Anika making the chocolate birthday cake for L and A
The favorite pastime
My sister started planning the next time she and my niece would visit way back in October, after learning that we wouldn't be able to make the trip home to Wisconsin during the winter break. She is amazing about this and has always made sure that not too many months rolled by between the times our girls get to see each other. So they are here right now...and she is undeniably, regrettably, thoroughly sick. With the flu. Of the stomach variety. She of course, on top of feeling terrible, feels terrible, sensitive as she is to this being the end of winter quarter and therefore a stressful place for our family, and knowing that I was looking forward to her visit with held breath - anxious for the company of another grown-up who would sit with me for more than 2 minutes and reconnect me to the world, asking more of me than more food, clean underwear, or help with a zipper. We are both disappointed (I know, I know, I KNOW I sound selfish, but there it is people. I. Am. Selfish.). BUT...
This visit has also given me the opportunity to be far more involved with the girls than I otherwise would usually be. My sister seems to bring with her a couple of suitcases full of creativity and patience and I am all too happy to gaze fondly at my niece while she (my sister) doles out the necessary suggestions and solutions to my two. It is my turn to dig deep for the goods while she heals her body, and though my resources are low, I am not coming up empty handed. I am noticing that the dynamic between the girls is changing - as they all get older and more developed in their personalities and temperaments, they are noticeably different. They run at different paces, notice different things, need different things from each other, and it is interesting to watch them try to figure that out. This sounds so obvious, now that I'm writing it, but we have always emphasized the sameness, the closeness, especially of the older two. And then there is the inevitable problem of the threesome. Lucy is nine months younger than Eliza and is adored by both of her cousins, and while E and A have so many days together that go swimmingly, they have a really hard time sharing their cousin. It will be interesting to watch as this unfolds over the coming years, as the age difference becomes less important.
Identifying animal tracks (they made themselves field guides before we left the house, using track rubbings)
Lots of deer and dogs. I mean coyotes. Probably dogs, but coyotes sound much more exciting.
Day One, inseparable
A and I had a rough hike together, but trouble melted away in the sunshine, and with the help of lunch
We are hopeful for a good day tomorrow - with my sister's company.