Five years later – then and now at Marin Country Mart.
You know things are getting back to normal when we’re in Tahoe with the Moons for 4th of July. We had intentions of setting out early on Friday morning, but didn’t quite make it. It didn’t seem to make much difference because traffic was bad.
For as many times as we’ve passed Ikeda’s on the way up, Grace has never been. The kids and I stopped on our first Airstream trip, but they don’t really remember. We had a good stop for lunch and groceries.
When we’re at home, the kids spend most of their waking hours gaming with the Moon boys online. In Tahoe, it was the same, but in person. Just kidding – they spent time playing chess, ping pong and a little time outdoors, too.
Our biggest excursion was tubing down the Truckee river. We have done it in the past with rafting operators, but Mike had the gear for DIY tubing thanks to a pickup from Clara and Grace at the end. Speaking of pickups, Mike’s Ohio roots are starting to show with his new Ram truck! Grace has been informed that we’re getting a Raptor so we can duel.
My tube started to deflate on the first leg, which was exciting. I also spent the first leg of the trip Googling “Is the iPhone 11 waterproof?,” but I never had enough signal. It turns out it is! The kids worked well together to keep us out of danger. We ran into a couple friends on the river, which was a pleasant surprise.
Saturday evening, we couldn’t convince Clara and Grace to head to the barn to see Wonder Bread 5, but Mike and I wouldn’t miss it. Sunday was pretty chill as we celebrated America’s birthday. Olivia caught a fish (they’re not smart this early in the season).
We were able to squeeze in a little Thando baseball after dinner before getting in the car to return home. We were talking in the car about how we never really make it a point to see fireworks on the 4th and we’re often driving back from festivities at that time. This time, we saw ALL the fireworks on the way home, which really didn’t end as we arrived before midnight.
Thanks to the Moons for hosting us again in Tahoe. It’s always beautiful and relaxing. The kids (and adults) have been having fun together since birth and I hope they never outgrow their special friendship.
Last year, the pandemic interrupted our tradition of spending Mother’s Day with the Moons. This year, with things getting back to normal, we met in San Francisco for brunch at Barcha. The weather was perfect for dining outdoors and the food was excellent.
It was determined that Beard Papa was too far, but we decided to check out a beautiful urban park on top of the new Transbay Terminal – thanks, Salesforce! Grace and Mike are both getting into plants and trees, so they were geeking out on everything along the loop. The kids explored and caught up and a couple hours flew by.
We grabbed one last drink on Market Street before bidding farewell. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of them and everyone we love more this summer and beyond.
It was a wonderful family excursion to celebrate Clara and Grace. Cheers to these great moms and also to keeping traditions alive.
A month or so ago, Albert was telling me that we were going to Carneros Resort together in March. I guess I’m always the last to know. It is one of my favorite places in Northern California and I think I did say that I would love to visit more often. Going there is the vacation equivalent of camping in your backyard, if your backyard was the most beautiful backyard ever. Also, it’s ski season. WTH?
The Lees had to come up a day later than planned, but this was a third night free type of situation, so we enjoyed our free third night anyway. Friday was supposed to be work and school, but somehow the kids got out of school and I didn’t get out of work. It was fine.
We haven’t seen the Moons since right before the pandemic when we were at their place for ski week. They braved the drive and us crazy pre-spring-breakers to come hang out for the afternoon and dinner. Our kids have been hanging out a lot online, but there’s nothing like spending time IRL. It was so nice to see everyone.
Because Carneros is also one of my favorite places to take pictures, I decided it was a good reason to end my Leica experiment and go all in on a new (used) SL2-S. They were making me go, after all. I won’t go into it much except to say it is low-light sorcery and I could not love shooting it more, even after just a few days.
It is technically winter, but the kids didn’t care and went swimming anyway. Despite having their own pool, the Lee kids think this was their first time swimming since we were last here in July. Thankfully they’ve outgrown the kiddie pool because Albert and I are convinced it is 80% full of pee. Also, it isn’t a real Rhee+Lee vacation unless a Lee kid shows up with a cast.
Saturday night dipped down into snow temperatures, which made it too cold to eat outside. We ordered in instead, which was just fine. The kids roasted fancy marshmallows on a Duraflame. It was weird.
Sunday was daylight savings and half our crew slept in right until brunch. We had one last meal before saying our goodbyes and heading home. Olivia said she wanted to get home to do homework, but I hear her cackling with her friends online playing games.
It was a short but welcome getaway. If we don’t come up with a plan A, we’ll be back there for Memorial Day weekend. I won’t say no.
Not seeing family and friends and limited travel were probably the toughest parts of the past year. Our RV trip last summer was just what we needed at the time. We still weren’t ready to board a plane, so ski week was limited to destinations within driving distance. We stopped in Park City on the way to Yellowstone and it was very manageable, even though we did it in two stretches. Tahoe seemed too close and Colorado seemed too far, so Park City it was.
Normally, we pack the morning of or departure, but we planned to leave around 6am, so the car and skis were packed and ready to go the night before. Luna didn’t knew what was happening and didn’t want us to leave. It really wasn’t too bad and I didn’t hear one complaint during the 13-hour ride. The kids also experienced their first KFC, which received a thumbs up (though not Chick-Fil-A level).
Ann and Jeremy’s kids also had the week off, so they invited us to stay with them at their new home in Utah. We weren’t their first guests, but there are so many rooms, we got to choose one that hadn’t yet been occupied. We skied our first day at Canyons/Park City and then two days at Deer Valley, which is their home mountain.
Jea and Eddie also came out for the week, so we all met up for dinner, as we had last year for Olivia’s Birthday in Beaver Creek. We also enjoyed some great dinners at home. The kids ventured out to sled in their back yard, which is a golf course in the summer. We’ll have to go back to check that out.
Emma and her friend, Natalie, joined the party at the same time we moved over to a hotel in town mid-week. We skied Park City and Canyons the rest of the week. We celebrated Natalie’s birthday at 350 Main, which was quiet and very manageable. The next night, we went to Tekila, which was a little closer to Señor Frog’s during spring break. Grace was double-masked.
The rest of the family voted to leave on Saturday to have a full day at home on Sunday. Friday was our last day of skiing. We were able to say a quick hello to Teresa and the twins. Unfortunately, we never connected with Ulrik, who kindly texted me every morning to search for powder without the kids (it snowed over 3 feet while we were there). We had one last dinner with Ann, Jeremy, Emme and Elsen before packing up and heading out at 7am the next morning.
The weather was a little clearer on the way home. We stopped for a late lunch in Truckee before getting stuck in Sacramento traffic. 14 hours later we arrived home to Luna, who missed us, but was kept company (and alive) by Romana.
Honestly, skiing during COVID-19 wasn’t too bad. Everyone wears masks. We tested before and after the trip and thankfully we were negative. Looking forward to getting a few more days in this season and hopefully things will be more back to normal next winter.
Lastly, after 170,000 photos, Olivia and Lucas are starting to tire of taking pictures. They are now inclined to oblige me by swapping smiles. I’ll take what I can get.
Like most of us who have had to celebrate our birthdays during the pandemic, Olivia took it in stride and actually enjoyed being at home and relaxing. Usually we’re traveling, or worse, en route on her birthday.
She hasn’t been out of the house in days, so we took a quick trip downtown for Salt & Straw. We celebrated with our pandemic pod family, the Lees, for dinner. Olivia, being very patient, didn’t open any gifts until almost 10pm. She’s very appreciative of all of her thoughtful family and friends.
Happy Birthday, Olivia! We couldn’t love you and your kind spirit more.
Lucas turned 12 today. All-in-all, he’s taken COVID-19 in stride and his birthday is no different. We celebrated with our pod-mates, the Lees, at All Spice in San Mateo. I had no idea they served brunch, but it was one of the tastiest meals we’ve had in the area, pandemic or otherwise.
He only had a couple things on his wish list, and I got both of them 2nd-hand (vintage?). He received thoughtful cards and gifts from his grandparents, family, and au pair. It was all low key.
He still seems more little boy than pre-teen, which is perfectly fine with me. Even though it was his birthday, I got a hug, which was a great gift. I’m thankful for all the time we spend together.
Happy 12th Birthday, Lucas! We all love you very much.
Halloween is a big deal in our neighborhood. I wasn’t sure what people were going to do, but our block preempted the uncertainty and had an early parade with the kids and people put out candy on the driveways for socially distant trick or treating.
The Lees and Wangs came over for dinner. We hang out with the Lees and the Lees hang out with the Wangs. Plus, Olivia sees Ella seemingly every day outside of school. We’re basically in the same pod. It was great to get everyone together after a long 9 months.
We celebrated Nina’s, Ellie’s, and Lucas’s birthdays together with cupcakes. Honestly, everyone (the adults) thought this was a lot more manageable way to spend Halloween. Hope everyone had a good and safe one.
Dora planned a drop-in, socially distant birthday party for Ben’s 50th. Out of an abundance of caution, it was postponed indefinitely. Euni led the charge to crash their backyard anyway.
Happy Birthday, Ben!