On Tuesday of this week, Ian and Alec had a presentation at their elementary school and were blessed with the presence of their parents, siblings, cousins, aunt and uncle and grandparents to observe and applaud their efforts. Afterwards the whole big group of us piled around the half-packed living room for a few minutes of chatting and snacking on a new variety of (accidentally) flourless chocolate chip cookies made by Eva.
Later that same night, Eva and Silas and I took Mom-Mom to two pet stores in search of new pets, specifically two betta fish in remembrance of Eva's special project at school this year. We ended the evening back at the grandparents' house where Silas immediately toted the big basket of Thomas train pieces into the living room; turned on Tom the talking (recording) tomcat; and lit Mom-Mom's electric candle so he could sing Happy Birthday to people at random. Meanwhile Eva carefully designed aquatic habitats complete with rocks and plants for red-finned "Robbie" and lilac-colored "Lily."
On Wednesday, Pedro and Silas spent time with Pop-Pop (something involving Chick-fil-A?) while Terri, Mom-Mom and I joined Aunt Joann for our second and final "Christian girls" get-together before leaving. Hearkening back to a tradition from last furlough, we first shared a buffet lunch together at the Bird-in-Hand Family Restaurant. Then we enjoyed their newest musical theater production titled "The Home Game," a modern-day adaptation of the Prodigal Son story with an Amish twist. Though our times together have been few, it is always sweet to see Pop-Pop's only sibling and always bittersweet to say goodbye.
Aunt Terri's day continued well into the night when she picked up Eva and Isabel after school for a evening out with her nieces and daughter-in-law. The girls were treated to a grown-up meal at Olive Garden and then went "shopping" at the home of a LuLaRoe distributor! Thanks to video chat, I was able to give opinions on a few items but with Aunt Terri's expertise they came home brightly and happily outfitted. It was perfect timing for a pick-me-up before the final days of school.
Thursday (yesterday) Mom-Mom picked up the older kids from school and took them to her house where Eva clarified instructions for the betta fish, and Mom-Mom sorted through jewelry to pass on to both granddaughters. Meanwhile Owen strangely went straight to bed. (Later we learned it had been an emotionally draining day of early goodbyes at school.) When time came to bring them back home, we invited Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop to stay for dinner since a yummy Mexican meal of rice, beans and pork tacos was already underway - thanks to Pedro!
And then, not wanting the beautiful summer evening to end and with the excellent excuse that it was also their 49th anniversary, we carpooled with Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop to Rita's for some Italian water ice and gelatis.
There are just a few days left before our departure for Chile. And we are squeezing in the memories.