Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Big Trees and Big Expectations

We woke Friday morning a bit trepidatious about starting our vacation on our own without the help of Jessie and Joel and the kids, but it started off well with a happy breakfast with Amber, Lynne and Gary and the kids.

Then we were off on our Sequoias adventure.

The road there was so windy, I forgot how many bends that road had. It had been years since my last visit to the Sequoias and the windy road was definitely the part I forgot.

Don't worry, Sister didn't forget that she gets carsick. She was reminded, as were we, at every bend.

We decided to try to get her mind off of feeling a little carsick by stopping off the side of the road so she could see how big the trees were.

See that blue spec at the bottom? That's Sister... these trees are gigantic!!!

Don't let her "happy" face fool you, she was so angry with us and demanded that we take the pictures and head back to grandma's house.

So, I guess you could say it started off with an unhappy Sister so it wasn't too shocking when we arrived at the main parking lot and she had an immediate meltdown. She was not about to go anywhere without her cousins and she was going to make sure that everyone knew about that.

Now, I can't say that Marc and I didn't think this would happen or that we were even discouraged by it. If fact, I think we took it all in stride.


I think it was all the other people that weren't ready for her...

I am pretty sure she scared a couple of old ladies and kept some burly men at a fast pace to get without of earshot from her.

During this picture I am pretty sure that all 3 kids were melting and didn't want to walk anymore and wanted to go home and were trying to dart off in every direction that might get them out of the park.

We decided to push forward and, at least, go to see the great tree, General Sherman.

We took pictures to document our destination because we knew that it would only last a moment with all the whining, screaming and tantrumming that was going on.

After getting some shots we headed back up the trail to leave and Sister's meltdowns were getting louder, Brother was reacting to her screams and Baby was just... well, she was just.

Then Marc and I got to witness a sweet moment between Sister and Baby and we both documented it at the same time.

Luckily on the way back just before Sister's meltdown escalated to "uncontrollable" there were 2 ladies that came walking down with their tiny dogs in their arms and I saw that Sister had some interest in them and knew that with how much she was missing Ranger that this might be our saving grace.

"Is it OK with you if my kids pet your dogs? They really miss their little dog at home" I asked as Sister and Baby both approached with anticipation.

First, I was grateful that these two women were so gracious to share their dogs with us for a few minutes.

Second, I was so grateful for the calming power of animals.

It was like magic when sister got to cuddle those dogs and ask her owners all about them.

She was calm the rest of the way to the parking lot and even seemed to be at ease.

On the way down we all talked about the trees and the kids spoke as if it was the greatest tree trip they had ever been on and you would never have known they were melting most of the time.

It's interesting to notice the personality and life changes Marc and I have made as we have had to learn and grow and change for our children.

Like when Marc yells out, "[Brother!] Did you see that sign that said "turquoise?" and then flips a u-turn so that Brother can see it and we can take a picture of it for him to remember. Marc has learned that "turquoise" to Brother is important in all forms, I love my hubby even more for things like this.

When we got back to the house the kids were all so excited to get back into the pool with their cousins and beat the heat with some good old-fashioned water-play.

I didn't feel like swimming so I stayed inside to take photographs of moments and enjoy the air conditioning and company.

Lynne cutting strawberries to snack on

Marc and Amber... sorry this it's blurry... user error... but at least you can tell who they are (sheepish smile)

Teddy Bear is always a challenge to photograph but I enjoy the challenge

Then Zozo appeared in this get-up and I couldn't resist but to take pictures!

There are many memories at this California home, for Marc and his siblings, and now our children too. I'm glad they are happy ones. During this trip I realized it had been 4 years since I had been here.

It was good to see Marc's siblings and their families again and to listen to Marc recount some of his memories in this home.

This was going to be our last night in Visalia. We knew we and the kids were ready to get home, but it was tempting to accept Amber's offer to stay one more night.


It's so important.

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