Anyway, we went up to Fresno on Saturday and now we have returned. It was pretty much a typical visit, only this time Mom was determined to make sure we got enough to eat, so there would have been a lot less blaaaaaaaahhhhhhh on the way home, except that our first train was an hour and a half late, which made us miss our last train so we had to wait an extra two hours for the next one. We were "in transit" for a total of about nine hours yesterday. On the bright side, the extra long wait at Union Station gave us plenty of time to get over our trepidation about ordering from the Ben & Jerry's scoop shop, so we got to have sundaes while we waited for our train to arrive. Salted Caramel Blondie and Candy Bar Pie with hot fudge. It was pretty good.
As for the visit, we mostly had fun. Logan was adorable as usual. We first saw him at church on Sunday. We arrived at the chapel first, so we were sitting on Mom and Steve's regular pew when Sarah came up with her family. Logan saw us and rushed over to hug Athena (who was the most accessible), then he climbed onto the pew, snuggled up next to her, and sat there in a daze until the sacrament was passed. Apparently sacrament meeting happens at his regular nap time. Anyway, it was super cute.
After church, all the sisters and husbands and cousins met up at Mom's house for Logan's birthday dinner. Mom had made a really fancy cake with chocolate butter cream frosting and chocolate rocks and piles of Oreo crumbs and little construction vehicle toys, and as soon as Logan saw it, one of his favorite pastimes became staring at it. Mom had put it on a rotating cake display dish, so he would turn it around and show off the various aspects of it to the grown-ups: his name in fondant (he saw it and went, "Oh! That's my name!"), the side of the cake where Mom arranged some chocolate rocks in a brick-laying pattern, etc.
At one point, Athena asked Logan if he could say all the letters in his name, and his attempt reminded me of the Gakuen Babysitters CD drama where Ryuichi asks Kotaro if he can say "sa shi su se so." Then Athena spelled out all the letters, and after that Logan was excited to notice an old cross-stitch sampler on the wall where he recognized several instances of the letter L. Then Logan asked for cake, and Athena told him we had to have dinner first (we would be having pancakes, scrambled eggs, and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets). She asked, "Do you like chicken nuggets?" and without missing a beat, he answered, "I like cake, too."
The birthday celebration continued into Monday, when we took all the children to the mall, where they have a kids' super play area. Like, super play area. Not only does it have a play place like at a fast food restaurant (only this one has a ball pit and zipline), it has a bounce house, some giant building blocks (Logan loved to make a tunnel out of them), a TV with a Wii set up, a karaoke stage complete with costumes, and tables for play-dough and easels and paint. It was incredibly awesome.
But before we got there, there was another spot in the mall where they have those little rides that you put the quarters in and it moves for a little while. The kids (Logan and the kid Sarah babysits) saw them and sat in one. They were having a pretty good time just pretending to drive, but I figured what the heck and put some quarters in it. They loved it so much that they went to the next one over...and when it didn't do anything, Logan came back to me and said, "I need money." I'm starting to realize these stories might make him sound demanding, but he was also very helpful and sharing. For example, his friend was having a hard time climbing the stairs at the play place, and he said, "I need help!" so we sent Logan to help him and it was sooo cute.
We had McDonald's for lunch, and both boys were very happy to have cake for dessert. Athena rode with the other boy back to Mom's house, and she asked him what he was going to have for lunch. His reply was, "Chicken nuggets, cake." Every time, until he got tired of answering, because Athena thought it was so funny she wouldn't stop asking. And people think toddlers are the only ones who do things over and over and over.
After that, we put the kids down for a nap and spent some time just talking, which is always nice. Eventually the kids left (Logan had plans for another birthday dinner at his other grandparents' house), and we went with Mom and Steve to see Guardians of the Galaxy. It's a bit of an enigma, because the characters were good and the story was interesting, and yet we left the theater feeling sad. This may be due in large part to all the time spent on stunning visuals and not on character interaction.
Before the movie started, for some reason Mom asked if we had seen Divergent, and when we said no but we wanted to, she decided we would go to Target and buy it on DVD so we could watch it when we got home. So we stayed up a little extra late watching Divergent, which was pretty interesting until they started killing people more discriminately (they were killing kind of a lot of people before, but then they started killing off main characters for reasons which to us seem to boil down to "to be edgy") and I was especially annoyed because one of the characters that got killed was the voice of a Disney character that we really like (can't say which one, because that would make it a spoiler).
Then yesterday we woke up and got ready to go. Mom took us to the store to buy some snacks for the train ride, and then we went to Sarah's place to see Logan one more time. He had gotten a super awesome red Fisher Price dragon toy that he was excited to show off, and seriously, it was super awesome. All you have to do is pull the handle to make it flap its wings and roar at the same time! And in a cool-looking way, as opposed to a "we're going to try this and see if it works and...maybe it doesn't really but it's close enough" kind of way. He made it roar at Athena a few times (he was adamant that "it's not going to eat you"), and then he put it in her lap for her to play with. Then the other boy would try to play with it ("My turn!"), and Logan would just take it back from the kid and put it back in Athena's lap. Meanwhile, he pulled out his new toolkit and he and I would hammer toy nails into a toy board.
Then it was time to go to the train station, and Logan wanted to come too. That was really hard, because we wanted to let Logan spend as much time with us as he wanted (apparently we had been in very high demand, to the point where he was randomly telling everyone that he wanted his aunts; not sure if that's exactly true, but that's the impression we got from what the grownups told us), but it's sad to say goodbye! And we didn't want to cry in front of him. And maybe I was just projecting, but he seemed to get more and more glum as we got closer to the station. And that made it even harder, because now I'm even more sad, but I want to try harder to be happy so Logan can be happy, and it's really just a vicious cycle. Still, we made it through, and then we had to wait an extra hour and a half before the train arrived. And for some reason when Mom told Logan to give us a hug goodbye, he said no. That's okay; we had hugged him the night before, and earlier that day, but we have to wonder what it meant. Like, "If I don't say goodbye, they won't leave!" or like, "No, I'm mad at them for leaving," or, "No, I don't really care about them anymore [probably not]," or maybe he was just tired. Oh well.
Today I'm thankful for having a lovely time with family, getting to spend time with Logan, getting to see some fun movies, managing to make it home safely, and being back home with Page.