Greetings all, from the catbird seat! For the last week, we’ve been having even more fun than we were already — more than I thought possible in some senses… And why, how, what on earth is responsible for this astounding increase in enjoyment around here? More of us!
1. Last weekend, Natalie’s sister Em’s partner, David, and his son Ezra, came down from Portland for the weekend. They’re the duo in blue shirt and hat in the middle-left of the shot below. And on this day, we all went downtown to “Chocolate” to get mugs of cocoa and hot chocolate and even white chocolate. Here, we’re passing around a thick cup of chocolate for everyone to try (in addition to our own delicious concoctions), and it’s Juju’s turn… 2. Our dear friends from Missoula, the Daniels, have come to stay with us again this year. So on movie night, the Daniel girls, their mama Romy, and Ezra all joined our girls for the show. 3. We had a fire and invited our other (local) friends, the Akiyoshis to join us all, for what we somewhat ironically call “Mellow Fest”. It should probably be called “Mallow Fest” because from the time the fire starts until we cut them off entirely, almost all the kids’ complete focus is on the potential for eating some roasted marshmallows! Still, it’s a good opportunity for us grown-ups to sit around together and chat… Often, Juju comes over during Mellow Fest, and has been known to roast a mallow or two himself — though it’s usually for one of the kids… 4. We went roller skating again! And took the whole compound crew. Here, Romy and Salome (on the far end), and Natalie, Xi and Echo (in the middle) are doing the official Hokey-Pokey! I think this is mid-“turn-yourself-about”… 5. We buried Echo… No, not really! She’s just showing off how big of a hole I dug for the new oak tree whose trunk you can just barely see above and to the left of Echo. It took three of us and two supervisors to lug the tree into the hole once it was ready. Now there’s a 9-foot oak standing in the back of Juju and Bonnie’s yard, like it was always meant to be there! 6. Same day, different construction. Echo built Lego-Hogwarts in our living room. It came complete with Dumbledore’s office, the Great Hall, the entrance hall, the dorms, and the castle grounds — including the whomping willow. It was so perfect, I didn’t even want her to play with it! 7. Even though our girls had already gone this year with Juju and Bonnie, we all took our annual family and friends trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium! And let me reassure you, Olive had more fun than it looks like here. Xi was more interested in Selah than in sea life… I’ve taken so many pictures at the aquarium over the slew of times that we’ve had the joy of visiting that I stopped even trying to capture a thousand of it’s words in a frame. I did, however, shoot a few videos this time. You can see two of those here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4QNq0goKGg
This was one of my favorite parts of the whole aquarium trip. Given a couple-few days, the Daniel girls start treating us like just another set of parents in their family. And it always feels like such a compliment…
8. Of course, we had to make a trip to Top-A-Lot!
9. And last but by no means least — and the reason I just had to delay this post another 24 hours — we went to Grammy and Rupert’s again this year for Oscar Night! Here’s the girls in their pre-game get-ups.And here’s Natalie Christensen and Nathan M McTague on the red carpet (-colored hardwood). Xideka McTague and Linda Christensen on the red carpet (-colored hardwood).And the audience! We had a room-full of Grammy’s side of the family in addition to our whole kit-and-caboodle. We all had ballots and were voting on who or what would win next (even though we have yet to see most of the movies), and we were cheering and guffawing over the winners, clapping and hooting as if we were actually there…
What a week! What a good-time-made-wonderful by virtue of the company we keep! What a delicious life to be all villaged-up on all sides with such warm hearts and happy souls!
P.S. Thanks to Romy for most of these great shots!