Monday, February 05, 2007

Our home away from home

Wow. I haven't blogged in several months! Sorry about that faithful seems I have been filling my extra time when O is napping with my newly rekindled love for knitting (read obsession). I have been a stitchin' fiend lately! Hopefully I can get caught up to present tense with a few blog entries over the next few days. :)

In November, Roby and I traveled to southern CA with Owie. Originally the trip was for Roby's Breast Cancer walk event, but we combined it with a small business trip for him, as well as a time to stay with our friends the Kellys and visit our old pals and haunts. We had a wonderful stay, filled with many firsts for our little guy.

The day after we arrived, we went to Disneyland with Dannielle, her parents Ron and Judi and her kids Aidan and Emma. Owen didn't know what to think as he took all the sights and sounds in. We enjoyed a day spent strolling through the most magical place on earth, introducing Owen to the characters (he seemed a bit timid around the life-size bugs and Pluto) and accompanying the kids on rides. Aidan and Emma even had their picture taken with Jasmine (Emma's favorite princess of the moment) and Aladdin. The day wore Owen out and he slept through the Nightmare Before Christmas and Pirates of the Carribean rides. We bought Mickey Ears for him and he actually kept them on for over an hour...he MUST have been tired to leave a hat on that long! In the evening we watched the parade and Owen pointed, with eyes lit up and grin spreading, at Mickey-his favorite Disney character.

Owen loved to hang out with the big kids, and it was so cute to see them all lined up in their carseats in the backseat when we drove anywhere. Aidan celebrated his fifth birthday when we were there, complete with a knights and princesses birthday party! We were happy to be there for the event because we have missed out on so many since we moved. It seemed just like old times hanging with the Kelly family, enjoying meals together, a night out while Judi and Ron watched the kids, a trip to San Diego to visit one of Dannielle's friends, and lunch at a killer taco joint and a trip to the beach. Owen, hesitant at first, stepped onto the sand with his bare feet and seemed to like it. We took him down by the water, which he was fascinated with...that is until a small wave knocked him down, scaring him. He got right back up though and just kept his distance from the water. I love the pics we took of him looking out on the horizon, waves lapping near his feet, his itty bitty footprints leading up to the water's edge = precious. Aidan and Emma got a little more wet than we all had anticipated so it was funny to have to strip them all down for the drive home with sand lodged in every conceivable place.

During our stay, we were able to grab Pedro's burritos (their bean and cheese with potatoes are thee best!) with Jo and Steinar and head over to a park overlooking the ocean not far from where i used to work with them at The Jesus Film Project. (I tend to forget how beautifully scenic our surroundings were when we lived in Cali....I guess we took them for granted, but I sure miss them now!) We enjoyed catching up and introducing Owen to them. Next we headed over to the Project with them and had a little bit of time to visit with former co-worker friends (although our time was entirely too short.) Our friends Vicky, Casey and their son Asher joined us for dinner at the Kelly house, and I was able to visit Vicky and Asher again during one of the days. We also caught up with Angela and Anil over an Italian lunch in LA.

During our visit, our friend Julie (who I've known since I was four and through whom Roby and I met) drove down from Santa Cruz with her two kids, Kaia and Micah. We had not seen our goddaughter Kaia in awhile, and had yet to meet Micah and introduce Owen to them. We had a wonderful time of reconnecting and were crazy enough to take the kids to Chucky Cheese for Kaia's fourth birthday on a day that school was out...the kids had a great time running around like miniature crazy people, eating, dancing, etc. We couldn't resist dressing Micah and Owen in matching "Chick Magnet" shirts, and, being only a month apart age-wise, people kept asking us if they were twins! Later that day we revisited an old coffee shop haunt (Alta) in Newport Beach, before meeting up with some friends from the first church we went to in CA for dinner. At the restaurant, Julie surprised me when Kenny, a friend from high school who we haven't seen in years, showed up, as well as an old friend Mark from back in our 'zine writing days! Wow, reconnecting everywhere! Gotta love it! We also were able to meet up with Julie and the kids the following morning for a birthday breakfast for Kaia at Ruby's before they left for up North. We were so thankful that during this trip we were able to meet Micah and spend quality time with Julie and the had been way too long! (Back in PA we saw each other every day...and now we are lucky if we see each other once a year. Maybe some day we will end up in the same location, who knows!)

Our friends from here, Hank and Amanda, got married in Monterey, CA, on a cliff overlooking the Pacific the weekend before we arrived. Congrats guys! Roby participated in the Breast Cancer Walk with them in San Diego (this was Amanda's third year and Hank's second). Although Roby had not trained nearly enough, he was able to come out of the experience only sore for a few days, but with a new understanding of how important the fight against this horrible disease is. He enjoyed hearing people's story of survival and was happy to be a part of something so important. Thank you to all of you who financially sponsered Roby for the walk, we can't think of a more worthwhile cause for money to go toward. Thank you so much for sharing this with him! (When I find the picture of him on the walk, I will post it.)

Dannielle invited me to her monthly Bingo night with several of the neighbors from her street. This group has been getting together for years for a fun evening filled with great food, wine, cool prizes and, of course, Bingo...but this isn't your grandmother's bingo! I had such a wonderful time that i quickly thought to myself, I MUST start something similar with my girlfriends (since the neighbors here don't really talk to us that much :) in TN. Sooooo, last Saturday, we met at my house for our first Bingo night. It is always great to see how my various friends (my new mommy friends, a friend from church, and Roby's co-workers or spouses of his co-workers) get along so well. We enjoyed a Mexican feast, complete with wine, frozen pina coladas and strawberry daiquiries...played Bingo and exchanged awesome prizes...and Alyson won the grand prize $45. Woohoo! We all were enjoying the chance to unwind/chillax and share in some girl conversation without having to worry about our children (who were all with their pappas). Thanks, Dannielle, for the inspiration behind our successful get-together...we all look forward to continuing it through the upcoming months!

Words to describe our fall trip to California? Wonderful. Much needed. Appreciated. Magical. We were thrilled to see Owen so happy as he took everything in at Disneyland and Chuckie Cheese, ran around at the park, saw the ocean for the first time, experienced the sand and waves, and played with his little friends. We have some really great friends on the Left Coast who we miss dearly, and we are so thankful we were able to reconnect again. We hope we can make the trip once a year, but we know it won't always work out. Thank you Andrew and Dannielle for letting us stay with you for a week and for being patient with little leggo stealer Owen! We had a blast and missed you guys the minute we left. Looking forward to the time we will see you all again!

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At 9:01 PM , Anonymous Sherine said...

Heather - adorable pics. And the video was so cute - Owen looks cuter everytime I see him :)

At 9:13 PM , Anonymous Sherri said...

Thanks for letting me experience a trip back to CA vicariously through you;-) I'm trying to figure out when I can go for a visit.

At 12:07 PM , Blogger Steve and Shan said...

Sounds like a great trip! Wish we could've been there with ya. Love the shots of Owie on the beach...he looks totally at home. ;) Hopefully June will work out.


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