On the East Coast for the holidays.
It's been an incredible year to say the least! Leigh and I hope to post an "End of Year" summary before the New Year arrives, but if nothing else you can just review all the posts here and galleries over on Picasa (http://picasaweb.google.com/aylajadesangster).
We came East for the holidays. The family left Portland last Wednesday, the 16th. A day after I finished up my University of Portland semester (hard to believe I'll be graduating in May!) and with a 50 mph tailwind made it in record time to Atlanta (just a little more than 4 hours). Ayla was a real chill champ and only in the last 30 minutes did she really start to get restless.
Staying only the night in Atlanta, we rented a car and drove up to North Carolina to spend the last couple nights of Hanukkah with Leigh's folks and her Great Aunt Sallie. It was really nice to start involving Ayla in her family's Jewish traditions. Leigh and I started the candle lighting in Portland and we were able to conclude the Festival of Lights with Lois leading the blessings.
In NC, Ayla was able to spend some great time with her 84 year old Great Great Aunt Sallie. This was such a special treat for the both of them, the meeting of the different generations. It was immediately apparent that they would be two peas in a pod. Ayla was comfortable and drawn to Sallie very early. They spent a lot of time together, with Sallie reading to her and talking to her a lot. To see such a generational melding (there's 3 generations difference between them), was a rare and special treat.
In NC, Ayla was finally old enough to be introduced to her Grandpa's (Pop-Pop) enourmous train passion. He has taken the basement of their house in Wintson-Salem and created quite the hobby train collection, with three running trains on the tracks. She was shown how to drive the trains, blow the horns and generally enjoyed watching them go round and round the tracks. I honestly think it was more a thrill for Grandpa than it was for Ayla though!
It snowed 6 inches while we were there in Winston too! Luckily it snowed the day after we arrived and melted soon enough to allow us to leave back to Atlanta on schedule. I'm not sure what my mom would have done if she got denied Ayla time two years in a row b/c of snow! Remember last year, the freak snow storm that Portland got before Christmas? Those 2 feet of snow that Portland got trapped us there until after Christmas and basically cut the East Coast visit last year in half. Not sure what it is about Ayla, snow and the East Coast. She brings the weather I guess.
We also got her first sledding in. It was super fun. Leigh's folks live on a street with about a dozen kids under 7 and sleds were out and readily available for use. I had forgotten how much fun sledding can be!
We are back in Atlanta now and we'll be here for a couple weeks. We'll celebrate X-mas with my folks and family. She is already quite frustratingly attracted to the tree with all its lights and shiny balls. Now that Ayla knows how to open presents, should be a lot of fun to watch her go to work. Apparently, she's getting all the loot this year!
It's really nice to know we won't have to pack or move again for awhile. No snow here, but lots of sun. Being used to Portland's cooler, wetter winter climate, I'm walking around with bare feet and short sleeves here in the balmy South! Aaaaah...Georgia winters.
We'll leave y'all with this little laugher...Ayla's 1st Dancing:
Merry Solstice, Happy X-mas, Blessed Hanakkah and Joyous New Year to all!