Life is a test. We are not present on earth to just exist; we are here to learn. Life is a lesson. Love one another unconditionally. Love thyself unconditionally. We spend our whole lives learning to do this. Some succeed and some never have a clue. I'm trying. Love my fellow man. Don't react and don't always have to be right. This is one I'll have to work on for the rest of my life. Appreciate each day and recognize positive and negative as a part of life's experiences. Look around me and see life at it's best. The joys of living come as you strive to achieve your dreams. Its the quality of each day that is important, not the distant dream once achieved. Teach and nurture my children. You can never give them too much love. -Randa Jex 1/1/94

Monday, March 11

DC Trip- March 2013

Last week I flew to DC with my parents to officially welcome Cory home from Afghanistan! I have a million awesome pics but I won't bore you with all of are some highlights.

DC was a blast.  It is one of the most entertaining cities I have visited and you could be there for a month and still not see and do everything.  Seeing Cory and Alicia was the biggest treat of all and it felt like not a day had gone by since we last saw them although the reality was very different.  I hit the pillow hard every night after cramming our days and nights full of site-seeing, shopping, eating, eating, and more fabulous eating.  Some nights I didn’t even make it to the pillow before passing out, oh the life of a pregnant chick! I can’t wait to go back in warmer weather (and 30lbs lighter) because that city was made for outdoor touring.  From bike rentals to gorgeous running trails through historic sites.

Pentagon Memorial- breathtaking.

You can see the color difference in the side of the Pentagon from the renovation where the plane crashed
These are reflection benches with small pools of water under each in honor of each person that lost their life on 9/11, some are facing towards the Pentagon and some are facing away from the Pentagon depending if they were in the plane or in the building.  Then the benches were lined up in rows depending on the year the person was born  (very sad to see small children that had been on the plane) and all the rows were angled towards the impact site on the building.  The planning/architecture that went into this was really amazing.

Being in DC makes you appreciate how much our country honors and memorializes historic events and  people.  It can be really overwhelming at times to take it all in and fully grasp what people have sacrificed for our country.  After many conversations with Cory about his experiences in Afghanistan, I have never felt so ridiculously fortunate to live in America yet so damn scared of what is going on around the world and what our military is facing every day.  Ignorance may be bliss when it comes to knowing what he went through.  I will thank God for everyday he is safe in the US and pray situations change before he is ordered to go back.  Enough about all that- I could go on for days but it’s insanely depressing to think about.  However one thing I realized after hearing stories, talking to his friends, and understanding his role—the Marine Corps has an outstanding marine in my brother.  His respect for his country, for fellow man, for traditions and rules is unwavering 100% of the time, not just when he is in uniform.  

Iwo Jima
"At Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue." - Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, US Navy
Iwo Jima Memorial in the Arlington Cemetery was beautiful at night.   This is a memorial for all Marines.

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world.  But the Marines don't  have that problem."  -Pres. Ronald Reagan 1985

We got to see where Cory works, where he did his officer training, and even where him and Alicia do crossfit….it’s called the BOX for all you crossfit junkies.  I entertained the idea of starting crossfit post- baby but after watching them complete a workout I have decided it might not be for me…it is hard core.  Maybe once I regain an inkling of abdominal strength I will gain more confidence but as of now, it just looked painful.  I think I may set my sites on the 2014 Disney Princess ½ Marathon instead…. I hear it’s a lot of fun and a great excuse to take the family to Disney since we will be missing the family Disney trip in a few weeks.

Alicia and Cory were the best hosts- driving us around through that crazy DC traffic (props to Cory since he hasn't driven in the US in quite some time), entertaining us non-stop, and they had their beautiful house prepped for company complete with snacks and drinks at the bedside! 

Thumbs Up with Nixon at the Wax Museum.  That was a pretty impressive place- cool to see all the presidents and how short/tall they actually were.

This is us at George Washington's boyhood home/farm in Fredericksburg.  Wonder where the cherry tree was...

Korean War Memorial
"The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of Marines. Lord, how they could fight." -Major General Frank E. Lowe, US Army
This one was awesome and Cory told us what each statue represented in the war-  what branch they were in and the role they played.  Our grandfather fought in this war.
This isn't one I took but I found this on the internet and I thought it looked amazing in the snow- you can just imagine being there.
Me and Mom at Jefferson Memorial

The cold family in front of the Capitol 

Dad with his Favorite President!
Looks like we got home right in time since a day later DC shut down due to a snow storm.

It was an amazing trip packed with so many laughs.  Like I said earlier I am so unbelievably grateful Cory made it back safely but please pray for the ones still over there and pray for our nation that we can figure out how to bring everyone home peacefully...and hopefully soon!

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