Tara, Elizabeth and I just returned from a trip to California. Ostensibly, we went for my nephew Thomas's wedding (to bride Heather at Lake Tahoe), but it was also a convenient excuse to let everyone on my side of the family, especially her Grandma and Grandpa, finally meet Elizabeth. No offense to Thomas and Heather!
Tara's side are already well familiar with our little girl. My brother Doug and nephew Michael (and families) still haven't met her, but everyone else now has. I have six siblings, in case you're wondering, "how many freakin' family members does he have?"
The wedding was great. There was some miscommunication and the Holmes side of the family arrived a few minutes late. The wedding was very well done outside under the pine trees overlooking Lake Tahoe. It was pretty cold, actually, for a September first. But then, Tahoe is up in the mountains. One of the bridesmaids read a poem. Thomas and Heather said their vows, though I couldn't hear most of it because of the wind. I'm not normally a bridesmaid gown critic, but theirs were a nice green, with parasols. The bridal gown was very nice, too; off-white and looking like something out of Gone with the Wind.
The reception, also outside, was very nice, too. Thomas's "second best man" Jake gave a great toast; something about Thomas's double heel injury a few years ago having him on his hands and knees, and now Heather would have him on his hands and knees for the rest of his life. The food was great. Elizabeth and her 5-year-old cousin Shayden were inseparable, just running all over the place.
The day before, at Dad's house, which is on the Sacramento River, Elizabeth waded into a river (which she kept calling the ocean) for the first time ever (that I know of). Lucy brought one of her Rottweilers for Elizabeth to play with, and a Rottweiler stuffed toy, too.
My oldest brother Greg and his wife June, whom we hadn't seen in quite a while, were there. As was Don, who lives in Nashville but I never see because he lives on the other side of town. Lucy had already met Elizabeth in May when we met her in Franklin, Kentucky at a Rottweiler dog show. Steve and his wife Sherri were at the wedding, and then we met up with them again at Dad's house the next day for dinner. It was good to see them in person. Steve and I have been involved in an email flame war the past year or more due to our differing political and religious positions. In person, we kept it civil and actually got along. He still has ridiculous opinions, but at least we can be civil. Sherri is cool.
Wednesday was easily the highlight of the trip when we went up to Cottonwood, California to see my sister (Thomas's mother) Jeannie's ranch, Harmony Haven. It's not just a ranch, it's a therapeutic riding and horse rescue operation. Jeannie's daughter Tiffany and son-in-law David actually run it from day to day. I'll post some video soon as well as still photos once I get those off the camera that seems to have died. Don't ever buy an $89 digital Kodak from WalMart! I've ordered an SD card reader so I can get those pictures from the camera. The video camera works fine, it's just a pain getting the video off it and onto the computer.
Anyway, Elizabeth rode FOUR different horses! She's a regular cowgirl now. She learned to say, "Walk on!" to make the horse go, though of course she had to make it her own and say, "Move on!" which still worked. The horses know who's boss. Even I rode a horse, Rosie the draft horse, with Elizabeth in front of me on her withers.
Well, now it's time to try and download that video footage.