Friday, June 24, 2011

Mormon Tabernace Choir - In Virginia and DC!

We took the kids to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at Wolf Trap this past week.
They were astounding.
They sang beautifully and entertained the crowd with the dancing and jiving - a little different from your typical General Conference hymnal singing.
It was absolutely beautiful.
We had a great time picking out the 3 members of the choir that we know.
We were lucky enough to run into two of their spouses and catch up on our
old neighborhoods and wards.

We opted for the lawn tickets and enjoyed a picnic feast!
So many people from the office were there and we had a great and relaxing time.
The kids even enjoyed it.

I'm so impressed by this choir, orchestra and everyone who volunteers with them.
The fact that this is an entirely volunteer organization is so impressive to me.
I'm so grateful for so many people who will share their talents with others!
What a blessing.

They also participated in a flash mob in Williamsburg, VA - so much fun.

Odd Combination - Fantastic Night

I had the most fantastic night with my good friend Ellen and her daughter Janessa.
We got to sit with this lady (and 150 other people, but who's counting?) ....

Former First Lady Laura Bush. 
I absolutely adore her.
She is kind, sincere, unassuming, FUNNY, real, and a go-getter.
She is a great role model for women.
A sounding board, confident and counsellor to her husband.
She is one charming lady and I love her to pieces.

Afterwards we headed out and walked back to the Capitol.
It was a beautiful evening - one of the best in DC so far.
The fireflies were just starting to come out.
We headed to dinner over at 7th Hill for some real Italian pizza.
Ummmmm ....
How can you go wrong with Bacon on your pizza?
And everything fresh?
Not to mention the Nutella Calzone - go ahead and salivate because it was that delicious!

 Then off to home where the fireflies were in fine form and illuminating the trees.
It looked like someone had strung blinking Christmas lights through all the trees.
I have never seen anything like it.
It made me feel not so bad about not seeing the Northern Lights.
I guess God made Southern Lights to - just in different form.
We live in a beautiful land, full of God's beautiful creations.
And amongst some of the most beautiful people.
I am grateful to love and know the people in my life.
Just a day of gratitude and graciousness really.
Thank you for today!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Field Guide Needed

I am continually amazed at the beauty out here.
I think it makes up for the heat and humidity.
It is absolutely stunning to drive roads within the city and not know you are in the city
Everything is green and beautiful.
Wild flowers grow everywhere with more trees than you can count.
And all different kinds of trees - I have no idea what is what!
One of my favorites though are the Magnolia trees (above).
I had no idea how large those flowers really are.
Pictures don't do them justice.
But they are about the size of dinner plates.
Oh, and the smell - divine!

Boys Entertainment

We visited Old Town Alexandria with Grandma and Grandpa.
The boys were not excited.
The complained when the park we took them to didn't have a playground.
They neglected to see the water and rocks and sticks while they complained.
The next thing we knew they were complaining when it was time to leave!

The adults pulled up a park bench looking over the Potomac River.
The boys were instantly drawn to the water.
They found mounds of driftwood and rocks to throw in and entertained themselves for over an hour.
They were in boy heaven.
Watching the geese land and throwing objects in the water.

Eventually we had to leave to get ice cream.
And our day ended in a giant thunder and lightning storm that we are starting to get
used to here in Virginia.
Virginia knows how to put on a good storm.
We love it!

Our "Not so Photogenic Girl"

Our little girl does not like to hold still for the camera.
She is difficult to pose.
She has her own ideas of how to pose.
They don't always work out so great.
So Grandpa joined in to help out,
It seems to have helped.

But now that he is not around, I'm not sure how we are going to fare.
Perhaps another trip is in order?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Lake Anna

In central Virginia I felt at home.
(Besides the heat and humidity of course.)
But along the small country roads were sights like this ...

 and this ...
surrounded by fields with tractors in them.
I was thrilled.
 Then we saw this ...
I had to get a picture, even if my Dad never checks my blog.
But it was a little bit of home for me.

 And the lake ... it was beautiful.
The kids loved the water, it was warm ... I've never swam in a lake that was warm.
It was pleasant!

The boys would have stayed on this raft for a week.
On and off, on and off, repeat.
It was the most relaxing time we have had in months.
Maybe the last two years.
And we loved every minute of it.

Montpelier - James Madison

Another amazing estate.
This time Montpelier - the home of James and Dolly Madison.
Another amazing man - with an equally amazing wife.
It is so impressive to be able to visit these places where the founding fathers lived and worked.
After visiting Montpelier I really want to learn more about Dolly Madison.
She was one impressive woman.
When Madison ran for president his opponent was quoted as saying,
"If I only had to win against James Madison I would be President.
But I had to beat Dolly Madison, and that is impossible."

 This statue is supposed to be true to size of the Madison's.
Both quite small - but especially true for James Madison.

 We were allowed to go on top of the house, it was beautiful.

Monticello - Thomas Jefferson's Home

One of the most beautiful places in Virginia.
Thomas Jefferson.
One of the most brilliant men in history.
Together they are amazing.
The day we went to Monticello was blazing hot and humid.
95' and about 75% humidity.
It was hot, sticky and muggy.
But still beautiful.

 Gardens at Monticello.
 View of the valley from one side of the home.
 This is the back yard and it was fabulous.
Flowers everywhere.
Beautiful huge trees.
Birds are everywhere!

Thanks for going with us Grandma and Grandpa!
It's always fun to discover and explore something new.
Come back soon!

Wolf Trap and "The President's Own"

There is a great National Park here.
It's called Wolf Trap.
And it's a performing arts park.
We spent an evening at a Memorial Day concert and fireworks.
And it was FABULOUS!!
My mom would be jealous.
She probably has more patriotic music than anyone I know.

The performers were the "President's Own Marine Band"
We loved the music - even the boys.
Grandma and Grandpa were there with us.
Grandma even made a new friend and now knows everything there is to know about quilting!
I think she has a sign on her that says -
"Please tell me your life story, especially all the trials."

 The kids especially loved the xylophone.
They are considering playing that - but the drums are still high on their list!

 The fireworks were great and it was an absolutely gorgeous night.
So glad we did this - it may be our new Memorial Day tradition!
We get to go back to Wolf Trap next week with a bunch of our friends.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is coming and we are so excited!!

Mount Vernon - with Grandma and Grandpa

This was our best trip to Mount Vernon so far.
There were a lot more "staff" dressed up and wandering the grounds.
They were playing all sorts of time period games on the grounds and the boys were able to join in.
We enjoyed a little picnic overlooking the Potomac.
Measured a few of the huge trees there.

 A rare quiet and still moment for Gage.
I'm going to blow this up and look at it every day to remind myself -
He can be so cute and quiet and still - for small moments.

We had an overall fabulous time.
We love Mt. Vernon.