31 December 2014

Christmas in Houston

On December 19th, Kent and I flew to Texas to spend Christmas with Lissa and Adri's families. We split our time staying with each family.
This is at the Lee's house, when Sophia helped to make crepes.
On the 20th of December we went to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert with Russ and Adri.
The concert wasn't as good as the one Kent and I went to several years ago in DC, but it got better the second half of the show.
The light show was pretty awesome.
Another day trip we took with Russ and Adri was to the San Jacinto Monument and USS Texas Battleship, located not too far outside of Houston.

Kent had heard about a Monet Exhibit at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, so we spent a morning enjoying many lovely Monets. We weren't allowed to take pictures of the paintings.
It was a wonderful exhibit, bringing together in one place paintings from all over the world. It was interesting to read where all the paintings are normally on display.
Another fun trip we took with the Lees was to the Johnson NASA Space Center in Houston.
In the photo below you can see, it was warm enough on this day that we didn't even need to wear coats.

The sign in the photo below says that this is the home of astronaut training.

On Christmas eve we all dressed up to act out the Nativity story. Adri and Russ were Mary and Joseph, Grace was baby Jesus, Sophia and Savannah were shepherds, and Kiera was the angel.
Kent played the donkey, his usual role.
Lissa, Jason and I were the wisemen.
The day after Christmas we went into downtown Houston to see the Waterwall Fountain. This is what it looked like from a distance.
It was pretty amazing.

Kent had to head back to Virginia on the Sunday after Christmas, but I stayed another week.

The Lees and I took Kiera and Savannah to the Houston Zoo. The day after that we went in the evening to see the zoo lights.

This was a tunnel kids could crawl through in the aquarium. It looks like that fish is nibbling Kiera's head.
Here's Sophia looking at the toy train display.
Here's the view at night with the lights.
Same thing with the hanging balls in the trees.....
and again at night. 

 The Houston Zoo Lights were some of the best I've seen.
 I think there were more lights than they have at the National Zoo in DC.
 I thought the scene below looked like something from Dr. Seuss.
  I had a Crystal Light tea party with Kiera and Savannah.
We cut our sandwiches into shapes and had some apple slices.
I made a jumper for Kiera as a Christmas present.
Here Savannah and Kiera are modeling the aprons I made for them.
 And here's a cute picture of me with Sophia and Grace. As you can see, we had a really wonderful Christmas in Houston!!

28 December 2014

A Christmas Recital, Visiting Some Historic Houses and Other Cool Sights Around DC

December means a piano recital for my students. They all did a great job.
Here's what the invitations looked like. The music printed on the front was "Joy to the World."
I had fun with the burlap theme and made a couple of wreaths,
plus lots of other ornaments that I hung on the walls. The burlap ribbon on the top of the walls was printed with music notes and the words, "Joy to the World."
These are the stocking ornaments I made to give my students this year.
After the recital Kent and I went to a historic homes tour in Fredericksburg, VA.
We went with our friends, the Haderlies. We didn't get to see all of the homes because we spent so much standing in line. At least we had good company to spend the time with.
While we were waiting in line, Santa stopped by in his fancy red sleigh.
This is the front of our favorite home, which had a view of the Rappahanock River from the back windows.
The next week I organized a tour of the White House for my friends from my Bible Study group. I toured the White House a few years ago but didn't have my camera with me that time, so I was sure to take it this year.
Note the nativity and the picture of George Washington in the background.
This replica of the White House is made out of white chocolate.
It's hard to see, but there's a big gift out on the lawn with a red ribbon around it.
One of the rooms in the White House.
There were portraits of all of the presidents throughout the house.
I liked this shot because of the antique piano and the picture of Pres. George W. Bush on the wall behind it.
Most of our group.
Outside on the steps on the back side of the White House, not usually seen by tourists.
This is the national Christmas tree, which is on the grounds in front of the White House. I'm sure it looked better at night!
After the White House tour I went to the Library of Congress to see the Magna Carta. It's on loan from England for ten weeks.
This is the original document from the year 1215.
This was the Christmas tree in the lobby of the Library of Congress.
It's always cool to see Thomas Jefferson's Library, which is on display at the Library of Congress.
Nearby are the US Botanic Gardens, which always put up a display at Christmas time. This is the toy railroad with landmarks from around the country.

And last, but not least, Arlington Cemetery decked out with the wreaths for Christmas. It's cool that we saw the town in Maine where they started "Wreaths Across America" when we were there in August.
They always look more Christmasy when there's snow, but it didn't snow before Christmas this year.
There are always lots of neat things to see and do around DC during the Christmas season!