Every year we get one weekend with the whole Heslop family. This year we got to meet our newest niece, Florence. She's a sweetheart. I was ready to hold a baby!
Aliza very much enjoyed playing with her cousin, Evelyn. It didn't take long for Evelyn to sit down in Aliza's lap the first evening we were there.
On the agenda for the weekend was celebrating Van and Karen's 40th wedding anniversary. The daughter in laws decided on an adult dinner at a restaurant in Hagerstown. It is extremely rare for my children to stay with a babysitter that is not family so I put a lot of thought in to how the evening could be comfortable for them. The girl who has taken our family photos the last couple years was available so at least they knew the person who was coming to stay with them. They ended up having a great evening that they didn't want it to end. The adults had a lovely evening too. The food and conversation were very nice. Brandi made a pumpkin cheesecake for dessert that turned out perfectly--and it was her first ever attempt!
Brandi also made this family tree for our gift. We had both forgotten that Van is really into genealogy when we talked about the gift. It was perfect for him.
Evelyn (not quite 2 years old) was intrigued with the sound of crunchy leaves. She lives in Texas so the idea of leaves falling on the ground was new to her. I had the idea of teaching her how to jump in piles of leaves. We raked together some big piles and jumped in. She wasn't quite sure at first, but in the end, she had a good time.
And when you only see each other once a year, a family picture is always necessary. (I just realized I grabbed a picture without Van and Karen.)
Even though she looks like she could be Joel and Brandi's, Anna is our child! It's almost an old joke now. Anna rides with them whenever she can. Brandi lays with her at night when we sleep at their house. Personality wise she almost fits with them. She cries alligator tears and misses them for days after we leave. I'm so thankful that my children have special Aunts and Uncles that care for them and will be there for them when they need to talk to someone that is not Mom or Dad.