Wednesday, December 24, 2008

An Unusual Christmas Eve

Today was an extremely busy day. And not just because I hadn't done any shopping at all and needed to get some done (which I ended up never managing to accomplish). Today I ended up taking off from work (I already had all my hours for the week in by the end of Tuesday) and we planned on returning to Mt Vernon. The last time we were there was the Harvest Festival day which was insanely crowded and the line for the mansion was well over an hour wait. Ginger really wanted to go since they decorate the mansion for Christmas and between Thanksgiving and the New Year is the only time in which they open up the third floor of the mansion. Add to that the weather was decent and in the low 50 degree range (versus the freezing or below freezing of the past couple of days) and it seemed like a good time to visit.

We tried keeping it a secret from the kids as to where we were going, but unfortunately Quinn is getting to be really good about directions and could immediately tell where we were going from remembering the way we had gone last time. Once we got there the line for the mansion was really short. To the point where I hesitate to even call it a line. sadly for some unknown reason they don't allow any photography inside the mansion. I didn't question or try and circumvent the rule. So there are no pictures from inside the mansion. I'm a bit confused as to why they wouldn't allow non flash photography other than maybe they don't want to hold up the tours. Ginger seemed to think it was so they could sell more stuff in the gift shop. The Christmas / Holiday decorations inside the mansion were pretty weak. The decorations consisted of the dining room having some holiday food on the table and that was it. We were able to go up to the third floor though, so that was exciting (in lieu of having some paint that I could watch dry).

Once we were done with the mansion tour we walked around and checked out the riverside of the mansion. I have to believe the view is probably more impressive during fall or summer when there are actually leaves on the trees. Don't get me wrong, it's still impressive but I suspect if there was a bit more color it would be even more impressive.

After that we went and saw some of the surrounding buildings. Most of these have a description of the room and the events that would normally occur in that building. Quinn surprised both Ginger and myself after getting a bit ahead of us coming back and telling us how in one building was where the slaves had lived and they worked six days out of the week. He had read the information himself. And I know we shouldn't be that surprised by this anymore, but I'll admit to still being a bit taken aback when he does stuff like that. I was more impressed with the fact that he had read it and comprehended it versus just reading it. He has been doing very well reading and knows his words, but sometimes I've wondered if he isn't concentrating so much on reading the words that he wasn't getting the gist of what he read (I guess he's proved me wrong on that).

Over in the museum area (which we didn't go through this time, but did a fly by as the kids needed to hit the restrooms) there was a festive Mt Vernon made completely out of gingerbread. I'll admit it, I'm a bit impressed with the amount of time and effort that seems to have gone into this. I briefly considered the consequences of reaching out and breaking off a piece (nom nom nom), but decided the negative consequences would outweigh any brief tasty goodness.

On the way home everyone was a bit hungry, so we stopped for dinner at Mike's thinking we would just grab a snack. And while that's all we really did, it managed to fill all of us up enough to the point where no one really wanted dinner after that. This worked out pretty well since by the time we eventually got home it was getting a bit late and had we still had to do dinner the kids wouldn't have gotten to bed until pretty late. I had brief visions of us being like the family from The Christmas Story that goes out to eat on Christmas, but this was Christmas Eve and there were tons of other people out also. All things considered since it was Christmas Eve I really thought the kids were going to have a tougher time getting to sleep than they did. I was expecting them to be up for an hour or more calling us in or making excuses to stay awake, but they were both out pretty quick, guess all the walking today helped tire them out a bit.

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