We were recently in America to help a good friend through some hard times. We love you, Joan!
While we were there, we enjoyed visits with all of our best friends and family.
Since my blog has so far been all about our European friends and our European Adventures, it's time to balance things out with some photos of my friends, family, and views of California - my home for my first 39.75 years.
This is mostly a picturesque tour through our vacation. I hope you enjoy meeting everyone and seeing the sights!
First highlight: Alex!! She was with us for the weekend. Yeah! Can you believe how old she looks?
I cannot believe that my oldest child is almost 15 years old! I love you, Alex!
Not celebrities . . . although they could be! Kayla and Alex . . .
And we just "had" to get pedicures! Grom got one, too. We had teal, purple, and red toezils.
Second highlight: Visits!! I was lucky enough to see almost all of my good friends for at least a brief visit. I was also lucky enough to see my best friends for multiple visits. You know who you are!
Cathie and Sharlene . . . Just look at all those hand-knits, too.
Alysa, Patty, Mary, Josey, and Sharlene . . . Moira & Marianne, I'm so sorry I missed you this visit!
Sumi, Sung, and Minji . . . Sorry Sumi is hiding behind her hat. I missed her beautiful smile!
Linda . . .
Melissa, James, and Catherine (finally!) . . .
Danny and Kathy . . . Well, this is obviously Danny & Dado. Too funny!
Big Louie . . . We miss you Big Louie! Glad to see that you are still POWERFUL!
Vivi and Meg . . .Sue, Kaitlyn, and Bailey (wow, they grew up!) . . . From left to right, starting from the top: Kayla, Alex, Sue, Hailey, (bottom) Bailey, and Kaitlyn. Sue has been my best friend since the 8th grade - back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth.
And our family!
Grom& Dude . . . (I have no idea how I did not get a picture of Dude!! He works too much!!)
Julie, David, Jeremy, & Ryan . . . Only Ryan and Julie made it into this shot.
Sandra - this one's for you!! Julie & Grom . . .
Great Grandpa Bob (90 years young!!) & Great Grandma Jayne (86 years young!!) . . . We were lucky enough to celebrate Dan's 50th birthday with (almost) the whole clan.
Sean, Uncle Mark, Aunt Susie, Great Aunt DeeDee, and Grandma Pat . . . Highlight shot of Sean in the giant box. You can't see Max and Josey because they are still inside the box. Too cute.
The kids were lucky enough to see their best friends, too. These are the kinds of friends that make your heart sing . . . They haven't seen each other in 9 months, but you would never guess there had been an absence.
Vivi . . .Divya . . .Minji . . .Ryan . . .
And the kids were lucky enough to also visit their favorite places in California!
Playing at "our" beach (Moran Lake Beach) . . .
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk . . . Thank you very much, Jimmy!
That is Mike, Josey, and Max on the Pirate Ship. The kids rode the Pirate Ship at least 10 times in a row.
Teacher Rick's gymnastics class . . . (unfortunately, I did not get a photo of Teacher Rick!) We love you, Teacher Rick!
Wu Shu Central padded weapons and tumbling classes . . .
Sea lions at the wharf . . .
Third highlight: California!! After 9 months of beautiful scenery in France, Italy, and Spain, I almost forgot how astonishingly beautiful Santa Cruz can be.
A view of the Santa Cruz wharf from Castle Beach . . .
A view of the Santa Cruz Wharf from the Boardwalk . . .
A view of Castle Beach and the Yacht Harbor lighthouse from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk . . .
A view of the mountains and redwoods from Linda's porch . . .
A view of Rio Del Mar and the Cement Ship from Cathie's terrace . . .
A view of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk from the Santa Cruz Wharf . . .
A view of Steamer's Lane (world famous surf spot) from the Santa Cruz Wharf . . .
The only thing I regretfully missed (besides seeing Marianne & Moira) was a visit to Toadal! To all of my other dear friends at Toadal, I miss you! Especially Marty, Cristina, Cheryl, Denise, Rebecca, Forrest, Kristin (and Malia!), Kelvin, Sue, Dave, Jon, and Laine!
Ron, thank you so much for stopping by the beach. Remember - at least monthly emails.
Much love to all!!