Sunday, November 29, 2009

Post Thanksgiving visit to Redding, CA

We divided our Thanksgiving vacation time between Sacramento and Redding. Eva's parents were visiting Gregg (Jolene's brother), Eva, Lauren and Bryce at their home in Redding, CA, but they managed to squeeze us in.
Zophia and Jonish Lyko, Case, Eva and Lauren. Eva and Lauren are toasting the tasty meal!
Thanksgiving time... it's all about the food.
We even broke out Eva's wedding china -- only the second time she's used it. (No, we didn't really break anything.)
Thanksgiving morphed into Christmas with the arrival of the Bauer family Christmas tree on Sunday afternoon, just a few minutes before we had to head home.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009, Sacramento, CA

Thanksgiving is Jolene's favorite holiday. It's non-commercial (well, less-commercial, until "Black Friday" morning dawns), there's lots of good food, and the extended Bauer family always gets together and stages something of a yearly reunion. This year family came from as far as Tennessee and Maryland.
Dinner is done potluck style, with everyone bringing a contribution. We brought green beans, which Jolene prepared with mushrooms and herbs, or with caramelized almonds for those family members (well known, but to remain nameless here) who do not like mushrooms. We were cooking for 33 people, though in the end the group was a little smaller due to a flu outbreak (nothing serious, we understand).
Uncle Don, Jeff and Ivan finish dinner around the pool in Uncle Don & Aunt Gwen's back yard (our hosts this year), enjoying conversation and the warm afternoon sun.
Other family grazed and relaxed in the living room, including three of Jolene's second cousins from Tennessee and their families.
Case and Gregg finished off dinner with coffee and conversation. Apparently, both felt the need to hold support their heads (or scratch them?) at the moment the photo was taken. (Or maybe...monkey see, monkey do!)
Mom requested a family picture. Case, Jolene, Lauren, Cheryl, Ivan, Eva, Bryce and Gregg.
Lauren and Bryce requested a silly picture.
Eva, Bryce (4), Gregg and Lauren (9) Bauer.
The kids were in the mood to monkey around.
Lauren is affectionately known to her Auntie Jolene as Chicky-pooh.
After the dishes were attended to by more industrious family members, Ivan, Jolene, Gregg and Ansel felt safe to move to the kitchen area for further chatting and grazing. Cousin Ansel flew in from Maryland to join in Thanksgiving Dinner.
Cousin Amy recently relocated back to Sacramento following a three year stint in Chicago. One great day together!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Photos from an afternoon at the Bellagio, Las Vegas

The Bellagio in miniature, part of the display in the hotel's conservatory.
Jolene finds a friend.
Case finds another.
Whoever created these "Botanical Gardens at the Bellagio" did a good job of mixing real plants with fabricated trees and "brushy" fountains.
A seat in the sun.
Handsome husband.
The beautiful pool area.
Pregnant lady stopped at just about every restroom on the Las Vegas Strip. This one at the Bellagio got a rave review!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Strip, Las Vegas

Off to explore the resorts and casinos on the strip -- a multi-cultural experience for Jolene, and a glitzy reminder of farther-flung travels for Case.
Welcome to Paris, Las Vegas.
Pregnant lady has noticed her wardrobe options shrinking as time progresses, so she was happy to come across a "Gap Maternity" store! Back home on California's Central Coast, shopping is more limited, so this was an opportunity for larger selection and good deals. We pretended we were back on the real Champs-Élysées, though we were happy to do without EU prices!
Then we were off for a bite of Jolene's favorite French meal. Eating for three has definitely increased her appetite! Case's, too, though we're not sure quite how that works.
What with giving Case his chance to sleep in and being surprised by the early sunset (same time zone as home, but much further east), the day passed quickly. Our evening was filled with a tour of Venice (Las Vegas). The stroll between "Paris" and "Venice" was sure a lot shorter than the overnight we spent on the train in Europe...
Get Case near anything even faintly Italian, and he sniffs out a gelato shop!
While we sat "outside", enjoying our gelato beside the "Grand Canal" under a painted sky, a troupe of strolling musicians entertained us with selections from the opera.
We ended the day at a performance of Webber's Phantom of the Opera. Perhaps the management of the Venetian didn't notice that the story is set in Paris (or, more likely, they knew their patrons wouldn't notice). However, the masks and costumes certainly fit the Venetian theme. Good times and a great day!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

One Last Vacation for Two!

The second trimester of pregnancy is our last (reliable) opportunity take a vacation, so maybe this is our last vacation (for a while) as a twosome!The pregnant lady requested comfortable digs and lots of food! That and budget constraints made Las Vegas the obvious choice. We ended up being very comfortable at The Hotel at Mandalay Bay.
Watching the lions in their habitat at the MGM Grand was about as "wild" as this vacation got.

Friday, November 06, 2009


Yes, it has been a long time since our last blog posting, but here's the latest update: The last several months have been busy and, uh, let's say "productive". We're expecting twins!

The details of the first trimester are best left to your imagination (esp. if you have a rather morbid imagination). Suffice it to say that Jolene is very pleased to be feeling peaceful, happy and more energetic in her 15th week. The planned delivery date (EDC) is in mid April, but they say twins aren't predictable and will likely to show up early. We've been told to be ready early and to make no unalterable plans after the Christmas Season!