Of course the biggest reason for heading to the US was to visit family. My two nieces are growing up quickly and it won’t be too many years before they decide they’d rather play with their friends than hang out with their uncle. Thankfully, that point has not been reached, yet. I’m also fortunate to have two of my grandparents still going strong in their 90s, giving me two additional reasons to make a visit.
I tried to fit in several different activities with the girls, sometimes with both of them and sometimes just one-on-one. I’ve observed that their behavior is a lot better when they are separated. When they are together, the level of antagonizing skyrockets. Here we made some Christmas cookies. I prepared the dough, refrigerating it, then they helped roll it out and cut out the individual cookies.
After the cookies were baked and cooled (“Are they cool yet?” every three minutes for a half-hour) we were able to ice them. The only food coloring at the house was a set of neon colors, which produced pastels very suitable for Easter eggs but not quite spot-on for Christmas. Nonetheless, they happily iced away, adding prodigious layers of sprinkles on top.
Emily seemed to be busy much of the time while I was in town, what with her two soccer leagues and a basketball league, too. Thus, I ended up with more photos of Ava than I did of Emily. On the left, Ava and her mother talk while at my grandparents’ Sunday School’s Christmas luncheon. On the right, Ava (with Emily hidden on the sofa behind her) watches TV and drinks some hot chocolate I made for her. Something about this picture makes her look very adult to me.
As an added bonus, my uncle Dick flew into town while I was there, with his eldest daughter, my cousin Alex, and her first son, Tommy. Here, Tommy, Dick, and my grandmother enjoy a pancake breakfast with Santa at my nieces’ school. Tommy, who is going on two, had a blast playing with his older cousins.
Here’s the visit with Santa. Alex had to join the picture as there was no way Tommy was going to sit on Santa’s knee by himself. Tommy held it together just long enough for a few pictures, then left his two cousins to bend Santa’s ear with their wish list.
Whether because I’m getting older or just because I’ve lived out of the country for a half-dozen years now, I find that I feel the family ties tugging more strongly at my heart. While I don’t know that I want to move back to the US, I certainly wish I could spend more time there and, by extension, more time with my family.
Nice to see your grandparents are doing well! Tommy is such a big boy now! 🙂
It was so wonderful to see you! Glad you had a good trip and got to spend some quality time with the girls.
From my own experience, Chris, aunts and uncles remain favored relatives, even when parents are out of favor. And it’s normal for them to compete when they’re together! Enjoy them now, and you will continue to do so. How’s the flooding doing? — as I bought the computer and printer last week, I was told they were running out of computers because of the flooding, and running out of ink for the printer, too! It’s having quite an effect over here!
You make a great uncle.
Sounds like a little homesickness! Looks like a wonderful visit with all the generations!
call me crazy, but i think tommy had an asian face!
@rudyhou – There is a reason for that. See this picture of Alex’s wedding.@murisopsis – Yes, we managed four generations. Not too bad, I think.@icepearlz – Oh, thank you. Very nice of you to say.@slmret – While the water is almost cleared out of the various neighborhoods, there is a lot of clean-up to be done. Plus, while you’re dealing with shortages of items imported from Thailand, I’m dealing with grocery store shelves with gaping empty spots as I deal with a shortage of items imported into Thailand.@alextebow – I really appreciate you and your dad making the effort to be back at the same time I was there.@CurryPuffy – They grow so fast. Must be the water.
@christao408 - oooooowww…. (nod nod).
Great times all around. A Merry Christmas to you.
@The_Eyes_Of_A_Painter – And to you as well. Have a safe and happy celebration.
@rudyhou – We’re multicultural.
Nice that you can spend time with your nieces! It looks like from the pic that there was a huge mound of cookies to ice! Yum yum!
Great photos and great memories for you and your nieces. I live in California and my siblings live in Texas and Massachusetts. We just don’t see each other often enough due to jobs, logistics of kids, finances, etc. I just met my sister’s 2-year-old twins for the first time and I have another 1-year-old niece I’ve yet to meet. It makes me sad that my siblings are not part of my kids’ day-to-day lives because they are fabulous aunts & uncles! I also wish our kids could grow up together as cousins. But we’ve all made choices that keep us in our respective states (geographic and mental, haha).
It happens Chris. The longer you stay away from your roots, and the warmth of immediate family love, the longing gets stronger and you yearn to get back there. I am glad that you can afford to get back to the family as often as you do.Season’s Greetings to you and Tawn.
@DrTiff – I can completely relate. Interesting how some folks never move from the state they were born in and others travel far and wide. At least we have technologies like email, Skype, and the telephone to make it easier to stay in touch over long distances, right?@brooklyn2028 – I ended up making a double batch, although I don’t know why. There would have been plenty with just one batch.@ZSA_MD – Thanks, Dr. Z. The fact that I’m able to afford to go back about twice a year is something I need to keep reminding myself of. Many, many people can make a trip like that a lot less often.
Thanks for inviting us in.
How cute, the kiddies look like they are having a fun time 🙂
PS – in the last pic, your niece on the right looks like she’s thinking “I know who you really are!”
We loved having you here and spending time with you! Even though we only get to see you and/or Tawn every 6 months, you are always in our thoughts, prayers, and hearts! You two are such an important parts or our lives and we just wish that we had the finances to come and visit you. We love you both so much!
@oldpartner – Well, maybe the situation will change in the next few years and we can find a way to spend a bit more time over in KC. Tawn can establish the beach head for his brand in Johnson County.@stepaside_loser – Yeah, eight going on nine is that point where the childhood innocence starts to wear off… So sad.@Inciteful – You’re very welcome.
I’ve never been far from my family so I can’t comment on what it must feel like to live overseas. I know it must be difficult especially as parents get older and elder care issues start to crop up. I hope you continue to find ways to visit and/or stay in close contact with your family.
@ElusiveWords – I think if I could have my way, I would spend about two months a year in the US, about six months apart. Maybe one month in the middle of the summer and the other month around the holidays.
Awww Ava and Emily are both getting so big!!!