Well, my updating intentions flew out the window! Sorry for my unkept promises; I'll try to do a three-in-one post.
Spending time with sh/cm's family was remarkably comfortable and easy. Though different than me (she's a pediatrician) and profusely talkative, sh/cm's brother's wife, L, and I get along great. She's very family-focused, and we talk a lot about her boys, their family trips (they've been all over the world - and to most of the National Parks in the greater U.S.), my relationship with sh/cm and her relationship with her husband, D, and various social issues and ideas. She's a few years older than me but so are a lot of my friends.
Sh/cm's dad was not the easiest person with which to connect, but he was very kind and welcoming to me. He and his wife, sh/cm's step-mother, have a traditional relationship, and there's definitely a "head of the household" mantle he carries around with him. One example of the traditional gender-role culture in their house occurred after Thanksgiving dinner and involved me and L in the kitchen scrubbing and drying dishes, while the step-mom bustled around cleaning the rest of the kitchen, and the menfolk sat at the dining room table relaxing and reading the paper. Grrr. Sh/cm heard about that one later, for sure!
Anyway, overall it was a nice trip. Other highlights included: seeing sh/cm connect with his half-sister's three boys, especially the oldest one (watching/listening to them play the game of Life was sweet, and I loved seeing sh/cm's patience and care); traditional Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans with bacon, cranberry jelly, rolls, and pecan pie with ice cream - OMG; a gorgeous forest hike above a local Sacramento river with kids, parents, and an elder all looking out for one another and conversing amicably; finishing the weekend playing laser tag with sh/cm, his father, brother, and several nephews (I was a fun target as I could not help screaming as I ran away).
The other side of the our time near Sacramento involved sh/cm and my stay in a historic downtown Placerville hotel Wednesday and Thursday nights. We had some amazing talks throughout the weekend about our family histories, the future of civilization, family dynamics and issues (processing our visits with his family worked much better than when we were in Eugene with my family for some reason), AND we managed to fulfill our efforts at trying to conceive in what seems to be perfect timing and flow.
I forgot my bbt thermometer, of course, so I don't know for sure when I ovulated, but the OPK was negative Wednesday morning and positive Thursday - and I'm pretty sure I felt the famed Mittelschmerz twinges on Wednesday later in the day and on Thursday. When I got him Friday night, I took my temperature and it indicated there had been a rise that morning/day, and this morning was clearly in the higher post-ovulation range. I'm glad we had separate accommodations those evenings!
TMI alert: I stayed with my hips raised for a while each time, as well, which I don't always do, and we also practiced the "have an orgasm afterwards to draw the sperm up into the uterus" technique on our last night. I'm feeling quite optimistic about our efforts.
We got back into town around 8:30 p.m. last night. I'm spending the day by myself at my house (currently sitting in the sun at the kitchen table drinking a pineapple/orange/banana smoothie) and he at his, then we will be reuniting for a date night tonight. Feeling post-holiday gratitude for my relationship with sh/cm.