As soon as school was over on Friday we hopped in the van and off we head to Chatham. An extremely overdue trip, and what an enjoyable trip it was. It was a busy several days as we moved from one place to the next catching up with old friends, but it was also relazing. The kids have many memories of our time in Chatham and although young it's amazing how many things are "familiar" to them. It was not until we were on our way home last night that it once again hit more deeply as to the reason why this trip had been more enjoyable. I did realize throughout the trip that things were easier because the kids are older now and we did not have James and all his equipment to take with us, we did not have to try figure out how to fit his schedule into our schedule, someone was not constantly chasing after him with his feeding pump, etc. This reality is always with us, but when we sit back quietly and really start to think about it, it all comes back and hits us again.
But this is not meant to be a sad post, for we had a lovely time. I always enjoyed these trips, even the hectic ones. Sometimes it's easier not to go, because then we slowly set into our lives here and don't miss our old life as much. But whatever the case, this is our life now and we are enjoying it as much as we enjoyed farm life. As the girls rekindled old friendships, Matthew made new friends. Here he shares a blanket with Keegan, who is a month older then him. And the girls enjoy some late night colouring time. Somehow kids always realize as it gets later it's better to be a bit quieter or mom and dad are going to want to leave sooner.
We enjoyed a lovely Sunday ... just like old times ... where we stayed at church between services for lunch. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with this custom, this stems from the fact that we lived 45 minutes from church and so it was easier and much more relaxing for those who lived further away to pack a lunch and stay). We had a nice sizes group and this gave us more opportunity to catch up with those who we don't always have a chance to visit with. It felt like we had never left.
Monday afternoon/evening brought us to the end of our time in Chatham and we headed to family to spend the night there. On our way we made a stop at the cemetery where Justin was buried. We had already planned to make a stop here during our trip, but surprisingly it was the girls who asked to stop before we even made mention of it. Even more surprising was the fact that Rebecca (who was 2.5 years when we moved) was able to tell us how to get to the cemetery.
Tuesday brought us to London where we had a family get-together with Rob's side of the family. Once again we had an enjoyable time of fellowship with family that we have not seen much of in the past year. During the afternoon we all went skating together. It's neat to see how the girls are starting to get the hang of it now that they've had an opportunity to go skating a few times in the past couple weeks. We hope to keep up this habit this winter and maybe by the end of the winter they'll actually be good enough to get some more enjoyment out of it (although they seem to enjoy it plenty even though it's still quite challenging).
We arrived home last night to find 30 snowmen on our front porch. Someone apparently had too much time on their hands and couldn't think of anything better to do with it, for I'm sure these snowmen took some time to put together, each with their hats on, eyes, mouth and nose individually added. I hope these little elves enjoyed themselves in the process of alerting everyone to my birthday!! :) So as much as I tried not to say a whole lot, it appears my 30th birthday did not go unnoticed. Also in Chatham I received birthday wishes wherever we went ... and although I tried to get away with the tradition of singing during Sunday lunch, I just didn't make the cut, for someone suddenly remembered about 5 minutes before church started. We spent a couple of our nights staying at Opa and Oma K. and she was even so kind as to make a birthday cake. Since the girls were already in bed by cake time on Sunday, we decided to wait until Monday morning so they could also enjoy cake ... and yes, one more opportunity to sing Happy Birthday. We had actually already celebrated at home on Thursday night, since we knew we were going to be gone for the weekend. The girls had great fun picking out my birthday cake ... oh, and the perfect candles to go on it!! So all in all it was a rather drawn out birthday affair.
And that brings us to today ... where we slept in, unpacked and just relaxed. The girls loved eating by candlelight the last time we did it (here), so I told them they could set the table for a fancier dinner and they went right to it ... amazingly without any fighting. And for the next few days the girls and I will spend some quiet time at home catching up on some sleep before another busy few days hits us, while Rob works, and Matthew tries to recuperate for a very nasty cold that is making it difficult for him to eat. He's been sleeping better then we expected, given how congested he is. He's has also vomitted a few times, several in relation to coughing, but tonight just out of the blue. So hopefully he gets over this quickly.