Please excuse the short blog post, but today is a rarity. Usually, Monday morning means heading off to work after a weekend with my family. While I love my job, I also miss not being able to stay home with B and the boys every day. If I could have my fondest desire, it would be to have every day be like Saturdays usually are. Therefore, when I get a day off, I want to make the most of it. Our plans for the day aren’t fully set in stone, but we might have a lazy morning, go out to lunch and even see The Secret World of Arrietty.
What do you do when you have a day to spend with family?
Disclaimer: The "Family" image above comes from OpenClipArt.org.
My parents came for a visit this weekend. Unfortunately, given economic circumstances (on both ends) and the distance between us, we don’t get to see each other as often as I’d like. The boys kept getting more and more excited as “Bubbe-and-Grandpa day” drew nearer. Finally, the day arrived and the boys couldn’t have been happier. Here are a few highlights from their visit (in no particular order):
While enjoying some downtime at our house, we started up the Nintendo Wii. My mother, who I never think of as a gamer, opted to play a game of Wii Bowling with the boys and me. The end score was quite impressive. (As usual, click on the photo to enlarge.)
“Snoopy” was my mother. That 121 score? That was JSL! He was rocking the virtual bowling alley with two strikes and three spares. He even beat his older brother (who came in with a not-too-shabby 113).
Beating Up My Dad
Ok, this sounds bad, but it really isn’t. After Wii Bowling was done, we loaded Wii Boxing and I handed the Wiimote to my dad. Then, he and I duked it out. I won, but he got some good punches in. I don’t think he expected a simple video game to give his arms such a workout.
Toy Story Mania
After coming back from lunch (and some shopping), we went back to my house. Killing time before I had to start dinner, I put Toy Story Mania into the Wii. This time, NHL, my father and I played. We all had fun playing the various Toy Story-based carnival games. For the record, I won easily. Got nearly my father’s and NHL’s score combined. Part of that was probably because, due to a quirk in the game, I got to play solo in a lot of games. This gave me exclusive access to the point generating activities instead of sharing them with another player.
My mother mentioned that she wanted to learn how to knit a scarf. I pointed out that B has knitted a few. At the time, she was in the middle of two scarf-knitting projects. While the boys, my dad and I occupied ourselves with other activities, my wife and mother bonded over knit-pearl.
I wanted to show my parents my cooking skills. I didn’t actually wind up getting the chance to do this. Instead, we went to BJ’s and bought frozen/refrigerated dishes to heat up and serve. Still, eating dinner at home with my parents versus in a restaurant was a nice experience.
I showed my parents the Cake Wrecks book and they kept laughing. When I left it on the table to check on dinner, I saw them flipping through the pages laughing at all of the mangled cakes. I need to remember to e-mail them the URL for the Cake Wrecks blog.
The whole weekend was so much fun that I (*gasp*) forgot to take photos! We got photos of cupcakes and the like, but realized that we didn’t get a picture of my parents with the boys. Luckily, just before my parents left to go home, we were able to snag this photo of us. (B’s manning the camera – and trying to avoid cars in the parking lot it was taken in.)
I miss my parents already and hope we get to see them again sometime soon.
The day before NHL’s birthday, we decided to spend some time with Nana, Papa, Uncle I and Cousins S & B. First, though, we needed to return some Netflix DVDs. So NHL and JSL walked with me to the mailbox. Along the way, we spotted some mushrooms growing in someone’s yard. Given the boys’ recent obsession with certain little blue characters, I joked that Smurfs might be living in there. Luckily, I didn’t see anything come out of the mushrooms as I took photos of them.
With the Netflix DVDs mailed, we piled into the car and went to meet B’s family. We were meeting them at a local park that hosts a farmer’s market every Saturday. The boys were a bit annoyed at having to walk through the market since the playground was so close. Still, we made the best of it and looked at all of the interesting vendors. Sadly, I didn’t take many photos since I was trying to keep and eye on the little ones while looking at the wares for sale. At one stand, though, there was a sunflower for sale that a bee had landed on. I took out my camera and showed JSL and S just how I take bee macro photos.
We returned to the cars to get a quick drink and then off we went to play. We had taken our Aerobie Sprint Flying Ring, Z-Curve Bow, and Zing-Shot Launcher so we broke those out. The kids loved tossing the Aerobie or shooting the bow and arrow across the grass. (The slingshot had a few misfires so I put it away lest it frustrate the younger kids.)
Uncle I had two really good bow-and-arrow shots. In one, he hit JSL (by accident) from about 50 feet away. We all laughed about the good shot while JSL proclaimed that he wasn’t hurt because the arrow’s made of soft foam. The second shot was later on and rocketed a good 150 feet. It was quite amazing to behold.
At one point, we stopped by a veteran’s memorial in the park. I’ve been to this park many times and, for some reason, I hadn’t visited this before. It’s quite impressive (even if the lack of wind kept the flags from unfurling properly).
NHL used the benches at the memorial to show his love for his cousin.
Then, it was on to the park’s pond where we got to see ducks and fishes.
At some point, Uncle I took NHL away. You see, there’s one thing NHL loves more than anything about this park: the hedge maze. He was dying to show it to Uncle I. After a few more minutes admiring the ducks and fish, JSL wanted to show Cousin S the maze also so I walked them over.
Once at the maze, we all went crazy running through it. JSL even got brave enough to allow himself to be separated from me a few times.
Park play is hungry work, so we all went out to lunch. Well, we all went to go out to dinner. Unfortunately, B fell asleep in the car. (He had skipped an earlier nap so we were expecting this.) Nana and Papa took him back to their house for some much needed rest while the rest of us ate in the Cheesecake Factory.
Finally, it was time to go back to Nana and Papa’s house to play and (later on) eat dinner with more family.
Ten years ago tonight, I was in my apartment getting ready for the biggest day of my life. I was going to get married to the most beautiful woman in the world. My friend and best man was in town and staying in my apartment as well. He was writing out his speech for the reception after the wedding. (In hind sight, I should have insisted on reading it beforehand.)
The very next day, a gorgeous woman walked down the aisle to me and said “I do.” Our lives changed.
Over the years, our family has grown. We’ve had happy moments, sad moments. We’ve had angry moments and scary moments. We’ve gone through our share of highs and lows. Still, there is nobody I’d rather have by my side during all of this than my angel, B.
Our lives may have changed drastically in the past decade, but in many ways they haven’t changed at all. I love B with all of my heart and look forward to spending the rest of my life trying to make her as happy as she has made me!
Happy Anniversary, B (a day early), from your Long Island Love!