28 November 2013

Visit to Texas

I thought it would be fun to spend Halloween in Texas to go trick-or-treating with the Stinson girls, so I flew in on Halloween morning. 
 Savannah was too shy to say "trick-or-treat" at first, but got the hang of it.  She liked getting the candy!
 Savannah hamming for the camera as her daddy is expounding a point to Lissa and a neighbor.
It happened to be the week of the International Quilt Festival in Houston, so I spent a few hours there.  I took a picture of this poster because I went to the Yokohama Quilt Show at least twice when we lived in Japan in the 90's, so this brought back memories.
Now that Kiera is in kindergarten, I had the chance to eat lunch with her in the school cafeteria.  Lissa provided the Chick-fil-a.  It was fun to see Kiera's school and teacher.
 Kiera likes to play with my accessories.  On my last visit she used my scarves to decorate her bouncy horse.  On this visit she wore my bracelets on her ankles.
 Here are the stylish girls in their sunglasses on our way to the mall to ride the carousel.
 Kiera wanted to go in the tea cup on the carousel, and of course Savannah does whatever Kiera says. I have to admit all the spinning made me a bit nauseous.
 I tried to take some pictures while we were on the ride with my camera phone, and this one turned out the best.  You can see the girls were having a great time!
 On previous visits I would watch Kiera at her gymnastics class.  On this trip I watched Savannah at her "Mommy and Me" gymnastics class.
To quote the Primary song, "it's always fun for everyone when Grandma comes!"

03 November 2013

Leaf Peeping in New England

Kent and I took a trip to New England over Columbus Day weekend to see the fall colors, or as the people on the East coast say, to go leaf peeping. 
Kent had never been to the New England states, so we were sure to stop and take a picture as we entered each new state.  I lived in Maine when I was a little girl, so it has been many years since I've been in these states, too.  We took all of these pictures on Saturday.  Since the states are small it was easy to go through all of them on the same day.
I'll confess that we only spent about half an hour in Maine.  We went to the welcome center in all the states to pick up maps and brochures, but that's all we did in Maine.  We were only in New England two days, since Friday and Monday were driving days.
The Vermont Country Store was our second stop after the Vermont Welcome Center.  We'd been told by experienced leaf peepers that this was the place to look for authentic Vermont souvenirs.  It was a fun place and crowded with tourists.  We wish we'd found a similar store in New Hampshire, since we came home without any souvenirs from that state.
Our next stop was Grafton, Vermont.  We'd read an article calling it one of the prettiest towns in America, so thought we'd check it out for ourselves.
A friendly woman offered to take our picture, and told us she was from Grafton and had been married in the church behind us.
She also told us where to find the two covered bridges in town, so we went to check them out.
We headed to New Hampshire next, since our goal for the day was to drive the Kancamagus Highway.  As we were driving we tried to mostly take the small roads and highways instead of the freeways, so we could see more of the fall colors. 

In one town we passed through in New Hampshire, there were scarecrows outside of many homes and businesses.  It set that town apart from the others we drove through.
 The White Mountain National Forest is in the northern part of New Hampshire, and the Kancamagus Highway is a famous scenic byway that passes through it.  Below is the line of cars we were in as we attempted to get on the highway from the western end.  This was about the most crowded road we saw on our trip.  We'd been warned that Columbus day weekend was the busiest of the season, but that's when Kent had the days off, so that's when we went.
We were grateful to find that the National Forest hadn't been closed down, since this was during the two-week government shutdown.  The bathrooms had been locked up, but we knew about that in advance and were prepared.
Since this was the northern part of the state and higher in elevation, most of the leaves were off the trees.  The first picture of this post was taken along the Kancamagus highway, so there were still spots of color.

Kent couldn't resist the urge to peep from behind a tree, in his classic pose from other destinations.
We spent Saturday night in Concord, New Hampshire, and went to church on Sunday morning in Concord.  Afterwards we drove to Sharon, Vermont, to visit Joseph Smith's birthplace.

The obelisk was placed at the site over 100 years ago on the 100th anniversary of Joseph Smith's birth.
We spent the rest of the day driving through some of the scenic roads in Vermont.
We found another covered bridge and it was sturdy enough to drive through, so we did.

We spent Sunday night in Albany, New York, since that was on the route back to Virginia.  You can tell from the pictures that we had lovely weather and had a great time in new England!