Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Battlefields, Best Friends, and Birthday Fun

Friday we drove just over an hour up to Gettysburg.  The drive was gorgeous!  It wound us through incredibly beautiful countryside filled with rolling open fields lined by hillsides of vibrant fall colors and neatly fenced horse pastures. 

At Gettysburg we learned about the Blue and the Gray.  
They have an amazing display it is an original painting called a "cyclorama."
It was painted not long after the war and measures 377 feet long and 42 feet tall.
It impressively portrays many of the greatest moments from the battle at Gettysburg.

We walked from the visitor's center up through the trees and just enjoying the beautiful
fall day.  It was so nice to have this time just together.  Look closely
and you'll see Aaron is actually holding 3 kids hands, Tessa is sharing the side with Max.  

The trail led us through the woods to where the Union General George McClellan had occupied a widow's home to use as his headquarters.  The small cabin is still there.  I would have loved to spend more time walking around and seeing more of the sights here but we had some tired legs and waining interest shown fairly clearly here in the family photo I demanded.  So we packed up and went back to our friends house to play, which was really the kids favorite thing about the whole trip.

Truly our time on the East Coast would have been no where near as enjoyable if it hadn't  been for these fabulous friends!  Melissa and I have been friends since 2nd grade and it is easy to see why.  She is AWESOME!  Saturday most of her family was able to join us for a trip to Mt. Vernon.  First stop, George Washington's distillery (above) and gristmill (below).  

It is a working gristmill and the kids were fascinated  watching the
water turn the wheel that spun the gears that made the
giant stones turn to grind the grain.   
Outside the gristmill.  

Living quarters for those who worked the distillery existed in the attic above.

Jonah, you may have noticed, was on a funny face kick.
His best friend for the trip, June, was much more cooperative.

Then we headed over to the main Mt. Vernon grounds.  I had just told
 the kids that we would be walking, they take it with various reactions.  
Slave quarters
They were hosting a harvest festival that day so Martha Washington was
out and about and the kids were excited to meet her.  (It almost felt like we
ran into Minnie Mouse at Disneyland.)
Down at the farm the harvest festival was in full swing.  The kids got to roast
apples over an open fire and then dip them in honey for a tasty treat.  

They had also set up a maze of hay bales.  Jonah was elated if he could just
have June with him.  I think she would have appreciated a little less attention.
Eli felt so confident after a couple trips through the maze that he wanted to
do it with his eyes shut, and Owen felt he needed to crawl so he couldn't see
over the bales.  It was fun to watch each kid tailor it to themselves.

His favorite thing was cleaning the wool, a job that
 would have been done a lot by children.  

I absolutely LOVE Mt. Vernon.  George Washington said that there was
not a better situated home in all of the colonies and I agree.  It is so gorgeous and peaceful
and made better by enjoying with friends.  
It was this girl's birthday and she loved spending it at Mt. Vernon.
While we wondered  her day was brightened by thoughtful birthday texts
from some of those she loves.  Thank you!  It made things special for her.   
After such  a full day the only thing to do to keep our sanity was to grab the
quickest crowd pleaser and feed these hungry kids in the parking lot.  

Then back home because we had some birthday celebrations to still enjoy.
Melissa made this wonderful cake and strawberries and whip cream to go
with at the birthday girl's request.  Delicious!

This makes me laugh because Max looks so surprised, but it is the gift he was giving. 

Sunday after church we visited the Washington D.C. temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is exquisite!  They have an amazing visitor center where we spent a good couple of hours looking and interacting with all the displays.  The best thing though is to know that we are all together as a family forever.  We are only a week in to our immersion of quality family time, all the time, but I am loving the relationships we are strengthening and the characters we are building along the way.  We are so blessed!  


  1. What a great start for your your adventures!

  2. What a great start for your your adventures!

  3. Beautiful family photo at the end. I love all the fall colors and interesting activities you are doing...happy travels!

  4. I saved a bunch of these pics! Thanks for sharing. Love hearing about your adventure! We so enjoyed hosting you while you were here!