Archive for Family

Weekend Review: Hillwood Estate

This past weekend, Mom came to visit. Like other times she’s visited, I try to take her somewhere special in DC. This trip we went to Hillwood Estate, a great recommendation from my colleague Elizabeth. Mom loved it and raved about how perfect the day was. πŸ™‚

We got there around 10 AM when they first opened and it was great to explore the grounds while no one else was there. We even stopped into the little cafe and had Afternoon Tea. It was true afternoon tea with a small selection plate and a pot of brew. Mom and I felt the tiniest bit fancy and we both had an amazing day.

I don’t want to bore you with the back story, because the pictures are so fun, but I feel like I have to give you some info to go off of here. The Hillwood Estate was owned by Majorie Merriweather Post. If you live in the area, that’s the same Merriweather Post as the Pavilion. For everyone else, that’s the same Post as in Post cereal. YUP! Cereal tycoon in the hizzous. Over her lifetime, not only did she participate in being independently stinkin’ rich, but she also had a taste for art. After a stint in Russia with her 3rd hubby, she started collecting a lot of Russian artifacts. And that’s how Hillwood was born. First as her own private museum and later public after she passed away. And now… PICTURES!

There was much much more of the insides, but I think there’s enough there to entertain you. The gardens were amazing too, but my favorite was the Japanese Garden. I couldn’t help but play and I loved these pictures Mom took of me!

Enjoy, I tried to make the captions as descriptive as possible.

Hillwood Estate - Entrance

Hillwood Estate – Entrance

Grand staircase in the foyer.

Grand staircase in the foyer.

Fancy artwork and statues in the foyer

Fancy artwork and statues in the foyer

First floor library

First floor library

French room (named for the origin of most pieces)

French room (named for the origin of most pieces)

Main dining hall

Main dining hall

Breakfast nook

Breakfast nook

Amazing centerpiece - they have quite the greenhouse on site!

Amazing centerpiece – they have quite the greenhouse on site!

Selfie with Mom in the greenhouse!

Selfie with Mom in the greenhouse!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden

Me playing!

Me playing!

Just a hop, skip, and a jump! :)

Just a hop, skip, and a jump! πŸ™‚

Family: The Wee-Yins Part 2

In 2012, I shared a few pictures of my nieces and nephews, taking absolute pride and joy that I was indeed an auntie. I also loved that I got to see eachΒ  munchkin right as they had been born. A year later, there was a new addition to the family but because the family lives in England, I wasn’t able to cuddle this cutie until now. Meet Georgina!

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Number 4 (of 5) is also my god-daughter. I’ve never been a god-parent and I can’t honestly say I really know what that entails, but I plan on snuggling and spoiling her rotten (as I do with ALL the kiddos). She is so much the spit-image of my sister it cracks me up. I want a mini-me! Haha.

And then nearly 2 weeks ago, we welcomed yet another cuddle bug to the family. This is Gabriel and the youngest brother to Matthew and Maddie. I can’t believe how tiny he is. So wee, so fragile, so perfect.

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I’d be willing to bet my mama-clock is on overdrive and I have a little bit of baby fever (how could you not around these cuties?), but I love these kids to the moon and back. I can’t wait to watch them grow into tiny little humans. Aren’t they just the sweetest? Clearly, not biased at all!

Weekend review: Running Hare Vineyard

This past weekend felt more on-the-go than previous ones as I was just trying to tick off all the little to-dos before next Sunday! There were a few dinners with friends, light shopping, a hair appointment, and even a trip to a vineyard with my friend Sandra and my sister.

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My sis and I had planned a vineyard outing awhile back and I was going to find a few in Northern VA for us to visit; however, after finding a deal for Running Hare Vineyard (located in Prince Frederick, MD) the other week, this became our destination. It was almost too good to be true – a tasting for 2, 2 souvenir glasses, and any bottle of wine from the tasting menu for just $20! Mega steal! Plus, you could bring a wee picnic and make a day of it listening to the live music.

On the flip side of that, in an effort to use up most of the food I had before travels, my friend Sandra and I made grape leaves. Since she’s Egyptian and my dad’s side of the family is Lebanese, it was fun to compare recipes and styles. In the end, they came out brilliantly and we knew they would be perfect for our winery picnic.

So off we went to Prince Frederick and enjoyed the fall foliage along the way. We arrived around 1, enjoyed our tasting, and then set ourselves in the sun to enjoy our bottle of wine and our homemade noms. We had so much fun we ended up staying until 5 when the sun started to set and the crowd started to dwindle. It was a beautiful vineyard and one I’d definitely visit again!

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Weekend review: Mount Vernon

Mom has been in town since Tuesday and we’ve done lots of mother/daughter activities all week long, but the best of the best had to be on Sunday when we visited Mount Vernon. If you’re an avid checker of my goal lists, you’ll know that Mount Vernon has been on my DC bucket list for quite some time; but as of yesterday, it has officially been crossed off!

Not only was it a gorgeous day out, but it was also Mother’s Day, which made the adventure that much greater since I visited with Mom. Everyone was in good spirits and everywhere we turned, we were greeted with ‘Happy Mother’s Day!’

We started our adventure early and arrived at Mount Vernon close to 9:30. It’s lucky we did as we had to wait at least an hour for our mansion tour time to start, but in the mean time we visited the Upper gardens, the slave quarters, and a few of the trade shops (shoemaker, blacksmith, etc).

Here’s myself and Mom just outside the Upper gardens:

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And here are the Upper gardens. Mom had fun checking out all the flowers.

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After we’d explored a bit and watched the intro movie to learn more about Mount Vernon, we got in line for our mansion tour, but not before snapping this shot (pre-tour group overload). Old George was certainly living the good life.

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The line wasn’t very long and looking back, it’s well planned that you enter the mansion at a certain time. This way you’re not waiting more than 20 minutes to enter as everything is a flowing walking tour. While we waited, I snapped a picture of the mansion up-close:

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Unfortunately, you can’t take pictures inside the house, so I made sure to snap all the outside views as much as possible. Like this one from the side archways:

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And this one from the back porch:

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All in all, the grounds were beautiful and everything was maintained well. All restorations are funded by the entry fees and from private donations. I’d like to think that I own a little bit of Mount Vernon now. Oh, by the way, did I mention it was windy? No? Well, it was windy…

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So if you live in the area, but haven’t been out to visit George Washington’s home, I highly recommend it. It’s actually open every day of the year and I hear George and Martha even make the occasional appearance.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Thanks for always being my biggest fan, my loudest cheerleader, and my partner in crime. I hope I’ve made you half as proud as you make me.

Weekend review: March’s adventure

March was filled with a whirlwind of weekends. From trips to NC for bridesmaid shopping to catching up with my professors at Elon, to Paddy’s Day festivities..I’ve pretty much been on the go since the month started. However, I think this past weekend qualified as the month’s adventure even though I just stayed right here in DC.

My sister, her 2 kids, and my mom came up for the long weekend and we packed in at least 5 different adventures! So let’s get this weekend review started and countdown March’s big adventures:

5. Cherry Blossom Kite Festival

Saturday we took the metro down to the National Mall and saw hundreds of kites flying for the Cherry Blossom kite festival.

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It was a gorgeous day with plenty of wind. Here’s me & BF:

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4. Natural History Museum

We followed up the kite festival with a trip to the Natural History Museum, at which point, I learned it’s a little traumatizing to tell a kid all the dinosaurs are dead and that he can’t play with them outside.

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3. Arlington National Cemetery

On Sunday, we did the usual Easter routine and then went to Arlington National Cemetery. I’ve lived in the DC area for 5 years now and this is the first time I’ve visited. I’m only sorry I waited so long to pay my respects.

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While we were there, we saw the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier.

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2. Air & Space museum

My sister likes to pack in the fun when she goes on trips, so on Monday afternoon, we checked out the Air & Space museum. Loved seeing all the rockets & telescopes!

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1. White House Easter Egg Roll

And of course, the BIG adventure of the weekend was our trip to the White House Easter Egg Roll. I entered the lottery and surprisingly got lucky! I had my fingers crossed that I’d get to cuddle up with Bo, but getting to see him in person is definitely a close second. Here’s Bo (and Mr. President) at the story book time.

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And since I couldn’t get close enough, I made do with a cutout on the south lawn. Maddie, wanted to be in the pic too πŸ™‚

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So there you have it, March’s adventures. April’s adventure is coming up this weekend. I can’t wait to report back on all the fun BF and I will be having in Orlando! Stay tuned.

Weekend review: A crippled Halloween

Mom and I went to Annapolis this past weekend. I wanted to get out of the house and visit BF, but I also wanted to treat mom to a nice day out. We started at Sofi’s Crepes for brunch, one of mom’s favorite places in Naptown. I still didn’t have much of an appetite on Saturday morning, but I managed to nom a banana/nutella crepe. πŸ™‚ Here’s Mama enjoying hers. Isn’t she a cutie-pie?

We had plans to go to the Baltimore aquarium, but some plans fall apart. Instead, we decided on a bit of retail therapy at Arundel Mills. It’s always fun shopping with your mom. I loved that we went into Charlotte Russe Outlet for me, but she was having fun trying on all the scarves in the back. She picked out a nice white lace scarf for the upcoming season. After we shopped for a few hours (me in a wheelchair, of course), we rested a bit at the hotel and then went out for a nice dinner in the Town Center. The air was certainly crisp, but we sat out on the patio under heaters and enjoyed our meal.

After dinner, BF picked me up and we went to a Halloween party. I can’t say it was an epic night out as I was in a lot of pain, but I did manage to have a few laughs. The most annoying part of the evening was the constant question with regards to my crutches – ‘Are those real? Are you really hurt?’. It was obvious I was in pain. The crutches were clearly NOT a prop. I just can’t honestly imagine anyone who would voluntarily choose to be on crutches in a crowded bar on Halloween. Anyways – here’s the regular crew on Halloween. And yes, BF was a penguin. And yes, I went as PSY from Gangnam Style. Op, op, op!

And to wrap up the crippled weekend, I got my sutures out on Monday morning. Here’s a wee montage, just because I’ve found things like this interesting as I’ve been going through the motions. Though I’m sure you probably won’t scroll beyond this sentence.

Weekend review: On the mend

Last Thursday, I went in for ACL surgery. I came out the same day with a new ligament (courtesy of my hamstring) and of course, a fair amount of free time on my hands.

Mom came up for the surgery and is here for the next 2 weeks helping me hobble and heal. Even though I spend 95% of my days with one leg elevated and wrapped in a fancy ice pack, I’ve tried to make the other 5% interesting and enjoyable for my mom.

On Friday, we made homemade pesto sauce. It’s as easy as it sounds – basil, olive oil, salt, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and garlic. After that, all you need is a food processor or small blender to chop, chop, chop!

We made a decent amount of pesto and put it in ziplock bags to freeze. I’ll just break off a piece and defrost next time I want to use it.

On Saturday, BF and I took Mom to the White House for the Fall garden tour. Even though I couldn’t really walk, one of our friends was able to acquire a wheel chair for the occasion. I did manage to hop up for a picture perfect photo op in front of the south lawn. It was a gorgeous day and Mom got to see the Kennedy rose garden, Michelle’s garden, and even the White House beehives!

All in all, a really nice weekend, even if I haven’t been 100%. On the bright side, I’m officially on the mend and hope to be back on my feet in no time.

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