Sunday, February 24, 2013

Spencer family weekend

 Last weekend, James and I packed Henry up for a quick trip to Yuma. My grandmother had passed a few months ago but didn't want a big funeral. So the family decided to wait for a time when the most of us could possibly get together to do a memorial for her life. I was excited to see so many family and friends that I had not seen in years but it would be hard to see them under such sad circumstances. Henry, of course, had no idea. So he was pretty happy. However, early that morning, Henry had fallen out of his big boy bed. He had been sleeping in that bed for months without any problem. We had a rail on one side, a mattress on the floor at the foot but there was literally a foot wide gap that he managed to wriggle through and fall. He had been complaining of his neck hurting and winced whenever he lifted his arms or someone picked him up. I called the Dr before we left just to check to be sure he was ok to travel. The Dr said as long as he was moving ok that it was probably just sore. Give him some ibuprofen and he'll be fine. (Side note: When we returned, I called the Dr again on Monday and asked for them to see him because by then his collarbone was quite swollen. Long story short, he had a broken clavicle. D'oh! He was fine the whole trip, running around, swimming, climbing up and down stairs, just a bit sore. Oh well, live and learn) The trip was pretty uneventful and we pulled in to my uncle Mark's place around 7:00. We walked into a tornado of kids! All my uncle Mark's kids were there with all their kids. Henry had so much fun with his cousins!

Henry "sharing" toys with his cousins (or are they second cousins?)

Henry playing with Giada. So cute! Giada called Henry, hungry! Precious! 

We didn't stay too long. It had been a long day and tomorrow was going to be even longer. We usually stay at my uncle's place but since it was full up, we were off to the hotel down the street. Henry had some more fun hanging out in the hotel room. It took quite a while for him to actually get to sleep. I wonder why?

He may kill me for this picture later ;) 

The next day, my mom and sisters were driving up and we were meeting them and my dad for lunch at La Casa (YUM!) Afterwards, we had some time to kill before the memorial started so we hit the park. 

Henry loved all the big slides (again, you'd never know he had a broken bone!) 


Emily and my mom chilling on the swings. 

After a very brief nap, we headed back to my uncle's for the memorial. My aunt Carol did a wonderful job of organizing and setting everything up. It was beautiful and my grandma would have loved it! 

Uncle Mark with Scarlett and Nora. This was a common sight to see Mark with at least one, usually two kids (sometimes more!) in tow. 

 Heidi, Joshua, Eva and Shannon. Uncle Mark and Aunt Karen's kids. 

Somehow I missed Aunt Carol, Uncle Courtney and their kids, and my Aunt Kathy and Uncle Bill and their kids, dang. My uncle Mark's house it set back in the orange groves and has this awesome roof where you can see everything! 

 The view from the roof. 

 More of the party. 

 Aunt Carol and me. Mom and Em too! 

 When Henry caught sight of James up on the roof, he thought it was the funniest thing ever! 

 Me and my boy! 

 Me and Emily and Erin talking with our cousin Grant. 

After everyone had eaten, it was time for the service portion, done by my dad. I am so glad that my dad did a religious aspect to the memorial. It was good to have some closure since there was no funeral. Thanks daddy!!! 

My dad. 

Then it was opened up so people could speak about my grandma. I would have loved to speak but I would have never been able to get though it. Thankfully others were able to speak. 

Aunt Kathy. Thanks to her, I got a song stuck in my head for DAYS! We had a little party down in Lakeport... :)  

 "Little" Millie. Beach friends. 

 Uncle Bill. Talking about what a damn good cook my grandma was. 

 Uncle Mark. 

After everyone had said their piece, we just spent some time together, talking. I REALLY wanted to get a big group picture since there were SO many of us together in one place. So I asked James to try to set up the camera on the roof. He was ALL over it! :) 

Henry caught sight of James again, he just loved it! 

While James was setting the camera up, he threw the remote for the camera down to me so I could check to be sure it was working. Of course, I had to take some fun pics while I was testing ;) 

I love my cousins' faces in this one! Laura, right next to me me and Kathryn behind me. I had no idea they were doing this until I started looking through the pictures! 

 Me just being a goofball! It was necessary ;) 

 The whole group shot. I was really happy we got a picture of everyone together.Who knows when this will happen again. 

 We got a couple of candid shots while we had everyone still in one area.

 This beautiful young lady had just turned 21 earlier this week! 

 All this wonderful food around him and all this little boy ate was a crap-ton of crackers and cookies! 

 No more pictures please! ;) 

Emily grabbed the camera for a bit and captured some good shots for me. Thanks Em! :) 

My lovely niece Starla. 

 The sunset from the roof.

 Henry on the roof with his prized orange. 

 Me and Henry on the roof. Seriously, how cool is that?!

 Henry spotted Emily :) 

 My cutie pie nephew Sean. 

 Sean and Henry playing. 

Did I mention that all of my cousins' kids are girls? Well they are. Five of them to be exact. Henry didn't mind at all. In fact, he was rather intrigued with all the girl toys. He picked up a fairy doll and was curiously stroking the wings. Then he decided what it was, came running up to me and said, look mama, she's a bee! Ha! Then he found a baby doll. Oh he was so cute with that doll. He wanted to take it home with him! 

My manly boy with his baby doll. 

Giving his baby doll a hug.

 After most of the people had left, it was just the family left and we all gathered in the kitchen to say our goodbyes. 

It was a difficult weekend, full of emotions both happiness and sadness. I was glad that we were able to celebrate my grandma's life and see so many friends and family. It was really nice for Henry to be able to play with his little cousins that he doesn't get a chance to see very often. It was also quite strange as this was the first time that I had seen many of my cousins as parents. How did that happen? I can still remember all of us playing Monopoly in my grandma's apartment at the beach, drinking sodas, eating pizza and having fun. Now we're all parents! So strange. Well I think that now I can write what I was wanting to say at the memorial. It may not be pretty but it is how I feel. No judging :) 

When I was little, I had a hard time falling asleep at night. I remember my mom giving me some really good advice about how to help myself fall asleep. She said, think of a place where you are always happy, where nothing bad ever happens, find your happy place. The very first thought that came to me was my grandparents' house. Both their house in Yuma and the apartment in La Jolla. We would spend weeks at a time in both of those places over the summer and it was always just perfect. When we were in Yuma, mornings and afternoons were spent swimming in the pool, taking a break only to eat Chili Pepper on the back patio and drinking sodas from the soda machine on the porch. Evenings spent going out to dinner, racing to Gene's and then to Baskin Robins. We would always fight over who got to ride with grandpa, he was always such fun! Nights spent sharing conversations with grandpa and him ALWAYS saying goodnight by reminding us that we were number one! Weeks were spent like this and then we'd drive on to La Jolla and spend more weeks with grandma at the beach. Mornings spent collecting shells, afternoons spent on the beach with grandma, eating Jeff's Burgers or John's cheese shop. Evenings spent going out to Falcone's and then to the French Pastry shop for dessert. Nights spent talking (ok gossiping!) with grandma out on the patio in the chill of the beach nights. Perfect summers with amazing grandparents. That was my happy place. It still IS my happy place. Those are some of the best memories I have of my childhood. With my aunts, uncles and cousins never far away and spending so much time with family over the summer in beautiful places. Grandma and Grandpa, I will miss you ALWAYS. Thank you so much for being my happy place! :) 

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