Thursday, July 28, 2016

My Aunt

I have been completely at a loss for words ~ my mother's oldest sister passed away on Tuesday (the 2 previous posts were written earlier and scheduled to go up automatically). So I am stealing my sister's words because they are so close to what I was thinking these days: 
Of all my aunts, she reminded me the most of mom, in looks and in her voice.  I always thought they talked alike, and her voice was always so warm and comforting to me as a child, like a second mom.  She was warm and nurturing and kind and generous and loving.  I always loved staying at her house and spending time with my cousins.  She and Tio Jerry had such a loving family.  I will always look up to both of them as role models of parents and people in general.  

My aunt gave herself to service for others; she had so much energy and dynamism. But what I kept thinking about these days was her voice. I can still hear it in my mind and in my heart. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Oh, Right, That.

So in the annals of significant family moments, one of our guinea pigs died. We had two: Leona (because Gabe wanted to name her Lion, but I feminized the name in Spanish since she was female) and Brown and White, a.k.a Blanquita.

The night we got back from home leave, Leona breathed her last. We found her lifeless in the morning and I quickly bundled her into a plastic bag and out with the morning garbage collection.

The kids asked a lot of questions but weren't too upset - I don't think they were very attached to her (I know I wasn't) - we never held them much, because I don't like when they mess outside of their cage.

But Blanquita has seemed very quiet and sad, so we have been holding her a LOT, and feeding her her favorite snack - pieces of sweet red pepper. It's nice cuddling a warm little furry creature in the morning and the evening.

We haven't decided whether or not to get another guinea pig to keep her company. I read that guinea pigs live to be about 5 years old. I don't know how old Leona was when we bought her but she was full-grown. She was on the obese side so I suspect some heart trouble. But we weren't around so I don't know if she had any signs of illness while we were gone. Blanquita was not full grown when we got her, two years ago, so she could live another 3 - and we'll only be in the country for one more. I don't know what we'll do with her then, probably give her away preferably to someone who lives in a rural area. But I'm hesitant to add another new pet to the mix considering that we'll have to part with it in 12 short months.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

another milestone!

Gabe lost his first tooth! It was loose for about a whole month before it finally fell out; the new tooth was already growing in behind it - my sister called it a "shark tooth"! 

He was very excited to leave it under the pillow of the Tooth Fairy or el Ratón Pérez (either one will do!)

One funny thing that happened, early during our home leave we were at a hardware store and he was wiggling it absent-mindedly. The woman at the cash register asked him if it was his first loose tooth, and when he said yes, she told us that when she had her first loose tooth her dad tied a string to the tooth, and the other end of the string to an arrow... and she shot it out of her own mouth herself, with her bow and arrow!

It's just so Rockingham County, it made me day. We actually tried it, too! We used Gabe's toy bow and arrow though and it didn't actually work - the string just slid off the tooth both times we tried. But it was fun to, um, give it a shot!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Summer Juggernaut of Fun

Probably the best thing about home leave is hanging out with friends and family. (It is definitely not reading the newspaper, even though I do that as a civic duty.) One weekend we went to a Jantzi reunion in Akron, then camping with our Star Trek group. I totally forgot my camera (for the entire trip) but someone took this one for me:   

This was Bug's first camping trip ever, first time sleeping in a tent, and the first time for both kids eating s'mores! A couple highlights of this trip were looking at Saturn through a friend's big telescope, and the mountain swing (with a 5-point harness). Pretty awesome!

Another day we went swimming in a friend's pool the kids had SO much fun. It was raining, but not as cold as where we've gone in Bochica. We even ate ice cream sandwiches!

I got to see my sister! She was on the East Coast with her two girls, so she actually came to Harrisonburg and the cousins got to see each other and hang out at the park and the children's museum:

Playing with the green screen "invisibility cloak"

Fish tickling their toes in Black's Run

Just before leaving the country, we went to Pennsylvania for another Jantzi reunion:

Three generations of Jantzi males!
 That Saturday, my wonderful sister-in-law drove me five hours to Pulaski, NY, for my youngest cousin Max's wedding! It was absolutely fantastic to see nearly all the family there, I was sad to leave the party early but had to get back to PA to join up with Terry and the kids in order to fly out from DC the next day.

A friend of mine in college used to do something called "Jug Days" (short for "Juggernaut") where you try to pack every single fun thing you can think of into one marathon day of fun. I kind of felt like this home leave was like that. I haven't even mentioned the 14 lbs of blueberries Terry and the kids and I picked, or the knit night at a friend's house, or thrift store bargain hunting, or the library, or fireflies, the city pool, or running into friends at pretty much every turn. 

Nevertheless it's been good to be back in our own space, back in our routine, catching up with work that was hanging over my head the whole time we were away. I still have a few more pics to post if I can find them. We have a team retreat this weekend so it will probably be next week. Onward!

Can you see me and my sis in the background there? Not a dry eye in the whole room!

Friday, July 08, 2016

This Kid Turned 6!

 This was Gabe's first birthday celebrated in the place of his birth! We didn't have a big "do" like last year, but I think the hamburger cake was memorable. His first loose tooth is hanging on tight in his mouth, it has been 3 weeks now, but that's another landmark moment happening now.

He was asking me the other day about topiary, and when I said you can shape shrubbery like "anything" he said "what about God?" This kid.