But let's get back to our Memorial Day report! On Sunday, we decided to go to Celeste's ward instead of Mom's ward for the very important reason that Mom's ward meets at nine and Celeste's doesn't meet until 10:30. This was extra important because we tend to stay up late watching movies when we stay at Mom's house. So we went to Celeste's ward, and she happened to be teaching Relief Society that day, and she did a really great job. The lesson was based on Elder Renlund's recent talk about how to access blessings. The main point is that Heavenly Father is eager to bless us, so while we do have to act to receive the blessings, it's usually a small thing that leads to big results. Like how striking a match and setting it to kindling can start a big bonfire, but you do have to strike the match and start the fire. Celeste did a great job teaching about it, and I'm not just saying that because she handed out chocolate.
We spent the rest of the day just hanging out. Celeste and her kids came over, and Gilderoy somehow ended up with a DS, so Athena had a pretty relaxing time beating levels in Super Mario Bros. for him. He did like to try to do it himself, so when Athena took over, it was less because he was demanding help and more because it gets frustrating watching someone fall in the same pit over and over. And sometimes he would hand her the game so she could take care of a tricky part and then she'd hand it right back.
Meanwhile, Rosetta was playing with her favorite toys: a set of Disney princess figurines with plastic dresses that you could pinch at the skirt and slide it off the figurine. Rosetta likes to take the dresses off of them and have them all have a pool party in their "swimsuits," and it had never occurred to anyone that you could switch all the dresses around. For some reason, I found this bothered me enough that as soon as all the kids were gone, before anyone had a chance to clean up the toys, I swooped in and changed all the dresses around. But Merida stayed in her dress because she had been moved to the other side of the room, and Anna and Elsa wore each other's dresses, because I don't like them enough to let them mix and match with the others (if I had had Merida, I think those three would have rotated dresses). The next day, Rosetta was switching dresses around again, so my work is done.
Monday was the Big Day of the Memorial Day Bash, and it was chilly and overcast--a welcome change from most of the blazing hot Memorial Days we've had the last several years. I...mostly spent it inside with Hagger, actually. I said something about how he was at Grandma's house all alone instead of playing with everyone, and he replied, "But I like it here." I wasn't going to argue with that, especially because I preferred hiding from all the crowds, too, so we just hung out. He wanted to turn on the TV in the play room to watch Backyardigans, so I asked him about Miraculous instead. We didn't find the remote, so we didn't actually watch any TV, but it was super cute when Hagger got excited and was like, "There's a siren episode!" (mermaid siren, not noise-making siren (that's one of our favorite episodes, too, but not for the mermaid)). He was all, "I got to see Aqua Tikki!" But he didn't get to see Plagg Aqua. Nobody got to see Plagg Aqua, sadly. So instead I mentioned PlagGlacier and StalacTikki, but he didn't remember an ice episode, which is a shame, because that's a great episode, too. He did talk about Scarlet Hawk Moth, though. And he told me something that's a big spoiler, so I'm not going to repeat it here.
Meanwhile, it was getting to be time to fill the pinata, so we went and recruited Grawp, who had arrived later than the rest of the gang because he had spent the weekend visiting other cousins with his other grandparents. Gilderoy and Rosetta caught wind of what was going on, so together the five of us filled the pinata, but before we went back to the party, Athena pulled out the face paints. She gave Gilderoy a mustache (like Mario) and painted a lightning bolt on Grawp's forehead (like Harry Potter), and a butterfly (we had stencils) on the cheek of a child who was visiting with a friend of Sarah's.
The pinata was a big hit (ha, ha, ha) as usual, and then it was time to paint Pokeballs on several kids' faces. It's a good thing the kids were happy with Pokeballs, because Athena had had zero experience painting faces before then, and Pokeballs are fairly easy. The kids were all pretty forgiving, too. I mean, it's not like they could see it anyway. And Hagger got a lightning bolt on each cheek, and sort of one on his forehead, but that was the one he chose red for, and Athena wasn't careful enough with the stencil, so when she pulled it off, the paint bled a little, so now it looked like he had a gash on his forehead. Fortunately, he wasn't too attached to the idea, so when he realized there was a problem, he just took his hand and wiped it off.
After a little bit more socializing and telling people how life is in Southern California, the party was over and we took all the grandkids back to Mom's house to deal with more chaos while Mom and Steve drove off somewhere to escape. We also ended up with two new little ones, because Grawp and Hagger's father had taken the new ones' father out to play golf. And they live a little farther away, so they had to all go home together. It was madness, I tell you! Oh yeah, we had Celeste's dog, too, but the dog didn't add to the madness, because it was absolutely exhausted. Poor little guy just slept the whole time. But having two new children under the age of five did make things more chaotic, because the grandkids had already played with all the toys and knew their favorites, but everything was new to the new kids, so they were pulling out everything to check it out.
Grawp and Gilderoy were the easiest to deal with, because they were happy to just play DS together. At first they were taking turns, until Grawp, the older, more experienced cousin, suggested they do a multi-player game. It was kind of fascinating how Grawp would be pretty relentless one minute, and the next he'd be letting Gilderoy win. Then Gilderoy would win and Grawp would be all, "I let you win!" and knowing those kids, I'd believe it either way. But the moment that made their fathers proud was when they were playing MarioKart, and Grawp was in the other room and we were watching Gilderoy, and from the other room, we hear Grawp go, "Why are you so slow, [Gilderoy]?" and Gilderoy responded, "Because you're a baby!" It's not the most logical trash talk ever, but I guess trash talk isn't supposed to be logical.
Eventually the fathers did return, and then it was our turn to leave them to take care of the kids, because! when we went to the escape room on Saturday, we found out the that Harry Potter Herbology room was going to be going away at the end of the month, and I really wanted to try it out because I love Harry Potter and I really enjoy escape rooms. So we took the same party as on Saturday and we tried the Herbology escape room. It was one of their easier rooms, so I figured we'd probably get out of it without too much trouble...until right before we got there when I was like, "How sad would it be if we escaped the Indiana Jones room and failed at Herbology!?" But the point is to relax and have fun, and what happens, happens.
And we escaped it with twenty minutes to spare! Tadah! I felt really good about that one, because I actually felt like I solved some of the puzzles this time. That's the thing about escape rooms--there's so much going on, that sometimes you feel helpful, and sometimes you feel like you're standing around trying not to get in the way. But the other reason we all felt pretty good about this one is that they only gave us one clue, and after we got out, the lady told us that as soon as she gave it to us, she had second thoughts about it. With twenty minutes to spare, I think we had enough time that we would have figured it out without the help. Anyway, we had been in the room for a while and we were just figuring out codes and unlocking locks, and I was like, "Wow, we haven't gotten any hints. I bet we're doing really well!" The other theory was that the lady had forgotten about us or was neglecting us in favor of something else, but! turns out we were really doing well.
Then we went to In-N-Out for dinner and had some more fun conversation, and talked about including Aurora in one of these Sisters Day things. And then everybody went home, and we watched Crazy Rich Asians with Mom and Steve. I felt pretty much the same as I did about George of the Jungle--I liked it well enough, but it didn't always hold my attention very well. I also feel like most of the time Rachel wasn't acting so much as being acted upon, and when she did act to do something awesome, it was made possible because of some very happy coincidence. Except for the mahjong game at the end--that was all her, I'll give her that. Still, it was a cute movie.
And that concludes most of our Memorial Day adventures. Stay tuned for the trip back and the aftermath!
Today I'm thankful for getting to sleep in this morning, having a good time with the kids, the face paint being reasonably successful, getting to do the Herbology escape room before it went away, and getting to pelt children with candy again.