Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Grandma Time!

Grandma's Pool
It was unseasonably cool for the middle of June in Yuba City.  It made for fabulous days of sweat-free time outside, but unfortunately my mom's pool was freezing!  We only went in twice and William would shiver and cling to me each time so I gave up.  We went to the new Aquatic Center that had kids water slides and fountains.  I didn't have my camera for the public pool so you'll have to trust me that it was fun.

"Night Before the Wedding" Dinner
This was an informal version of a rehearsal dinner.  Both Marc and Kristen's families were there and we had Hawaiian haystacks, Grandma Barrow's potato salad and delicious pineapple-coconut cake.  As always, when we get together with aunts, uncles, and cousins, funny stories and lots of laughter are to follow.  This night was no exception.

 Marc and Kristen's Wedding
The whole reason for the visit was to attend the temple wedding of my cousin, Marc and his now wife, Kristen.  I was one of the last to get married so I wasn't endowed to go to the temple for most of my family's wedding, including my sister and brother's weddings.  I didn't want to miss out on this opportunity.  The ceremony was beautiful and reminded me of my own sealing.  Sacramento weather was beautiful, the couple was good looking and Kristen's dress was gorgeous.  After the photo session, we headed back to my Aunt Kelly and Uncle Sterling's backyard for the reception.  It was very tasteful and I loved the small jars of homemade strawberry jam as wedding favors.  Towards the end of the evening, William entertained everyone with his interpretive dance moves.  Very funny, but I couldn't get a good picture of it.  That Saturday was a long day, but a lot of fun.

Fairytale Town
A tradition in my family is a visit to Fairytale Town in Sacramento.  My Aunt Kelly used to pack us all in her car and take us there every Christmas Eve day.  As I got older, the park got more and more run down but in recent years they've renovated the park and now it's a pretty decent place to bring kids and relive old childhood memories.  William loved the slides and watering Mr. McGregor's Garden (from A Tale of Peter Rabbit).  Somewhere in my aunt's scrapbooks there are photos of the giant cheese "standing alone" from "The Farmer in the Dell" and all of us cheesing it up on it.  I got my mom and William to peek out of the holes and I even wedged my pregnant self inside for a photo.

Helping Grandma
William loves to be helpful.  He asked if he could help Grandma make a fruit salad and before she could respond, he was already pushing a chair up to the counter to stand on.  He also liked watering the flowers and filling up the fountain with water.  We went to In and Out Burger while out there and he insisted on getting a hat to wear like the workers there.  This is why he's wearing it like a chef's hat while helping Grandma in the kitchen.

Barrow Family Food Fest
It's been said that when the Barrows get together, it's always a food fest.  Yes, yes it is and yes it was!  Everyone brought good food to share and we had barbeque hamburgers and humongous Nathan's hot dogs.  Unfortunately, my mom forgot to take out the Lime Whip Jello Salad (my favorite family recipe!) from the freezer and it was ruined.  Darn!  Then we played my favorite game, Dirty Bingo.  This is when you play regular Bingo and get a wrapped prize with every Bingo you get.  Then when the gifts run out, you start stealing from each other.  When someone gets a blackout (a full Bingo card), only then does everyone get to open their prizes.  I was the game master that night to let my mom have a turn at playing.  I also got to pick out the prizes and that was fun to do.  My mom won the big ticket prize, a bag of chip clips from IKEA.  The rest were from the dollar sections of Michaels and Target.  I especially loved the patriotic hats that Kelly and Jeff won.  It was my cousin, Michael's, 28th birthday so we sang "Happy Birthday" and had mint chip ice cream cake, brownies, and cherry and berry pies.  Christian and Janay had their first baby and got checked out of the hospital that night so they came over for Baby Brynlee's family barbeque debut.

Visiting With my Mom
My mom was working most of the days I was there but we still got in some good "Girly Time."  We went shopping in Roseville, got pedicures, went to Home Town Buffet with Grandma Barrow, and stayed up too late in the night talking.  I also love my mom's back yard.  Sometimes we would just sit outside and watch the birds and eat breakfast or sip cold drinks by the pool.

Grandpa Time!

Gauche Park and Grandpa's House
On our first full day in California, my dad took the day off work and picked us up to take us to lunch and playtime at the park.  Then we went back to his house and William got to play with one of the highlights of his trip, the Imaginext Dragon Castle.  Then we relaxed outside and Grandpa taught William how to hit and and throw a baseball.

Sunday Afternoon Barbeque and Homemade Ice Cream
On Sunday, after church and naps, we headed back to Grandpa's house for some more Dragon Castle fun and barbeque ribs.  We celebrated an early Father's Day with a couple of gifts, a Navy tee shirt and a framed scrapbook page of an interview with William about his grandpa.  Then after relaxing and visiting, we were treated with my dad's famous homemade ice cream.  Mmmmmm!

San Francisco Trip
My dad suggested a trip to San Francisco so we headed out in the morning to spend the day in the Foggy City.  On the way, I wanted to stop at the new Nut Tree shopping center.  It has a kid's play area that is new and cool in an old school way.  When was the last time you saw teeter totters and a push merry-go-round?  There was also a carousel, rocking horses, giant checker and chess boards, and a little train that went around the park.  After William ran himself ragged, we had lunch at Fenton's Ice Cream.  Then we crossed the bay and headed for the Exploratorium in San Francisco.  I had been there once as a kid and thought it was cool.  It was science nerd heaven and I was very bored, but William liked checking out all the stuff and pushing buttons so I endured it for him.  This must have been what it was like for my mom when we went there 20+ years ago.  On the way home, we stopped in Vallejo to have dinner with my uncle Gene, who is always a hoot.  It was a big day and we were all exhausted when we finally got back.

Visiting Yuba City

As much as I love living in the East, I often miss my family and friends and ache to be with them in California.  No matter how crazy I think the state in general is (politics, social policies, etc.), I have a lot of fond memories there.  My family and friends of course, but here are a few little known special memories.

Palm Trees
I know that palm trees are not limited to CA, but seeing them always reminded me of home.  Actually, they remind me of my Grandma Barrow's home because she used to have a big one in her yard.  When I was little, we lived in Nevada, and would drive to Yuba City pretty often and I always knew we were close to Grandma's house when I saw the palm trees.
The Smell of Star Jasmine
It's the most wonderful smell to me.  This plant is everywhere and when I get a whiff, I immediately think of my mom's backyard, family get togethers, happy school memories, dating Sean, friends from high school.  Basically all good memories associated with my childhood come flooding back with the smell of star jasmine.
I LOVE these giant balls of flowers.  Both of my grandmas had them in their yards and when we would visit, I always wished I could bring a big bouquet home with me.  I've tried over and over to grow my own, but they never seem to thrive as well as they do in California.

Since my parents' divorce it's been tricky when it came to visiting my old home town of Yuba City.  William and I bounced back and forth from my mom to my dad and it was a very exhausting 10 days.  But, we were never bored and always had something going on and someone to visit.  William was in grandparent heaven.  Because there was so much going on, I'm splitting my posts into Grandma time and Grandpa time.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dutch Wonderland

For Memorial Day we headed out to Lancaster to go to Dutch Wonderland.  It's a kids amusement park and water park.  It was a lot of fun.  William is a little thrill junkie.  H,kept wanting the rides to go faster and higher.  He was very sad when he told he was not big enough to ride the one big roller coaster.  He made due on the little one, though.  It's a shame we didn't get to the water park side of the park before the thunderstorm hit.  I guess we'll just have to go back another time!

The Little Roller Coaster

The Crazy Plane

The Carousel

Wonder Whip

The Frog Hopper
He rode this one like 5 times in a row!

The Fun Slide

These nice Amish people were kind enough to scowl with me!