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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Great Memorial-Thanksgiving Day Weekend

 We had a GREAT weekend! Willie and I had been waiting impatiently for the weekend to come. The days at work leading up to it seemed very long and very irritating. Each day just got in the way of the weekend to come. Waiting had become unbearable.

Finally, Wednesday came. That meant Joshua and Caitlin would be coming that evening! How exciting! They would be the first to arrive. The weekend was about to begin. Lucky for me I had Thursday off! We would have time to do things together before I had to work again on Friday. We went to a movie, Dark Shadows! I had been looking forward to that since I first heard about it. It was great. We meandered around Rossville and Danville some, and rented more movies for the evening. We grilled a meatloaf for supper and settled in for the night.

 Thursday night was spent sleeplessly. Valerie, Alyssa, Shane and Kahlen were driving out overnight. I spent the night sleeping for ten minutes and then waking up and jumping up to check the clock. Four more hours, three more hours, two more hours. The minutes ticked by slower and slower. Sleep was being overridden by the excitement of all of the kids and Kahlen being here at the same time. Something that hasn't happened since we moved here. The house itself seemed delighted at the prospect of being full of life and laughter. 
 Finally, at precisely 6:06 am we got a text for Alyssa, "5 miles!" is what it said. Willie and I got up and went downstairs. We both paced around, neither knowing what to do with ourselves. Willie went out on the porch several times, watching and waiting. I paced around the kitchen, deciding what to make for breakfast, just to keep myself from running down the street to meet their car.

Finally, they pulled into the drive. The car stopped and Willie and I raced to the door. Slowly, the very tired group emerged from the car. First Shane, then Alyssa and Valerie at the same time. And then Kahlen! Now, don't get me wrong, I was very excited to see all five of my kids, but they don't change over the months when we don't see them. Kahlen, she looks different every time! She grows, she learns more words, she has emerged from baby to toddler to almost a preschooler since we moved here. Her sense of humor has exploded. I can never wait to see her. Once out of the car I swooped her into my arms and neither of us had any intention of letting go.
 We all spent the morning talking and playing with Kahlen. We caught up and made plans and got everyone settled in for the weekend. Then it was time for Willie and I to go to work. I was again lucky, Friday was the only day I had to work while they were here. Willie had to work the whole weekend. I felt so bad for him.

That Friday at work seemed to be the planet where time stood still. Everything irritated me. I was angry that I had to be there selling pseudo ephedrine to itchy twitchy meth heads instead of being home with my family. After what seemed like forever, 9:00 pm finally came. I knew as I was driving home that Kahlen would likely be asleep when I got there, but that was ok, I'd get to spend time with the grown up kids that way.

As it turned out, Little Miss Kahlen had other ideas. I got home and opened the door. No sooner than I had walked in then a very exhausted Alyssa came down the stairs carrying and even more exhausted Kahlen. She had refused to go to sleep. Alyssa gave her to me, and she hung on tight. We got her talked into going to bed. I promised her that I would stay home with her for the next two days and until they had to leave Monday. She laid down and begrudgingly went to sleep.

The next morning Willie got up early and spent time with Kahlen watering flowers and feeding fish. We had another big breakfast and made sure Willie had Kahlen time before he had to go into work.
We decided to go into Indiana and got to Shades State Park for the day. It was a hot, hot day, but as the name of the park implies, it was very shady there. The heat didn't seem to bother anyone. The dirt however, did. Kahlen is much like her Grandpa. She is neat and tidy and isn't keen on getting dirty. Shane and I have a shared mission in life to change that about her. When we were on a nice flat normal path, or on the board walk and stairs, Little Miss was fine. She wanted to lead the way and decided which way to go. UNTIL..... we got down to the creek bed. It was wet! It was muddy! It was dirty! She wanted Daddy to carry her. She had no intention of getting filthy. Her sandals were not going to be soiled by that mud. I decided to get her dirty anyway. I scooped up a finger-full of mud and smeared it on her leg. Yeah.... not the good idea I thought it was. She was very unhappy that I had betrayed her by getting her dirty. Then I smeared mud on my leg as well. "It's fun to get dirty!" I happily told her.  That seemed to calm her a little.

Shane was very patient and kind with her. He carried her as long as she wanted and encouraged her to get down and walk when she wanted to try. Soon she was down in the water marching around, and just as soon she was up in Daddy's arms again. He was very good at knowing when to encourage and when to scoop her up. What started out as a scary situation for her turned into a wonderful experience for her and Shane both.

On the way home, Kahlen rode with Josh, Caitlin and me. She had an Oreo cookie. Anyone who has ever given a two and a half year old an Oreo knows what a mess that makes. Kahlen looked at her Oreo covered hands. She looked up at me and announced proudly, "Nahma! I got Dirty!" Shane and I may succeed at our mission yet!

The evening was spent grilling hot dogs, brats, pineapple and asparagus. We ate and laughed and wished Willie was there, too. Kahlen and I made a cheesecake for our "Thanksgiving" meal for the next day. She helped me put in ingredients, and watched as the mixer swirled them together. Alyssa took pictures and stayed out in the kitchen watching her daughter grow up a little more. Some cheesecake ended up on the floor, some on Bazinga, some on Kahlen. Some of it even ended up in the pan.  I got to give Kahlen her bath and bedtime snuck up on us.

After Kahlen was snug in bed, Valerie and I went to the store in Hoopston to get a few more things for our Sunday feast. We found all of our items and went home. We made pineapple salad, and Willie got home. His hours had gotten changed for Sunday, which meant he would be home earlier! We were all excited about that.
 The next morning Kahlen came in to wake me up. She climbed up on my bed, and brushed her hand on my cheek very softly. She giggled when I opened my eyes and gave me a big old hug. We watched Sesame Street for a little bit and then headed down stairs. Shane and Alyssa were going to go out for breakfast, and Valerie had already started making rolls for the rest of us. It was the start of a busy cooking day. Before that though, Josh went down and found Kahlen's swimming pool and got it all blown up. Caitlin, Josh and I watched as Kahlen very carefully held the hose to fill her pool. (Very carefully, because the day before she and the hose had had an, lets call it, and interaction. She was messing with the on and off switch on the hose. She wanted to fill a little tub with water. Josh was the first to notice her playing with it, "Let's see where this goes...." was his response. We all watched, and tried to find our phones for pictures, but we were too late..... She got the knob to turn, the water stormed out of the hose fiercely and scared the poo out of poor little Kahlen. Now when the hose comes on she runs for cover until it is flowing nicely.)
We made our big turkey dinner. Turkey dinner on Memorial Day weekend you may be asking yourself? Yes, this was the first holiday we had been all together since Willie and I moved here. So, Alyssa decided we needed to have a big Thanksgiving dinner. Which we did. Willie got home by three, just in time to see Kahlen having a good time in her pool.  Well, standing in her pool, but having fun just the same.

With bellies full, we all vegetated for a few hours while Kahlen and Caitlin put on a show for us. Kahlen was the princess in the grand regal robe, and Caitlin her dutiful servant. Kahlen ran through the house, with Caitlin keeping her robe up off the ground. "Bow down to me," Kahlen commanded. The house was full of laughter and energy. Even the creaks in the house seemed happier and younger.

Monday came and cars were packed. We all went to Penn Station for lunch. Having them leave from their seemed like it might be easier then watching them go down the road from the house. Kahlen started to pout a little as we went to the parking lot. I looked her in the eyes and told her I wanted her to be a good girl for Mommy and Daddy on the drive home. She said ok, and perked up a little. I told her Nahma and Tahpa would see her in about a week or so, and she perked up more. By the time she got in her car seat she was smiling and giggling. Leaving from the parking lot seemed to work. Made it easier on me and Willie, too.

We came home to an empty house. The quiet floating over us like a cloud of fog. Bazinga looked for everyone and was disappointed to find only Willie and me. We sat down on the couch and even the house seemed a little sadder.


  1. What a sweet post! Thanks for sharing all these cheerful photos. :)
    Have a happy summer.
    Cheers from Finland and Scotland.

    1. Thank you! You both have a great summer too!