18 March 2015

The Stinsons Come to Virginia

We were very excited to welcome the Stinson family to Virginia the second week of March! It's been almost two years since they've come to visit us. It had snowed the day before they arrived, and Kiera and Savannah were soooo thrilled to experience snow!

We still have two small snow shovels, so Kiera and Savannah got to help with the shoveling.
Savannah probably regretted making her snow angel without wearing gloves or boots. 
 It's been many years since we had any children playing in the snow in our yard.
 Kiera getting a taste of the snow from the magnolia tree.
The snow didn't last too many days. As it was melting the girls made a few small snowmen with Granddad. 
 I had a fun daytrip with the Stinsons was to Jefferson's Monticello. We went on a day when Kent was at work.
 We couldn't take any pictures on the inside, but got a couple of different views of the outside of the house. The girls did pretty well on the tour.

Lissa and Jason took the bus to New York City for two nights and three days while Kent and I babysat the girls. One day of the days I drove the girls up to DC where we picked up Kent from work for a long lunch, and went to the National Zoo.
We especially wanted to see the panda bears, and we were able to see all three of them; the father, mother and baby Bao Bao. They were all in different cages and were all taking naps.
It was difficult to get a good photo through the glass. I think the one below was the best one, though Savannah has her eyes closed. We also went to the reptile house and saw lots of snakes, lizards and alligators, plus a few other animals.
 On Friday Kent had the day off from work, so we took the girls to the National Museum of the Marine Corps. It's only about a twenty-minute drive from our house and is an awesome museum with lots of neat exhibits.

 One place for the children had dress-up clothes from the colonial navy era.
 Here we are on a troop transport boat. (I think that's what it was.)

 Kent has made wooden swords to give to the grandchildren, and Kiera and Savannah played outside with the swords. You can see what a difference a week made in the weather--the snow is gone and the girls are playing outside without coats on.
Kiera and Savannah playing the antique piano in our living room. I've been giving Kiera piano lessons via skype, but it was much more fun to do it in person. We played three duets together and gave a little concert to Lissa and Jason after they returned from New York City, but Kent didn't take any pictures.
 This is about the cutest picture of these two we have from the week they spent with us.
We're so glad they came! I think they'll have some good memories of their visit to Granddad and Grandma Carson's house.

03 March 2015

Grandma Time in Louisiana

I found a good deal on a flight down to New Orleans, where Russ and Adri's family are living now, so I went the last weekend of February.  We did some fun things together, including taking a swamp tour. Below I'm holding an alligator skull. Grace looks pretty interested in it. 
The swamp boat driver had a baby alligator on board and let people take turns holding it. It wasn't as slimy as I expected it to be.
I thought this was a pretty picture of Adri and a cute one of Grace.
Here's Sophia and Daddy on the boat.
We saw several alligators as we cruised around the swamp.

There was also lots of Spanish moss in the trees, which made it look especially "swampy" to me.

We also went into the city of New Orleans on two different days. One of the days was foggy and gray.
This is the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.
In front of the cathedral were some street musicians playing jazz.
I saw this balcony still decked out for Mardi Gras. It was sunny on this day.
We had to have beignets, a New Orleans donut specialty, from the famous Cafe Du Monde. I should have taken a picture of the line we waited in for half an hour to get our beignets. They were pretty good, sort of like an eggy fried scone, with lots of powdered sugar. At least they weren't too expensive.
Another sight New Orleans is famous for is the above ground cemeteries. They look like little stone homes for the dead.
I just had to put in these pictures of the Lee girls playing with the hundreds of mardi gras beads they picked up when they went to the Mardi Gras parades. 
It was an impressive haul! (Note Sophia's elegant dress-up shoes in the shot below.)
We girls did a bit of shopping at Kohl's.
I have to record the cutest thing Sophia said when I was with her. We were in the kitchen making pancakes for breakfast together when the heat vent in the kitchen ceiling started blowing warm air right on us. Sophia said, "Grandma, do you feel that warm feeling? That's the Holy Ghost!" I know one little Sunbeam who's been paying attention in her Primary class!
Grace was just starting to get the hang of sitting up and crawling while I was there. She took awhile to warm up to me, but by the end of my visit she did.
I saved a dress-up skirt that Adri wore as a princess Halloween costume when she was three. Here's a picture of Sophia and her mommy wearing the skirt. Two adorable girls, that's for sure.
I had a fun time with the Lees in Louisiana!