I don't know if anyone noticed, but I've been gone. Jessica and I went on vacation and I just got home last night. Laundry is in progress right this minute. She and I went to visit Little Sister and her family. We wanted to see the area and be there for a 3rd birthday party.
Our hotel was also a museum. One that included green penguins everywhere. The fun part was that they constantly popped up in different places around the hotel.
We even had one join us for dinner one evening.
We took in the scenic areas and made notes to give Mommy so she will know places they might enjoy visiting later. For once I looked more and photographed less, so there are just a few pictures to share. Wish I had photographed the candy shop we found kind of in the middle of nowhere. Outstanding handmade candies. We wondered who buys them. Surely they ship it.
A chapel in the middle of the woods was worth a short detour.
And then there was the hiking. Understand that I usually measure my walking by how far I have to walk through the parking lot from my car to the store. Whatever made Jessica think I could hike with her? But I did it! The view was worth it.
I knew I was not good with heights but this outcropping confirmed it. I don't really know what you could see from the edge. I still get queasy just thinking about that ledge. I just enjoyed the view while hugging the trees far back from the edge.
It was that second hike—right after the first hike that I thought was the hard one—that was nearly my undoing. It involved steep inclines, loose rocks under foot, soaring temps and some not-so-good trail markings. I won't go into details, but I'm just happy I'm still here to write this blog.
An easier walk later in the week was at the beautiful botanical garden. My grown child enjoyed the children's garden as much as the little kids there.
There was a wonderful museum to visit.
And an excellent yarn shop. (Only visited one this trip.)
And we found so much good food—a gourmet grilled cheese restaurant, fine dining in an old college dormitory, a kolache bakery we found by accident one afternoon (so good we went back two more times), the ice cream shop on the town square and good meals cooked by Mommy and our son-in-law. Maybe the most fun places to eat were the food trucks across from our hotel.
But the real reason for our visit was family. Jessica had not visited her sister's new home since they moved. She was treated like a celebrity by Little Sister who only wanted to do what Aunt Jecca did. Like, wearing stripes like Aunt Jecca...
...and doing "planks" like Aunt Jecca. The only problem was that Little Sister wanted ALL of us to do planks with her after this.
The week ended with a party. Since Little Sister had spent most of the summer with us at the farm, having a farm party for her friends was perfect.
Mommy found a fantastic local baker to make a farm cake for the party.
Little Sister and Aunt Jecca had the perfect footwear.
Just a few minutes after this photo, the house was full of small children who asked after every activity, "Cake now?" By three, they all know that you get cake at parties. We were so happy that we could be there to eat cake, too.
Yes, we did spent time with the other family members—who all successfully dodged the camera. Big Sister and I knitted. She learned how to do the mattress stitch to seam up some mitts she's working on. Our son-in-law cooked chicken masala one night and it was delicious. Mommy baked a blueberry coffee cake for us that was so good. I'll share the recipe as soon as I get it from her. And Daddy-O drove out to be there for the party. He also put together Baby Sister's new "big girl bed" while he was there.
Our last night out there was Little Sister's first night in her new bed. When we stopped by to tell them good-bye early the next morning, we asked how Little Sister did without her crib. Mommy told us she slept in the little bed all night, got up early the next morning and wandered into the kitchen, looked around to see where everyone was and then announced, "I'm going back to bed."
Everyone worried about her freedom to get out of bed. No one thought about that freedom also meant she could go back to bed by herself! She's growing up.