[I switched to the beta blogger and it seems no better about uploading pictures. I had a few for this post, but no luck uploading them. Sigh.]
I have this lamentable tendency to want to live life and not document it so I don’t have many pictures of The Cutest Niece in Washington (vs. Jrex’s sister’s baby: The Cutest Niece in California). Actually, I don’t have any. Somehow taking pictures puts me into the mindset of an observer rather than a participant. (Also, I kept forgetting I’d left the camera in the car.)
On the way up we drove 12 hours to Portland and stayed with otr mama and her daughter. Otr mama was my Mom’s best friend. They met when her daughter, Jdawg and I were in nursery school together. We also lunched with my mother's aunt. Great Aunt P is one of the healthiest and sharpest 84 year olds I know. She fell and tore up her rotator cuff, but she ad-libbed her own physical therapy for the last three weeks and found out she wouldn't have to get surgery.
After spending the night at Jdawg's house, we drove to my sister’s Thanksgiving morning. Of course we hit a fair amount of traffic but got there eventually. She made a wonderful meal. As kids we had a family friend who always made us a sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving. OTRsis gave a nod to the sweet potato tradition with a spicy sweet potato soup. We all agreed it was delicious, but perhaps better suited to rice (which we had the next day).
Cutest niece was scared of the dog at first. She’s 18 months old and has a couple words though she’s quite fluent in sign language. Apparently the hot toddler trend is to teach sign so they aren’t limited by the sounds they can control. On the first day, Cutest Niece kept doing the sign for ‘up, up’ whenever the dog was in the same room. Muttola was fabulous though: she didn’t lick Cutest Niece or run after her. By the time we left, Cutest Niece would see me coming and ask, “Da? Da?” which meant, “Where’s the dog, woman, you’re nice and all, but the dog, she’s like cheerios soaked in milk and poured onto my tray!?”
On our last night there my brother treated OTRsis, Jrex, and me to an IMAX showing of Happy Feet. My fantastic brother-in-law stayed home to watch Cutest Niece. It should be noted that this did not upset him since it gave him a chance to watch football and grade students’ work in peace. The three of us Body Part kids are a bit overwhelming as a group. Both of my parents were confident and opinionated people who took up a fair amount of space in a group. They raised three kids who each have different facets of their gifts. The downside is, there are opinions for every issue and rapid-fire discussions of the day’s to-do list accompanied by much loud joking and teasing. My sister and I married men who are more the strong, silent types. The ones you want to rely on, but who don’t take up huge amounts of public space. Our brave husbands are the kind of men who have opinions, but who usually wait to be asked before voicing them.
We all enjoyed Happy Feet. Probably too much. We cracked up over all the cheesy/sappy factors which were strewn throughout the movie like popcorn on a theater floor. I’ve never been glared at by so many four year olds in my life! Mostly it felt like the penguin’s eye view prequel to March of the Penguins. The thing that annoyed me the most was that the stupid lead character never finished molting! I thought it was impossible for penguins to swim until all the grey fuzz disappeared? Whatever. That was one of many huge suspensions of belief. The Hispanic penguin posse was fabulous. I would love to see them meet the penguins of Madagascar. It would be the Sharks vs. the Jets all over again.
Tomorrow I’ll tell the story of the homeward journey (hopefully with pictures!). Overall though it was a great trip. I’m thankful to have so many wonderful people in my life, and it’s even better that I’m related to a few of them.