This weekend was our first extended journey from home since Pearl joined our family. In just 3 days, we managed to pack in 4 visits with family and friends as well as major clothes shopping on Saturday for the girls. Pearl did beautifully on the entire trip, but Chloe reached her breaking point on Sunday and was full of tears and tantrums, not her usual bubbly self.
First stop was Paso Robles (1.5 hrs from home) where we visited with our ex-SIL Cindy(now just honorary SISTER), our nieces and nephews and her new husband Josh. Their new baby Quinlan is doing wonderfully well and was just starting to crawl. We took a lot of cute pictures and I hope to post one within a day or two. Later that night we dined at our favorite Chinese restaurant in Monterey, Chongs. It's not much on atmosphere, but we just LOVE their food. It has been a tradition for us since 1987.
After a leisurely morning in beautiful Carmel, we ventured on to our friends Kevin and Christie's home in Hollister. They just became foster parents to a beautiful 4 week old baby girl, who we all hope to see become a permanent member of the family. She is dainty and adorable. I used to work with Kevin at a structural engineering firm in Salinas about 15 years ago. Kevin is still there now and I have been employed with the City of Shafter for the past 12 years. We had a wonderful visit and they presented baby doll gifts to Chloe and Pearl, which were of course, a big hit!
Next was a business meeting in Gilroy followed by shopping at the outlet center in Gilroy. We only went to one store, Carters, and found tons of everyday clothes suitable for daycare. Now they are set for Winter casual wear. I won't tell you how much we spent.
Onward and upward to San Jose we traveled. After checking into our hotel and giving the girls a much needed bath, we went to my Cousin Bruce and Lorene's house. We totally love visiting them and try to get up there any chance we get. Fortunately for us, their daughter and son-in-law were also in town for the weekend. Their daughter Brenda is my age and we always have a good time when we get together. Chloe and Pearl had a blast visiting neighbors, picking flowers in the garden, and ravaging the toybox. One of the neighbors even gave the girls matching beaded necklaces, which of course, they loved. My big regret is that we did not take many pictures of this visit, but I know Pete got some video. Hopefully, it is good. Visiting the cousins is like a trip to Grandpa and Grandma's house.
So far, the girls survived two days with no naps, other than the occasional snooze in the car seat. The stimulation has been high, but everyone managed to get a good night sleep Saturday night. Sunday morning brought one more pleasant visit as we stopped by our internet friend's Chris and Rebecca's home. Chris and Rebecca have also adopted two children from China, so this was an opportunity for the girls to spend time with other Chinese adoptees, not that they noticed. Our hats are off to Chris and Rebecca for their amazing toy collection (and we didn't even see the kid's rooms). Chloe's favorite toy is anything to do with trains and when she found the play table with the full Thomas the Train setup, she was crazed. They even had a toy train that you could ride around on a small track. At this point, Chloe lost all sense of control and could not manage to see anyone, especially Pearl, playing with any of the train toys.
I really wished we had more time for conversation as Rebecca and Chris are a fascinating couple with two beautiful children. Their son Haowen (American name Wolfe), age 5.5 just came home from China a month before Pearl, so it was nice to hear how well his English language has progressed. He is speaking in sentences and understands pretty much everything. Their daughter Winter Hope was only 3 months older than Pearl and she is a lively ball of energy, much like our Chloe (on a good day). As it was, just keeping an eye on all of the activity of four young kids was enough distraction to make carrying on a conversation challenging. We took a few pictures, but Chloe was not in the mood for cooperation, so ours weren't the best. I will try to post one anyway. Hopefully, Rebecca got a good one. I guess this just means we will have to get together another time if we want to finish the conversation and the photo shoot. If you are reading this Rebecca, thank you for your hospitality!
Next we headed toward home with only one more big stop, Pete's favorite destination, Casa de Fruta, on the itinerary. It is a 100 year old fruit stand that has grown to epic proportions, including a train ride and carousel ride. There is a large fruit stand, a fancy deli/wine shop, a cafe, a candy shop and lots of other stuff. Pete has done a lot of engineering work for the owner in the past. Pete wanted to pick up some pumpkins because Halloween is his favorite holiday. The girls and I just played in the yard where some small railcars were set up as playhouses for the kids. We also took the girls on the train and carousel rides. Next door to the fruit stand was a Renaissance Faire, so there were many lively characters walking around.
Only 2.5 hours later, we arrived at home, still daylight and we let the girls play on their tricycles in the front driveway. They were so excited to be home and Chloe turned back into her sweet self once again. Pearl managed to keep her even temperment the entire weekend and had no potty accidents.