Thursday, October 20, 2011

"Uncle" Comes to Town!

As an add-on to my most recent post about treasured family visits, I wanted to write about our recent visit from Uncle Jared!  My brother Jared (currently living in TX) graced us with his presence over the weekend of October 7th and we had a blast.  Joe picked Jared up from the airport on Friday after work and brought him home.  Evelyn and I went and picked up some gluten free pizzas to celebrate his arrival.

All week long I had been talking to Evelyn about Jared's impending arrival and teaching her to say "uncle."  She really didn't care to repeat the word and I just figured she wasn't ready to learn a new word, so I dropped the lessons!  On Friday, on our way home from picking up pizza, I was talking to Evelyn about Jared and said, "Uncle Jared is coming to visit you."  She just stared back at me in her car seat mirror and smiled; she seemed very aware of his coming to visit.  When we pulled in, Jared and Joe were waiting to greet us.  I pulled Evelyn from her seat (she jumped into my arms, as she often does) and took her to the sidewalk to meet Jared and Joe.  She took one look at Jared and said, "Uncle!" like she had known the word all along; she uttered it perfectly!  So... for the rest of the weekend, Jared was not referred to as Jared, but only as, "Uncle."  Evelyn is blessed to have 3 other uncles (Jay, Matt and Jim), but for now, "Uncle" is the catch-all term... someday she'll learn their names!

The weekend was really nice, low-key and fun.  We took Jared mini-golfing (Evelyn's first time) and Joe took Jared to play real golf later on Saturday afternoon.  On Sunday we went to Mass and went out for a nice family breakfast (Evelyn did great; she even used big-kid crayons and colored on her restaurant coloring sheet).  The afternoon was relaxing and in the evening Jared treated us all to a fabulous dinner out (Thanks, Jared)!  Evelyn did well at dinner too!  She colored (again with big-kid crayons) and ordered off the kid's menu... that was a first!  Overall, it was a wonderful weekend, filled with happy memories and lots of laughter.  Thanks for coming to visit, Jared.  We all miss you, "Uncle!"
E's shirt (from Jared) says: "If you think I'm cute, you should see my uncle!"

Joe and "Uncle" having too much fun mini golfing!

The hiking pack was PERFECT for mini golf with Evelyn!

Jared, me and Evelyn

Putting with Daddy... on the 18th hole

They didn't have mini golf clubs in Evelyn's size

So darling!  

Leave it to "Uncle" to get Evelyn riled up before bed!
Looking cooler than cool for Uncle Jared!

Treasuring Time With Family!

Living so far away from our families can be a real challenge.  While we don't have the luxury of taking weekend trips to see our families, we do have the opportunity to use technology as a source of connection.  Skyping and phone calls help to minimize the physical distance between us and our families (our parents and siblings are now in Alabama, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan and Texas).

However, Joe and I both know that the technology that connects us is not enough.  We do our best to get home when we can and we're always open to having our families out here for a visit.  Since Evelyn arrived, our desire to spend quality time with our families is even stronger (as evidenced by Evelyn's 14+ plane flights in her very short existence).  We both felt so blessed to grow up in close proximity to our grandparents and we treasured the relationships that we had/have with them.  Someday, we'd like the same for Evelyn, but for now, Washington is home.  For the time being, short, infrequent visits in person and regular contact via technology will have to suffice.

I guess the silver lining in all of this is that we DO NOT take any moment with family for granted and we really try to make the most of every minute (and this is truly a treasure and a blessing).  I'm encouraged knowing that friends of mine grew up far away from their grandparents and felt close, if not closer, than I did to mine because they never took their time together for granted.  They fondly remember the times they spent together and cherish the special memories they made with their families.

I pray that Evelyn will look back fondly on the memories we're making as a family now (she may not remember, but hopefully the blog and pictures will help to tell the stories)!  Evelyn has had many opportunities to see family in her short life and we have more family visits around the corner.

Below are just some pictures from our trips/visits (so far) in 2011:
February 2011: Visiting Joe's sister- Sr. Mary John Paul

February 2011: Precious time with Sr. MJP in Alabama
March 2011: Grammie and Grandpa Guerin come to visit us in WA
May 2011:Quick Trip Home to MA- Evelyn with Uncle Matt
May 2011: "": Evelyn with Uncle Jared
May 2011: Manchester Airport, NH... leaving for WA
July 2011: Utah with Unlce Jay, Grandma S. and Grandpa S.
July 2011: Utah with Grammie and Grandpa Guerin
August 2011: MA for a wedding and a dip in the "Cold Drinks" tub
August 2011: MA with the Guerin Family
September 2011: Grammie and Grandpa Guerin come to WA

Monday, October 17, 2011

When fall comes, you go to Spooner's!

In October of 2006, I came out to WA to visit my then fiance, Joe!  I stayed with a couple Joe knew from work and Joe and I went on several dates over the weekend.  Perhaps the most memorable adventure was our trip with that couple, to the pumpkin patch.  The couple came from Michigan originally, and when they moved to Washington, they searched high and low for a "proper" pumpkin patch.  They searched for a pumpkin patch that boasted not only pumpkin picking in the fall, but a farm that also had apple picking, hayrides and corn mazes.  They were familiar with all of these autumn traditions in Michigan and I had very similar experiences from fall in New England.  The couple were thrilled to introduce us to Spooner's Farm, the local farm they found in WA, that most resembled the cider mills and farms of Michigan and Massachusetts.

And so it began, every year, for the last 6 years, Joe and I have visited this pumpkin patch. We've managed to take pictures every year but one (figures, the year we were married...2007, our camera broke on our honeymoon, so we didn't have a picture on the farm from that year).  Since October of 2009, we have made our annual trip with our close friends, the Mauss' and Skillman's.  It's been so much fun to watch how we have all changed through the years!

October 2006

October 2008- Joe won a giant pumpkin (he hit a target using the pumpkin catapult and tiny pumpkins)

October 2008- We introduced our friend Jess (from MA) to Spooner's

October 2009: First Annual Mauss, Skillman, Sosinski Family Outing at Spooners

October 2009- Only about 6 weeks pregnant with Evelyn!

October 2009: Avila looking in the chicken coop

October 2010: Evelyn (about 3 and a half months old). Joe was on remote for work and couldn't come.

Kristine and Max, Anna (Gus... about two weeks shy of being born) and Joe Skillman

October 2010: Evelyn was NOT happy to see chickens!

Second trip to Spooner's in October 2010.  This time Joe came too!

October 2010: Evelyn and Joe

October 2011: Annual Spooner's Trip with the Mauss and Skillman Families

Avila, Max, Evelyn, Gus and Anna (holding Gus up!)

October 2011: The Sosinski's!

October 2011: Evelyn (now almost 16 months), hard at work!

October 2011: Posing outside the corn maze

October 2011: Group photo gets harder every year!!  Say cheese!

October 2011

Playing in the tiny gourds!

Gus, Max and Evelyn with Avila in the background... all standing just where she was all alone (2 years earlier)

Friends in the hay

Struggling to pick up a pumpkin

Evelyn with Daddy
Can't wait for next year's trip to Spooner's!