Last weekend Calvin and I flew to Mississippi to visit Ty, Michelle, Afton, and Eliza. Calvin came home early and I stayed longer. Yesterday I flew home and several times I "heard" Afton talk, laugh, or fuss at the back of the plane, and when I woke up from a nap I "felt" Eliza resting on my chest. It was phantom Payne and it ached.
It still aches. We had such a good time and there is a lot to miss this morning:
1. The girls - Afton and Eliza.
|Afton holding Eliza.|
Afton thinks Eliza is the best. And every time Eliza sneezes, Afton laughs her deep throaty laugh.
Eliza is a dream baby. She peeps when she's hungry and then contentedly watches the world around her when she's full.
Wherever Afton goes she wears little red crocs and holds her arm crooked in the air with a purse dangling from it while pushing her babies in a stroller. It is so darn cute.
2. Seeing Ty and Michelle take care of their family.
It's no wonder the kids love to be with her.
Likewise, Ty takes the girls with him wherever he goes. He includes them in every part of his life.
It's no wonder the kids love to be with him.
Ty played a song for us to sing on the piano for family home evening. Michelle is a pianist, but Ty has wanted to learn how to play a few songs so he played one he knows for us.
One of the things I admire about Ty and Michelle is they don't discriminate and segregate in their family as to who can do things best, they just pitch in, work, and learn together then teach each other.
Every evening they have family scripture study together. Afton sits in her chair quietly for a few minutes as they teach her about the Savior. To keep her attention they ask her to repeat a word every now and then. (She was so excited when Michelle told her to say "Jews" she thought she was going to get juice.) Afton's favorite part of the event is passing out the books and putting them back in the drawer. My favorite part was watching her and then the follow-up discussion on what we learned after she'd run off to play.
There are several playgrounds near their home and they frequent them often.
Michelle sewed this quilt for Eliza. A few years ago she decided to learn to sew . . . and did . . . and does. I'm still inspired by her learning and execution.
Ty and Michelle are deliberate parents and are always wondering, reading, and thinking about how best to teach and help their family.
(I wish you could hear Afton say, "Help please." They taught her to say that when she gets frustrated. You can see her frustration mount as she tries to do something and then all of a sudden, out of her deep, gruff little voice, you hear this higher pitched, "Help please." Who wouldn't give her a cookie, or unwrap a candy, or open the cupboard, or whatever it is she wants when she says it?)
3. The world they live in.
Planes are flying over during all the daylight hours. Reveille plays at 7:00 am, The Star-Spangled Banner at 5:00 pm, and Taps at 9:00 pm. Afton recognizes the "Star Song" and puts her hand on her stomach, aiming for her heart when it plays.
It's reassuring watching the military families pull together to help each other find babysitters, support, and encouragement.
4. Spending time with Michelle's family is an extra bonus.
|Afton, Grandma Kathy, Eliza|
|Brian, Michelle, Kathy, Eliza|
We love Brian and Kathy and getting to spend time with them.
Michelle had spent a lot of time with Afton the few weeks before we got there preparing her for two sets of grandparents simultaneously visiting. She had made puppets of all of our faces and sang We Are a Happy Family over and over. Afton was warm and friendly to us all.
Kathy had spent the two weeks before we got there with Ty and Michelle and had the fridge full of fun things to eat the weekend we got there. Here is her fruit dip recipe that was so good:
15 oz. can Cream of Coconut
8 oz. tub Cool Whip
Whip the cream cheese with the Cream of Coconut in a stand mixer until all lumps are gone. Remove paddle and fold in Cool Whip. Serve with fruit or graham crackers.
What a great time. We're lucky to have a family that it is so darn hard to say good-bye to.
|Ty, Afton, Eliza, and Michelle on Afton's blessing day|