My dad fully embraced his role as Grandpa during our Christmas visit to West Virginia. From the minute we arrived, Dad had an entire playtime schedule planned for the kids. He pulled out classic wooden toys from his childhood and was giddy with excitement as he shared them with Silas, Cooper, and Brynn. It was a memory-in-the-making to watch my dad’s joy at playing with the kids.
He even threw caution to the wind and rode down the hill in the little red wagon, letting out whoops and hollers. Too bad I missed out on taking a video of his ride!
Cooper and Brynn especially loved pulling the wooden yellow horse. Silas couldn’t wait to see what idea Grandpa would pull from his hat next. He played with the matchstick fort Dad made as a boy, wore some of my dad’s historical hats and uniforms, and played “ship” in the family room with Grandma.
There were tickle fights with the aunts, wagon rides, croquet races in the backyard, and stories on Grandpa’s lap. The kids didn’t quite know what to make of Dad’s puppet voices he used for all the different story characters.
One night, we showed the boys Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson movie. It was adorable to watch the intensity on Silas’s face during the pirate battle.
We spread out the Christmas celebrations by eating the big turkey dinner on Friday, opening Christmas presents on Saturday, and then attending church and visiting with Uncle Tim on Sunday. It was great to introduce Brynn to her Great Uncle Tim on Christmas Day.
Later in the visit we walked through the old railroad tunnel, ate a family dinner at the Chinese buffet, and enjoyed several tea parties courtesy of my sister Rebekah. Our dear adopted grandparents, the Bells came for a visit too.
Spending several days at home led to some good conversations, bonding time with the aunts and grandma and grandpa for the kids, and—as you can see—lots of games. So glad we could be home for Christmas.
On our return drive to Indiana, we managed to squeeze in one more reunion with Uncle Paul and Aunt Elissa. They met us for lunch south of Pittsburgh, and we introduced our three munchkins to them for the first time. Stephen and I hadn’t seen them in over a decade when they came to our wedding ten years ago!
This trip made it more evident just how far away we are in Portland. Our first flight from Indy to Denver was long, and I was relieved that our second flight would be shorter. It wasn’t! Denver was simply the halfway point—we’re really far west out here!
I also saw more concretely the effects of living so far from family since it had been years since our last visit East. The kids grow up and pass so many milestones that we don’t get to share with our families. I was thankful for this blog. At least there’s a small connection, a chance for family to watch these little people develop and get to know them a bit before visiting.
Blogs are great, but in-person visits are the best!