I'm back! I arrived home Wednesday late afternoon to three excited girls, two tired but happy parents, and one husband who didn't get home from work until after midnight. Yikes. But all was well in my absence, even if Grandma let Bridget convince her that it was time to switch to underwear exclusively. Guess we're in it for good now :)
There was no way I could figure out how to post pictures for my Ten on Tuesday on Tuesday (as it was, I stayed up an hour past when Marnie and Tina went to bed trying to figure out how to do the screenshot for the Ella eBook winners) so I'm using that as my excuse this week. Ha. I put my CHA list of ten up over at Write. Click. Scrapbook. this morning, so I saved the other half of my trip—a short, short weekend with the Persheys—for here.
I worked really hard to get Juliette's birthday present finished before I left: a portable doorway puppet theater! Gracie tested it out for me. People who know how to sew will wonder why this took me hours and hours to make, but I don't know how to sew and my mama can attest to the fact that I was very excited to see it come together. I made up the design myself (heh) from a Target curtain I bought to hack for the project. This will show up in my 52 projects album eventually (I think I have 5 done so far). Juliette loved it, and I think she might have to wrestle her parents for it occasionally.
It was lovely to have a thousand choices of where to eat dinner on Saturday night : ) Ben and Katherine picked out Versailles, a Cuban restaurant—partially because I'd never had Cuban food before, and partially because they serve plantains. MMMMMMMM. Apparently plantains are not served with sour cream in Cuba like they are in Central American/South American restaurants I've been to, but no matter. I got my fix for a while. It was a yummy dinner. Juliette is amazingly well-behaved in restaurants.
Sunday morning I got to hear Katherine preach, which is always fun for me. I was left to my own devices for a bit since we arrived early, so I was allowed to wander around and take pictures. It is a very bright, cheerful sanctuary. Her congregation loves her—and it was fun to see how Juliette interacts with them, too. The birthday girl enjoyed a lovely Sunday morning indeed.
We had to race home so Juliette could catch a nap before her big party; after she woke up, she wanted to snuggle with her Aunt Elizabeth. Or avoid a diaper change, I'm not sure which—but I was happy to oblige. She is a snuggly kid.
I love being in my sisters' homes. They probably think I'm weird and nosy because I'm always looking at everything, but their stuff is so cool. Katherine and Ben have lots of nifty Nikki McClure artwork intermixed with lots of nifty Cleveland Browns artwork. And many, many books. It's genetic.
Ah. This is the one everyone was waiting for. The birthday girl, on her actual birthday, looking absolutely adorable. I can't emphasize enough what a fun, cool kid she is. She had the perfect birthday party: a few friends, a few balloons, a few snacks, and a private music class for everyone. It makes me sad that I can count on one hand the number of times we've seen each other in person.
This was one of my favorite pictures of the day. A disaster was narrowly diverted seconds before; Juliette was clutching that juice box and one of the mamas in attendance thoughtfully started to take it from her so her hands would be free during cake time, and Juliette's on/off temper faucet turned ON in about 1.2 seconds. The mama's eyes got huge and she pushed it back into her hands as fast as she could. It was a funny moment, and there were no tears during singing or afterward. Whew.
It was a beautiful late afternoon when the party ended, though a little chilly. I didn't expect to fly from Wyoming to California and be COLD. This is the view from the parking lot—a church down the way a bit, not Katherine's.
I am so glad I got to meet Juliette's first best friend. She moved to Colorado yesterday, and both the Persheys and Lila's family are sad, sad, sad about it. All I could think was: I know exactly how they all feel. There's nothing you can say to make it easier for two little girls who so obviously love each other when they're separated by geography, even if they're just two years old. I wish them a lifetime of Skype and stamps and conversations at home that keep them an active presence in each other's lives.