Then we went back to California.
Seeing all of our friends and family, enjoying the beautiful weather (no humidity!!), hanging out in our old neighborhood...well, it finally set in for all three of us. We now remember how much we left when we picked up and moved to New York. And we all felt more and more sad as our two weeks in California went on.
But we still had an amazing trip. I've filled you in on our first week of bouncing all around the Bay Area to see as many people as we could. Our second week was a little more tame but just as much fun, up at my mom's house in Twain Harte in the Sierra Foothills.
On the way we made a detour to see my friend Samantha and her son Ethan who was a schoolmate of Ella's in San Mateo. They have since also moved, up to Elk Grove. It was so nice to see their new house and have lunch.
The kids on a bug safari
At my mom's the kids were able to finally, totally relax without a schedule. And at Grandma's house anything goes: she doesn't make the kids clean up after themselves, she feeds them hot chocolate and cookies for breakfast before I wake up, and there are cartoons on constantly. The kids were in heaven.
When we first arrived she had the kids help her make a dinosaur cake for Holden's birthday. At one point one of the kids pulled the mixer out of the batter without turning it off and sprayed batter all over the kitchen. Instead of yelling at the kids (as I would have done), Grandma screamed, "Dinosaur guts everywhere!!", to the howls of laughter from the kids.
I think they did a pretty darn good job.
We spent the next day at nearby Pinecrest Lake for an un-birthday party for Holden. Mom's good friend Jay came with her grandchildren, Kennedy who is Ella's age, and twins Max and Izak who are almost as old as Holden. We now have regular summer vacation play dates with them when we're up visiting.
We were also joined by my niece Robin and her family - husband Roger, daughters Starry, Autumn and Heather.
We were there for hours eating, swimming, playing and laughing. It couldn't have been a better un-birthday party.
The next day we drove out to Murphys to have lunch with my aunt Gretchen and my cousin, her son Chance.
Chance opened up a whole new world to Holden, teaching him how to play an electric guitar...
...and Xbox. I don't think Holden ever wanted to leave.
Driving home from Murphys we went through the historic gold mining town of Columbia. So of course we had to try our luck with the gold pans.
And no visit to Twain Harte is ever complete without a round of Miniature Golf at the same putt-putt course that I played on as a child. They haven't changed a thing about it in 40 years.
While at Grandma's Holden lost his first tooth! Finally. It's been wiggly for weeks and weeks.
We said a sad goodbye to Grandma and headed back down the hill to our old stomping grounds in San Mateo. We spent the evening with our very good friends from the 'hood, Lori, Angus, Liza and Molly.
With a trapeze in the middle of the living room, it's no wonder it's one of their favorite places on the planet.
We also got to visit with friends and neighbors Lindsay and Lincoln and meet their newest addition, Julia.
I even got in a beach walk at Half Moon Bay with my good Highlands friend Mary. A regular for us with Rudy back in the day. The two of us can talk for hours and never run out of things to say.
A great, but homesick rendering, visit in the San Mateo Highlands.
...and cocktails and Sunday Family Dinner Night with the Skaggs in Millbrae.
Although we were so sad to leave California, we were all so happy to see Kevin on Monday and unpack and settle in again.
The kids are happy to have their toys and books back and haven't mentioned being homesick again since we got back to New York. It's so inspiring to see how in-the-moment they are. I wish I could be more like that. I am still missing California and a little less thrilled to be back to my regular routine of grocery shopping and cleaning and laundry.
I did in fact leave my heart in San Francisco.