Is this day only about the candy? Well, maybe today, it was about a bit more.
First, Tatum decided to be Batgirl. WHY? The cape of course! The ability to leap a few more inches, the way she glides across the sidewalk and fights those bad guys with her flashy light! Now she can make anyone drop her bag of candy if one would dare take it!
Next, she had a chance to get Mama to wear funny eyes. Another thing is we had a chance to meet new neighbors and make them smile. That was a gift unto itself.
Then there was this: ahhhhhhh, that sunset.
Finally, the C.A.N.D.Y! (which she got to pick two).
Of course I put my opinion in with my choice of M & M’s because they are so fun to sort. (It’s the OCD, OK!?) Save the green ones for mommy.
The next delight?
What do they put in this that makes it taste so good?? Peanut butter and chocolate!? Seriously? They make this!? Where have you been all of my life, Resees!?
Our final day in Utah was relaxing and just plain peaceful. Dolly spent some time reading to Tatum. She even found a book I had never heard of for Tot! Look Alikes. Of course I immediately bought the series. A creatively brilliant book of looking deep at something and seeing what it could be!
Off to the airport from an amazing trip. More on that in a moment.
Tatum instantly missed Thomas, so happy that Doug had a secret weapon, besides his charm, to keep Tot busy on the plane!!
Yes, about 10 little plastic dogs. They were a hit and a half. (Aside from the free peanuts and pretzels)
Once we landed, Tatum was Doug’s little bag helper while I went to get compensated for my lost bag. Now, that is a nice little bonus.
As I reflect on this amazing trip, I am reminded of ONE THING.
I miss my brother. I miss him with all of my heart. It’s time for Tatum to fully experience her uncle and all of the trimmings! Those serendipities are not only Dolly and Thomas, but WHO they are. Thomas represents so much more than just their son. He represents a huge piece of WHO Dolly and Johnathan are and the values they represent.
My dream is to spend so much more time with them, and if Johnathan has his way, it will include a trip to Disneyland (he’s an uber-expert in avoiding the crowds and finding all the morsels of what this park is). I’ll add some time in the snow, Christmas gatherings, oodles of board games, and more piano recitals by Thomas. I also can’t get enough of Dolly and her wise, quiet spirit. (although she is a spunky gal!) All of this will be so great for my Tot!!!
Doug also is so grateful for the time as shown by his gratitude card: Thank you Johnathan, Dolly, and Thomas. You carry on the Scharf name with HONOR! We needed that in our family and its generations to come. We love you with all of our hearts.
I woke up looking forward to changing out of my jeans and shirt from the day prior (see Part I). When I went downstairs, I heard Tot smiling from ear to ear spooning delicious homemade applesauce oatmeal into her mouth thanks to Dolly’s wonderful cooking skills.
My luggage was not there, but I had received an email saying they dropped it off at his front door. The mystery needed solving so first Dolly started calling the neighbors. Doug began to put his shoes on to seek out the neighborhood, when little did we know Thomas had already gone hunting. He returned in 10 minutes with my luggage in hand. Hooray. Go Thomas!
After breakfast, Tot kidnapped Thomas again to do some more playing. She wanted to be with him constantly. It was great for Tatum to have a “big brother” figure to play with. He made it so easy. She definitely had lots of toys from which to choose! That is one thing my brother does not lack; CHOICES of fun things to do! Also, it was so fun to see Tatum experience what I had as a child: A big “brother” to look up to (for whom I still do).
We wanted to go to the park but first we enjoyed going outside to get some pics. My family. All smiles. We all admired Johnathan’s work in the front of the house. (garden, driveway, new projects, etc…)
Seester! All I can say is her hair… Always so perfect! Note: mine is usually up or with a hat.
At the park, Tot wanted to show us her pumping skills on the swing. She “did not need help” unless Thomas offered of course!
This was a great time for my brother and I also to talk and walk. Probably one of the best times I’ve ever had with my brother! While we did this, Dolly and Doug had a chance to get to know each other. Priceless. Plus, Tatum was having a BLAST with Thomas. A full win-win-win-win-win!
Now, when we got home, first, Johnathan took Doug on a tour of his property. Doug and John truly bonded and shared project ideas. The grape tree was calling first, so they picked some. Dolly introduced us to Calendula. Not the oils, like I was used to, but the ACTUAL flower. The healing properties are endless, so we ate some! Can’t hurt, right!?
I can feel the healing going on when I just put it in my mouth. Not sure what it healed, but I felt all cleansed inside. Was it the Calendula or my chat with John? They sure were both energizing and cleansing!
Before dinner, Thomas promised us he’d play some piano for us. I could not wait!! Tatum immediately wanted to be part of the action. She looks up to Tommy so very much as do I.
He was on. All was quiet and we were glued to him. NO pressure!! Gosh, he was so brave to play for all of us, and he sure exceeded our expectations. He even played my favorite: Tatum wanted to be him after!
Our concert was worth every moment so what could be to come? A culinary delight. My brother always outdoes himself. Doug could not believe how beautiful it was too, so he snapped some shots.
The guests seem happy!! Yep!Much fun conversation, laughing, and silliness made the evening so fun. How could it get better!?? GAMES!And it did even get better as we all strategized to outdo one another. Truly healthy competition; Doug probably had no idea how seriously we all took it, but in a fun way.
We stayed up way too late, but I don’t regret a minute of it! The next day we had to leave, so I knew we had to get our beauty sleep. Thank goodness my brother has his sleeping tricks: L Glycine. Down the gullet!
How would I make it without my brother’s tips and tricks, Dolly’s (and my bro’s) wisdom, Thomas’ kindness and brilliance, and my guy’s pure perfection in every way!?
Kinda grateful here.
Stay tuned for Part III to find out what Tot’s big surprise was on our way home, plus some reflection on all of this.
Not only was this going to be an adventurous airplane ride for Tot, but it was an opportunity to spend a weekend with my DEAR brother, Johnathan, beautiful sister in law, Dolly, and my ridiculously talented and kind nephew, Thomas. Moreover, Doug would come also to meet the whole clan.
It all started at 9am as we loaded up the car ready to head to the airport. I packed pretty light for myself, but I made sure Tatum had a whole wardrobe of cute and warm clothes. (Little did I know it would be in the 70’s!) Well, it’s never too warm for Minnie boots, right?!
Arriving at the airport, I remembered to take a picture of our parking spot so we would not get lost. Doug says he never forgets. Well, sweetie, there’s a first for everything, so I’m taking extra precaution. (I killed two birds with one stone by getting a pose of my cuties too) See, there you go. Row 5; Elevator B. Got it.
Onto the Skytrain to head to the airport. This isn’t even the airplane yet, and she is already so excited. More thrills to come, cutie pie.
After our airport check in, we got our necessary caffeine and a BIG OOOOOOPS for Doug. His ended up on his shirt and mine in my belly. What a great sport he was, though. Did not even phase him. Tatum? She got a squeezy. Why? Because her tummy was still upset and it was just cute with the bunny on the front. Those squeezies know how to market to kids. Hmph.
Get her seat belt on and we are ready for takeoff!
Our tummies loved the takeoff, and all we could do was sit and watch as the ants on the ground got smaller and smaller. Time for Legos!
Now, when we arrived, we hit the baggage claim and immediately picked up Doug’s bag and some food I brought for John and family. We waited and waited and waited. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. (Tatum is unaware as she works on her zipper for her puffy fluffy vest…which mind you was unnecessary in 70 DEGREES!!!!! sheesh…..But, she was cute so that all that matters, right?)
Officially lost. SO….we gave them John’s address, not expecting they’d deliver up in the mountains, but they would! It was to come later that night we hoped. Meanwhile, John and Thomas picked us up!! HOORAY!
Doug was concerned about his coffee stain, but I assured him they’d not even notice. He still looked adorable.
We arrived at his house and Tatum instantly took to Thomas and whisked him away to play with her. He was such a good sport and played with her in his room for H.O.U.R.S! (I was not used to this concept of not having Tot coming up to me every few minutes) I sneaked up and caught them playing so well. He was so gracious and kind to Tatum.
After much time, she was exhausted and he let her sleep on him next to the window. Now that’s a great lap. Little did she know right outside…
would be some cute little baby deer. John is so good to them. He even cuts up the apples for them! Who does that!? My kind brother, that is who.
Now, the best part of my brother and his family is that they literally put their entire life on hold and completely pay 100% attention to whoever is their guest. This is such an admirable quality in all of them. Dolly knew that I had work to do and she played with Tatum for quite a while. Puppeteering is definitely a strength of her’s! Tatum could not stop giggling.
Meanwhile, my brother and I got a chance to talk and bond again.
We got there a bit close to dinner, so John worked like crazy to make us a special stir fry dinner, and it was sure made with love and lots of time and effort. Before dinner, however, Dolly showed us her summer work. She learned how to mold clay and make busts. C’mon, seriously. This is a novice!!?? She made a bust of Thomas, and I cannot believe how much it resembles him!
Have I mentioned how talented and amazing Dolly is? (Johnathan definitely married well, and I gained a sister).
Since Tatum and I had no clothes, Tommy lent Tot his Spiderman jammies (from forever ago of course!). She wanted to live in them, so she did for that evening.
We were all pretty tired, but we all stayed up and played fun board games. Tatum went to bed, and the rest of us laughed it up and enjoyed each other. The next day was to await us! (would my luggage come in the night!!?? Hmmmmm stay tuned for Part II.
Before we were to head to our zoo outing, Tatum had her Sportball lesson with a game of hockey. She was to wear her Halloween costume. OK, I forgot, so she sported some superhero shades. Now, which one to wear…hmmmmmmmmm?
I say Clark Kent all the way!
The fact that they wouldn’t stay on her face ended up being just fine because we could not decide.
In the month of October, the zoo is staying open until 7pm, so Jennie and I decided to meet there and let the cuties bond since they aren’t in school together. Before they arrived, we met a little prairie dog named Keanu. Did you know they only live to be a year old? AND they are not really dogs! Ok, that is obvious. They are part of the squirrel family. This little guy is almost two, so he’s beating the odds. It must be all of those Cheerios. I think Tot likes dogs better.
From afar, she spotted Robert, and they ran as fast as lightning towards each other. Their embrace made them both fall. They couldn’t stop hugging.
Off we went to see the sights. It was a ghost town at the zoo! We had the whole place to ourselves. Truly surreal. Right now through January, the Zoo has some AMAZING LEGO displays of many of their animals. We first happened upon this polar bear Lego exhibit consisting of over 150,000 Legos. Yes, really.
Ridiculously phenomenal. How!!?
Then some butterflies, birds (I missed what kind so I won’t guess), zebras, rhinos…
Lots of oohing and aaaaahing!
Now, where were the REAL animals? All of a sudden, we heard the lions roaring! They spoke to each other for a few minutes! Apparently there are two lions together; an older lioness and a young teen lion. He’s pretty sure of himself and makes sure we know he is the king.
I was glad the Tot and Robert had a THICK piece of glass in between. I can’t even think about…
Jennie took us on the back roads to view the oryx and the cool experiment the Phoenix Zoo did to make sure these gorgeous creatures did not become extinct. Supposedly, the zoo took on 9 oryx from the Middle East, bred them in the controlled wild, and then sent back over 400. They are happy to reproduce! Hooray for our zoo.
It was getting dark, and we heard music! Tatum and Robert hopped in Weston’s stroller (I got to carry the lil’ guy), and we headed toward the music and lights.They are getting ready for Christmas with the Zoolight exhibit, so we decided to picnic next to the pond and the lights. Jingle Bells and various Christmas carols were timed with the lights. I figured they were just testing it all out, and we were the guinea pigs. No problem with that! It was spectacular!Tot played with Weston (he’s almost ONE!), and Jennie and I chatted.
Jennie, Robert and now Weston are truly such blessings in our lives. Thank you for such a great time!