Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer vacation in NC :)

We just celebrated our first family Bat Mitzvah for our beautiful niece, Zoe! Since we were making the trip to Cary, NC for the big event anyway, we decided to make the drive up a week earlier and make a Summer vacation out of it :).

On the way up we stopped over in Charlotte. Mike and Maddy went to see Lake Norman for the day so that I could take another class by my favorite artist, Donna Downey. More pics and stuff on the crafts blog here!)


We stopped off in Winston Salem to see the Presleys for the first time in over 6 years! It felt exactly like we'd seen them just yesterday...


Look at how much Tristan and Maddy have grown...


We all fell in love with Toby, their Catahoula, especially when we found out that they are expert at hunting hogs, my least favorite animals...


And I fell in love with Etta's art and her studio...more on the amazing Etta on the crafts blog here!


We had an idyllic evening eating dinner in the woods by the lake at Dwight and Etta's amazing home...


The woods were sparkling with fireflies - there were so many that the kids were able to catch some to get a closer look...


We had expected it to be at least 10 degrees cooler in NC...but not so much...


So we hit the pool...


Maddy brushed up on her diving skills...


I'm not sure if it's a 'North Carolina thing' or if it happens just at their pool, but they blow a whistle every hour and all under sixteens have to get out of the pool for a bit to give the adults the opportunity to swim sensibly and responsibly...in theory, it's a genius idea...


Every evening is a party on the Presleys block. We had such a blast with their family and friends who all made us feel so welcome. Thank you Jen, Mike and Tristan for such a lovely time :).


After a few days we headed over to Raleigh to visit one of my friends from college who I hadn't seen in over 20 years! Here's me and Maddy with Jason and his adorable daughter, Mia...


I was horrified to discover that Jason had kept hundreds of photos of us from all those years ago...


Jason's beautiful wife Mel...


Mia and Maddy hit it off right away...


The weather had cooled off a bit so we were able to enjoy the NC scenery while Jason and I caught up on the gossip...


Jason actually works at the same University as Mike's brother, Pete! It really is such a small world and all the more reason why I need to do a better job of staying in touch with old friends. Thank you Jason and Mel for such a special visit :).

Talking of Pete, we finally headed over to Cary for Zoe's Bat Mitzvah to finish up our trip. The Bat Mitzvah (Bar Mitzvah for a boy, Bat for a girl apparently) is the Jewish ceremony to celebrate the coming-of-age. To recognize her becoming a responsible Jewish young adult, Zoe led an entire service in her temple and read in Hebrew from the Torah. It was incredibly impressive and she remained completely poised and did a beautiful job. Mike and I did a reading too - in English thankfully :) 


Kobe introduced us to his new 10 week old sister, Maizey. She is completely adorable!


I made Michael wear a tie that coordinated with my dress. He wasn't exactly thrilled about it, particularly when I told him it was because I was planning on taking literally millions of photos...which I did...


Our beautiful girls...Ali and Maddy...


Zoe, Ali and Maddy...


Precious Zoe...


Maddy, Zoe and Mya...


Greg, Lynda and Gregory lighting a candle at the reception...


Nana and Zoe...


Zoe with one very proud family...


The Early boys looking so handsome...


Greg and Lynda...


Eileen and Dave...


Matt, Liz and baby Declan...


Jen, Rich and Mya...


My favorite part was at the end of the reception party when Zoe was hoisted above the crowd on a chair!

 video

Although Pete almost stole the show :)...

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After the reception, the celebrations continued with a pool party. Jake kept us all entertained :)...


Yep - I haven't lost my touch with babies...


And the next day we finished out the weekend celebrations with a BBQ and some boating at a gorgeous local state park. Mike had to work hard to stop the girls ramming his boat...


CONGRATULATIONS ZOE - we are so happy for you! Mazel Tov!!!

I don't think we've ever had a more exhausting vacation but it was a real treat to get to spend so much time with great friends (old and new) and family! Now we're home I can't quite believe that Summer will be over in just a week and my baby will be a seventh-grader. I'm going to cherish every last second...