Before we went to California, the kids and I had planned to visit Matt's parents in Arizona. It had already been about eight months since we've spent time with the best grandparents on Earth, and we just couldn't wait until August to see them.
It was only a five day visit, but long enough to make new memories of playing 10,000 and other dice games and cards. I wasn't raised playing games as a family like that, so it's always fun to get involved and learn more! It's a great way to connect, have lots of laughs, and even reinforce math skills with the kids. I need to get into a routine of doing that when it's just the kids and I... Brings me back to when Matt was around to play, too - he absolutely loved games with the family, and it was pretty much a guarantee that at some point something funny would happen to bring out his big, booming, contagious laugh that I miss so much.
Roy took Jacob and I on a great hike and as we walked along, Roy told us where the best places would have been to pan for gold. He also pointed out bedrock to Jacob, and he was ecstatic! Jacob is hardcore into a game called Minecraft, and there's a whole lot of bedrock in the game, and he was so excited to get to see it in real life. He even got to take a piece of it home with him! We also went fishing with Uncle Jeff, Aunt LaRae, Grandma and Grandpa and cousin Jeffrey. We didn't catch any fish, but Jacob caught a few crayfish and Grandma told him stories about when his dad and brothers were little, they used to catch lots of crayfish, bring them home and cook them up. Apparently they taste quite a bit like lobster. We brought the few that Jacob caught home with us, and boiled them up. Jacob was beaming as he watched those little guys turn from grey to red in the pot. He loves seafood, too, so he couldn't wait to get a taste. I also had a little taste, but I have to say - they really didn't taste like lobster, but I can now say I ate a crayfish!
Roy has been making these gorgeous end tables and coffee tables out of Alligator Juniper trees - it's a very physically demanding process, too. May I remind you the man is 77 years old, had a quadruple bypass sixteen years ago, has chronic leukemia (maintained with daily medication), and was struck by lightning last July? He's pretty much my hero. He even puts some of the gold he finds from panning (and some pieces of turquoise - and probably anything else he would want to) into some of the divots and into spaces where there were knots with some special kind of varnish. Matt and I had gone panning years ago with his parents, and found some gold which has been stored in a tiny vial with water all this time. Roy just happened to have a smaller slab of Alligator Juniper, and I asked him if he would do me the honor of making a little table for me, and including the gold that Matt and I found on that trip. He is working on it probably as we speak. I can't wait to see the results! And what a treasure that table is going to be... Two wonderful men involved in that work of art.
This August, Ginny and Roy came to Buffalo for this year's Run for Row (another whole exciting post!!) and stayed with us for about ten days. More cookies, hiking and memories!! We are so blessed to have them in our lives. =)