Christmas in America

IMG_4774We spent our Christmas in Maryland and our New Year’s Eve in Virginia. It was a blast to see family and do a little tourist-ing in the area. Here are a few pictures of our jaunt back to the states:IMG_4796Our very enthusiastic Joseph and a less-than-enthused Mary for a Christmas Eve Nativity. “Mary” got into it once she got to ride the Donkey.
IMG_4801Our first few days were in Maryland with Derek’s brother, his wife, and their very fun and busy five boys and sweet baby girl. Last Christmas was with a bunch of teenagers (my brother’s kids) and it was a totally different type of busy Christmas. Both are wonderful in different ways.
On Christmas Day we opened presents then drove down to Virginia with one of my brothers and his family to see my sister, her little family, and my parents.Mom and Dad collageDaugher loves her “Damma” so very much.
A few days after Christmas we went to Colonial Williamsburg.
IMG_4948IMG_4970And toured the original Virginia State Capitol building.IMG_4985We had a nice time at Williamsburg, but didn’t feel like it was as awesome as our expectations. My brother-in-law who has been often said that the day we were there was the busiest he’s ever seen it. Additionally we didn’t have much of an agenda and showed up later in the day. It was a nice day out and I’m a fan of Revolutionary Era history so it was still a win.
That weekend we watched my newest nephew’s baby blessing at church.
IMG_4995We really spent the majority of this week just hanging out. I had a really high temperature over Christmas and was wiped out for the week. It’s no one’s favorite way to spend a holiday. Thankfully I was the only one that was really ill and most importantly, I didn’t get this cute little dude sick!IMG_5365 Over the next week Derek, Daughter, and I made an effort to see a few things around us. We toured the Richmond State Capitol.
IMG_5066Thomas Jefferson designed the building after a Roman Temple in Nîmes, France. The two side buildings were added later. Because Richomond is such an old capitol there’s a lot more history here than most other states.
IMG_5068Derek and Daughter are standing in front of the new entrance to the capitol – a huge modern underground addition in front and below of the original building.
The capitol houses Houdon’s statue of George Washington. Since Houdon used Washington’s death mask and measurements it’s supposed to be one of the most accurate representations of the president.IMG_5073IMG_5111Another day we drove up to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home. IMG_5141I came here as an 11 year old, but I appreciated it a lot more this time. When touring the home there are guides in each room telling you just a little about what you’re seeing. In one of the rooms the guide asked a few questions about the Marquis de Lafayette and I knew all the answers. Score! The guide told me he had a job application for me. Haha. IMG_5125Washington sure had a gorgeous view of the Potomac from the back of his house. Also, we had zero complaints about the weather while we were in Virginia!
IMG_5130IMG_5132There was a camel because Washington had a camel come to his house for Christmas one year. And because, why not?
IMG_5151IMG_5155IMG_5138 After touring the house, gardens, grave site, and outer buildings, we popped into the visitor’s center because we know the first time through we missed “a bit.” We were wrong – we had missed a ton! In the visitor’s center there’s a small museum with artifacts (china, swords, etc.) from Mount Vernon as well as an Education Center with information about Washington’s early life, how he became the revolutionary general, his time as president, his romance with Martha, his dental care (no wooden teeth!), and his impact on America. It was really well done too (i.e. not boring!).
On New Year’s Eve we decided to stay closer to my sister’s house (Mount Vernon was a long drive with tons of traffic on the way home) so we went to Maymount, a large park with a petting zoo and nature center, a mansion you can tour, and gardens. We saw the nature center and walked around the mansion and gardens. It was fun, low key, inexpensive, and really lovely. IMG_5166Near Maymount is the Hollywood Cemetery, where Presidents James Monroe (grave pictured) and John Tyler are buried. Derek requested we stop and pay our respects. IMG_5175That evening we played games (we got Quixx for Christmas and have been hooked) and ate way too many sweets. Our still-a-tiny-bit-jet-lagged eyes (and my sister’s I-have-a-newborn-and-sleep-is-a-precious-commodity eyes) had a hard time making it to midnight, but we succeeded! Happy 2-0-1-5!
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