We arrived late Thursday evening and hit the ground running Friday morning with a visit to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Anna Kate loved seeing all of the animal exhibits. All of the kids really enjoyed the hands-on discovery center too!
Friday afternoon we were able to all go on a tour of the Capitol Building. What a beautiful place! It was so neat to learn more about the heartbeat of our nation and all that has taken place inside those walls. Here are all 5 grandkids ready for the tour!
Sisters outside the Library of Congress
(me, sister Sarah, sister-in-law Rachael)
Mom and Dad in front of the Capitol building...they don't look old enough to have 5 grandkids, do they?!?
Saturday morning (Christmas Eve) my brother-in-law Dustin took all of the guys (Dad, Andrew, Stephen, and Luke) on a hike in the Shenandoah mountains. Although the hike turned out to be a little more than what they had bargained for (a 2000 foot change in elevation over 9 miles!), they had a fantastic time enjoying God's creation!
While all the guys were out hiking, the girls stayed back at home and made Grandma Burgin's famous Christmas cookies with all 5 of the kids. I'm not sure if more cookie dough and icing made it into cookies or into their tummies (they are really sneaky, let me tell you!), but they had a great time! And we had fun passing down traditions to the next little generation of Burgins.
Saturday night we went to Sarah and Dustin's church's Christmas Eve service. They have been a part of National Community Church ever since they first moved to DC in 2003 and it has been so neat to see all that God has done in their church since their time there. The Christmas Eve service was actually held in their new location, an old 1920's theater on Barrack's Row. We had a great time singing Christmas carols, being reminded of the miracle of the birth of our Savior, and of course, trying to keep all the kids quiet for an hour!
(Ok, confession...these pictures weren't actually taken on Christmas Eve. They were our Christmas card pictures. But we were all wearing the same things!)
After the service we headed home for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of Corn Chowder after which we all opened one present...new jammies! This picture was taken right when we got home from the Christmas Eve service. It's the only picture of (almost) all of us that we got...Luke's behind the camera, but he was there too!
There is nothing cuter than a baby in brand new footie pajamas...except maybe FIVE babies in new footie pajamas!
Best one of AK...not the best one of Caroline!
Caroline's not so sure about Anna Kate giving her kisses...
After we put the kids to bed, my very smart sister-in-law Rachael had the idea to open all the adult presents that night so that we could just focus on the kids Christmas morning. With 9 adults all exchanging gifts, it took quite a while, so we are very glad we did...the kids never would have put up with that! Some of the highlights were a new game (Qwirkle) for everyone, and a beautiful framed collage of family pictures for each one of us from my parents.
Christmas morning we all opened our stocking presents on our own as each family woke up. Here is Anna Kate digging into her stocking and then helping Mommy with hers!
After that, we did all of the kids presents together. Anna Kate's big present was a tricycle that she has been talking about for months (ever since she used one at the beach house we rented in August)! The coolest part about it is that it has a push handle on the back for mommy or daddy to push/steer until she is ready to pedal the bike for herself!
Caroline wasn't quite as excited about opening her Christmas presents...she slept through most of it and Anna Kate opened them for her. But she got some really cute little toys too!
We had a great Christmas afternoon cooking up a wonderful dinner of ham, green bean casserole, rolls, scalloped potatoes, salad, and of course, pumpkin and apple pies! We are so grateful for all this time we have been able to spend with my side of the family while my parents have been in the USA this fall. We had such a special time celebrating the birth of our Savior!
One last note...I just have to add that one of the highlights of this Christmas season has been Anna Kate's singing of her new favorite Christmas carol: Deck the Halls. For some reason she absolutely LOVES this song, and has ALL the words memorized. Although I am sure she has no idea what "Troll the ancient yuletide carol" means, she has been singing/chanting it with gusto ALL THE TIME! She sure does keep us laughing!