Thursday, August 20, 2009

10. The House of Friends

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After New Jersey we drove down to Maryland where my old college fencing teammate and long time best of friends, Deb, lives with her family.  In fact, my children refer to her, not as Deb, but as FriendDeb.  Her husband, Dave, is of course, FriendDave and they just recently had a baby that we call AlliPat (or FriendAlli).  She is absolutely amazingly adorable.  I knew this beforehand since I follow her website but of course we were so excited to finally meet her in person.  Deb took time off work just to be with us (sniff) and it was great to come to her house and see how cozy it has become. We felt especially welcomed to find so many pictures of us throughout the years hung up on their walls.

We went to a local lake the first day.  I have very fond memories of swimming around Lake Riconda with my old friend Julie Holmes as a kid.  There were so many fish, they used to nibble on our toes!  Of course, also, there was Shepherd’s Lake in Ringwood State Park, where my sisters were lifeguards and I worked in the summer as well.  Of course, I can’t remember the name of this lake, but it was fun to give the kids a chance to do some lake swimming – in the past we’ve only done either pools, rivers or oceans.   Except for Lake Powell, of course, which is just a whole ‘nother world entirely!

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We had fun in the water.  AlliPat is already taking swimming lessons with Mom and loves the water. She and Callie had a great time playing together.  Then, of course, it was play in the sand time.  I can tell Dave is destined for greatness in the oh so important beach parenting arena by the way he was building sand shapes, including a stadium, a dog and, my personal favorite, a model of Stonehenge.  He did this in varying scales.  AlliPat – you are in for some fun beach times in the future, for sure. Meanwhile, Zander and Daddie did a castle together and Daddie also buried Griffin and Callie in the sand.  It’s all part of the onerous duty of being a father, folks.  I got to just go for a nice swim and sit around and admire my old friend doing the mom thing.  It is always great to talk with Deb and wonderful to see how happy her little arrival has made all three of them. (Even the pets, Shaggy, Cokey and Ned seem to be taking well to the new arrival!)

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We headed home for dinner and the next day Andre’ took Zander, Callie and Griffin off to Washington DC for a short visit.  They had a great time together visiting the Air and Space Museum.   I was grateful, after 23 straight days with almost no rest, to have a day of peace, especially one with the Tross family.  I joined them on their dog walk, went out for a great lunch (ribs – yum) followed by ice cream (Ben and Jerry’s mint chocolate chunk – double yum) with just Deb.  I am so proud of her for being willing to leave AlliPat. I know this sounds awful – but I think having dates, going out, doing things without your baby sometimes is the key to parental sanity.  At least, it sure is for me.  I was having such a good time being my natural self, I didn’t even take one picture!   But Andre’ did a few in DC, for your viewing pleasure.

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I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter books.  In fact, I read all of them out loud with Andre.  I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to get into these books – I do have one friend that is already reading them to her 4 and 6 year old, but I think I’m going to wait until Griffin is at least 6…    So, I love Harry -  but, at $9 or more per ticket, I’m too cheap for the movies!  So, I’d only seen the first two.  Deb and Dave have quite the enviable Hollywood collection. (I’ll admit here I have a very lazy fantasy, in which I come back one year, when THEY are on vacation, and my kids are somewhere else too and just sit with Andre’, watching movies and eating bon bons for like, a week).  In the afternoon, whilst Andre’ was still gone, I did watch the third Harry Potter, and Deb and Dave kindly let me borrow 4 and 5 so I would be ready to see 6 – now in theatres.   Of course, I didn’t watch them until we got back to France.  I was too busy (just like the rest of my visit with Deb and Dave) to do much but talk when I was still in the US.  I did find out that the movie here is only in French (no subtitles) so I think I will be waiting for the DVD for this one too.  I’m sure Deb and Dave will purchase it and then I can visit, see AlliPat grown a bunch bigger, and watch!

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I would be totally remiss not to mention a few more things.  One is the pool table, Zander and Callie made their first attempts at pool while we were there (utterly cheating, of course) – and AlliPat found it absolutely hysterical.  I love that age, when they see something new and it just makes them laugh.  And, no matter what it is, no matter how foolish it makes you look, you do it, over and over, just to hear that giggle.  The second thing is the doggies.  We had a great time playing with our canine friends, Shaggy and Cokey.  Callie especially fell in love with Shaggy – who is a bit of a jumper so often scares kids.  Deb was glad he had a friend.   Last but not least, was Grandma Lou, FriendDave’s mom, who was there fr a visit as well.  It is always so nice to have a grandma around. Her and Griffin especially became good friends, as you can see by the giant hug.   I just  can’t believe things change so much and so fast.  Look at that cute little person in the bathtub – she like, came out, of FriendDeb!  Look at my kids – they are like, HUGE!  Life is so amazing, isn’t it?  Thanks guys – we love you!!!

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