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.

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One of the Kleenex boxes

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Apparently he liked wipes

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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.

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Heading to Monticello – Blue Ridge Mountains

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Monticello

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The sundial

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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.

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LOVE the blue sky!

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The gardens

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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).

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

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More mountains

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Pansies at the Montpelier Welcome Center

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Montpelier

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The view from Montpelier’s front porch

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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.

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Madison’s front door

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In the gardens

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

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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.

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Market Street – The Mole Hole was a neat little shop

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Mom loves giraffes.  🙂

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

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

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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.  🙂

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

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On a walk with everyone

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You’ve got to LOVE the view

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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

Branson, Winter 2012–Part 1

We spent a long weekend in Branson, and arrived home this Monday.  We went to a few shows, some of us rode a zip line, and we hung out.  It was a lovely time, just getting to chill together.

We drove down to Branson on Thursday, arriving around 4 p.m.  After unpacking and having dinner at Red Lobster, we went and saw the Chinese acrobats at the Shanghai Circus.  Very fun!

While we were at Red Lobster, I decided that it would be fun to take pictures of the food that I ate out at restaurants.  A fun thing to do for somebody who loves food, right?  Well, I followed this up by forgetting my camera the next day (which meant that I didn’t get any photos of that meal), and eating my entire meal at the next restaurant before I remembered that I should have taken a picture.  The third time I didn’t even think about taking a picture.  In fact, I didn’t realize that I missed the third meal until now.  I’m real great at remembering to take pictures of my food, eh?  I wonder what would happen if I tried to do a 365 – it would turn into a 100, if I remembered that often!  😛

On Friday, we went and saw Twice Adopted (it was great!) in the morning, then spent some time walking around downtown Branson.  We had lunch at a place down there, and I shared some AWESOME tomato basil soup with Mom.  I have to recreate that soon.  It was so good.  We spent the evening at our condo being together.

We also bought some Pop-Tarts.  Now, for all my trying to eat healthy, I LOVE POP-TARTS!  I so greatly enjoyed eating Pop-Tarts over the weekend.  Mmmmm…

Now for the photos.  I forgot my camera on Friday, for which I was most sad.  😦  Most of these are from Thursday, and a few are from Friday night.  During intermission at the New Shanghai Circus, Drake and I entertained ourselves with self-portraits, portraits, and random shots.  I sure had a blast with those, and I hope you enjoy them, too!

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Waiting for food

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I ordered the four-course feast, or something like that.  It was SO GOOD!  Creamy potato soup to start it off…

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…and then a salad

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The faces Drake often makes for me when I point that camera at him.

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What?

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ARRRRGH!

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Love him – he’s just so funny

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Meiling being funny – I’m not sure how to caption these

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I think they speak for themselves

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My main course, minus the shrimp, which I ate before I remembered to take a picture.  Sound familiar? 🙂

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Dessert – a brownie.  It was very good, despite the fact that it had too much chocolate and caramel syrups

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We drove through a Christmas light display before going to the Chinese acrobat show

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Meiling 🙂

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At intermission

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One of those moments

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Fun with the lights

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Little Peanut hands

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Toe shoes

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Now here begins the random self-portraits

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Siblings

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I know I said this before, but he is SO MUCH FUN

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Helooooooo

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Rows of chairs, red ones specifically, are fun

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Drake had a turn with the camera and took a few photos of yours truly. 🙂

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Now, photos from Friday night.

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Dad purchased this kit to mix your own chip flavors.  He likes chips.  I like him. 🙂

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Drake, making his epic face

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The chips, all ready to eat

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Playing games