Saturday, June 23, 2012

California May 2012 - The Last Hurrah

We spent three wonderful nights with another set of dear Newbury Park friends, Rick and Janet. We've been friends since early 1970's and being in their home was just like old times. They blessed us with such love and wonderful hospitality! Being back in the old neighborhood was such a joy! Mah-ve-lous, dahling, simply mah-ve-lous! :)

Rich was treating for lunch and so we headed to the Ventura Harbor with Rick and Janet. It was cool and overcast, but we loved it. Had lunch at one of our favorite places, Andria's Seafood Market and Restaurant.

Rick and Janet

Fish and chips! Janet and I shared this huge portion! Fresh fish from the ocean - can't get any better than that!

Our last day we met up with John and Lucy for brunch at BJ's (one is coming to Wichita!!). Our schedules were tight, so there wasn't as much time as we would have liked, but every minute spent with these two couples is so fun!! How we miss their laughter! No matter how serious a situation can be, they find the humor. Talk about being restored! Love all of you!

Up bright and early - like 5 am!!!! - ugh! - and we were on the road back home. Every time we drive through Utah we get a renewed appreciation for its beauty. We've stopped at this rest stop before (where we purchased a Navajo vase and some jewelry for me) and it's always so peaceful.

The red sandstone formations are so varied and beautiful.

And of course, Colorado - my second favorite state. Did I say that already??? Another day's drive and we would be home.

In three weeks we drove 3630 miles, and yes, I do some of the driving. I'll drive Rich's vehicle as long as it's on the open highway (it's not so easy for me to handle in city driving). To help me stay awake I've taken to keeping track of vehicle license plates. It's fun to see how many states I can find. On this trip we saw license plates from every state except Hawaii, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia. Also saw vehicles from British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, as well as Baja California. I think that's quite amazing!

We are so blessed to be able to take such a wonderful trip! Now it's back to reality - living a rich and busy life. We are looking forward to visits from friends later this summer and a return trip to Colorado.

Thank you Lord!

Friday, June 22, 2012

California May 2012 - Graduations

We had a wonderful two days of graduations - Lauren - Oaks Christian School Eighth Grade and Cole - Oaks Christian School - Class of 2012!

 Graduation ceremonies were May 30 and 31, in the Celebration Room at Calvary Community Church - our former church. Oaks' school colors are crimson and gold and the stage was decorated beautifully in those colors. We saw some friends and it made us homesick - being in the place again.

Back at home - Jeff and Caroline with Lauren. She's looking forward to being a freshman at Oaks. She'll be taking honors history and biology classes with her other coursework. Way to go, Lauren!!

A very dear family!

Lauren with her other grandma, Grandma "B".


Jeff, Cole, Caroline. Cole will be going to a local community college with plans to transfer to a four-year university after two years.

Jeff, Lauren, Katelyn

Five of our precious grandchildren!

Along with several student awards, Oaks presents an award for Teacher of the Year. We were excited when Dan Smith, teacher of Freshman Bible received this award. Dan was Calvary's youth pastor during Jeremy's high school years, and some of Brett's. He and his wife, Jenn, are friends of Jeff and Caroline, and we all go waaay back! Jeff stated Dan's award was "well-deserved!" We were all very happy for him.

Cole's class went to Magic Mountain for Grad Night so our family dinner was the next night, on June 1 with Carne Asada tacos - his choice! After dinner he left for a classmate's toga party. We had a great time fashioning his toga out of this purple sheet! He wanted "one of those head things", so I made a "Greek" wreath using pipe cleaners and leaves from their lemon tree. It really turned out well. He was the only one at the party wearing a "head thing" and everyone admired it. Think he was pretty pleased about that!

We said good-bye to Cole as we would be leaving in a couple of days.

Thanks to Jeff and Caroline for great family dinners - celebrating two really great children - actually young adults!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

California May 2012 - Family Time

Larry and Elaine and Rich and I left Newport Beach and had one final lunch together before we parted ways. We went to visit Mom before going to my sister, Kathy's, where we would spend the weekend.

Kathy took us, along, with Julie, Todd A, Owen, Baylee, Jamee and Todd B., along with Todd A's niece, Molly and her little man Jackson to dinner. Loved the restaurant Sabor. She's taken us there before. Yummy, creative, Mexican fare. We had a great time together celebrating Julie's birthday.

What in the world is going on???? Wellll, Kathy and I were enjoying a quiet Sunday morning on her patio, chatting away. She yelled and jumped up when she spotted a snake at the other end, probably 50' away! She is quite afraid of the reptiles and wanted it OUT of her garden!!! So we grabbed the long-handled nets used in cleaning her pond and tried to catch it. Rich said it was a King snake - harmless - and actually good to have around. It was a good 4' long, and rather pretty.

I don't know who was more traumatized - Kathy or the snake. Never did find it, think it slithered off to hide under the AC unit.

We gathered at Mom's place to celebrate my brother, Steve's birthday.

Joel, Nan, and Luke also were there.

Kathy ordered brisket, ribs, and side dishes from Wood Ranch BBQ - a favorite place. We were able to eat in the family dining room at Mom's assisted living residence. The staff set the table, made sure they were available for anything we needed, and BEST of all - did the dishes! Wow - who could ask for more! They are so wonderful to mom and to the family!

There was lots of laughter coming from our dining room. Some of the residents lingered in the area just to hear us!! Sweet, but sad at the same time!

I made brownies - Steve's favorite - for his birthday dessert. What a great time we had together! Gosh, Steve looks like a younger version of our Dad!

The next day it was out to Jeremy and Renee's for dinner. I stayed with Maddie for 1.5 days - keeping her out of day care in preparation for her eye surgery, which was eventually postponed because she still was too congested from a cold.

I've said it before, Maddie is so much fun!  She's a little "foodie" - loves to watch food being prepared, wants to sit on the counter and "help", and of course loves eating.

The two mornings I was there, Maddie and I enjoyed long walks and then later playing outside. This Grandma was too busy to take any photos! :)

Next event: Lauren and Cole's graduations!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

California May 2012 - Mission San Juan Capistrano

We spent our last day with Larry and Elaine at Mission San Juan Capistrano. We've been here before, but find it a very lovely, beautiful and peaceful place to return to.

The mission was founded November 1, 1776 by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order. Early missionaries as well as native inhabitants of the Juaneno tribe are also buried here. We are standing in front of the altar of the Great Stone Church, was nearly decimated by a great earthquake in 1812.

The "things" hanging are our necks are handsets for the audio tour we took. The tour was really great as it enabled us to roam individually or together and we learned so much. We spent more than two hours at the mission - on a cool, cloudy, overcast day. Perfect!

The gardens were lovely. Loved this purple statis and California poppy combination.

Hollyhocks. Reminiscent of my childhood when we made hollyhock dolls.

California oranges. Need I say more?

A local painter, wearing her Padre hat, found this overcast day to be perfect for her plein air painting (painting outside).

Our son, Jeff, loves taking photos of doors. They have an invitation, what is behind the door, what do they lead to, there's a spiritual meaning in the Jesus is called The Door. So Jeff, this is my take on doors of this mission.


I wanted to capture the beautifully colored fish and water lilies in the koi pond. It wasn't until later when I scrolled through my photos did I realize I captured a reflection of the clouds and the nearby trees. This is my favorite photo!

Calla Lily. So pure, so elegant, reminds me of the calla lilies in our yard in our Newbury Park home. Ahhh!

Everywhere we went, the bougainvillea was abundant and brilliant. We especially loved the watermelon color

The koi pond and gardens make this inner garden such a peaceful place!

Inside view of the Padre's living quarters. Would you say it's rather sparse?

This would be the bedroom with a writing desk and chair and the bed is the "table-like" piece on the right, with a white ceramic chamber pot below it. Hardly speaks of a life of comfort.

Mission San Juan Capistrano is known for the "Return of the Swallows" on March 19, also known as Saint Joseph's Day. Remember the song, "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano"?  Here we see four mud nests swallows made just under the roof eves.

Another lovely day spent with lovely friends.