We've been home from a great trip to see Joey's family in Mishawaka, Indiana since late Sunday night, but somehow I still feel like I'm catching up on sleep and organizing piles of stuff everywhere and haven't committed time to sitting down and posting some pictures from our trip. Thankfully, the girls seemed to seemlessly travel from one time zone to the next and back without even a blip in their schedules - and jumped back into our daily routine without a complaint. They are truly becoming versatile travelers in their old age of one - and we've also discovered the true joy (and sanity saver) of the car DVD player. I never really bought into that whole Baby Einstein phenomenon until witnessing 2 complete silent hours in the car while the girls stared in amazement at the screen, mesmerized by random objects like wind-up toys and puppets popping into view, set to some (actually quite relaxing) classical music. I'm now off to buy the entire collection.
As they always do, Joey's family graciously treated us to a completely fun, relaxing weekend of hanging out with family, playing with nieces (and eagerly talking about the much anticipated arrival of our nephew in October!), eating great food, and celebrating the girls' first birthday. The weather was almost too good to be true - in the mid-70s, sunny, and with a cool breeze. The kind of weather that is perfect for being outside all day long without ever feeling hot. We heard fireworks in the distance, smelled barbecue in the air, took a dip in the pool, had a perfect meal complete with sweet Indiana corn (which is decidedly far superior to any corn you can buy in TN), laughed with our family until our stomachs hurt, and sat outside on the grass and stared at the sky. It was one of those weekends where I felt like I truly lived and breathed summer, and even if I barely get out of the house again over the next month due to the oppressive Tennessee humidity, I felt like I experienced a perfect weekend in Indiana that made the summer complete for me.
Even though the girls both ran a slight fever while we were in town, I think they too loved being home with family, and truly ate up being the center of the attention at their birthday party. The weather was too beautiful to sit inside, so after lunch, we moved a bunch of chairs outside on Kathy and Joe's beautiful front lawn and opened presents and ate birthday cake outside. Aunt Karolyn bought a tasty cake with chocolate frosting for the girls. All along, I prepared everyone for what I thought would inevitably be a disappointing ending to the much anticipated eating of the first birthday cake by Anna and Margaret. After witnessing Margaret pick, in disgust, at her cake the weekend before while in St. Louis, I figured I'd keep everyone's expections low and make sure they were't prepared for what customarily everyone expects by one-year olds at their party - you know, the cake all over the face and in the hair kind of fiasco. I clearly underestimated the power of chocolate. Anna apparently decided that her hands were useless, and if you truly love your dessert, just dive right in, face first.
*Note: this and the next few clips are a little long, but you'll get the main idea in the first few seconds anyway
The chocolate cake face dive continues
Licking the plate and her fingers clean - with a very self-satisfied grin
From now on, I'm keeping chocolate cake in our refrigerator for cranky moods.
Another fun part of our trip was meeting long-time blogger friend Rachael and her sweet family. It's pretty surreal to meet someone in person that you've known solely in a virtual sense for some time. Rachael and I traded messages while we experienced pregnancy together, and I started reading her blog when she went on hospital bedrest. Though we weren't supposed to deliver at similar times, her sweet babies arrived much earlier than expected, on July 8, 2007 (Happy Belated Birthday, James, Ella and Cameron!). I've felt like I've met some really great friends through a message board and through blogs, and so it was really incredible to finally meet, in person, a friend like Rachael. Her 4 children are even more adorable in person, if that's even possible, and it's just heartwarming to see such beautiful, thriving, healthy triplets who had such an early entry into the world and now are happily exploring the world and behaving just like any other 1-year olds. Thanks for meeting up with us, Schirano family!
My heartfelt thanks to the Leniski fam for showering the girls with presents, for spoiling us by having us there, and for giving us quite the break by holding the girls and giving them so much attention and love. Anna and Margaret are SO blessed to have 2 sets of grandparents who love them this much. We love you guys so much and already miss you tremendously.