Saturday, July 23, 2011

An Amazing Week

I already posted pictures of our trip to the lake on Thursday evening. Here is how the rest of the week went down...

Patrick & family actually flew to San Francisco back in June. They rented a motor home/RV from Cruise America, and set out to explore the west. It was funny because they were in Yellowstone National Park and at Mount Rushmore just a few days after us. Last Saturday they were expected to arrive here late in the evening. That worked great--we were going to the wedding of friends of ours in the afternoon, but would be home in time. We got home right around 5 pm. Within 1/2 an hour we got a call from Patrick saying they were at the mall, he was going to get a hair cut, then they would be over (if that was ok--ha!). :) We quickly finished last minute cleaning.

The kids waited patiently by the windows watching to see the motor home drive up. They began screaming as soon as someone spotted it. They were out of control. Mitch told them to sit quietly on the couch and wait patiently. I saw Patrick run across the driveway, skip up the front step, and as soon as the door cracked open I looked at the kids sitting on the couch and said, "Ok, now you can go." They erupted into shouts and screams of PURE JOY as they ran and met Patrick on the steps, nearly knocking him backwards. I don't think I have ever been eye-witness to such a happy reunion.

On Sunday we all went to church together, which was awesome.  On Sunday afternoon we had a cookout/open house for Patrick.  I counted 50 people here!

 {Michaela--Patrick's mom--and Obadiah}

 {Patrick and Micah throwing down a game of Kuub}

 Michaela says of Obadiah, "He's SO big!"

 Patrick and some of his friends--Caleb, "Spoden", Molly, Elle

 The day was SO hot.  After the open house was over, a small shower rolled through and left behind a double rainbow.

 Mitch invited Markus and Michaela to play a game of Blokus.  He wanted me to play too, but I bribed Laura, Patrick's younger sister, into playing instead.  I told her I would give her $10 if she beat Mitch.  ;)  I don't like playing the game because he always wins.  In the end, they tied. 

On Monday we went to Munsinger Gardens.  Later in the afternoon Mitch and I took Patrick and his family out to St. John's University.  There Paul gave us a tour of the campus and showed us what he does (running the computer servers).

 {Tirzah and Laura}

On Monday evening a few of us went out shopping.  This was so much fun for the teen girls that we decided Tuesday we must make a trip to the Albertville Outlet Mall.  We headed out as early as we could, but it was still late morning.  Micah stayed at home with Zeke and Josh, who don't really have interest in shopping for hours on end.  And we did some shopping.  Whew--that was a long day!  We got home in time to go out to Paul and Marilyn's for a very relaxing evening and great food.

 {Malachi and Tirzah at the water table}

 {Michaela takes a turn shooting the arrows}

 {Papa and Obadiah}

 {Relaxing after a tour of the gardens--Josh, Eden, Obi, Michaela, and Tirzah}

Wednesday morning I decided it was finally time for haircuts.  Micah, Mitch, and Josh all signed up.  Micah and Josh both had curls they were glad to cut off.  Thankfully Zeke is willing to hang on to his a bit longer.

 {Micah before his haircut--I keep forgetting to get an "after" shot.}

Wednesday morning some of us went out to do MORE shopping.  In the afternoon we split into three groups--Patrick and family went to a friend's house to go swimming and have dinner.  Mitch took some of our kids to swim at another friend's house.  I stayed at home with Tirzah and Obadiah.  Oh, and Josh went to the Emerson's house to play all day (with a special trip to McDonald's for ice cream).  Hope brought baby Tristan to visit us!

When Josh came home to find everyone else gone swimming, he was SO sad.  I consented to blow up our pool and put at the bottom of the slide.  They thought this was the BEST.  Our neighbor came over to swim, too.  When my kids came home from swimming, they went straight back into the pool at home.  I thought that was great.

Thursday we planned to go to Duluth.  As we talked on Wednesday evening and tried to figure out the logistics, we decided it would be easier, more relaxing, and just as much fun to stay at home.  So that's what we did!  We had all kinds of fun just being TOGETHER.  Which is what this vacation was really about.  I also got to babysit baby Bo Allison, Mitch's second cousin, in the afternoon.  She is a couple months older than Obi and SO stinkin' cute.  Thursday evening we went to the lake...and those pictures are on a different post.

We stayed up very, very late Thursday night decorating and baking for Sabrina's birthday on Friday.  (Sabrina is Patrick's older sister).  Their tradition is to decorate after everyone goes to bed.  Which is very late these days!  Then they celebrate and have cake in the morning at breakfast.  It was a very, very fun surprise for our kids!

 {Michaela did such an amazing job of decorating...the rest of us just tried to help wherever we could...Mitch also did a great job of hanging streamers.}

 {Markus frosted the cake and cupcakes, Eden put sprinkles on the cupcakes, and Michaela did sprinkles on the cake}

 {Sabrina is beautiful!}

 {After our breakfast, Sabrina was able to skype with Oma and Opa and Martin back home in Germany.}

 Friday evening we planned a special dinner at Michael's restaurant in St. Cloud, which serves German food.  It was a good time.

Saturday is the day to say goodbye.  :(  Their flight was not until 5 pm, so we planned to return the motor home, check luggage at the airport, then head to the Mall of America and Ikea.

 {Legos!  The kids and I kept ourselves busy while waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive from checking luggage at the airport}

This was a VERY special event.  We are not sure when--if ever--we will be together again with our "whole" family.  We love Patrick and Kathi so much, as much as if they were our own children.  They will ALWAYS be part of our family.  This was an incredible feeling to have everyone together in one place.  So of course we had to wear our pink shirts one more time.

 01 Mitch--Aragorn, 02 Steph--Arwen, 03 Micah--Gimli, 04 Eden--Éowyn, 05 Caleb--Éomer, 06 Zeke--Pippin, 07 Josh--Frodo, 08 Malachi--Merry, 09 Tirzah--Rosie Cotton, 10 Patrick--Legolas, 11 Kathi--Goldberry, and 12 Obadiah--Samwise (numerical order is by the order each person entered our family, not necessarily birth order)

With just about 2.5 hours left together, we split into groups again.  Michaela and I took Tirzah and Obi and headed for Ikea.  Can you believe I have never been there?  I wish I could remember how many different countries Michaela has visited Ikea in.  But this was her FIRST time visiting one in USA.  Me too!  :)  It was SO much fun.  A little overwhelming.  It was very crowded.  I can't wait to bring Mitch here...maybe we will come without kids.

{One of the MANY things I love about Patrick's mom is that she loves to have fun with the little kids.  She is sooooo good at this.  Now I am no longer surprised that Patrick is who he is.  Since I know both his parents, it is easy to see both of them in Patrick.}

At 4 pm we dropped off Patrick, Michaela, Markus, and Laura at the airport.  We hugged goodbye and shed some tears.  Maybe even more tears because they are saying goodbye to Sabrina as well--she is staying with us for 2 weeks, then flying to New York to meet a friend.  They will begin a world-wide tour that will take until next April to complete!  It wasn't quite so hard saying goodbye to Patrick this time as it was last year.  It was more like "See you later."  And I trust that I will see him later.  

Now I look forward to returning our lives to a more normal schedule.  Maybe.  We have had lots of very late nights this week, and almost no meals eaten at normal times for any of us (except maybe Obadiah, who eats whenever he wants).  And maybe I will get less exercise in the future weeks since I won't be walking around as much.  (This crazy month has certainly helped me shed some of my baby weight!)  

We have lived and laughed and loved and learned together this week.  It has been amazing.  We have been blessed a hundred times over from Patrick's family!  We thank God for them, for bringing us together and for teaching us through them.  Who wants to go back to "normal" after an experience like this??  I think I need a new normal.  ;) 

1 comment:

  1. Great post Steph! I'm glad that I got to meet all of them as well and see Kathi one more time before she heads back too. Also Thanks again for watching Bo it was so helpful and nice to visit.