This year Julia has really been into all the holiday traditions we've been introducing her to, so it was a lot of fun to try to pack as much as we could into the two December weekends we will be in DC. One tradition that we started at home everyday was reading a scripture about Christ when we take out the candy on our advent calendar. It's amazing how much she understands and remembers and has been a good reminder for us that we should be doing family scripture study.
Starting the first December weekend in DC we took Julia to see Santa Clause at our local community center. We've been trying to teach her how to smile "nicely." Mostly we just get this when we say "smile!"
She does look halfway happy in this picture.
She didn't cry when she saw Santa, but she did have to be coaxed to sit on his lap. I had told her she needed to tell Santa what she wanted for Christmas, but when the big moment came she couldn't think of anything so I had to remind her a little of what she had been asking for. Not to worry though, Julia and I wrote Santa a letter detailing what she wants, so he should know.
The next day we to the Washington DC temple to see the lights. It's impossible to get a toddler to hold still long enough to get a good picture with lights outside, so the best one we have of Julia is of her hanging out on the camel from the Nativity. They also had a really cool international creche display inside the visitor's center with nativities from all over the world and a dozen or so decorated Christmas trees.
The following weekend we went to the National Botanical Gardens to see their Christmas display. They have miniature models of many of the famous buildings in DC (Capitol, White House, Lincoln Memorial, etc) made out of plant materials.
They also had a train exhibit that Julia loved with trains circling little fairy and critter houses made from plant materials as well. The last area in the exhibit is an area with miniatures of the presidents' houses. Do you recognize the largest one in the collage? It's Monticello, the subject of my last post!
Once again we see can see how Julia's smile training is going. This one isn't too bad.
This one is a fail.
This one is great! I don't remember when Robert took it, so that means I was probably in the restroom. Maybe I distract Julia when I'm around?
There's nothing quite like an actual smile of delight. This is Julia squealing with delight at the train going around the Christmas tree at the Botanical Gardens.
After the Botanical Gardens we went over to the National Christmas tree. They also had a nice train display that Julia loved.
Robert was fascinated by the train that derailed. He wanted to see who was going to come fix it, but no one ever did.
White House and Washington Monument at dusk.
They have 50 small decorated trees as well to represent each 50 state. After seeing the trees we peeked into Santa's workshop, but he was on break so we didn't visit him. That was okay with us though, no waiting in line. We still had time on our parking meter though so we walked up to the front of the White House and I got to see my first DC protest. There was a group of 50 or so people in front of the White House protesting Obama's lack of response to the Congolese election (which I know nothing about, but apparently from the gist of the protesters the dictator was "re-elected")
Other things we've done but that I have no pictures of (and let's face it, this post has enough pictures as it is) is made a gingerbread house (which I mostly ended up putting together), gone for a drive for FHE around a nearby neighborhood to see all the Christmas lights, and gone Christmas caroling at a rehabilitation center for our ward party. I think now we're all set to get out of here and celebrate Christmas with our families!