Sunday, July 24, 2011

Days 14-16: So Many Grandkids, So Little Time

It was hard to capture all the fun we had in Kansas with Kendra/Chris/kids and David/Holly/kids. When the whole group got together there were 13 of us! We had lively times, for sure. 

On Tuesday we celebrated the July/August birthdays. Ender's first birthday is coming up, Kendra turned 30 in July, and Holly and Mark both have August birthdays. Tuesday afternoon I took Kendra and Holly birthday shopping, and we left all the kids home with Grandpa and Chris. The girls told me they liked their gifts, but best of all they liked having some grownup girl time with me.

After family dinner on Tuesday, Ender had his very own little chocolate birthday cake.

It didn't take him long to figure out what to do with it!

Holly made the delicious chocolate cake. Oh, it was amazing! So moist and wonderful, with mousse for frosting. But she took pity on Mark's chocolate allergy, and made him his very favorite apple pie.

 Proud Daddy! (This is the only photo I have with David in it. Oops! Things were just really busy while we were visiting with these dear families.)

The birthday kids. Holly with Ender, Kendra, Mark.

Wednesday we had another grownup outing. David took the day off, so Mark and I took all the adults out for lunch at a buffalo wings restaurant. (Kendra and Holly had arranged for 2 babysitters to watch the 5 younger kids at home, while Gavin and Andie were at summer camp.) The food was fun, but the best part was spending time with our kids together. I didn't get any photos--the restaurant was dim, and my fingers were too sticky to manage the camera--but I will long remember the joy and laughter of that outing together.

After lunch, we went over to David and Holly's home to play board games. More laughter and good memories... All too soon it was time to put the games away and head back again?! My how the time flew with our family.

On Thursday morning we got ready for an outing to the Children's Museum. Mark and I put on our family reunion shirts. Then Charlie came downstairs, pleased as punch that he had his shirt on, too. Abbi got in the spirit of things and ran upstairs to change into her reunion shirt. Kendra pulled out her reunion shirt and loaned it to Gavin, and it was time for a group shot:

You can tell from this photo how attached Gavin became to "Pop Pop." He loved spending time with Mark. Gavin communicates mostly with sign language, and even for someone like me, who isn't trained in sign language, I could generally understand what he was saying. (If I missed something and Kendra or Chris weren't available, one of the other kids would translate for me.) Mark had a great time playing with all of the kids. Kendra's home has a wonderful play "room" just off the dining area, and Mark and the kids--especially Charlie and Gavin--spent lots of time building trains there with him. Mark really got into the engineering spirit of designing cool train layouts. Gavin only has 5 or so spoken words that he uses, so we were all surprised when he began calling Mark "Pop Pop"--a new word in his repertoire! Mark is a special grandpa, for sure!

Even Andie got into the act. She changed into Chris' family reunion shirt, and we were ready to go. Looks like Lilly can't wait!

Here are Andie and Abbi in the ball room, one of the favorite sites at the Children's Museum. There were so many great interactive activities for kids to do with golf balls in that room. Physics in action!

Arora loved every minute of it. She really enjoys her cousin time with Abbi and Charlie, and the Children's Museum is such a great place for kids.

This is a rare still moment for Chris and Kendra. They were almost as active as those golf balls, keeping track of their busy family. (Since they had loaned their reunion shirts to Gavin and Andie, they wore their KU Jayhawks shirts--at least they were the same color. Haha - when our group of 11 walked into the Children's Museum, they thought we were a field trip group because many field trip groups have everyone wearing matching tee shirts.)

Lilly was mostly content in her stroller, but I have a feeling she won't be satisfied with sitting and watching before long. Hard to believe that she's 5 months old already!

 Charlie scores a direct hit with his golf ball down the chute.

 Kendra, Arora, Gavin, Charlie, and Abbi watch the golf balls spiral down the funnel.

 In the "Farmer's Market" room, Kendra entertained Lilly with a donkey costume. Kendra really got into the spirit of play with all of the kids. I think I'm a pretty active grandma, but I couldn't keep up with her!

 Grandpa and Arora interacted with some bird puppets.

Almost time to leave the Children's we went for one more time back to the ball room. Gavin, Chris, Abbi and Andie lined up a long snake of golf balls for the grand finale.

Oh, did I mention that it was hot?!?! On Wednesday the temperature was well over 100 degrees, so we headed for the Crown Center in downtown Kansas City. Along with being the headquarters for Hallmark (think "crown" logo) and a 3-story mall, the Crown Center features a wonderful fountain.
This is one of those fountains that is made for playing. It has almost 50 jets of water that randomly change in height.

 Gavin, Charlie, and Abbi didn't need to be told twice. They were thrilled to get all wet.

Arora and I watched from a "safer" distance, along with Mark and Chris. Andie and Lilly enjoyed some time in the shade.

Mark and I were so happy to spend the four days with our two Kansas families. All four adults--Kendra/Chris and David/Holly--are wonderful parents, and their children are thriving. Nothing makes a grandparent's heart happier than to see that the children are well.

Near the end of our time in Kansas, David and Holly decided that they will soon be heading back to the Northwest. David's Kansas internship is winding up, and there are good prospects for an internship in the Portland area, so they will be moving back to Oregon soon.

In case you are wondering, the answer is "yes." Yes, they will be living with us for a while, and yes, we are once again driving a "hillbilly Subaru," this time loaded with some of David and Holly's belongings. Of course we are thrilled to have these dear ones moving closer to us again, even if it's only for a while, but it is also bittersweet, as the happy times of the "Kansas cousins" get-togethers come to a close.

And so, on Friday morning, Mark and I climbed back into the car--loaded to the gills again!--to continue our journey west.


Katie said...

Haha! After David and Holly told me they'd be moving back to Oregon I had a hunch your car would fill up again! :) Good thing we helped you empty it out so well! Haha. Enjoy the rest of your fun trip!

Dorothy said...

Oh, what happy memories you will bring home with you...that won't even clutter up your car. Good times like those are worth every long hour on the road, aren't they? Be safe on your continuing journey!