Thursday, August 2, 2012

What I Did on My Summer Vacation Pt. II

Friday I slept in a bit (thank God). I got up and called Kathy, figuring my cousin John and his family were probably there and all settled in. I rode my sister's bike over to find the kids in their jammies, being adorable. We hung out and chatted for a while, though it's a teensy bit difficult to maintain a conversation with two three-year-old boys on the loose.  They're very cute, but as their father says, programmed to destroy.  We decided to go out for lunch. I had a tasty garbanzo bean soup and a soba noodle salad. Gluten-free, yay! I was ever so pleased to eat at Gillie's for a second time in one trip!

When we were done eating, we took the kids across the street to play on Henderson Lawn, but we had to skedaddle in a hurry when a storm blew in. It was crazy, all of a sudden it was dark and there was all this debris blowing around. We hightailed it to the cars just in time. I'm really glad I wasn't still on the bike!

I'm not sure if you can tell, but it's raining in these pictures. I forgot that it rains in the summer. There was lightning and everything!

Laura Lee and I hung out for a bit. We tried to watch a library copy of "Annie Hall," but it was unplayable, so we had to content ourselves with an episode of "Downton Abbey." Oh shucks.

I had a late dinner at The Cellar with Catherine, which was thoroughly enjoyable. I get so excited about gluten-free pizza. Theirs wasn't the best I ever had, but it was good enough, and they ended up giving me an extra for free!
My Aunt Kathleen and her kids, Travis and Grace, showed up around 1 am, and we chatted briefly before everybody crashed. I hadn't seen any of them in a couple years, so it was great to have them there.

So much more Shawhan family fun after the jump!

Saturday dawned busy as heck. I wanted to go to the Farmers' Market in preparation for the night's potluck I was hosting as my mother's proxy, but Kathleen pointed out that her contingent couldn't really do anything else until they visited Grandmom and Granddad. A fair point. So they split off while Kathy and I hit the Blacksburg farmers' market. I must say, it has improved greatly since Mom and Jan Meehan and I were selling flowers and baked goods there. They have this whole permanent structure and lots more vendors. Gorgeous produce, although everyone seems to have a lot of the same stuff.

I was frustrated in my quest for melons and ripe peaches, but I did manage to snag a delicious mango lassi popsicle, which really hit the spot in that hot weather. We also ran into a friend of mine's mother, Diane Goff, who I hadn't seen in years. Blacksburg definitely has its perks.

After the market, it took a while to wrangle everybody up for a trip out to the river. We're talking about most of my extended family at this point. We made the trek out to Eggleston and had the most wonderful swim in the deep green river. I haven't done that much swimming in so long, and it's refreshing to know that there's no sharks or gators sharing the water with you. Travis, Grace, and I swam all the way to the other side where there was a rope swing. The last 15 ft nearly killed me! The current got a lot stronger closer to the opposite shore.

We made friends with some folks that were floating down on kayaks. Actually, one guy was in a tube being towed by a guy in a kayak. Kayak explained that he and his pals were the Hillbilly Yacht Club. We took some pictures for them, and they floated on.

There was some pretty serious cuteness going on when we got back to the beach. The kids had woken up from their nap in the car, and were in full playtime mode.

 Charlotte made an advantageous friend: a boy with a really cool toy

We even made a sweet dog friend. She had dug herself a napping trench, and is seen here enjoying the fruits of her labors.

I could have stayed all day, but then I realized that people were showing up at my parents' house in an hour and a half, expecting to be fed, and here I was a half hour out of town. We jetted back to the 'Burg, and I got right to work. 

Don't you cook in a bikini?

I intentionally planned dishes that weren't to labor-intensive (greens, sauteed squash, roasted sweet potatoes), but even still, I'm glad I had my lovely assistant to help me out.

My mom's garden provided most of the bounty: greens, squash, green beans, and late asparagus.

I wish I had a vegetable garden. Sigh...

Anyhow, it went over very well. Plenty of food came in from other quarters. There was ham, sliced tomatoes with basil, cucumber and onion salad (a favorite of my granddad's), cole slaw, potato salad, fried chicken, and watermelon. I made a white sangria with cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon. Very refreshing!

The guest of honor

His lovely wife

Menfolk talkin'

Travis, looking a whole lot like his dad at that age. Have I mentioned this kid is huge? He's like 600 feet tall.

Grandaddy, ready to tuck in

It was lovely having everyone around, hanging out on the back porch together. My mom insisted on showing everybody my application video on the laptop. Everybody liked it, but my cousin's little boy, Hamish, kept watching it over and over again. I have a fan!

See Hamish in the bottom right, glued to the screen

Finally, it was time to get the old folks home. There was an epic clean-up. Travis and I jammed a little bit on the guitar. Then Grace and Travis and I went out to The Cellar to meet up with John and Connie. It's rare and special to get both of them kid-free at the same time, so I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity. I love my cousins! I wish Ben and Haley could have been there too :(

So once again, I went to bed too late, knowing full well I had to get up early. 

It was worth it :)

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