Sunday, August 12, 2012

August Abundance

Josie, Maddie & Liam at the Irvine Farmers Market

We've had an eventful August and we're only 12 days into the month!  Best part of August, hands down, was the return of Maddie.  She finished up her summer session on the East Coast and brought her cousin, Liam, back with her!  For all her 'belly-aching' about "giving up her last summer", she proudly informed her friends that were departing for college that SHE already had 6 credits under her belt.  She worked hard and proved to us (and herself) that she is more than able to handle college level academics.

Josie was in her glory having both her sister and cousin Liam in the house.  We had a lot of family events this past week, so she never had a lack of attention or affection.  I'll work my way backward in describing the most recent events and those taking place in late July.

Second biggest event this month was the arrival of our 'Irish Cousins'.  I was so thrilled to be able to return the hospitality shown to my sister, Suzanne, and I when we visited Ireland last November.  My (2nd) cousin Kevin, his wife Joanne, Joanne's sister Laura and BF Niall stayed with us only 24 hours - but every moment was a joy!

Kevin is the first of my male cousins that I have met.  He is one of 11 children - and I had so many questions about how it was to grow up in a large family- that I'm sure I appeared a bit of a nosey lunatic!  Kevin was so gracious, answering my questions patiently and honestly.  Joanne and Laura are accomplished women - Joanne is a Gardia (policewoman) and Laura an elementary school teacher.  Kevin and Niall are both tradesmen, who must be very skillful in their work, because both managed to stay fully employed during the recent 'housing crash' in Ireland.  If you can imagine, the crash in Ireland -with the resulting economic downturn- was much worse than that of the US.

After their arrival on Wednesday afternoon, we got everyone settled into their respective rooms and then headed to the pool for a 'dip' before dinner.  Once we were all cooled off, James and I unleashed a full-blown, All American Barbecue Bonanza!  Grilled Rib-Eye Steaks, BBQ pork back ribs, grilled veggies, corn on the cob, macaroni salad and potato salad.  I'm happy to report that we didn't have a lot of leftovers!

(L-R) James, Kevin, Niall, Joanne, Laura and Liam

Thursday morning, Me, Maddie, Joanne and Laura headed to Laguna Canyon for half a 'spa day'.  We were the beneficiaries of the "Godess Package": hot stone foot soak; full hour body massage; European facial and a lite lunch of fruit and yogurt.  While we were enjoying being buffed and polished, James and the boys visited the Lyon Air Museum - a private collection of airplanes and automobiles housed by John Wayne Airport:

A tour of the museum was given by a retired VietNam Vet

Kevin tries out the guns on the 1942 Ford Jeep

One unexpected bonus of the visit was that we seemed to have cured Kevin of his long-standing fear of  dogs!  Casey warmed right up to Kevin and made it impossible for him to escape her:

New BFFs - Kevin and Casey

We were just a quick stop for The Cousins on their grand tour of the US.  On Thursday afternoon they departed for their next destination: San Diego.  We got in a few photos before they left - and I'll apologize now to the girls for posting photos in which none of us has make-up on...  (Joanne & Laura have no worries - I, on the other hand, hope your eyes don't bleed at the sight of me!)

(L-R) Niall, Laura, Joanne, Maddie & Josie

Road warriors!

 And speaking of cousins, we had the pleasure of also spending time with two more of our favorites: Larry and Dannette! I hadn't seen L & D since we had the 50th Anniversary celebration for James' parents back in 2010. Too long, as far as we're concerned!


We shared Dim Sum on Sunday morning with Larry's Moms side of the family. (James' Aunt Pearl) We were absolutely stuffed to the gills on our departure... so much so, that when we had Larry and Dannette for dinner that night, we didn't eat until after 8PM!


It was so great to have them here in Southern California! I hope they can make it back out soon.

A Day At The Races

The last weekend in July we attended 'Family Fun Day' at the beautiful Del Mar Racetrack. Our neighbors, David and Jenny, along with daughter Katie, joined us for their first time at the track. Jenny caught on quick and the two of us placed bets on 6 of the 8 races that afternoon. The excitement at the track is contagious - and we had no problem screaming as our picks crossed the finish line! I have a feeling that once the girls are back in school Jenny and I will take a quick trip down to Del Mar... much easier to study the racing forms without kids and husbands jinxing our betting mojo! Some photos from the day:


We're packing up now to head to the East Coast.  I cannot wait to see my family and friends!  We'll be in Philadelphia to move Maddie into her dorm for the Fall semester on Saturday, August 25.  Don't know how Josie, me and James are going to survive without our girl for nearly 3 months!  Very excited  though, for Maddie to start this new chapter of her life.

See you on the other side... of the country that is!