Thursday, August 7, 2014

California (part 1)

Every three years our family does a reunion out in California. This particular time, it ended up being four years because there was a small reunion out in Wyoming following my Grandma Eleanor's death in 2012 (we didn't go to the reunion, only to the funeral in CA). This being the first reunion without my grandma, it was particularly special to have (our) Eleanor there. She actually died exactly two years ago while we were out there this past week. It was great to be able to see all the family together and the legacy she helped build during her life. Because I have so many pictures and to make it less overwhelming for myself, I decided to put this trip into two posts: the first half of the week and the second half of the week.

The way out to CA was Eleanor's first plane ride. She did awesome on the 5+ hour flight - we flew direct with no layovers. She napped for an hour, loved looking out the window, and otherwise just climbed around. Lauren was a huge help during the flights (and really the entire trip) - Eleanor climbed all over the three of us going out and coming back.

Once we landed, we picked up our rental car and headed to In-N-Out for a late Virginia/early California lunch. Eleanor had some fries and despite her face, she really liked them and ate a fair amount.

Once we got to Bass Lake, the site of our reunion, our cousin Colby came up to visit. Colby raises puppies to become service dogs and she brought her two puppies with her. Eleanor loves dogs, so obviously Colby was a hit with her :)

After being completely awesome during the flight and our arrival day, Eleanor had trouble on our first full day in California. She was on east coast time, waking up at three in the morning and having trouble napping. We took her on a walk in the middle of the night to help her fall back asleep, but the day was still pretty rough. We ended up driving around the lake that afternoon to let her take a nap in the car. She always sleeps well in the car, but I've never resorted to taking a drive to get her to nap until that day. She was exhausted and could not fall asleep. Chris and I stopped at the dam on our drive to get a nice view of the lake before we turned around (road was closed) to head back.

It was also our night to cook, and because E was having such a rough day, we really weren't very helpful. Thankfully my Uncle Terry had planned out the entire menu and shopped for everything, so it ended up being an awesome dinner of fajitas, quesadillas, chile rellenos, salsa, guacamole, and rice. We didn't stay long for dinner that night, but it was delicious.

We relaxed on the deck during breakfasts every morning and Eleanor tried figs for the first time. My aunt brought them with her from a graft of a tree that my grandma Eleanor had in her backyard. She loved them!

During the week we spent most of our days at the lake. We paddleboarded, rode jet skis (including Eleanor, but don't worry, I didn't take her out on the stand up one!) and floated in rafts.

Eleanor also did a fair amount of swimming with family and digging in the sand thanks to some awesome beach toys my cousin Heather got her.

On Monday morning, we took a drive down to Prather to visit my uncle's restaurant: the Pizza Factory. We made pizzas and got a tour of the place. Chris learned how to throw pizza dough and Eleanor checked out what was on tap.

As at every reunion, dinners were awesome every night. Each group gets one night to cook and everyone's meals were fantastic. We walked over to a house each evening where the dinner group gathered. Eleanor's favorite by far was a chicken spaghetti contributed by my cousin's girlfriend. She couldn't get enough - Chris actually had to pull a piece of pasta out of her ear. The second picture below is me with the two other Katies at this reunion. Coincidentally, the two male cousins who are my age both married a Katie, so there happens to be three Katies, all approximately the same age, at this reunion each time. And, the Katie on the left shares her wedding anniversary with Eleanor's birthday (needless to say, we didn't make their wedding).

More soon...


Dorothy said...

Now this is how to enjoy life....good times!

LA-jan said...

Oh! So much fun!
Good times, indeed!

Stina said...

looks like an awesome vacation!! glad you guys had a good time!

jennie said...

so awesome!!!

Elizabeth said...

I'm so glad ya'll could make the trip! I love these pictures of Eleanor looking like such a big kid :)

Ashley said...

What an adventure! Hannah also loves french fries - get them started young, right? :)

maggie said...

What a beautiful place for a reunion! E looks like shes having a blast :)