What an honor

Yesterday, I had the privilege to attend Justice Scalia's public viewing at the Supreme Court.

What?? Yea.

I am still in awe.
I am still processing.
Did that really happen?

Let me back up for a sec.

If you know me... you know that I am not at ALL in the know with anything related to government, politics and the like. I am one of those people that would get quizzed randomly by Jimmy Fallon's people about how a bill becomes a law and all that and... fail. Then the video would go viral with questions like, "what is wrong with the young people of this country?"


So, just know that.

I heard the news of the Justice's death by way of a text from Martha:

Sad? Embarrassing? Perhaps. But, this is me. (And thank God I'm not alone! Heeeeey Steph!)

Anyway. You can imagine that I didn't know much about the late Justice. I have learned things here and there throughout this week, of course. Overwhelmingly, I heard what a wonderful, faithful man he was, and how much he touched the people in his life.

Beautiful, right?

Ok... fast forward to Friday. I was texting with a friend about getting together. She was saying that she was going to the Supreme Court and may be available after.

Supreme Court? Um, what are you doing there? Should I know what's happening?

Justice Scalia's public viewing, of course. I should go, she says! It's only a 0.5 mile walk from Union Station (where I park/get the employee shuttle for work)!

Um. Sure. Why not?! History and all of that.

So, I went. I walked from Union Station to the Supreme Court, ya know... like all the people in the city do. Walk to places. To me, if felt very adult and adventurous.

Man, I gotta get out more.

I digress.

I walked up to the building and there are a TON of people. TONS. All for this one, great man. Beautiful.

I met up with my friend and we had to walk blocks and blocks and blocks to get to the end of the line. And then... we waited. After an hour of the line kind of moving but mostly not moving, my friend texted her friend that works for one of the justices... and was at work. At that moment.

10 minutes later we go through the employee entrance and are going through security.


We go up the elevator to the floor WHERE ALL THE CHAMBERS ARE! Receive a mini tour. See the fireplace (apparently it's a big deal. Obviously). Everything was so grand! It was surreal.

Before we know it, we were on our way to the Great Hall.

Everything was moving so fast. I couldn't catch up to the moment. I was still so happy I wasn't in the cold anymore! I had no idea what to expect for the evening. I have never stepped foot near the Supreme Court building and here I was standing INSIDE, just having visited some chambers. I didn't know I would "enjoy" (not the best word to use under the circumstances, but go with me) all of it until I was IN it. It was just all too much.

I kept looking at my friend with this "is this real life? what is happening?" look. Because, really. Was this real life? And, was this actually happening?

Yes. And, yes.

I was very quickly brought back to the moment, when a young guy saw someone he knew in our little group- he began to cry. And my heart broke.

Not only did our country lose a great man, but all of these people inside this building had lost a coworker, a mentor, a friend, and from what I hear, an encourager, supporter, etc. His family lost a husband, father, and grandfather.

We rounded the corner to the Great Room. And I was so overcome with awe. The room is indeed great. Bright. Quiet. There, Justice Scalia's casket, draped with an American flag, lie in the middle.

We moved in front of the casket for a few moments. I prayed for him. And ask him to pray for us. We need his prayers so very much.

Just as I was about to walk out the doors, I can feel like the ladies are not with me. I turn back, and the changing of the guards was happening. Amazing.

And then we were on the steps of the Supreme Court. Staring at one another. Overwhelmed.

I am just so humbled and honored to have been able to be part of this in some small way. I am grateful to learn about a man who has represented our country and our faith so well. I am blown away by the outpouring of love (for the most part) for this man- for this husband and father and grandfather. I hope to continue to learn more.

May you rest in peace, Justice Scalia.
And please, please pray for us and our beloved country!

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Birthday Shenanigans!

So, my birthday has come and gone.

Which means that the month of January has come and gone. Obviously. You know that already.

But, it flew by! FLEW. I feel like there are moments when time just goes by so quickly. I can't keep up. I'd rather be enjoying all of this than just waiting for it it go by. Ya know?!

Anyway... I just thought I'd chat about my birthday. I feel like I've been real serious around here lately AND depriving you all of pictures. Honestly, it's not as fun to share pics when I don't have adorable children to show off. ;)

I really wanted to just go away for the weekend, but not really go out of town. Fortunately, there are many places in the DC Metro area that you can make this happen. I decided on National Harbor. I have loved this area since it started many, many years ago. I have seen it grow from just a few hotels and the Peeps Store, to shops! restaurants! a ferris wheel! outlets! all the things!

One of the main hotels is the Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center. My aunt does events there frequently and has some amazing connections. So... wait, I am getting ahead of myself! Hold on. :)

Last Friday, my office mate surprised me by decorating my door and desk AND with a yummy cake. :) I celebrated with my coworkers and it was very sweet. My mom even surprised me with FLOWERS!! So much love, you guys.

There were many, many times during the month that I legitimately forgot my birthday was coming. There has been so much going on at work, and life is happening, as well. It's funny that I got to the point in my life that I forgot. I love birthdays. And I love MY birthday.

I guess it's all part of getting older. Living life. Being busy. Weird. :)

I am just going to get to the pics and share the rest of my weekend through them!
Waiting to check-in... view of the atrium. If you even get a chance to visit a Gaylord hotel, do it. They are so fun!
 Like I mentioned before, my Aunt Marie has some connections at the Gaylord. And boy, did those connections blow me away!
A CAKE! Made by the pastry chef. 



A beautiful view. Seriously. It was amazing.

Allll the heart-eye emojis!!!

To say that I was overwhelmed was an understatement. I was just walking around the room... the bedroom, the living area, the bathroom... looking out the window. I couldn't believe I was about to be hanging out HERE for the weekend. That my Aunt went all out. For me. Because it was my birthday. In that moment, I was just so overcome with love. I am so incredibly blessed with this amazing family that I have. We are not perfect, but we sure do love one another.

Beeeeautiful view at dinner!

Family dinner! Missing a few people, but it was still wonderful.

We went back up to the room and enjoyed some cake. And took some selfies, of course.
Aunt Marie and Uncle Duane.
 And THEN! I picked up this girl. :) PARTY TIME!

Listen, we may or may not have had quite a bit of wine.
And then walked around.
And were very silly.

Steph was very very excited about the snow!
We went to bed way too late. And then just hung out allllll day on Sunday (my actual birthday). It was really nice, actually. I kept thinking, maybe we should have done something.. but sometimes, it's ok to be still. Be lazy. Watch movies. Order room service. :)

We did manage to make it to Mass at the basilica! Looooove that place.

Stepped out of the door and saw this.
Stunning, right?
Basilica at dusk!
 We made it back to the Harbor for dinner... and MC joined us! :) It was wonderful and delicious.

Steph has been wanting to go to the Zoo for quite some time... and FINALLY we made it.

And got to see BEI BEI!!!! He is sooo cute. I can't even handle it.

Thanks for the pose!

A little rain ain't gonna stop us! Especially with those awesome ponchos!

Martha sent this in a text: "I made this for Auntie JENS birthday!"

And my heart burst.

Overall... it was a wonderful birthday! Thank you all for the wonderful messages, words of love and prayers. This year has already started off beautifully!

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