This past weekend we drove to Cincinnati to visit a very special lady...
My grandmother Jessie, also known as Robbie and Ellie's great grandmother (on my mom's side)!
We wanted to introduce her to Ellie. It's taken us a little while to feel like we were able to attempt the trip and overnight hotel stays, but we did it! It was a really great trip all around. We spent time with Jessie on Saturday morning at her apartment. The kids did great.
Robbie brought his trains in with us, and demonstrated to Jessie how he lines them up. (And then just stood there talking about them and marveling at the wonderful order he had created!)
Ellie wanted to join in on the train fun, and Robbie was happy to push a few trains off the footboard in her direction for her to play with.
4 generations - so much to be thankful for!
Robbie comes in close to explain to Jessie the mechanics of his train. I love the expression on her face. She was careful to give him all of her attention as he spoke, and I remember her doing this with me over the years. Always 100% interested in what I brought to her side. I love that about her.
Never one to be at a loss for places to play.
Before we left, Robbie blew her a kiss. Not the greatest quality picture, but so precious.
After spending the morning with Jessie, we headed over to my Aunt Sherry's house nearby to spend the rest of the day there.
My aunt and uncle live on the most amazing piece of property, and the things they have done with it are just beautiful. Their girls (my cousins) Courtney and Caroline were home, and here Caroline is leading Robbie down the backyard to see the chickens. (Might help to give you a little context and say that my uncle is an organic farmer!)
I think this is the closest he's gotten to real chickens. I know they're chickens, but aren't they gorgeous!? I wish I had time to paint. I would paint these ink-black chickens and their coup. So charming.
Robbie got a kick out of the whole experience. So did his trains (apparently).
Venturing further down the backyard, we stopped at the playground.
This is my Aunt Sherry - when I saw this picture as I was going through everything I had taken over the weekend, I was struck by the sense that this is exactly how I remember her from my childhood, but now it's MY child playing near her feet. It was comforting to me. I love that about family.
My sweet girl and her daddy in the summer heat.
Heading back up to the house.
Cousins playing trains! (First cousins? Second? Whatever.) Courtney and Caroline are two of the sweetest high school girls you will meet. They happily played trains with Robbie for hours and entertained Ellie, too. I am officially getting old, because the first words out of my mouth when I saw each of them was "You're so tall!" and I could not stop thinking about how grown up they seemed. I even thought to myself at one point, "I remember holding you when you were just weeks old, on this very couch." At least I held that one in. So sentimental, so NOT young and hip anymore. HA!
My mom and Jessie met us there a little while later for lunch and then dinner. We wanted Jessie to be able to spend as much time with the babies as possible, without completely exhausting her. I think we achieved the former, but the latter was most likely inevitable. I mean, I can't keep myself from being exhausted at the end of each day, and I'm used to them!
Cocoa the kitty. There is also Lily, who looks similar. They are both male, white cats. The girls named them when they were little, and it cracks me up when I think about it! He looked so regal, lying there in the setting sun.
Aunt Sherry helped Robbie burn some energy by taking him out on the deck to slide. She had pulled out all sorts of fun toys from the girls' days of being little, and it was so thoughtful. They had a toy stable and all sorts of animals set up in the living room, they pulled out a big wooden train set and floor mat with a city/train track scene on it, had this slide out, and beach towels, noodles and water toys down by the pool. (Sadly the weather was not very clear so we stayed out of the pool.) But it all helped make the visit so much fun and very easy for Rob and me.
Checking out the pool. Finding a 'track' for his train nearby.
He totally knows what this is... and is feeling for water. Seriously... what boy WOULDN'T stick his finger up there?!
The thoughtfulness continued as Sherry pulled out birthday cakes for BOTH kids, complete with candles, and we all sang to them. (Ignore the finger up Robbie's nose. Well, now you won't be able to.) We were so spoiled by the most amazing angel food cake we have ever tasted, and I developed a new love for Haagen-Dazs Orchard Peach Sorbet. (This continues to be Ellie's choice dessert.)
This is evidence that my cousin Courtney is a saint. I checked on Robbie after I hadn't seen him in a while, and found her pent up like this. She said he had fenced her in, and she played along by not getting out. I am brokenhearted that she does not live closer so that she could babysit for me. (Sidenote: aren't these girls gorgeous!?)
My Uncle Jim was away on Saturday at their farm a little ways away, but was able to meet up with us on Sunday morning when we all gathered for breakfast at Panera before heading back home. It was great to see him, and I'm sad that I didn't think to take my camera in with us.
I am so thankful for many things, but lately I can't stop counting the blessing I've been given in Rob. What a husband I have. He drove the entire time both ways on this trip, was so helpful with the kids as always, and did anything that would help make our time meaningful while we were there. I'm thankful that we had the opportunity to visit my grandma and my mom's family, to catch up with them and continue to learn more about who each one of us is becoming, and to just be together. I couldn't have gotten there without Rob. And can I just add that he unpacked the entire van when we got home, too?! I am so lucky.