We promised my grandpa that we would come visit as soon as Paige was born and we had some time. Summer seemed perfect, so we headed up there the last week of June. A few days before we left, Cody got the genius idea to ask Taylor or Carleigh to go with us. Taylor had to work but Carleigh was free so she came with us. What a God send she was! I'm not sure we would have been able to do it without her. Plus, we love spending time with her, even if she doesn't help (which she always does). It was a great trip and I'm so glad we went to visit!
Carleigh came up on Saturday evening and we hung out Sunday and packed. We decided to head out after an early dinner and get to Aunt Pat's house around midnight. We drove and Paige catnapped and Harper and Carleigh played with toys. It was pretty uneventful. I'm not sure what happened, but we lost a little time and then the gps (which is old) sent us to the wrong address, so we didn't get there until almost 1am, but we made it. The next morning, Paige and Harper both got up pretty early, so we went downstairs and hung out with Pat. They are early risers too and I love that they are always up. She has lots of great toys, especially ones from when we were kids and they are super fun to play with. Harper loved them and wasn't ever bored.
We got ready and headed out to see Grandpa. He lives in an assisted living apartment in Paola. He knows lots of people there and even has family in the building. We hadn't been back since my grandma passed away and it was definitely hard. But it was so good to see him. His new fascination is birds. He likes to go out front and feed 3 bird feeders and then spend the morning watching the birds come and feed. He said he sometimes gets close to 100 birds in a day. He loves them and they make him happy. So he took us out that morning and Harper got to help him feed the birds. Paige needed her morning nap, so we laid her down on a blanket in the floor and that didn't work at all. We ended up just rocking her in her carseat and she slept for a bit.
We went back to Pat's house for lunch and nap time. We just sat around and hung out; Carleigh and Cody napped. We were all pretty tired from going to bed late. That afternoon, we went back to Grandpa's and just hung out at his place. Then, we went to dinner at Applebee's and just talked and ate. It was fun and a nice evening. The next day, Pat and I went and picked Grandpa up and brought him back to the house. It was nice to just hang out and have time all day to chat instead of going back and forth. Harper got to play out back and Carleigh and Cody kicked the ball around. It was perfect weather and we had the best day. I got to hear Grandpa tell me about his war story and it was inspiring. We played Nickels before dinner and it was Carleigh's first time. She did good, Cody did well for not liking card games, and Grandpa won. At 91, he beat us all. That man has played more Nickels than anyone ever. I miss playing with Grandma because she always made it so much fun! Later, Barb came over for dinner and then Grandpa got to see Kristen and Ellie on FaceTime. I think he had a great day and I'm so glad. He went home after dinner and we all relaxed till bedtime.
That day, during nap time, Pat, Barb, and I headed out to visit Grandma and Jim. They are at the same cemetery. I missed seeing it at Jim's funeral because I stayed back with Grandma, and then it was snowing during her funeral so we never got to see it. It was nice to know where they were so I can go back later in life. It was a beautiful headstone and it was even better to know that she picked it out and loved every detail. It is supposedly a perfect combination of her parents' and Grandpa's parents'. We also saw some Klusman family members. Louis they weren't sure who he was. But Clarence and Sophia were Grandpa's aunt and uncle. Jim's headstone was beautiful and a fabulous tribute to his service. It was definitely bittersweet.
The next morning, we packed up and said goodbye to Pat and Don. We stopped by Barb's to say goodbye as well. Then we headed to Paola to spend the rest of the morning with Grandpa. It was nice to just sit and chat. He was feeding his birds and then it was lunchtime. We sat and ate with him and fed the kids. One of the nurses even recognized that I was Kathryn's daughter. Paola is such a small town! It was really hard to say goodbye. I know he's lonely but I hope we can make it back soon.
The drive home went well. Paige slept for almost 4 hours and was so good. We had to be quiet, but that was ok. Harper watched a movie and we just relaxed. We took a back way home and ended up on the old Route 66, which was fun. We stopped and got snacks and spent more at a gas station than if we had just gotten dinner. But it was a road trip and that makes it more fun. We made it home around 6pm on Wednesday and got the kids bathed and in bed. It was a long three days.