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Friday, July 31, 2015

Someone who does not live in my country (Week 6)

Way back in 2004, Allison and I spent the summer studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain (or as I affectionately came to call it, “the Manc”). This was a requirement for our dual majors in Spanish and International Studies, and right here I’m going to stop and say that I know you’re all shocked to learn that (a) we had the same majors in college and (b) we decided to fulfill our study abroad requirement together. And as long as we were going together, we figured it only made sense to be roommates, so when we enrolled, we requested a host family that would be willing to accommodate two students at one time.

In my head, I envisioned a true host “family,” complete with mom, dad, and two impressionable young children that would love and adore their foreign exchange big “sisters” from the States. So you can imagine my surprise when we received the details about our host and learned that we would be rooming with a single mother and her daughter that was just a few years younger than us.

Meet Elisea (“Eli”) and Veronica (“Vero”), our temporary mom and sister for the Summer of 2004.

A few fun facts about our host family:

1. Those are birthmarks on Eli’s face. When we got off the bus in Salamanca and she was there to greet us, I sincerely thought she had painted her face for the World Cup that was going on at the time. Thankfully I did not mention as much when I met her.

2. Eli was pretty much always wearing pajamas, or clothing resembling pajamas- in and out of the house.

3. As you can tell, Vero loved her some crop tops and took her cues on modesty from her mom.

4. Even though we requested a non-smoking home, Eli most definitely smoked in the kitchen while cooking our food and doing our laundry. She did it with the window open, so I think in her mind, it didn’t count.

5. Speaking of laundry, as is customary there, Eli hung our clothes out on a line to dry. It was a neat surprise when we woke up one morning to see our colorful array of underwear displayed outside our bedroom window for all the world apartment complex to see.

6. They kept “The Simpsons” on TV basically 24/7.

7. The first meal Eli prepared for us consisted of scrambled eggs, pasta, and chopped up hot dogs. No lie. She also made us chocolate sandwiches as a snack and served us whipped cream on a plate for dessert.

8. She posted rules on our door in broken English, including, “It's included one washing machine per week.”

Unusual habits aside, they really did take good care of us and became our home away from home before we knew it. We haven't kept up over the years, but maybe one day my travels will lead me back there and we can be reunited... and hopefully they'll have a chocolate sandwich waiting for me upon my arrival.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Little trooper

I wasn't initially planning to do a recap post of Colby's ear tube/adenoidectomy (thrilling though the topic may be!), but then I realized it might be helpful for someone else to read as a reference in the future, and I already blog about most every other detail of our life, so why not?

Once Allison arrived on Monday morning to be on Clara-sitting duty, we woke Colby up at 5:30 in order to make it to the surgery center by 6. He was pretty tired and confused (spoiler alert: theme of the day!), so he was pretty quiet and mellow for the car ride.

From 6-7:45 am, we met with a few different nurses, the anesthesiologist, and finally, the doctor. Even though it was not pleasant to start the day that early, I'm glad we were scheduled to go first thing in the morning, because even that early, the doctor was already running late! Colby busied himself playing with toys, exploring the pre-op room, and enjoying not having to share our attention for a change. I was so relieved that he didn't request anything to eat or drink- potentially having to deal with a hangry/thirsty toddler was my biggest concern about the whole ordeal.

They took him back at 7:50 and although he cried and reached out his arms with a look of betrayal, it wasn't as traumatic as I had anticipated. We headed to the waiting room and by 8:20, they were calling us back to come get him. He woke up a minute or two after we got back there and was, once again, tired and confused. A few sips of apple juice and a lollipop later, we were discharged and heading home.

They warned us that he would be moody for the rest of the day, and indeed he was. He was intermittently playing happily and then just as quickly in a pit of despair about some very significant event like accidentally dropping his toy car or Clara taking one of his dinosaurs. I was also not prepared for how much he would be drooling?! Google tells me this is normal, but I honestly felt like he needed to be wearing a bib all day.

The only other unpleasant part of the day for him was having to take his medicine before bed (nose spray, ear drops, and an antibiotic would annoy me, too). He napped well and slept well, and by Tuesday morning, he was back to normal- dare I say, even perkier than normal?

How did Clara handle the whole thing, you ask? She made up for any lack of energy Colby had by being extra rambunctious and inconveniently needy (ie: insisting on being held the moment I asked Colby if he wanted to be held). The doctor mentioned that we should avoid loud noises since Colby's newly cleared out ears would be somewhat sensitive to sound, but apparently Clara didn't get that memo and shrieked directly into his ears more times than I could count (thankfully he didn't seem phased).

She did, however, appreciate the extra one-on-one time with Allison, and also benefitted from the sweet "get well" gifts that were sent Colby's way. And the fact that she got a bonus day off from daycare probably didn't upset her too much, either!

Edible Arrangement from Aunt Shannon, art from Avery & Davis, and dinosaurs from Mimi and Granddaddy

So with that, our little man is on the mend and we're hopeful that healthier days are ahead for him. And on that note, my heart goes out to those of you that have to deal with ongoing health issues for your children because even from this very, very minor procedure, I gained a new sense of empathy for parents that have to constantly deal with insurance, appointments, meds, etc. I hope you all feel like super heroes, because you are!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

FitBit confessions

Thanks for the well wishes yesterday! Colby's procedure went well and recovery has been pretty smooth. I'll put together a recap of the experience, but in the meantime, enjoy this completely unrelated post:

I know I'm not alone in this, but I'm fairly certain that I'm addicted to my FitBit. And I'm pretty sure that one of the steps toward recovery is to confess my wrongdoings, so allow me to share with you my confessions:

1. I walk in place or do laps around the house while watching TV at night if I haven't yet reached my 10,000 steps. I've even jogged in place at the side of the bed before actually getting into bed just to achieve the goal.

2. When I get out of the shower, I won't even walk to my dresser before putting my FitBit back on, lest I don't get credit for those 6 steps.

3. When I'm pushing the cart at the grocery store, I do it one-handed so that my FitBit arm is free to swing back and forth.

4. I do the same thing when pushing the stroller, but that's only if Brian isn't with me, in which case I make politely ask to him push it so I can still get credit for my steps (and yes, I realize this is absurd because pushing the 60+ pounds of baby/stroller while walking is probably a better workout than just swinging my arms while walking).

5. If one of the twins is holding my hand while we walk, I will switch sides to make sure they're holding my non-FitBit hand (... so I can still swing my arm, in case you're missing the trend here). The same goes for Brian if we're holding hands!

6. Not that I get to go very often, but the pool is my nemesis because of all of those wasted, un-waterproof steps.

7. This is very sad, but I was so proud of the the ONE TIME I was beating Allison on the 7-day step total that I took a screenshot of our rankings and saved it for future reference:

It was actually on our birthday, and her battery died just after I snapped this screenshot, which sent her into a mild panic attack ;)

Any of you other step-trackers have similar confessions that you're anxious to get off your chest?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Farewell, adenoids and hello, ear tubes

Thanks to some persistent fluid in his ears, our little guy is having ear tubes put in today and having his adenoids removed while they're at it. I know it is a very routine procedure and am not worried in the least, but nonetheless, we would appreciate your prayers for Colby to not be too scared, to go through the procedure smoothly, and to recover quickly.

I was really pumped when the surgery scheduler called on Friday to tell me we need to arrive at the surgery center at 6 am- yikes. A big shout-out to my sis for agreeing to come to our house at 5:30 am so that we don't have to wake Clara up and drag her along with us!

Anyway, by the time most of you read this, we'll probably be finished with the procedure and already at home recovering, since I hear the whole process is pretty quick. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Proof that I don't (completely) live under a rock

(Alternate title: Five on Friday, but since I already used that gimmick on Monday, I felt too guilty repeating it...)

I wanted to share a few of my recent discoveries as proof that I do things besides raise my children, talk about my children, and go to work.

- I foolishly agreed to follow Kendra Scott on Instagram recently and thanks to that decision, I am now obsessing over these earrings that I really do not need:

(For an extra $20, these are also pretty cute!)

- After several wise friends suggested doing so, Brian and I finally started (and finished) watching the first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix, and it is so stupid, but also so hysterical. I would best describe it as (follow me, here) Elf + 13 Going on 30 30 Rock + Arrested Development. If you are not a fan of any of those, then I'm not certain that our friendship needs to continue and you should probably just stop reading here. ;)

(Also, I CANNOT get the theme song out of my head...)
- We tried a new crock pot recipe this week and even though it's far from fancy (and one of my children refused to eat it), I would call it a win:

- Allison recently introduced me to this daily devotional e-mail subscription from Proverbs 31 and I am really enjoying it so far. My compulsive need to "action" all items in my e-mail inbox as quickly as possible prevents me from waiting until late in the day to read it, so it's been a helpful way to start my day off with the right perspective.

- Semi-relatedly, my co-worker introduced me to theSkimm, and I am also loving it. I find the news to be both depressing and overwhelming, but since I can't avoid it entirely while still remaining generally informed, this is a happy medium. It's basically a daily e-mail that provides a condensed- and just as importantly, entertaining- version of what's going on in the world.

And that is all I have for you today, my friends. If this post doesn't convince you of how awesome and exciting my life is, then I don't know what will.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

3 things I like about my personality (Week 5)

Thank you, writing challenge, for this not-so-humble brag of a blog post. I have been charged with sharing 3 things I like about my personality, so here goes nothing:

1. I'm honest. For better or worse, you can pretty much always count on me to tell it like it is. This is not so helpful in confrontational situations (wherein I feel obligated to tell the other person everything I think with very minimal filtering). It is helpful, however, when someone comes to me asking for sincere advice or feedback. And it also means that if I pay you a compliment, you can be fairly confident that I actually mean it, because I'm not in the habit of just telling people what they want to hear.

Though maturity has taught me the importance of being loving when I speak the truth, I am a firm believer that honesty is always the best policy, and I hope to instill that principle in Colby and Clara as well!

2. I'm persistent. I once wrote about Clara that, "whenever she commits to something, she commits to it fully and she will devote 100% of her effort to the task at hand- rational or not." Let's just say that she comes by that character trait naturally.

Once again, I'm fully aware of the potentially negative side effects of this characteristic: I have a hard time knowing when to cut my losses and give up on something (or someone), I often step on others' toes, and my follow-up skills annoy the heck out of people (I'm a pro at nagging).

BUT, because of this characteristic, I am also a loyal friend, a hard worker, and very much unwilling to be defeated by the trials life brings my way.

3. I've never met a stranger. I inherited this from my mom, although come to think of it, my dad is no wallflower, either. I can and will strike up a conversation with just about anyone about just about anything. Some people are terrified of small talk or spending time with new groups of people, but I love the challenge of finding out what I have in common with other people.

I think my tendency to over-share is related to this, as I do so in an effort to throw as much information about myself out as possible in order to give other people something to connect with (because I hope in social settings that people will do the same for me)!

And with that, I'll leave you with a 4-year-old picture of me eating my first ever cake ball:

Monday, July 20, 2015

Five on Monday

Sort of like "Five on Friday," except earlier in the week.

1. Allison and I watched Moms' Night Out on Friday and my professional opinion? Pretty cheesy and not so much my style. That said, there was some wisdom in it and I found the first 5 minutes and last 5 minutes relatable, so it wasn't a total wash. (Also, I decided to track my progress on my 25 before 32 list here.)

2. A new Gallery Furniture opened recently about 20 minutes away from us, and although we are not so much in need of any furniture, we heard it was very kid-friendly and perhaps equally as important, climate-controlled (which is imperative when the temperature and humidity level both involve the number '100'). We decided to check it out on Saturday and it did not disappoint:

Left: checking out the monkeys - yes, live monkeys - in the outdoor courtyard; Top right: checking out the aquarium that's bigger than our master bedroom; Bottom right: jumping on the mattresses that are displayed at the front of the store specifically for people to jump on

Top left: cutest little boy in the world; Top right: cutest little girl in the world; Bottom: cutest little twins in the world

3. Crossing another item off the list, I finally got to experience Torchy's Tacos for the first time. Much like Gallery Furniture, it did not disappoint, but I feel a lot less lame saying that about a restaurant than about a trip to the furniture store.

Per Allison's advice, I had a fried avocado taco and Brian, the twins, and I shared the green chile queso. Please note in the bottom left picture that Clara was dipping her quesadilla in her water, which Colby deemed an appropriate activity as well. 

4. Brian's parents moved into a new house this weekend (just 8 miles away from us!), and we did our best to distract them from unpacking by pulling out all of Brian's and Shannon's childhood toys as well as letting the twins try out their piano:

5.  This is actually from the weekend before last, but it's too cute for me not to share. Behold: Colby performing "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star":

My favorite part is at the end when he sings, "how I wonder wittle star" and then just stops like it's clearly the end of the song. I sure love that little guy!

Friday, July 17, 2015

25 things to do before my birthday (Week 4)

This week's writing challenge topic is to list 25 things I'd like to do before my next birthday. The emphasis is more on "I'd like" than "to do," because as I've mentioned before about new year's resolutions, I don't love to come up with lists like these... because even though I know in my head that this list is arbitrary, I know I'll still put undue pressure on myself to complete everything on it!

So with that said, while your encouragement is certainly welcome, I hope you won't hold me 100% accountable to actually do all of these things.

1. Have formal family pictures taken by a paid photographer.

2. Go to a Girls' Night Out movie (still haven't checked this one off the new year's non-resolution list, but the September, October, and November options look promising!).

3. Take a child-free vacation with Brian (plans currently pending for a trip to Charleston in the Fall!).

4. Run in a 5K.

5. Get a basic physical (also still not checked off my non-resolution list).

6. Do a blog giveaway.

7. Host (or co-host) a "favorite things" party (my friend, Kristen, did this a couple of years ago and it was really fun!).

8. Take a day off of work for myself (... and try to resist the pressure to spend the whole day being productive).

9. Potty train the twins (I don't so much want to do this as I feel obligated to do this.).

10. Buy a meal for a stranger (or group of strangers) at a restaurant.

11. Sleep in. Just once.

12. Take a trip back to College Station.

13. Eat a meal from a food truck.

14. Take a girls' trip (even if it's just with Allison).

15. Take a class at Painting with a Twist.

16. Try out Stitch Fix (I really, really want to, but I am also really, really frugal, so I'm having a hard time committing!)

17. Try a new restaurant.

18. Go to Zoo Lights at the Houston Zoo.

19. Have my makeup done by a professional.

20. Take a solo outing with Colby.

21. Take a solo outing with Clara.

22. Read one non-fiction book. (Suggestions?)

24. See Taylor Swift in concert. (Oh, wow, what a coincidence - Allison and I have tickets to go see her in October, thanks to our thoughtful husbands!)

25. Become informed about/select a presidential candidate to support. (Yep, saved the most boring one for last.)

So there you have it... let's see what I can accomplish before the big 3-3!

Monday, July 13, 2015


Just a few things that brought us even more than the typical amount of non-weekday joy this weekend:

1. Trying out a nearby toddler pool with friends:

At least Colby and the turtle were excited about it?

How's this for misleading: the adult female in the top left is me, about to push Avery down the slide, whereas the adult male in the top right is Wade, about to push Colby and Clara down the slide- we're just one big happy confusing family!

Someone thought he was way too much of a big boy to wear his puddle jumper

Even though I don't have pictures as proof, I assure you that the Blackburns were also there- we are so thankful they invited us along because this pool was a big hit (...until we had to evacuate due to a poop sighting)!

2. Watching seasonally inappropriate YouTube videos:

Colby rediscovered this Christmas video and this Halloween video, both of which we watched no less than a dozen times throughout the weekend.

3. Clara's new (fake) jewelry:
Check out those sweet clip-on earrings! And I don't know why, but her expression here reminds me of the Target Lady from SNL.

And here she is about 30 minutes later when she realized I had snuck out of the house to go to a dinner with some small group friends. I just can't handle the combo of the pouty lip + the earrings- she's too much!

4. Hanging out with cousins/aunts/uncle/grandparents:

This photo opp was used as a distraction while Mommy and Aunt Peekie were sneaking out of the house on Saturday night... any of you other moms have to use ninja tactics to escape the house?

We ended the weekend yesterday with some quality time + dinner with Brian's family- Shannon caught this cute pic of them holding hands and running (away from the adults)

5. This new jam from Shawn Mendes:

I realize I basically have the same taste in music as a 12-year-old, and I'm ok with that.

6. Potty training:

HA HA HA JK, we are not going to do that until they're at least 7. But practicing still makes for some cute pictures, no?

Thursday, July 9, 2015

My day in detail (Week 3)

I wanted to really thrill you all with this week's writing challenge (documenting my day in detail), so it only makes sense that I chose to document a random Tuesday during a work week, right? Hold onto your boot straps because this is going to be a wild and crazy ride:

5:14 am - Woke up (no snooze button-pushing allowed!), put on workout clothes, and tiptoed out of the house so that the dogs wouldn't hear me leaving and try to tag along

5:20-5:45 am - Ran/walked the loop around my neighborhood; to answer your questions:
   1. Yes, I'm crazy.
   2. Yes, it's still dark outside, so in an effort to be extra vigilant, I don't wear headphones.
   3. Yes, I do have to dodge the newspapers that the paperboy man is tossing haphazardly into people's driveways at that ungodly hour of the morning.

5:45-6:10 am - Showered, put on makeup, and pulled my hair back into a wet (but still presentable) ponytail
- Interesting (?) fact: On Mondays, I wear my hair down/straight. On Tuesdays/Thursdays, I wear it in a ponytail. On Wednesdays, I wear it down/curly. On Fridays, it depends on what I have going on for the day. Lather, rinse, repeat... literally.

6:10-6:25 am - Prepped the twins' water bottles and morning snack (Cheerios); prepped my own snacks for the day (see below) and ate breakfast (Kellogg's Smart Start) while checking e-mail/facebook/blogs

6:25-6:35 am - Got dressed while Brian loaded all of our stuff into the car

6:35-6:45 am - Woke the twinkies up and got them dressed; while one of my favorite parts of the day is getting to wake them up, it's also one of my least favorite because they are not usually super pumped about being woken up so early- can't blame them!

6:45-6:55 am - Watched Sesame Street (and finished perusing facebook) while the twins adjusted to being awake and ate their Cheerios 

6:55-7:15 am - Packed up the twins, commuted the grueling 2+ miles to daycare, and dropped them off, with only minimal protesting, thankfully!

7:15 am - Brian dropped me off at work across the street... and here's where it's about to get really exciting...

7:15 am - 12 pm - You guessed it- I worked! I'm a Recruitment Supervisor for an offshore drilling contractor, so I spend my days dealing with Human Resources issues and, well, supervising people. 

I did make sure to document my morning snack break at 9:30 am, for which I ate pita chips and a cheese string (...which is the same snack I eat every Tuesday morning).

12-1 pm - Most days, I eat lunch in the break room at work, but on this particular day, I had plans to go out with two of my co-workers. We went to Whole Foods and all 3 ended up getting the chicken salad snack box. I'll let you guess which one of us was the only one to finish the whole thing (and then follow it up with an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie). 

(I forgot to take a picture of my actual meal, but I promise this is what it looked like.)

1-5:30 pm - More working! Forgive me for not providing more details, but just imagine corporate America and you have a basic idea of what my days are like. 

And because I apparently only document food, here's a look at my 2:30 pm snack break - a chocolate almond & sea salt Kashi bar (...which is the same snack I eat every afternoon, unless I'm on a peanut butter & dark chocolate Kind bar kick).

And I'm also going to share a pic of the snacks my co-worker brought to our 4:30 pm meeting! Because MyFitnessPal and I are actually on speaking terms at the moment (and because of that cookie at lunch), I only ate 13 peanut M&Ms and considered that a huge victory, especially at 4:30 in the afternoon when I'm typically already daydreaming about dinner.

5:30-5:35 pm - Brian picked me up and we headed to daycare to pick up the twins. This really and truly is my favorite part of the day because they are typically pretty excited to see us. On this particular day, Clara had only taken a 30-minute nap and was apparently being pretty needy, so she didn't run over to us like she normally does, but Colby most definitely did:

5:35-5:50 pm - We drove home and "chatted" with the twins. Highlights included Colby announcing all of the moving vehicles that passed by as usual and Clara requesting that I hold her hand.

5:50-6:10 pm - I heated up dinner while Brian played with the twins outside. Colby insisted that we eat on the back porch, and the weather was decent enough for us to oblige. The twins normally eat whatever we have, but since we didn't want to prep a meal for the week when we got back into town on Sunday, we opted for frozen leftover baked ziti for us and turkey hot dogs for them.

6:10-6:40 pm - We played in the backyard and on the driveway until it started to rain. At this point, Clara willingly came inside while Colby, whose life was clearly ruined, had one of his more memorable meltdowns to date.

6:40-7 pm - Bath and bedtime for C&C, my other favorite part of the day! We were relieved that Colby regained composure after the bath and that they both sat still for a book (Giraffes Can't Dance).  After prayers, singing, extensive negotiations about what they were allowed to take to bed with them, and kisses, we tucked them in and said goodnight.

7-7:30 pm - We cleaned up from dinner, prepped their breakfast for the next day, and got a few things done around the house. 

7:30-9 pm - I intermittently played on the computer, mindlessly watched whatever reality weight loss show was on TV (RIP, Parenthood), sewed a button on a pair of pants, g-chatted with Allison about our upcoming trip to Arkansas, and walked laps around the house during commercial breaks to work my way toward 10,000 steps for the day.

9 pm - We checked on the twins; we do this every night to cover them with their blankies and sometimes remove the above-mentioned objects that they insist on taking to bed with them. 

9-9:44 pm - I took a bath, got ready for bed, and spent a few minutes showing Brian pictures of the twins on my phone, which I do most nights, because I'm a mom, and that's just what we do. 

And with that, my friends, my day was done!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

4th of July memoir

I know it probably sounds trite to start off recaps of big events with the twins with, "thankfully, {x} went better than I expected!," but as any of you fellow pessimists realists with small children know, the potential for disaster when plans are made is very real. So with that, I am legitimately thankful to report that our 4th of July trip to Dallas was a success! 

We hit the road on Thursday afternoon and I can't tell you how relieved I was that the movies we downloaded on the iPad actually held the twins' attention. I also read somewhere that baking sheets were helpful for activities like coloring (sort of like a lap board with edges), and although we never busted out any colors, they proved very helpful at mealtime, so I would highly recommend that you take some along on your next car trip with a toddler:

Also, dinosaurs... always a good idea to take along some dinosaurs.

We spent the long weekend at my parents' house, along with the Olivers, and since our older sister + family live close by, we were able to spend some quality time with them as well. And with 8 adults and 8 children involved, quality time mostly meant watching the 5 older cousins chase the 3 younger ones around while hoping no one was injured or went missing.

Two firsts occurred during this visit: (1) Avery got to experience room-sharing for the first time, and (2) Colby discovered how to climb out of the pack-n-play for the first time. Both proved highly entertaining for the toddlers and mildly concerning for the adults, but overall the sleeping situation went relatively smoothly.

Sorry, ladies, but whether or not you two become lifelong besties is really not up to you...

Full circle moment: the twins checking out the ducks and turtles at North Park, a favorite pastime from my own childhood 

Poor guy had just fallen head-first off the couch, so of course I obliged with his demand request to have the musical tractor and bus accompany him during snack time.

In a sharp contrast to what all other Americans were probably doing that day, we spent the 4th of July parade-watching, eating, baby pool-ing, more eating, and fireworks-viewing. I took about 8,000 pictures at the parade, so you can thank picmonkey for the fact that I condensed them into collages. I have also categorized them because I'm neurotic awesome like that:

Parade-watching Pictures

Candy-Collecting/Consuming Pictures

Posed Pictures

And last, but certainly not least: Selfies

I wasn't satisfied with our attempt at a family pic above, so I was appreciative that Allison snapped a couple of other shots for us back at the house. Flag waving? Check. Patriotic attire? Check. All 4 family members looking at the camera? You can't win 'em all.

Busting out the baby pool was the perfect activity to pass the time between naps and dinner with the fam, in no small part because Brian and Wade agreed to watch the children so Allison and I could "help our mom get dinner ready" (read: peruse facebook and not melt) inside. 

One orange-sleeved toddler who shall remain nameless decided his climbing skills weren't limited to the pack-n-play and got in/out of the pool no less than 100 times, so we obviously bribed him back in with juice... and bubbles:

Please zoom in so that you can see the bubble residue all over his mouth. He won't eat vegetables but soap? Right up his alley.

We don't get to see our grandmother all that often so it was a nice treat to visit with her for a bit. Hopefully she won't hold it against us if our children contributed to her hearing loss :)

We hated to leave on Sunday, but alas, all good trips must come to an end, so after lots of hugs, kisses, and snacks were doled out, we bid Franny and Pop farewell...

... and much to our delight, this occurred (only for 45 minutes, but still):

So yes, it's safe to say that this long holiday weekend surpassed our expectations, and we hope to do it again sooner rather than later. And in the meantime, I'll leave you all with this 2013 (3 months)/ 2014 (15 months)/ 2015 (2 years) 4th of July picture comparison:

Hope you all had a happy 4th, too!