Reveling in the glory and beauty of everyday life... all the mess and chaos of raising five little girls!

Monday, June 11, 2012

One Hundred!

I never actually sat down myself to count the number of extended family staying together in one beautiful Oceanside beach house last weekend....  but I think it was 37 or 38.  :) 

We were so blessed to travel to San Diego (from May 31 - June 5) to celebrate my grandpa's 100th birthday!  Every single one of his descendants was there to join in the fun - which was amazing! From Maryland, Washington, Colorado, Wyoming, and Oregon (and a few who live close by in Southern California).   

As usual, Erik and I found ourselves with a nearly empty SD card on our camera. :) But, several others had cameras clicking constantly, so I think we will manage to steal some (hopefully!) .  I realized I didn't even have any of Grandpa Jack!

We arrived on late Thursday afternoon, and drove to Great Grandpa Jack's house where my sister Amy, and two of my aunts were already gathered.   The kids were eager to jump in his pool - although it was chilly with the sun beginning to go down!  We ate pizza, kept our little ones from jumping into the pool without supervision (a bit of a challenge, actually!), and caught up with family.  

The Arnolds and we had rooms at a (very) nearby hotel that night, and Friday morning, we caught up with Nana and Uncle Ryan and (soon-to-be) Aunt Emily, who had arrived in the middle of the night.   Other family members were trickling in slowly over the course of the day, so we decided to head to the San Diego Harbor with the Arnolds and tour the Midway.  It's an air-craft carrier turned museum, and boasts dozens of real Navy aircraft.   The kids loved touring the bunk-rooms, sitting in cockpits, and standing on the flight deck.   When we had reached the little ones' limits, we drove to In-and-Out for burgers before driving north to the rental house where our family was gathering that evening.  

The sisters had rented a 10 bedroom home for us all to stay in  -- beachfront. As soon as we walked in, we found the Maryland and Colorado contingents watching dolphins splash in the ocean from the deck.  It was incredible! I love dolphins, and it was just amazing to see them surfacing so close to us!  

By dinnertime, all 38 had arrived, and we ate spaghetti, crowded happily together in the main floor living area.  One of my aunts had sewn door hangers for each room so that we could label each family's "residence."  Our room was on the upper level, and we loved hearing the ocean through the open windows.  Nana had sewn creative pillow mats for the kids -- fabric cases that we stuffed with extra pillows to make comfy beds for the kids.  They loved them, and have actually been setting up them up in our house for fun! 

Saturday came early - especially for those traveling from the East coast, and those with little ones.  We had planned to spend Saturday enjoying each others' company, some good food, and the beach - and we did!  We ate eggs and potatoes for breakfast, my aunt Laura's incredible fish tacos for lunch, and grilled steaks for dinner.  In between the feeding frenzies, we played with kiddos, lounged on couches, walked along the beach (Erik ran), splashed a little, and soaked in the two hot tubs.  (Okay, I didn't get to do that.  Pregnancy has a way of limiting certain things!)  It was actually kind of chilly, so we didn't play in the ocean as much as we had thought we would.  And, our littlest peanut came down with a stomach bug and spent the day with alternating diarrhea and throwing up, so we were busy keeping her hydrated and away from Great Grandpa and the two tiny infants! 

On Sunday, a quick cold breakfast was followed by a drive to Mass - where Grandpa was being  honored (and sung to!). I didn't get to attend Mass because Raina had thrown up again during breakfast, so she and I held down the fort alone.  I actually read an entire book in that span of quiet!  When the family returned, we followed Grandpa's recipe for waffles and ate a leisurely brunch.  My cousin Paige had found a photographer friend who was willing to come and shoot several hours of both candid and posed pictures for us, so he and and his wife were capturing our mouthfuls of strawberries and whipped cream on camera. :)  We did posed shots on the upper level deck.   I can't wait to see how all the photographs turned out! 

Our kiddos took good naps that afternoon in preparation for Grandpa's big birthday party that night, and then we all took advantage of low tide to splash in the ocean.  Raina had perked up a little, and she enjoyed feeling the waves rush over her little toes while she hung on tight to Mommy's hand.  We all showered and dressed (up!) for the party.  The great-grand-daughters all had matching dresses (except for little Catherine, who is only two months old and slept in the Snuggli for the whole party!) and the boys had matching shirts.  It was pretty adorable, especially because some of them really look alike.  Sadie and her "cousin" (once-removed??) Rowan are a year apart, and had a strikingly close resemblance with their blonde hair and sweet features.  The party was at one of Grandpa's favorite restaurants, and there were about 60 people gathered to celebrate with him.   Mom and her sisters (there are five girls) had worked hard to create some special details and programming for the evening... pictures, songs, Grandpa "quotes." The great-grandkids helped him blow out his 100 candles, but as Elisa pointed out, "He didn't really need us. He could have blown out all 100 just fine by himself, Mom."  

Stuffed with chocolate cake and fried shrimp, our girls fell asleep on the thirty minute drive back to the beach house.   In the morning, we packed our things and loaded up to drive to Sea World.  The whole Forbes clan came, and my cousin Michael with his sweet wife Christina and their newborn, Catherine.  We had really been looking forward to that exciting "splurge" and it did not disappoint!   We saw the sea lion show, toured the shark house, waited in a long line to eat lunch (:)), and then split up for a few rides before staking out seats for the killer whale show.   Sadie was just barely tall enough for some of the "grown-up" rides, but Ephraim was not quite, and of course the little girls were too short.  So, Sadie and Elisa got splashed with Erik and Michelle on a rafting ride while the others rode Elmo.  Even the kiddie rides are off-limits for pregnant ladies, so I got to be the bag watcher.  :)  There's no masking this baby belly, now! 

Erik and the girls found up-close, Soak-Zone seats for the Shamu show, and we definitely got soaked.  At the time, some of the little ones got teary when the tsunami of whale splashes pummeled us again and again, but afterwards, that was by far their favorite memory.   It was spectacular to be so close.  We were drenched, though, and had to change clothes before enjoying the rest of the park.  The kids got some more play time in the Sesame Street area, and then we visited walruses, polar bears, and beluga whales.  We even got to touch dolphins and manta rays! 



Dinner on the go was followed by putting kids to sleep on the floor at Grandpa's before transferring back to our hotel rooms.  Our flight left midday on Tuesday, and Raina slept with her head on my lap the whole flight.   She continued throwing up periodically through Tuesday night, but she is back to herself, now.   We were so thankful no one else got the bug!  

We had such a great trip, although it was fast!  It's always too quick when you are in a fun place with people you love!  It was great for the kids to meet new cousins and see the ones they already know.  And, Grandpa Jack was blessed.  

Happy 100th Birthday, Great-Grandpa!

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