Thursday, July 17, 2014

Loving El Niño

This summer, the El Niño conditions meant a warmer ocean than usual, leading us to make four different trips to the beach. Clare continues to be our number one beach bunny and reveled in every trip. She particularly enjoyed having Katy and Nicki to hunt waves with her.

Halfway through the third visit, Laura finally discovered an appreciation for the water beyond me carrying her the entire time. We both reveled in this.

Our final visit to the beach was preceded by a boat outing with Grammy & Grampy, where we encountered a sea lion who entertained us immensely. The moment when he unexpectedly barked at us was a definite highlight!

It's hard to pinpoint the best thing about our visits to San Diego, but the coast ranks right up there!

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Cousin Time

This summer, the trip to CA was centered around one major theme: reunion with the cousins! Fifteen months was just far too much time to go between visits, prompting them to take this selfie moments after reuniting:

From then on, it was all about togetherness, at the beach:

The pool:

The zoo:

And of course around Grammy and Grampy's house. Lots of games were revisited, newly created (Quidditch!), and improvised around Laura's mercurial temperament.

So many wonderful memories (including s'mores and Christmas music in the evenings):

Fortunately we only have to wait until Christmas for the next reunion!

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Uni Girls Turn 40

I knew pretty early on in the fall of 1988 that I had made some good friends in my freshman year of high school. But at 14, it would have been virtually impossible to imagine turning 40 together. Nevertheless, time marches on - and happily, so have these friendships.

Terri set the ball rolling, we all coordinated calendars, and Espe put her coordinating skills to work. With our respective families generously stepping in to keep the children, we set off for 36 hours of wine tasting, gabbing, eating, gabbing, spa treatments, and more gabbing and eating in Temecula. It was fabulous! We don't see each other all that often, but that never seems to matter - a sign of true friends.

A quick peek at us, back in the day:

And this is 40:

With friends like this, it's bound to be fabulous!

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Boise Visit

This year, I decided it was time to visit Grandmother and make a trip to Boise en route to California. Aunt Ann and Uncle Chuck graciously welcomed us for July 4th, and a grand time was had by all.

Little did Chuck realize that he was making Danny's month when he brought out two Navy swords - and let him play with them. Danny spent countless moments marching around the back yard, putting on a patriotic show (aided occasionally by Laura). Suffice to say, Danny and Chuck got along famously.

Of course, Laura was also quite fond of Chuck, dancing with him and goofing around. Meanwhile, she played several rounds of Go Fish with Ann, and princess dolls. Truly a good visit.

We were treated to fireworks of our own as well as some beautiful displays right from the driveway. We were a happy crew.

Most importantly, we had a chance to visit with Grandmother, and I am still angry with myself for not taking a picture of the kids with her. As you can see, Danny gave her a massage.

It was a wonderful start to our Western tour!

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Trip Prep

I woke up this morning and quickly started my mental rundown of today's trip preparation. As I sipped my coffee on the porch, savoring some quiet moments before everyone was awake, I realized that this is my 11th summer in a row for this Grandparent Tour. Truly we are blessed to do this, and grateful to Tim for providing us this opportunity while he stays home to keep the financial home fires burning. The kids have been eagerly counting down the days, and I am so looking forward to seeing family. However, let's just say that today isn't my favorite part of the trip. Although, it does keep me busy.

The first essential project is the last-minute load of laundry, which requires forcing kids out of pajamas earlier than usual in order to get them washed. The hope is to get the clothes into the dryer before we head to the ortodontist. Yeah, it's a glamorous day.

Secondly, and probably most important: the charging of the devices. This is the most crucial component of staying sane for more than five hours of flying with three kids. Of course, before the charging we have to make sure that each device is loaded with the desired movies, games, etc. Technology rocks.
Laundry accomplished, we move on to packing. Had I been more rushed, Laura would have in no way been involved in this process. Fortunately, we have the luxury of most of the day (orthodontist appointment and swim practice aside). Even better, after tossing these items into her suitcase, she got distracted by toy selection, enabling me to tidy up her bag.

Meanwhile, Clare spent more more time on her packing process, but blissfully unaided. She thrives on lists and organization (though that doesn't quite translate to how the clothes went into her suitcase, but whatever), so I feel confident she has done a thorough job.

Danny was more than willing to turn over the clothes packing responsibility to me, and as he has very questionable taste in appropriate styling, I accepted. Meanwhile, he made certain that his sword, shield, Quidditch ball and Roman books were loaded into his backpack. Priorities.

Last, but certainly not least: snacks! The airlines do a decent job of providing us with snacks, but a) often not quite enough, and b) what happens if you are delayed? Always be prepared - without taking up too much space.

Once this stuff is settled, including headphones, books, crayons, and sticker books, I turn to my own suitcase. And then usually fall into bed. I'm ahead of schedule so far, though, so 11 years later, I must have this down. Or, I've forgotten something. Maybe both.