Family Comes to Town: Sites and Stories

My parents and aunt and uncle visited Washington DC this past week. We hadn’t seen everyone since the holidays, and it was the first time we were able to welcome people to our new home in the DC area. We’re thankful that our family members took the time and energy to come visit us, and we made memories that hopefully we will share for years to come.

My mom is a master planner and metro-navigator, so she ensured the group saw most of the city’s sites during the week. We learned from them that the Library of Congress is a must-see, so we’ve added it to our own ‘DC Bucket List.’

Despite the cold, this past weekend was peak cherry blossom viewing, and our visitors were good sports to check-out the blooms a second time with us ‘locals.’


There’s beauty in the Metro too. More to come on that…


We also visited a few of DC’s wealth of museums together. My personal favorites — the Newseum and the Portrait Gallery — seem to offer compelling information and artistic inspiration each time.

We made my parents take the Myers-Briggs Personality Test. They were sweating because they thought we were psycho-analyzing them! We weren’t, but it was fun to see the similarities and differences in our personalities.


Everyone agreed that spending time together — over Bill’s coffee, his home-cooked meals, or out and about around the city — was the highlight. One of my favorite aspects of that time was hearing old and new stories from my dad and aunt about them growing up and about their mother, my grandma. Stories like… (scroll down to read them!)…


Coffee to order for (almost) everyone. Drink caffeine at 10pm at your own risk!



Grandma and her siblings spoke Finnish at home, and at some point in their early elementary school days, one of their teachers spoke Finnish as well. Some of the local boys took a liking to the teacher, and they asked Grandma to tell them how to say “you are beautiful” in Finn. Grandma willingly complied, teaching them to deliver their line. The boys didn’t realize her mischief until the teacher was not amused at their attempts to tell her how badly she smelled.

Grandma was tending her backyard garden, and was startled to see a moose looking to feed on her greens. Not wanting her carefully planted produce to become the moose’s lunch, she ran into the house and grabbed the .22 rifle from above the door. Taking aim, she fired a shot at the moose. But the shot must have shook her senses back to her — “what did I just do?!” she thought. With fear that the game warden would come by, she put the rifle back on its pegs, ran into bed, and pulled the covers over her head. Luckily, all was well — the moose was unharmed and the authorities didn’t come for Grandma.

Dad was maybe six years old and my aunt several years younger, and they were playing in their back yard in northern Minnesota. Dad came inside because he must have decided he was done playing. Grandma asked him where his sister was, and he respond, “outside with the calf.” Well they certainly had no cows around, and Grandma knew right away what was going on. Dad had never seen Grandma and Grandpa move so fast as they ran out to snatch their daughter from the yard she was sharing with a black bear cub.

Or the time that my aunt and uncle went on a trip with their kids and Grandma. Unfortunately their baby son showed signs of serious sickness after getting on their way to their destination. After much driving, they decided it was best to turn around and head home, abandoning the rest of the vacation. We still chuckle that Grandma, in her eternal optimism, remarked, “well that was such a fun trip!”

Grandma in a classy wool suit holding her catch.

We loved the visit because it served as a crossroads — a place where history met new memories. We’d love to hear about your favorite family memory in the comment section below! (Scroll down a little further and sign up to follow the blog.)

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