Sunday, July 31, 2011

Maryland Crab and other activities

 We have been so busy with lots of activities.  We've gone shopping because Brother needed new cleats and then new regular shoes and church shoes.  We also needed groceries.  We've played games.  I taught  everyone how to play Loup Garrou, Phase 10 and Skip Bo.  The kids surprised me by how quickly they caught on.  We have watched 4 movies; Rango, a cartoon for kids which I only half watched  because I was reading a book and Red Riding Hood, which everyone except me liked.  I don't like scary movies and although this one wasn't too scary I still had a nightmare that night.  And, I only half watched it too.  Still reading my book The Crowning Glory of Calla Lilly Ponder by Rebecca Wells.   Then we went to the movies and saw Cowboys and Aliens, which everyone liked and I thought was just OK.  Finally, we saw The Princess and the Frog which I thought was really cute and really liked the music, but I did fall asleep during some of it.  I haven't been a very good movie watcher lately and I usually love to watch movies.
We've been to get frozen yogurt and ice cream.  We've cooked yummy dinners together.  Last night we had Bee Bim Bop, a Korean dish.  First G read the cute book to us and then we got the recipe, shopped for ingredients and then cooked and ate the meal.  Yesterday John and I made our signature Beef Strogonoff which I put finishing touches on today and everyone enjoyed eating it tonight.
I got to help H finish off her requirements for her Faith in God award.

 Friday for lunch we went and ate Maryland Blue Crab.  I think it's just delicious.  We had this huge plate full of crab and we had enough left over that I got to have some for lunch on Saturday.
Today at church John and I spoke to the young men and young women about our missionary experiences.  I think they enjoyed it because some of them came and told me afterwards and I could see lots of smiles on their faces while we were giving the talks.  The Bishop and Stake President both came and told us that the things we said were just the things that the youth of the ward needed to hear.  I don't usually like to give talks and I always stress, but it's fun to talk about our mission.  We have so many wonderful, fond memories of our mission, the young adults that we worked with, the young missionaries that we worked with, the people we came to love, the gospel that we loved teaching.  Really we loved everything about our mission.
Tonight Lana invited quite a few families over for ice cream sundaes and spending time together after dinner.  I think there were about 6 families who came over.  The kids ran around, played outside and inside, laughed, ate, wrestled, chased each other and just had a great time.  The adults also enjoyed talking and we really enjoyed meeting Lana and Rob's friends.
Our time here is passing too quickly. We are enjoying being with Lana and Rob and their sweet children.  We are loving the area and the people have been so welcoming and nice.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Smithsonian and The Monuments

 We had a very fun, but very tiring day today.  Here we are on the Metro going to the Mall.

 The Mall is this HUGE place.  It is a grassy, large rectangular area with all kinds of buildings on the sides such as all of the Smithsonians, Congress, the White House a few streets down, Monuments, the Washington Memorial kind of in the middle etc.etc.
 This is the Washington Memorial from a distance.  It is gigantic although it looks kinda small in the picture.
 John on the path to the Smithsonian American History.  That is the one we visited and we didn't even see all of it.  I think it would take several days to see each of them.
 In front of the building this guy was playing Jazz music.  He was really good.  Ethan gave him a good tip and then he talked to us and asked the kids where Big Bird, Ernie, Bert, Drac and other characters lived.  Then he said they lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.  Ha Ha.  He played Sesame Street music for us.

This is a statue of George Washington.  I've never seen one of him like this before.
 We brought our lunch and ate at a little table situated very conveniently by the cafe which is very expensive.  $5.00 for a Hot Dog.  We were glad we brought our own.

We saw all of the inaugural gowns of the First Ladies beginning with Martha Washington and ending with Michelle Obama.  I was so surprised to see how tiny most of the first few First Ladies were.  They were so, so little.  They also had tiny, tiny feet.  Mary Lincoln was especially teensy.  Why I don't think she was bigger than a child.  The gowns were so beautiful and it was really interesting to read all the information and fun to see all of the accessories too.

We saw Julia Child's kitchen.  We had to look at it through glass and so the photo is quite bad.
There was an interactive area for kids which they all enjoyed so much.  There just wasn't enough time to see and do everything we wanted to.
This is part of the World War II Memorial.  It was very large also.

There were quotes all around which were great.

Beyond this Memorial is the Abraham Lincoln Memorial.  I really wanted to go, but I just couldn't walk anymore and so G and I sat on a bench in the shade to wait for the rest of the group to go and see it.
We enjoyed our little visit together.  G is such a sweetie and such a little chatterbox, just like JoJo.

We sat by Michelle who was waiting with her little boy for the rest of her group to go see the Lincoln Memorial  too.  Michelle and I had a very nice visit.  She is very pleasant.  She lives in Maryland and her little son Timothy who is 7 years old is struggling with reading.  She asked for my advice and I was able to give her some pointers on how she can help him.  We talked about lots of things and it sure helped the time to pass by quickly.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Washington D. C. Temple

 Today we got to go to the Washington D. C. Temple.  It was a wonderful day.  The temple is truly beautiful inside and out.  It is huge and so white and lovely.  Inside there are beautiful paintings depicting Christ's life.  It is so peaceful there.  The drive there is about 2 hours long and there is a lot of traffic, but we even enjoyed the ride.  First of all the surrounding area is so beautiful and then the company was great.

 Standing in front and looking out.  The fountain is being remodeled so of course it wasn't on.

 This is the view from the Visitor's Center.

We sat in front of the Christus and listened to the message of Jesus Christ to the world in Russian.  It was very, very touching.  Somehow when you listen to His beautiful words in your own native tongue, it has a great impact.  He is really the Savior of all the world.  I love Him with all my heart and want to serve Him always.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Clark's Landing and misc.

This first photo is of the kids riding in the car to and from shopping.  Everything here is quite a distance away and so one must do lots of driving.  It's wonderful how you can now watch a movie or music video to help pass the time.  Sure wish we had those when our kids were little.  
I just love the countryside here.  It is just so beautiful.  Green forest and vegetation everywhere.  Lots of houses are nestles into wooded areas.  

We have been having a wonderful time here at Lana and Rob's.  Saturday morning Lana went to a funeral for their really good friend.  Rob and Papa went to Lockheed and got to see the F-35 take off with the F-16 following after it.  They also saw laser guided missiles and bombs. They saw the hangars where the planes and bombs are stored.  Rob gave Papa the tour and they had a wonderful time together.  

In the evening we went to the Martines's house (good friends of Lana and Rob).  They had us and another family over for a 24th of July celebration.  We ate BBQ hamburgers and hot dogs and all the trimmings,  salads, chips, and a wonderful blueberry cobbler for dessert.  We sang a hymn, Mike, the Dad,  then read out of his pioneer ancestors journal and we ended the evening with the kids and some of the men doing the stick pull.  I was a lot of fun and we laughed a lot when the kids were trying to pull eadh other over.  The kids all ran around and had a ball.  The adults visited and enjoyed each other's company.  

Sunday we went to church and in the evening we had the Martines' and Matt, whose wife is visiting her family in Seattle with their kids, over to dinner.  We had a very pleasant evening.  

Monday we had to go cleat shopping for E.  He was supposed to start soccer that evening.  However, due to a storm that came in, practice was cancelled.  After shopping we all went to TCBY and had a yogurt.  Then we stopped by and H and G got to have 2 of their friends come over.  We had a quick lunch and went swimming.  That was cut short by the storm too, but we had spent quite a bit of time at the pool already.  Colleen picked up the girls after a while and we had a family dinner.  Then we had a nice FHE where the lesson was on fasting.  I am always impressed at the good job Lana does giving the lessons.  For activity we watched Star Trek which Papa and Lana really like.  They always watched the original Star Trek when Lana was a young woman.  They both love it.  This latest one was quite good and I enjoyed it too although I am not a Trekky. 

Today after breakfast was cleaning hour which actually lasted a couple of hours.  Everyone had jobs to do. I picked cleaning the kitchen and the laundry. Papa did all the vacuuming.  Little G did lots of mirrors and windows.  The others got to clean stairs, window sills, rooms, dusting, bathrooms, garbage etc.  It was good.  We worked really hard and it's amazing how quickly work gets done when many hands help.  After cleaning L got the little kids McD's for lunch.  We 3 adults went to Clark's landing for lunch.
This is the view outside our window.  We were going to eat out there, but it was just too hot.

We started with an appetizer of scallops wrapped in bacon with a delicious sauce.
Then came the delicious crab soup.
Lana and I shared fish tacos.
Papa had a hamburger.
All of the food was especially delicious, but there was so much that we had to bring some home.  That was nice because for dinner we just kind of had leftovers and "whatever" from the cupboards and fridge.  We weren't too hungry and it was easy to fix something for the kids.  Lana is a fabulous cook and makes delicious food all the time.  So far she has had a different breakfast for us every morning. She often tries out new recipes and  of course she has lots of good ole standbys.
After we ate, we took Papa home to spend some one on one time with E.  We girls went to get pedicures.  Little G got to have her nails painted for the first time.
She was very excited.
H, the pro, just kicked back, relaxed with a magazine and enjoyed the pampering.

Here is the end result.  I even got my "surgery toe" fixed up and painted.  I kept having to tell the girl not to do anything to that toe since it is still so sensitive, but she said, "Okay I remember," but then go right on and do something else.  It's a little sore now, but at least it looks a lot better.

On an unhappy note, Andrea and baby Reggie were supposed to come and be here, but their car broke down and also Ang and Reg are both sick.  In fact now besides having a cold, Andrea also has the flu.  We are all sad because we really wanted to see them.  We haven't seen them since they left for North Carolina.  We had lots of plans for activities and now they're not here.  I'm still hoping they recover enough to come for a little bit.  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Solomon's Island

 Last night we went to Solomon's Island for a little tour and then we went out to dinner with Rob and Lana.  The area is just beautiful as I am finding all of the area here is.  I just love the scenery and all of the homes, even the old ones.  They are lovely.

 This is not where we ate.  We actually went in and had a soda and looked at the menu, but we didn't find what we wanted so we left.

We actually went to a second place that was waaaaaay too expensive and besides that, it was to hot in there.  When we were leaving the girl in front said that she didn't blame us at all, "because something wasn't working right and it was just too blasted hot in there."  The third place was finally a charm and we had a delicious dinner.  I ate crab stuffed flounder which was so good.  

In the morning we went to an Amish outdoor market.  It was fun and the food and baked goods all looked great.  It was, however, very expensive.  We did buy a few things; watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes, corn and a pumpkin bread.  

In the afternoon there was swimming, a game of phase 10, and just enjoying each other's company.  

Before the dinner, R and L needed to go to a viewing of a good friend who died suddenly while bicycling.  He was not old, in great physical condition, and a great guy.  All of his family and friends are very sad.  Papa and I waited in the car and listened to Elder Bednar's talk which was just excellent.

We are having a great time.  I am missing little Tal.  I guess I've become very attached to her.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mt. Vernon

 Our main reason for taking this trip is to see Lana and her family.  I was so excited to come that I completely forgot about all of the wonderful history in this area of the country.  I remember that since I was a young teen-ager I have wanted to visit Mt. Vernon. Well, today was the day I got to go.  I was not disappointed at all.  It was a wonderful visit and a wonderful day.
Mt Vernon is right now being refurbished and so the picture above is from the Internet. However, we could still see some of the front of the mansion looking at it from the side.  The countryside is just beautiful.  It is so green and full of forests and other vegetation.  Behind the house is the great Potomac River.  Mt. Vernon was the home of our first President of the United States, George Washington.  I loved touring the house, the outer buildings, the gardens, the farm, going down to the river and being on the river.  I loved hearing the history.  It was a wonderful tour.
 The Potomac from the side of the house.  It was much, much larger than I expected or imagined.

 Some of the outer buildings.
 The view from the back of the house.
 We were not allowed to take photos inside the house except for the kitchen area.  This is the kitchen.
 This was the cold storage room.  You can see the game hanging.  Underground is where they kept the meat and other perishables.
 This is another little cooking room.
 Looking towards the house.
 It was so interesting to hear about George Washington and his life.  He married Martha who was a widow with a son and a daughter.  They never had children of their own.  He was such a great man.  He had the vision of having a free country and he led his men with courage to achieve that great goal.  He was a great leader and admired by many.

 The path leading to the Potomac.
 H in front of a ship that goes to Washington D.C.
 Miss Christin the little boat that we took to have a ride on the Potomac.  It was fun to be on the water and have a different view of things.
 I love this shot of Lana and her Dad.

It was soooooooooo hot, but on the boat they had A.C. on the lower level. We sure enjoyed the coolness.  

 We ate a typical dinner from the times of George Washington at the cafe.
 I ate a yummy peanut and chestnut soup.  My main course was duck that should have been tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside.  Instead it was kind of gamey and not crisp.  I thought it was just ok.  I did share John's delicious bread pudding.
We walked through some museums, saw a really nice movie about General Washington and his famous battle with the British.  We walked and walked and walked.