Charlottesville, VA

Our last stop was 10 or so days near Charlottesville, Virginia (we were in Nellysford, specifically).  This is the city where I was born, and we were able to be there over my 18th birthday, which was quite fun.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

We arrived at the rental house (have I mentioned how much I love VRBO?!) at, oh, 9-ish on Wednesday, the same day we’d toured the Capital

*Important urgent update*  I can’t remember everything we did and in what order it was done.  We spent some days just chilling, so I will recap the highlights in the order I remember.

The first day (Thursday) we drove by the hospital building where I was born (the hospital has now moved), Dad’s old work building, and Mom and Dad’s old home.  We also stopped by the home of some of our previous neighbors, and my first baby sitter.  🙂  We also did the necessary grocery shopping.

Friday was my birthday.  I chose to spend it quietly at the rental, and not go anywhere.  Dad and the younger children went in to town to get the car looked at, because the brakes were squeaking.  (We were staying up on a mountain, which was a *little* rough on the car.)  I opted to stay home.  I believe I updated my “About” page.  I painted my toenails a cute red.  And I made some AWESOME grain-free chocolate chip cookies, a recipe that I had gotten from a good friend.  They were so good, the batter even was good (one of my tests to see if a recipe will turn out).  We made pizza for dinner, and I made this delicious grain-free pizza crust.  LOVE it!

It had been a rather warm day, and we had had the windows open most of the afternoon.  We also had the front door open, as there was a storm door.  When we were just about done with dessert, Mom looked up and said, “Noah, was that you?”

Noah was loading a dish in the kitchen.

“Did you make that noise?”

Noah was peeking around the corner toward the front door.  “No, it came from over there.”

Mom sent Drake over to look.  Drake took a quick look. “Dad?  You need to come over here.”

Dad quickly marched over to the door and slammed it.  As the front door was glass, we could still see outside.  Dad flicked on the outside light, and it revealed…

A BEAR!

A good-sized black bear had smelled the cooking and had come around to see what was going on.  He had opened the storm door (yes, you read that right) and was standing on the threshold, ready to come inside, but he hesitated and had turned around, which gave Dad time to shut the door.  He stood up on his hind legs and put his paws on the glass.  And pushed.

I must confess.  I was pretty scared.  Yes, my knees were knocking.  So before you peg me as being brave, imagine me standing around the corner, knees knocking, asking if *just maybe* we should call the police.

*cough*

We did call the police, but by the time the police came (they came quite quickly), the bear had left.  While we were waiting for them to arrive, Mom noticed that the lights in the van were on.  After asking everyone, it was ascertained that no one had left the door open.  When the police came, they told us that it was the bear.  The bear had opened two doors on our van, and had rifled through the whole thing. 

There was dirt and pollen all in the car.  On. Every. Chair.

There hadn’t been any food in there, but the bear had helped himself to a few Kleenex boxes, a water bottle, a cup, and the wipe container.  He had put a few rips in the back seat of the car.

Sadly, I GOT NO PICTURES of the bear.  But I did get photos of some of his damage.

_MG_9742

One of the Kleenex boxes

_MG_9744

Apparently he liked wipes

_MG_9745

 

_MG_9748

He didn’t get the top off 🙂

The next day we went to Monticello, which was quite interesting.  It has beautiful views.  Given, there are beautiful views EVERYWHERE in Virginia.  But Monticello had beautiful views.

_MG_9749

Heading to Monticello – Blue Ridge Mountains

_MG_9766

Monticello

_MG_9756

The sundial

_MG_9776

 

_MG_9791

A hallway that goes underneath Monticello.  Monticello is built on a mountain (Monticello means Little Mountain), and things are built on levels as you go down the mountain.  The roof of part of this hallway is the terrace that comes out of Monticello.  Off to the right are the old slaves’ quarters (not down the hallway, but off to the right in the picture).  It’s a rather interesting set-up.  Anyways, down this hall is the wine cellar.

_MG_9828

LOVE the blue sky!

_MG_9832

The gardens

_MG_9833

Some local grape juice that we purchased.  It taste like raisins.  Very…interesting.  I’d get the purple kind next time.  🙂

The next week Mom took us to Montpelier (Dad was working).  Montpelier was my favorite of the three president’s homes that we visited.  It was the least recreated, but it is just gorgeous.  And the view.  Oh the view.  (You’ll see it below).

_MG_9853

We stopped at a scenic overlook on the way to Montpelier.  I believe this is looking toward Charlottesville.

_MG_9866

More mountains

_MG_9870

 

_MG_9886

Pansies at the Montpelier Welcome Center

_MG_9908

Montpelier

_MG_9896

The view from Montpelier’s front porch

_MG_9898

If you look very carefully at the horizon, you can see the Blue Ridge Mountains.  They are 20 miles away.  B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L.

_MG_9900

Madison’s front door

_MG_9901

 

_MG_9927

In the gardens

_MG_9931

 

_MG_9940

Drake’s legs were sore, so he went to chill in the shade.  Meiling joined him.

_MG_9946

 

_MG_9974

On the way home

Mom took Noah, Meiling, and I to Market Street in Charlottesville to walk around.  It is blocked off so no cars are there.  It is chock full of cute little shops.

_MG_9991

Market Street – The Mole Hole was a neat little shop

_MG_9995

Mom loves giraffes.  🙂

_MG_0002

When my parents lived in Charlottesville, they visited this restaurant often.  It was Sylvia’s Pizza then.  Now it’s Vita Nova.

_MG_0011

We stopped at this little gelato shop.  It. Was. AWESOME!!!!

_MG_0005

My ice cream.  I had a chocolate sorbet and a dulce de leche ice cream.  Oh my.  The dulce de leche ice cream was SO VERY VERY good.  I got one ice cream and one sorbet, so at least I was HALF good.  🙂

_MG_0025

On the way home we stopped at a creek that ran along the side of the road, and I played with shutter speed.

_MG_0033

 

_MG_0060

On a walk with everyone

_MG_0077

You’ve got to LOVE the view

_MG_0083

King of the hill 🙂

 

This *officially* concludes all the posts about our trip.  I’m really glad that it’s done now, as I have some exciting things to post!  Well, I hope you enjoyed!

Love,
Allison

Advertisements

On to D.C. – Part 2

On Tuesday we went to Mount Vernon.  It.  Was. Gorgeous.  Mount Vernon is beautiful – the house is well kept, and the grounds are beautifully planted.  Also, the Welcome Center has an AWESOME museum underneath it, and we only got to spend a few minutes in it.

Wednesday we went to the Library of Congress and the U.S. Capital.  The Library of Congress was beautiful.  They had a Gutenberg Bible there, which was really neat to see.  Also, they had some exhibits in the basement, one of which was about the Gershwins.  They had George Gershwin’s piano there!

Next we went to the Capital.  I really enjoyed the tour – seeing all the rooms that I had heard about and (risking sounding cheesy) only seen on T.V.  We were able to sit in the Senate chamber during one of the votes on gun control.  It was fascinating, at least for me.  Meiling didn’t find it that interesting, but she was such a good girl and sat quietly.  I was quite proud of her.  We were in the Senate chamber during several votes, which were so interesting to watch.  The senators were milling about, talking, and then it would be time for the vote.  The lady tallying the vote would look around the room, and the senators would just give a thumbs up or thumbs down.  Then, after a bit, she would read through the votes, and then start calling senators by name, and they would vote.  Then she would tally the votes.  It was interesting how almost disorganized it had appeared, with the senators in their groups talking, and the votes happening.

After we left the Capital, we drove the two hours down to Charlottesville, VA.

And now for the photos.

_MG_9383

At Mount Vernon

_MG_9407

Heading in

_MG_9418

 

_MG_9427

A walkway (wow, am I profound today!)

_MG_9447

My boys

_MG_9457

The view is amazing

_MG_9475

Drake

_MG_9541

Thyme.  I LOVE thyme.

_MG_9546

The 8-sided wheat-treading barn

_MG_9642

Library of Congress

_MG_9647

 

_MG_9653

 

_MG_9656

This and the following photos:  The inside was GORGEOUS!

_MG_9661

 

_MG_9663

 

_MG_9666

 

_MG_9670

 

_MG_9671

 

_MG_9675

 

_MG_9677

George Gershwin’s piano!

_MG_9678

Walking to the U.S. Capital

_MG_9688

The rotunda

_MG_9693

The Jefferson Davis statue in Statuary Hall

_MG_9707

I tried several views of the Capital, so bear with me.  It’s right up there with the Washington Monument.

_MG_9716

 

_MG_9719

 

_MG_9728

First Stop: Plymouth, MA

Sorry for the long time (for me) without a post.  We attended the Family Economics last week, and this week we’ve had a cold going around our home, which I now have.

So, yes, I am sick *again.*  (I am starting to think that I just might have a sluggish immune system – I get sick with every cold that goes around, or at least I FEEL like I do!)

Anyways.  Back to the subject at hand.

On our trip East, our first stop was Plymouth, MA.  We rented a house right on the Cape, which was lovely.  The view out of my window was the ocean.  I could hear it when I was lying in bed at night.  It was lovely.

We arrived there late Sunday evening, unloaded the trailer, and headed to bed.  The next day was spent unpacking, grocery shopping, and settling.

 

_MG_8527

The view from my window.  Lovely, eh?

_MG_8541

Random shot from the car window

_MG_8547

Everyone else was having fried chicken for lunch, and I had this – smoked salmon, cultured butter, and rosemary-olive oil cheese (I can’t remember exactly what type of cheese it was).  The grocery store we went to had all this awesome food – cultured butter, cheese, and fun meats.  You see what floats my boat!

Dad took me down to the beach, which was a 3/10th of a mile down the road.  We spent some time walking around, chatting, and I took plenty of photos!  Even though it was rather chilly, it was fun.  And you can’t get a landlocked Midwesterner that close to the ocean without her getting to the beach!

 

_MG_8615

 

_MG_8549

 

_MG_8554

 

_MG_8557

There was lots of water running and making pretty patterns in the sand

_MG_8565

 

_MG_8586

 

_MG_8619

Ahh…water…

_MG_8633

Ocean!  Please come home with me!

_MG_8654

 

_MG_8672

 

_MG_8679

 

_MG_8777

This one’s from the next day, when we all went down to the beach together

_MG_8736

Twilight

_MG_8730

I decided to get up at 5 one morning to take a picture of the sunrise.  Meiling insisted that she get up with me.  We went downstairs, and sat on the couch to wait.  Meiling immediately launched into this whole story about how Noah took this picture of himself blah blah blah blah.  I just sat back and told her she had WAY to much energy for 5 o’clock in the morning.  In the end, we didn’t get that amazing of a sunrise – it just got gradually lighter.

 

The next three days we spent with the Heroes, History, and Hope tour.  It was wonderful to hear the pilgrim stories and to stand where they had stood.  The first day we visited many monuments and sites in Plymouth.  Thursday was spent visiting the dock where the Mayflower II would have been (it was undergoing repairs, so we didn’t get to see it) and Plimoth Plantation.  Friday we went to the Forefather’s Monument and the pilgrim museum – I can’t remember the exact name.

_MG_8905

Plymouth Rock

_MG_8934

 

_MG_8937

First Parish Church in Plymouth – this was the original church started by the pilgrims when they arrived in Plymouth.  In the 1800s, I believe, this church adopted Unitarianism…

_MG_8939

…and then some people separated and started the Church of the Pilgrimage, which is right next door.  The Church of the Pilgrimage – this photo and the next.

_MG_8945

 

_MG_8959

Pilgrim sarcophagus on Cole’s Hill

_MG_8970

 

_MG_8980

At Plimoth Plantation

_MG_8984

 

_MG_8993

The Forefather’s Monument – it was really chilly when we were there, so we only stayed for 20 minutes instead of the two hours we had been hoping to.

_MG_8997

Just Got Back

We just arrived home this past Saturday from a long, three-week trip on the East Coast.  We spent a week in Plymouth, MA, 5 days in Washington, D.C., and 9 days near Charlottesville, VA.  It was a lovely trip, and I will hopefully be posting more extensive photo-posts soon.  But, just for fun, I took a bunch of self-portraits at different places we went.  Here they are!

_MG_8602

You can’t let a Midwesterner near the ocean, without them making it to the ocean.  🙂

_MG_9083

Smithsonian Museum of American History

_MG_9149

George Mason Monument

_MG_9242

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

_MG_9278

At the Smithsonian Museum of Air and Space…

_MG_9276

…with my bro

_MG_9328

World War II Monument

_MG_9358

At the Bureau of Engraving and Printing…

_MG_9363

…again with my brother.

_MG_9424

Mount Vernon

_MG_9648

The Library of Congress

_MG_9709

The Capitol

_MG_9779

Monticello

_MG_9877

Blue Ridge Mountains

_MG_9906

Montpelier

 

(If I look like I am only giving a partial-smile in some of the photos, it’s just because I am focusing on taking the picture and not enough on smiling.)

Fun at the Farm

Yesterday I went to a friend’s farm to learn how to make soap.  Well, that was the intended purpose.  And we did make soap.  But we did plenty of other things.  🙂

I got there at about 8:45 a.m., just a little late for goat milking.  I love goats.  I have wanted goats for awhile.  I love milking, but I have never milked a cow.  Just a goat.  I also like goats because they are smaller.  And their milk tastes fine if you handle it properly.  So I got to milk a goat for a little bit.  Mrs. O. also had some kids, and they were very adorable.  Two were pretty young, so they are little and very soft.  Another kid is being bottle fed, so it follows Mrs. O. around like Mrs. O. is her mother.  The kid’s name is Lindy.  She is also very cute.  I stood with the goats and pet them as they all gathered around me.  The two youngest kids nibbled at my skirt.  I also went up into the hayloft.  What is so special about the hayloft?  I could see Mrs. O. and the goats down below me while I swept up the stray bits of hay.

After the milking, we went in to make soap.  First we had to find all Mrs. O.’s soap making supplies, as she had them in different places.  When we had the buckets of oil out, we ran into a minor dilemma.  One bucket of oil wasn’t labeled, and another was labeled as two different things.  We spent some time examining the oils and trying to determine what they were.  This is important, because when you make soap, you have to use a specific amount of lye for each different type of oil.  If we didn’t figure the oils out, the soap wouldn’t work.  Just as we decided which oil was which, I went back to get another bucket of the coconut oil to see what it looked like.  Thankfully I did, because it turned out that what we thought was palm kernel oil was actually coconut, and vice versa.

Making the soap was actually not hard at all.  Most of the time was spent getting the oils and lye to cool to the proper temperature.  After that it didn’t take long.  We decided to scent it peach gardenia , and color the soaps pink.  Mrs. O. cut the bars today, and said they are lovely.  I can’t wait to make more.

Once the soap was in the mold, we cleaned up, then ate lunch.  After lunch we walked down to The Church.

The Church is an old country church just down the road from their home.  It is so close, you can see it from their house.  There aren’t any services there anymore, except for a memorial service there once a year.  Mrs. O. said that there hasn’t been a regular service for about 50 years.

Around The Church is an old cemetery.  We spent some time walking around in the cemetery on the right side of The Church, where the older gravestones are.  The oldest stone that we saw was dated 1871.  There were a few that only had initials on them, and we were guessing that those could be even older.

Then we went inside.  The pews are still there, and there is a big table made out of some boards set atop some pews for when they have a potluck.  There are two old pianos up in front, and I was able to play one.  It was out of tune and the keys stuck a little, but it was still wonderful.

After we came back, we (Mrs. O., Mrs. O.’s daughter Holly, and I) went for a ride around their property.  We were looking for a calf that was born a few days ago, but we weren’t able to find it.  We got to see anther calf, though, and the goats that they have out grazing in the field, and the sheep.  I shot a few pictures.

After our ride, we made some mocha milkshakes and sat around and talked.  Soon it was time for dinner, and I went home after the evening milking.

It was so fun.  Thank you so much for having me out,  Mrs. O. and Holly!  I can’t wait until we do it again!

_MG_0651

Mrs. O. …

_MG_0650

…making the lye mixture

_MG_0654

The oils

_MG_0662

Stirring the melted oils – Those are all the soap pictures that I took.  I will post more when she gives me the soap

_MG_0665

Going to The Church – the dogs came with us

_MG_0670

The Church

_MG_0673

The front door

_MG_0676

The graveyard on the left

_MG_0688

 

_MG_0692

Lots of old gravestones

_MG_0695

 

_MG_0697

These only had initials on them

_MG_0702

 

_MG_0705

 

_MG_0714

Inside The Church – the pianos are one behind the other

_MG_0718

The pews

_MG_0719

The piano I couldn’t play

_MG_0722

 

_MG_0724

Up above, where you would usually put your music

_MG_0726

Mrs. O. put this Bible there.  She said that she thought it needed to be there, just in case.

_MG_0728

The piano I played

_MG_0729

 

_MG_0733

 

_MG_0735

The ceiling – just thought you would like to see it

_MG_0739

Up front

_MG_0742

Walking out of The Church

_MG_0743

Macy!  Meiling loves this dog. 🙂

_MG_0746

The door – they tie it shut so it won’t blow open

_MG_0751

There is a board of directors that still takes care of the building.  It is kept in great shape.

_MG_0756

A barn across the way

_MG_0761

And some trees 🙂

_MG_0763

You have to love those gravel roads

_MG_0764

Macy!

_MG_0766

Beautiful fields

_MG_0773

 

_MG_0777

 

_MG_0785

 

_MG_0793

The cows

_MG_0798

The sweet calf

_MG_0801

Sheepies

_MG_0805

They have one tan sheep, for color

_MG_0811

The goats that they have out for grazing (these are not the milk goats) coming to meet us

_MG_0814

While we were leaving, the sun was setting

_MG_0824

Reformation Day

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his ninety-five thesis on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany.  This one act was the beginning of the Reformation, which led to a return to many biblical doctrines, such as the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith.  Some of the rallying cries of the Reformation are:

Solus Christus – by Christ Alone

Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone

Sola Gratia – by Grace Alone

Sola Fide – by Faith Alone

Coram Deo – in the Presence of God

Soli Deo Gloria – to God be the Glory

Communio Sanctorum – the Priesthood of Every Believer

Post Tenebras Lux – After Darkness, Light*

I am inspired by reading the stories of these great men of faith (Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others).  I feel so blessed to be a child of God, and to be able to call these men my brothers in Christ.

Happy Reformation Day!

Soli Deo Gloria!

*These were taken from a paper compiled by Pastor Marcus J. Serven, Th. M., titled “The Rallying Cries of the Reformation”