Sunday, September 27, 2015

Our East Coast Junket: Part Three

Every August it is like clockwork:  our trip to Western NY for the annual Barnes' Family Reunion.  And every August, like clockwork, I am reminded of what a wonderful family I married into.  And every August, without fail,  I am pulled to the beauty and splendor of the countryside, where Brian grew up.   It is warm/low humidity days, with cool/bonfire nights.  It is the smell of country, with cows and livestock in all their glory.  It is like a second home to me.  And I think Lucy feels it too....

On this particular morning, we took a long leisurely walk down the gravel road that bumps up to Brian's parents' property.  And Lucy decided she wanted to start picking wild flowers to make a bouquet.

Brian and I started to help her.....

And then, it became like a mission, to find every color and variety we possibly could.

In the end, I think we did pretty good with our little bouquet.  
And I was reminded that, just as in life-- it was more about the journey than the destination. 
 And this journey, on this particular morning, was just about perfect.

Lucy took this pic!

Lucy and Tucker

Lucy and her cousin Lucas.  He had brought her something from Niagara Falls and was giving it to her.  So sweet.

Bridget and cousin Michelle

Brian and his brother Tim

Since all of the family was gathered, we had a special ceremony at the cemetery to bury Brian's mom's ashes.  The weather was beautiful, and her grave site was as well, thanks to the hard work of Maureen and Bridget all summer.   I think it was just as Ann would have liked it. 

Lucy and cousin Claire

So, the park we go to every year for the main event had a major face lift this past year....
and the highlight of the day for the kids:  the zipline! 
 I swear, it was like the perfect babysitter:  free, easily accessible, kept the kids occupied,
 and did I mention- a total blast!

Lucy and Lucas.  Two peas in a pod.

Greg, George, Sandy, Kevin, Carl, Bridget and Brandon

Cousins Will,  Liam and Lucy
Typically, a Barnes' family gathering is not complete without some kind of  athletic-type of event.  
 As you can see here, Brian and Bridget are not the least bit competitive....

You can't see it here either....

Here's the gang, after the big wiffle ball event!

Carl, Kevin, Brian and Chip.  And look at baby Lena in the background!   Totally hamming it up for the pic!
Lucy, and Rachel in the background.

Sandy and Brandon

Uncle Tom, Bridget, George, Michelle, Greg and Alex

Did I happen to mention how great this zipline was?  
Or how Lucy and Lucas are like two peas in a pod?  
Or how cute that little boy is?

Aunt Pebbie and Uncle Chuck

Uncle Mike and Kara

Cousin Joe, and his nephew Patrick
By the end of the reunion, all the adults caught on to what the kids had been enjoying all day.
Here is Uncle Mike .....  

Cousins Lucas, Liam, Lucy, Brennan and Elizabeth

Lucy and Brennan

After several years in a row,  it has now become tradition that after we leave the park and get back to the farm, we take our annual sunset wagon ride down Hodge Road.  
It is one of the highlights of the weekend for me.  

The perfect ending to a fantastic weekend. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Our East Coast Junket: Part Two

Lucy in Central Park
The second leg of our trip on the east coast was equally as enjoyable.  Lucy and I headed from my brother's house in NJ,  to NYC, to visit with my dear high school friend, Layne. (Brian went his own way-to Syracuse- to see a childhood friend.)  In the interest of making the story of our trip to NYC exciting, I think Bradley Cooper was sitting behind us on the train.  Yeah, we'll go with that.  This very handsome man Bradley was very kind, and allowed Lucy and I to exit in front of him when we got to Penn Station.  He then said "bye sweetie" when we walked away. Yes, I know-- he was talking to cute little Lucy.  But in going with the theme of this being an exciting story, we can just pretend he was talking to me.)

The weather didn't want to cooperate at the beginning of the day, as it was rainy and humid. That actually played to our advantage (although not when it came to the stinky, crowded subway) as our first stop in Central Park found us having the park almost entirely to ourselves (by NYC standards, anyway).   The rain eventually stopped, and we were able to frolick and walk through the the park, which was very enjoyable.

I have been to Central Park before, but had forgotten how beautiful and lush it is.

Behaving as though she was on the beach with the sea gulls, Lucy loved chasing after all the pigeons.....

Layne took us to lunch at Tavern on the Green, an historical restaurant right in the heart of Central Park. It was all so  lovely-- from the atmosphere, to the food, to the company.....

This floral arrangement was on display right when you walked into the restaurant.  I had never seen anything like it.  So beautiful---

Layne took Lucy to the Lego store. Needless to say, she was in heaven.   Layne was so sweet as to buy Lucy a treat in there!  Here she is checking out, with her new Ninjago legos.

Brian and I have been teaching Lucy about respecting those who serve us, helping to keep us safe and free.   Lucy saw these police officers and asked if she could thank them for their service.  After she did, they asked if she wanted a picture with them.  It was all so sweet.

Ice cream at Rockefeller Center
After a wonderful visit with Layne, Lucy and I boarded the train for Boston.  My good friend Julia moved there last year, and this was a great opportunity for me to go visit her and her new digs for the first time.

This was Lucy's first time to Boston.   Although I have been there before, it has been over 15 years.   I remembered loving Boston the last time I was there, and was quickly reminded why on this trip.   Between the water and parks and all the beautiful architecture, it was so enjoyable.

Lucy and Julia cooling off at a park downtown.

"Lucy and the Lion" (at the public library downtown)

We took a sunset cruise on the Charles River. It was such a nice way to really capture all that Boston is. Here is our little boat below...

Lucy with Julia and Julia's parents, who also live in Boston.
It was truly a blessing to be able to spend this treasured time in NYC and Boston with my friends.   Thank you to Layne and Julia for a wonderful time.   Love you both!

Next up... our third leg of the trip to Western NY for the annual Barnes' reunion.  Stay tuned!