Sunday, July 22, 2012

Whew! Watta a Week!

The house is quiet. After a week of much activity and fun, a quiet week will probably be needed for me to rest up. Having five teenage grandkids here all week has been a treat, and the energy in the air was delightful to observe. Now they have all gone their many separate ways. And all we have are memories.

These five kids and four other teens worked hard helping the children enjoy themselves at Vacation Bible School in our village, and they took a load of work off us adults. The neatest thing about their help is that the children enjoy interacting with those just a few years older than themselves. The little ones look up to these teen leaders and see kids they can emulate. I do not doubt that many of today’s VBS students will be working as leaders in the future.

Just as I have watched our grandkids grow up and I have fond memories of their early VBS, these kids too have watched younger children develop and mature. Brianna, once a shy little girl herself, was especially effective with a tiny little preschooler named Kayla, who was the essence of shy sweetness. Three years ago, I think it was, Brianna was assigned to walk with Kayla to various stations. They looked so sweet together holding hands, and even though they only see each other once a year for this week of VBS, the two of them have a strong bond of affection for one another.

Elijah and Trent have just completed their first year of college work, and so they have worked in our VBS for several years now. Sam and Cecelie are both bright enough to keep up with the older three, and they all five feed off each other’s presence. It is exciting to see them having a conference in the living room planning the next day’s skit for the closing assembly. (Or plotting their cousin afternoon or night-time recreation.)

Elijah has sung and acted all this life, and he is able to lead out with the large group as naturally as he breathes. But they all five help write the script for the skits, which has always included Brianna’s stuffed flamingo named Fred. Fred is a regular at most of their visits to the farm. This year Trent brought the huge koala bear he once won as a preschooler, and Eugene the Koala was prominent in this year’s skits with Trent supplying the voice from behind stage. Sam showed his acting ability playing Neville, who interacted with Grandpa Eiler (Elijah).

These grandkids play as hard as they work, and I could not keep up with all their stunts and made-up games that took them all over the farm with lots of water balloons and other accessories that they foraged in house, garage, and shop. The best I could figure out the object of one day’s game must have been to see who get the most dirt on themselves. (You can see the results on Brianna Taylor’s Facebook timeline.)

They sometimes piled in Brianna’s car and headed to town for refreshments or some project, and they spent one night by themselves up at the Taylors’ new house. From an agenda they left laying around, I see that the visit up there included telling stories out in The Barn.

Since the wonderful kitchen crew at VBS served lunch each day for the workers and any of their children, feeding the grandkids this week was easy. Our youngsters are used to helping themselves to cereal and juice on their own at breakfast, although mostly they didn’t because they stayed up late every night and snacked on peanut butter and jelly among other things—so they were not too hungry at breakfast time. I did fry bacon a few days—partly because Cecelie, who does not eat the bacon, likes the aroma when she wakes up.

Last evening their end-of-the-week plan was to eat out and go to a movie. (They had chosen to see Spiderman rather than Bat Man, but I did not know which until they returned home. But I was not worried about them.) Thursday evening we had invited the other teen workers to the farm for pizza and hanging out. (I cut a watermelon at the end of the evening—the first one I had bought this year—and it was really not ripe nor tasty, so I was disappointed at that.) But the other days, we had our evening meal together in the dining room, and the kids ate heartily and gratefully.

Before her wedding, Leslie had made two very large cakes just in case more was needed in addition to their large beautiful wedding cake. Neither was needed, so they ended up in my freezer. The kids were excited when they arrived and saw I had one of them out on the table in the teenage den—the junky basement room that started out as the little kids’ art room when we first moved into this house over a decade ago. When I found out we were having lunch at church after VBS, I took over the other cake Leslie made, so I got those out of the freezer to make room for the okra I am hoping to freeze from Gerald’s garden.

Jeannie and Rick arrived from Freeport last night to pick up Elijah and Cecelie, and we had to put Sam onto a couch to let them have that bedroom. Mary Ellen and Brian had come down to their house also, and they came over this morning to get their kids. They were taking Brianna down for a visit with her special cousin Savannah on Brian’s side of the family meeting up in Georgia and hoping to let the girls tour the University of Georgia campus. (And, of course, Brian would have a visit with his special cousin Randy.)

The last thing Trent wanted was an eight-hour ride to Georgia and back tomorrow with his parents while Bri stayed down. After Jeannie’s morning bike ride and a morning of visiting at the breakfast table, it was decided that Trent had the options of going to Georgia, staying here at the farm and/or at their new house on Route 13, or taking Uncle Rick up on his kind offer to go back by way of Springfield and dropping Trent off at his real home. Not surprisingly that is what Trent chose. So Brian (on his birthday today), Mary Ellen, Brianna, and Fifi left first for their long trip south.

Later after lunch, three kids, their suitcases, and the dogs Lucky and Leah, all piled into the Eiler van along with the last of the big pots of petunias from Leslie’s wedding. Jeannie’s bike went on the back of the van last, and after hugs and waves, the Eilers and Trent took off for their long trip north.

Then Sam and I started preparing for his return home locally. Gerald had kindly put a couple gallons of gas in my car because our warning light had come on yesterday since I’d failed to fill up in town Thursday afternoon. (Yeah, there was a little bit of finger wagging.) We stopped in town and filled the tank and went to Wal-Mart to get a couple of items for Sam’s trip this week with his church youth group to help in a VBS in Belleville.

The Taylors would have liked to have seen Gerry and Vickie and Geri Ann while in Georgia, but they are traveling too. As soon as they got back from California for all the Gatorade award and ESPY excitement and ceremonies, they went to New York City for Geri Ann to play ball there with the Wichita Mustangs at the Triple Crown tournament. This was a first visit to that city, and they really enjoyed it. They flew back to Atlanta for her to play with the Georgia Southern Force at Dahlonega today, and tomorrow they fly to Oklahoma City for a tournament and then on to a tourney in California. I am sure they will be glad to be home when all this fun is over.

After I returned from taking Sam home, I finally had time to get on Facebook and see the latest wedding photos that Leslie had put on yesterday and the family was talking about. If you want to see them, I think you can by searching for Leslie Eiler Thompson on Facebook and looking at her new album under the heading “Photos.” Someday I may learn how to put photos on here and/or Facebook, but so far, I have to depend on others to share pictures.

It has been a busy week, but I have made a point to get plenty of sleep every night but did not waste energy trying to get the teenagers to do so (and they didn’t). So I am ready for rest but not too tired. I am just grateful for one more special VBS week with grandkids.

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