Monday, May 30, 2016

Happy Birthday, Daddy & Getaway for the Family

We were in need of a getaway. Redding is crazy hot in the summer - It's May and we're already hitting 100°. We'll hit 115° before the we see October and the 8x12 concrete patio slab in the back wasn't quite cutting it for us.

A few weeks ago, Adam and his coworkers scouted Tsasdi Resort center for their Student Leaders' retreat right before school starts up again. The place was fantastic. Not quite what they needed for a bunch of college students, but exactly what a small family needed for a short weekend vacation.

We decided on Friday that we'd head up to Tsasdi to celebrate Adam's birthday for Sunday and Monday. A quick call to the owner ensured we could stay a little longer on Monday than morning check out since no one was reserving our cabin until later in the week.

Sunday morning we packed everything up and headed out around lunchtime. As we were driving up, we saw billboards for this place called Yaks and remembered that Adam's colleague Mark Endraske had recommended it:

Yaks Burgers

And we said, "Yes Please!" A quick google map search for "Yaks" and we were on our way. Except we ended up here:

Wassayaks Coffee
Not the same.

We left this place, dodging the sketchy hippy-homeless guys discussing their last arrests and said, "Lets get out of here" as we clutched our daughters a little closer. Adam did a little more searching and realized that we were only about 10 minutes away from the real Yaks Burger place. Back into the car, and we quickly came to our destination.

And we ordered things like this:

Of course, that's a stock picture, so we didn't ACTUALLY order that particular burger. Sorry, we were so hungry we just devoured our burgers and fries and chips and beer that we didn't really stop to take pictures on our phone.

 But the amazing part were these:

Yes, those are bourbon-caramel sticky buns and yes, we ordered two to go for the next morning's breakfast. Because the burgers were legitimately enormous.

We headed up to Tsasdi and found our cabin. It was small, clean and had a perfect little deck.

Exploring the digs

It was hot and the girls were ready to explore, so Adam took them into the pool. Charis went first, and it was cold! So by the time I had the camera out, she was warming up on the deck chairs. Lathie went Swimming for the first time! Then they both tried to warm up a bit in the sun.

When toddlers don't nap and then go swimming, these are the looks
We went back to the cabin and Charis continued to try to warm up:

We fed the girls a bit, but we were still so stuffed from Lunch we didn't really do dinner.

 Instead, after we put the girls to bed (and they were pretty wiped out!) Adam and I sat on the deck, enjoyed the sunset and read to each other.

Beautiful view and wonderful evening

Reading "Grit" by Angela Ducksworth

The next morning continued to be relaxing and just what we needed. Though the girls woke up at their never-varying 6:30 wake up time (Adam and I would have preferred a little later), the girls enjoyed their oatmeal while we enjoyed the bourbon caramel sticky buns with our coffee and the morning sunshine.

Good Morning, Sunshine!

Shortly before 9, Adam and Charis wandered down to the dock to go Kayaking. Charis wasn't too excited at first, but she quickly began to enjoy it!

Lathie was asleep, and so we entertained ourselves with bubbles

Once Lathie was awake, we had a wonderful lunch (barbecued brats, potato salad and veggies) on the main deck:

The view from the Main Deck

The girls played a little more on the Deck. Charis was particularly good at throwing the bean bags in the cornhole goal, but I didn't get a shot of that. I did get Lathie cheating a little. But we'll forgive her because she's a baby!

We enjoyed one more cup of coffee on our own little cabin deck and then packed up the car and headed home. 20 minutes later the girls were both sleeping in their own beds, napping hard after two wonderful days up at the lake. Just what we needed.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Birthday Letter from Papa (5.8.2016)

Dear Aletheia,

This is your Grandfather Porcella writing. Your grandmother picked out the card but likes me to do the writing. Happy first birthday! We are absolutely delighted to have you as our granddaughter.

We wish we could be there with you for your birthday but California is a long way from Philadelphia. You are coming to visit us in two months, though, so the hugs will have to wait until then. We're going to spend a lot of time "down the shore". I think this will be the first time for you to see the ocean, right? It's impressive. Good place to take naps, too.

I've been working on a lot of projects at home for the last several months. My next project, starting tomorrow, is to get the computer set up so we can Skype together. If I were thirty years old I would have done this a long time ago, but learning and setting up electronic devices drives me crazy, so I have to psych myself up for awhile, knowing I'm venturing into a head-banging experience. Maybe I'll have the Skype set up by the time you get this card. It will be good to remind you of what we're like before you arrive here. Your grandmother and I are not scary but we do take some getting used to.

We sent you the scooter bike for your birthday. I know you got it early but it only made sense you should play with it as soon as you were able to use it. Based on pictures it's been good fun for you. We're glad about that.

We love you.
(You can tell Mommy and Daddy and Charis we love them, too)

Papa and Grandma

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Birthday, Little Button!

Oh, Al├ętheia Jane, how could we have known how much joy, fun, laughter and delight you would bring to us?  Not that first day, when you were just a sweet little bundle of unknown personhood.  We could never have guessed.

But oh, your personality! You are as sweet as anyone we've ever known and so quick to laugh! You've blossomed from a tiny little stranger to our Little Button - still small and slender, but such a big personality.

Lately you've begun giving hugs to daddy when he asks - which includes crawling over as fast as you can and throwing yourself on top of him, nuzzling his shoulder. Then, without fail, that bubbly laughter follows!  Your favorite thing to do in life is to play with your sister and/or wrestle with daddy. When you get Charis to play with daddy and you on the floor it is a little bit of heaven for you.

You started crawling at 5 months old - early for most babies - and you are fast on your knees. But within the last two weeks you've begun toddling after Big Sister. You took your first steps at 11 months, but have really gotten the hang of it this week. Now you are far more willing to push yourself up and stand on your own....and then take those wobbly few steps across the living room.

You've begun sleeping through the night with no wake ups, which has meant a happy mommy. You and mommy love to rock and sing and snuggle in the rocking chair before naps and night time. You are a singer - and dancer! - too! Your big sister and mommy love to sing and dance, and you will bounce-bounce-bounce to the music. Sometimes you're bouncing to music that no one else would think to dance to, but you sure love it.

You're an expert at Skyping. Sometimes you think the TV is Skype and will chatter away at whatever documentary mommy is watching as though they are going to converse back to you. 

You're going to be our academic. You adore books, and to Mommy and Daddy's delight, you'll sometimes choose to look at books rather than watch Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood with Charis. The most fun for you is bringing a book to Daddy and then, two pages in, grabbing it away and bringing it to Mommy. Two pages in, it is back in Daddy's hands. This goes on as long as Mommy and Daddy will put up with it.

Your Bible Study Fellowship class leaders love you. At your birthday party, your leaders came and held you and snuggled you. Daddy said it was clear that you had captured their hearts. 

And that's what you do,  Little Button. You capture peoples' hearts - in the grocery store, at Bible Study, your aunties and uncles and grandparents. It doesn't matter where we are, you engage people with your giant smile and soft baby voice. No one can resist. Neither can we. Your sister loves you so much, and your mommy and daddy can't imagine life without you. You are so precious to us, Lathie. Happy Birthday, darling girl.