The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

Back East

First & foremost, today is my sister, Libby’s birthday so, HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIBBY!!! To a sweet sister & aunt from us. We love you tons and wish we could be with you on this special day. I hope everyone in FFLD is treating you right!

Next, I haven’t posted anything in a while because we were out of town and frankly, I don’t seem to get much done now that Bea’s crawling. By much I mean anything, including taking a shower. While I have been cooking I haven’t been able to post pix but I will be back on that this month.

We had an excellent excuse to go back east a few weeks ago: G’s cousin Paula was getting married in Albany. Of course there are no direct flights but let’s not get into that.

Beautiful bride Paula

Paula & Dave had an intimate wedding in her gorgeous backyard.

Moments after this photo Maddie quietly asked me if she could eat. I told her we’d eat as soon as the ceremony was over which would be in approximately 5 minutes. She threw her head back & sobbed. Then she sobbed & sobbed & sobbed to be sure we didn’t think she was messing around. She and I had a nice tour of the neighborhood after that.

Bea dozed through the ceremony.

We left right around here. It was a beautiful wedding and very moving to have been invited. We all loved Dave and are not just a little jealous of their upcoming honeymoon in Nepal. VERY happy for you both!

After the ceremony & some Bloody Mary’s it was off to the races. That’s right – Saratoga Race Track! We had an amazing lunch, drinks & watched the horses. G may have won some money. I have no idea how to bet on the horses – trifecta, exacta, superfecta…all I know is I need to do work on my bicepta(s). Do you know I just found out biceps is not spelled with a t? I am 41 years old and learned this yesterday at the gym. A lot of people would be embarassed to admit that.

The next day Dave’s parents had a cookout on Sacandaga Lake. Too bad it rained but we enjoyed it since we don’t get too much rain. Bea loved crawling around in the soaking wet grass.

G holding about 50 lbs of LG (Little Girl).

Another newlywed – Chris Daniels – who just married G’s sister

We headed for Northampton after a few days.

Bea turned 1 on the 7th.

1st Birthday breakfast in Amherst

Garsh – I meant to take a lot of pictures but it was raining and we were struggling with strollers & squirmy kids. We spent a night in Northampton at my alma mater. Jack & Patsy were shocked at how little I knew about the town etc. I became shocked after I saw how shocked THEY were! What was I DOING there besides driving a catering van around and eating skyrises of hummingbird cake, veggie strollers & tempeh??

I don’t know but whatever I was doing obviously didn’t involve academics.

Since it was so rainy, we stopped at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst. It was a dismal, dreary day. G and I empathized with that cold, miserable weather and the freshman dreads that go with it. All those unloved papers on Faulkner due Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Aggh. Don’t make me go back to school. And if you do, please do it in Hawaii or Barbados.

Anyway, the museum was the perfect birthday stop! We still had a 3+ hour drive ahead of us so we thought we ought to let the kids move around first.

These large paintings line the walls of the entrance and are intended to evoke something – a feeling of being in moving water, forest or the sun etc. And they DO!

There’s a library:

I'm 1 today!

Lookit what Maddie and I found in the bathroom! All you readers of “Polar Bear, Polar Bear” should recognize these…(Thanks Lib & Rachel for the Eric Carle books!)

I couldn't get over it!

There’s also an art studio:

Very kid friendly – well, it's a kids' museum after all.

There is a gorgeous little art gallery of childrens’ book illustrators. I could’ve stayed for hours!! Unfortunately (for me) and fortunately (for the illustrations) they didn’t allow photos there.

M and I checked out the bathroom ONE MORE TIME on the way out:

Finally, around 3 or 4PM we set out for Newburyport where we planned to visit my mom’s cousins and hopefully the family cemetery. We also planned to meet up with a friend from a long time ago when we got there but by now it was so late, we had to reschedule. That was a big disappointment since I haven’t seen her since my infamous Governor Dummer days but hopefully next summer…

3.5+ hours later, after driving through rush hour in the rain, we celebrated Bea’s first birthday with dinner in downtown Newburyport.

I didn’t notice Bea munching on a crayon until now! No wonder she didn’t want any cake.

Bea, you are the sweetest, silliest little girl with a toothy grin!! You’re absolutely into everything, exhausting & so much fun. We are so lucky to have you in our lives and we love you so much!! Happy Birthday little Beezy!!!

The next morning Jack & Patsy walked around Newburyport while G, M, B & I went to see Cousin Priscilla at her assisted living home. Her daughter Susan helped coordinate the whole think (lucky for us!) so we were able to join them for lunch.

Priscilla is my mom’s first cousin though she is 93 years old. She is sharp as a tack and full of stories. I wish I could’ve heard her better over the kids. We had lunch with her and then went up to her room. She had a little rocking chair out for Maddie to sit on.

After that we visited my mom.

And then showed Jack & Patsy the tombstone DIRECTLY ACROSS from my mom’s:

Maddie ran around…
…looked at brightly colored mushrooms:
until it was time to go see my mom’s other cousin – Natalea.

Natalea’s younger than Priscilla. She’s only 92. She gave us a tour of the downstairs of her quite historical house. Seeing how much I have moved throughout my life, it was fun and sad thinking of the Thanksgivings we spent there as children with all the adults “above” us, sheltering us from life, mostly gone. And to think of even 5-6 years ago when I was in Newburyport, riding in Natalea’s VW with Priscilla while they told me about which house various relatives lived in at which time and Priscilla’s family home which is now condos etc. Now they can’t get out to lunch and in the car as easily. Who, besides they, remember all the stories?

We were so rushed I didn’t have time to buy flowers for my mom. I want to go back next summer and stay in Newburyport for a week so I can see everyone longer and properly put flowers on my dear mom’s grave.

After visiting with Natalea for a few hours, we got our cranky nap-less kids into the car and headed to Cambridge to see Nina. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any photos b/c I left the camera in the car. It was a really fun visit because we also met up with Sheherazade and little Leo, Ian, and on Friday night, a friend from Londonttown – Renato – showed up. WOW!!! Nina took us in, fed us, and let us take over her bedroom, kitchen, bathroom & condo. Thank you, Nina! We had such a nice time and loved seeing you & catching a tiny glimpse of your life.

It was really a special trip and we are hoping to go back again soon!

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