Friday, November 21, 2014

The BIG 70!

Well, I guess it will happen to most of us. That birthday that used to sound SO old when you were 60, extremely old when you were 40 and positively ancient when you were 20. Richard/Rick/Dadley/Daddrick/Grandfather turned 70 on October 28th! 

We had celebrated together while all the kids and grandkids were here for the wedding but I decided that since we were already in CA, we should stay an extra couple of days to enjoy his actual birthday.  Monday morning, the 27th we got in our rental car and traveled to Napa Valley. I had gone there last year and had absolutely loved being in the beauty of the vineyards in the fall.

I found a great deal for what looked like a cozy little Bed and Breakfast right in the middle of the vineyards. I had saved the birthday letters to him from all his children and their spouses, our siblings and our Bulgarian “daughter” and Ukrainian “son’ in a folder, which were not to be opened until October 28th. He knew that and was much more excited about that than a kid on Christmas morning.

We ate divine pasta in an Italian Restaurant in Napa. His face says it all!

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And then we went on to the famous Bouchon Bakery where we had a brownie to die for….and bought him an extraordinary birthday CUP-Cake:  It’s probably the first and last time I’ll be paying $9.50 for a cupcake but honestly, how often can you find a pumpkin cupcake on someone’s 70th birthday?

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That evening he gloried in the gorgeous vineyard what was literally in our backyard:

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The season was over but there were a few leftover clusters withering on the vines.

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And then went to The Backstreet Kitchen for a scrumptious dinner.

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On the BIG DAY, we were treated to eggs benedict at the farmhouse where we were staying and Richard walked into the vineyard again armed with his precious package of letters:

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He actually sat down in the dirt and read every word with delight!

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He spent an hour reading and re-reading and relished every word. Some were poems. Most were memories of the keep influence he had on their lives for good. He relished every word.

Since his birthday tradition has always been jumping in the leaves, we raked up a few leaves with our hands and he tossed a few over his head and made a video to send to the fam.

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Diving into the birthday “cake” was next. Fun and delicious!

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Last year when I was there with some of our girls, one of the highlights was riding through the vineyards on bikes so I envisioned doing the same ride in glory with my new seventy-year-old. As with many things in life, it didn’t turn out quite as planned. The bikes had excruciatingly uncomfortable seats and there was so much traffic that we felt we were taking our lives in our hands for most of the twenty mile ride. It was so painful that we were thrilled when it ended! Ah life!

The end of the day was perfect, however, as we met Charity and Ian near the San Jose airport where we would be taking off for home shortly. A park nearby the restaurant where we had the official birthday dinner was perfect for a second jump in the leaves. It’s lots more fun when you have someone to jump in the leaves with.

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Dinner was at one of Charity’s favorite restaurants in the world. We enjoyed talking about “old times” with our favorite newly married couple and they even PAID for the dinner! That was such a nice gift!

So we’re on to the eighth decade of an astonishing life! How could I be so lucky to get to live my life with this wild and wonderful, creative and crazy guy? My contribution to his collection of tributes was 70 memories of amazing things we’ve experienced together, but I won’t bore you with all that! I just have to say….“I am THE LUCKIEST!”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE BEST 70 YEAR OLD IN THE WORLD. Sorry you other people Smile

To see a terrific video packed with fun slides of his life, lovingly prepared by Saren, check it out here!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Palo Alto Reception and New Digs!

Moving from Charity’s home reception in Park City one weekend to Ian’s home reception in Dallas, Texas, the next weekend, we moved on to their collective home reception in Palo Alto the following weekend. Ian has been living there for about 5 years while working on his PHD at Stanford and Charity for 2 1/2 years as she first loved living in San Francisco and then got a good job in Palo Alto where they met.

It was like having a grand reunion every weekend!

The Peery Famly (who are in their ward/congregation) kindly offered their beautiful yard for the reception and we had a third weekend of glorious weather for outdoor receptions!

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Charity had a ball at the flower Market in San Francisco that morning, buying and arranging flowers, hanging those fun bottles from the trees. With the help and expert eye of her dear friend Melinda, they created a magical setting! Melinda had all their engagement pictures copied on sepia paper and clipped amongst the flowers on each table. 

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We are total fans of the volunteer caterer…Michael Christiansen!  The son of our friends Clay and Christine who is getting his PHD in management at Stanford, showed off not only his management abilities as he directed an army of helpers in the kitchen, but also his quite incredible culinary skills!  He single-handedly turned out stunning tables laden with delicious appetizers, delectable cheese and crackers and a cake table to die for! Of the fourteen gorgeous cakes or so, he had made half of them himself! He claimed that everything he knew about food, he learned from his mother! What a Mom!

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Some of Charity’s star students came…

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And Rick’s brother and wife who live in Fremnont and Jeff’s parents who live in Piedmont came for a visit!

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And even friends who used to be neighbors of Noah and Tal in NYC who had moved to CA surprised us with a visit.

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So many colleagues and students from Ian’s work at Stanford came to wish them well! It was such a joy to meet so many people who adore Ian and Charity in their present world.

Again twinkling lights, beautiful flowers and scrumptious food made it another night to remember.

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The next day we spent some time at their lovely, tiny new apartment! What fun to see the digs where they will spend the first few months of their lives together. There aren’t many places to sit, but we loved every inch (even though dad/rick may not look like it)! Look at the gorgeous quilt that Lynette did for them! 

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About the only place to put the left-over flowers was a 12 inch space by the stove.

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I had taken most of those beauties to Chris and Hedy’s house where we were staying….

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The next day we went to church with Ian and Charity and the Wrights and were delighted to see their Primary Program. Approximately 100 children under the age of 12 poured their little hearts out in word and song. It was a delight!

Charity prepared a lovely Apple Curry Soup and a salad and we moved the kitchen table to the patio outside their kitchen where there was enough room for all six of us. The weather was gorgeous and both sets of parents enjoyed our first meal with Charity and Ian as a married couple. So fun!

After that we made the car trek to beautiful Half Moon Bay. It was a delightful drive and a gorgeous spot on earth! It was very windy and pretty cold but totally worth it! (Sorry about my hair in the wind Lynette!)

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Every time we turned around on our beach walk though this is what we saw….

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So you think they’re in love or what?  We are so happy for this dynamic duo!

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Texas Reception

What a wonderful family Charity has found to be enmeshed with for eternity!

The weekend after our Park City reception we traveled to Dallas, Texas where Ian spent his childhood and school years. We were delighted to learn how well loved he an his family have become there. His dad had been a prominent ecclesiastic leader there for many years and is beloved, as is his mother and his siblings. The reception was at their lovely home and Ian’s mom and dad graciously offered us not only a bed but a lovely delicious dinner and breakfast before and after the reception.

It was purely a joy to meet Ian’s teachers, scout leaders, and so many good friends. His mom Lynette had a plethora of friends helping with the food and their back yard was full of beautiful tables bedecked with delicious food. Going along with Charity’s colors at the reception in Utah Lynette had found beautiful navy tablecloths and coral centerpieces.

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The deviled eggs were an absolute hit and all the food was so yummy!

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Ian’s dad Gordon had recently built two swings and a veranda in the back yard according to Lynette’s specifications. They were exactly like the swings her dad had built for she and her siblings when she was a child. It was so fun to see Ian and Charity enjoying them together!

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Little did that grandfather know that Charity would be swinging in that very similar swing to the one he had built years before!

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They were able to show their video from their Utah events in one corner of the garden so everyone could see the festivities there. Here they are at their sparkling send-off at the Park City reception:

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For more beautiful pictures and to see the twinkling lights that graced their back yard see Charity’s blog post here.

We love these two for raising such a stellar son who is perfect partner for our daughter!

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And we find new talents every week from this guy who is a wizard at packing up more gifts from generous friends than one could possibly think could fit in these suitcases. They will be a welcome addition to new apartment in Palo Alto.

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It was a joyful 24 hours!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A FABULOUS GIFT

There was one last gift from all our children that they presented to us at the end of Richard’s birthday party,  Organized, prepared and printed by Saydi, it was something we will treasure forever.Selecting from literally thousands of pictures that everyone had sent to a drop box, Saydi, the master of digital books produced an astounding collection of photographs from Bali in a large format book that delighted everyone. All had contributed to the cost and ordered their own smaller version.

None of these pictures will really do the book justice because they are just pictures of pictures, but for us, as we viewed the real thing, it was almost like being there again! Memories flooded our minds!

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This is one of our favorites as several of our 16 kids found each other at the airport in Bali. Do you think they are excited? And don’t you think Julie is an adorable baby, sticking her head our of Aja’s baby carrier (the real baby….toes sticking out… is asleep inside).

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One of the the things that made us LOL was the fish tanks where people could dip their feet in while tiny fish nibbled the dead skin off their legs and feet. It was a win/win. The humans were cleaned up and the fish were well-fed.

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The daily adventures were quite incredible. Th

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Overlooking the volcano at the top of the Island…..

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Fun in the Monkey Forest in Ubod….

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Ah to be in Bali…now that winter’s here (in Park City)!

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Thanks to everyone who contributed but especially to Saydi who spent countless hundreds of hours putting this beautiful book together!

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Several blog posts of our grand adventure day by day start here for anyone who may be interested.  We highly recommend this once-in-a-lifetime experience!   

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Big Surprise Party

The morning after the wedding, we had just one more thing to celebrate. Something almost as momentous as the wedding….Richard Eyre’s 70th Birthday!. His actual birthday wasn’t for another two and a half weeks but we knew that we had to “seize the day” to celebrate together before everyone started to scatter back to the far corners of the earth, stating that eveing

I was so worried about asking everybody to come back for yet another celebration. What I didn’t realize is that some of our kids and spouses had decided to put Dad and I to bed, put their own kids to bed wherever they could find a quiet corner and then put our house back together after the chaos of the reception in the previous post.

They carried in couches and chairs, replaced rugs and hauled our big canoe/coffee table back into place. They set up lamps and furniture that had been crammed into Rick’s library so we could have a dance floor. They brought in tables for the decks clustered all the flowers that had been strewn across many tables on our kitchen bar and organized the house so that it looked pretty much like it’s old self, with the nice addition of bistro lights and bottles full of flowers hanging from the rafters.

That was an astonishing surprise for us in the morning, not only to have everything back in it’s place,but also to realize that 21 people had slept at our house that night.  Every blanket and pillow in the house was well-used! 

At 10:30 a.m. the two families who did have other places to stay arrived and all 20 grandchildren who came for the wedding crowded into Grandfather’s den for his surprise “Cowboy Birthday Party.” The kids practiced yelling surprise and singing (with gusto) that old cowboy’s favorite song, We love  you Grandfather. Oh yes we do. We don’t love anyone, as much as you. When you’re not with us, we’re blue. Oh Grandfather we love you. CHA CHA CHA! 

I learned how to take a screen shot of a video (below) on my phone but I don’t know how to remove the arrow. At least it doesn’t block out anybody’s face Smile. They were pretty excited!

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When Grandfather walked into the door from taking the rental vans back to the airport from the festivities the night before, he walked into his den only to find all those the kids who yelled SURPRISE and started singing! H claims that it was a total surprise!

It was a happy day! We made good use of the sparkly signs that Charity’s friend made for people to hold as she and Ian danced down the tunnel of sparklers at the end of the evening. They seem to apply pretty well to the current situation!

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Lyla and Emmeline created beautiful paper shawls on which they had written cute poems about their Grandfather. He was delighted!

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A closer look:

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The older girls learned how to play Happy Birthday by ear on the piano for him.

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All the kids, including the ones who couldn’t come to the wedding, brought or sent a special message to their beloved Grandfather for a keepsake book. Such extraordinary messages! I can’t tell who was the most excited about it….Grandfather, the kids or the parents. 

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Then each of our children and their spouses gave a six-word description of their dad/father-in-law which Eli recorded. Their words were so pretty fun, often funny and very descriptive words in the mix! They also each brought or sent a tribute to that old 70-year old which we saved for him to open and read on his actual birthday!

Here’s the book that the grandkids added to and their parents assembled. With a little tutoring from Hazel, Saydi created a word picture in the shape of a leaf, Dad’s official symbol. Very cool!

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Since this was a cowboy party, we ate barbecued pork sandwiches, the leftovers from the wedding and we all enjoyed cake and ice cream. There was one candle for every decade!

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You only turn 70 once (unless you’re Richard Eyre and you get to have two parties…one on this day and one 17 days later on the real day)! Hilarious report on that coming later. Such a treat to have so many of those we love here to celebrate with us! Plus, Grandfather LOVES surprises.