Nothing Better Than Family

There really is nothing in the world better than time spent with my family. Labor Day 2012 and I got a spontaneous visit from my parents and siblings and my sister Tricia and Phil! My heart is heavy as I write this because they left today, but I am so grateful for the memories they imprinted on my kids and for the time I was able to have with them. We rolled out the good recipes for amazing food, lots of sonic happy hour runs, and story telling.

Notes of Thanks....

To Dad: for making the long drive out here after having traveled across the us all summer, for getting here and working on my bathroom, and my favorite thing I'm so grateful for, is being able to share a cup of coffee with you each morning.

To Mom: for coming amidst a hurricane amount of work, for the story time you had with Nicholas and Christiana, and for your constant words of wisdom from years of sacrifice. I always feel at peace after I talk with you.

Tricia: For the amazing muffins ;), for bringing your two other little muffins,we could never get enough of you or them, and for making the trip out!

Jana: For having the idea of a family visit in the first place, for cooking with me, for running through the sprinkler, I thank God for giving me a sister that loves all the same things I love, my heart always feels fuller after being with you.

Peter: For packing the food and helping to get the van ready to leave, for our sporadic drives so as to shave minutes off your 40 hours, for your big ideas that I find intriguing, and for always keeping us up to date ESPN's latest and greatest.

Paul: For playing for hours with Nicholas, for holding each baby, for the memories you gave Nicholas and Christiana, you are their hero and they are looking up to a boy who is so generous and loving to those around them.

Gianna: For sleeping with the little ones, for taking care of all their little needs, for your constant happiness, and always being the first to help, pick up, fetch, or offer up, without even blinking. Thank you for inspiring me to be a joyful giver.

Grace: Thank you for your voice, it makes me want to pinch you...for providing me with belly laughs when you so dramatically and perfectly express your feelings.

Phil: For always bringing up the level of fun and crazy to every event, and for your manliness.

A small glimpse of weekend activities:

So there was this sleeping arrangement: Aunts Gianna and Grace with their niece and nephew...we heard lots of stories and giggles from downstairs.

I named Paul the "Baby Wisperer" because he had every baby and child reaching for him and eating out of his hands. Paul has a special gift and knows how to play with children in a unique way; he spends so much time with each one and he knows all their unique needs and preferences. He is favored above all.

It wouldn't be a proper visit without a good fishing trip. Saturday morning we all put on our adventure shoes and headed out to a pond with hopes of some good catches.

Jana caught her first fish and you could hear her victory squeals from a mile away.
Observing with wonder and awe
                                    Fun with sticks. Every child needs one.
                                                                  Papaws first catch!

Avila thought we were there to go swimming in the pond and was quite determined. Luckily, she was easily distracted with juice boxes, fruit snacks, and more juice boxes. Such her mother's daughter, feed me and we are good.

                                          Little Miss Sunshine!
    Our super good looking fishing guide and his muddy partner.
                                                                  Me, Jane, and Mom!
           Paul had a good catch! Peter had a lucky night the next day.

One of Andrew and I's favorite thing to do is walk to Mass on Sunday. I love to walk in the mornings on a Sunday because everything is so quiet and peaceful and it gives us time to think and enjoy. Well, the family was game so all  15+ people, (6 of them under 5) paraded to church not quietly or peacefully but fun all the same.

             A balmy Sunday afternoon...we busted out the baby pool and sprinkler for one last hurrah.

Jane was such a good sport and ran through!!

He was the coveted item of the weekend. Everyone took turns squishing his lusciousness.

I felt we needed to have one more viewing of her amazing bikini body before the end of summer, so we busted it out, polka dots and all.

Big heave....sigh....wonderful family time.


Theresa said...

Okay, I can't.get.enough.of.Avila. Holy Moly Hammy!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE the baby chub. Rita is like that right now....and probably for the foreseeable future.

And the family walk to church. Love it.

AZ said...

I WISH I WAS THERE TOO, AMOO!! ;) But I'm so happy you got extra visitors this summer. I am still living off my happy heart from the short 24 hours in Beloit a few weeks ago. Your fam is so special to me.