Friday, August 29, 2008

Vacation (All I Ever Wanted)

At the end of July I boarded a plane and headed for Vermont for a week, sans husband or children - amazing, I know. For those of you who don't know, my mom is from Vermont, and so I have a whole side of the family out there who I rarely get to see. After having survived a particularly rough semester last spring, Jon agreed that I could treat myself to a trip back east (thank you to the Federal Aid For Students for providing me with money.) Rather than regale you with tales of my trip, (air travel is a nightmare), I thought that it would be nice to introduce you all to some of my family (although I assure you that it is impossible to get a true feeling for these people without meeting them in person. Also, for a lot of them, hearing the accent is half of the experience.) Let me start by saying that I love (almost) everyone back there absolutely and would give (almost) anything to be able to live closer to them. They are great people and despite the fact that I don't get back there very often and I have obvious mental defects (genetic I assure you) they always treat me just like I live there and am part of the family.

Ok, first up we have my cousin Jerold and our Uncle Chris. Jerold and his family were kind enough to put up with me for the week while I was there, letting me sleep in their house, although not without plenty of threats to make me go and stay somewhere else (the main threat being to make me go and stay with my mom, which many of you know is a pretty big threat.) Jerold took me for a ride on his Harley, and let me tell you, everyone should have one. And seeing Vermont on the back of a bike was a whole new experience, and it was beautiful.

What can be said about Uncle Chris...he is a nut. I always spend a lot of my time with him shaking my head and laughing at him because he is really a personification of a good old boy, and is very often entertaining.

Next are Christalee and Jaden, Jerold's wife and daughter. Christalee has been putting up with me since my visit for Christmas of my senior year when my mom kicked me out, and that earns her my love and gratitude. Jaden is 6 (and a half, she would ammend) and was my shadow for the week. She is a sweet little girl and we had fun.

Here are the women of my family (minus my sister who, alas, was headed to Hawaii and couldn't accompany me on my trip.) From left to right are my Aunt Julie and cousin Jessica (Jerold's mom and older sister), my Aunt Sherry, my mother Amy, and yours truly. I tell you, if you could get together with all of these women at the same time, you would fear for my genetic future, much as I do. No, really, we had fun and it was a gathering that rarely happens. As you can see from the picture, I am the tallest girl in my immediate family, and as I top out at 5'6" (average height for a girl) you can guess how short everyone else is. The men in my family there are not tall either - it was an odd experience to be on the same level as everyone I talked to and hugged, given that I live in the land of giants here.

This is my Uncle Stuart, married to Aunt Julie and father of Jerold. Now, as I have stated, I love everyone back there, but I have to say that I think Uncle Stuart is my favorite. Apparently I am a masochist because Uncle Stuart's favorite pastime is running me down the whole time I am there (I come by my sarcasm and wit naturally.) But I know that he only makes fun of the people he loves, so I am ok with it. Even in this picture you can just see on his face that he has some smart-alec thing to say.

Finally, this is my Grandpa Loren, my mom's dad. When I used to go back in the summer when I was a kid I spent a fair amount of time with him and my step-grandma Blanche. He, like the rest of the family, likes to tease. Hard to believe I spend $500 on airline tickets to go somewhere and be harrassed, especially when my family here would do it for free.

It was a fabulous trip, and I can't wait until I can go back again. My family has an aversion to California, so I doubt any of them will head out this way anytime soon. But that is ok, because being in the state of Vermont is half of the joy of seeing them all.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Misty Water-Colored Memories...

Here's What You Do...

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty cool (and funny) to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Oh My Darling Clementine

For the 4th of July this year we went to Clementine to spend the day in the sun and the water. I was a little nervous when the rangers at the top of the hill told us that there were already 119 cars at the bottom, but it actually didn't seem that crowded. We set ourselves up on the rocky part of the beach and slathered the kids with sunblock before setting them loose and kicking back. The great thing about this part of Clementine is that while it is known as "Upper Lake" it is actually a river, and therefore is very clean and clear but still has pools for swimming in, but without the strong currents and undertows of the American River. The kids spent the day splashing around and collecting "special" rocks while Jon swam and ate and I tried to convince my Irish skin to adopt some color. We had a great time and think we might make this our July 4th tradition.

You Say It's Your Birthday...

On June 27th Hailey celebrated her 6th birthday, complete with costume changes (what a diva). We started out at the movie theater for a screening of Wall-E, to which Hailey wore her new princess dress and birthday tiara. We were accompanied by some of Hailey's cousins and aunts and uncles. We followed the movie with cupcakes at the park, to which Hailey wore her fabulous new purple shorts and flowered top. Given that this is the girl who took in a deep breath and said "Mmmm, the smell of the mall," I think we are in for trouble when she hits the teen years!