Christmas in the Capital


For the first time in many years, we went away for Christmas. In fact, I don't think the girls ever woke up in a house that wasn't their own on Christmas morning. Sure, we often road trip over the winter break (especially over New Year's), to see family in Missouri or Oklahoma, or to get away in Kansas City. But this was a special treat. We flew to Washington, D.C. and spent a week with Mr. B's brother and his husband.

Mr. B and Big Sis fell asleep as soon as we reached altitude. Little Sis was too excited by the plane ride.

We departed on the first day of winter, which was mild in Kansas and milder still in D.C. In fact, it was rainy and warm for most of our trip. (75 on Christmas Eve!)

We stayed in a guest apartment in my brothers-in-law's building. They decorated it with inflatable reindeer and a tabletop scene featuring characters from the Rankin/Bass Rudolph. We loved it. 

On our first full day there, we walked to Union Station, having lunch, checking out the big tree, window shopping. 


That evening, they spoiled us with a holiday tour of the White House.

We found the Kansas snowflake!

I want to hang snowflakes everywhere, too.


The State Dining Room was my favorite. 


On Wednesday, the six of us toured ICE! at the Gaylord - National Harbor. The theme was Rankin/Bass's Santa Claus is Coming to Town, all rendered in colorful ice. We wore heavy blue parkas and slid down ice slides.

It was nine degrees inside! It was warm and rainy outside.



There was a lot of family time back at the apartments, too. There's a screening room in one of the buildings, so we popped popcorn and watched It's a Wonderful LifeBig Sis found she still had a gingerbread cookie recipe from Old Cowtown in her pocket. The cookies we made were delicious, and I'm kicking myself that I can't find the recipe card now to share with you. Mr. B's brother helped the girls decorate a Minions gingerbread house.

I love a good gingerbread cookie! There's a couple of shots from Christmas dinner - I made the roasted veggies - and yes, the Minion gingerbread house.

Christmas Eve, we attended the late service at the Washington National Cathedral. It was grand and lovely.


Santa left chocolate, clementines, and nuts the next morning, along with a leg lamp ornament and a couple mug-and-hot cocoa sets. There was a note from an elf explaining how Mommy and Daddy had begged Santa to leave any larger gifts back home in Kansas. Big Sis is hip to it all, so I knew she'd be fine, but Little Sis surprised me by being very cool about it. We spent the rest of the morning upstairs with the uncles, then headed back to our place for naps (for them) and cooking (me). After dinner, we relaxed with movies and good company.

Clothes, records, and art supplies! And a dog wearing antlers.

On our last day, we had a delicious brunch down the street, then Mr. B and I took the girls back to Union Station to shop for a spell, then we walked to the National Gallery, admiring Renoirs and Rembrandts before catching a taxi back to the apartments, where we watched Minions and finished packing.

Just a few scenes around Washington, D.C.: the giant Nutcracker in front of Old Ebbett Grill, rainy streets, a seafood lunch at The Walrus (I had salad), the girls in front of Union Station, me in front of Politics & Prose, my loves with the scaffold-wrapped Capitol looming behind them.

My brothers-in-law spoiled us rotten, and I am so grateful to them for giving us such a fabulous Christmas. It was very hard to say goodbye.

(I'm just barely getting this post done on Twelfth Night. Ha!)


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A Treasury of Wintertime Tales

A Treasury of Wintertime Tales: 13 Tales from Snow Days to Holidays,
edited by Noel Daniel, designed by Andy Disl. Taschen, 2014.

And on the eleventh day of Christmas, she returned to Blogland!

Hello, dear readers! Once again, I apologize for my long absence. [I sound like a broken record!] If you follow me on Instagram, I'm sure you figured out that we left town for a while. In fact, Mr. B, the girls, and I flew to Washington, D.C. to spend a week with my brothers-in-law. It was a fabulous time, and I plan to share more this week (really!), but first, I must show you this gorgeous book. I picked it out at Politics & Prose, but it was a gift from the uncles to my daughters, Christmas morning.



It is a glorious collection of winter-themed children's books, many of which are long out-of-print. One story seems to have never been published in English until now! There are well-known  authors and illustrators, such as Joan Walsh Anglund, Louis and Florence Slobodin, Leo Politi, and Ingri and Edgar d'Aulaire, and a Caldecott Medalist (Nine Days to Christmas). There are many gorgeous European tales, too. Some of the books celebrate winter, in general, while others deal with Christmas, St. Lucia Day, and the Chinese New Year, among other things.


I researched the books in the collection via the internet. Only The Cowboy's Christmas, Marilyn and the Snow Children, and Children of the Northlights are currently in print, although some, such as Nine Days to Christmas or Jessie Willcox Smith's famous The Night Before Christmas are pretty easy to find. [By the way, Marilyn and the Snow Children is published by Floris as The Story of the Snow Children, and the Marilyn of the title is called Poppy.] I found listings in English for all of the books except The Ballad of the Snow King. 

I plan on sharing more of this book in the future, but I will save the Christmas stories until next year. I know most people are Christmas-ed out by now. The girls return to school tomorrow, so I'm going to squeeze a bit more Christmas cheer out of today.

I'll leave you with an illustration per story. Enjoy!

From The Cowboy's Christmas by Joan Walsh Anglund, 1972.

From A Trip to Gingerbread Land by Einar Nerman, 1939.

From Winter and the Children by Hilde Hoffmann, illustrated by Beatrice Braun-Fock, 1959.

From Nine Days to Christmas by Marie Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida, illustrated by Marie Hall Ets, 1957.

From Marilyn and the Snow Children by Sybille von Olfers, 1905.

From The Friendly Beasts by Laura Nelson Baker, illustrated by Nicolas Sidjakov, 1957.

From The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith, 1912.

From The Red Horse by Elsa Moeschlin, 1935.

From The Twelve Days of Christmas by Ilonka Karasz, 1949.

From Moy Moy by Leo Politi, 1960.

From Too Many Mittens by Florence Slobodkin, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin, 1958.

From Children of the Northlights by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire, 1935.

From The Ballad of the Snow King by Tadeusz Kubiak, illustrated by Zbigniew Rychlicki, 1968.


Merry Waning Days of Christmas! And Happy New Year! Wishing you joy, peace, love, and books in 2016!


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