Last week we made some memories with our two oldest nieces, Bella and Penelope.
I should preface this by saying that we miss our nieces (and nephews) terribly and it’s been, by far, the most difficult part about moving far away from our families. Seeing them visibly grow every time we visit is THE WORST. I wish I could stop time, but you know how that goes…
So for six months I planned things we could do during out Summer Camp. Crafts, skating, swimming… all the best summer things. It was so good for us because we felt that, in a way, we were making up for lost time… or catching up.
Monkey onesies from Amazon are always a good idea. They were swinging on my bed for, like, an hour.
Bella’s first Nancy Drew experience. She said it was “kind of scary”.
Penny’s tiny legs in my boots kill me. She’s dancing in the rain here.
The girls blew me away with their weaving abilities. It was their first time and it went so well. I think they knew they were awesome at it because when Jeremy asked to hear their favorite memories they both said weaving. I was so proud!
Penny reading us all the books in my nursery (their favorite room to hang out in).
Penny and Scarlett. The cuteness here just hurts.
Some of our favorite memories-
-Unleashing the kiddos with my instax camera and three rolls of film. Kept them busy for a while and they both had the cutest collections of photos to take home.
-Swimming in the back yard.
-Penelope falling asleep on me. This never happens and it was the best!
-Weaving. We used this tutorial to get started and I did all the finishing work for them. We used these looms from Target (which are actually pretty great!)
-Hula Hoop making. We got the supplies at Harlan Ruby in East Nashville and the girls each got to choose their own colors and finishes. I made one too- of course!
-Skating. Their favorite! We had so much fun.
-Painting mugs. When the girls arrived I was working on this post and they LOVED helping me. Sidenote- that was definitely the only work I got done during their visit, I don’t now how people work from home with kids…. Augh! It must me an acquired skill.
-Dressing the dogs up was listed as one of their favorite memories. hahaha
-Breaking in the new playhouse!
-And no visit would be complete without a lot of painting time, my favorite.
-Uncle Jeremy has a famous karaoke tradition that all the kiddos love. It involves a lot of Katy Perry and a lot of pitch shifting their vocals and then them losing their minds… haha!
-Making gifts for their baby cousin and decorating her nursery for me with a bunch of ribbons and feathers and stuff.
-Watching the movie Penelope, which they love.
-Uncle Jeremy talking them out of writing on my face with sharpies at night (ps- whoever started teaching children pranks on kids youtube is earning some bad karma).
-Waking me up at 6am.
On the last night of their visit we went to China Lights at the fairground. It was so beautiful, these photos do it no justice. It was really magical.
Love her! I am making the girls books of these photos tonight so I can send them a little happy mail!
On the first morning the girls were with us I received a text early in the morning that my grandfather (and Penny’s great-grandfather) had passed away. It was somewhat expected since he had dementia and had been struggling for a long time. But still, there is never a good time to say goodbye to someone you love.
The entire week I had two sets of emotions running parallel, on one hand I was grieving a loss of someone I loved so much and who was such a big part of my childhood. Each time I had a free second for my thoughts to wander I was thinking about our memories together- our road trip to California, our walks, our Lawrence Welk dance sessions, popcorn, his horrible way of waking us up and a million other tiny fragments that mean so much to me.
In the other side of my brain, so much joy. Being with these kids who I had been missing so much. Getting to make memories that they will remember their whole lives. It felt even more significant and it really reminded me to put everything I had into our short trip together. So we went hard and it was exhausting and it was the best!
By the way, the mug above was made by Penelope as a gift for her great-grandmother after we explained to her about Grandpa Jackie’s death. She worked hard on it and my grandma loved and appreciated it so much. Children have the biggest hearts and in life’s darker moments they are the best reminder to let today just be today. I sometimes struggle with not wishing for another time (past and future) but in this week the girls filled my heart so much there was no mental space to be anywhere else.
I hope we can do it again next summer, maybe with more kiddos? I’m up for the challenge.