Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Summer Vacay - Stop 3 - Part 2: The Bestest Anniversary

I'm in a bit of disbelief that it is nearly the last day of November, and I'm still trying to finish writing posts about our summer vacation four months ago.  The days have been an absolute blur and I'm none too happy about the lack of time to just breathe - and reflect.  That will be changing soon.

(I really, really mean it this time.)

So much has happened in the past four months that I haven't documented and poof! It's gone from my mind.  Thank goodness for this blog and the written word - if not for my chronicling of life over the past 10 years, I'd have virtually no recollection of what happened when the children were young.  Much like a tree silently falling in a forest without any witnesses … if I didn't write about it, did it actually happen?

What's happened in the past four months that I can recall?  Well, sixth grade starting for the trio; third grade starting for Henry.  Swim team five evenings a week, a lotta scouts, a hilarious night out learning how to do the Texas Two-Step, a ridiculous number of business trips for both Charlie and I - and one huge 50th surprise birthday trip for Charlie that I miraculously pulled off with the help of my sister, Eileen, and my Aunt Grace.  In due time, I hope to write about these things before they vaporize from my memory bank.

But for now, I need to finish writing about our summer trip to the west coast!

I left things off after we'd just arrived in northern California, at my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Steve and Kathy's idyllic home in Sonoma County.   That was Friday evening, August 5th.  On Saturday - August 6th, we spent our 22nd anniversary with Charlie's brother, Steve, and sister, Susan and her family (husband Jeff, daughter Jessie), at Korbel.


While the adults champagne and wine tasted and toured the beautiful grounds..


(… Me, really hoping these racks within the room have been seismically engineered and bolted down.)


(… Can you imagine a view like this from your kitchen window?)


(… I couldn't stop singing, the intro to Laverne & Shirley as we stood along this bottle assembly line, "One - two - three - four -five - six - seven - eight … shlemiel, schlimazel, hasenpfeffer incorporated, we're gonna do it! On your mark get set and go now, got a dream and we just know now - we're gonna make that dream come true!") 


The children spent the entire day with their Aunt Kathy on a picnic in the giant redwood forests.  Kathy always knows just what to do - and on this day, she knew that the best anniversary gift she could possibly give us, would be to take the children on a picnic, so that we could go wine tasting.



That evening, Steve and Kathy hosted the most wonderful dinner party for us.


All four of the siblings were back together again …


For the first time in more than five years.


A highlight for me was seeing our nieces, Jessie and Alice, who are some of our favorite people on planet earth.  Wholesome, down to earth, smart as whips, beautiful inside and out. Jessie is an adventurous wildlife biologist who takes assignments in unbelievably remote locations, and Alice was about to begin her first year of teaching - sixth grade, nonetheless.  (I ADORE THESE TWO!)


While waiting for dinner, Elizabeth gently slipped a flower in to her Uncle Steve's hair …


And her Dad's … she's so stealth, this one!


Seven of the eleven grandchildren on Charlie's side of the family were united … those not shown and sorely missed:  Lucy (who was 7-months pregnant so had sufficient excuse to be MIA); Geordie who was working in Mendocino, Angela who we saw earlier in the week in Santa Barbara, and David who is living in Tanzania. As in Africa.  So also sufficiently excused from soiree.


Here are the kids with cousin Angela … Steve & Kathy's youngest:


At nearly 5'6, and ranking in the >98% for height, our beautiful Carolyn has always outpaced her siblings (and peers) in the size department.  How awesome it was, then, for Carolyn to see her gorgeous cousin Alice, who was 6'2" when she was only 16-years old:  


Those tall genes definitely come from Charlie's side of the family … considering at 6'1" he is the shortest brother by at least two inches.  I suspect at the rate Carolyn has been growing, she'll be taller than both her father and I within the next five years and whoa, mercy, is this child strong!  At the moment, she is the undefeated arm wrestling champion in sixth grade, and before we opted for swim team in lieu of crew - she was on a row team with teenaged boys.


But that's a different story for a different day.

(If I can remember to tell it.)