30 December 2015

Christmas in Houston with the Stinsons and Lees

Kent and I spent Christmas in Houston with the Stinsons and the Lees. The photo below was taken at the Houston Children's Museum, where we went one afternoon before Christmas. We had good weather for the ten days we were there.
Here's granddad with the Stinson girls, looking very happy!
I took Sophia to do a little last minute Christmas shopping, and these were the shoes she picked out to try on!
She didn't get very far when she tried to walk in them.
 Granddad bonding with Grace; she's a cuddler!
These are the Christmas stockings I've made for Adri and Russ's family,
and for Jason and Lissa's family.
All the granddaughters enjoying a ride on the car in the game arcade.
In this picture Kiera and Savannah are wearing the dresses I made for Lissa and Adri when they were little.
We went to Moody Gardens in Galveston with the Lee family to see the Christmas lights display.

Sophia wanted to go ice skating. It was her first time and she did very well!

We acted out the nativity story on Christmas eve.
Savannah and Sophia did a great job as the angels.
Here are some photos from Christmas morning.

My mom knitted dolls for the older three granddaughters.
They were cute, soft and cuddly.
I made Kiera a piano bag and gave her a piano book of Primary songs.

I also made a quiet book for the Lee family.

Here are a sample of a few of the pages.
This is one of my favorite pages, with the fish swimming in the ocean.
It's a very time consuming project, so I'm only making one book per family.
Kent and I flew home the day after Christmas so Kent could go back to work. It was great to see so much of our family during the month of December!

22 December 2015

December Doings

I had my piano recital a bit earlier than usual this year, on the first Sunday of the month. I had it at the main library in the city of Fredericksburg, since they have a nice event room with a grand piano. It was a very nice venue.
I borrowed a sheet music skirt from a friend, and wore it with a music scarf I already had.
Here's what my invitations looked like.
I played many duets with my students, as I usually do.
Here's a picture of the ornaments I made for the kids this year.
Next are some pictures of our house with all the Christmas lights Kent put up, fondly known as "Kent's Festival of Lights."
He started putting up the lights in November.
This is the gate the piano students go through on the way to the basement for lessons.
This was a new addition to Kent's display-- lights on the side of the house.
This is the view from the street. It looked fantastic!
I read somewhere that having Afternoon Tea at the Willard in downtown DC was one of the classic experiences in Washington, DC.
So I organized a trip with my Bible Study group.
The hotel was very elegant and upscale, and the price of the tea definitely reflected it.
Here's a close-up of the food, which I have to say, wasn't anything to write home about. The tray below was for two people. The desserts were especially disappointing. Everything was of the same consistency, sort of pudding, mousse-like, and not particularly tasty.
This is our van, parked right in front of the hotel, due to the valet parking.
After tea we went to see the lights at the DC Temple. We also went to the Visitor's Center to see the nativity set display and a musical play about the birth of Jesus. I think everyone enjoyed it.
Another awesome thing I did was to go to the Virginia Historical Society to see a display of costumes from the series, "Downton Abbey."
Here are some of the costumes.
I LOVE the gorgeous costumes, fabrics and old fashioned styles.

Here are the friends who joined me to see the exhibit. It was a fun day.

15 December 2015

The Colorado Carsons Visit Virginia

Kent and I were so happy  when we learned that Tyler and Rachel's family would be coming to visit us in December. There are always cool things to do in Virginia, and especially at Christmas time!
As my Christmas gift Rachel had made a very special artwork that I put right up on the wall of my piano room. I love it! They gave it to me as soon as they arrived.
The day after the Carsons arrived they went to the Zoo Lights display at the National Zoo.

While I was giving piano lessons they drove up to DC and met Kent after work to go to the zoo.
The next morning we went to the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

 It was decorated for Christmas inside.
Granddad and I tried to keep the kids occupied so their mom and dad could look around the museum. Kids always love to go fishing in the children's area.
 Looks like Tyler found some interesting reading material.
 Here's everyone chill-axing in another children's area.
 Sylvia was pretty good about letting me hold her.
 Another day we went to the playground. Sylvia did some swinging with Granddad.
As you can see the weather was very mild and we hardly needed coats.
Andrew did some jogging with his mom to burn off some energy. 
This was a sweet brother-sister moment between Andrew and Sylvia.
 Kent is always happy to have some young muscle around to help him with yard work,
so he put Tyler and Andrew to work.
  Andrew liked feeling like one of the big boys.
 We women folk came out to give them moral support.
 Time at Grandma and Granddad's house always includes lots of book reading.
 Sylvia was a good sport about getting her hair put up.
Andrew and Sylvia playing with the vintage Fisher Price toys we saved from when our kids were little.
 Kent and I had been asked to present a musical number at the ward Christmas party, and Rachel and Tyler graciously agreed to do it with us.
 Tyler and Kent did a rhythm cup routine
while Rachel and I played "Sleigh Ride" as a duet on the piano. It was really fun to play a piano duet with Rachel. She's so good that we didn't even have to practice that much together. (She didn't see the music until they came Virginia.)
I can't figure out how to make this go the right direction, and the recording is blurry at the beginning, but at least it's an idea of how our number went.
The next day we went to the National Cemetery at Quantico to help lay wreaths on the graves as part of the "Wreaths across America" program.
Andrew had a bit of a melt-down, but that's what two-year-olds do!
The graves look so nice with the wreaths on them.
 You can see it was another unseasonably warm day.
We made some Christmas cookies and had Andrew help us roll them out and cut out the shapes.
 Then he helped to frost the cookies.

I thought this was a cute picture of Andrew and Granddad, looking at pictures on the computer together.
 On Sunday evening we went to see the lights at the DC Temple.
 Andrew liked the life-sized nativity.
 Inside the Visitor's Center.
This is another pretty view.
After we got home we had Christmas a bit early and opened some presents. Here's Andrew with the car caddy I made for him.
He really liked playing with the little cars.

 Tyler gave Kent and himself a smart watch.
This is Sylvia wearing the same Christmas outfit that Andrew wore on his first Christmas.
Here's Sylvia with the Christmas stocking I made for her.
We had such a fun, fun time with the Colorado Carsons and were sad to see them leave!