Monday, November 23, 2009

Yep, We Did It.... Again!

Just before Hallween (ok, ok I KNOW I've been really, really bad about keeping up lately), we went on another cross country trip with Dash. This time to Chicago. It was magical to see a true fall again. In California, we get a kind-of fall. Some leaves change color. Not all, but some. In fact, this year, despite the drought a few of the trees have had some of the most vibrant, beautiful red leaves I've seen out here in a long time. But, it's still not a "real" fall, like the one's I remember from my childhood, where dazzling red, yellow and oranges leaves glinted and danced in the sunlight as far as the eye could see. The landscape became a sea of warm hues. The air was sweet and crisp. And, although your nose might be cold, the sparkling sun would warm your face and hands.

Unfortunately it rained the weekend we were in Chicago, but it was still beautiful. The leaves had just reached their peak colors and Dash was entranced.

As we pulled down my parents driveway, Dash kept signing "Flowers! Flowers!", pointing and going, "Dare! Dare!" Where he was pointing, mind you, was to the trees. He had never seen so many brightly colored leaves before and he thought that the tree were covered in flowers!

One day the rain stopped long enough for us to take a walk through one of the local parks. Dash claimed a stick (the boy is still obscessed with sticks!) and set off.

Eventually we hit a fork in the road, to left was the long way and to the right the short. Which way did our nature boy choose? The long way, of course! And, much to everyone's surprise, he completed the whole loop, which was about a mile. Have stick, will walk!! Me thinks we might have a wee hiker/wanderer on our hands.


Can you believe that after hiking for a mile that boy still had energy to burn??! Well, he did. So thank goodness that there were some beautiful grass capped rolling hills by the parking lot. Absolutely perfect for running up and down!

Dash had a blast!! And afterward (when he had a containable level of energy), we were able to snap this fun picture of the three generations of menfolk...

I think Dash is pointing to the next mountain he'd like to conquer. (Either that or he's saying, "All hail my mighty stick!" I'm not sure which.)

I'm sure you are wondering, why we were in Chicago... for wedding, of course! My parents live outside of Chicago, so it worked out perfectly for us to arrive a couple days early and visit with them and with my Grandmother, who was also able to come in a few days ahead of time. For me this visit was extremely special. I miss my Grandmother very much. We only get to see her every other Christmas and even then it is mixed in with hustle and bustle of the holidays. It was so nice to be able spend a couple relaxing days with her. She and Dashell hit it off. And she was instantly a member of the "Nana Club"! (At the moment Dashy calls all of his grandparents "Nana". We have decided that the word must mean "beloved old person" in his own personal language.)

Soon Dash was running around, jumping and turning somersaults in a desparate attempt to impress all present members of the club. (He obviously didn't realize that this was completely unnecessary, as they were already quite smitten!)

And then, it was time to head off to the wedding. Although I was sad to see have our special time draw to close, it was wonderful to be able to attend my cousin Ben's wedding.

It was beautiful. The bride and groom both beamed with love and joy.  And it was fantastic to get to see almost all my cousins! (We missed you Sarah, Jeremy, Emily and Jacob.) We usually are only able to see each other every other year at Christmas, so this was very special. My cousin Jessica organized this picture and I'm sooooo glad that she did. Here's almost the whole gang...

The next day, we flew home. Our bodies exhausted...

...but our hearts full of beautiful joyous memories.

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