a joyful weekend

6.21.14 ~ Colchester, Connecticut
6.21.14 ~ Colchester, Connecticut

I’m using these photos from the summer solstice at Janet’s to illustrate this post because I didn’t take many usable pictures of the two joyful indoor events we attended this past weekend. It was a welcome change of pace to enjoy the associations and conversations without incessantly taking pictures. (And my indoor pictures never come out very well…)

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6.21.14 ~ Colchester, Connecticut

Larisa & Dima flew up from North Carolina to attend a baby shower I threw for her on Saturday in the clubhouse here at our condo complex. (With a lot of assistance from a few of her very creative friends!) So many of the important women in her life were able to attend, including some who traveled a great distance to get here! Larisa was glowing!

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6.21.14 ~ Colchester, Connecticut

And then on Sunday we drove up to New Hampshire to attend the wedding of Tim’s cousin, Allegra, and her new husband Dan. It was supposed to be outside, but there was a backup plan in case of rain, and it was needed, as thunderstorm after thunderstorm came rumbling through the mountains. We are so happy for the new families being created, and I was thrilled to feel a kick from my new granddaughter as I rested my hand on Larisa’s tummy…

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6.21.14 ~ Colchester, Connecticut

a house full of little ones

12.31.11 ~ Athol, Massachusetts
Lizzie, 5, made this drawing, a Christmas gift for me ~ 12.31.11 ~ Athol, Massachusetts

Viktor and Aneta Urich of Grande Prairie [Alberta, Canada] welcomed the birth of their 100th grandchild earlier this month – newborn Henry Urich, ninth child of Tatjana and Heinrich Urich. Heinrich is one of Viktor and Aneta’s 16 children.

How does he keep them all straight?

“Good question,” laughs Viktor, 62. “Sometimes when I look, I say ‘What’s your name?'”

(The Canadian Press)

And we thought we were confused!

12.31.11 ~ Athol, Massachusetts
Clarice playing hide and seek with unidentified imp ~ 12.31.11 ~ Athol, Massachusetts

Yesterday we went to visit Tim’s cousin in Massachusetts, who was hosting a family Christmas gathering. Four generations, ranging in age from 2 to 75 years old. Twenty-seven people in all, including one aunt, four cousins, nine second cousins, two third cousins, and not to be overlooked, six spouses and significant others and five foster children. Or, using another method for sorting the gang out, fifteen adults, three teens and nine little ones. We had but two hours on our way home to sort out the numbers and connections… Not as impressive as the couple in Alberta but…

We did our share of asking, “What’s your name?”

12.31.11 ~ Athol, Massachusetts
Dima & Larisa, familiar faces ~ 12.31.11 ~ Athol, Massachusetts

We weren’t there two minutes when little Delyah, 2, inquired “Who are you?” and then put me to work brushing her pony’s hair and fastening barrettes on its tail.

In a little while Nova, 4, sporting sparkly temporary tattoos on her arms, introduced herself and asked me where my tattoos were. (Both her parents have visible tattoos.) I regretted having to disappoint her.

As the afternoon went on, a little one of uncertain age kept saying,”Thanks, Santa,” when Tim would toss one of the balloons her way. Do you think it had something to do with his whitish beard and all the red he was wearing?

12.31.11 ~ Athol, Massachusetts
Santa? ~ 12.31.11 ~ Athol, Massachusetts

It was wonderful seeing everybody again, and meeting new additions to the clan. A clan that adores its children!

Tim & I got ourselves a new camera for Christmas and it was our first chance to use it. So far we’re very pleased with the results and we have so much more to learn about using it!

Hannah, 9, made this pet rock, a Christmas gift for her dad ~ 12.31.11 ~ Athol, Massachusetts

a long cold winter walk

It was 4°F when I got up this morning. A year ago in January it wasn’t this cold when we had visitors for a weekend, Tim’s youngest cousin and her three children. Allegra is 18 years younger than Tim, who is the oldest in that group of cousins. (The span between the oldest – Nate – and the youngest – Lizzie – second cousins is even greater – 30 years! But they are not part of this particular story.) I hadn’t started By the Sea yet, so I’m remembering this wonderful day here now.

So… on one day of the visit we decided that taking a long cold walk at Bluff Point would be an invigorating way to release some pent-up energy…

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Bluff Point ~ January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Bluff Point is a 1½ mile long peninsula here in Groton which juts out into Long Island Sound. It is part Connecticut State Park and part Coastal Reserve. The trails meander through the woods and open areas and finally lead to the bluff. The main trail is a four mile loop.

Winter is an etching…
~ Stanley Horowitz

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

The Poquonnock River (above) is on the west side of the peninsula, and on this day we followed the river. Cold as it was there were lots of people out and about, walking dogs, riding horses, and jogging, as well as walking like we were.

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

The winter sun is striking… Families who come outdoors find some satisfaction for the hunger to connect with nature and with each other, in any season.

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

A glimpse of a beach in the distance helps to encourage us forward, in spite of very rosy cheeks!

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

We didn’t make it to the bluff because we took a detour to Bluff Point Beach, which faces the sound and stretches into a barrier between the sound and the river, Bushy Point Beach. The Great Hurricane of 1938 (aka the Great New England Hurricane) washed away more than a hundred cottages here, which were never rebuilt. (Mother Nature doesn’t have to tell the typical New Englander twice when rebuilding would be a bad idea!) The storm surge also breached Bushy Point Beach which created an island at its western end.

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

We endured the wind a little while to explore the beach, and Allegra found a whelk egg case.

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

We were so cold by then that we decided to retrace our steps back to the car. So in the end we walked almost four miles, according to the pedometers. We came home to a round or two of hot cocoa…

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Blake, Ariana and Clarice ~ Bluff Point State Park ~ January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Maybe our family will come see us again in a different season, and perhaps then we’ll make it to the bluff – we were so close! – and finish the loop on the other, eastern side of the peninsula!

January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut
January 2010 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Each of our lives is a path. To know this requires intuition and trust. If we are true to the steps we take, the travel makes sense and the journey confirms itself.
~ Lin Jensen