Saturday, December 10, 2016

Giving Thanks

Jim and Monty
For the third year in a row Jim and I were able to go to Washington, DC to be with Andy and Megan for Thanksgiving. Katie has also been able to make it each time to join us. This was the first time all five of us have been together since last Christmas, so it was pretty special. The weather was cooperative and we arrived the day before Thanksgiving with no problems. Megan picked us up from the airport, and once we got our things settled, Jim and I took the granddog Monty for a walk. They are so blessed in that a wonderful county park with hiking/biking trails and a lake are located an easy walking distance from their house, so that is our route of choice with Monty. For an eight pound little squirt, this guy can sure go!

We had a quiet day on Thursday, but Friday morning Jim, Andy and I headed out early to pick up some donuts at Duck Donuts. Oh my! You basically special order your donuts any way you like them. They were tasty!
Duck Donuts

After lunch we went to the town of Occoquan, Virginia, which was founded in 1734. It is very quaint with some unusual shops, and is on the banks of a pretty river with a water fall. My favorite part of the town was the "LOVE" sign, where we had a family picture taken. It was a very popular photo op spot, as you can imagine. We were able to pick up a couple of Christmas gifts in town, so that was a bonus. Here's a tip - never buy more than you can fit in your suitcase for the return flight home. You're welcome.

Occoquan, Virginia
Saturday we drove to a couple of different wineries. Wine tasting is not my thing because I prefer a sweet wine, but I don't mind going along as I can always find something to photograph. The second winery had a nice bread/meat/cheese basket, so we enjoyed a late lunch or early dinner. They also had a sangria that was pretty tasty.
Virginia wineries
We were somewhat lazy on Sunday, though we did go and visit Georgetown University. Katie is looking at graduate schools, and that one has made her short list. They have a very nice campus.

We had all been looking forward to Monday, though. Andy and Megan had to work, so the rest of us took an Uber ride into the Washington, DC center. We began at the Capitol Building, thinking we'd just take a quick look around. But we got caught up in a tour and ended up spending a couple of hours there. I hadn't been inside since my junior year of high school. Our tour guide was so interesting and informative.
U.S. Capitol Building

Museum of African American History and Culture
From there we went to the National Museum of African American History & Culture, which just opened in September of this year. Megan had been lucky enough to snag five tickets several months ago, and she and Andy arranged their work day to meet us there. While this Smithsonian museum is free, you must have a timed ticket to get in. Currently there are no tickets available until next April! While it was crowded, our tickets were late enough in the day that there were no bus loads of school children there so that helped. There are over 36,000 artifacts contained in 350,000 square feet, so you need a lot of time to visit. We didn't have near enough as the museum closes at 5:30. But I can say that what we saw was heartbreaking, thought provoking and encouraging all at the same time. We will definitely go again on a future visit to the DC area.

The next day Jim and I flew home and Katie headed back to LA. We had an event-filled week between playing tourist, enjoying family time and many romping rounds of Five Crowns. I love making these memories with the kids, and can't wait until we are all together again later this month. As Celine Dion sang, "These are the precious times..."


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