For the past four weeks Amy and her family have been staying at our house and every night most all of us gather for big family meals. And every morning I am greeted by the sunny smile of my niece as she runs towards me with open arms - warms my heart to the core! And my nephew is about the most smiley easygoing baby I have ever encountered. It's been an absolute joy getting to know him and his developing personality.
I am loving the time with my sister and sharing my home, my clothes and just about everything else with her. After all, it doesn't make sense to schlep certain things half way across the world. It's an absolute treat to have my brother in law Toni here too. He normally can't come for so long but he is in between jobs and is cherishing each precious day spent bonding with his kids and the rest of us.
We have had tons of fun so far and I could possibly write a small book sharing all about the past 4 weeks of adventures. But instead I'll share some photos and some highlights afterwards. We still have two weeks left and I am looking forward to the many gifts that each day seems to bring!
- We got to have a surprise celebration for Jill and Mustafa who celebrated their 4th year of marriage. Us adults and kids got all dressed up fancy, put on R&B love songs and sow danced as Jill and Mustafa walked in the front door. It was sweet.
- 'Iva asked for a haircut one evening so we went downstairs to the Beauty Temple and proceeded. It is rare for a 2 1/2 yr old to be excited about getting their haircut; yet she stayed enthusiastic the whole time. Now she frequently asks to get her haircut and we have to explain why that isn't an everyday fun activity.
- Papa (my Dad) treated himself to a nice fishing boat and got to take the kids out for the maiden voyage. We are all excited to now have access to the water in this way. A new family activity!
- One cold and wet day I stayed inside with the kids while Amy and Toni busted out an awesome lower deck at the entrance of the Beauty Temple. Amy has an interior design background and did an amazing job at figuring out how to best cut and layout the salvaged Trex decking I acquired. And Toni is a crazy hard worker. He was drenched and filthy - it's amaziing he didn't get sick.
- Speaking of sick....we all got sick together - oh joy. Nothing brings warmth to a family more than the shared joy of vomiting. Ha. It hit hard but luckily it was fast.
- One of 'Iva's favorite things has been to play and sing Angel We Have Heard On High on the piano with me. She now even sits there and 'plays' and sings it on her own. I still am fascinated by how quickly she picked up the words.
- It won't be long before Melino is on the move. He has just started to scoot around on his belly and he's getting more efficient by the day. We like to toss a small toy a few yards in front of him and watch his journey to retrieve it.
- Another favorite activity here is to play records. I have an old Fisher-Price record player and a bunch of 45's from the seventies that my Uncle David had given me when I was a kid. I have such fond memories of playing records on the Fisher-Price player. It's so rewarding turning the kids onto this 'old-fashioned' hands on way of experiencing music in this very digital time in history. Needless to say there will be a record player for them under the tree this x-mas!