My sister and her family came to visit! This may not seem like a big deal, but it was for us. The Chuangs live in the Boston area, and they don't have room to cram in our family of four for a visit. WE have room for THEM, but we also have a cat, to which Cliff is terribly allergic. So it came to be that we hadn't seen each other for ages. They had never met Willem (3 1/2) and we had never met John-Luke (2 1/2). The time had come to change that.
So we shipped our cat off to the country (THANK YOU, GRANDMARTINS!) and I did my best to round up the cat hair. I also sprayed all over with an anti-allergen spray. Cliff did a fantastic job of making me feel like my efforts had been worthwhile, even though he did have to surreptitiously resort to his asthma inhaler a few times. It could have been worse.
And, goodness, it was worth it. It was so much fun to see the cousins all together. They acted like they'd known each other their whole lives. Nels and Helen (who also goes by Yo-Yo) really hit it off. They all played and schemed and yelled and just had an overall grand old time. The day they left Nels said, "They just left this morning and I'm missin' 'em already!"
Because a West-Coast Chuang stay is such a rare event, all our local family had to take advantage of it, of course. My dad and stepmom came down from Bellingham, and my mom came from Bend. Everyone was so easy-going and helpful...I am very fortunate to have a low-maintenance family. I think I actually did the least amount of work of anyone.
On Saturday night Shaun's folks came out too, so there were 13 of us for dinner! Shaun was really sick with a cold, so he staggered out of our room to grill some chicken and then staggered back in after we ate. I was glad he improved enough over the next few days to be out and about. We stuck close to home; with a park within walking distance, and beautiful trails and a (river) beach within five miles, there was no need to travel.
Playing at Crown Park. John-Luke is a VERY early riser, so he spent a lot of morning time there with his dad!
Nice day for a walk.
Nels was fussy about this excursion until Shaun had the bright idea of telling him he could ride his bike. Brilliant.
Hunting for wild blackberries was a fun novelty. The promise of berries to eat was a useful inducement for moving John-Luke along.
Cliff and Annalaura fixed us fried rice for breakfast before they left. You'd better believe our house smelled soooo good.
It really was a treat in so many ways for our families to get to spend time together. And at the end of their stay, we only had to say a temporary good-bye...they were going to see Cliff's family in Seattle and then we were all to meet up again the following weekend at my dad's in Bellingham. Which we did! And took a lot more pictures! I bet you can hardly wait!
Update: I forgot to mention that all of this good cooking gave Shaun a serious hankerin' for some authentic Chinese food. Annalaura recommended Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook: Szechwan Home Cooking. Shaun has already ordered it, received it, and cooked from it. Win!