Thursday, June 1, 2017


I feel like we have been waiting for this month for a VERY LONG TIME. This month Rob graduated from law school! (HIP HIP HOORAY!) We have had so much fun partying with family and friends, and enjoying the beautiful spring weather. 

Warning: we were busy bees in May, so this is a lengthy post!

We started off the month by meeting up with my friend, Chelsea. Her and her husband were visiting from Utah and we met up for lunch in Old Town Alexandria. Once James got over the fact that there was more than one Chelsea in existence, he had so much fun! We loved going to Hard Times Cafe and trying all of the different chili recipes. We walked around Old Town and showed them all of our favorite spots. It was a fun day! 

We also got to go on a fire station tour with our church playgroup. James was in HEAVEN. He even got to spray the hose, which may have been the highlight of his entire life. We loved learning about all of the different parts of the fire truck and what the fireman do when they get a call.

Here is a video of James and the fire hose:

One night Charlotte kept running between Rob and me and insisting we read this book. We probably read the book ten times in a row. Each time she would cuddle up, listen, and on the last page she would jump down and run to the other parent to begin the process again. No offense to the author, but it isn't the most thrilling children's book I've ever read. But for some reason, Char loved it, and for that, I love this memory.

Also, can we talk about the cicadas this year?! What in the WORLD? I've lived here for 3 years and have never seen this happen. Apparently these nasty little bugs live underground for up to 17 years! Eventually they come up, SHED THEIR SKIN, and then turn into a different flying bug that sits in the trees and sings. They are gigantic and gross and I have now officially had two of them on me this spring. For real people, run for your lives. Our whole front step was covered in them! So, so gross.

May also brought our last day of soccer. James has really enjoyed soccer this year, or at least he has enjoyed telling everyone he meets how good he is at soccer. He has improved so much, and I can't wait for him to try it again next year.

We loved celebrating Cohen's third birthday. James makes sure he tells everyone he meets that Cohen is his best friend.  First it's, "I am really good at soccer," followed by, "Cohen is my best friend." These little buddies loved taking on Chuck E. Cheese with Char toddling after them.

Happy Birthday, Cohen!

Once Rob was done with finals (YAY!) we decided to explore Virginia a little bit in case we don't end up here long term. First on our list was Historic Williamsburg. We had never been before! It is about a two hour drive south of us. The town is a "living museum," which means everything has been restored to historical accuracy. There are village people who run the shops just as they would have done back in the day. It was so fun to walk around and see all of the different shops and buildings.

We especially loved the bakery and learning about how they bake cookies 
(which were incredibly delicious by the way) in this old oven.

Rob and James had tea time:

And then the kids played in this bucket for about 30 minutes while a crowd of adults talked about how cute they were. Apparently they don't see kids making a mess in water very often.

The whole place was so beautiful and fun! I totally recommend visiting, I just wouldn't do it in the summer. It gets sooooo hot there, especially with all of the little fires they use for cooking, forging, etc.

This month Charlotte learned how to say "Cheese." Which may be the cutest thing that's ever happened to the world. She always grabs my phone, swipes left for the camera (seriously, I don't even think my dad can do that yet) and says, "CHEESE!" Selfie queen in the making people.

We also had a goodbye party in anticipation of moving after graduation and we got to see SO many of our friends! Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of everyone! So sad! We do however have a picture with Sister Larsen. James has basically grown up with her since he started nursery in church out here. He loves her so much and calls her "my friend, Sister Larsen." We love all of our friends out here and are so sad to say goodbye!

Charlotte and Sephora even came to the party accidentally twinning!

Toward the middle of the month we started to have family trickle in from out of town in order to be here for Rob's graduation. It was so fun spending time with everyone and taking them to see all of the DC sites. It was great for us to see them one last time as well. To start, Rob's mom and Auntie Carol came into town.

We visited the Masonic Temple in Alexandria:

Walked around the Tidal Basin and visited every monument there! 
Here is a picture of Rob and the kids at the Thomas Jefferson monument:

and the FDR Memorial:

Next, Uncle Sebbie arrived. Charlotte thought he was 
the perfect person to read story after story to her.
Sebbie secretly loved it.

Next, Grammy and Papa came into town. We visited Mount Vernon with them and Nana and Carol.
I can't believe we haven't ever been to Mount Vernon! (Well, actually I can because that place isn't cheap and being students = no money). But it really is SO cool. Everyone should go and check it out.

James wasn't quite sure what to think of this man and his flute.

He asked Grammy to tell him "the stories in the windows." Poor Grammy. We forgot to remind her to brush up on her American History before she came.

Grammy, James and Papa outside Mount Vernon.
(Daddy stayed at home with Char because she had a fever).

We also found this friend who very nearly slithered across our feet. 
Who knew Virginia had gigantic water snakes?!
Ok, probably everyone. Everyone but me.

At the dock at Mount Vernon Papa decided we should take a boat tour. It was really neat to see Alexandria from this view. Again- something we haven't ever done before.

Discovering new friends at Mount Vernon:

We came home that night to a huge thunderstorm. Thunderstorms are one of my favorite parts of the summer here and I am so glad we got to see one before we go! Also, Sebbie and I probably took about a billion pictures before I got this masterpiece. Trying to take a picture of lightning with an iphone is a lot harder than one would think.

Lastly, Ruth and Colin came into town. Everyone was officially here for Rob's big day!
The night before graduation we attended a gala at the National Portrait Museum. I haven't dressed up since our wedding (6 years ago) so it was really fun to get to wear a nice dress. All of the girls went and got our nails done earlier in the day, and my mom helped me with my hair.

The Portrait Museum was absolutely stunning inside! The gala was held in the middle of the building in this huge courtyard, which seems as if it is outside because it has this really high glass ceiling. Lights were twinkling from the ceiling, the band was playing, and food was everywhere. It was a really nice event and a fun way to celebrate. In true Starling fashion, everyone was out on the dance floor while Mom and Dad, and I watched and took pictures.

I haven't been out that late in many years, and probably won't be again any time soon. I'm all about going to bed early!

On Sunday, Rob had his graduation at the main Georgetown campus. It was crazy to think back on how fast the last three years had gone. Somehow it feels like we were just moving here with baby James (who wasn't even a year old yet) and we were starting off in a new city. Now, three years and another baby later we are finishing what we started. Three quick, long, terrible, and beautiful years later. I'm so proud of Rob. Going to school, working, and having a family life all at the same time. He not only accomplished it, he excelled at it. He deserved this day to celebrate him!

I wasn't brave enough to spend the day tackling my children during a graduation ceremony, so we left them at home. We are SO SO grateful for our kind neighbor who watched them two days in a row! Seriously, she's an angel! THANK YOU BETH!

We did however pick them up for a celebratory dinner. Which, as it turned out, was the worst celebratory dinner in existence. Our waiter refused to take a picture of our group (thus Mom is missing from the picture), forgot he was our waiter, and 2.5 hours later we still didn't have any dinner. So much eye rolling. But, all is well and I am sure one day it will make for a good story.

I felt so bad that the kids didn't get to participate in many of the celebrations, so after graduation we took them to Flight Trampoline park. They loved it! A giant room full of trampolines and a foam pit- what's not to love? If you live nearby you should check it out. $10 per kid and they have a special "little kid" time of the day so you know your kids won't get trampled to death.

Does anyone else end up with all of their kids in their bed every morning? Or is it just me? Either way, I love it. The morning James left for Utah I caught him snuggling Charlotte. I asked him if he was going to miss her and he said, "Yes, I love her!" 
So so sweet.

It was SO sad to have James leave, but he was really excited for his big adventure to "summer camp" at Grammy and Papa's house. They are so nice to take him while we get packed up and squared away here in Virginia. James has NEVER been a fan of packing anything. Even overnight suitcases send him into a fit so its nice he doesn't have to be here for all of the chaos.

We got invited to Rob's work summer party in Annapolis. The house was right on the water, across from the Naval Academy. It was such a beautiful view, and a perfect spot for watching the Blue Angels!

We were nervous Charlotte wouldn't like the loud sound of the jets, but she loved watching them and even tried to imitate the sounds they were making. We were so sad James couldn't be there. He loves parties and he loves planes, so we know he would have had a great time!

We had another goodbye party with Fred and Sarah. We are going to miss doing our family dinner and game nights! We ordered a giant pizza from our new favorite place, Valentino's. (Check it out if you are in the area!) and danced the night away to Michael Jackson songs on the wii.

We spent memorial day with friends and had a BBQ. Rob thought it was a good idea to give Char an entire hot dog. She took one tiny bite and threw it on the ground!

The last week and a half has been total limbo land for us. We had expected to leave for Utah last Friday, but a few delays have put us in Virginia longer than we expected. We have been living in a house full of boxes with all of our furniture wrapped up and ready to go. Rob has been trying to study for the bar exam so I have been taking Charlotte out everyday so she doesn't distract him. We've visited Target LOTS of times, read books at Barns and Noble, and checked out the pool. I am enjoying my one on one time with her, but she is ready to have her brother back! She wanders around all day yelling when she is normally so happy. I can tell she misses him, and we do too!

James has been having lots of fun in Utah. He has learned to ride a bike, got to play with Sophie (Grammy and Papa's dog), and play with his cousins!

Here is a video of James riding his bike:

Everyone has been asking us, "What's next?" and I really wish we knew the answer to that question. 
So many things are up in the air right now with where we will live and where Rob will work. (Clearly the two go together). BUT, we will keep you posted on all of our adventures wherever they may be.
Here's to new adventures!