Saturday, August 13, 2011

Days Sixteen Through Eighteen

We had a real pleasant visit with our Allentown family.  We went to the zoo, which was the perfect size for the attention span of the young kids.  We were able to see all of the animals without killing off the kids one by one as happens in some of the larger zoos.  Not far from the zoo, we stopped for a picnic lunch and playing in a creek.  Luckily cousin Sue and her family were there with us and she was prepared with nets and buckets.  All of the kids spent a good long time catching all kinds of critters, all of which they wanted to keep as pets.  I had to laugh at the prospect of a tadpole in nothing more than a plastic pail joining us on our return trip across the country.  Somehow, it seemed perfectly logical to a seven year old.  
For the rest of the afternoon, we just hung out with Karen and played games and did laundry.  The kids enjoyed having a back yard again, and I think Abby got her fill of going for walks and playing fetch.  By this time, all of the kids were low on money, so Karen told them she would pay them one penny for every nut they picked up off the grass and threw over the fence.  I think there were approximately 1,000 nuts picked up.    Dan joined us for dinner and Peggy and Buddy popped in a little later for one more game of Apples to Apples.  It was by all accounts a perfect day.

Sunday, we went to church with Karen, Kathryn, Jack and Linda.  It was an 8:30 AM service, but somehow we all made it on time.  After church we had a nice lunch with Kathryn.  She made a vegetable soup that Wendy had three servings of after announcing boldly that she didn’t like vegetable soup.  It was also the kids’ first run-in with jello and carrots together.  They thought it was strange, but they also all liked it.  After lunch, we went to the nursing home for a visit to aunt Ruth.  I was touched by the love of two sisters, as Kathryn, Ruth’s sister pulled a comb out of her bag moments after we arrived to comb her sister’s hair.  We also got to hear the story of how Ruth met her husband and a number of stories about James’ dad as a youth.  All in all, a very memorable visit and a shining example of family bonds.  That afternoon, we were treated with a family picnic, where I was able to test my memory of all of the names.  I think I have them all straight now.  It was really great to have so many of the family members together at one time.  The food was excellent too.  Thank you again Karen for all of the time and effort you put into planning for our visit.  
Our last full day there, we took a tour of the Martin Guitar factory with Jack and Linda.  It totally converted me and I can’t think of a single reason($) that we shouldn’t buy one just because they are so cool.  After the tour, we all had lunch together.  Later that afternoon, Karen, the kids, and I went to swim with Linda while Jack and James went for a bike ride.  It was really refreshing after a hot day, and Linda dug up some carrots and picked some tomatoes for the kids.  
Tip of the day:  Pack more underwear and socks for the kids than you think they will need.  They are always taking their socks off and leaving them places.  We have about half of the socks we left with.  As for the panties, you never know when diarrhea toots might strike and it’s just easier to throw them away.

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