And now, since I'm stuck in the Chicago airport with butt-long delays, I'm going to write a summary of my trip.
Sarah plays the ukulele now. And she loves noise I think more than anyone else I know! She was constantly singing, playing the piano, playing the ukelele, chatting with me - it was so fun. Also, she is ginormous. The baby of the family is now almost as tall as me! I think my parents had a specific number of tall genes, and at first the tall genes were like okay, no one can have too many of us. We've got to spread ourselves out. And then all of a sudden, it got to the 6th and 7th child and all the tall genes were like oh freak!! We won't have anywhere to go! Hurry! Everybody, unload! This is not a drill!! So now Jacob and Sarah tower over the rest of us midgets.
Jacob is also ginormous but this is nothing new. My favorite part of hanging out with Jacob was when we went to this fannnncy-pants restaurant with a ghost for lunch on my last day (today), and Jacob literally fell in love with his sandwich. He just sat there staring at it and commenting on how beautiful it looked for like 5 minutes, and then he delved into it, and he could not stop smiling! When Sarah asked if she could have a bite, I think she took a bite out of his heart as well. But Jacob is just the kind of nicest-guy-ever who would give his little sister a bite of his favorite sandwich, so he did.
Actually, my favorite part of hanging out with Jacob was seeing what a sweetheart he is. He's just so nice to talk to, and so compassionate, and so helpful!.....but that's a little more boring to blog about. I'm just saying. Whoever marries him is going to be so happy about that delightful turn of events in her life.
We pulled up to my family's new house where there were a bunch of new friends to meet. Apparently my whole family hates quiet, because as the kids all move out, we are being replaced with noisy animals. We've always had birds, but now they have chickens, a turkey, and a dog that looks kind of like a polar bear and barks like it is under attack.
My favorite chicken is this one named Mohawkey, who has crazy hairs, but is actually very nice to hold.
Even the turkey, Rocky Jr., lets you hold him and is pretty calm about it. He kind of reminded me of a peacock. He just stands there and puffs up his feathers and wants to be the boss. If he feels like he's not getting enough attention, or someone isn't doing something he specifically approved, he lets out this "GOBBLEGOBBLEGOBBLE!" that does not even sound like an animal. It seriously sounds like a person who's really bad at imitating turkeys! But it actually is Rocky Jr.
Aldas (All-dosh) is the polar bear dog. When they got her I did not think I would like her. As you may recall, my idea of a perfect dog actually does not exist, since I would like one that doesn't poop, bark, shed, jump on you, whine, drool, lick, disobey, get dirty, bite, weigh more than 10 lbs, smell bad, hump other dogs, want to go on walks when I don't want to, or cost money. This dog does not exist, and I realize that.
But Aldas is like - five things I don't like! She is huge, hairy, sheds and drools constantly, has a ton of energy, and I'm pretty sure her poops could squash and kill smaller dogs. She lurped out of her house (which is the garage, because she's a white Clifford, you guys) and ran and jumped up on me right when I got out of the car. And then, I loved her.
Despite all her on-paper flaws, she is actually so sweet and so cute! And it's funny to me how she loves being scratched and she plunks down on top of your feet to trap you there so you have no choice but to rub her belly.
She loves to jump in the pond and chase the frogs,
and when she wants attention, she puts her paw very bossily on your leg,
and looks up at you, panting and smiling like she can't imagine a better friend in the whole world.
My grandpa is the cutest little putterer ever. He used to wear suspenders and a baseball cap all the time and now he doesn't any more. But he is still so cute. I just want to pinch his little cheeks! One day everyone left to do something, except Sarah and Grandpa and I. Sarah was taking a shower and I was planning out a menu for my parents and Nicole, who are going to do Whole 30 with me! Because, for some reason, I am doing it again.
Anyyyway, Grandpa came over and was like "Tell me about your husband." And then we talked for almost 2 hours! It was so fun! He told me about places he's been, and I told him about places I've been, and we talked about hypnosis because, you guys, my grandpa was a hypnotist and I'm not even kidding!, and we talked about Stephen, and my grandma, and it was just so nice.
I love my grandpa because eeeeven though this morning he walked out and said "How are your stocks? The stock market just closed. Yep. And China closed, too." - even though he said that, he is actually very witty and has a great memory. And this gives me hope that when I get old, I can have a strong mind and not be confused all the time.
Julie was in Ohio when I arrived, but she actually left on Sunday, so we only had a day and a half together. But it was a great day and a half! Sarah has the cutest colorful spandex shorts, which she let me borrow so we could go running in the mornings.
The first day, I wanted a picture of this monumental event of me voluntarily going running in the great outdoors. I asked Jacob to take it but that was a REAL struggle, so Julie came out on the deck and started taking pictures. Here are just a few of the things she said:
"Run!!! Keep running, my muses!"
"Goddesses! All two of you! Hair swish, that's it!"
"These are so Instagram worthy! How will you ever choose?!"
"I can't stop clicking. My finger CAN'T STOP CLICKING!!!"
|Sarah did not understand that we were trying to take running pictures. She thought we were having a race.|
"That's it, Aldas! Over here! Look at me!"
"Now pet her! Yes! YES!"
"I love the spontaneity, Aldas! You're a dream!"
Julie is just so freakin funny.
Nicole is now home from her mission! She was, of course, the reason I flew out. I have missed her! I hadn't realized it, since we emailed every week, and sometimes even snail mailed. But just having her back, and laughing with her, and seeing her do the same ridiculous things she did before, made me realize how much I love her and did miss her.
She is one of a kind. I know everyone is unique and blablabla, but Nicole is like 10x more unique than other people, I feel like. Potential suitors may apply via me. (Since I am more enthusiastic about her nuptials than she is.)
|Here's something Nicole is enthusiastic about: taking pictures in front of fireplaces that Abraham Lincoln gave speeches in front of at the Spread Eagle Tavern.|
My parents are still the same, you'll be happy to know. When Nicole had some post-mission awkwardness and I had a mini-freakout about it, my dad was the calm mediator psychologist who solved all the problems. And my mom remains the happy, sweet, help-everyone-with-whatever-problem-they-might-have, mom of the entire world's population.
|Anyone who wants to photo-shop my dad's eyes open is welcome to. I'd appreciate it, and I'm sure he would, too.|
Pick up Julie.
Pick up Nicole.
Pick up Heather.
Drop off Julie.
Pick up Kelly.
Drop off Heather.
Pick up Julie.
Drop off Kelly.
Drop off Heather.
Drop off Julie.
.....all on different days. Yeah, a little dysfunctional! But that was what worked with everyone's schedules, and at least we all got to see each other, even if not all together.
Anyway, it was fun to see my oldest friend for a day! We went and toured my dad's plant, and went to this fancy-pants restaurant that used to be an abolitionist's mansion home. Now it's a hotel / restaurant called the Spread Eagle Tavern. It was here that Jacob fell in love with his.....sandwich.
|I have seriously not seen him behave this way, or look so enamored, since he met Mckenzie Gilmore in Florida when he was like four years old.|
On Tuesday night, Nicole gave her report of her mission. I was so glad I got to be there for it! The whole entire room filled up with the Spirit and I got a little glimpse of what an amazing missionary she was. We didn't take any pictures of us that night because for some reason, we all looked like the dump fairy came and sprinkled her magic not-cute dust on us. Or maybe that was just me. Either way, the only picture I do have from that night is the complete double rainbow that we witnessed.
|I kept trying to take pictures and none of them turned out exactly well enough to do this rainbow justice. You can't even see the second rainbow, but I promise it was there, and I promise I wondered what it meant.|
P.S. He cleaned the whole entire house, soooo, I'm the luckiest wife.