Thursday, May 28, 2009

Meet Virginia

Long trip = Long post
I know there's a lot of writing, but don't feel obligated to read it, it's more for my own journaling!
Back in the middle of May we were lucky enough to fly out to Virginia to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and their little boy. We have traveled back east before, but never to their house. They're moving back to Salt Lake in July to go to graduate school, so we thought we should see the sights while we had great company (and a free place to stay)!
We flew in on a Thursday and hung around the house on Friday, settling in and just relaxing. Saturday we drove about an hour south of Richmond to Petersburg. There is a lot of Civil War points of interest, and this was one. We were able to drive around a bunch of different battle fields. It was really interesting, you could still see where they made mounds of dirt to hide behind. A little overwhelming to think of what people really did for our country.
This cannon, called "The Dictator" was the largest of its kind. The hole's diameter is 14 inches, and could shoot a cannon ridiculously far (I'm talking 2.5 miles! How could they aim?)
The little kiddos sitting on the grass in one of the fields. Lily and Carter are only 2 days apart and loved each other. Poor Lily was running a fever (hence the rosy cheeks) but she tried to be as happy as she could. She was a real trooper.
City Pointe
After Petersburg we drove north a ways to a place called City Pointe. This was a very large piece of land, where two large rivers meet, and was owned by a Confederate with the last name of Eppes. He went away to war leaving his wife and children to fend for themselves. His wife got wind that Union ships were coming up stream and she decided to abandon the home. She took her children and left. Union soldiers coming in on ships heard that some Union men had been beaten up by Confederates on the land, and shot at the house. They said it was like Swiss Cheese after they were done. Good thing Mrs. Eppes got out! It then turned into the biggest port for the Union throughout the Civil War.
This pictures captures poor little Lily's demeanor throughout this part of the day. I, being the bad mom that I am, didn't realize until right about now that she had a fever, and she had had it.
Amazing what Tylenol can do once it sets in! Mind you, this smile lasted for about a minute, but it was there!
Here's the home. Beautiful. We went in and learned a little about the history of the War there, and we got to see two rooms that were furnished with original furnishings (my favorite part!). There were bedrooms upstairs that I really wanted to see, but it was closed to the public. Bummer!
Sunday we were able to go to my sister-in-law's niece's baby blessing. We didn't hang around long afterward, since Lily had a fever all night and finally fell asleep at 5 that morning!
Monday we headed West to Charlottesville, and took a tour of Monticello. This was Thomas Jefferson's home. Most people probably don't know that not only was he a President of the United States, but he contributed GREATLY to the world of architecture and interior design. This is why we went there. My one request the second we decided to go to Virginia was to see Monticello. I was mad at myself, though, that I didn't study up on it more before we went.
That's the home in the background. We weren't able to go upstairs, which was a bummer since I really wanted to see the rotunda, but oh well, what can you do? The pond we're standing in front of was used to keep the fish they caught until they were ready to eat it!
Thomas Jefferson was very resourceful, and grew all the food they ate. He encouraged his slaves to grow their own gardens and sell their produce to the home for supplemental food as well. He didn't believe in strict enslavement, he thought everyone should have the right to earn their own money. These pics are of the kids playing in the vegetable garden. They had manuscripts from Jefferson laying out what he grew and where they went. He had just about every kind of veggie you can think of, and I learned there are A LOT of different kinds of cabbage!
The kids looking out over the fruit orchards. Check out the view!
A point along the veggie garden that overlooks the fruit trees and the great view.
Jefferson's grave
People throw nickels onto the monument as a way of thanking Thomas Jefferson for all he did for our country. We threw some in as well. It was funny to see some people had thrown pennies in too. Didn't they get it?!
Maymont Park
Tuesday we let the kids take their morning naps, since Lily had another rough night with the fever still running. Let's say Motrin and Tylenol were a constant for these few days. We drove close to downtown Richmond to a place called Maymont Park. It was owned in the 1800's by a couple that were millionaires then. They had no children, and it eventually was donated to the city. It's over 200 acres, and it's amazing how well it is maintained, since most city parks are bar minimum.
Walking through the Japanese Gardens, you come across this waterfall. I'm pretty sure it's a natural waterfall too. I pictured Virginia to be flat...nope!
Apparently there were (or maybe are) black bears in Virginia. Lily thought this was pretty fun. The fever was finally starting to break. Can ya tell?
Washington D.C.
Wednesday we rented a mini-van (that's right!) and drove up to D.C. Buz and I had gone a couple of years ago and missed a few things. We always said we'd go back one day. We didn't expect it to be so soon! We started the day by going to the National was FREE!
We watched a cheetah pace back and forth...
Watched pandas eat bamboo. Neither of us had actually ever seen them before.
Fever GONE! YAY!
Lily LOVED to watch the birds.
The entrance to the zoo. Thankfully Lily napped pretty well in her stroller!
That evening we went to Arlington Cemetary. Buz had never been there. I lived back east when I was little, so I'd remembered it a little, but I was too young to appreciate it.
We watched the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Baltimore and My Birthday!
We spent Wednesday night at a friend's house in Alexandria, then headed east to Baltimore Thursday morning.
On our way there, we stopped in Ellicott City, where I used to live. Here's our old house. Isn't it cute? Buz and I decided we could live here.
We then spent the day at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. This is a reconstructed jaw of a megatadon (I don't know if that's really what it's called, but it was something like that!) but the teeth are real. Yikes!
Lily was enthralled by the fish. She kept saying "fishies" and smacking her lips together!
Lily and Carter checking things out.
There was an Australian exhibit and we saw this interesting fella. Looks like a cross between an owl and a toad to me!
Walking on the Inner Harbor of the Chesapeake Bay on our way to dinner. We came across this old light house that used to sit in the middle of the Bay.
Dinner! We looked online before hand to see if we could find somewhere different to eat dinner (my birthday dinner, that's right!) and we found this fun looking Irish pub. YUMMY fish and chips, shepherd's pie, and salads! And even better, both the kids were asleep the entire time!
Jamestown and Williamsburg
Friday we again let the kidlets sleep in the morning and then after lunch drove east to Jamestown. This was the first American settlement. You know John Smith/Pocahontas stuff? This is where it 1607! It was so overwhelming to see these ruins and items they've found from 400 years ago!
The kids thought the somewhat pointless memorial plaques were awesome.
The ONLY picture we managed to get of all of us our whole trip! That's a statue of John Smith behind us.
Standing in front of what was their walls of the settlement. We were facing the river here, about 20 yards away.
My cutie, fever free!
The Mayor's Palace at Williamsburg. We went here when I was young, and this is one place that I actually remember being. We got here too late in the evening to be able to see most of the shops/gardens, so Buz and I are going to have to go back. It's also my mom's favorite place, so I'm sure we can convince her to go too!
Guilty As Charged!
Being Goofs!
We were expecting to fly out Saturday, the following day, but the planes were too full (we fly standby, so if there's no seats left, we don't go!). So Saturday we went to a fun park not too far from my brother's house. I forgot to get those pictures before we left, but it was nice and relaxing, and I was able to get our laundry done too! We made it home on Sunday, and already miss Christian, Ashlee, and Carter. But we're excited that they'll be here soon! Love you guys!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

a great getaway

Last weekend Buz decided to have a guy's weekend in St. George road and mountain biking.  So what did Lily and I do?  We hopped on a plane and flew to sunny California!  One of my best friends recently moved away (we're really sad about it) so we thought she was due for a visit.  Her little girl is just 3 months younger than Lily, and they are sooo cute together.  
We were exploring the area, and came across this cute little farm that had lots to see and do.  We found this cute bench and had an impromptu photo shoot!
Such cute girlies.
I look a little scary, I know.  Thankfully I learned (after the pics were taken) how to smile for the camera without giving myself three chins!
Checkin' out the "piggypiggypiggypiggy" at the little farm.  Lily wasn't quite sure what she thought about it.
Thanks for the fun weekend!  And thanks Jeph for lending your wife and child to me for the weekend.  We'll come visit again soon!