Friday, October 14, was NEOEA in Ohio. Thus no school and then no Seminary. As usual my body awoke as it normally does and as I lie in bed listening to Robert gently snore, the thought came into my mind that we should get up and go surprise Jocelyn whose birthday was the next day. When Robert awoke, I rolled over and asked him if he would like to do that. And he agreed. He asked if we would call and tell them but I thought a surprise would be so much more fun.
Much as I love Niko I didn't want to take him along this time and decided to call PAWS and see if they had a vacancy. They didn't have a quiet Queen but they did have a King so we made the arrangements. Then it was fast breakfast, pack some clothes and off we went. We dropped off Niko about 9:30 and were on our way. The day was lovely and bright. Travel was easy and I just kept getting more and more excited. I knew they'd be home since poor Steve is still without a job, they'd just returned from a week of burying Steve's dad, and Steve had mentioned there would be an Ice Cream Party Saturday night.
We pulled into Fay Lane and Robert started the Hatch Honk. Guy had a party of his own with so many boys playing Capture the Flag. They heard the horn and Guy came up the hill and gave me a hug but was more interested in continuing with his play.
So with my phone camera rolling, I walked up the path, up the stairs and tried the door. It was unlocked so I walked in and Scarlett came around from the kitchen and saw us but I think she was confused to see us there. I shhhhushed her and she smiled and called into the kitchen, "Mom there's someone at the door" while I was knocking on the glass stair wall.
Yes, Jocelyn was surprised. She screamed and then cried. She wondered if Steve knew about it and said he would never be able to keep this secret. But nope, Steve was also surprised and came out of the kitchen when he heard the exclamations and cries. BEST SURPRISE EVER.
For me, I just wanted to get over the fear or worry or fussing about travel. I have kids that live in different places and I want to be able to drop everything and go when I want to. When I think about it. And not fuss about anything. So this may be a start. And good start and certainly a fun start.
Here's Robert with Val.
So Jocelyn made some pizzas for Guys friends and then we went and picked up some Applebees much later. It was just fun to be there.
Saturday was Jocelyn's birthday. We joined the Christensens on Jocelyn's bed as is their tradition when she got her breakfast in bed. After all was enjoyed and gifts opened, Steve brought up a game table he made for Jocelyn. It's round and is the last piece of wood that Steve bought when Hank and Robert were together.
The fun, and secret, sports are actually UNDER the table.
Here is a pinecone from their backyard:
And here's a green leaf from their yard also:
We spent a lot of the daylight hours shopping, which included a stop at a HUGE barn sale. The prices were wonderful and if I had a mind for it I could have bought a lot of things. They had platters to match my old, childhood Homer Laughlin set. I had one original plate from my childhood...it has lovely blue forget-me-nots in amongst the flowers. I bought various pieces so I could have a setting for 4 people but no serving pieces but really, it was just fun to see them.
We stopped at a couple of Farmer Markets. The day was a perfect fall day and so there were lots to see and do. We bought some apples at one place, and peanut butter made on the spot from Honey Roasted Peanuts...warm and delicious. At that place there were lots of activities for the kids. The girls are in this tube and Guy is walking along the top as Robert rolled it down the yard.
Jocelyn had wanted to have lunch at The Country Cupboard (our favorite place to visit) but to feed us all it would have been pretty pricey. So instead, Jocelyn, Robert and I looked around and since it was Sweetest Day for us in Ohio, Robert bought us this lovely nativity set...VERY tiny. And yes, Joseph is holding an actual sewing needle.
Jocelyn bought one for herself also. Then I asked at their restaurant if we could just buy some of their broasted chicken and they said we could. So we did. We hurried home and I put together a dinner FAST because Steve had invited their friends to come for ice cream to celebrate. I skipped the ice cream because, well, I don't like ice cream for one thing but more importantly, I had bought a huge cream puff that I wanted to share with Robert (and bought one for Jocelyn and Steve to share but they had their fill on all the ice cream and toppings). The party was fun and loud, but all the kids were actually outside so the volume was really the adults.
Happily it finally was time to sit down and put my feet up...boy did they hurt. BAD! And then Robert didn't want to split the cream puff so it was all mine!
Sundays for the current year are pretty easy there. Their church doesn't start til 11 so we had plenty of time to eat, get ready and for Robert and I to pack up our things and our car.
Before we left Jocelyn opened her She-Ra box and allowed her kids to see her cool things from her childhood. Personally I think this stuff ought to be in a glass case. Kids are not gentle with things moms love.
And Scarlett wielding the sword:
From the picture below I am sure you can see why Guy would not be interested in such things.
This is a young boy on the verge on manhood. And he's such a cool kid. Just way too much fun, very smart, so much wants to spend time on computers but is limited because it's the wisest thing to be. He's the best big brother and I cannot wait til he can share a room with Val. That's the time when Boys will Finally Rule and the girls will Drool!
Then it was time to head to church. Robert and I only stayed for Sacrament Meeting and then started for home. Christensens, of course, stayed the full time PLUS they got to have a Linger Longer afterwards. We walked in through the kitchen when we first arrived and I was very impressed that this ward knew how to bring amazing food and in quantities that our people don't understand. Loved seeing it! Below is the very full pew...all mine!
I miss the Linger Longers our ward used to have years ago. Now we are too big, too rich, and way too lazy. This makes me mad but, oh well, what are you going to do when you aren't in charge? I'll tell you, just come home and eat.
Time to say goodbye to my 39 year old daughter and her kids, sniff sniff...
Good bye adorable Val...but we will see you in 3 short weeks for Autumn's baptism! Cannot wait.
Remember me saying how lovely the drive to PA was? Well, the ride home was even more spectacular! The colors on the trees had deepened and it was breathtaking. I kept rolling down the window and taking pictures as we sped by at 70 mpg. Love the technology of my phone's camera...not bad, right?
Loved this one because of the barn and other buildings.
But combine this with the following pictures and you can see what a joy it was to drive home in God's majestic world. Oh yes! Bonpapa would have been so proud...Proud and True Pennsylvanian that he was...as the Christensens now are!