Sunday, January 22, 2017

Janette & Ken come to visit D.C. in January

Janette and Ken came out to visit us as their Anniversary trip. We kept asking them, "Are you sure you want to spend your Anniversary with us??!!" We were so excited to have them stay with us and see lots around the D.C. metro area. 
Our first stop after picking them up from their Saturday red eye flight- Founding Farmers. Ken had been told it was a great spot to eat at and suggested it. I was happy about that because it's been on my "To Eat" list since we moved here! It was delicious and a fun way to start our day. 

Our second stop was the Dulles Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum. It was my family's first time and Janette's first time. Ken had visited with the Scout Jamboree he chaperoned. But it was all of our first time seeing the Space Shuttle.

It looked pieced together to me, not like it would survive in space. But what do I know?!
It was gigantic and made me feel very small. 

My babies looks so small!!!

Janette found out about this program for visitors where you can learn to build your own airplane and test it in flight. We listened at several stations throughout the Museum about draft, lift, rudder, wings, propellers etc...Everyone built an airplane that was slightly different. Janette and Haleigh's airplanes survived the flight in the simulator!

The girls ran around the museum with their airplanes, making all the proper noises, with their participation medals (which were really cool!) around their necks. 

After a great time at the "new" Air & Space museum, we headed home to rest just before we picked up our babysitter and left for our dinner reservation in Old Towne Alexandria. 

When Tyson's brother, Todd, came to D.C., he ate here and highly recommended it. We thought it would be a fun place to show Janette and Ken and for Tyson and me to try for the first time. 
We were a bit under dressed but the colonial feel was so cool. Gadsby Tavern was where George Washington ate frequently, Thomas Jefferson has his Inauguration dinner, and several other Presidents and founding fathers ate. I ate "George Washington's Favorite," a dish with cranberry duck, duchess potatoes and some kind of cabbage I don't think I cared for. Tyson ate the Gentlemen's Pye (notice the old time spelling) complete with stew and Yorkshire Pudding. 
Again, a yummy meal with great company! 

Sunday was a great day - going to church and enjoying or restful day. We played lots of games throughout the long weekend and had some delicious food too. 

On Monday, Tyson took off work and we took Taryn out of school so we could go and see more with Janette and Ken. We took a tour of the Capitol, given by our friend Terry who works their. It was such a great tour and we learned a lot. I loved that two weeks later, The President & President Elect walked right where we had stood in the Capitol for Inauguration day. 

After lunch at TAYLOR (so good!) we went to the Renwick gallery which a lot of fun. This Tsunami art installation is still one of my favorites. You lay on the ground to get the feeling of what a Tsunami looks like from the ocean floor. 

Then we visited the Hirrshorn Museum. I knew Janette liked Contemporary art so I thought this would be a win. Well, the museum shop was a total win! But the art displays had us either busting up laughing from awkwardness (who puts an old naked man spread eagle in front of the Elevator door!??!?!), running from naked bums with orchids in them ??? and language, and wondering "HUH??" throughout. It made for some good laughs!

We saw some sights like the museum for the Qur'an

Did I mention that the temperature dropped into the 20's the whole time they were visiting, then shot back up to the 50's days after they left? It was SO COLD! It had also snowed the first day we had them here. I was pretty scared because our car doesn't handle the snow well at all. We differently had some scary moments (especially picking up and dropping off the babysitter with all the icy roads!!!) But everyone was a trooper. I was touched by a lady in D.C. who saw us walking around with the kids. She stopped us and offered us Hand Warmers. She said she carries extra ones around for those who look like they need them. When she saw our girls, she knew we could use them. Those hand warmers saved the girls! They loved playing with them in their pockets and it kept their little hands super warm. That lady was an angel!

When we came home, Janette found a bird trapped inside our basement. We still have no idea how it got in but Ken was able to catch it (he makes it look easy!) and release it outside. I haven't found any bird poop in my basement or house- amazing! I think it's crazy that we can't figure out how it got in.

On Tuesday, Tyson went to work, Taryn went to school and Haddie was at preschool and playing with her friend Gwen. So I took Ken and Janette to the Engravings and Printing Bureau for a tour. After that, we tried our luck at the new African American History and Culture Museum. We got in as "Will Call" (Thanks to the freezing weather!) It was really interesting and I can't wait to visit again and again. What an incredible story this museum tells. Above is the beautiful waterfall in the museum with inspirational quotes all around. 
We ate a great lunch at the museum cafeteria of collared greens, mac and cheese, fried chicken, white  gravy, spiced apples, sweet potato pie and more deliciously seasoned chicken. Great idea, Janette & Ken! 

We headed back home to pack up and get Haddie so we could say goodbye at the airport. 
We loved having Janette and Ken visit. We were definitely feeling the inch of needing to see family. We're thankful they took time for their Anniversary and spent it with us :)
Visitors are always welcome! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Finishing up 2016

Haddie gets embarrassed with lots of attention on her and always sticks her tongue out or in the side of her mouth. This was the only picture I got without her tongue out :)

All that sass!

Haddie completed her first gymnastics class with her little friend Olivia. She started off this term calling it "jew-nastics" and all throughout she kept me laughing. I love this age! 

I came home to an empty home from a morning of various drop offs. I was the only one home and I passed by our kitchen table. It was evidence of a busy morning- hair brushes & bows, cereal, water cups, spoons and school papers. I really loved it. It means our house is busy and I love that. 

Taryn completed her gymnastics class as well. This was the first time she performed before getting her medal. She does so well with gymnastics. It's really fun to see her excelling at all that is asked of her. Taryn's cartwheel is amazing! 

Lately Haddie has been taking this little Owl suitcase to school pick up. I'm not sure why but she loves it. She won't even play on the playground because she doesn't want to leave it behind. And that dress up skirt is a constant around our home. 

We have had some super chilly days so indoor activities are the best for us. This was the Gulf Branch Nature Center. 

Over Christmas I found these two snuggling on the couch while at the Temple Visitors center. I love how big Taryn seems and how Haddie is completely attached to her big sister. <3

And to wrap up all that was 2016, I give you Princess Belle and her entourage :)

Friday, January 6, 2017

Christmas Break 2016

Our Christmas Break 2017 was so great! We were able to enjoy our first official "Winter Break" from school with Tyson off the whole time so I would say that it was a success! (He did have to squeeze in a bit of work but it was so small and didn't interfere with our plans so problem!)

We saw Moana and loved it. We've been singing the songs over the past few days, getting them stuck in our heads each time. Taryn LOVED Maui and how he could change into animals. We all loved HeHe- the chicken. The girls kept talking about HeHe for days! Haddie loved Moana's pet pig. Oh so good!

Tyson said it best- "We're not always spontaneous, but when we are, we end up at a Chocolate factory." We had a few days of warmer temperatures before a cold front came in so we decided to take advantage of it and head 2.5 hours to Pennsylvania. It was a fantastic decision! We loved visiting Hershey World. It felt a lot like Disneyland and we were surprised that after 3 hours there, we had happy girls and no complaints. Maybe that's because we revolved our excursion around chocolate :)

We toured the chocolate factory and saw how chocolate is made, we ate at the Chocolate cafe/ bakery- so delicious! Tyson had pulled pork with cocoa in it and I had their signature Chili with cocoa in it. 

The girls picked little stuffed toys that had a pocket of candy. The perfect amount of chocolate after spending a day in the Chocolate factory. 

Then we headed to Lancaster, PA. We saw the Herr's Mill Historic Covered Bridge. It was beautiful! Taryn and I walked up to it first (Haddie was asleep in the car) and we walked around it. There was a cute antique sign that said, "Kissing Bridge" over the top as you enter the bridge. 

Then we head hooves on the street and looked to see and Amish buggie. It was so weird because we didn't see anyone inside. Weird! 

Trying to get the bridge in the picture, we took a few shots. Taryn requested that we make a few silly as well.

Just beyond the beautiful covered bridge in Amish country, we saw this old mill. I love all the rich history we are surrounded by!

The best end to the night was Dutch Wonderland, a theme park built for children ages 2-10. Really, it was perfect for the girls. Taryn is and forever will be our little thrill seeker. Haddie had her reservations but surprised me with being willing to keep riding, even after being on rides that we didn't realize were a little more scary 

Like this Turtle Whirl . We had no idea it went so fast, even after watching it. We all laughed the whole ride while Haddie screamed for dear life. It was so funny/sad/scary/and fun. It surprised us by how fast and fun it was but I have to admit, it was so fast even I was scared so I can only imagine how scared Haddie was. I had to keep whispering pep talks in her ear the whole ride. 

We left only 15 min. before it closed because being out in 32 degree weather for several hours started to get to us. The girls were so sad to leave, even though they were freezing. It was a day well spent and we have to thank Tyson's old boss for recommending this amusement park to us a few years ago. 

On another great weather day we headed to the Zoo. Haddie wanted to see the horses.

Taryn wanted to see the Amazonia Turtles.

Tyson wanted to see the Oriole. 

And I wanted to see the Bison (added to the zoo recently. )

It was an awesome day at the zoo. We really took advantage of all the time we had and really enjoyed  our time together. We brought Taryn's scooter along this time so while Haddie was in the stroller, Taryn could scoot along. It really saved us going up the BIG zoo hill to get to our car. 

My sister Brittany had the great idea to take the kids to the Nutcracker (puppet version) geared toward kids from 2-5. Taryn loved the puppets and was totally entranced with them. Haddie thought it was a funny show and really liked it. The twins Cora and Braden were giggling at parks and constantly pointing out the new puppets that came out. It was a fun outing and reminded me of when I did this 3 years ago with Taryn and friends (Lynne/Logan & Paige/Ada)

3 years ago, we were here from New Years, our first time not being with family. So we wanted to do something fun and different. The only place opened on New Year's Day that would suit our family was Haute Dogs. So a tradition was born...because it was amazing. Gourmet Hot dogs with delicious toppings. We had to do this tradition a few days early but it was still super delicious. 

The Booths sent us "Fort Magic" for Christmas and it has been so fun! This is the 2nd one we made. We've played so much in them!

During a few of our free moments, we headed to the library and played with the Magna Tiles and checked out lots of books. 

Our New Year's Eve was spent with friends with kids. We celebrated at 8pm and it came at just the right time for the kids to melt down. We brought poppers, noise makers and a few hats for the celebration. 

I had forgotten to take a picture of Taryn who is a lover of any celebration. I remember 4 years ago when we were at my parents house and Taryn ended up staying up with us until after midnight (a combination of an allergic reaction and medicine mix up) but a lot of it has to do with her love for parties. So though she was in her jammies and I believe there were tears right before we took this photo, she was still happy to give me a smiling face and show off her celebration skills. 

Here's to 2017 and the end of a wonderful Christmas Break.