Okay first of all. I know I haven't written in 300 years & then I bombard the blog with gobs of entries. So first let me explain a few things. Some of these entries have been sitting in draft for what seems like a lifetime. Written, yes, but waiting for me to upload pictures to go along with them. Some have been sitting there for so long, like this one, that the title keeps changing & the content keeps growing. I blog for two reasons, to share our lives with all you all & to mark a memory to pass down the family line. So here we go...
In April my groom & I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. He wasn't available to sneak away on the actual anniversary date. However I received a bouquet of flower delivered right to our doorstep. It was custom made with daisies, because they are my favorite flowers. Peach roses & baby's breath were added, because that's what filled my wedding bouquet. White carnations were added because that's what sweethearts exchanged when we were in high school. Yes it added to his total lovability! later that week I convinced him to play hooky from work & we slid off radar. We spent a dreamy afternoon hiking up at Pine Flat Reservoir. You should maybe see the magic for yourself someday. With all the wild flowers & green carpeted hills it is beautiful in the spring. However that's not why were there. I don't know about you, but I have yet to meet a couple who didn't need to press restart on their marriage. We did, presumably you did too. Pine Flat is where we did just that many, many years ago. It's basically a memorial for us.
But wait there's more in April ... Easter & Ricky's Birthday...on the same day. First things first. What did we do about Ricky? Since both boys were gone the whole week before Easter on a local missions trip we decided not to try and fit in a party this year. Ricky is growing up, but he is still tender to tradition. I had to think out-of-the-box. We decided to ask our friends from Give Me Some Sugah to make him up a gift basket. If you follow the link you can see what they made for him. We had this delivered during choir practice as close to his birthday as possible. All his classmates sang him happy birthday. This was the closest we could get to an actual event to let him know he is special to us.
We have a tradition of waking up our kids singing them the birthday song. The Shugert family called earlier than we had anticipated waking Ricky up, to say happy birthday. So while he was yet sleeping, with the speaker phone on, they sang to him! Very cool way to wake up! Even though we had Easter to attend the day of his birthday we still busted out the photo albums to reminiscence Ricky's life, such as when he would make bows & arrows from bamboo growing in the backyard. I hold the last 14 years close to my heart.
Speaking of Easter. My Mother in Law hosts a thoughtful meal. My Grandparents played a big role in my growing up years. That fact that my Grandfather was Armenian was evident in our meals. My Mother in Law tries to include some of those foods on Easter for my sake. That is very thoughtful indeed. We had a great day full of good conversation & lots of yummy food. They also had a small time of recognizing Ricky's day.
May brought us Mothers Day & Billy's Birthday....on the same day! Yes that again. It's neat, but also a pain to schedule events. We decided on no party for Billy either. Since we didn't have outside family to add to the mix Billy & I busied ourselves via the internet scoping California for some fun activity, we hadn't already done. We decided on visiting Solvang. Ever been? Such a cute Scandinavian village! We had so much fun. We got our Danish pastries on at Olsens's Danish Village Bakery eating almond rings, kringles & tarts. We went to Ingeborg's Chocolates where we had some chocolate covered honeycombs & marzipan goodies. We had aebleskiver, frikadellar, medisterpolse & rodkaal among other unnameables at a smorgaasbord restaurant (is that redundant? I wonder?) called The Red Viking.
We didn't just eat. However maybe it's a good thing we rented a surrey to tour the town in. It's called pedal off the snacks as you munch, munch, munch! After we felt like we'd shopped & ate our way through downtown Solvang we hopped in the car & went critter searching. We went to Pacific Breeze Alpaca Farm, Ostrich Land Ostrich Farm, Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch & Seein' Spots Miniature Donkeys & Mules Rescue. On the way home we stopped at Oceano Dunes to watch the waves & birds as we ate our picnic dinner.
Later that week we celebrated the gift of Billy's previous 16 years life with dinner at the in laws. The next day Billy & Ricky took the money they got from both sets of Grandparents, us & money they had earned along the way to the store. They bought themselves a movie, a few video games & a new 360 game system.
The In Laws hosted a Family Reunion at the end of May. Lots of good food & fellowship. It's always a pleasure to see extended family, to show my sons their "people". My Mother in Law is a genealogy buff. So it is at times like this that she really sparkles. She has binders full of information on each section of the family line complete with photos & news paper articles. She says something to the effect of "if you don't want your family to know about your life choices, make sure you don't get published, cuz I will put it in here" Anyway people pretty much sat around visiting, looking at photo albums & her binders. Holidays in this family usually lead to a long walk after eating a large meal. Those who chose to do so on this day in late May got rained on. Just another testament to this years odd weather patterns.
On to June for my birthday we went to Manresa Beach. We brought the cast iron dutch oven & had a beach bonfire! Jeff made us fillet sandwiches with a buckaroo sauce for lunch. Billy made us another version of lemonade. This version had blender-ized fruit that had been frozen into ice cubes & popped into a thermos with the juice. Ricky made us a chocolate cake that had coke & mini marshmallows in the batter (I know, but trust me it was delish!). Then we all went for a shell collecting walk. After that Jeff & Ricky went boogie boarding. Billy started the fire again. We made Red cabbage with potatoes, onion, apples and bacon. We played Corn Hole & Ladder Ball, so fun! Before we went home we stopped off and got some of Gilroy's famous Garlic Ice Cream. Yum!
Then of course there's Fathers Day, which played out a lot different this year. We actually celebrated Jeff & all his Dadliness the Monday before Fathers Day with a special dinner & speach. This was because the actual date had us up dark & early taking our sons to buy last minute items they forgot to tell us they needed. Then get them to our church parking lot, while it was then bright...but still very early. They were leaving on a missions trip to Mexico. After dropping them off we went home to prepare for heading up to Millerton Lake. This is where we stayed for most of the day. We were with our great friends, the Solteros. We were together honoring the life of their oldest son who recently passed. The day ended at the In Laws where we had a celebratory dinner for both of the Jeffs (father & son).
July leads us to our latest event, 4th of July baby! Independence Day is important to this freedom loving family. Which was also played out unorthodox-like this year. The reason why, the bad news, was Ricky being on tour with our church youth choir during this holiday. That took the wind right out of my sail. BUT. I picked myself up by my imaginative boot straps & carried on...to Bass Lake. Yes, we missed him. For one Jeff nor Billy would sing all the crazy patriotic songs with me. Okay so maybe they aren't exactly crazy songs, maybe it's just the way we sing them. Maybe. We all texted him on the 4th. I also put a crazy tall 4th of July hat in his luggage. If you know Ricky you know two things. #1 He loves hats, the sillier the better. #2 he is a goofball. That made my momma's heart feel better, more connected to him. Know what though, there was good news on this end too. We were able to have a special day with Jeff, Billy & I setting our timers to OFF! As a result Billy ended up sharing many of the thoughts rolling around in his head. We eagerly soaked it all in. For lunch we had fettuccine alfredo with peas & prosciutto. Yes cooked lakeside, what can I say, I had a craving. We ALSO had the traditional dinner of BBQed chicken, watermelon slices, blueberries & goop, baked beans & coleslaw cooked lakeside. Oh & Billy made incredibly delish brownies to boot! Yeah...we didn't go hungry that day. We had a wonderfully lazy day lounging around eating, reading, swimming, taking leisurely walks & just breathing in the fresh mountain air. Then of course the evening was topped off with the shimmering display of fireworks over the lake!