Jan 3, 2009

Home for Christmas

At the Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati, Ohio. December 24, 2008

Grandpa and Grandson

Grandma and Grandson

Saipan is our home. It's where we live, where we work, where we receive our mail. But there's a sense of home that runs even deeper than that--the city or town where you grew up, the familiar neighborhood, the house with your childhood bedroom where your parents still live. That kind of home is somewhat lost to me--Mom's long since moved out of our childhood home and neighborhood and when we go to Florida we usually stay with my sister. But Barbara has lived in only three houses during her childhood and adolescence and her parents still live in the third home (the other two houses we pay a visit to almost every year--a simple driveby of those former residences on Broadview and Berry Patch that takes Barbara and Jenny back to their nostalgic chidlhoods). So for her--and by extension, me--this was indeed a journey home.

It's been a restful time here in the States for the most part. It feels like we've been here much longer than the two short weeks it's been since we arrived. I haven't done a lot whole lot. . .which has been good. I've been reading--War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy and our latest book club selection My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. I've been watching Grey's Anatomy Season 4 on DVD. I've spent some time on Facebook and done a few work-related projects and a little bit of shopping. But mostly I've been spending lots of quality time with family: Barbara's folks, Jenny and Matt (Bab's sister and brother-in-law), and of course my son Elijah.

Here's some photos of some of that family time from Christmas week.

Cincinnati Trip:
Barbara and Jenny are Cincinnati girls at heart. The family home may be in Dayton but the soul of the Leen family still lives in Cincinnati where Bill built Stirleen's Art Supply store, where Barbara and Jenny were born, where all the totems of their childhood reside: Graeter's ice cream, Eden Park, La Rosa's Pizzeria, Mt. Adams, the Conservatory, the old YMCA behind their house on Berry Patch Lane, Hyde Park. As a result, almost every time we come home to Dayton, we make a pilgrimage to the Leen's spiritual home in Cincinnati. This year was no exception and on Christmas Eve, 2008 we all piled into Matt and Jenny's big green van and headed south to pay homage once again.

Babs and Elijah riding in the van.

Dad Leen, Babs, and Elijah take a break from shopping at the Kenwood Mall on the outskirts of Cincinnati. We stopped here first for some shopping before going to lunch at LaRosa's. After that it was time for the traditional tour of the neighborhoods. We decided to forgo Berry Patch this year and just vist Broadview--the first of the Leen girls' homes. It's located in a beautiful old neighborhood full of lovely old homes. These houses are quite nice and built long before the days of McMansions and homogenous floor plans. Each house is unique, as if handcrafted. The streets are lined with stately trees and some of the houses are draped in ivy.

Barbara's childhood home on Broadview St. in Hyde Park, Cincinnati. After the tour, it was on to the Krohn Conservatory, where we saw a lot of familiar tropical foliage--plants and trees that grow free in Saipan instead of under glass. It was lovely, and the holiday poinsetta display was especially striking.

Inside the greenhouses of the Krohn Conservatory

As a teacher, I had to get a picture of this. If you click on the photo to enlarge it you should be able to read the sign on the upper left that says "Coins are toxic to fish. Please save your coins for the waterfall." And then look at the fish pond--littered with coins. Apparently, there will always be people who have difficulty following directions!

Babs, Elijah and I with Barbara's sister Jenny and Jenny's husband Matt Berglund.

Matt and Jenny at the Conservatory waterfall.

After the Conservatory we took a driving tour of Mt. Adams and then moved on to Graeter's for the World's Best Ice Cream.

Babs and Elijah in front of Graeters.

Another shot in front of Graeter's, this one taking in the quaint Hyde Park neighborhood.

Christmas Morning!

Babs and Elijah in front of the tree.

Matt and Jenny with their "babies", their dogs Shiloh (on the couch) and Bailey, waiting to open gifts.

Shiloh was quite adept at opening his own gifts as you can see above and below.

The Little Fella opens gifts from his Auntie Veronyka (one of our teachers from last year).

"Don't worry, Elijah we're not gonna take your gifts." Look for additonal pictures of Elijah's first Christmas at Elijah's blog.

Dad in the aftermath of Christmas morning.

Christmas Dinner

Father and Son

The family table

Jenny and Elijah

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He's a cutie.