Today was my nephew's wedding! During the late morning, Nicole and I went downstairs and sat outside on the hotel patio enjoying the beautiful weather, and then my brother invited us to join him in running some errands. We saw a small stand of trees that had turned colors by the car wash my brother was waiting to drive his car through, so Nicole and I got out and snapped some sappy (get it?) pictures with the trees. I think that's why they call us Floridiots, lol!
Anyway, we came back to the hotel and got all ready for the wedding. Nicole and I also had to pack because we were leaving right from the reception to the airport! My brother graciously loaded his car up with our luggage and then we hopped on the party bus that took us to the wedding venue. It was a gorgeous winery, the weather was beautiful, and the ceremony went flawlessly! And then the sun went behind the hill and it got COOOLLLDDD!! We took some family pictures and waited and shivered a bit until finally we went into the reception tent! They had some pictures on a table to commemorate relatives who had passed on, and there was a fantastic picture of my mom and my nephew, David! Loved it! The dinner was scrumptious, and the dancing was a blast! Nathan and Nicole and I couldn't get over how EVERYONE was on the dance floor pretty much the whole night! Way different from Florida weddings where you have to practically pull teeth to get people out there! As my mom used to say, all good things must come to an end, so my brother graciously lent us his car and Nathan drove Nicole and me the almost hour to the San Francisco airport. Nicole and I changed clothes and are now waiting to board our red eye flight departing at 11:45! It's been a whirlwind trip but so worth the family connections and celebrations! Here are the pictures I took at the wedding (well the first one Nicole took of her and Nathan on the bus ride over). :-)
I slept in today - didn't wake up until 5am (much better than 2:30am!). I did some journaling and then Nathan and I walked outside to go watch the sunrise on the beach (after inviting Nicole who moaned and rolled over in response, lol). It was gorgeous! Pictures just don't do it justice - absolutely loved it! We washed sheets and towels and made beds and cleaned - told Nancy and Ron last night we like to leave things better than how we found them but didn't know how since their condo was so clean! Ron joked that we could grab a paint brush and do some touching up, lol! Hopefully, we left it at least as good as we found it! We dropped off the rental car and made it the airport in good time, hopped on the plane and made it to Oakland right on time! My brother picked us up at the airport, and I saw my Aunt Deb and her husband checking in as we arrived! I connected with her and my sister-in-law (the mother of the groom) for a bit before everyone was heading off to the rehearsal dinner, so I snapped a picture of the 3 of us (the last picture below). Those are all the pictures I took today but I'm sure I'll get a lot more tomorrow! Until then!
We had an absolutely lovely time visiting with our relatives today! I woke up at 2:30am (after going to bed at 8pm - so 6 1/2 hours of sleep is not too shabby!), and never could go back to sleep. We had all gone to bed around 8, and Nathan woke up around 7 and we woke Nicole up around 8. Nathan & I went to this cute coffee shop / acai bowl place and got breakfast and brought some avocado toast back for Nicole. After we finished eating, we took off for Corona, California, which was about an hour away. We visited with my mom's 89 year old cousin, Joanna, and took her out to a lovely lunch. Joanna and my mom were born only a month apart and grew up together practically as sisters and best friends, so I feel like I get to experience a piece of my mom when I'm with Joanna - she's just precious! We came back after lunch for nap time, and I grabbed a 10 minute power nap and then drove Nicole up to Joanna's grandson's Painting business so she could paint some squishies (I guess that's a thing). Joanna's daughter, Lois and her husband, Peter drove up from San Diego, so we visited a bit, and then walked down to Joanna's other daughter, Nancy's, house who lives about 6 houses down. Another daughter, Mary (Joanna has 5 girls and 2 boys) drove up, and we had a wonderful family cookout where Nancy's husband was the grill master of some yummy hot dogs and hamburgers! Mary had brought some old family photos that we looked at together - so much fun! Lois and Peter left before we realized we hadn't taken any pictures, but we at least got some pictures after that. Like I said, it was a great day to be had by all!
Today, Nathan, Nicole and I flew to California to visit family and attend my nephew's wedding on Friday. Tim stayed behind because he's officiating a wedding, so we're missing him! I discovered last Tuesday that my dear friend, Marie, was going to be on the same flight since she is visiting her daughter who lives out here, so that was cool! We flew into the Santa Ana airport, said our good-byes to Marie, got our rental car, and drove to Huntington Beach where my cousin, Nancy, owns a condo she is lending us while we're here. OK - so this place is RIGHT on the beach! It is on the Pacific Coast Highway! What?!! And the beach is practically deserted out here - it's crazy! Nicole and I relaxed on the beach for a bit after we arrived watching surfers and seagulls, and then we grabbed Nathan and went to dinner right on the beach at sunset next to the Huntington Beach Pier. The weather is amazing, and I snapped a photo of Nathan at the end of the pier at sunset kind of mimicking the Titanic scene, lol! Here are pictures from our day:
We drove down to Punta Gorda on Thursday and met 5 other people from our church (along with about 100 others) as we partnered with Samaritan's Purse to help with the disaster relief efforts there. The drive down was a little crazy as we saw so much carnage from the hurricane before we even got there. We were about 1/2 hour away from Punta Gorda driving on back roads because I-75 had been shut down due to an accident, and we drove by a dead upside alligator in the gore between the 2 opposing lanes on the road, and a few feet from him was a dead deer! It was so weird!
I graduated from High School in Punta Gorda, so it was great to be able to help out people in that area. Also, our dear friends, Lee & Marie, also joined us, so it was great working alongside of them. The days started out early at 6:15 and we were dead tired by the time we came back for dinner at 6pm. We worked Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and I never slept so good as those 3 nights in a row after those hard days of work! We slept at my dad's place, and when we finished on Saturday (yesterday), we stayed there again, and then Nathan, Nicole, and Nicholas came down today for lunch and to celebrate a belated Happy Birthday with my dad! I am so bummed I got NO pictures from our time together on today, but I did snap a few during our days working with Samaritan's Purse, so I will include those below.
Hollyhead's birthday was on the 6th, but with her work schedule (she's a nurse) and us being out of town we couldn't get together until today. We had a lovely lunch at Outback Steakhouse, but I was bummed to realize on the way there I forgot to get her a gift. We ended up at the Best Buy across the parking lot, and I was able to get her a lightening charger for her phone since she had given hers away (she's a shirt off her back type of gal!). Yay! So happy about that! Happy Birthday, Hollyhead!!
We got off the plane in Las Vegas and were startled by the all the slot machines at the airside! I know what Las Vegas represents, but we were just flying in there to drive 6 hours - just a stopping place. I wasn't thinking of what we would encounter - it really felt like a slap in the face! Here are a couple pictures of the landscape as we were leaving.
And less than an hour outside of Las Vegas, here are a couple pictures of the landscape we saw there:
Well, tomorrow we fly out to Las Vegas to meet our friends, but we sure are going to miss Colorado! Yesterday, some other dear friends who live near Denver drove over to meet with us for lunch. Years can go by between our visits, but we literally pick right up where we left off and connect so well every time! We met him on a missions trip to Africa 30 years ago, and have been in touch off and on since then. It was great to be with them! Today, we drove around the campus and visited 2 outdoor chapels where we snapped some pictures. Gorgeous! Here are the pictures we took over the last 2 days.
What a FABULOUS day!! We got up feeling great (finally), ate breakfast, got our backpacks all ready and went to the meeting place for the hike. The hike master, Larry, rode with us into the park, with 2 other cars following (a total of 8 of us). It was nice to have the guided hike, because we didn’t have to worry about trying to get a timed entry pass – we just went right through the line! And we went to the Bear Lake entrance, which is even harder to get in then the main Trail Ridge Road (you have to get there before 5am or after 6pm if you don’t have a timed entry pass – the rest of the park allows you in before 9am and after 6pm without a pass). We got to the first parking lot, and we all parked there and rode the bus up to a drop off spot where we started our hike up to Mills Lake. We were all about the same age (probably late 50’s early 60’s), and it was just a really a nice group. Larry was an excellent guide, and we had a magical day! We ended the hike, said our good byes, and then Tim and I rode a bus up to Bear Lake and did a little hike on our own to this amazing stand of Aspen in full color! We hiked back down to Bear Lake and met this cute couple in their 90's who have been married for 71 years! We asked them to take our picture, and the wife took my phone and proceeded to take the best picture of the whole trip (see the last picture below!). We are feeling very blessed indeed!
This altitude is kind of kicking our butts! We just hung out here at the YMCA of the Rockies for the past 2 days feeling a little under the weather but not sick - think it's just our bodies adjusting to the altitude! I feel SOOO draggy!! We made reservations to go on a guided hike in Rocky Mountain National Park tomorrow, so I hope I'm up for it! We did drive around the campus here a little bit today and snapped some pictures. There is a cafeteria here, and it's nice to just be able to go in and get whatever and however much food you want, but by tonight we were feeling cafeteria'd out, so we found a great restaurant, The Rock Inn Mountain Tavern, 5 minutes away where we had bacon wrapped dates, elk sausage, and Tim had a ground beef, elk and bison meatloaf. We wanted to watch the sunset, so we ended up driving into Rocky Mountain National Park and going up to almost 12,000 feet to Forest Canyon and watching the sunset! Here are some pictures we took on the YMCA campus (those first 2 pictures of elk were taken here on campus!), at the restaurant, and in the national park. Enjoy!
Tim & Jodie