It has been nice to have Daniel and Suzanne home for Christmas. "Home".....We had a discussion one night about how this is not really home to any of us. I think "home" comes from living for a period of time in a place and experiencing things together. For Daniel and Suzanne, they might call this "home" because we are together as a family, but they haven't been here enough to have shared experiences, memories, and traditions that are centered in this place. We all feel a bit more like guests than anything. Which is how we should feel on this earth in general. Heaven is our true home and we are only temporary residents here on earth.
But we tried to do some of our usual Christmas traditions and we did some new things as well. Since we live so close to Washington DC we took a day to do some more touring. This time we went first to the Library of Congress. I love this building. It is so majestic and beautiful. Everywhere you turn there are interesting things to see. Even though it is an old building (that's American old, not English old!) it is light, perhaps because of the white marble and skylights. You can see that even the ceilings are interesting. Perhaps one of the most interesting things is the reading room. The general public is not allowed in the reading room. However, John is because he has a Library of Congress member card. In fact, he spends quite a bit of time reading and researching for his doctoral studies in this very room. I think I'd be so busy looking at all the architectural features that I'd not get much studying done!
Our next stop was the Thai restaurant. Then we got back on the subway and took a ride over to the Museum of American History. This was my 3rd visit in four months and I still haven't seen it all! Suzanne wanted to see the 1st ladies' dresses so we went there. I really like this one...Suzanne thought I was nuts. Maybe it's because with that fluffy thing on the side it would really disguise large hips! We also visited Julia Child's kitchen. Every time I look at her kitchen I notice something new. If you click on this picture and look at it larger you will see that there is even a jar of Skippy peanut butter on the counter, under the green canisters. Julia Childs loved pans and gadgets and they are all over the kitchen. This wall of her kitchen was removed to put up a plexi-glass wall so we can look in. But it shows how all her pans were hanging there. We then went up to the 3rd floor to see a pop-culture display that turned out to be disappointing. But on the way we stumbled across this fantastic doll house! We loved it and spent a long time looking at all the tiny miniature details. It was a delight and took me back to my childhood of playing dolls. I only wish I'd known it was there....it would have been so much fun to have shown it to our friends' little girl a few weeks ago.
As we exited the Museum of American History, we caught the sun setting behind the Washington Monument. Our next subway ride took us to the Portrait Gallery. Again we visited the Norman Rockwell display which I highly recommend. Then we went up to the President's Gallery. There is a portrait of every single president. I think this one of Bill Clinton wins the prize for uniqueness. It is like a pixelated picture or a giant paint by number. I think you had to see it close up to see how it is done. There was also a section on freedom-fighters. Here is Suzanne in front of a picture of George Washington Carver.
We had thought of going to see the national Christmas tree, but it was getting late and we were all cold, so we decided to just head home.
On Christmas Eve we had a delicious dinner of chickencurry.
Christmas morning we gathered for the reading of the Christmas story and for gift opening. Daniel had gotten and painted this paint-by-number for Suzanne. We had all worked on it every moment we got, but it wasn't quite finished by Christmas morning. We all worked on it more during Christmas day and finally got it finished. It looks just like a photograph from a distance. Gift opening was immediately followed by our traditional sticky bun breakfast. These buns were the result of a group effort by Daniel, Suzanne, and I. I made the dough in the bread machine, prepared the sugar spread, and made the caramel sauce and then went to bed. When the dough was done in the machine, Daniel and Suzanne rolled them out, put them in the pan, and then into the fridge. While we opened our presents they finished rising and then I popped them in the oven.
For Christmas dinner we did a five-course dinner. The first course was an appetizer: cream-cheese roll-ups. The 2nd course was pumpkin soup. The third course was broccoli salad. By the 4th course we were so full we could hardly eat it! We had roast chicken (I didn't do a turkey since it was just the four of us), sweet potatoes, green beans with garlic and butter, and home-made rolls. As you can imagine, we couldn't even eat the 5th course: cherry pie and apple pie. Instead we had the pie for supper! And this is our very special drink. I can buy Mexican cokes at the International food store. They taste just like Niger cokes because they are made with sugar instead of fructose syrup.
And now it's time to go on a diet!