We returned home to Ireland last week after our brief vacation to the USA – Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. It was a great trip and I can’t wait to tell you about it, but more on that in a minute.
The first thing I noticed when walking up the footpath to our door was that my beautiful rose bushes had doubled in size while we were gone… then I noticed that they’d also taken in boarders. Thousands and thousands of sticky green aphids covered every leaf and unopened bud on the shrubs! Yuck!
I read a recipe online for home-made aphid repellant and I tried it – a mix of onion, garlic, dish soap and water. (I don’t think my blender will ever be fit for making fruit smoothies again.) I’ve already used an entire bottle of the noxious concoction on the roses, and while at first I thought it wouldn’t work, I noticed today the bushes are now covered with sticky black dead aphids and a few live stragglers. I’m not sure which is worse, watching my roses be strangled by tiny green bugs or now seeing them covered in black corpses and smelling far from rose-like. I guess now the big question is, will the roses will recuperate? or even bloom? I have had aphids before, but nothing like this.
Any ideas from seasoned gardeners? I also read I could spray the bushes with a hose every day, but we have neither a hose nor an outdoor water source to which we could attach one, so that’s out.
OK, I won’t dwell on my garden anymore. Notice I’m not even mentioning the back yard or the mysterious disappearance of about 20 baby lettuces. Not a word. 🙂
So! The Trip.
We had a really fabulous time. It was a collection of many firsts! Our first trip as a family of three, Evelyn’s first plane ride, my family’s first time meeting the baby, Frank’s first time in Denver and first real American Road Trip, and my first Mimosa since giving birth! Ha ha!
The flight over was… an experience. As I mentioned before, Frank went over a week ahead of us to attend the Newport Beach Film Festival with his new documentary. So, that means it was just Mom and Baby for the overseas haul! I think it actually would have been fine if Evey and I had not both been fighting bad colds the day before we left! It was also a daytime flight, which made it hard for her to sleep in her little Aer Lingus box. Anyway, I’ll leave the rest to your imagination, but let’s just say it was a completely exhausting situation made even more exhausting. Thank God for helpful flight attendants.
We started the trip by spending a few days in Denver with my sister, Bonnie, and her family and our friends Claire and Regan from Indiana (They all flew in just to see us! Aren’t we lucky?). All of us spent several quality days hanging around the Mile High City and we even took a trip one day up to Breckenridge where Evey got to try out her little snow boots.
We were sorry to have to say goodbye to everyone, especially Evelyn’s newest friends, her cousins Sam and Ciara. The next leg of the journey was the drive from Denver up through Wyoming and into Montana. Being a Western American girl, I’m well used to long road trips and actually look forward to them. Frank was a little nervous, I think, about 12+ hours in a car, but the drive went smoothly up until the last two hours, which were pretty dark and stormy. Anyway, the rest was cool.
We spent the second half of the trip in my hometown of Bozeman, Montana. Going “home” makes me happy. We were well-pampered by my parents, though I think it was all just a bribe to get ahold of their new granddaughter! It was wonderful to be back in my childhood home though, and spending many happy days chatting with Mom and Dad and all the friends who came by.
One really special part of this trip for us was getting to see my paternal grandmother, Evelyn Koopman, who is our daughter’s namesake. She will be 95 this year and, while not in the best of health, is an amazing woman whom I just had to have my little girl meet. We got to see Grandma Evey several times during the week we were there, and we got the added bonus of also seeing my uncle, Richard Koopman, who flew in from Long Island to help us celebrate Mother’s Day. (I should note that some of the pictures are from him!)
Last, but not least, my dreams came true when we got to spend my first American Mother’s Day at Chico Hot Springs in the heart of the Paradise Valley. I have not been to Chico for years and have always told Frank about their legendary brunches and relaxing natural pools. We were not disappointed! It was a wonderful day.
We flew back last Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday (yes, it really took that long, between time changes and staying over) and I’m happy to say the return flight(s) were a piece of cake. Evelyn always behaves when her daddy’s around. 🙂