Kent and I flew to Texas on December 21st to spend Christmas there. Adrianne, Russ and Tyler flew in the next day. Here we are getting ready to eat Christmas brunch. Here's Kiera, the star of Christmas morning, absorbed in her loot.
Here are the other kids, absorbed in their loot.
On December 27th, Kent and I and Tyler, Russ and Adrianne took a day trip to San Antonio, which was about a 2 and 1/2 hour drive from Katy. While there we stopped at the lovely temple.
The stained glass windows in the temple were beautiful. It would have been awesome to see it at night, but I guess we'll have to do that on another, longer, visit.
Our next stop was the Alamo. To tell the truth, it wasn't as impressive or interesting as I expected it to be. Maybe it's more exciting for Texans.
It's always neat to see how different things look at night, all lit up. I thought the shot Kent took below is postcard quality! I should probably mention that we took this photo after we'd walked around the River Walk, and were heading back to the car. That's why it's so much darker than it was when we were trying to get pictures of the Christmas lights.
I really wanted to see the Christmas lights along the San Antonio River walk, but it wasn't dark enough at 5:30pm to get the full effect. Unfortunately, my traveling companions weren't very interested in sticking around until it was darker, so these were the best shots we got.
The photo below was taken under a bridge, which is why it's a bit darker than the previous view. It looks like it would have been really neat to see when it was fully dark. I thought it was fun that Kent is in the picture, on the right, also taking a picture.
One of the few time Kiera was mugging for the camera instead of running away from it!
Group shot of all of us who were in Texas for Christmas, before everybody headed for home. Hmmm, I guess I didn't get the memo about the girls wearing pink for the photo!
We didn't do as much in December as I'd wanted to, because of the osteoarthritis in my right leg, but here are the things we DID do!Kent and I worked at the DC temple twice in the month of December, so had two chances to see the lovely lights when it wasn't as crowded as usual.
I hosted a cookie exchange, which was a lot of fun.
Here we are with our haul after we did the exchanging. Not all the ladies who came are in the picture.
Before working at the temple one Friday evening I went into DC early and to go to the Smithsonian Museum of American Art to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit. I LOVED it! Photos weren't allowed, but the art was just wonderful.
I've seen lots of reproductions of Rockwell prints in books and magazines, so it was awesome to see some of his actual art works. Most of the works were large, with gorgeous color and details. I loved reading about his inspirations and the stories behind his paintings. I'm so glad I was able to see it.
We were able to gather with our good friends, the Jeos and the Andrews, one Saturday and had a wonderful visit with them. We all went to Richmond, VA, for the 2nd birthday party of the Andrews' granddaughter, Lily Stettler. It was really fun.
Of course December means the Christmas piano recital.This year I played the "Sleigh Ride" duet with a lady from our ward, and we added sleigh bells and wooden blocks for accompianment. Kent played the wooden blocks to sound like horses' hooves for sound effects, and it was really fun. I wish I had a picture of us playing, but I haven't got the copies from the person we asked to take pictures for us.
Those were the main activities we had for the month of December before we flew to Texas for Christmas.
Kent and I took an overnight trip to Maryland and West Virginia on Saturday, December 5th. We went to Antietam and Harper's Ferry National Parks. We went on that day because it was the day of the Antietam annual illumination, when 23,000 luminaries are lit, representing the 23,000 casualties on a SINGLE day in the Civil war. That day was September 17, 1862, and has been called the bloodiest day in American history.
We arrived at the battlefield around 11am to get information about the illumination, and we saw hundreds of volunteers-many of them Boy Scouts-setting out the brown bags with candles that would be lit that evening.
We had a few hours to spend until it was time to get in line for the illumination, so we drove about 30 minutes to West Virginia to the Harper's Ferry National Historic Park.
It was a good day to go, since there were people dressed in Civil War costumes, a civil war camp was set up, and there was a brass band playing and cannon demonstrations.
And you'll never guess the name of one of the rivers that borders the town of Harper's Ferry. Give up? It's the Potomac. Yes, it's everywhere!!
An old fashioned Santa added to the holiday atmosphere.
Below Kent stands in front of the Civil War encampment. We ate lunch in Harper's Ferry and spent a couple of hours there, then drove back to Antietam to get in line for the illumination.
We waited in line in our car for over two hours, but we were prepared for it and had brought things to read and do. At 6pm the gates opened and cars were allowed to slowly drive through the park and view the luminaries from the car. Pedestrian traffic wasn't allowed.
The picture below is fuzzy, but I think you can still tell that this was an American flag. This was actually along the road before we entered the battlefield.
It's very sobering to think of the number of casualties, and the luminaries were an effective way to show it. The cars drove along a five-mile route, which took about an hour.
The building below is a church that survived the battle.
I got the photo below off the internet. Our camera couldn't take such a great shot.
After we drove through the park we headed for home, which was about a two-hour drive. Another way cool and educational thing we've done this year.