Sulwen's Birthday Bash

Sulwen's second birthday is on August 16th (as I begin to write this, as a matter of fact). In order to celebrate we planned that Tanna, Stephen, and Sulwen, along with Nancy, would come to Oregon. Our friends from Klamath Falls, Dick and MK would come, and of course, Hailey and Bill are in the area. In addition, Becky would be here from Albuquerque, along with Mark and Darla from Eugene. In the meantime, Laura, Ian, and Fiona got "cheap tickets" to come from Maryland, although they had not originally thought they would be able to be here. So, it was quite a large group that would be here to celebrate about a week early.

Wednesday (August 5th)
The first to arrive (appropriately) were Tanna and Sulwen, who flew up from SFO in the afternoon. We got right back home where Grammy and Grandad (or is that Meemie and Mammie?) had everything ready for her. First big attraction for Sulwen was the doll stroller and dolls. With Tanna as a mother, the next thing was the swing for Sulwen and the bench Grammy. The "safe" swing held no attraction for Sulwen: It was only for the dolls. Eventually it was time for a bath in the "what kind of a bathtub is this, anyway?" bathtub, followed by a story or two.

Thursday was pretty much of a "take it easy" day. I didn't take a single picture (excuse: I was doing some necessary chores). Tanna did take several, all in the same vein as this one of Amelia and Sulwen playing trains. Sulwen did discover Thomas, too. Late in the day, Stephen drove in from the Bay Area.

Friday was a different day in terms of picture taking as well as local population. After breakfast it was decided to break out an early birthday present, and here is Sulwen, Tanna, and Stephen (Amelia background) with the stick horses Amelia and I made for Sulwen, and for Tanna and Stephen. The small horse Stephen is sitting on got a paint job for the first time ever since we owned it, which is since Evan was one or two years old. Whew! Then it was down to the shed to do a little swinging. Sulwen was a bit leary of the Dart, so we enticed her into it without the engine running. The swing was great fun for Mom and Dad, too. This one looks like we must have taken some time to pick some blackberries, in which Sulwen greatly imbibed. After lunch, Laura, Ian, and Fiona arrived. Not too much later, Hailey and Tate arrived, which excited all the kids. But nothing like when Evan popped up unexpectedly, his travel financed by Hailey's miles. No one knew but her, so it was a wonderful surprise for us all. Thanks Hailey, and luckily Evan was able to rearrange some work schedules to be able to come. Reckon it looks like I was plenty happy. Although Sulwen didn't think much of the "safe swing", Fiona thought it was wonderful, especially if Grandad would push. Before long, Ian was on the go-cart, screaming down the hill, sometimes with Tate in hot pursuit (or leading, as the case might be). Grandad finally got a break with Grammy, Sulwen, and Tate. Here's a great shot of Sulwen in great contemplation . Fiona gets a turn on the go-cart, which she likes almost as much as the swing and holding Sulwen. Finally, when all others tire (or Grandad gets tired), he prepares to take a turn on the go-cart, showing them how it is done. Then, in the heat of the day, we we all retired to the pond area, where Laura and Evan relaxed while Fiona, Ian, Tate, Sulwen, and Amelia got more involved with the pond. I just relaxed. In the meantime, Mark, Darla, and Becky arrived. We finally got all of our acts together (no mean feat with that many people involved), and went to the YMCA in Medford so some of us could swim. Among other vehicles, we took the Dart, with Fiona in the Navigator's seat. Her Dad took this interesting picture from the back seat. Those in the pool at the Y had a great time. Back home it was time to prepare a bit of dinner, with the new arrivals, Becky, Mark, and Darla pitching in (although it looks like Evan is the only one working - better strike that). In the meantime, Sulwen and Tate are having a good time.

Saturday was the big day. It started out with many of the crew partaking in a swim meet. It was a great day for the Franke swimmers, winning the big relay and many individual ribbons, too. Then a quick stop by the playground where Sulwen looked down the big slide. Home again. However, in the meantime, Grandad and Stephen had been shopping for important (and other) items. Here's the bubble machine. Back down to the pond, where Sulwen trid out the (steamless) shovel and then Sulwen studied the situation before deciding to hang out in the ivy. Then, heading back with Dad they pass by the butterfly bush. Not all is fun and games, though, as Fiona is preparing the placecards, an important endeavor with sixteen people expecting to sit around a table with no conflict. And here it is, all places assigned, and only one switch required. Later, in the kitchen, Fiona and Hailey take a break for a "Kodak" moment. The food is on the serving table, the birthday paraphenalia is broken out and Sulwen looks pleased with hers. But, then, change of plans, here's one she looks not quite as pleased about, but it looks like she might have good company. After dinner it was hula hoop time. Sulwen seemed to be interested. It could be said that some people might have cheated a bit, but they had lots of company. Here's the cheering section. You may or may not notice that the bubble machine was going the whole time. Finally Sulwen could wait no longer (or was it someone else that couldn't wait?) and it was time to open presents. Hmmm, what kind of a ball is that that Uncle Evan has? Hey! Just what I always wanted, my own garden tools. Ah, then it was time for desert. And it does look mighty good, doesn't it? I can barely wait. Then, shucks, let's head for the toys before it gets dark. Fiona opts for the Doodlebug, but has to share with Bill. Sulwen gets a chance to share the go-cart with Tanna. Meanwhile, some take it easy on the bench while others enjoy swinging (in the swings). Fiona brings the tractor down from the upper shed area. Tate decides he really doesn't like to ride the go-cart and bails out; Unfortunately, Hailey also inadvertantly bails out. Sulwen decides it just might be safer on the tractor. What a day!

Early morning found some of the gals in the hot tub. After awhile, many of us piled in cars and headed for the Rogue Valley Country Club for brunch, the buffet line being pointed to by those partaking of it. After brunch, here's a photo of Fiona and flowers. Some decided to try wacking a few balls. Success was varied (is there actually a club in that guy's hands?), but wow! There's one that actually got hit. This time he has a club for sure, and there goes the ball. And there goes another one. After that workout comes the mandatory stop by the swimming pool. Looks like fun. Some folks just relax, as do several of the others, and another. And they have company. Mark and Darla head back to Eugene. The rest of the crew head back home where Stephen has started his journey back to Palo Alto. Sulwen tries out some big shoes and Grandad's hat. Very soon, Ian's on the Doodlebug, quickly followed by Fiona. And then, this Doodlebug does belong to me, but Ian and Fiona get at least one more turn. Ian swings, but takes time out to handle his new wooden sword he and his grandad made. Are we all pooped yet? I think so.

Evan left on an early morning flight. Sulwen tries out some juice. Dick and MaryKay hop in 'bago to head for Rocky Point ('bago made it!). Then, thanks to our kind neighbors (Judy and Jarred, with the horse, Colonel) and Donna (with the riding ring), we head up to Donna's to see the workout. Initially Sulwen seems more interested in licking rocks, but finally mounts up with Jarred. Fiona takes a turn with Jarred alongside. It is such a beautiful day, I turn around to take a shot across the valley, and am a bit surprised to see that I also captured (nearly center picture) a hummingbird. Back at the house, here is a shot of the gals. Later we drop off Tanna and Sulwen, throwing kisses at the airport for their trip back to SFO. A couple of hours later, we pick them back up after their flight was cancelled. So, who can stay away from a pool, even though it is 70 degrees? (I can.) In fact, it even looks like fun. Soon after a session in the hot tub, Fiona is back at the swing, with the moon in the background of this picture. Earlier the chalk had been broken out for the carport, and here's the sun shining on Sulwen. There was also a commemoration of the home team (in Montgomery County, MD), the Whetstone Whales.

We dropped off Tanna and Sulwen at the airport, and this time the plane leaves and makes it to SFO (ahead of schedule, even). Laura, Ian, and Fiona head back to Sacramento. It has gotten pretty quiet around the house. No pictures this day. Hmmm.

Amelia, Becky, and I took a trip up the Rogue River to Union Creek. From there we took a little hike along the creek. I took a few photos, here's one of Union Creek, and here is a shot of some berries. Not sure what they are, (help?). Lunch at Beckie's. Thursday I took Becky to meet Mark part way to Eugene. It's really really quiet around here. Thanks to all who came and made it such a perfect week of celebration.

Note: If you want more pictures about this week and Sulwen's real birthday (now, there's a celebration worth looking into), point your browser at Sulwen's blog and look for the August 17, 2009 entry.