Funerals always bring with them highs and lows. There is the obvious low of saying good-bye to a loved one. For a softie like me, another low is that I tend to cry whenever I see someone else, especially a loved one, cry. It was especially hard for me to see my mom so sad. I’m worried about her being sad and lonely. I’ll be keeping a pretty close eye on her for a long time I think. Hopefully her grand kids and her sisters can help keep her spirits lifted while she works through her grief and finds her way. The funeral service on Friday was very nice. The minister led a very nice service with Levi adding a little comic relief. He is so hard to keep contained and I let him out of the pew so he could play with the stained glass light installation just to my left. And then he got away from me and bolted for the front where he found his way in amongst the flowers high up on pedestals. I could just see the flowers all go tumbling so instead of going in after and chasing, I backed away into the next room and he followed me. *whew* Crisis averted! I apologized to mom right away after the service for the interruption but she didn’t seem to mind. At least Levi is cute, right? After the service we all met at the Legion for lunch. After they were done eating, Annika, James, Ava and Levi proceeded to get their energy out by running around the room. Fortunately, the room was big enough to accommodate rowdy kids. It was pretty cute when they started playing ring-around-the-rosie together. Levi thinks he’s a big kid now and wants to be by and play with Annika and James more and more. Of course his danger barometer is not quite as sophisticated so I had to stick close to him to make sure he didn’t get into anything. I feel bad that I wasn’t able to spend more time with my family but I did scoop up Levi long enough to say hello to my grandmother who had flown in from Arizona. After lunch we drove down to Fort Snelling for the burial service. What I didn’t know (or remember from maybe the only other time I’d been there) is that the service doesn’t take place at the burial site. It takes place at one of five shelters and then they bury the body/urn later that day. It was a very brief service with the gun salute and taps and some nice words and then just as quickly as we’d arrived, it was over. Mom was presented with a flag though and we’ll be on the lookout for a nice case for that. Krystle, Mathias and our families went back to Mom’s (with our vehicles full of flowers and left over food) for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Mathias’ girlfriend Martha made us a delicious queso dip and homemade chicken enchiladas for dinner. Super yummy (and a little on the spicy side which Kris loved!). Kris made margaritas and Martha and Krystle both repeatedly said how good they were. Otherwise we just helped mom put away all the food and she played with the kids and talked with us. The kids had a great time playing together. At one point Annika was hiding the dolls and then exclaimed that the “babies were missing” and all the kids plus Gramme would have to go search and find the babies.
Saturday morning Kris and I cleaned the house. It had been a while (since we’re no longer having showings there is no reason to clean, right??) so the clutter had started to accumulate again. It felt good to be able to see all my countertops again. A nice clean kitchen especially is a mood booster for me. It’s amazing that I have to re-learn that all the time! In the afternoon Mathias and Krystle came over (with their families) and we took them over to see the new house. Things are moving along there! The interior paint first coat is done. The fireplace is in, complete with marble and mantle. The cabinets, trim and interior doors have been delivered and are ready to be installed. It’s getting so exciting! Mathias thinks it’s “weird” to have the laundry room on the second floor. I told him it’s genius – who wants to be schlepping their laundry all over the house!?! He still thinks it’s weird and it’s not typically done that way in El Paso but Martha thought it was great too. She’s totally on my side. Take that Mathias!
After the house tour we all went over to Grandpa and Marcia’s house for dinner. Yummy grilled burgers for everyone! We all kind of settled in the family room after eating but the World Series game on that night was so slow moving that innings were taking forever so instead we all went upstairs to play dominos in the dining room. Now that is some good fun, right there! James was “helping” Grandpa and Annika was “helping” Marcia. Levi was asleep on Grandpa and Marcia’s bedroom floor. Pretty soon it was clear that Annika didn’t need any helping with this game and Marcia let her take over her spot to play on her own. I was so proud of my little munchkin! Being able to sit at the table and hold her own in a game of dominos. And she did pretty well too! Earlier in the evening Marcia was at the kitchen table coloring with Annika, James and Ava. They must have been having some pretty funny conversations because there was a lot of giggling come from their way! I’m not sure how it came up but Annika was grossing Marcia out by telling her she was eating fly pie. Yeah – I have no idea where that came from. It sure cracked Annika up though.
Sunday morning we were low on cereal so instead I made homemade pancakes for us. When I opened the cupboard to get the baking powder out I saw an opened bag of chocolate chips. I grabbed them and threw them into the batter for a little treat for the kids. Chocolate chip pancakes! The kids were so excited and gobbled up the pancakes. While Annika was eating her second pancake she decided they looked like fly pies! Both she and I cracked up at the realization of what we were eating. We tried to call Marcia to tell her we were eating fly pies but she and Grandpa had gone up North for a couple days and she wasn’t answering her cell phone. Either way, the pancakes were a hit.
After breakfast we started carving our pumpkins. Well, Annika didn’t. She didn’t want to cut up her pumpkin so instead I gave her a Sharpie marker and she drew a face on hers instead. She even wrote the name of her pumpkin on it “Sofy.” I hollowed out the rest of them though and carved three of them. I let Annika and James pick out what to put on my, Levi and James’ pumpkins. We ended up with 1 cat, 1 scary face and 1 happy face. Kris did a scary face on his pumpkin too. They all turned out pretty good! I’ll have to snap a pick of them before they turn to mush. And I saved all the seeds from the pumpkins and roasted them up. While I did that Kris made a from-scratch beer cheese soup. Yummy! All of this was in preparation for Gramme, Mathias and Krystle and their families to come over. They came to watch the Vikings/Packers game. And they brought a lot of left over food with them too! We had cake and queso dip and bars and pie, all from Friday. Krystle brought rotel dip which we all munched on too. I brought Gramme over to see the new house. She hadn’t seen it in a few weeks. Then we spent the rest of the evening playing with the kids, watching the game and visiting with each other. Mathias and Martha had dinner reservations at Capitol Grill later that night and they left Ava with us. At 8pm I put James to bed and at 9pm I put Annika to bed and that left only Kris and I to play with Ava until Mathias and Martha got back. And play I did! We filled up our toy cars with gas and then raced them down the Little People garage over and over and over again for a good half hour or more. And we did a puzzle. And we played with other Little People toys. By 10:30pm I told her we were done playing and it was time to sit on the couch and cuddle with me and her blanket while we watched Sprout. She fells asleep about 15 minutes later, just in time for Mathias and Martha to get back. She was an angel the whole time but I was tired!
One quick milestone from Sunday – Annika learned to braid! She braided her Rapunzel Barbie doll’s long hair for the first time. We’ll have to see if she can do that on her hair or mine now. So cool!