Thursday, November 1, 2018

Halloween 2018

It was inevitable, but admittedly a bit sad for the Seymour and Franco adults: The kids went separate ways this year, so the adults didn’t get to hang. End of an era. This meant finding new plans for Danny and Laura, too, but we ultimately lucked out by way of our soccer family/neighbors!

Although the Coach Bobby soccer era ended for Danny, his daughter wound up on Laura’s team this fall. So they invited us to join them for the festivities, which worked out well because it’s really close, and both kids had a trick-or-treating buddy. While Danny totally phoned it in on his “costume,” he was still very eager to gather goodies.

Laura, meanwhile, took her role as Hermione from Harry Potter very seriously. I had a serious deja vu moment from my high school days as I braided her hair the night before, prepping for the crimped effect. She was very pleased with the results.

Clare spent the evening with Abby over at SJ’s house. They reported a delightful time of pizza and trick-or-treating. They made very cute cats, too!

We couldn’t have had a more gorgeous evening, so Tim and I enjoyed strolling behind Laura and Neve while sipping beers. (Danny and Ewan were on a more accelerated pace.) Best of all, we were home by 8pm, and since it was a school night that worked out well. We did grumble a bit at the Francos for not delivering any pulled pork, but they claim they didn’t make any. That may be reason enough to reinstate Halloween with them next year, but overall we considered this year a victory!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Gang of 9, Year 8

Eight years in a row. It's a pretty incredible feat for two busy families, so I'd say it sums up quite well the importance and overall enjoyment of the tradition of our mountain house weekend with the Francos. It's also yet another piece of evidence that time flies - wasn't it just yesterday that Tim was carrying Laura on his back for our first hike?

This year we made our reservation early and thus returned to Kleinhaus, with its incomparable views (the above is from a window in the living room). It's truly a special piece of property, with terrific access to several hiking spots and the charming town of Clayton.
Although the weather was a tad warmer than we would have liked for a fall getaway, we took advantage of the outdoors and went on hikes both Saturday and Sunday. The first was to a scenic waterfall area. The second turned out to be an extremely rigorous 2.2 mile hike that we all thought was *surely* longer than that, until Isabella's tell-tale Fitbit reported the truth. Still, the views from the official overlook at the top were quite stunning (see family photo at the top of the post).
We also spent a lot of time chilling, something I think every single one of us needed. I kept my phone on silent, and it was glorious. We watched the sun set. Not a single game of Euchre was played, which needs to be remedied next year (and sooner than that, on the Party Porch), but the Irish did have an excellent victory on Saturday night. And Tim and Luis engaged Clare and Isabella in late-night billiards and ping-pong, so I'd say some important bonding took place.

The weekend went by as quickly as the 8 years have done, but I don't doubt that it will feel like I am posting about year 9 tomorrow. What a blessing.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Labor Day Getaway

Faced with the rare long weekend with nothing on the schedule for any of us, Tim and I decided to capitalize on it and booked a weekend in Asheville, NC. As the years increasingly fly by, we’ve realized it’s now or never to go places and do things together as a party of five.

I think we struck the right balance of things to do and time to relax. Friday afternoon’s drive was painful, as there were a *lot* of people on the road. But we eventually made our way to the rental house and found it very much to our liking. 

The next morning we woke up leisurely, and made our way to a charming breakfast spot in the Biltmore Village. From there we headed to the Biltmore Estate, where I am happy to say that all five of us really enjoyed the audio tour of the massive home. (In particular, the kids’ audio tour did a great job of keeping Laura’s attention.) The grounds were also spectacular, if HOT, and the Chihuly glass exhibition was impressive.

Toured out and hungry (maybe even hangry), we headed to downtown Asheville - not a unique idea. But we found a parking space, and then Bar Taco, and doin life was looking up once again. Refreshed, we walked around and hit Malaprop’s Book Store (Clare’s request) and French Broad Chocolate (dessert for all). Two thumbs up.

We grilled hamburgers back at the house and settled in for a great Irish season opener over Michigan. Yes! 

Another leisurely morning ultimately led to a family hike at the North Carolina Arboretum, with lovely grounds and views and several different trails - perfect for our “soft, suburban family” as described by Tim.

A quiet afternoon at home preceded a gorgeous visit and dinner at the Grove Park Inn. Everyone was sufficiently wowed by the views and the building- and dinner was pretty great, too.

A lovely end to our weekend escape!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

First Day of 6th and 2nd

They would tell you the summer was too short, and that they weren’t ready to return to school, but I would disagree. Let the school year begin! A big year for both!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Golden Times in the Golden State

I’m pretty sure we are in the sweet spot of vacation ages: Everyone is old enough to participate in things AND amuse themselves (mostly), no one so young they need constant monitoring. And no one too old to enjoy the time, at least not in this crew. Bliss.

This year we tried new things like Mission San Juan Capistrano, Crystal Cove Beach, Mt. Soledad, Balboa Island and Torrey Pines State Beach, and old favorites like La Jolla, the Del Mar horse races, Balboa Park, Oceanside beach and Old Town. We enjoyed it all!

Ultimately, though, cousin time reigned supreme - and this year featured a “horror” movie titled “The Cat Sitter” (not photographed here). 

We are so grateful for another magical visit to CA!

Friday, July 13, 2018

A Golden Time on Hilton Head

Vacations and holidays are always the most challenging things to blog about for me, because there are always so many photos I want to post and it gets overwhelming. At the same time, there are so many things I don't have any photos of, like the incredible parents and grandparents whose 50th anniversary we were gathered to celebrate! (Don't get Donna started on the professional photos we had taken.)

So this is my imperfect capture of our week spent on Hilton Head Island with what has become known as the Freymour Clan. I won't lie: A few things didn't go our way, including Tim spending the first part of the week with a bad back, and Laura spending the last half of the week with a virus that kept her down and out, and me nursing her. But there were plenty of highlights to make this a wonderful week of family and fun!

For starters, the house Donna and Larry rented was truly spectacular, as partially evidenced by the stunning pool in the front. Everyone actively used this amenity! It was also located just steps away from the beach, which made it so easy to trek down for a brief, or not-so-brief visit. The water was always warm and inviting, and we logged a lot of time in it, particularly Clare, Danny and Tim.

So many people gave us so many recommendations for places to see and eat on HHI, so I feel a bit guilty that we really only went on an outing one day. This was partially due to Laura getting sick, as well as it being a bit too hot to get excited for things like kayaking. We did manage to get to Harbour Town early in the week, where we visited the top of the famous lighthouse, shopped, and ate lunch.
We also had the pleasure of celebrating Ryan's 3rd birthday, which he was supremely excited about! There's not a lot I miss about having a toddler, if I'm being honest, but it was SO fun to see how genuinely enthused he was about everything. (And Karen rocked that cake.)
The cousins spent a lot of time together in the pool, if not elsewhere, and while I didn't get a great group photo, I do love this picture of Ryan telling them a secret. My three kids each thought he was adorable, and I'm fairly sure they made a big impression on him as well.

One of the things that *everyone* mentioned before we left was how *everyone* bikes around HHI. This was a source of consternation, because Tim and I have totally failed as parents in teaching our kids to ride bikes. Clare was determined to not let this interfere. That girl: Where there's a will, there's a way! Donna had rented two bikes, and one evening Clare enticed Tim to take her out and teach her to ride. He said she was doing so within 20 minutes, and every day after that she went for a cruise.
Sadly, the 4th of July is when it went south for Laura. We knew she was battling a cold, but as the day progressed - despite her attempts at festive artwork and donning her red, white and blue - it was clear she was not well, as the 102+ fever eventually indicated. This little girl truly loves the fireworks and festivities from the holiday, and she was so, so sad to miss it. I do think she took some comfort in spending time on the couch with me and several movies, both that evening and the following day.
On the plus side, as the week progressed, so did Tim's back, to the point that he and Larry successfully played a round of golf on the famed HH course. Between that, wonderful family dinners each night, and cocktails by the pool, it was a more than successful vacation for all, I'd say. Until next time!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Hole of My Heart

Laura's front tooth has been wiggly for a while, but given that I didn't see her actively wiggling it, I feared we would once again be headed to the dentist for her assistance in removing it. So imagine my surprise when I arrived home last night to Laura jumping up and down, shouting, "Mommy! Guess what?? I lost my tooth!" Turns out munching on a pickle got the job done.
As darling as she is with that gap-toothed smile, the note she wrote *really* captured my heart. On a day when our oldest child spent three hours with a driving instructor and our middle child officially outgrew youth sizes in shoes, this was a lovely slice of childhood innocence that I know to treasure whole-heartedly.