Last weekend the kids and I headed up to Detroit for my Mom & Dad's 45th wedding anniversary party. This would be the first time I flew with all three kids on my own (Timmy had to work.) Overall, they were excellent little travellers. We didn't check any luggage (damned if I am paying $25 a bag) and they all wanted to help carry or roll a bag. I'm not sure how much the other passengers enjoyed us as we trended blocky and Eion soundtracked the entire flight to the Indiana Jones song, but I was thrilled. And he made some TSA agents' day when he was putting back on his shoes after clearing security and he remarked, "This is my favorite part of the airport!" I asked if they got that often. Not surprisingly, the answer was never before.
My brother was also at my parents' house - the first time we had all been together in two years. Sadly, his partner Chris couldn't make it but the kids (happily) settled for just Uncle Dominick. We had a great, busy weekend during which we caught up with my family, my brother in law and sister in law's family and some friends too. The kids hadn't seen their cousins in ages and were thrilled to do so.
They also delighted in continued and repeated assaults on Uncle Dominick, who they eventually made call for a cease fire, and stocking Opa's pond with goldfish & koi.
I'm not entirely sure, however, if the highlight of the fish experience wasn't when one escaped the Pet Smart worker's grasp and made an ill fated attempt at freedom.
Mom & Dad's basement was also a virtual treasure trove for the wee ones. They found all sorts of old toys they claimed as their own. Thank god we were flying so I had a perfect excuse not to bring it all back. Though I have a sneaking suspicion some of these prizes will be making their way to our house at Christmas.
Eion was also carrying out a one man mission against Dad's garden on many fronts. He rearranged the rocks by the stream. He flooded the pond with acorns. He used gnomes for batting practice. Last I heard, many have also "gone missing." This trip was extremely pricey in gnome replacement alone. But he was having a great time!
Saturday my parents had a party for their 45th wedding anniversary. Lots of relatives came from all parts of the midwest, some arriving early to set up the arch. For any milestone anniversary, the Dutch side of the family erects an arch which is decorated in greenery, flowers, and a sign feting the lucky couple. Since the support beams had to be driven 4 hours, it was a bit of a surprise that this one came through.
In addition to family, some friends from UofM also made it which was wonderful since the gap in get togethers can be measured in years - much too far apart. They had all experienced the Veldman chaos before and fit right in.
Eion was in true E form. I had regular report outs from other kids that he was using the outdoor stand up potty, in the front yard no less, and was intermittently pantsless. My favorite E moment was when he asked me if he could have an orange soda. As it was a party, I figured it was fine with me. Oma, however, didn't see it that way and took it away, leaving Eion devastated. My friend Olivia took matters in hand and snuck him the soda with which he immediately headed to an uninhabited corner of the house to enjoy. He later was coming in the garage to dispose of the evidence with the can behind his back and a bright orange ring around his mouth. He'll need to work on his technique.
As is always the case with a party like this, I felt like there wasn't enough time to talk to everyone for as long as I would have wanted. And the day went by too fast and we were headed back home to Virginia the next morning.
We only had a few days at home before Tim & I were flying to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Tim is attending a medical conference and I am just tagging along. When we planned this, we really didn't think things through. We are missing the end of the summer at the pool, school orientation and the first day of school. Ooops. You know, it didn't seem so ill advised in May when we planned it! Luckily, my in-laws have everything well in hand.
But as if things weren't stressful enough, two days before we were leaving, I accidentally ran over our cat, Midnight. You might remember her as the award winning kitty of last fall.
Not that I imagine mortally wounding your pet is ever fun, but this was truly awful. Morrigan and I were in the Wrangler with all the windows out when we backed up and heard "rrooowwrroroorww!" I had run her over. Tim took her to the vet hoping that maybe she just had a broken leg but her injuries were much more extensive. Surgery was not advised at that time and she was stable so a few hours (and $600) later, we had her at home and were hoping she would rally and recover. But within a day she began to refuse water and any other fluids, was ripping out her IV and was generally looking miserable. That night, she died in my arms. Nancy (my MIL), myself, and to my great surprise, Tim, were all in tears. Seriously, I have known him for 19 years and have NEVER seen him cry - except when we were watching Old School and that was kind of different. It was emotional. And then we got to relive the whole thing in the morning when the kids got up and we had to tell them.
Eion was the only one who seemed relatively unfazed. When our other cat tried to come inside (the kids are allergic so they are outdoor cats), he informed Jack, "You can't come in unless you are smooshed." At least he forgave me. The girls have reminded me several times that this is all my fault.
So after we break the news, we then have to leave them to attend their school orientations all red-eyed and miserable while we flew across the country. My guilt level is running at an all time high but I'm hoping I'll be forgiven by the time I get back.