Over spring break I had the opportunity to take a quick trip to visit my Grandpa Blain.
6 hours to drive there, a stay overnight, 5 hours drive back. And no speeding tickets. :)
It has been 1 1/2 years since we last saw him. And that visit was really the kids' first visit with their great-grandpa Blain. They instantly fell in love with him! It was so cute to watch them follow him around, ask questions, hug him, share stories, and just be so interested in everything in and around his home. It really struck me as something amazingly special, the way they grew so attached to him so quickly.
Ever since then the kids have asked over and over again, "when can we visit Grandpa Blain?"
Well, this was our chance!
Grandpa lives in small town, Utah. Farm and grazing land as far as the eye can see and teeny tiny towns dotted here and there. He was born & raised in the general area and spent his childhood working on the family farm (from the age of 3 or 4 - they dropped him off in the fields with food and said, "get to work, we'll pick you up in a week"). He eventually developed a career as a dairyman. As I grew up, visiting grandma & grandpa's house (in California) meant going to the dairy, checking out the cows/chickens/pigs/rabbits, smelling the cows, eating grandma's waffles & gravy, swatting flies, getting dirty, and going home smelling like a puppy dog.
I always loved that I had this piece of country in my childhood. (Never-mind I grew up in a town of 4,000 that was populated by farmers & dairy workers.)
Here are some shots around his Utah home
Conner pulled out my mom's scrapbook. "Hey Grammer . . . I'm looking at your deep dark secrets!"
Anna sat on Grandpa's lap, told him stories, and gave him hugs and kisses.
Conner showed Grandpa his Nintendo DS and shared plenty of Pokemon tips.
We took a few walks around the neighborhood to get energy out and to play at the park. (Here is my mom -- we stayed for one night and she stayed for 3).
But the biggest activity was checking on Grandpa's chickens. The kids spent so much time out at the chicken coop . . . watching the chickens, feeding weeds to the chickens, clucking with the chickens, singing to the chickens, dancing for the chickens. They wanted some fresh eggs so badly, but the chickens were always too wound up to go into the hen house and take care of business! We tried to keep the kids in the house for periods of time, but it didn't work. Someone would always sneak out to the chicken coop.
It was just about time for us to go home and still . . . no eggs. At one point my mom walked into the house to find Conner in the family room, on his knees and praying for eggs!
We gathered the kids in the front yard to give the chickens a break while my Uncle discretely went in the back to "check on the chickens." After a minute we told the kids to check the hen house one more time.
Three eggs! And one of them was even warm -- a super fresh one!
I'm so glad we were able to make this quick trip happen. I know that my grandpa loves having visitors. My grandma passed away in 2006 and he lives alone. My uncle & his family live next door and there are a lot of people who check on grandpa and help him out in so many ways. But even still, I'm sure he gets lonely. His health is struggling too and he recently started hospice care.
It makes me happy that the kids get such joy from looking through his rock collection, playing with the assortment of 25 year old toys in the basement, and talking to cows through the fence. I'm sure it makes grandpa happy too.
I've set a goal to complete 101 tasks in 1001 days. This is number 31.