Our Visit Winds Down

Last games, last swim, last picnic by the pool. We had another round of “who can keep their hand in the ice water the longest?” since they had seen the pix of their cousins trying this experiment. Luke was the winner by far, going a minute and a half. I did a little over a minute and let him have the championship. LOL Unfortunately, we were so busy watching the timer that we didn’t get a photo of Luke’s success. The girls and Rich did not last long in the cold water.

The kids loved having their lunch served to them out by the pool most days. Ada and Emery usually requested sweet tea and Luke loved Grandpa’s fresh lemonade. I never make sweet tea but Rich tends to have simple syrup on hand for various needs so it was easy to add. We also let them split a Coke three ways most days. It’s funny that we usually never have soft drinks in the house but we have taken to drinking Cokes during our quarantine. What started out as a “treat” has become almost one a day for me….not good when I am trying to exercise and lose weight! Rich went to the store last night and noted when he came home that he didn’t buy any more Cokes. Probably a good thing, though I was a bit disappointed. 🙂 We also had plenty of ice cream during the kids’ visit. That needs to stop, too. 🙂

Pop-Up Cards

Always fun and always more complicated than they look! Emery made a pop up of a doggie for her great grandmother in Amarillo, and the kids all worked on a pop up of a peacock for their other great grandmother, my mom in New Jersey. Somehow the photo of the finished peacock card with sentiments written in it has disappeared from my phone. Take my word for it, it was cute and sweet. Luke tired of the card making and moved on to creating paper airplanes. I love it that these kids are all very creative and enjoy making crafty stuff, even though I am not very crafty myself. One of my friends commented on Facebook that I should open a craft store and I laughingly said I was only at little kid level craftiness. Still, it is fun to work on projects together and make some memories along with our creations.

Sous Chef Emery

Emery loved looking at a bunch of pictures of food Grandpa had prepared in the past when he worked as a chef in Alaska. She said she really wished she could help him “cook something fancy.” We said she could certainly help him cook but he was a little concerned that she and her siblings would not actually eat anything “fancy” based on experience about what they will and won’t eat! We looked through his pix again and had her make a list of the things she thought looked good. After looking at the list, we realized her main interest was in the desserts. 🙂 We figured that would work! After some perusal, she settled on tacos and tostadas for the main meal followed by lemon glitter cookies. The cookies took some prep so she and Grandpa were in the kitchen most of the afternoon. Cookies first, then they started on the entrees.

Ada insisted that we wear our dresses, high heels, and lipstick. I showed her the dress I was going to wear and she pulled out several pair of shoes and short booties to go with it. We finally narrowed that down and she approved my final choice. She has some cute winterish looking booties that she wears with everything, including her summer dress. 🙂 She wanted me to use the curling iron on our hair. I have not done this in years but I did manage to find my old curling iron. I am not good at it at all but we made do and stuck a barrette in her hair to hold it back. She then wanted lipstick so I pulled one tube out of my drawer and we put it on. It was not very dark and she was somewhat disappointed. I dug around some more and found another tube of lipstick which I had apparently bought on sale and never opened (can you tell I am not a girly girl?). We opened up the box, pulled out the tube, and WOWIE! it was much darker in color! She was thrilled! The next few days she went in and secretly applied some again. 🙂

Menus were created by Emery. We put candles and placemats on the table. Rich wanted to put the fixings out and let everyone make their own tacos and tostadas but Emery really really wanted to “take orders” and serve our plates. She came out to the table with her little tablet and we all told her what we wanted, then she and Rich plated our meals up. It was super cute to see her so involved and having fun. Rich said she was a big help and he enjoyed their time in the kitchen. She was funny and complained about the “diners” who were kind of demanding and wanted refills and seconds before she even got everyone’s first order done. Rich told her this is how it is in a restaurant kitchen, not as much fun as you might think!

Luke said he would give the restaurant “10 stars,” though he did state that the taco shells and lettuce could have been better. These were balanced out, however, by the exceptional lemonade and cookies. Dinner conversation included hopes that we live to be 100. 

The cookies really were delicious! We saved some to take home to Amarillo so their parents could enjoy, though secretly I wanted to sneak another one.

Decorating Glass Stones and Playing our Least Favorite Game

Most days we started out with something artsy/craftsy which the kids love and it gives them something to do besides TV or devices. 🙂 These glass stones are easy to work with–you’re basically just gluing a picture or design to the bottom of the stone and it shows through the glass when you’re finished. Once again, I thought they’d each want to do one or two but they wanted to use up the whole box. 🙂

Later they wanted to play “Apples to Apples” which ALL of our grandkids love and Gigi and Grandpa dislike it intensely. We’ve played it with adults before and that’s a lot more interesting and enjoyable, but when you have a kid who can’t read yet and several who don’t necessarily understand the definition of a word, added to the fact that EVERYONE wants to be “the judge,” it’s just not the most exciting hour of our day! Still, we will engage for awhile just because they like it so much.

Ada’s 6!

After the kids went to bed, I decorated the dining room for Ada’s birthday the next day. We wanted to make it special for her since she could not be home with her parents and she was pretty excited when she got up and saw the decor! We had a fun day and another little party that night with mini bundt cakes and ice cream. I can’t believe she is 6! She is one of only two that I was able to witness being born, which was an amazing experience. We talked about her birth and the fact that Emery wanted to name her Zuzu. 🙂 This girl is very smart, a great conversationalist, asks deep questions, makes funny comments, picks up games and skills very quickly, and keeps us laughing. We love her so much!

Rock Painting and a Little Swimming

The kids swam most days and that kept them occupied for quite awhile. I have been getting in the pool more often than not lately, since it is too hot to take a walk. I’m not a strong swimmer but I have been using a kickboard to swim back and forth in the pool and get in about 2000 kicks, then I will tread water for awhile and swim a bit too. Ada was fascinated with my routine so she started doing laps with me. I was surprised that this little bitty girl could do that many laps on her own! Toward the end of the week, Luke also joined in and he could do more than I could. They are all great little swimmers! Another quote from Ada while swimming next to me: “Gigi, you have a lot more white hairs than I remember!”

I try to have some arts and crafts activities on hand for the kids and they always enjoy those, too. They decided they wanted to paint rocks and hide them in the neighborhood for others to find. I figured they’d want to maybe paint two each and they’d be done, but no, they wanted to paint every rock in the batch! It was fun to see their enthusiasm for the project! Emery is a good little artist and was able to copy some cute rock designs she saw online. She also helped Ada with a couple of hers and Ada colored them in after Emery drew an outline. In the past we have used regular paint on rocks but it hasn’t always worked as well as we would have liked. This time I ordered some paint pen/markers and they were SO much better! Very easy and not messy at all!

Oh, and Luke earned some money for cleaning up the bedroom. 🙂

Back to our Quiet House

We had an artsy craftsy morning on the last day and the boys made early birthday cards for their mom. Then a little swimming and lunch by the pool. Played several rounds of a matching game, packed up their stuff, and handed them off to their parents and sister in the front yard. I asked Sarah if they’d be offended if we did that, since they’d been around people at the soccer tournament, stayed in a hotel, and did some shopping before coming by here. She said “no worries,” which I am never sure about…does that mean really “no worries” or is it a way of saying, “I think you’re kinda ridiculous but I will go along with it” ?? LOL She came up to the door with a mask on and said they’d been wearing masks the whole time so I guess all was fine. We chatted for a few minutes, hugged the boys,  and said our goodbyes. It was great to have the kids for a few days and to see everyone else briefly! We sure do miss having them in the neighborhood but are thankful for bits of time together.

A little summary of our time so I will remember!

Jack’s song of the summer: “Counting Stars” by One Republic (not new but he loved it and played it over and over)

Beck’s song of the summer: “Filthy” by Justin Timberlake (also not new and not sure if that is appropriate for a 9 year old but hey)

Runner up for both: “I Poop” by Auraganix Kids (Yes, that’s what it’s about)

Flashback to their older sister: “Look What You Made Me Do” by Taylor Swift (good for dancing)

Movies watched: “Trolls World Tour” and “Dr. Dolittle,” both pretty enjoyable even for the grandparents

Games played: MouseTrap, Sorry, Apples to Apples, Matching, Garbage (card game), Cars Surprise Slides, screen time on Grandpa’s iPad and Beck’s Nintendo Switch, Would You Rather, and “guess the riddle” cards.

Favorite snacks: Chocolate ice cream, fresh peaches

Books: Beck likes a book we have here called Bad Guys and he brought along several of his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Jack loves all of the thrift store kids’ books in “their” bedroom and his favorite this time was Rocket Writes a Story, along with his other long time faves about puppies and kittens.

Quotes to remember:

Jack—“When I am here, I miss my parents but when I am home I miss you!”  “I wish I could stay here forever!”

Beck–“We should be in a TV show called ‘Hurry Up, Gigi!'” (I know I already mentioned this one in a previous post but it’s pretty priceless)  “I could have been sitting at hot soccer games all weekend so I guess I’d rather be here.”  LOL

Dallas Kids

We had Elle, Beck and Jack from July 5 to 9 while their parents were out of town. Elle loves to bake and she and Grandpa began talking about coffee cakes for some reason so they whipped one up and we all enjoyed it for breakfast and for several days after.

We drove out to Ham Orchards in Terrell to get some fresh peaches, and of course had to have some ice cream and fudge while there!

It was tech week for Beck’s latest play, “The Lion King, Jr.”  This meant getting him into full costume and makeup for his role as Ed the Hyena and driving him out to Plano in 5 o’clock traffic. Elle and I got to be champs at his makeup (mostly Elle) and could whip it on pretty fast.  It’s a long drive out and then he wasn’t finished till 9:30 at night which meant we didn’t get home till 10:30.  I don’t know why they make 8 year old kids spend that much time rehearsing, but he loves it and didn’t mind at all.  Gigi was the one complaining. haha Oh, and I got to learn all the songs because we listened to the rehearsal soundtrack all the way there.  🙂

Elle went with me to my volunteer work at White Rock Center of Hope where she was a big help with getting paperwork together, greeting people, and doing some filing.  She was super sweet to the clients who came in, especially the little kids. All of my fellow volunteers loved her and she said she’d be happy to come with me again. Makes this social worker’s heart glad!

Cousin Emery was going to camp so we all wrote her letters and sent them off. We had a blast watching the US team in the World Cup with our soccer girl, read books, played games, swam and napped. Soon Mommy and Daddy were home and the grandparents’ “30 Days of Grandkids” was over.  Although a little tired, we wouldn’t trade it for the world!