Thanksgiving: Reno and San Fransisco
Jacob’s parents and his little brother and wife flew in from South Carolina the morning of Thanksgiving. The holiday at the Leopold’s was a full house. With all of Jacob’s immediate family from the East, plus his Grandfather and Grandmother, two sisters and their husbands, and a cousin with her daughter, the dinner was quite a family gathering. Christy and John put together a lovely spread and we had a great time chatting and just being with family. Anna and her playmate cousin Amelia had a blast on Christy’s entryway stairs. I think they would have stayed on them all day, including nap times if we had let them. It was great being together.
Friday, we all drove out to Reno to go to Circus Circus. The drive was beautiful, the valley turned into foothills and then the mountains grew in with their snow and skiing and sledding and Donner Lake. We were at a 5000 feet elevation, then descended down into the desert. The Nevada state line was so stark, California has trees and Nevada just didn’t.
Anna played so many carnival games. She caught ducks on fishing poles, she threw darts at unsuspecting balloon, she cheered dad as he filled a dog’s mouth with bouncy balls to beat a little girl out of her prize. We also watched a few shows of jugglers and jumping dogs. She left the casino with more than an armful of new toys, not the least of which was that platypus won at the dart stand.
We stopped by the Reno temple on our way out of town. We walked the grounds at sunset and it was gorgeous: the view of the neon city down the hill, the pink cresting the mountains to the west, and a statues of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Christ.
Over the weekend we went to enjoyed brunch on Sutter Street with Melissa and Mia and visited the Folsom Prison Museum with Jacob’s parents and Emily, his sister. We visited Apple Hill again this time with the grandparents and Jacob’s siblings. I was also introduced to In-n-Out, it was fun to visit. Anna ate my entire shake! Note: she likes strawberry better than chocolate.
For the second week of our trip to California we stayed with Christy Leopold and her husband John, Jacob’s second oldest sister. It was nice getting to know them better too because we had only met them during a whirlwind wedding weekend. They are very kind, and quiet, smart, and wonderful chefs. Christy is pregnant with their first child so Anna played with all the negative-4-month-old’s toys and books. They were both really great with Anna, reading to her, coaxing her to eat her vegetables. I think they are naturals.
We made a day trip to San Fransisco with Jacob’s parents, Emily and Ryan, Matt and Emily, and Christy. The big crowd was fun. We made a stop at the Oakland temple. You can walk on the roof terrace and it has a great view of the city. We drove over into the city over a bridge in such a dense fog we couldn’t see the bridge we were driving on.
We ate lunch at Pier 39, shopped a bit and saw the sea lions. Before sunset, we drove North to the Muir woods. The descent into the valley was so scary! There was no more than the two lanes before a sharp drop into the forest below. We were driving next to the tops of trees, not the trunks of them. And to keep it real, there was a part of the road that had literally collapsed. But we made it down safe and sound and Anna loved running around the forest path. We saw large redwoods and Anna out ran every single one of us.
Linda and Emily also took us to tour the Jelly Belly factory. We had to wear the hats and we got to try all the stages of jelly bean creation. Man the insides are so good. They even had window’s at Anna’s height so she could enjoy the tour too.
Emily, Jacob’s sister, loved playing with Anna. They shared purses and glasses, and even frozen treats. Anna loved playing with Emily’s pets, especially Louie and Cody, they were very kind to let Anna pet them. I’m so glad we got time at everyone’s homes for meals and relaxing. We are so very blessed.
California was a wonderful blast with so much family time. We watched a ton of game show network, played board games, and decorated for Christmas. We are so grateful for our wonderfully kind family who hosted us and flew out to be with us. It was great being able to celebrate Jacob’s Grandfather’s birthday with him. We are so grateful to have had so much time with family, and to get to know them better.