Thursday, April 12, 2018

Weekend with Dan and Granddaughters

Dan flew up to Livermore with Vivian and Lillian Friday night March 2nd. Carrie at 8 months pregnant at this point, stayed home, ostensibly to rest  but more likely to run her self ragged nesting for baby #3 and doing tasks more easily accomplished without the "help" of a nearly 4 year old and a nearly 2 year old underfoot.

Frank picked them up from Oakland, having done his pre-homework of getting two car seats out of the attic and installing them in the Rav 4. Of course there was preplanning and several tests/emails and photos exchanged to be sure the seats were adequate.

Oh, by the way – the car seat boxes do not fit through the opening in to the attic at the top of those folding stairs. We keep the boxes collapsed for storage and bought car seat backpack carriers in which to keep the seats during their sojourn in our attic.

Here is one of these carriers in use on Frank's back when Frank and I went to SoCal to help with Vivian during Lillian's birth.

If you think you will downsize your inventory of childhood items once you have grandchildren and pass it on to them, think again. Our house now has two carseats, a high chair, a baby bouncer, two bed rails, and a pack and play , all newly purchased in addition to our stored inventory of baby paraphernalia from our own kids. At least our changing table is getting used. The crib has drop sides and so is deemed too dangerous per today's safety standards. It is a marvel that my three kids survived sleeping in it.

So favorite foods purchased, pack-and-play and bed rails deployed, childhood toys stationed for convenient play in the family room... we were ready and sooo excited for the visit! Their flight landed at 8:40pm and although pretty much on time, it was after the girls' bedtimes and so there was little time to visit that first evening. Lillian went directly to sleep in the clothes she had worn for the trip, so soundly zonked out that her daddy did not disturb her to change her into pajamas.

The next morning, Saturday, the girls awoke at a reasonable hour and were excited to explore and play with all we had set out in the family room. It was a leisurely morning and all enjoyed lounging in their pajamas. Except for Lillian of course who was still wearing yesterday's outfit. That was a big whoops on Dan's and our part. Her mom Carrie noticed it right away in photos we sent and questioned how well her baby girl was being looked after! Big whoops. Not in failing to change Lillian into and out of pajamas but rather in sending those photos so her mom found out!

Here is Lillian quite happily wearing her daddy's boots that Dan had left downstairs overnight. She put them on all by herself.

Lillian is singing with grandpa as her rocks her on the rocking horse from when our kids were small. Frank has a protective hand behind her back because she could really get the amplitude of those rocks to be huge. She was totally fearless.

Vivian and Lillian played together on the melodica Frank gave me for my birthday last year. Vivian does the breath control and the two of them are going for some serious finger action on those keys. 

After tiring of the jam session we decided we needed a low key outing. We had planned to do something on a larger scale but the girls were having such fun hanging out that we scaled back our goals. We took a quick ride to the grocery store. What had been a bright sunny morning sudden got dark and menacing during the few blocks from our house to the store and it hailed! We thought is was unique and kind of cool but Vivian was not so sure...

The crystal formations were a bit larger that the gravel you'd find in a home aquarium tank. It lasted only little while during our less than five minute ride and was very local. Lucky us.

Once inside the store we found a race car cart for the girls to ride in.

Lillian was already past the hail experience and ready to enjoy a good ride. Vivian took just a tad longer.

On Sunday morning we again were laid back and this time I played the melodica while the girls accompanied me on the piano. 

I let Vivian pick what song we played and she picked a song from the Disney movie Tangled

The love song is titled I See the Light. Here is our version. (I hope the video loads; it is my first time doing this.)

The song is really quite melodic and pretty. You can see and hear the original version on YouTube at 

After a breakfast of pancakes it was time to visit and play with our 18 year old cat Wima. She really is very patient with the girls. She does not jump or shy away when they squeal with glee. Being quite deaf acts in her favor. Lillian offers her a catnip pillow while Vivian's choice is a ball with a bell. I think smell won out over sound in this case.

Frank joined them and Wima still relaxed even with all the attention. Frank fetched a toy for Vivian to dangle in front of Wima.

Though eighteen years old Wima still likes to bat at the toy as if she were a kitten.

Their return flight was schedule for 4:10 pm. When you back calculate being there 1½ to 2 hrs before the flight and a 45 minute trip to the airport, we planned  to leave about 1:30. There was not a full day to do any major activities. The day was bright and sunny and we took a short walk. It is hard to believe from this photo that it had been hailing less than 24 hours previous.

We planned to pack leisurely and then have a light lunch. Then Dan got a text from SWA that the flight was delayed 1 hour and 55 minutes, till 6:05pm. That changed the plan. Naps before the flight were back in the picture. He put the girls down to sleep, loaded their luggage and stroller into the car,  and then Dan helped Frank install some new lights in our upstairs hallway. 

They'd done two out of four lights and then decided not to push to finish all of them. I was now shortly before 3:00 pm, the revised time we were to leave for the airport for the 6:05 flight. Then Dan got a text from SWA. The flight had been moved back to 4:10 pm! It was a 45 minute trip to the airport and the girls were still napping, both of them sleeping soundly. He and I woke and carried two sleeping children downstairs and out to the car and fastened them, groggy and grumbling, into their car seats. And we took off. 

Thank goodness for curbside checkin and a family line to expedite matters through security. An accommodating clerk at the ticketing counter phoned ahead to the gate and told the crew there to pre-prepare a gate check for the stroller and to expect a father and two little girls. SWA could not guarantee holding the flight and they could not guarantee the luggage would make it one board. Dan rushed through the security line but had to return to the ticket counter because the curbside attendant had not printed the necessary boarding pass for one of the girls. A second time he rushed through security only to be further delayed because Vivian had left some water in her bottle. Very nice fellow passengers let Dan ahead of them in the line. But then they all got in trouble because the order of the carryons going through screening was not the same order as the passengers. Dan ran full tilt down the terminal hallway shoving the stroller ahead of him and he did make it to the gate before the door closed on the plane, "sweating like a pig" per his words. The stewardesses smiled and said calmly, "You made it, Dad!" Whew, what an adventure! He did need to retrieve their luggage from the airport the next day but he was not complaining about that.

We had a great visit and the ending was certainly memorable. Next time we see Dan and Vivian and Lillian there will be a little boy Chambers. He is scheduled to arrive by C-Section tomorrow April 13th. So far, unlike Southwest Airlines there have been no last minute time adjustments.


  1. I’ve been waiting for this post! So glad you all had a nice time together. The girls sure love spending my time with you - and Wima, of course!

    1. I think Wima wins. Last time we were there (~4/23/18) Viv asked as soon as we arrived if we'd brought Wima.