Ahhh... time to blog.
What a luxury "time" has been this week. Tomorrow we head home, which is always nice. But I must confess, I haven't quite had my fill of this trip yet. It's been really, truly lovely.
As I sit here in Marjorie's old, darkened bedroom with a sleeping Peter, I am relishing my many, many pleasant memories of time spent here at Fox Hill with Abe's family.
--Arriving in Spokane after long drives on hot summer afternoons.
--Praying to make it up the hill during winter visits.
--Trying to be the first to spot the house from the freeway.
-- Leaving the hill as infrequently as possible for days on end because Grandpa already stocked up on food at Costco.
--Watching vans full of cousins and aunts and uncles pull up to the front circle. The loving, excited greetings and hugs as we reunite.
--The exclamations of surprise at new found height, hairstyle, or weight loss. The predictable shock when the nephews voices drop and the nieces wear make-up and turn into young women.
--Children going on treasure hunts to find their parents old toys and games tucked away in forgotten closets.
--The cozy black gas stoves in each bedroom and the warm glow in the middle of a winter night.
--Everyone inspecting the giant family portrait to make sure they are in it.
--Looking at the olde-time family pictures of the aunts and uncles growing up.
--The endless tub of Red Vine licorice in the turnstyle corner cabinet of the kitchen.
--Grandma's extensive movie collection--from new releases to classic musicals. There is something for everyone.
--Grandchildren taking tubbies in the giant bathtub with the huge rubber ducks and marine mammals.
--Falling asleep listening to the train whistle as it passes through Otis Orchards.
--Little kids trying to workout who will get the honor of sleeping in the "car bed".
--The frightening flight of stairs we keep fearing a child will fall through and get injured, but so far has claimed no victims.
-- The kitchen drawer full of diapers in all sizes and wipes so there is no question if these babies are loved and welcomed.
--Grandma sitting at her computer desk, enjoying emails and pictures of her many grandchildren.
--Grandpa lovingly doing the dishes and keeping up the house as Grandma is slowing down.
--The digital player piano pounding away upstairs as the cousins play pool, air hockey, and the pinball machine simultaneously. It's not quiet, but there is no fighting, so it is a beautiful noise.
--The joy of finding the only upstairs bathroom unoccupied when you first wake up in the morning.
--The freedom to eat anything you want, any hour of the day. The kitchen is always open and there is a seemingly endless supply of tasty treats we rarely enjoy at home.
-- No bedtime at Grandma and Grandpa's house. 11 o'clock PM is never too late to start a new movie.
--Kneeling for family prayer on the hard pine floor.
--Visiting with sister-in-laws on the brown leather couches for hours; interrupted by little ones needing drinks or movies started in the playroom or someone to "see what they made".
--The uncles reminiscing about their years growing up in Veradale, WA; discussing who milked the most cows.
--Sharing the joys and woes of parenting while on dates with other brothers and sisters-in-law.
--Cousin sleepovers at the Hill. Or rather, cousins not sleeping during sleepovers at the Hill.
--The danger of four-wheeler and golf cart expeditions on the trails.
-- Grandpa trash talking while playing games with grandchildren.
-- Bacon and spam breakfasts prepared by Grandpa.
--Cousin talent shows at any gathering.
--The relief of letting your parental guard down for a few days because you're in a safe place.
--The hallway-long cork board covered in the current pictures of each cousin.
--The handmade picture frames of all the families set on the bookshelves and piano in the family room.
--Watching the beautiful sun set over the valley late at night in the summer.
--Evening walks down to the first gate with sister-in-laws in the summer.
--Cuddling up and watching movies on the old Lazy Boy couches upstairs.
--Cousins celebrating victories over old Nintendo video games.
--Final pictures with the Grandparents on the couch before we drive away.
--The brothers congregating to play D&D all day or into the wee hours of the morning.
--Knowing you are one in a family of 70 +, but feeling you are loved
and feeling like they are interested in the details of your life.
Thank you to the Fox family. All the cousins who strengthen my children through their example and testimony of the gospel. The "boys" who are Abraham's best friends. My sister-in-laws who have mentored me in mothering and homeschooling. Jim and Kathleen who have given all for their family and have blessed our lives in countless ways. Thank you.