Saturday smiles: family festive fun edition

We’re home.

That’s No. 1 on the list. No matter where we live, home will always bring a smile to my face.

In part, that’s because of the people we love. The weekend has been full of catching up with cousins, celebrating a marriage, meeting our nephew, spending time with aunts and uncles, and sharing life with family. What we lack the other months of the year, we pack into our short trips home. No matter how long we stay, it’s always too short.

Here are some pictures from the past few days. Of course, the weekly smiles post wouldn’t be complete without saying that it’s good to have the family back together. I missed the kids like crazy and even though they drive me crazy sometimes, I’m glad we’re all in the same state (crazy?) again.

Yeah, they’re angels. Including the monkey.

They were all dressed up for my brother’s wedding reception. Congratulations to Chris and Clara!

Best. Reception. Ever. And we’re so happy to have Aunt Clara in our family.

The kids haven’t really been to many weddings, and now that they’re older, we get experiences like these.

Daddy-daughter dance preview. She enjoyed her dance lesson.

And her very own big girl soda. (Oh, wait, we were in Chicago, so it was “pop.” Yes, Pennsylvania, you have converted us.)

I don’t know if this was the actual reaction to the lemon-lime taste or the excitement of being awake far later than normal. Or all of the above.

 The reception was the first chance for my brother, my cousin Shawn and me to all be in the same place at the same time for the first time in a VERY long time. It was Cousins Collide Part 1.

Part 2 took place at Uncle Jon and Aunt Cassie’s house when our kids met their cousin Kaiden for the first time.

Two things about this picture: a) This reminds me of every forced family photo I’ve ever seen. Someone in the photo is always visibly unhappy to be there. Thank you, Corban, for filling that role, and b) you can’t tell me these three aren’t going to find some way to get in trouble together. Man oh man are we in trouble.

(Side note: Phil was speaking in a list like this to Corban that day and said, “A, such and such …” and before he could continue, Isabelle said, “What’s “B” Dad?” It was sass-tastic if  I’ve ever heard it. Cute when she’s 4, not so much when she’s 14 and rolling her eyes at the same lecture we gave her a week earlier.)

It was so much fun to be able to feed Kaiden on our first meeting. I love narrating for babies, so in this picture, I think Kaiden is saying, “Look, man, are you sure you know what you’re doing? It’s been a while.” Actually, Phil is an accomplished bottle feeder because he and Isabelle had to share some bottle moments in her early months.

I’ve loved this little guy since the day he was born, and I love him even more now that I’ve met him in person.

We also got in a visit with Aunt Charlotte and Uncle Zach. Fun times at the park. FYI, if you’re anywhere near John Dixon Park, watch out for the “snakes.” Corban drew a bunch of them on the ground with chalk and said, “I’m not going to protect you.” You’ve been forewarned.

And the weekend isn’t even over yet. We’re off to see some fireworks tonight and visit Uncle Lewie tomorrow. Then it’s back to PA for, literally, God knows what.

A week without the kids was refreshing and somewhat productive. When I look back at all that happened in a short week’s time, I feel good and blessed.

May your week be full of blessings and may your eyes be open to see them!


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