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Monday, November 30, 2015

Million Bulb Walk

We kicked off our Christmas season with the Million Bulb Walk at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. For most of the season you can only drive through the light display at the garden, but for the first week you could walk through. We weren't sure Sarah would care, but she was absolutely entranced. From the moment we drove in to the lights, Sarah started repeating, "It's so fun! It's so fun!"

 They did an amazing job with the lights, and seeing Sarah's excitement made it 100 times better. Sarah ran back and forth the whole time. I think she walked at least 2 miles that night. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving in Virginia

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. I love kicking off the holiday season  by cooking delicious food and enjoying it with my family. We got a head start on our cooking the night before so that we could have a nice, relaxing Thanksgiving. It was a great day.
 Kelson started the morning with a Turkey Bowl with friends, and then we all enjoyed the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV.

 Since we had such a small group for dinner this year, we opted to make a turkey breast in the crockpot instead of a whole turkey. It was super easy and delicious.
 The sister missionaries joined us for a delicious dinner. 
The sisters brought "black cat" pie for dessert. Super yummy!
The day after Thanksgiving, we had a pie party so that dessert would have a chance to have the Thanksgiving attention that it properly deserves. 
Sarah helped me roll and cut the pie crust for our pie bar.
We cut the pie crust into festive shapes and baked them like cookies. Then we made 4 kinds of filling and several toppings so that people could build their own custom pie. It turned out really fun. One of our friends also brought a coconut flan, which was delicious!

 At one point during the party, I looked over to see Sarah on the table stealing the spoon from the whipped cream. She ran off to the play room to enjoy her prize.
We have ever so much to be thankful for this year. We live a very blessed life. The holiday season has officially begun, and we are loving every minute of it!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Family Photos 2015

While Mom & Dad were here, we had Mom be our photographer for our family photos at the botanical garden. Taking family photos with a 2 year old is a challenge. We have plenty of great outtakes and a few good ones.
 Get everyone looking at the camera and a shadow turns Kelson into 2-face. Oops.

 Airplane! The garden is right next to the airport. It was very distracting to a certain 2 year old.
 Mommy's girl!

Of course it was the coldest day of their whole visit. We had to do a lot of taking coats on and off for pictures.

 Oh, we're taking a nice picture? I should stick my legs straight out.
 This was about when she decided we were playing a hilarious game. All serious picture taking was over.
 No weird shadows, no sticking out legs, everyone almost looking. I'll take it.
 More games.
 Oooh, a leaf!
Aaaand...we're done. I love my little family!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Visit from Grandma & Grandpa Hindman

We were so excited to have my parents come out from Oregon to spend a week with us! We planned so many fun things to do with them that we ran out of time. I guess they will just have to come back!

We have been wanting to visit the area around the Shenandoah Valley, so we decided to take Mom and Dad on an adventure with us. We had them fly in to Dulles airport outside DC and we drove up there to meet them. Sarah thought hanging out at the hotel for the evening with Grandma and Grandpa was super fun (not least of all because they had a suitcase full of chocolate.) Sarah spent about an hour with my mom reorganizing the brochures in the hotel lobby. However, when it came to bedtime, Sarah had a total breakdown and begged to go home. This became a frequently repeated phrase during our trip. 
 The first day, we started with a ride along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. The views were gorgeous! Sadly, we were just barely too late for perfect Fall colors, but it was still lovely.

 Mom couldn't resist crunching through the massive oak leaves at the visitor's center. This was a really fun drive until about three quarters of the way through when Sarah suddenly threw up all over herself and her carseat. We found the closest pull out, and Kelson wiped down Sarah while Dad got far away from the smelly car and Mom and I attempted to clean the car seat with baby wipes. What is more fun than spending the day snuggled in the back seat of a car on either side of a carseat? Being snuggled in the back seat beside a carseat that smells like vomit. Ick. We were all glad that our hotel that night had laundry facilities. Road trip adventures!
We spent the rest of the day wandering through cute towns and stopping at charming shops. Kelson and I realize that we have turned into my parents. This is our idea of a great vacation!
 We spent Monday night in Charlottesville, home of Thomas Jefferson. Tuesday morning, we did a little exploring of the University of Virginia, which Jefferson designed. The campus was beautiful.

 Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home, sits on a hill above Charlottesville. We went on a tour of the house and grounds. The house was very unique, and learning about Thomas Jefferson's history was fascinating. 

 The cellars under the house included large chambers for wine, beer, and hard cider. We wouldn't want to run out of alcohol.
 "Mulberry Lane" where all of the shops that made things to run the plantation used to be located.
 Dad & Kelson had fun exploring the vegetable garden. Apparently Thomas Jefferson grew something like 350 kinds of vegetables. Wow!
 Thomas Jefferson's grave, which is just down the hill from the house.
 After we finished at Monticello, we went to Carter Mountain Orchard to do some apple picking. They grew lots of other things there too, like peaches, grapes, & pumpkins.
 It had been raining, so we slipped and slid through the mud to get to the apple orchard.
 I found one!
 We picked about 15 pounds of apples to munch on. They were delicious!

 What a view!
 Sarah was so tired that she conked out on the walk down the hill from the orchard.
 We still got a picture with the caterpillar. Yes, she was sound asleep.
 After a full day of fun, we tucked our sleepy girl into the car and headed for home. She was very happy to finally be home sleeping in her own bed that night.
 Wednesday, we started with a trip to Smithfield to shop in cute shops, ride a pig statue, and enjoy sandwiches and ice cream for lunch.
Pigs are the thing in Smithfield. Sarah thought this one was very pretty and wanted to steal the feathers.
 After lunch, we took the ferry across the James river to Jamestown.
 We had never explored historic Jamestown before, and we were very impressed by all there was to see there. We only had time for a taste, but it was very interesting.
 The bell tower of this brick church may be the oldest English-built structure in America. It is the only thing that remains from the original Jamestown settlement. 

 We tried to make it to Colonial Williamsburg for their Veterans Day parade, but we got there just as it ended. There were so many people there!
We explored Colonial Williamsburg a little bit, but didn't have time for much. We will do a full day there the next time Mom and Dad come out.
 Thursday was Sarah's unofficial birthday. We had a party for her at Bluebird Gap Farm, which I posted about earlier. What better way to end the day than dancing with Grandma to Old McDonald? 
 Saturday, we went to the Norfolk Botanical Garden. Mom and Dad helped us out with our family pictures. I have no idea what was going on with Sarah in this picture, but it is scary.
 They were having a camellia festival that day. The flowers were amazing. I had never seen camellias before we moved here, but I love them.
 All dressed up to go to church on Sunday. Kelson had to work that morning.
 Grandma and her girls!
After church, we picked up Kelson from work and drove about 3 hours to Raleigh, North Carolina, where Mom and Dad were flying out of. We had some extra time, so we stopped to see the temple. 
We were all very sad to leave Mom and Dad at the airport. Living so far from family stinks. It does make us even more grateful for the time we do get to spend with our loved ones, though. We love you, Mom & Dad!