July was an extra fun month for us. We hopped in the Chevy Avalanche we had been enjoying for the past two years and took it back to its rightful home. The nine hour drive and giving back the vehicle were not the fun parts of the trip. The fun parts were welcoming back these guys:
We were ready and waiting with signs in hand all created and personalized by the grandchildren.
I made Asher's sign. It is hard to read in the picture but it says, "Hi, I'm Asher." Because they hadn't met him yet. I know, super clever. Sometimes I just outdo myself.
And then we headed to Gridley to begin our week of catching up!
The catching up came in multiple levels. The first level was obviously by talking and talking and talking. We have been able to Skype with them pretty regularly through their mission so we weren't too far behind but it was so nice to just sit in the same place and just talk face to face.
The second level of catching up was getting the Nielsen homestead back in order. They had moved out all of their furniture to storage on the property while renters occupied their home for the past two years. We got to play backwards tetris getting everything back where it belonged.
Not only did the house need sprucing, but the yard (which is a work of garden art) was a little undernourished. Between mornings of weeding and lots of watering, we had it looking pretty spiffy by the end.
And of course, when the arduous task of picking all of the ripe peaches came up, we reluctantly volunteered and tried our hardest not to snatch little bites as we went.
Some of us tried at least. Others wasted no times with pretenses, found a cozy spot in the dirt and went to peach town.
We found plenty of time for fun between our work. Or more accurately... we occasionally found time to work between our fun. My kids went from cautious swimmers to jumping off the diving board and swimming from pool end to end in the week we were there. Scarlet also went from light summer tan to brown as a bean with a stark white bottom.
We took off another morning to make sure the ski boat was in working order. Don't worry, it is. The kids got in a few tube rides and Jon got a much needed slalom ski time.
We also took a small hike with the kids, found a beautiful view and a delicious blackberry bush.
We were barely going to miss their homecoming talk but luckily, Jon and I were invited to listen to Bert & Charla report to the High Council. It was an amazing experience to get to listen to all of the work that they did and all of the wonderful people they met. It was probably my favorite part of the trip.
We also got to fit in a picture shoot in our African finest wear as we headed for church.
Next up... Earl Family Reunion.