Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Zara Illiana Aintablian

Here are some more pictures of my best friend Xanthe's beautiful baby girl Zara. She is so adorable! I am so grateful to have been able to be there to see her and welcome her into this big bright beautiful world. :)

Zara likes to purse her lips. 
She loves being burped!

Zara french kisses David. ah ha ha!
She is so beautiful!


Time for a photo-shoot!

Most beautiful baby in the world. <3 

Zara posing with a little teddy bear. :) 

Holding Xanthe's hand

So precious. :) 

Awwww!!! I love her. :) Yay for new babies!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Xanthe and Zara

As aforementioned, it is now time to tell about "The Xanthe Fund".

A couple months before we were flying to DC/Virginia, (in fact, even before the trip was fully planned) I decided to start a little fund to raise money for Xanthe and her new little family. I knew how hard things were for them, living in the in-laws basement, and I wanted to do all that I could to help. Fortunately there is this wonderful website called "Facebook" which allowed me to message almost 100 people at once to ask for help/donations. The instant feedback was overwhelming. So many people wanted to help! Old friends from high school, Xanthe's immediate and extended family members, and even my family jumped on board. Many girls in the area with their own little babies stopped by to drop of loads and loads of out-grown baby clothes for me to pass on. Crafty girls knitted and sewed little hats and booties by hand for baby Zara. Everyone understood that the power of many small acts of kindness can make a huge difference. :)

The hardest part of the whole endeavor (besides feeling like I was being annoying every time I sent out messages/reminders about it) was keeping it a secret. All of Xanthe's siblings/family knew what I was up too, not to mention I talk on the phone with Xanthe about once a week. I am really bad at keeping secrets from Xanthe. ;) haha.

When we packed for Virginia we had planned on only taking one big suitcase, figuring that because we were only there for about 4 days we could pack light. However, the donations of baby clothes were so abundant that I filled my largest suitcase completely full. I had to sit on it to get it to zip up!

Steven and I were both so excited to see Xanthe and give her the presents. I had bought a little wooden treasure chest to put the monetary donations in, and had stacked a bunch of personal notes on top to hide the cash. :) 

She had no idea. ;) 

We were both glad that neither Xan nor David questioned why we had two huge suitcases when they picked us up on Tuesday. 

Wednesday was Xanthe's birthday. It was the first time I got to hold her new baby, Zara. 

Holding baby Zara for the first time

It's so weird that she's a mom now... 
 Soon it was time to open presents...(Or rather, we decided we couldn't wait any longer. haha.) Xanthe was super surprised when we wheeled out a large suitcase for her to open, and even more surprised with the amount of baby clothing it contained for Zara. :)


All of the wonderful donations!!!
Everyone especially loved that beautiful yellow dress! :) 

After she had looked through the baby clothes it was time to point out the little treasure chest that had been set aside. I was sooo excited! I love giving people gifts. :) :) :)
We had raised $350 dollars for Xanthe and her family. It was amazing to watch her reaction when she realized how much moolah was in there. She totally teared up. ;) Tee hee! David's reaction was awesome as well; he just laughed hysterically as he counted it out. :D haha! Yay!!! It was the best moment ever. I was so so so so happy that it worked out! I'm so grateful for the many friends and family who chipped in to make it happen. :) THANK YOU!!!

Yay friends!

After that we were just able to hang out, admire Zara and all of her cute new baby clothes, play with Lulu and watch the new series, "Sherlock". ;) Awesome!!

Steven and I both loved spending time with their beautiful dog Lulu as well. :)

David looks like a male-model for Moby-wraps. haha. :D 

Zara's little smile is so adorable!!

I loved hanging out with this cutie! I couldn't get enough!! :) :) :) 

Bestie best friends forever!!!

Steven took a turn holding Zara...

Later that evening Xanthe got to open her other birthday presents! Her mother-in-law got her these GORGEOUS jars from  Pier One! Ahhh! I'm so jealous. ;)

After all the festivities we went on a smoothie run with our husbands. :D Yay! It was just like fun old times hanging out together. I wish we lived close!!! I am so so so happy for this new adventure in my best friend's life, and the chance we had to be there right at the beginning! I'm sad that it will probably be a really long time before we can see each other in person again. Thank goodness for technology so we can communicate! 
The next blog post will just be about Zara so I can get up some more pictures of her. ;) 

Our trip was too short, but so good. I'm so happy we got to see Xanthe and David and Zara!!!

Thanks again to all who helped to make it such a special day. Love love love love love all around! :) 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

2 years down...Washington DC!!!

We got really lucky this year and were able to combine a visit with Xanthe and her new baby with a trip to the nations capitol to celebrate our two year marriage mark!

We flew to DC late Sunday night, spent Monday and half of Tuesday touring the city, got picked up by the Aintablians Tuesday afternoon and headed to Virginia where we spent Wednesday (Xanthe's birthday) and Thursday with our friends and their sweet new baby before we headed back to Utah.

We had made a master list of all the things we *most* wanted to see in DC. Of course, with just a day and a half we didn't have nearly enough time to do all that we would have liked, but we definitely got a lot in.

I'll try to make this post more concise and readable by picking my favorite photos from each event---read the captions to find out more!

Here is what it looks like on the outside!

First we went to the International Spy Museum! (Thanks Mom Lindsley for the tickets!) They don't allow any photography so we couldn't get pictures, but I found some online. ;)
Inside it's a self-guided tour that tells you about spies over time.
There were even spies in the Revolutionary war days!
You even get to pretend like you are a spy if you want. ;)
There is this awesome "spy-car" that has all kinds of tricky gadgets like
guns in the headlights, a revolving license plate, and a shield that pops up in front of the trunk.

The international spy museum warns against trusting beautiful women...

The last room at the museum talks about technological warfare, and how if a computer virus shut down all electricity, basically the world would collapse and the apocalypse would begin. It was terrifying to realize how dependent we are on technology.

After the spy museum, we headed for the American History Museum at the Smithsonian. It's awesome how everything is within walking distance in DC. Also, EVERYTHING IS FREE!! It is amazing. I told Steven I wouldn't mind living in DC, it's like the perfect blend of big-city-meets-family-friendly. I can't wait to take kids there!

We saw money and coins from the earliest coinage on...did anyone know that early Mormon settlers had their own money?

We found my mom's vacuum....

Abraham Lincoln's death mask

Stone from the Nauvoo temple is there

Kermit the frog. <3 

Judy Garland's ruby slippers from Wizard of Oz

The ACTUAL Star-Spangled Banner is in a protected room here.
Steven is a witness to how much I broke down and cried looking at it.
Such an amazing moment. I love America. Best part of the trip to DC. :)
Inauguration gowns from the first ladies of the United States. I really wish I'd taken more pictures in here.
Some of the dresses were EXQUISITE! Michelle Obama's was amazing. :) 

This is George Washington's suit. SO SO SO AMAZING.
This was my favorite museum by far. ;) It's the patriot in me. 

Irving Berlin's piano. OMG I wish I could have touched the keys that his hands played...

A piece of Germany for Steven. <3 

Beams from the two towers...
Of everything in the museum I think this hit hardest because we were actually alive when it happened.
It still seems so close...so real. We watched those towers fall just a little over ten years ago. 

After the American History Museum we walked around to see all the monuments that we could before it got dark! Good thing we're good walkers!!

Washington Monument. It's still closed for visitors on the inside since the earthquake...

The WWII memorial with Lincoln's temple in the background

Lincoln's memorial tomb. I've always wanted to see this in person. :) 


Korean war memorial

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. 

Us on our anniversary looking out over to the Jefferson Memorial which was too far to walk to before the sun went down. 

Jefferson's memorial in the distance

Another little memorial building we found, I'm not sure who it was for.
There was no one else there. 

Outside the white house!


Eating our anniversary dinner at Hard Rock Cafe in Washington DC! We got a free hot fudge sundae. :)

Tuesday we headed for the Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian. It was AWESOME! It is a self-guided museum, but it lets you walk through the evolution of the earth from the creation on. We went through dinosaurs to the ice age, through the ancient oceans to the first mammals and onto humans! After that you can walk through the modern mammals/oceans and insect rooms. There is also an indoor butterfly house! We didn't have time to go through that, maybe next time! SO AMAZING! This would be the best museum for kids!

Getting up close and personal with some Tyrannosaurus bones!

Steven and a wooley mammoth

Can you believe that prehistoric animals were this big??!? 

Steven accepts the offering of a neanderthal monkey-man. 

I love Apes and Primates of all kinds!! :) 

This was a special room just for the Chilian miners! So cool, since that happened just last year or so...
This picture is of the tube that rescued them. 

They have the National gem collection there too! This is a HUGE diamond!
We also saw the Hope diamond! WHAAAA!??? yeah. We saw it. Steven has the pictures
on his camera though. It's HUGE!!!

Last picture of our trip to DC...us waiting in line for the National Archives.
We saw the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and The Declaration of Independence.
SO COOL. We couldn't take any pictures in there, but it was amazing to see them with our own eyes.
We also bought a replica of the Declaration to hang on our wall. :) 

We enjoyed our short visit to DC so much! I would put it at the top of my recommend list for family vacations. It is awesome, beautiful, inspiring, educational and tons of fun. 

As Tuesday drew to a close we were excited for the next part of our trip, a visit with Xanthe and David! We collected our luggage from our hotel (the AMAZING Courtyard by Marriott in Arlington!) and called a Taxi. 

Off to Virginia!! :) :) :)