|Starting with our arrival in Half Moon Bay on April 21st and continuing through our departure this morning from Petaluma, these last 2 & 1/2 months have been all about spending time with our families.
There were cheers at Daniel's high school baseball games and more cheering at the academic achievement awards ceremony for HMB High School where Daniel received awards in science and math for his freshman class. There are two very likely candidates for CAL Berkeley in the coming years, Daniel and Noelle, following in Grandpa Howard's foot steps! (Conservatives cringing!)
We baby-sat 8 month old Liliana and laughed while she attempted to crawl, scooting along like an inch-worm, and sit up and fall over on all the blankets and cushions we had propped around. She has since mastered these skills as evidenced by the video Terri just posted on my Facebook page. She loves to eat and weighs a hefty 20 lbs., has such fun toys and contraptions, like her "jumpy" swing that Clint suspended from the ceiling, and never minds being put down in her crib where she most times lulls herself to sleep!
Every Mother's Day is special but it seems that each year is better than the last. It was such a fun time at Norm and Wendy's with ALL present except for Noelle and Rob who were terribly missed. Noelle had a great pre-graduation trip to Washington, DC and Rob has moved to Whittier, AK where he is teaching karate at the local school and immersing himself in summer tourism. Whittier, nestled in the heart of the Prince William Sound, is a cruise ship destination, near Anchorage.
There were trips to Folsom where Noelle's mom lives to watch her play softball, and a very special 8th grade graduation ceremony at Sutter Middle School, followed by a celebratory lunch. This fall she will attend St. Francis Catholic High School for girls in Sacramento. While in the area, we ran up to Don and Joan's near Sutter Creek for a few days!
We stayed at the Carmichael Elk's lodge near Stephanie and Gary's and gathered at their house for wonderful meals and Mexican Train with friends, Laura and Jim, joining us. Of course, we could not miss the grand debut of the newest granddog, Riley Spencer Stilley Burnett. I might mention that the Elk's RV parking was full and we had to park in the overflow, in 104 degree temps. I love our generator!
As usual, we center ourselves in Petaluma at the Elk's Lodge, a location ideal for many side trips to SF, the coast and, as previously documented, the Napa Valley wine region. We have easy access to our Kaiser facility and Shollenberger Park is right across the street.
Norm has been off work on disability for almost 4 months, rehabilitating from surgery to repair a torn labrum and rotator cuff, 2nd time - same right shoulder. Christina has been home with him with the exception of two days a week for mental health...ooops, I mean day care. She is a very smart, extremely active, almost 4 year old (Sept.) who runs like the Energizer Bunny. The good news is, Norm starts back to work this coming Monday!
We became frequent dinner "guests" at Norm and Wendy's - gosh it's great to have your kids cook for you, and had outings with Annie the Dog, Norm & Christina. Then Noelle was here for a month after school ended to add to the fun. We had a great Father's Day tri-tip barbecue and this past weekend celebrated the 4th of July weekend in grand style. On Saturday, the Elk's had their big day starting in the morning with a very moving flag ceremony. Next, the family arrived just in time for bbq'd oysters, bingo, and a great lunch with more food than I even want to think about having eaten.
Stephanie and Gary brought their motorhome down packed with both dogs, Maci and Riley, and we continued with the 4th at Norm's. The weather was perfect to be outside and we enjoyed their beautiful new backyard, complete with pavers and new redwood furniture. A perfect background for a truly cut-throat game of Mexican Train. Dinner was the traditional but very best hamburgers, hot dogs, and salads, with Brownies and blueberry crisp for dessert. At dark, we rolled out onto the front lawn for fireworks in the street.
This is also about friends, so important to mention that we re-connected with a very good friend, Pat Burns, from our Half Moon Bay days, via Facebook...love that site; and at the lodge party on the 4th we met Phyllis and Bruce, also on FB. Both visited us at the motorhome and we so look forward to keeping in touch and seeing them when we get back to the Bay Area.
And finally as we leave town, heading for the Great Northwest...We are officially on a diet!!