When I first started dating Troy (nearly 6 years ago! Oh my!), his nieces were just 4 and 10 months and his nephew was only 3. They've grown into adorable little people in the intervening time. I don't have any nieces or nephews of mine own and since I'm single, kids sometimes wear me out. That is certainly not the case with these three! I would be happy to claim them in an instant! In fact, a few months ago, Sophie and William, the two older kids, were being kind of mean to Annabelle, the youngest, and suggested that since the economy was kind of hard right now, perhaps they should sell her off to make ends meet. She was hurt, obviously, but I assured her that I would pay any price for the opportunity to take her!
We had a wonderful visit with them all. First, Troy's mom made us a lovely lunch when we arrived. I'm always amazed at how she can make it look so easy to throw together a meal for what seems to be an army! There are always lots of people showing up around meal times.
Then it was time for the kiddos to show me the new batch of kittens! It's a farm, of course, so there's ALWAYS a new batch of kittens to be tamed. Thankfully the kids are always willing to do their part. (Whether the kittens like it or not.) There were 5 or 6 in the litter and they had named them all. I'm happy to see them so willing to get attached to these frail creatures. I find myself not wanting to feel anything for them because they live outside on a farm where any number of things (disease, animals, etc) can snatch their little lives from them. Perhaps I'm too soft but the mere thought of that breaks my heart.
It was while we were in the hayloft checking out the kitties that William decided to share that he "had a secret". He wasn't allowed to say anything, but he knew what they were having for dinner. Let's just say it didn't take much prying from his two sisters for him to reveal that we were all going to go for a hayride and have hotdogs over an open fire. There were shouts of "yeah!" all around.
When Troy's youngest sister and her husband had loaded all of the provisions on the trunk and the wagon with bales of straw, we set out for a big area on their farm that they use for such occasions. The kids, Troy, his mom and oldest sister all bundled up for the ride. Thankfully Troy is a real boyscout and brought along an extra hat, gloves and coat for yours truly. I may be a lot of things, but sometimes prepared for the weather is not one of them. I would have been miserable if it were for him thinking ahead. Thanks, Troy!
An additional passenger on our hayride was Miss Sasha (Fierce) herself! Now, you didn't think I had actually left the adorable bundle of fur at home, did you? This was her first hayride adventure and I think she handled herself VERY well. She got into the wagon (aided by a sizable boost from Troy) and simply laid at our feet while we rode along. She even did really well with the kids. Being kids, they wanted to pet her in their little kid way. She just laid there and let them have at it. I'd say that's a major accomplishment since kids are generally the focus of her barking.
Once we arrived at the site, we set out the camp food and got to cooking over the open fire. We enjoyed hotdogs and brats with all the fixin's. William thought it was an especially good dinner since he said, "Yea! No vegetables!" It got even better when the s'mores stuff made an appearance. Yum! With the exception of one marshmallow that accidentally leapt to its death off of my stick and one marshmallow that was nearly turned into mallow napalm, the fireside dessert was definitely a hit!
As the sun set, Troy's family took turns singing songs and reciting poems from memory. I know it probably sounds a bit cheesy, but it was actually really nice. These aren't things that my family (extended or otherwise) would EVER think of doing. It really made me wish I had already completed #38 (Memorize Robert Frost's "The Road Less Traveled").
I wish I could remember the poem that Troy's mom shared with us. I'll look it up and get back to you. ;-)