22 October 2016

Chincoteague Island and Assateague National Seashore

Kent had a Friday off from work on October 14th, so I picked him up from work in the afternoon of the 13th and we drove to the island of Chincoteague. It's in Virginia, but we had to drive through a good chunk of Maryland to get there. It was about a four-hour drive from DC.
Chincoteague is on the eastern shore of Virginia and was made famous from the book, Misty of Chincoteague, published in the 1940's about one of the wild ponies from the island.
We stayed in a suite at the Fairfield Inn at Chincoteague, and this was the view out the window of our room.
It was a lovely autumn day, and we were right on the water.
Below is a picture of the ice cream parlor in Chincoteague that is renowned for having the best ice cream in Virginia. We went there both nights we were in town to see if it was really worthy of the title! It was very good, but I think there's a place about a half an hour from our house in Stafford that's just as good.
We spent most of our time at the Wildlife refuge and national seashore run by the National Park Service. It's always fun to see places named after our daughter-in-law.
This wall told the history of the wild ponies that live on the island. No one really knows where they came from, but they've lived on the island for hundreds of years.
This was the only glimpse we caught of the wild ponies.
 There are two different large herds of the ponies, but they were doing a good job of staying out of sight while we were there.
The beach was very nice, but it was too chilly to get in the water. This beach is actually on the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the shoreline near us is on the Chesapeake Bay.
One of the first sights we saw as we got out of the car at the wildlife refuge was a large bald eagle flying overhead. That's the first one I've seen in Virginia.
We got a good view of other large birds, too.
I don't know what kinds of birds these were, but there were lots of them.
There was a light house on the wildlife refuge. We hoped we'd be able to catch another glimpse of the wild ponies if we climbed to the top, but we didn't. There was a nice view of the beach and surrounding area, though.

Our last stop on our trip was to the NASA Wallops flight facility.
 They'd just launched a rocket from this site five days previous from our visit with supplies going to the international space station. Apparently the launch was visible all over Virginia, but I was in California getting ready to board a plane when the rocket was launced.
The visitor's center wasn't very large but it was interesting to read about the different types of rockets launched and what their purposes were.
We had an enjoyable and relaxing trip and are very glad we went!

10 October 2016

Ten Days with the Lees in Bakersfield

I already blogged about baby Carson's birth, but here are the pictures from the rest of the time I was in California. On the Saturday before Carson was born Adri had Sophia's 5th birthday party. The theme was Disney princesses.
 The first thing the girls did was some crafts, which Sophia loves to do. I put in the shot below to show Adri's "day before I have a baby" tummy.
 The little girls played a game where they pretended to wrap someone up in Rapunzel's hair, but I took a picture of Grace curtseying because it was so adorable.
Sophia opening her gifts.
 Grace took one of the gifts and ran to the back bedroom because she wanted it.
 Sophia's real birthday was on Monday, after Carson was born. I gave her this Anna doll, as well as a cook book. Russ and Adri brought Carson home from the hospital after dinner time on Sophia's birthday.
 I spent lots of time with Grace since Sophia was in pre-kindergarten and Adri was taking care of Carson. Grace LOVES swinging at the park, and we spent about an hour doing it.
 It was one of the few times while I was there that she wore a dress instead of one of her many princess nightgowns. I gave her this dress for her birthday.
 I love these pictures of Adri reading to the three kids.

 I mentioned that Grace took longer to warm up to Carson, but here you can see that she very quickly did.
 Grace loved to get things for Carson, like his binky or some toys.
 One of the first pictures I took of Carson with his eyes open!
The Lees have a pomegranate tree (on the right) and a kumquat tree (on the left) in their backyard. I'd never seen those before. 
 One evening the girls had a great time running through the sprinkler in the back yard.
 They both looked pretty cute in their matching swimsuits.
 Sophia especially loved splashing in the mud and got pretty dirty.
 On the Saturday after Carson was born Sophia's school had a fall festival. Daddy and I took the girls while Mommy stayed home with baby brother. Sophia hadn't been feeling well, but she REALLY wanted to go to the fall festival.
 Sophia and Grace painted a pumpkin at one of the booths.
 There were other games the girls were able to do.
 One of the last things we did was take a tractor ride around the school grounds.

 I bought this Anna nightgown for Grace and she would barely take it off because she loved it so much.
 Here are the girls ready for church wearing dresses that I smocked and sewed for Adri when she was little.
 All three Lee children--such cuties!
 Carson's eyes are even open!
 Just a random picture of Carson all swaddled and looking like he's smiling.
 Another sweet one of Adri with Grace.
 One day Grace kept herself busy by setting up a picnic for herself in her room.
 One thing I did almost every day I was there was take Sophia to school in the morning and pick her up when she was finished in the afternoon. It was very sweet because she wanted to show me her school, teacher, playground, and her friends.
On the last day I came to pick her up I wanted to take her picture, but she was upset about something and wouldn't turn around. It was a good time to spend just with Sophia since Grace was usually asleep when I was taking and picking up Sophia.
I brought Grace's name wall quilt with me when I went to California. I tried to get Grace to stand by it, but didn't have any luck with that.
The whole family came to drop me off at the bus stop for the bus that would take me back to the LA airport. I don't think it had anything to do with the fact that the bus stop was across the street from Chick fil a and it was dinner time!
Russ took this selfie of all of us with his phone and I thought everyone looks really good in it!
It was hard to say good-bye to this precious family. As usual I had a grand time and didn't want to return back to Virginia. I took a red-eye flight on a Monday at 11pm and flew all night because then I was able to stay an extra day with the Lee family.