Thursday, August 13, 2009

Road Trippin'

This past weekend, I took a road trip with my mom and kids. Jeff had projects to get done for True Dungeon (that gaming convention thingee he's off doing this weekend) so he wouldn't have been much fun anyway. He also had projects to do around the house but that list is never ending so I suppose I shouldn't have had any expectations. We went to Chicago to visit my mom's family. My mom has 4 siblings. All of the sisters were coming to Chicago for the weekend. My Aunt Kathy flew in from San Francisco. My Aunt Martha drove up from Lexington. And my mom and I came from Cincinnati and Indianapolis. My uncle was not able to attend- his son was getting married this past weekend out in CA (Congrats to Jason and Maria!!). But through a series of some work and some coincidence, the sisters were able to get together. My Aunt Liz lives in Chicago and so do my grandparents. This is my grandma. She is the source of many happy memories for me. She did a lot to make me feel special when I was growing up. Some of my best memories are due to my having the opportunity to spend a week or so with her and my grandpa every summer in Elizabethtown, KY. My grandpa (pic also below) was a Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor of a church there. My grandpa tends to be more of the reserved, quiet, stoic type. He loves his family fiercely. I'm not sure I can pinpoint how I know that he loves me. But I know he does. This is my Aunt Kathy. She and her husband, Galen, live in SanFran. As a teen, I got to go out and spend a summer with them one year. It was AWESOME. I worked in their dental office (they are both dentists) and had oodles of free time to roam the city. And roam the city I did! Kathy is quiet, smart, funny, witty, kind. She's one of my favorite people. I wish we were closer but the distance makes it tricky. More to come on my great joy this trip involving Aunt Kathy.
Aunt Martha. I've gotten closer and closer to my Aunt Martha over the past few years. She lives in Lexington, KY with her husband, Jesse. They have a farm and some horses. She comes up to my mom's for holidays, Jesse is able to join her a couple times each year. She is bubbly but not in a flighty cheerleader way. Just upbeat and positive and overflowing with this energy. When I was a child, she gave me this denim purse that had a picture of a horse on one side- I treasured it for years. She also once gave me this little gold pendant of 2 horses running together. I still have it and I love it.
Here's Kathy and Martha with my grandma, their mom.
Martha, my mom, and my Aunt Liz... all only have eyes for Zach, of course!
My mom...
My Aunt Kathy spent some special time with my daughter. Kathy isn't a mom and doesn't spend a lot of time with kids. So to see her with such patience and care and calm with my daughter... it really touched my heart. Once Kathy realized that Teagan loves to be in the kitchen and that Teagan has experience in the kitchen, they were quite the partnership. These pics show them working together to hand brush olive oil on sliced up yellow squash and then sprinkle it with kosher salt.
We were staying at my Aunt Liz's house. She and my Uncle Chuck are both doctors- she an ER doc, he a colon and rectal surgeon (retired). So it is a big house. They have 2 grown boys. Michael is in the Army and Stephen is at Purdue but will soon be joining the Navy SEALS. I didn't get enough pictures, apparently, because I don't have many with them. I spent a summer nannying for them when Michael was just a year old. My mom would come to visit almost every weekend. I mostly remember that my TV watching was majorly restricted, my uncle got me hooked on Stephen King, and I spent time at the mall.
But this big, beautiful, roomy house also has incredible grounds. The summer that I nannied was the summer they started building and I used to go with my aunt to the property to help water the newly planted trees prior to building starting. My kids had a great time enjoying the fruits of that labor so many years ago. The back yard is overflowing with flowers and wide open spaces. There is a giant vegetable garden. It used to be cared for primarily by my grandpa but has since become the responsibility of my aunt. Our dinner that night primarily came from that garden- green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, etc.
With all the vegetation, there has to be a good amount of wildlife. There are all kinds of homemade contraptions in the garden- that is also fenced in- to ward off birds and bunnies and such. We still managed to find this very unscared little bunny. We assumed that maybe she was nearby her kids or something? But she hung out in front of the house, munching on clover, never concerned if we came right up to her. If you got closer than... a foot, she would semi-move away. But only went running away if you came running at her. Which my kids did, with the encouragement of my mom. They spent 20 solid minutes chasing the bunny all around the house. And for the rest of the night and first thing the next morning, all Zach wanted was "Bun-ny!"
And if you made it this far... after that LOOOOOng post... here's a funny picture I happened to capture that desperately needs a caption! Give it your best shot!

9 comments:

Garret of Jim and Garret said...

Love the photos.

"Here bunny, bunny, bunny".

Anonymous said...

"Hey Mommy, Grandma's shirt tag is out."
Or
"I see a whole herd of bunnies coming this way!"
-Ted

Teacher Tom said...

"Come back bunny! I chased you because I looove you!" (with apologies to the moved Up).

smiles4u said...

What a great extended family you have...and your children are so darn adorable! These pictures are so beautiful! Are you a photographer?

Isabella said...

"OK...cue banana peel!"

KPCL Girl said...

This brought back memories of when I used to take Charlie (at 3) in to the nursing home to visit John's mom. All the old people who had been sitting in their chairs staring at nothing would just light up when a young child walked into the room... We'd walk straight to Grandma, but all along the way, old people would reach out and touch his arm or pat his hair. He didn't seem to mind...

Eternal Lizdom said...

smiles4u: I'm a gal with a good camera who enjoys taking pictures. :)

Ted!! Good to see you here, bro!

♥ Braja said...

I'd caption but I think I'd be banned....

Lovely photos, and nice post about the women in your life, Liz....

Mrs4444 said...

You should let Melissa at Scholastic Scribe have that one for her Silly Sunday thingy--It's AWESOME! Fresh out of cute captions, though, sorry.

Liz, your photos are terrific!! You really captured the relaxing, happy time you all had.