genet. She is the nicest lady and part of the family. She gave me some Ethiopian food cooking lessons, helped care for my kids so I could nap or go running. We went to the zoo, the natural history museum, a pumpkin patch and on many walks. I tried to pull my weight by baking for Amy and Brian. I made a batch of sugar cookies, a pear pie, and a pumpkin Pie. When willie arrived, he cooked a few wonderful meals to show our gratitude. Amy has great potential as a cook, but has not blossomed in that area yet. I tried to give some encouragement and guidance. I helped her decide to get new plates instead of a Le Creuset dutch oven and to finally get a food processor.

Amy on the other hand, gave me advice on clothes. She declared that I should never wear another pair of jeans that are low-rise unless my stomach was totally flat. I now see the light and hold a grudge against the Gap and Old Navy for only selling jeans for kids. She put makeup on me and offered some other fashion tips. She offered me a pair of Italian super pointy high high heels. Her feet grew after Vera was born. I haven't worn high heels (if you don't count Danskos) since my mission. I wore them to church and was nauseous because of the pain. That's something I can not do to myself, not even in the name of fashion. After barely making it home from church alive I put them back in her give away pile for someone else that had a higher tolerance for fashion pain. I did come home with a pair of brown high heels that are relatively more comfortable, as far as high heels go.

A major highlight was inheriting a huge amount of great clothes. I had Willie bring my gym bag thinking that would get them home. Oh how narrow was my thinking. I ended up having to borrow a huge suitcase that would easily fit Hank, Wyatt and our cat and maybe vera and Ella too. Full of great clothes. Genet also sent us home with a lot of Ethiopian food. I had plans of sharing the food with neighbors and friends but decided to hoard it once i got home. It's so good.

One thing I really like about Amy is that she enjoys the luxuries of life, which I usually opt out of. So while I was there, she made sure I had an hour massage and a pedicure. The last time I paid for a pedicure was the day Willie accepted his job here in Grand Junction. I was sure we had finally made it and we would be rich from that day forward. I had underestimated the cost of owning a house, paying for utilities, having two kids, and repaying student loans.

The kids had so much fun playing together. Wyatt learned all about princesses and Amy learned how little boys can get into everything. the first day we were there I noticed that Amy had an art easel out with some paints. I wondered how she kept her girls from spreading paint all over the room. It wasn't two minutes after that that I saw Hank get the lid off the paint and put his hand down into it. The first night all four kids took a bath. After that we realized we should bathe in shifts. It was a little much. By the time we left, if you offered Wyatt a curious George fruit snack and a princess one, he definitely preferred the princess one. I couldn't resist putting Hank in a cute tutu I found. Ella's and Vera's girly things are so much fun.
Willie and i got to go out several times by ourselves. We went to a movie and over for dessert at Seth and Christi Lucia's house, some friends from law school. Amy and Brian have a car with a GPS navigator, so it tells you where to go and then helps you get home. Thank goodness for that computer lady. Without her we'd be very lost.
Even though we had a wonderful time and I cried saying goodbye to Amy at the airport, it was great to be home. I had a few days of obsessing about renovations we could do to our house, but I'm kind of over that and back focused on finishing out the year of the debt. It was so fun to be in a city and be with family and have our kids play together. We talked a lot, worked on laptops while watching TV (a Stratford family tradition) and ate our meals together. When we were leaving Wyatt asked if the next time we come back we can stay for 100 days.


  1. Hilma Bellessa said...
    What a great job of telling about your trip. I loved the photos and all the detail. Be sure to bring the left over clothes when you come. Thanks to Amy we're all on a higher fashion level. Also..congrats to everyone about the Obama win. There certainly is a lot of excitement and hope for better days.
    Jen said...
    When I flew with Emma it was a nightmare too! I flew 3 times with her by myself. Once when she was 3 months, once when she was 12 months and once when she was 15 months. They sure don't make it easy to fly with a baby! Thankfully she was good every time but having to go through security alone was the most traumatic/ worst experience of it all! Old Navy makes higher rise jeans (although you have to really look while at the store to find where they are). I love the way they fit!

    Congrats on the Obama win. I still don't like it but have to hope that he can pull something out!

    Sorry about the novel!!
    Amy said...
    Great story, Sally. I'm so glad you guys came to visit us. I wish you were still here, going on walks. The weather was beautiful on our walk today. We're excited to hang out at Christmas!
    Karynn Jorgensen said...
    Oh, you brave soul! I tried that once...took my three boys on an airplane by myself when my mom lived in Washington. Let's just say it didn't go as smoothly, and even though I thought my kids were being good...for them...the people in front of us were child haters. I mean HATERS. They were cussing about my little ones!
    Sounds like you had so much fun! I'm so glad you got to go! My bro Kyle lives in D.C. and my other bro Kurt & fam live in NYC, so I hope I get to visit someday, too. I don't think there will be much fashion coming home with me, though. :-)
    Jewel Stratford said...
    What a memory! I'm so glad that you could spend some time together. My relationship with my sisters seem to be more important every year. Thanks for taking all of the cute photos. It makes it worth the effort of carrying a camera. Love, Jewel
    Melissa and Chad said...
    Ok- you make me miss my sisters! What a fun trip...the best part- you survived the traveling! :) FYI- I looked for those fuzzy kid headphones forever, where did you find them?
    Emilie and Branden said...
    So much fun!! What a bonus to have a fun vacay while visiting your sister. I wish we lived somewhere super fun that you'd want to come visit and stay at our house so we could pamper you. :)
    The Waites said...
    I need to know where you got those headphones for Wyatt? Do tell.
    Cynthia said...
    Hi Sally! I love reading your blog, you are a great writer and your kids are so adorable! Wyatt totally has your smile, and Ella has Amy's. It is nice to see the Stratford genes going strong. I just started a blog, check it out:

    Cynthia :)

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