Sunday, August 19, 2012
Hi gang! Boy, I am sorry I've dropped the ball a little on here! I'll catch you up, never fear!
So, hmmm... last you heard I had just returned from Santa Fe, NM from an amazing business trip. That was Monday night, I think. Well, only 2 nights later, we were busy packing for a family reunion on Hilton Head Island, SC! We were away from that Thursday through this past Tuesday.
It was AWESOME. It was my mom's 75th birthday party, and the only gift she wanted was to have all her kids and grand kids in the same place at the same time, so, we made it happen! Even her brother and sister-in-law from southern Arizona flew in for the reunion! Why HHI? Well, my brother works at the Westin there on the island, and was able to get us some screamin' family discounts. Plus, my sister Mary lives in NC, so her big family of 8 could make it without all having to jump on a plane. All together, there were 23 people at dinner for her birthday.
This was the largest family gathering I can remember us having in maybe 30 years that wasn't a wedding or funeral. Mom has 12 grand kids (including Bella) from the ages of 25 down to 1... (on Wednesday (Happy early birthday, Julian!)), and it was the first time all these cousins got to hang out together in the same place. It was really neat to see. My siblings and I (4 total) have only been together maybe 3 times in the past 20 years... I remember a photo shoot in approximately '92, then in '97 for a day (my dad's funeral), then in 2002 for my mom's wedding to Ralph, then this past weekend. We have all lived all over the globe and the country most of that time, all having kids at different times, so we've been really geographically spread out. It was neat to see the three of them again, and again, all at the same time. It was surreal.
We spent hours and days in the amazing 85 degree water playing in the waves. I rented a boogie board and spent 2 days just launching Ali on wave after wave after wave. The waves were great because they were beach break waves (close to shore where you can stand where they break) and the sand was soooo smooth and soft. It made for perfect beginner waves for a little kid. Plus, Ali being only 50 odd pounds, she floated along the top of the smaller waves with ease. Me, at 160, just sank like a stone! LOL. We also took a boat ride and watched wild dolphins swimming along in the bay. Ali got to skipper the boat, and Julian got to don the hat and give orders!
We ate a lot of great fresh seafood, and just enjoyed hanging with family so much, that I'm hoping we can do it again next summer. My other sister, Tracy, has a summer house in Cape Cod, MA, and there is a rental house right across the street, so I'm already plotting to figure out how and when we can take that house over for maybe a whole week next time! It just felt so good to be around my family again. Ang's family lives locally and I love them, but I miss my family, too. I'm sure y'all can relate to that. (haha I just said y'all).
Julian loved the waves and the water! He just had the biggest grin on his face, you could see it was really tickling him... like, "WHAT IS THIS??" He's used to pools, and has yet to be in the pacific ocean out here, mainly because between cold water temps, nightmare parking, and sand,sand, and more sand, we opt for the convenience and comfort of our own community pool about 30 seconds from our front door. Still, the best was once again, like in MN, watching him feel compelled to eat sand. Too funny. Yup, still didn't like it. Shock.
In other news back home, Ali swam in her second swim meet yesterday! That was the second proudest moment I've had as her daddy... first being when she danced at her first talent show back in the winter. Watching her pounce as soon as the horn went off and lead her heat all the way to the wire (where she was edged out) in the freestyle was another surreal moment. Ali is definitely NOT the most dextrous athlete on land, but in the water, well, it suits her better. She also swam the butterfly, and came in second in her heat there as well, and it was her first time swimming butterfly! That took guts! She was nervous beforehand, but she stuck it out.
Yesterday, we also had the wonderful chance to have the one and only Sara Cooper shoot Julian's first year pictures at Pioneer Park in Tustin, CA. Holy cow, the pics are SO CUTE! CLICK HERE to see some of her pics from yesterday! Sara is SO GOOD. If you live in Southern California and ever need a fun and fantastic photographer, see Sara! CLICK HERE to check out her blog and photographer site.
Alright, this week is a busy one. Julian's birthday is Wednesday, school starts for Ali on Thursday, and I get the opportunity of a lifetime to be the keynote speaker at my alma mater's freshmen orientation on Thursday night! I get to share Bella's story, and how, by going to Chapman University, I was exposed to the ideas in music therapy that allowed mommy's voice and daddy's music to touch Bella on her first night on Earth, trapped in an isolette, but comforted by a little ipod playing her birthsong and bedtime stories read by Ang. THANK YOU to my friend, colleague, and mentor, Christine Stevens, for giving me this chance of a lifetime. It's ironic; Christine will be in Colorado promoting her new book, "Music Medicine," a book that got finished in the time that it did because of some coaching I gave her. Normally, she does this opening event for Chapman. Last year, she wanted me to work it, but it was Julian's birth-day! This year, the timing was just right. Christine is a phenomenal trainer, teacher, and author, and I highly recommend checking out her new book. CLICK HERE for more info on it.
Saturday is Julian's birthday party at grandma and grandpa's house, and it is SOCCER THEMED! The new season kicked off yesterday in England, so soccer fever is coursing through my sore legs and back (just played myself tonight)! Looking forward to brainwashing Julian early and often! LOL. GO ARSENAL! (p.s. no comments on Van Persie going to ManU or Song to Barca... TRUST ME, I already know...)
Alright. That's the scoop from here. Gotta run, I am BEAT.
Miss you all,