The past couple days might very well go down as one of the best weekends of 2012. I know, it’s still early in the year, so I might be jumping the gun, but we did some serious lovin’ life and livin’ large this weekend. On Friday afternoon, we hit the road with Jack and La Verne and headed east to snowy Leavenworth for a big-bash weekend to celebrate Jack’s birthday. La Verne had found an amazing house and loaded the car with food and wine, and from the moment we opened the door, set our bags down, and watched Jack pop the sugar-crusted slow-roasted pork in the oven for dinner, I knew: this would be epic. The rest of the party people trickled in as the evening went on, and by 10:00, all fourteen of us were sitting around the living room, enjoying the warmth of a fire and the company of good friends.
It was dark when we arrived on Friday evening, so I was happily surprised when I awoke on Saturday and found that the house was perched on a ridge overlooking a river on one side a pear orchard on the other, in the midst of serene, snowy, pine-covered mountains. I took one look out the huge living room windows and was ready to move in.
In addition to the incredible views, the house came with its very own ukelele – I couldn’t resist snapping a pic as La Verne strummed its strings and Shane gazed pensively out the window. Such a Zen kind of morning…
A few of the guys headed out to hit the slopes at Stevens while the rest of us cozied up for a day at the house. I changed out of my pajamas around 11 am and did a little yoga with La Verne and Alice, then showered, napped, read, had a living room dance party with little Gryffin and Isaiah (I would understand if Nancy never forgives me for introducing her boys to Britney Spears…), and generally reveled in the joy of a warm mountain cabin. The clouds parted in the afternoon and Shane and I took a short walk to check out the orchard and the amazing little terrace overlooking the river. We sat on a bench and took in the view while the sun warmed our faces – it was, in a word, perfection.
We all convened in the kitchen once the skiers got home and feasted on hearty helpings of spaghetti and meatballs – this was Mike and Alice’s first weekend away with the group, and I believe Mike used the phrase “eating like kings” at some point. Welcome to life with Jack and La Verne, dude! It’s goooooood.
We sat around the table and ate and played games and drank and laughed, eventually making our way to the living room to build a fire and sprawl out on the couches and floor for more laughter and story-telling. Sometimes I wish I had a tape recorder for our bizarre, hilarious late-night conversations. Then again, some things are better left unrecorded… I went to bed that night with abs sore from so much giggling.
Sadly, we had to check out on Sunday morning, but not before enjoying a few more precious moments in the snow.
I’m so glad I documented Brian’s beard-stache combo while it lasted – he showed up on the doorstep on Friday night in a brightly wrapped box, and when Nicole told Jack to open his present, he found…this: Brian had carved away at his beard and styled his facial hair extra-fancy just for Jack (who has admitted to a total inability to cultivate anything more than a patchy fuzz on his own baby-skinned face). Sometimes you have to get creative when gift-giving for the man who has everything – well done, Brian. Well done.
The birthday boy and his rockstar wife…
We stopped in the town of Leavenworth on our way home, saddened to have said good-bye to our party pad, but finding consolation in beer, brats, and gelato.
We made it back to rainy Seattle mid-afternoon, the weather here fitting for the post-party funk I quickly fell into. On the bright side, I have so much to be thankful for in the friendships we’ve found in this funny, close-knit, brilliant group of people. We have already declared this trip an annual tradition – and I’m counting down the days to 2013.