As posted in mid-September here, Dad/Rick and I took all but one of our daughters-in-law on a cruise. We were speaking and it was so fun to have them along to help. Luckily we had a chance to spend a week with the one who couldn’t go in NYC just before we left. She was nursing a baby and that cruise line charges full price for nursing babies. What’s up with that?
Anyway, after that fun adventure our daughters decided that it was their turn for some fun together so last weekend we converged in CA on the only weekend we could all get there for months. It did just happen to fall on the weekend that Charity was having her big Guy Fawkes Party. Guy Fawkes Night is a huge holiday in early November in England where Charity served her mission and she makes sure that it is celebrated properly in her little corner of the US every year as well!
The plan was that the other sisters would fly in on Friday night and have dinner together while she was having the party and then pick her up at about 11 p.m. at the beach where the party was being held with a about a hundred celebrants, complete with a big bonfire, smores, 100 shot glasses of English trifle and topped off with sparklers and fireworks.
As it turned out Charity called us about 10 o’clock and said that the police had just shut the party down because apparently fireworks were not allowed on that beach. They had just finished burning the effigy of Guy Fawkes and had done everything but the smores so she was okay with the party coming to an abrupt end. She had made friends with the cops by the time we got there except that they were giving tickets to any cars that were still in the parking lot after 10 p.m.
Charity has such a nice friend named Ian, who had lent her his car for the event (hers died, which is another story). But sadly he had been hit by a car while riding his bike (because he didn’t have a car) and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, even though he protested that he was fine. We were worried about the poor guy and were thinking we wouldn’t be able to meet him and thank him but his roommate brought him over to pick up his car since we were picking up Charity to go with us. So we jumped out of the car and had 15 seconds to shake hands and smile when a policeman started writing out a parking ticket and we said thanks and goodbye almost in the same breath as the hello! It was a short but sweet meeting and a truly wild night!
We progressed on to an airport hotel where they refused to move a roll-away bed into the room because of a city code so we had five women in two double beds. It was pretty funny. In fact from the minute we got together (whether it was delight or complete exhaustion on everyone’s party, I’m not sure) we laughed until we cried about everything that happened. We were so elated to be together that we were giddy and we managed to survive the night and have a lot of fun in the process!
The next morning we headed for an amazing breakfast place. Since San Francisco is the food capitol of the world AND Charity is the foremost expert in the world on great places to eat there, we were excited. We knew we had come to the right place when we saw the eggs benedict! The real photographers in the family have all the pictures so I don’t have it. You’ll have to check their blogs for the beautiful pictures. Our breakfast discussion was about an astounding article on Motherhood which I’ll post about later.
From there we drove to a fabulous view of the Golden Gate Bridge so we could revel in the beautiful work of God and man.
What a grand quartet!
Next it was on to the beautiful Napa Valley where we could hardly believe our eyes and our taste buds. Too bad, so sad that we were so excited about the food that we forgot to take pictures before we ate it! Charity got amazing recommendations for places to eat from her boss and his wife who are gourmet food experts. The food was simply to die for! We pretty much licked the plates!
We finished there at three and went to the bike store nearby where we thought we’d take a quick bike ride through the vineyards. They were closing at five but they were kind enough to give us bike locks for when we returned and encourage us to stay as long as we wanted. Sixteen miles later we thought we’d died and gone to heaven as we pedaled through the most gorgeous vineyards on earth! It was truly magical. Here are just a few pics that I caught on my iPhone. The other girls will have more to show!
Here’s Shawni setting up one of about a million self-timer shots on her bicycle seat. Love those long shadows! Can you see us waiting for her?
We stayed at a fun little hotel with free breakfasts that were plentiful but not up to the excellence we had become accustomed to (grin). It was a perfect place to talk and we even made a podcast there at midnight for POMs on gratitude (since we were feeling abundantly grateful) and Thanksgiving which you can access here.
On Sunday we found a delightful little congregation for church. How fun it is to meet people all over the world wherever we go who make us feel so comfortable as we worship together!
Lunch again was fabulous. The small private hotel there was decked out for the season:
And the balcony where we ate treated us to a spectacular view and the seats below gave us a perfect spot to reflect on our blessings and how the atonement was working in each of our lives. Great discussion!
How blessed am I to call these four incredible souls daughters?
From there we traversed a long windy mountainous road through extraordinary scenery to a thought-stimulating and fascinating art museum. We weren’t allowed to take pictures of the art but were allowed to take pictures of the vast wine kegs in the storage rooms below!
Just behind the museum was a monastery overlooking yet another breathtaking vineyard. We soaked it in until sunset and sang “For the Beauty of the Earth” together as we surveyed the scene. A moment to remember!
We thought it was fun that every daughter’s hair was a little different color but I couldn’t capture that very well with the light.
However, I did capture how much these girls love each other! What a delight!
AND how fun they are:
And true leaf lovers!!
The next morning was a white knuckle drive back to the San Jose airport in the horrendous rush hour CA traffic with a stop at Charity’s beautiful new office where we got to meet her stellar co-workers and famous boss. Our flights were all within an hour of each other and as we bid each other a fond farewell, among other things we were rejuvenated, committed to do better, inspired to create more margins in our lives, to be more committed to top priorities, to spend less time on computers and more time with the scriptures and our families.
As we journeyed back to the real world, we knew it would be a weekend to remember!