For the past few days, we’ve had storm evacuees at our house: Older Daughter with our son-in-law and 3-year-old grandson, Capt. Adorable. Their neighborhood in Huntsville, Alabama, lost power and water from this past week’s deadly storms, so they headed east to stay with family for a few days. Husband JP and I got to have them first! Oh my cookies, you know it was blissdom to have the Captain (and his parents, of course) at our house. We played trains. We looked for trains. We crashed the wagon. (This only means I pull him around town in the red wagon I pulled his mom around in 25 years ago and I go really, really fast. When appropriate, of course.) We walked to the drugstore for an ice cream cone. We went to the doughnut shop and bought doughnuts. We chased the kitty cats. We ate oranges. We cracked pistachios. He taught me how to play Dinosaur Train games on the computer. He showed me a “castle” I didn’t even know was in our town. We went to the park. We went to a playground. We jumped, bounced, slid, tickled, crab-walked, ran and swung. I didn’t have time to do official workouts while they were here, but every morning I felt as if I’d done Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred, Level No. 3. Twice. Consecutively. But also I got unlimited kisses, hugs and flowers from the Captain. It’s been a long time since I’ve had such a gorgeous bunch of hand-picked blossoms. That’s worth a few aches and pains, I think. And at the end of a week when unbelievably violent weather has, tragically, ripped families apart, I’m humbly grateful that it brought our family together in safety.
Grandson Capt. Adorable turned 3 this past weekend, and his mom (my older daughter) wisely decided to celebrate by 1) a family trip to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, where the Captain’s favorite thing was “I touched a sting ray!” and 2) a family — grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins — party with all the essentials of cake, ice cream and munchies. (Of course, it was so cold that day that we forgot the ice cream. Oh well.) I thought she was smart in forgoing the fun but insane kid-frenzy type of party they’d had for the Captain’s second birthday. “After all,” she said, “his family are his most important people.” So props to her for keeping it simple. But that’s totally them — do-it-yourself to save money and because you’ll probably end up with something better anyway. For instance, the Captain requested a Dinosaur Train (he loves that TV show) cake, and since no such decor could be found anywhere, his artist-and-art-teacher daddy printed and cut out the cake decorations on his own. Brilliant! Add the cake and his favorite people to two other of the Captain’s favorite things — blueberries and tractor rides on Grandad’s farm — and it was a perfect third birthday!