Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas with the Smiths

We were thrilled that a last minute plan to visit Staunton worked out to visit Josh's family!  We said goodbye to Mimi and Bampa and headed to the Valley!  We started out at Gramma J's, and we played and visited for a bit before heading out to meet Aunt Jenny, Uncle Bob, Drake and Killian at Cracker Barrel for lunch.  We had a WONDERFUL time, but I am quite unhappy that I didn't get some pictures since this has never happened before!  LOL  We'll just have to work on that again soon!  We played at Gramma's for a bit more before heading to Windjammer.  We spent the rest of the afternoon visiting with Uncle Larry, Aunt Murph, Aunt Jeannie and Uncle Wayne!  We had a great time eating and catching up.
Josh got a harmonica as a gift, and Jackson LOVES it!  He's not too bad...  UVa harmonica scholarship, here we come!
Graham was really just interested in Aunt Murph's supply of blueberries!  He was hilarious!  I gave him a few as a snack, but he kept going back to the bowl and eventually ate them all!
Graham and his blueberries and Jackson harmonica-ing
Uncle Wayne and Graham :)
Uncle Larry and Jackson
The Smurphs and the boys :)

We had a great visit!  We are thoroughly exhausted and looking forward to spending the day relaxing and catching up today!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Fun in DC with Mimi and Bampa

Well, we certainly packed a lot into our last day with Mimi and Bampa visiting!  The last thing on our list we really wanted to do all together was go see ZooLights at the National Zoo.  We also had a few things in the city we wanted to do.  Our usual M.O. is to head into the city first thing in the morning to hit the ground running and stay ahead of the crowds. BUT, since we wanted to stay in the city until it was dark for ZooLights, we didn't go into the city until after a delicious lunch at Five Guys.  The first thing on our list was to visit the train exhibit at The U.S. Botanic Garden, but it was on EVERYONE else's list...and then some :(  We never even saw the end of the line wrapped around the building!  Next year--first on the list during the holidays!!!
Mimi and I had gotten out with the boys while Dad and Josh looked for parking, so we did make it as far as this beautiful tree in the regular part of the gardens.  There was a small train running around the base of it, so that placated Jackson for now!
Happy boys!
What a cool decoration!
Dad and Josh were having a hard time finding parking, so Mom and I started walking towards our next stop: The American History Museum.  They finally found parking, we met up with them, and we all walked over to the museum.  Jackson really wanted to see the big American flag, so we did that.  
We made use of the back-wearing function of the Ergo!  After a little more wandering, Dad and I took Graham and Jackson to see some helicopters flown in war.  As we wandered at a five-year old's pace, I loved listening to my dad tell Jackson little historical tidbits.  I can't wait until Jackson's a little bit older so they can take a special field trip to the museum for Dad to share much more of his knowledge :)  
Dad and Josh took off to pick up the cars, and Mom and I took the boys over to see the National Christmas Tree.  Luckily, we had friends give us a heads up that it isn't quite as impressive as one might think, because it really isn't what I would have imagined as a National Tree.  But, I LOVED seeing it, and I think I want to make visiting it a regular tradition.  Surrounding the big tree are 56 smaller trees making up the Christmas Pathway of Peace.  There is one tree for each state, DC, and each territory.  Each tree has themed ornaments specific to the location.  Those were really fun to walk around!
In front of the Virginia tree
The Nebraska tree
We got down to the zoo as planned, and we started off in the visitors' center with the train exhibit and gingerbread houses, so everyone else could look around while I fed Graham dinner.  I knew he would be ready for bed while we were out, so I figured getting him fed was key to keeping him happy!  
Jackson got to ride on the carousel--here is a selfie of us waiting in line!
He rode on the elephant, and he loved it!  All of the animals on the carousel are beautifully done!  Can't wait to ride again in the warmer weather :)  Mom and Dad loved ZooLights!  We all had such a good time walking around.  
Here is our good sport after we pulled into the garage.  He did awesome!  The rest of us ordered pizza and had an early evening after all that sightseeing!

On the way home from the zoo, Josh and I decided we would go visit his family and leave at the same time as Mom and Dad, so we started planning for that!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Boxing Day in Occoquan

We had a lovely two days relaxing and hanging around the house, but we were ready to get our yesterday!  Josh and I have heard great things about Occoquan, a cute little town between here and Springfield, but we have never been there!  We decided to go wander around and find somewhere for lunch.  
Cute boys!  They actually end up coordinating, clothes-wise, most days even though I don't plan it!
And, Bampa and Graham matched!
A little rock walking
I hate that this picture is not in focus :(  But, I wanted to include it anyways!
Our tourists :)

We found a cute store to browse and buy some ornaments for next Christmas!  We also all enjoyed browsing a fun puzzle store--they had some really fun stuff!  We ate lunch at the Virginia Grille, which was yummy!

Josh ended up not feeling great, so he stayed home with the boys while Mom and Dad and I tried out a restaurant down the street, Tizianos.  It was yummy, but I don't think we'll be going back.  Josh and I really like to give business to the small, local businesses, but we were disappointed when we tried the restaurant next door right after moving here.  Tizianos just doesn't look very appealing from the outside.  But, I looked up the reviews, and most of them said the outside was deceiving, and to not be fooled!  The food WAS good, and the inside was much prettier than the outside, but it still was a little odd...  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Two Silly Boys

I did get a couple of cute, posed shots, but I really thought the whole process was hilarious, so here are the outtakes too!
Jackson has gotten really good at this pose, but Graham isn't quite there
Looking for the bell ornament
There's Bampa!
Mommy is HILARIOUS if she thinks this is going to get any better!
It's so hard to look away from Bampa!

My dad was actually quite the professional child-wrangler as I tried to take these pictures! 

Christmas on Talon Drive

We had a wonderful Christmas morning!  I LOVE watching everyone open their presents, and we've always taken turns in our family.  This year, we decided to mostly let the boys do all of their opening and then while Graham napped and Jackson played the rest of us could open at a more relaxed speed :)
Graham got a creatively wrapped wagon full of Mega Bloks from Santa!
Someone was SO excited with the Batcave Santa brought!
Awesome face!
Santa brought Bampa a renewed subscription to his Crossword Club
I made all of our stockings this year!  They each have the same red fabric, but they each have a different fabric for the cuff.
Jackson was a good helper passing out gifts!
Graham climbed on top of and sat on this box for his new train for a while before he wanted it opened to actually play with!  The love of boxes continues!
Josh always ends up with a bow on his face!
I like this sweet picture of Graham and Jackson both checking out the solar dancing flower from Mimi.
Bampa's stocking has a Christmas crossword on it
Mimi got cardinals
Mine has pretty trees
Jackson's has moose, and we didn't get a picture of Graham's :(  I also already made two for Larry and Michelle in anticipation of them being here for Christmas one year!!!
Jackson and Mimi and the cute bird decoration he picked out.  He chose the one wearing earmuffs because Mimi wears earmuffs :)
Even more socks for Josh--this guy is easy to please!
Love this snuggle buggle!

In the midst of opening presents we stopped for brunch.  I made homemade cinnamon rolls and sausage egg muffins.  After we finished opening presents, and the boys went down for naps/quiet time, we enjoyed playing a game and had Tom and Jerries--another Becker tradition :)  Dad usually stands in the kitchen holding the hand beater forever beating the egg whites, so he was pleased with my KitchenAid mixer for the task ;)
The afternoon was spent playing with toys, exchanging presents with the Bashores while they came over for a while, and then ordering in Chinese food for dinner.  Dad and Josh did an awesome job cleaning up dinner and the kitchen and putting the boys to bed so Mom and I could go see "Saving Mr. Banks."  It was SO good!  I am so thankful that my dad and my husband enjoy spending time together and they don't mind holding down the fort while Mom and I escape for some of our favorite things :)