Clint's sweet grandmother (Grannie) passed away last week and we headed out to West Texas for the funeral. Grannie was a tough and spunky, but very sweet and loving woman. I feel so blessed to have gotten to know her for a small part of her 93 years. We were planning to go out to West Texas and see her last weekend already, as we knew she wasn't doing well, so we were really sad to miss seeing her, but very grateful that we got to be there for the funeral. It was a very nice service and all of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were there. I know it would have pleased Grannie to have everyone together!
Here are the great-grandchildren. Trying to get this group to pose was not easy (especially since they were looking right into the sun). I had to bribe my two littles with goldfish to get them to participate...
We were able to get away for several days, so we spent a couple of those days out in Bronco with Mimi and Pawpaw. We love getting to be at the ranch and they make it so fun for us and the kids. The kids had a blast this time. Charlie has always enjoyed being there, but it was fun seeing Evie really love it this time. She was tiny last time we were there and not a big fan of being away from home. This trip was so much better for her! With all the family in town, my kids were spoiled rotten. Sally had several surprises waiting for Charlie and Evie when they arrived, and both Sally and Mimi and Pawpaw had all of their favorite foods waiting for them. When Mimi took Charlie back to see a closet with a shelf of children's books that she had organized for him, he naturally assumed that everything in the closet was for him. We cracked up when he turned around with a happy little face and exclaimed, "Mommy, Mimi and Pawpaw got me my own vacuum!"
The kids loved cuddling with Pawpaw in his big chair.
Pawpaw has a bit more of an "old school" parenting style than I do. When Charlie attacks a coloring book, he tends to pick one color, hurriedly scribble on a page, and then flip to the next and do the same thing. Whereas I told him what a good job he was doing, Pawpaw took him aside, nicely told him that "that's not coloring!" and proceeded to show him how to really color. Charlie was actually quite impressed!
We were so pumped when we got to Bronco and saw that they had snow on the ground. What a treat! While Pawpaw and Daddy took care of some business one day, Mimi, the kids, and I played in the snow. They loved stomping in the fresh snow and learning how to have a snowball fight. I think Charlie could have played with it all day. Evie liked stomping in it, but refused to wear her mittens, so was not happy after she touched it.
Taking a break from the snow to say hi to John Henry...
Here is Charlie, posing next to Frosty, our snowman.
Obviously, we were so proud.
We spent lots of time visiting animals and riding around the ranch in the Kubota. Charlie was quite perturbed about having to ride in the (enclosed) Kubota. He did not understand why the open-air Ranger was not a good idea in 30-degree weather.
Here are the kids with Mimi and Pawpaw. Evie loves her grandparents, but has a pattern of dissolving into tears when I take of picture of her with someone else.
It took a cracker to calm her down. She's strong-willed, but can be bought for the right price. :)
The Kubota grew on him. :)
Charlie, Clint, and Pawpaw also spent quite a bit of time driving the tractors around (I somehow missed getting a picture of this!). Charlie's best moment of the trip was when he and Pawpaw used the giant tractor to move hay bales from the big barn over to the horse barn. He was so excited he was practically levitating. While he was shoving his breakfast down his throat so that he could get outside to join Pawpaw, I said that maybe I would come ride with them. He quickly responded that "girls can't ride in tractors because tractors don't have backseats." Ouch.
I think Charlie has dreams of becoming a rancher, and it was so funny to see how quickly he became the authority on all the ranch "business." He loved to demonstrate his knowledge of the ranch, pompously pointing out the big barn, explaining to me where hay was stored, telling me how the trailer, tractors, Ranger, and Kubota worked, correcting my memory on the number of trailers in Bronco, etc. He was a bit insufferable for a few days after we got home. :)
Before our flight home, we spent the day with the Dohertys in Lubbock. It was so fun to see them, and we loved being spoiled by Sally's cooking! Here is Sarah Beth, Meredith, and Charlie (he really was that happy).
Both of my kids had a great time running around the Doherty house. It is the best kid house ever!
We also got to spend a lot of time with Clint's other grandmother, Sarah, on this trip. She is an incredible woman, and one of the sweetest, most happy, fun people I've ever been around. We have so much fun hearing her stories and listening to her observations on things. The kids are so blessed to know her!
Another example of Evie's awesome behavior in front the camera...
Meredith (Moo Moo) was amazing with Charlie. She entertained him all day, and never seemed to tire of thinking up new things to do with him. When I went down to the basement to check on them, I found them curled up reading. There was a stack of 6 books on the floor, and they confirmed that they had read them all. Meredith said, "he just wants to keep reading!" When I found out that their ritual included grabbing a handful of chips between each book, I began to see why... :)
Will was so much fun too. Charlie loves having a big boy to horse around with.
Meredith patiently worked with Charlie on his Jenga skills. When I remarked that she needed to come home with us to Dallas, she responded, "that would be really tiring!" Tell me about it, Meredith. :)
Finally, a photo of baby Charlie with his two great-grandmothers, Sarah and Grannie. We are glad Charlie got to know Grannie for a short while. We will miss her so much.
Oh, and we can't forget one of the most exciting aspects of the trip: the flights! Charlie was so pumped about flying. We endlessly discussed the airport, the airport trucks, the airplane, the pilot, and all other aspects of aviation. It makes flying so fun to have such an excited companion!
Although the trip was for a sad occasion, it still was a special and fun time with family. The night after we got home, Charlie asked me to pack up his backpack so we could get back on the plane to Bronco. I explained that we couldn't go back right now. His face turned tragic and he exclaimed, "but Mimi and Pawpaw told me to come anytime and I want to go back right now!" I am so glad that he loves Bronco so much and is making so many happy memories there!