14 October 2015

The Montana Carsons and the Texas Lees Visit Virginia

We were super excited when we found out that Garrett and Krystal's family were coming to visit us for almost two weeks at the beginning of October. It only got better when we heard Adri and Russ were going to come so that they were here for five of the days when the Montana Carsons were here, so the cousins could play together.
It was grandparent (as well as cousin) heaven! Kent had a minor hernia operation while the family was visiting, so he was able to be home recuperating on sick leave for three days.
Here you can see the Montana Carson kids are keeping him company.
I took many opportunities to read bedtime stories.
We like taking guests to the National Museum of the Marine Corps. It's close by, it's free, and it's awesome!
 There are two places especially for children in the museum. In this section the kids can fish and try on colonial style uniforms.
In another section there are coloring stations, books and legos the kids can play with. Daniel found a uniform to try on, too.
Not every family can get their picture taken in a Marine landing craft!

Granddad got out his bag of tricks and let the kids shoot off alka-seltzer rockets.
 Makayla and Daniel needed a little snack after chasing down the bottle rockets.
October is a good month for visitors because the weather is usually great.
The day after Russ and Adri's family arrived we went to the top of the Washington Monument.
Kent dropped us off but didn't go up the monument because there wasn't anywhere to park. He took the car back to Arlington Cemetery.  Russ was pushing Grace in the stroller and got ahead of us, so we didn't get a picture of all the Lee family together by the Washington monument.
 Here's the entrance on the inside. We were the last group of the day to go to the top.
This is also inside the monument.
Here's the view from the top, looking down on the WWII Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. 

 The Jefferson Monument.
The Lees and Montana Carsons walked to the Lincoln Memorial after we went to the top so they could get some photos.

These next photos are just two cute toddler grandchildren in their high chairs.
 Photo bomb by Sophia!
 This was just after Gracie woke up one morning.
 Adam fell asleep during lunch one day. I can honestly say none of my children ever fell asleep in their high chair!
Several years ago when the Stinson girls were here we bought a little bench to use when the grandchildren come to visit. We brought it up to the family room, and it got lots of use.
 Gracie especially loved the bench that was just her size.

 Some older cousin bonding time while the little siblings took their naps.
 The five cousins all together--a difficult shot to get!
Within seconds it degenerated down to this......
We brought out Adri's Barbie house that Kent and Tyler had made for her many years ago.
Adri and Russ went to New York City for three days and two nights, and Grace gave us a run for our money getting her to sleep through the night. One night we just brought her into bed with us. Adri was worried about how Grace would get along since she's such a Mamma's girl, but she did surprisingly well. I'm sure it helped that she had three cousins to distract her and play with her.
While Adri and Russ were in NYC we went to the Stafford Civil War Park. Not only was our county the boyhood home of George Washington, there was a Union encampment here during the Civil War after the Battle of Fredericksburg
There wasn't that much to see, but the grandchildren had fun walking in the woods and picking up leaves and sticks. This was inside a re-created shelter that was used during the winter of 1863.

I had to get this picture of Daniel with his Marine Corps Museum map. He carried it around with him all week and loved looking at it.
A few photos from Sunday after church.

This is one of my favorite pictures!
The older cousins helped me in the kitchen while Grace and Adam were taking their naps.
 We made some food, then had a Crystal Light tea party on the back deck.
Adri and Russ got home on Sunday night, and on Monday morning, (Columbus Day) we went to the National Zoo. Parking was crazy, but we finally found a spot. It was such a beautiful day I guess everyone had the same idea about going to the zoo.
We mostly went to see the pandas. Sophia loves pandas, and we were celebrating her birthday.
 I'm glad Grace and I could get to be buddies while her parents were out of town.

 Makayla was so happy to have girls to play with since at home she only has brothers.
I love this picture and think everyone looks really good in it. It does bother me that Garrett and Russ aren't near their own families and Kent isn't next to me. But when a stranger is taking the picture and someone else was waiting to pose in the same place, we couldn't take too long to get arranged!
After the zoo we went to the DC temple visitor's center.
Kent and I hadn't been inside the visitor's center for awhile and didn't know that they added a children's interactive area. 

After we got home that evening we had Sophia's birthday dinner and birthday cake out on the back deck. For some reason I don't have any pictures of Sophia with the completed pink strawberry cake I made for her birthday, but here's a picture of her helping me to frost it.
And here's the church bag I made for her to take to Primary with her. (and a photo bomb by Gracie!)
The time went by too quickly and we were sad when everyone had to return home on October 13th. We had a GREAT time with the Montana Carsons and the Lees. Come again soon!