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Visiting my Grandparents

Emily Hall

I recently took a quick trip to Valley Center, CA to visit my grandparents. My Grandpa is 92 and my Grandma is 89. They still live at home (Polito Family Farms) and lead pretty full lives. They've slowed their everyday lives, but they're still pretty dang active. My Grandma just passed her driver's license test and is really enjoying zipping around in her new purple Acura Wagon. NO, she doesn't need you to go with her, she's perfectly happy to enjoy her vehicle and her independence. Alone. But she'll gladly pick anything up from the store for you. :)

My Grandpa is enjoying his switch from his street-legal car to his "Pop Mobile" - he even shares! (I totally tested out the speed capabilities of his golf cart while visiting.)One of the MAJOR changes in my Grandparents in the past several years is that they've added a furry family member to their lives. "Blue," the dog, showed up on their doorstep a few years back. Apparently it was meant to be, because G&G happily welcomed him into the family. He follows Grandpa everywhere.
They even nap together.
I fully meant to try to talk G&G into some proper portraits when I was visiting, but, honestly, they had so much going on that it seemed like the wrong idea. They were kind enough to go about their daily lives while I documented their daily routines.  ...And honestly, I think these photos have more value (for me at least) than if I'd done portraits with them anyway. 
Ever since I can remember, I've woken up to Grandpa reading the paper at the bar in the kitchen.
And my Grandma is an AMAZING cook. She's truly an artist in the kitchen.
However, my Grandpa is the one who makes the salads. They are SOOOO good. I'm always trying to convince him to make a bigger salad and give me the biggest salad bowl. He makes his own salad dressings. Sometimes I have him make me some to take home with me. He also really likes Scotch.
And Grandma's garden is always gorgeous.
Even when naughty doggies nap in it. :)  (below: my mom and her dog)
Although I didn't get to see my cousin Dom or his wife Christine (they were off, celebrating their anniversary), I did get to play in the pool with their 5! kiddos!
My Aunt Helen (their Grandma) has the BEST smile!
Blue was pretty excited about all the kiddos in the pool too.  ...Or he was afraid that we were drowning. :)
Speaking of active Grandparents, G&G made us all a BBQ dinner after our pool day. SO yummy!
And, Grandma loves how much Eli loves chocolate cake, so she made sure there was one for dessert. E licked ALL the bowls clean.  :)
If you're a stranger, Blue will probably try to eat you. But if you're a Polito, he seems to know, and is extra gentle and sweet.
Fig trees! Little and bigger.
Another constant in the G&G routine is couch time before bed.
When I was little, I LOVED going to the chicken coops, collecting eggs, and playing with the chickens. Turns out, not much has changed.
I let Mom use my camera to take photos of me with G&G. ...Pretty sure she wanted to keep it!
I actually lived at Polito Family Farms for awhile when I was in high school. I lived with my Aunt Mary, Uncle Bob, & their three boys (Gus, Sam, & Tom). Below: Me n' Aunt Mary & Sam and his girlfriend Eden.

When I lived at Mary & Bob's, I was bigger than Sam, and could easily pick him up. Some things DO change!
Grandma in her garden is another memory that will probably be etched in my mind, photo or not, but I'm glad I have the photo now. She is a genius in the garden and has taught me many gardening tips over the years.
Although my Grandpa isn't quite up to golfing these days, he maintains some bragging rights. Once, back in high school, I made the mistake of betting $1/point on the putting green with Grandpa. I lost a decent amount of $$ that day. Whoops!