What a wonderful time we've been having with Liza and Aylabelle!
Friday: We slept in a bit and ZJ made us Creamy Wheat for breakfast. We had this whole conversation about how following directions actually makes for good food! You had to be there, but ZJ is a direction follower! It was perfect! We stuck around home all morning and until 2 in the afternoon. Liza had made a hair appointment and we didn't leave until five minutes before that. The kids were home and we had a fun morning just chillaxing together. It was nice to have the kids home for fall break, even if we didn't do much big time "breaking". Just the fact that we didn't have to get up so early was awesome! (Only two more weeks of early morning Seminary! YAY!!!) Doug had to work. Quayd had to work. ZJ wasn't feeling too hot, so she and Grace opted to stay home and in their jammies all day. That's perfectly fine with me because it's vacation!
Liza and I had a nice little afternoon out alone. When we got to the salon, Liza surprised me with a haircut too. We argued over who paid and, in the end, and I won. My favorite thing she said, "Mom never lets me pay for a thing when I'm here, no matter how hard I try." Isn't that what going home to Mom is all about? My mom never let me pay when I went home. I think it's a rule someplace, right?
We had a few stops in town, but, our first was to visit Doug's mom. Liza loves her Grandma and always makes time to go and see her whenever she comes to visit. Aylabelle was so sweet with her. She did her Eensy-Weensy Spider and clapped and all of her cute little one year old performances, but Great-Grandma loved that Aylabelle blew her kisses goodbye without any prompting at all. I can't believe I didn't take a picture of them together!
We made a few quick shopping stops and headed home for the evening with Doug and the girls until Quayd came in from work. Not wanting to cook, and not wanting to go out, Doug cooked, which means, McDonalds, pizza or Subway. It was so fun watching Aylabelle eat french fries. She has a few food allergies and she is lactose intolerant, so I have to be so careful what I feed her and it drives me nuts! I'll think I've got something awesome for her and realize, "Oh, there's cheese." I'm learning, but it was fun to watch her eat "normal food". The funny thing is that it's very rare that we eat "normal" ( McD's) since I'm married to Mr. Granolaman. THANKFULLY because I am so not a McD's fan!
We played Fluxx and Apples to Apples until bedtime and laughed so hard. The best laugh of the night was when we had the word "Complicated" and Liza insisted that her card, "Knock-knock Jokes" should win. We all looked at her and asked how she could even think that knock-knock jokes were complicated? Her answer, "Knock knock jokes are so complicated... I can never tell if I should say, Who's there? or Come in." She cracks me up! After family prayer, I looked around the room and just wanted to cry because we were all together and it hit me, that having teens at home with Liza here, is just crazy fun! I feel so blessed!
On Saturday, Doug went into work. After breakfast, we watched "Heaven is For Real" and played a few games until Liza went to her in-laws for the afternoon. While she was away, ZJ and I put that few hours to use and finished preparing the lesson she'd been asked to teach in Young Womens. We prepared a huge Jeopardy board game withh stories, characteristics, hymns, and so on about Christ and from his lifetime. As son as we got it together, we made dinner (PF Chang Chicken stir-fry) and waited for Liza to return. She got home in perfect timing, just as dinner was ready.
After dinner, we played a few other games until bedtime. After bedtime, Doug and I introduced Liza to "Forever", our new favorite TV show. We talked a bit through it and Doug slept through it, as we didn't even begin until after ten, but it was a good way to wind down.
Sunday was a bit different for us. Since Aylabelle has been sick, Liza opted to keep her home from church and away from other children a few more days. It's not even been a week yet and Aylabelle is still using the inhaler, so we are still concerned that she is contagious. I woke up with a serious migraine. ZJ did, as well. ZJ had to teach her lesson, so she went to church to teach her lesson. She said that she lost her voice in the middle of it. She wasn't feeling her best, but she was committed. I stayed home with Liza and Aylabelle. That wasn't a hard decision. The migraine did not go away until evening.
We'd invited Kelly and Zaylee to come for dinner and told Zaylee that she needed to keep her distance from Aylabelle, but once Zaylee saw our kitten, that wasn't not a problem for her at all. While we waited for dinner to cook, we enjoyed sitting out in the backyard on the swing. Zaylee and Aylabelle picked grapes with ZJ. Liza pointed out that our back yard is so beautiful and, for a moment, I grieved the fact that we are only weeks away from being inside for months. As much as I love winter, I've enjoyed this past summer in our back yard more than any I can remember.
Dinner was fabulous! Quayd chose the menu since it was a post birthday dinner for him. Grape-jelly meatballs, mashed potatoes, homemade rolls and other good things, plus Fried Ice Cream for dessert. After dinner, we played games and gabbed and just had a really visit. Doug took Zaylee for a walk over to the B's so that she could see Miki for a bit. When they got home, we played CLR and ate dessert, said family prayer and said our goodbyes.
Before she left, Kelly invited herself to join Liza, Denise and I for lunch tomorrow. We were happy to have her want to come. She promised that she would not be a stranger and hugged me. Liza and I talked after about the fact that Kelly tried really hard to be respectful. She offered and helped with dishes. It really was a pleasant afternoon and evening, and a perfect way to help remind her of how much family matters. I think that we all equally enjoyed the visit.
Before prayer, I pointed out to Zaylee, "Look! Look at who's here with Grammie! Kelly! Then Liza! Then, Quayd! Then, Grace! Then ZJ! Five of my six children! Who's missing? She said, "Uncle Dale!" Then I said, "And look! YOU and Aylabelle! Willow is missing." But, I have almost all of our family here together! This makes Grammie sooooooooooo happy!" We took a bunch of pictures and it brought tears to my eyes.
girls, girls, girls!
the gang's almost all here!
Kelly's choices have affected mine and Doug's lives in so many ways beyond words. Thankfully, miraculously, I am grateful for the placement of Kelly's other four children into the most wonderful families we could have imagined. I consider them my grands, as well. But, those children belong to their own families and how thankful we are for those families! We are so proud of how hard Kelly worked to get Zaylee back and she continues to show progress. They are both good for each other. 16 months later, there has been much good that came from the challenge of having Zaylee removed. Kelly continues to try harder every day. Zaylee loves her mom. It's been a good thing, in the long run. As usual... we can look back on the challenges of life and see that good came from them!
Life is good! Live joyfully!
Family...where life begins and love never ends.