Monday, February 23, 2009

He walks!

Karen is convinced that Luke has been holding out on us. And I agree--you don't go from not walking at all to taking 3-4 steps at a time. Yet this is the first time we've ever seen him walk. And it's SO exciting...even after watching 4 other kids learn to walk. Yea for Luke!!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Richmond - National History

If you ever see Richmond, Virginia in a TV show or movie...the Washington Monument will be shown: Our family took a day trip to Richmond today. Every once in a while, as we were walking through the capitol, we realized who had walked these very halls. It felt sacred at times. American freedoms were established here and a governing body from seceded states gathered here to preserve what they thought was just. As we briefly discussed the Civil War with the kids, we better understood the significance of that event in our nation's history.
Thomas Jefferson designed the Capitol building in 1785. If you visit his home at the Monticello and the University of Virginia you'll see some similarities. The six white columns here contain the original pine tree center posts.

I don't think I've EVER seen a painting this large. It was HUGE!!!

The Bill of Rights was ratified into the U.S. Constitution in the room below where the kids are sitting. Aaron Burr was also tried for treason in this room.

Here's a sculpture of General Robert E. Lee in the old hall of the house of delegates (the same room as above). This was the Capitol of the Confederacy from 1861-1865. Union forces took control of Richmond on April 3, 1865. Abraham Lincoln visited the Capitol the next day...just 10 days before his assassination.

Life size statue of George Washington that was placed in the rotunda in 1796.

The east and west wings were not completed until 1906.

After the Capitol, we went to the museum and White House of the Confederacy. This man below participates in all the civil war reenactments throughout the state. He could tell you ANYTHING you want to know about the civil war...a wealth of knowledge.

Here's the back of the White House. It's renovation is nearly complete and will reopen to the public in March.
Here's the front door to the White House of the Confederacy.

And on the way home...Luke was riding in style! :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I've seen him on TV

And now Jason Wright was in our home. He's a political guru and an author (not about politics). He's written four books. And he came to a book club hosted by Karen to talk about "The Wednesday Letters." I think that's the first time a famous person has stepped inside our home. Kinda cool.

And so was he. Here's right after we met. A little awkward 'cuz I didn't even know the guy. But he and my sister Laurel are good friends so we had some bonding connection. Still a bit weird. But he pulled out his Blackberry so he could take a picture of us for it created a good excuse to pull out our camera. Here's the picture at the end of the night. Still, I had only known Jason for a couple of hours...but we had bonded. I have a fear of spiders...he has a fear of snakes. When I kept asking him questions even though I'm not a member of the book club he mentioned more than once how much I reminded him of Laurel.
If you haven't read his books, they come highly recommended. His second book was "Christmas Jars." It's a quick read and very moving. "The Wednesday Letters" is unrealistically possible as Karen coined the phrase tonight. Jason said that what inspires him is watching people (with a little eavesdropping here and there). He takes a real conversation or a real event and creates a story out of it. "The Wednesday Letters" came about from him hearing about a couple's "what if" conversation regarding a tragedy that would probably never happen...but could happen. He took that one conversation and created an incredible story that is founded on the principles of the Atonement.
Jason has a couple of books coming out in the next year or so. I wouldn't be surprised if they end up on the New York Times bestseller list as his previous books have done. "Recovering Charles," his fourth book, is still on the list after 22 or 23 weeks.

It was an enjoyable evening! In order, Tiffany, Beth, Karen, Jason, Ann, Beth, and Julie.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Softer than rain

Snowfall here in central Virginia is not as quiet as other places we've lived. Have you ever been outside at night when it's snowing? It's always seemed extremely quiet. I would stand there and watch the snow fall, but I would never hear anything...I love that sound! :) But here, with all the trees, it almost sounds like rain...but much softer. And I love this sound as well. So yes, it has finally snowed here. I don't think we'll get much. But at this point I'm willing to take anything.

I love how clean snow makes the earth appear. I love the light against the dark background with a blanket of white on the ground. This picture is a perfect illustration of a welcoming home to a wandering stranger.