Sunday, August 17, 2014

Rain, River, Sun, and Sand!

Ian and I hit the road for Paris for two nights and met up with my parents, brother and sister. It was the only weekend all summer when most of our family (all except Jim) would be together. The reason: Willem was in a play called Tour de Farce in Washington, DC!!

Since my dad had already seen the play, he took Ian for a stroll through the surrounding area of DC while I enjoyed the play with Mom and Phoebe! Willem did a great job and left all three of us women in tears at the end of the play. His character passes away from cancer.... whew. In the program he dedicated his performance to Uncle John, who left us for heaven a year ago. Emotional.

As a family we then enjoyed some time walking around DC and eating out at our traditional place, Gordon Biersch Brewery, which is a neat restaurant in a huge, old bank.

Äma is so creative with her toys! Above you'll find Ian playing with a trash can lid, balls, and a wooden spoon. He would twirl it around and around!! So fun.

Then we hit the road for The Pinery, where Ian and I spent a week with Mom, Dad, and Willem! A HUGE thank you goes out to Mom and Dad for each helping me with one leg of the trip. Ian and I rode contentedly in the back to and from The Pinery, while one of them drove us. Leif was their co-pilot... ha! Thanks for also putting up with that ;)

The week's weather was rain, rain, and more rain, but we took the sunshine-y moments when we could! Ian did a lot of swinging in this yellow swing, the swing that held me and my siblings growing up!

If only we could know the silent conversation they were having...
Äma read Ian lots of books! This one happens to be about rain... appropriate!! You can see that Ian's hand is getting ready to turn the page. He quite enjoys helping with that part of the reading process. Sometimes he's a bit too hasty and we finish the book after just one or two pages, but sometimes he's more patient and sits through the whole book.
Another good rainy day or evening activity included emptying all of the plastic dishes and other safe items from the cupboards!! Oh, the sounds he would make! Oh, the messes... such fun. 

Those eyes depict a common face around here. An intent, wildly excited face of a toddler having a good time and of a child free to explore and play with his surroundings. What's he off to next?!

We went to visit Grandma at Laurelbrooke, where she took us on a tour, since it was Willem's first time there, and showed his the beautiful fountain that lights up and makes music. It's a beautiful place and Grandma speedily zips around the halls and sidewalks. (Hi Grandma! I know you read these!! Love you.)

Below you'll find many snapshots of our time at The Pinery:

Dad and his earth oven. Another post to come about that soon!

Turk's Cap- beautiful and tall!!
Dad's river art- "Walt"
Mom's cairn of rocks from WV.
Äma cuddles
Turk's cap, up close and BRIGHTLY lit!
Chillin' and stylin'!!
Aunt Beth, Julie and the girls came for a visit. Pictured here are Julie and Heidi.

The girls!
Ian woke up from his nap while we were down at the river. Still looks like he's figuring things out...
I love this photo of Willem with Heidi. He's so sweet with little kids.
The Riggs, our neighbors, let us borrow some big trucks. Ian liked dumping the dump truck.
Mmm. Watermelon.
So much going on in this photo. Willem with watermelon fiend, Leif begging for the rind (which he loves), and the up and coming watermelon fiend, Ian.
This dog can fit anywhere.
While we were at The Pinery, Ian figured out a newer, more "comfortable" way to sit in his high chair. He could often be found with one foot out and one foot in, if in his chair. Youch! We should all enjoy our snacks this way!! 

I will put up a comparison post soon, for this picture with the pump. There's one of me around the same age with this same pump. Look at those adorable eyes peering over the seat!!

Up to something...
Mom, Willem, Ian, and I went blueberry picking, but I didn't bring my camera. Turns out that I missed some pretty good opportunities because Ian, restless in the carrier, wanted to be put on the ground. Apparently he had been taking good notes while I was picking because he crawled up to the lower branches and began picking only the bluest berries, minus the occasional green. It was so fun to watch! Another blueberry fan is in our midst!

You should have seen his lips, tongue and... diaper. Ha!

That RED hair.

Warrior Dash: He lapped our neighbor's house, all under supervision, and was ready for more.
His energy knows no boundaries!!
Uncle Willem was practicing for a callback and he needed to have a British accent (a job which he subsequently landed!). Ian was just giving him a few tips. Pants aren't needed, apparently, when your expertise is required.

So, uh... Grumps. This wheelbarrow won't move itself! ;)
One day Mom and I went to get Ian some Cook Forrest garb during Ian's morning nap. As soon as Ian hit the mattress, we grabbed our stuff and were out the door, leaving Willem with the video monitor. We were gone all of 35-40 minutes or so before returning to find Uncle Willem and Ian coming down the stairs after his nap. Ian was content to snuggle and cling tightly to Uncle Willem's arms for a little while. Willem made me laugh by talking about how exhausting and scary it was to watch the monitor and then hear and worry about every sound made around us... the lawn mowers turning on from both neighbors, the loud motorcycle driving by... each a glimpse into every mama's greatest fears!! :)
Here are a few more good quotes from Willem about his observations of motherhood: "It must be so amazing to be so connected to another human being," "Wow, being a parent is a lot of work," "No wonder mothers love their babies so much; they put so much time into them!!" I love my brother.

The sun came out for our last day, which meant we needed to get in the water!!! Here we are very hopeful... but only to learn that the water was too cold for the little man.
So he spent some time throwing rocks into the water and playing on the shore, instead of floating.
Mama and Uncle Willem eventually went in, though.

Hat's off to you, mate! No hat stays on for very long these days.

When he was done in the water, he decided to climb the bank...
But it was too sandy and slippery. After a few times of slipping, he decided he needed his mama.
Covered in sand and mud...

...he decided to share it with me.

Thanks for helping to clean us up, Uncle Willem!
And thanks for the photography, Mom!!!
After getting cleaned up, Grandma arrived! She wanted to go for a walk and it was also time for Ian's next nap. Perfect. Let's go!
My grandma always LOVES to walk. As a child we used to walk the trails around her house, which Grandpa kept maintained with his gravely. She'd take us on all sorts of different routes, but eventually we'd end up at the "Kissing Tree" and we'd have to give and get a kiss on our cheeks.

Every time we'd eat a big meal, Grandma would say that she'd have to go on a huge walk around the block. We often did go on a walk after a meal with her, whether it was down River Road or around her property.

Now, at Laurelbrooke, she still takes a walk each day and seeks our walking buddies to do it with her. She has a certain lap that she does up to the fountain and around and back to the main entrance. She has a goal of doing a different lap sometime soon.

I'm glad Ian and I had that walk with her. We love you!

Thank you, Mom and Dad for a wonderful visit! We loved having time with you at our favorite place. Thanks for the yummy meals, the fun activities, the chance to go on a bike ride by myself, for hosting family, blueberry picking, and shared love and laughter. Until next time...
Here's a shot of Ian enjoying some of the pizza from the earth oven. YUM!
More photos of this to come.
Farewell, The Pinery! We'll dream about you until next year. Mom and Dad are currently in their last days there right now. Enjoy and relax!! We miss and love you :)

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