Summer Trip to Iowa 2017

We make an effort to get back to Iowa (John’s home) twice each year to visit his family. One of those visits is either Thanksgiving or Christmas, and the other generally falls sometime near the summer. This year we decided to head to Iowa for the 4th of July and John’s cousin’s wedding on July 8.

On July 1, we packed up our new car and headed West. I haven’t mentioned the new car on the blog, but we did buy a new car back in May. John and I have always been a one car family (sort of). You see, right before we got married, John’s Taurus died. We decided not to put money towards fixing or replacing it. I took the metro to work each day, and so we didn’t really need two cars. Plus, John’s uncle who lives in Taiwan had asked us to keep his van at our home and drive it around every few weeks. If we ever needed to be in two separate places at the same time, one of us could drive the van. John’s uncle returns from Taiwan this summer, and with a baby on the way, we decided it was time to get a second car. Since the new car is the main car John will drive, he got to pick it out. We wanted something fuel efficient since our commute to work each day is 40 miles one way. We ended up with a Honda Civic. The gas mileage really has been phenomenal. Our roundtrip gas cost to and from Iowa was less than $100 total (we drove over 1600 miles).

The trip was a nice break from normal life. His mom and sister threw me a baby shower with family and friends in Iowa. Our little boy will be very loved once he arrives, and his impending October arrival is becoming more and more real as we begin to accumulate baby items. Sometimes John and I walk into our (currently empty) nursery and look at the few baby clothes we have hanging in the closet. It’s crazy to think that those clothes will soon be worn in just a few months.

To celebrate Independence Day, we attended “Red, White, and Boom,” the annual Quad Cities fireworks show on the Mississippi, which was very impressive. The fireworks show actually took place on the eve of the 4th. On the actual 4th of July, we watched the Quad Cities 4th of July parade and had a cookout with the extended Longenecker family.

Jenny, Marty, and John waiting for the fireworks to begin.


The 4th of July also marks the anniversary of when John and I got engaged. It’s been two years since this next picture was taken on that very day right after we got engaged.

July 4, 2015

On Wednesday, we took a day trip to Chicago with John’s immediate family. I had never been to Chicago, so it was fun to cross another major U.S. city off the list of cities I’ve visited. We spent the majority of the day in the Museum of Science and Industry (John’s favorite). There we toured a real German U-boat and visited exhibits on space, weather, agriculture, and the human body. We were able to see what a baby looks like inside the womb at 25 weeks. Since I’m 25 weeks pregnant, it was really neat. It was amazing to see how a baby at 25 weeks looks like a real baby. Afterwards, we went to a park to see the Chicago skyline and then went and visited the iconic “Bean.”

Longenecker family onboard the U-505

Sleeping quarters inside the U-505

Project Apollo

In my natural habitat…jk 😉

The Chicago skyline

The “Bean”


Our reflection in the “Bean”

On Thursday and Friday, we had a nice time bowling, shopping, eating Whitey’s ice cream (twice in two days!), playing games,  reading, and relaxing. John found his old guitars at his parents house and starting playing them again. We ended up taking one of them home with us back to West Virginia.

On Saturday, we attended John’s cousin’s wedding. Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of the happy couple to post on my blog. The ceremony and reception were beautiful. This cousin is on John’s mom’s side of the family. It was nice to visit with the extended family for a happy occasion. Last year, we saw the extended Urmie family twice but both times it was for funerals.

We left bright and early Sunday morning and made the 13-hour drive back to West Virginia. It’s crazy to think the next time we go to Iowa we’ll have a baby with us.

Until next time, Iowa!

2015 Springtime Catch-up

I haven’t done the best job of updating this blog, and to be honest, I haven’t done the best job of taking pictures to put on the blog. Life has been very full recently, but in all really, really good ways.

About a month and a half ago, John and I went to the Air and Space Museum in DC. I have zero pictures from the excursion, but I really enjoyed perusing the exhibits. My Grandpa Morgan helped work on Apollo missions during his career as a mechanical engineer. As we walked around the museum, all I could do was think about him and his life. He passed about two years ago this month, and I miss him.

Later in April, my friends hosted a color dinner. I actually happen to have a picture of my sister’s plate. This is the second color dinner my friends have hosted. The premise is basically you pick a color and pretty much everything in the meal has that color in it. This time the color was red.


In the middle of May, there was a flyover of WWII planes to commemorate Victory Day. My coworkers and I went to the roof of our building and had an awesome view of the flyover. The pictures below were taken by my boss.

VE Day Flyover in DC 031

VE Day Flyover in DC 016

VE Day Washington DC 058

On that same day, Keri organized a group to go to the Nationals Game. The Nats had a great evening! The weather was perfect. Baseball is one of my favorite sports to watch in person.




Myrtle Beach and the 4th of July

This year I went down to Myrtle Beach for the 4th of July. My aunt and uncle live down there, and it’s a favorite place to visit. Hurricane Arthur decided to visit us on the 3rd. But the sky was clear and the weather beautiful on the 4th. It was the perfect beach day! In the morning, we watched the “parade” that goes through their neighborhood. I put “parade” in quotes because it may not be what you think of when you first hear that word. For this parade, people decorate their golf carts. After the parade, we went to the beach. The neighborhood association grilled hotdogs for everyone. My mom’s Uncle Frank and his family came for an hour (they were visiting South Carolina). That evening we watched fireworks from the beach.


Waiting for the parade to begin.
Waiting for the parade to begin.

My favorite golf cart in the parade.
My favorite golf cart in the parade.

The beautiful beach.
The beautiful beach.

My mom and I on a windy evening at the marsh.
My mom and I on a windy evening at the marsh.


Memorial Day Weekend 2014

Memorial Day Weekend went by so fast this year. I spent most of the weekend outside and enjoyed every moment. On Friday evening, the weather was so beautiful. I played tennis with a friend, and it was the perfect way to begin a great weekend.

On Saturday, a group of us headed up to Sandy Point, Maryland. Sandy Point sits along the Chesapeake Bay. The water was way warmer than I expected it to be, and the sun was out all day. It was a fun day.

Sandy Point Group Photo

On Sunday evening, my mom, KJ, and I headed to the Capitol for the Memorial Day Concert. I wanted to make sure I did something this weekend to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day, and this was the perfect activity. Sitting near us were two veterans. It was amazing to observe them and their reverence for this holiday – it was inspiring. My favorite part of the evening was when everyone at the concert sang God Bless America as part of the finale. I couldn’t help but feel in my soul that this truly is a sacred land.

At the concert
At the concert

Beautiful U.S. Capitol
Beautiful U.S. Capitol

On Monday afternoon, I went over to my parents’ house. We went walking on some trails nearby and then had a BBQ. The food was delicious and afterwards we roasted s’mores in the backyard. The BBQ was the perfect way to end a great weekend.

Backyard s'mores prep
Backyard s’mores prep

photo 4

#AwkwardPhoto courtesy of Blake
#AwkwardPhoto courtesy of Blake

Proud to be an American

This weekend was full of patriotic activities. I live just about 10 miles outside of DC and work on Capitol Hill, yet sometimes I don’t think I take full advantage of the opportunity to experience all the neat sites in our nation’s capitol.

On Saturday, I went with a group of girls from church to tour the Capitol. Even though I grew up in this area, I don’t recall ever touring the Capitol. Below are two pictures. The first is a picture of all of us who were on the tour. The second is me and my fellow Virginian Jessica with one of my favorite Virginians of history, Robert E. Lee.

RS Capitol Tour

Capitol with Jessica

On Friday, Hunter and I went to breakfast at Ted’s Bulletin in Eastern Market and then went and toured the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress is one of the most architecturally beautiful buildings I’ve been to in DC. The picture below gives you a glimpse of just how beautiful this building is.

Library of Congress

I am really grateful for the opportunity I had to spend time in DC this weekend and think about the amazing history that surrounded the creation of this country and the way that history affects my life today.