Saturday, July 18, 2009

Trip Log -- Day 10

We began our roundabout journey home on Wednesday, July 15. Colonial Williamsburg was our first -- and longest -- stop. It is amazing! This living history experience is worth all the praise I have heard over the years. The shops, homes, and government buildings are either original or rebuilt -- all on the original foundations. Amazing. This is not a condensed example of a colonial town; it is the town. I enjoyed listening to the living history interpreters explain the work, play, politics, and experiences of 18th century America. I am glad we planned to stay most of two days. We could have used many more!
We walked up and down this street in Colonial Williamsburg many times.The shoemaker -- one of many living history trade shops
The court house: the program was funny and educational.
We enjoyed the "Revolutionary City" programs.
The music was thrilling: drums, fifes, and tin whistles.
a close up view of the rebuilt capitol
I found I enjoy photographing desks.
They are beautiful, quaint, useful...
It must be my favorite type of furniture.
I wanted to take them all home with me.We were blessed with fantastic weather for most of our trip. the magazine and guardhouse

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Trip Log -- Day 9

Washington, D.C. and the Smithsonian was on the agenda for Tuesday, July 14. We saw our sightseeing spots from last year (like the capitol, Washington Monument, etc.) again from a distance, but we focused on things we didn't get to before.

The Smithsonian is big enough to spend multiple days or weeks in. Since we didn't have that time, we saw the highlights, sped through most of the exhibits, and slowed down to enjoy what we liked the most. We took more photos than we needed... and had a marvelous time!

This post is not an endorsement of the Smithsonian in any way, shape, or form. Caution must be used when visiting any museum. The evolution aspects were discouraging (among other things), but overall, it was a "take it with a grain of salt" experience.

My favorite things included the flag that inspired The Star Spangled Banner at the National History Museum, the collection of gems and precious stones at the Natural History Museum, the Orville and Wilbur Wright exhibit at the Air and Space Museum, and... too much else. I saw Judy Garland's ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz, Apolo Anton Ohno's speed skates from the Olympics, tons of airplanes, space stuff, gems, dinosaur skeletons, and much more.

We had more great family time in the evening -- after we escaped from the Metro system -- so it was a super day all around.

Trip Log -- Day 8

My family, grandma, and Aunt Cindy went to National Harbor on Monday (July 13) for shopping, scenery, and... more food! It is on the Maryland side of the Potomac and was an amazing trip. They brought the outside indoors! Can you imagine shops, restaurants, fountains, streams, trees, flowers, and much more... all in a large glass encased space that feels, smells, and sounds like the great outdoors, but it isn't? When you look up, you see clouds! This Oklahoma girl may be easily impressed, but I had fun!
We take pictures of food in our family.
The outside...... and the inside.

Trip Log -- Day 7

The whole family enjoyed church on Sunday. I missed my home church, Dad, and friends a lot, but it was nice attending my uncle's Sunday School class and worshiping with my aunt, grandma, etc. Most of us went on a walk by the Potomac in the evening after another afternoon of fellowship. It was a beautiful day!

Trip Log -- Day 6, part 2

The brunch

The birthday party

Monday, July 13, 2009

Travel Log -- Day 6

This family loves to celebrate! We started Day 6 (July 11) with a continuation of the wedding festivities by attending a brunch with the newlyweds and all the family. The bride and groom opened presents, and we talked, ate, and took more photos. The brunch was over in the early afternoon, and we headed back to the house, but we weren't finished celebrating!

It was time for my grandmother's birthday party! Her birthday is not until later this week, but we wanted to do something special for her while we were all together. Each of the grandchildren (minus Rob, of course, who was on his way to Hawaii) shared a memory of our grandmother or mentioned ways that she has touched our lives and been a blessing in her family. My presentation was an album with scriptures that remind me of the godly character and devotion of my grandmother. I could not include every verse that has reminded me of her, but I chose a few to read aloud and shared why they were meaningful to me. (The picture on the right is one I included in the album of my grandmother and me when I was younger.)

We had a wonderful time, and I enjoyed hearing my siblings and cousin share. We finished the birthday with a family prayer meeting. Grandma's birthdays are always something to remember!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Travel Log -- Day 5

Pictures of Rob and Jessica's wedding on July 10, 2009
Rob and Jessica with Uncle Pat and Aunt Cindymother and me with the bride before the wedding

me and my grandma
the reception

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Travel Log -- Day 4

Thursday was full! We were able to spend a lot of time with family over a light lunch of green and fruit salads before driving into D.C. for my cousin's wedding rehearsal. We have been advised by fellow Oklahomans to avoid driving in D.C., but that was where we needed to be, so we went -- trusting our GPS to get us there safely and in good time. We found that navigating D.C. is possible -- just difficult -- and a GPS cannot eliminate human error. Unexpected detours continue to be part of our big city experience.

We saw a part of the city we did not see last year when we took the metro and stayed near the capitol and monuments. Our drive took us through charming streets that were nevertheless confined, tight, and traffic packed. We drove down Pennsylvania Avenue, back behind the Library of Congress and Supreme Court, and into residential neighborhoods.

The rehearsal went well. I was able to fellowship with my cousin Christal and her husband Andrew among others and meet members of the bride's family and friends. The evening was joyful, and the food was delicious (I had salmon)!
CousinsDavid, Jessica (the bride) , my cousin Rob (the groom), Susanna, and meThe groom's grandmothers, aunts, mother, and sister

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Travel Log -- Day 3

We made it safely to my aunt and uncle's house last night.

The morning started yesterday with a visit to the Marshall University memorial for those that died in the 1970 plane crash. It is a beautiful campus and was an unexpected stop at the beginning of our day.

West Virginia is gorgeous! Our drive was breathtaking. I am not used to so many trees. It brings back memories from the Massachusetts days, but it is more mountainous here. I will upload some of my pictures later, but they are on my computer, and it doesn't have internet yet. For now, my brother David has agreed to let me post some of his.

After West Virginia came Maryland. That is where we had the best view of the mountains; we stopped at a rest stop up in the hills with a view of the highway far below, a lake, etc. Good times.

Our drive was more difficult when we got closer to D.C. and there were unexpected challenges, but we arrived safe and sound in Virginia to have dinner with my aunt, her mother-in law, and my grandmother. It is so wonderful to be with my grandma again, and we are enjoying being with my Aunt Cindy and Uncle Pat. We talked late into the night about our plans this week.

So, that was yesterday. We have a full day planned today with more family, food, and fun!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Travel Log -- Day 2

We started in Missouri this morning, spent seven minutes in Illinois, and drove for hours and hours in Kentucky this afternoon. The evening found us just over the border in West Virginia. What a day! To my knowledge, I have never been in West Virginia before, so this is one more state to cross off my list (if I had one, anyway).

It was good to see Kentucky again. We drove to the north and south of Kentucky last year -- completely avoiding the state itself -- so the last time I was here was on our move down to Oklahoma almost 11 years ago. That trip was not pleasant, so Kentucky needed another chance. It is beautiful, and we enjoyed it wholeheartedly this time around! I loved the hills, trees, small towns, charming homes, horse barns, etc. There really are a lot of nice places in this country.

We found a colorful town to spend the night, and I enjoyed a delicious cheeseburger for dinner. We will be with family tomorrow night!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Travel Log -- Day 1

My cousin is getting married this week, so my family left home today to start our trek to Virginia. We made it as far as south central Missouri today. The highlights of our day included the Springfield-Greene County Library in Springfield, Missouri and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Home and Museum. The library was a last minute decision made by a genealogy hungry family historian, so I looked for cemetery records and obituaries while the rest of the family headed to lunch. It was more than worth it! I found obituaries for my great, great, great grandparents Dr. William Gale Gray and Caroline McCluer Gray. Also, I found information on three of their young sons that I didn't know about before.

Willie Gray died on 31 July 1870 at the age of 2 months and 11 days.

Thaddius L. Gray died on 20 November 1870 at the age of 3 years, 4 months and 27 days.

Loneas M. Gray died on 18 April 1864 at 3 years, 4 months and 27 days.

The Little House books remain some of my childhood favorites. I remember my mother reading them to us over over hot oatmeal lunches, and I reread them with much enjoyment as I grew older. It was a blessing to see the homes where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her books. My favorite parts included the tiny kitchen, the desks where she wrote her books, and Pa's fiddle.

One day down! Many more to go!