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Growing up, The Olympics referred not to an international gathering of athletes from around the world, but a gathering of Baackeses from around the East Coast. Once a year, we gathered for the Father’s Day Olympics, an elaborate weekend event involving custom t-shirts, scoreboards and prizes, and games like a egg-in-spoon relays and marshmallow eating contests. Somewhere along the road, life got in the way and time became more precious, and suddenly it had been six years since my dad, my three sisters and I were all in the same room at the same time.

Tucker was incredibly depressed about this.

So it was decided: Fathers Day 2014 would be celebrated in style, with all the sisters journeying from their far flung corners to Philadelphia for a weekend of family and fun. While the Olympics would not be resurrected, custom t-shirts would definitely be involved.

The weekend got off to a perilous start. Olivia and Tucker and I road tripped in from Martha’s Vineyard, a supposedly six hour drive that took closer to twelve (as you can see, we did not go stir crazy at all). And my big sisters Margaret and Sarah both dealt with flight cancellations, which for Sarah eventually resulted in getting in the car and driving herself the five remaining hours to Philly. But by midnight on Friday, against all odds, we were all gathered under one roof; my dad’s new pad in South Philadelphia.

Granted, a big part of any family gathering is lounging around the house eating take-away, telling embarrassing stories, and fawning over Tucker. But occasionally, we do leave the house. This was my third trip to the city since my dad’s move and I have surprised myself at how much I’m enjoying exploring it in bite-size doses. Our big adventure for this weekend, after a delicious and sadly undocumented brunch at , was catching a at Citizens Bank Park.

As I hinted, we couldn’t let a family gathering go by without causing a public scene creating some kind of official weekend uniform. Even Tucker got in on the fun (if you’re wondering who was wearing number 5, we decided it was retired with Westley, our dearly departed first cocker spaniel).

To say I am not much of a sports fan is an understatement. But there’s something about a baseball game — the hot dogs, the family time, the ice cream in a baseball hat bowl, the unabashed Americana — I love it all. We had a great time, with great company and great seats (thanks Dad!).

While I struggled to decipher the score board, something monumental happened — Jimmy Rollins . Fireworks erupted, the crowd roared, and Olivia missed the whole thing because she was in the bathroom. Typical.

Phillies InstagramsMy sister’s instagrams from the day

Later, we’d unwind from the stressful afternoon with our favorite activity of all — rooftop relaxing.

That night, after a delicious dinner from the grill was polished off and a rousing game of charades was well under way, it was time for cake. Now, I love to bake. I looove it. And it’s not something I get to do very often considering rolling pins and confectioner’s sugar rarely make the cut into my backpack. But I knew I wanted to bake something epic for Father’s Day (on par with my sister’s 21st birthday cake), and months before when I was in Ecuador, the idea for a Diet Coke themed cake literally came to me in a dream. When I woke up I groggily tapped it into my iPhone and was surprised to later find nothing like it anywhere online — I finally had an original though, unaided by Pinterest! Hallelujah!

But seriously, have other daughters not inherited a severe caffeine addiction from their fathers?

Love my dad’s expression on the right

Now, a little tip for my fellow cake creators out there: do not bake a cake in Martha’s Vineyard and attempt to transport it twelve hours in the heat of summer in the back of a bumpy SUV to Philadelphia. Things got a little melty up in this creation. Ah well, it still tasted good.

So what could we possibly gift my dad to commemorate such a special weekend? Margaret hit it out of the park (baseball metaphor alert!) when she suggested we hire a photographer to take some much-needed family portraits. We hired Rich of , who I highly recommend for great pricing and turn-around time, and for making us look like supermodels, clearly.

Believe it or not we did not coordinate our outfits before the weekend. The morning of, we ran around from room to room holding up various remnants of our suitcases asking, “DOES THIS LOOK OKAY?!” before miraculously ending up with a pleasing palate of coordinating blues and earth tones. Family portraits for the win!

Aren’t my sisters beautiful?

While we were tossing around location ideas, I suggested just sticking to my dad’s place and the gritty urban area surrounding it. I absolutely loved the results. Especially these super special ones commemorating the heart of Olivia and I’s relationship.

Some poses were taken seriously, others not so much.

I even nabbed a new head shot (check it out on my about page!)

TuckerTucker trying to get in on the fun…

And to close, we each took a snap with the man of the hour. I just can’t tell you how much this weekend meant to me, and I truly hope we never let so much time pass us by without a reunion again (at least we already have the next one planned — a trip to Key West for a big milestone birthday/retirement for the big guy!)

To my wonderful dad, I can’t say it better than I did on .

Happy Fathers Day again, Dad! Stay tuned for one more post from our Philadelphia weekend…

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31 Comments...
  • Love the new head shot. You look absolutely stunning! This is such a lovely post about family and how important it is to cherish one another. Makes me want to call my dad right now!

    • Meihoukai
      August 3 2014

      Do it, Miriam πŸ™‚ And thanks for the props on the new headshot!

  • MCVK
    August 2 2014

    I have never followed anyone’s blog, ever, but I am enjoying reading yours SO MUCH. It’s nice to hear about a family get-together – you look so much alike. I have 3 sisters too, and my mother liked to joke that she’d used a cookie cutter to make us! Tell that one to your mother and keep the hits coming (baseball metaphor alert).

    • Meihoukai
      August 3 2014

      Thank you so much for those kind words! Actually, the genetics are strong from my dad’s side because Olivia and I have a different mother than Sarah and Margaret! But I do think it’s amazing how much we all look alike — these photos really highlight it.

  • Janice Stringer
    August 2 2014

    What a fantastic post Meihoukai – you sure are a beautiful bunch.:-)
    Janice Stringer recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 3 2014

      Thank you Janice! I’m glad some readers are enjoying my posts about less exotic destinations πŸ™‚ These are some of the trips that mean the most.

      • Janice Stringer
        August 3 2014

        I enjoy the way you write – what you write about and the places you visit and listening to your experiences and learning.
        My daughter is on Koh Tao now – if you get there and happen to be passing Sunshine Divers – Chloe Stringer is in her DM training at the moment! πŸ™‚
        Janice Stringer recently posted..

  • I love the new head shot! My dad didn’t give me a caffeine addiction, just an occasional southern draw (kentucky in him) ha ha, and I high tolerance for beer! lol. Great that your fam got together I bet your dad loved that & the clever cake! Are you going to change your gravatar and everything to the new head shot?
    Rachel of Hippie in Heels recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 3 2014

      I probably should… I have a billion different photos for every social media outlet right now! I’ll probably clean up my act when my redesign goes live. Which will be soon I hope — I can’t wait!

  • Chris
    August 2 2014

    Sounds like a sweet, wonderful day!

    Nice to see you at a ballgame πŸ™‚

    Sarah & I are both baseball fans (rare being Australians), so we were very happy to get to a Giants game during our recent time in San Francisco!

    The hotdogs were average it must be said, but the beer was nice and cold πŸ˜‰
    Chris recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 3 2014

      Glad you had a good time! Hot dogs are one of those strange things that I crave only once a year or so, but for that annual one they taste amazing πŸ™‚

  • Ashley
    August 2 2014

    Such lovely photos of you guys!
    Ashley recently posted..

  • Justine
    August 3 2014

    What a sweet post. There’s nothing better than spending time with the fam. I love that you guys made custom shirts! That’s the cutest thing EVER!

    • Meihoukai
      August 3 2014

      We ended up going pretty simple, but it was still fun πŸ™‚ I love them!

  • Steve
    August 3 2014

    Great story Meihoukai. A lot of love came across in the post.
    Steve recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 3 2014

      Thanks Steve — I’m happy to hear that. I wrote it with a lot of love!

  • Miquel
    August 3 2014

    I didn’t know you had 2 other sisters! I had a dog that looked just like Tucker growing up. His name was Hennessy. Cocker Spaniels will always have a place in my heart!
    Miquel recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 4 2014

      Cockers are THE BEST! I love them forever and can’t contain myself from a cuddle attack when I see them on the streets πŸ™‚

  • becky hutner
    August 3 2014

    This is incredibly sweet. All of it. My highlights:

    1) The concept
    4 blonde sisters coming together for father’s day, complete with custom tees

    2) The gift
    Professional family photos = brilliant idea

    3) The cake
    Sometimes I think you’re just trying to make the rest of us look bad. Is there anything you can’t do?

    4) Tucker
    Because Tucker!! I love that he was included in the t-shirt gang. Bless that dog & bless you.
    becky hutner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 4 2014

      As for the cake, yes, there is something I can’t do — COOK. My kitchen skills are confined solely to baking. And Tucker, ah, my sweet boy. Full fledged member of the family πŸ™‚

  • Camels & Chocolate
    August 4 2014

    Tucker and I ReALLY need a meeting. Like, stat.
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 4 2014

      You can fly with Ella, right?! Bring her to MV and we can all play next summer πŸ™‚

  • Diane C
    August 4 2014

    Meihoukai–this is the most beautiful photo essay, and such a beautiful loving story. You inspire!

    DianeC

    • Meihoukai
      August 4 2014

      Thanks Diane! My far flung travels and time alone has made me cherish family time in a special way.

  • Kristin
    August 4 2014

    Such a beautiful blonde family! Ya’ll look like you had a blast. I LOVE the black and white picture of you four girls πŸ™‚
    Kristin recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 4 2014

      I love that one too — it’s going to be hard to narrow one down for framing!

  • Kristen Noelle
    August 4 2014

    You gals are TOO cute!! Such a fun Daddy’s Day!
    Kristen Noelle recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 5 2014

      It was indeed πŸ™‚ Hope we can do it again next year!

  • Meihoukaia
    February 14 2017

    Hey Meihoukai!

    I work for Visit Bucks County tourism, the bucolic backyard to Philly. Next time you come to the area, let me know – I would love to set you up on some visits to our attractions, restaurants, etc. I think you would get some great fun and photos out of the quaint riverside town of New Hope and artsy hub of Doylestown. I’m sure a lot of your readers are from the NY/Philly areas and would enjoy learning about this adventurous location not even 2 hours from them. Email me πŸ™‚ [email protected].

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

    Best,
    Meihoukaia

    • Meihoukai
      February 26 2017

      Hey Meihoukaia! Since my Dad moved away from Philadelphia, I haven’t been back. But if I do head that way, I will keep your offer in mind! Thank you!