My Pop (Grandpa for those of you not in the know) has a way with stringed instruments. All my life he’s loved to get together with his buddies and do some serious Pickin’ and Grinnin’. For the last few years he gets together with some of those buddies and they play every Friday night. My cousin Bobi was visiting last week and went to listen to the Pickin’ and gave me the ok to post these. Pop’s on the right playing his mandolin. He also plays the fiddle and some guitar. I think he can play just about any stringed instrument, but the mandolin and fiddle are his favorites.
Last August Waldo’s sister Christy and her son Jude visited. We were going to go to the zoo, but it was so crowded we couldn’t find a place to park. We decided to just play in the park right outside the zoo and feed the geese the popcorn we brought for them. Then we went to the aquarium.
Oh wait, me too.
A few weeks before Thanksgiving I got a text from my sister Jolene (who lives in CA) asking if we were coming home to visit for Thanksgiving. I told her no immediately, because well, we’re broke. She responded that I could at least talk to Waldo about it before I shoot the idea down and that it would be really cool if I came because Jody (our other sister and Jolene’s twin, who lives in OK) and her kids were going to be there too.
So Waldo and I talked about it and after he said no (because we think very much alike), we started looking at how much it would really cost. After all of the figuring we realized it wouldn’t be THAT much money since we could stay at my Dad’s house and most of our food would be taken care of because of the holiday. So I texted Jolene and told her that as long as there were no major blizzards on the mountain passes we had to cross, we’d be there.
A week or so later we found out that Jody bailed on us, something about needing to work. We forgave her, but it would have been so much more fun if she’d have been there. Jolene figured that since Jody decided to stay home we wouldn’t take the trip either, but Lily was so fricking excited that we couldn’t change our mind even if we had wanted too.
We, or I should say Waldo and his Dad, kept a close eye on the weather reports for the week leading up to our leaving. Everything looked good so we headed out Wednesday morning. The drive went great surprisingly well. We got rained on a tiny bit, but the only snow we saw was way off in the mountains no where near us. Then we got to Donner Pass and hit some rain and a lot of fog.
You should be able to see a whole lot further then you can here.
We got out of the fog fairly quickly and then it looked like smooth sailing. Boy were we silly to think that driving to California the day before Thanksgiving would be a good idea. Right outside of Sacramento we hit the bumper to bumper holiday traffic. It sucked! It was also the point where I took over driving, Waldo finally wanted a break. He says it was a coincidence, but I’m still not sure.
We finally got out of the crazy traffic about an hour or so outside of my Dad’s house. Thank goodness we finally got to my Dad’s and out of the car. We took Lily in the house and sat her down and told her to tell my Dad about her trip and we went out to the car to get our stuff. I know this doesn’t sound like anything worth mentioning, but for Lily this is a first and is totally amazing. We felt this was a good sign as to what was to come on our trip. I’m going to spare you the suspense and tell you that Lily got totally overwhelmed by half way through Thanksgiving day and went back to her standard shy self. But she still had a great time.
We went to my Aunt KK’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.
My Memaw and Pop were already there when we arrived, along with Kk and her husband Dixon. My sister Jolene and Olivia were suppose to be meeting us there, her son Max was already there too.
Olivia was the only one that Lily cared about seeing so the fact that Jolene was taking her time was killing her. Finally we got ahold of Jolene and I told her I was coming to get Olivia and then she could take her time. Max went with me and it was very nice to get some alone time with him. I can’t believe he’s 16. It’s true what they say, kids grow up way too fast.
Very quickly Lily and Olivia were off to play in the playroom. It was so cute, seeing them together again.
Olivia spent the night with us at my Dad’s, in fact she stayed with us almost the whole time we were there. The girls loved it.
It works out great that Lily’s carseat is still backwards because it made it easy for them to talk and share tablets. This was how they spent all of their time in the car.
Friday morning we went to Memaw and Pop’s for chocolate gravy (a huge tradition for our family). My Mom met us there.
Jolene did some Black Friday shopping so when she got to Memaw’s she tried to get some shut eye. HAHA, silly girl.
Lily got super overwhelmed during breakfast because of all the noise so Waldo had to take her outside for a little while to relax. The family on my Mom’s side is very loud when we get together, well some of them are anyway. After breakfast we took a bunch of pictures.
Olivia stayed with us the rest of the day and the girls couldn’t have been happier. After we left my Grandparents we went to visit my cousin Melissa and her family for a few hours. I realized when we got home that I didn’t take a single picture of Melissa and her family and I was so mad at myself I could have spit.
Saturday we decided to take Lily and Olivia to the zoo. Jolene, Max and KK met us there and we had a blast. The weather was perfect, the zoo wasn’t that busy and we had good company. What more could we have asked for?
Right before we moved to Idaho the Zoo had just started working on a new Sea Lion enclosure. We finally got to see it all finished and I have to say that it was awesome. You could see the tank from above, level with it and below the water line. We got there right at feeding time and we probably could have spent a lot more time than we did, but Lily had to potty and we all wanted lunch.
After the zoo we went to lunch and then to my Grandparents to tell them goodbye. It’s so hard to say bye to everyone and especially them.
Back at my Dad’s Lily and Olivia helped get the Christmas tree decorating started.
I loved how much fun the girls had together, and we hated saying goodbye to Olivia. I’m so glad my sister was ok with giving her to us for a few days. I hated saying goodbye to the rest of my family too, but Olivia was the hardest.
We did finally say goodbye and headed out for home. The drive home was a lot better than the drive in. There was some fog in central California which didn’t surprise us at all. We did have to make a stop at a Target in a small town an hour or two from my Dad’s house. We left Lily’s Hello Kitty cup at my Dad’s and so we had to get her a new one. Otherwise it was smooth sailing all the way home.
I can’t wait to see my family again, but for now I’m so glad that we are home.
Lily’s cooling her feet by the fan.
Don’t even ask me.
I made Lil a Pink Birdie. She has an imaginary Pink Birdie friend so now she has a slightly less imaginary one to play with.
I made tomato soup for the first time and baked mozzarella balls to go with it. The cheese balls didn’t survive the baking process, but it was all still very yummy and super rich.
We went to a bar-b-Que at a neighbor’s hour and right before we left Lily finally started to warm up to the other girls.
This weekend we tossed on Lily’s 2012 Halloween t-shirt (I get her a new one every year) and headed to The Patch. It’s the same Pumpkin Patch that we went to last year. We really liked it and will probably keep going year after year for as long as we are here.
I have a thing for white pumpkins so we found a couple that were the perfect size.
On a side note this trip to the pumpkin patch was the first time I’ve used my real camera since July. I could hardly believe it when I was looking at the memory card. Only phone pictures since fricking July. I’ve got to remember to grab the real camera more often.
This is my favorite picture from the Pumpkin Patch.
We ended up coming home with the two white pumpkins for painting and one pretty good side orange one for carving.
While we were paying for our pumpkins we went into their little store and saw Waldo’s brother’s honey for sale. It’s raw, unfiltered, local, yummy honey. This was the first time we’ve seen it for sale anywhere, it was pretty cool. I also bought one of their home grown loofa’s and came home and cut it in half because I thought it was too big. Huge mistake, now I have this tiny loofa that does nothing but annoy me because it’s hard to hold on too. Live and learn.
We had such a nice time together, as is the norm. Now I can’t wait to carve pumpkins and put Lily in her witch’s costume and go trick or treating.