Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

Ok - back again. Where did the time go? Ah yes, piles of laundry and a wicked sore throat. I've tried curing the sore throat with a ton of sleep (in bed on Sun. 'til 3pm! - sleeping!) and gallons of tea. Alas, I can hardly stand tea at this point and the naps are messing with my jetlag recovery.

Before we head "up to Fresno" the day after Christmas, I must say:

Happy Birthday Bart!!! He turned a whole year wiser this week. He still looks like he's 35 instead of..... But - he was told he looked 35 when he was 25 (it's the 'stache) so we figure it's his "permanent" age.

Did I mention we had nice weather over the Holiday's? This was Christmas day in the park. T-shirts and picnic lunch after opening presents. Lovely. Maybe the only place in the Northern Hemisphere to enjoy nice weather that week?
My sweet, beautiful little sister, her handsome husband and adorable girl. Jayden is a true tow-head but with Kris's dark green eyes. I took ton's of pic's of her and she knows it - she didn't want to sit for this pic at all but I think it's cute - she's watching my girls jump up and down in the background.We headed up to Fresno the day after Christmas to visit with wonderful friends there, including friends who drove down from Orangevale to join us. What a great afternoon visiting and catching up. We had seen them this past summer but as time marches on and with the oldest child of the group at 15 yrs - we realize that these 'family' times are going to change all too soon and we're trying to make the best use of the time we have.

We did miss out on seeing family in Sacto. and Minnesota but find that we can't be everywhere, everytime. We'll be out again in June!
That night - we loaded the kids in the back of the pickup - with blankets (Fresno is cold in winter, burning hot in summer - like most of CA's Central Valley) and went Christmas Caroling in the neighborhood. Yes, a day late but it was fun and several families were having their big dinners that night so we just added to the festive atmosphere.
Kendra started going to the doors with R to announce our presence and the singing to follow. In this particular residence is a couple in which the wife is originally from Switzerland! So Kendra and she had a little conversation, in German, which had R just proud and pleased to have her along. There was also a Swiss High School student with our group (staying with friends of our friends for a school year) who seemed pleased to have me greet him 'Swiss Style' : "Gruetzi" with the accompanying 3 kisses (Swiss do 3 kisses instead of the normal Euro 2 kisses on the cheeks). We spoke a little German and he had a nice conversation with Bart.
Much fun was had and then we headed back to the house for a pasta dinner (F makes a mean ragu sauce courtesy of his Sicilian mother) and more good conversation. We hated to say goodbye when it was time but there is never enough time, is there?
So we hopped back on the 99 South to the 5 and here we are dropping into the LA Basin:
We moved out of So. California over 15 years ago and sometimes I forget how big the "freeways" are. And how many cars. Cars, Cars, everywhere.... We also noticed how brown everything was. This time of year, Angeles National Park (Mountain range N of LA separating it from the Central Valley) should be green but it was barely showing any green. Everything was brown, you could see where the wild-fires had run through and you think about how this next summer will be another drought year unless the weather changes soon. Water is a big issue - Who get's what's available? And trust me, it's not all being allocated to people and crops. This is not a Water Politics post so I'll move on.....
We settled into the hotel not too far from Kris & Jason's because look who moved in!!!!!! The Hawaiians!!!! My other sweet, beautiful sister, Deb, moved into Kris's with her family. It's been 2 years since we (Olson's) had seen them and it was sooooo nice. The kids gave us all big, sweet hugs. I miss them!
There was much fun to be had with another "Christmas."
We all went up to Lake Arrowhead the next day to give the HI group their first ever snow experience. Of course, my girls are saying "What! They've never seen snow? Ever?"
"No" I tell them. "They live on a tropical island where temperatures rarely go below 70 F. In fact, they wear sweaters when it's 70F and declare they're freezing." That's JT in front. He thought the snow was cool for - 1 minute. Then he was cold and wanted to go back into the car. I couldn't convince him to visit us in Switzerland. He said he was going back to HI where it's warm! Now the middle one, Tavanni , he's so excited about all the new things he saw he wasn't bothered much by the temperature. Hanni girl - I think she was ready to follow big brother back to HI.
Here we all are, courtesy of the nice photographer who grabbed my camera and took a group photo (grandparents are at far right: Gpa Paul, Gma Elaine & J):
Too cold to be outside so we did a little bowling in Crestline and had the place to ourselves:

Certainly hope it doesn't take another 4 years to get a picture like this:
We (Olson's) are officially extended in Switzerland through June 2011 (April '11 for Bart) so we are counting on being all together much sooner than 4 years.
I'll wrap up the Holiday travel next post. Good thing I have the Holiday's to post because no one wants to hear about sore throats and napping! Need to get on to ski season!


Susan said...

Thanks for posting photos of your trip. What a blessing to be with family at Christmas. I noticed K's key necklace; I saw a lot of them in the U.S. last month and almost brought one home for me. It looks better on her!

Hope you are feeling better.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed all the family pictures but my favorite has to be B and the girls...what a great picture...too bad Mom was behind the lens on that one. Good job, Susan