Wednesday, September 18, 2013

When the Americans and Lithuanians crashed Canada's Niagara Falls

Yesterday's post shared the work picnic that we conquered on our way out of New York.  Well, before leaving the city completely, we had one more stop--JFK airport to pick up our Lithuanian friends.  We were so excited to see Kes and Lina and meet their adorable girls!  Thanks to e-mails, blogs, and Christmas letters, it felt as if we already knew each other.  We were thrilled to put a real world face on the virtual friendship our children had formed.

I must confess, I was a bit nervous meeting up with Kes and Lina as well.  Let's just say that our family is generally better behaved online than in real life.  While it's never been my intention to create false impressions through this blog, this family history intentionally highlights the positive.  Someday when I'm old and gray, I plan to sit in a rocking chair and read--smiling and chuckling over happy memories, not wincing over painful ones.

Kes and Lina happened to catch our family at a particularly challenging time.  Not only were we worn out from traveling so much, but our family was still separated.  Add to that the stress of a job search, and we weren't at the top of our game.  Fortunately, we have marvelous friends. Kes and Lina were nonjudgmental and understanding.  The kids got along splendidly, and we played.

You've seen the pictures of us playing in Vermont, but here we are playing at Niagara Falls on the way home.
The Vedeckis family from Vilnius, Lithuania.  Here we have Kestutis, Egle, Lina, and Liepa.

In case you couldn't place the blue ponchos, we're standing on board the "Maid of the Mist."

Annika seems excited for the trip.

If wet is a measure of success, the Falls did not disappoint.
I've always thought of Talia as my blue-eyed gal, but those eyes have definitely turned green.
A really scary picture of Brooklyn.  (I have a prettier one, but this one's more interesting.  Plus, it's blackmail.)
Eli seemed a bit overwhelmed by the sea of blue.
You thought we were all matchy-matchy in our ponchos, but check this out!
NomiAnn sewed adorable summer outfits for all of the girls.  Too cute!  (And no, you may not make any snide remarks about the Von Trapp family singers.)

Five girls and a guy.

Egle's adorable and she knows it too.

There's something so universal about the relationship between a mother and her children.  We're parenting our kids an ocean apart, and yet the experience is much the same.  I learned so much watching Lina interact with her beautiful daughters.
Talia's not the only one who can be silly in a photo shoot, right Egle?

Kes with his girls.

I love the fish face, Liepa!
The whole crew!  (Minus NomiAnn who was taking the picture.) 
Okay, enough pictures of us, here's a photo of the real star.  It's true--the Falls are much more impressive from the Canadian side.


And the movie star herself.  Callie gave up a huge chunk of her summer vacation to be with us.  She missed Adam and Zoe (as did we all), but we were so glad she was there.

I think Egle's aspiring to be an actress herself.

And here are our happy six year-olds, Talia and Liepa.

Callie, Eli, and Annika playing at the park at Niagara on the Lake.
Life is lovely when you can swing.
Twelve years ago, Kes tried to visit the Canadian Falls but got turned away when he forgot his passport.  Imagine the smile if he could have seen this future photo then.
Kestutis and crew, thank you so much for accepting our family, faults and all.  We miss you already and dream of the day when we can visit you in beautiful Lithuania.


Kes LT said...

Hey Kara,
what a lovely flashback to great summer! We had marvelous time as well! Sorry for dragging all of you to Hard Rock :) It was totally my place, but not that family oriented one :) Girls are asking when are we going to AMERIKA again all the time (the standard was raised so high, it will be impossible to meet their expectations next summer with some boring European country...) Tough life :). Just last night we showed the pictures to my aunt and girls were commenting on them, in particular disclosing the relationship structure ( "This is dad of Cathy, who is grandmother of our friends Brooklyn, Talia, Eli and Anika"...following their age and so on... ) Thanks so much for having us and playing along :) The trip was amazing and your companionship made it particularly special!!! (Liepa is picking up more and more english, I hope soon she will be able to Skype Talia and Brooklyn to talk about the boy she really likes at school ;). Have a great day! Looooots of love from Vilnius!

Susie said...

The pictures are splendid! The color is incredible. Nice to see pictures of "the Lithuanians" and their adorable daughters. Glad you had such a nice experience!

Kara said...

Thanks for the comments--they always make me smile. So Kes, just had to let you know that we loved Hard Rock. I was secretly hoping we'd go there. We ordered nachos last week just in honor of the fun memory. :) Say hello to your girls--we miss them already!

The Favorite said...

Love these pictures! I'm so happy that you got to go, and yet so sad that you were so close... one of these days we'll meet up again (Tell you mom that Jane still uses her towel.)

Kara said...

Eliza, we thought about you! I should have called--it was just such a whirlwind and we were such a big crew that I worried about overwhelming. Your kids are growing up so fast! I couldn't believe the back-to-school pictures. We'll have to get together soon or before you know it we'll be empty nesters...