While none of us are enthused to attend a funeral, we can’t contain our excitement at a return home.  We made sure to pack it full of food, family, and friends.  The greatest joy about the return would be the timing.  We would be able to celebrate Halloween-trick or treating with their friends in the Issaquah highlands.  The epic cheering from the kids receiving this information could be heard in the actual Issaquah Highlands. 

            I had booked a trip to Vegas to meet up with my siblings just before my grandpa’s passing.  Since I was most of the way there I didn’t return but just flew to Seattle.  My brother and I had a few days where it was just us before his wife, our sister, and the entourage flew in.  We hit the mob museum, tried some amazing food, and made sports bets.  The world series was going on and we cashed in…or I did.  We had bets with each other, like who in our group would be the first one to lose something or what the first drink someone would order when they arrived.  I won all the bets!  The most challenging and longest of all was betting that the Red Sox would win in 5 games.  I got in when we arrived and the odds were 10:2.  Every night we had either a baseball game or football game that we would put money and watch.  We had costumes since it was the weekend before Halloween.  Who am I kidding?  We dress up all the time and wouldn’t have had something even if it wasn’t Halloween.  I felt limited this year as I didn’t have a sewing machine and limited supplies on the boat.  I had to amazon it.  They looked amazing!  We hit this mid-day show called “Laughternoon” and we were rolling in our seats.  This might become an annual siblings trip.

Matt had business in Costa Rica. So the day before he left he put the kids on a plane.  I landed early that day where I ubered to my in-laws to get our car and then headed to the dentist.  I had a crown that needed to be replaced.  My dentist was able to use his connections to do a rush job.  Afterwards I went back to the airport to pick up the kids.  After the special treatment they got on the plane I think they would prefer to travel alone.  The attendants made sure they had snacks, tablets, and plenty of jokes.  Now I’m researching about flying them as unaccompanied minors while Matt and I fly in first class.  Is this bad parenting or brilliant parenting?  Somehow I think I’ll receive more dirty looks than praise. 

            We were reminded about keeping Ella hydrated as she awoke the next morning with an upset stomach.  With Ella, this always translates to she’s going to throw up and she will and did.  We spent most of the day trying to get her stomach settled to keep fluids down.  By the late afternoon she was well again, but didn’t feel like going out.  Alice, Calvin and I visited a few friends before joining grandma and grandpa Jarvis for dinner.  My mom also stopped by.  She was pretty anxious to see us.  Grandma Jarvis saved her honeycomb from her beehive that the kids snacked away on.

alice’s pressed flowers at grandma’s

            The day of Halloween arrived and the kids got a lesson on time zones.  Alice and Ella have classes back to back that normally begin at 9…in Florida.  At 5:55am Alice rolled out of bed to use the bathroom and login to her creative writing class.  I had breakfast for her so she could eat while she explained her wild morning hair to her classmates.  Ella then began her Harry Potter ELA promptly at 7am.  We spent the morning finishing school work, packing for the night, and heading to Issaquah in time for lunch.  I was excited to visit my favorite dim sum place.  After lunch we went to the Brown’s where we would be staying the night.  This is one of my kid’s most favorite houses.  It’s probably tied with their grandparents house.  Alice went walking and caught up with her girlfriends.  We had dinner with the wonderful Johnson family and then the trick or treating was underway.  Ella stayed with her friend Hailey Brown.  She had a phone and was giving me updates on the sweet house spots she hit with full size candy bars, king size bars, and krispy kreme donuts.  Alice was long gone with her friends.  I had Calvin and 2 of his buddies making the rounds.  This neighborhood is so amazing for trick or treating.  After an hour with barely a scratch in the housing in the neighborhood hit the kids were done.  Calvin couldn’t carry his bag any longer.  So we hit our favorite Halloween party.  Friends of ours host a party, a post trick or treat hang out to social and snack on delicious finger foods.  There are plenty of adults, kids, and treats.  The kids usually compare their candy takes of the night and do some trading.  My kids were likely the only ones that didn’t have school the next morning, at least not early.  We didn’t have any classes online so it was a flex day.

We headed back to Federal Way to have a last day with Grandma Jarvis and Aunt Sarah before they flew to Arizona to visit our cousins.  Along the way we visited my Grandma Wright.  Even being in my Grandpa’s house it didn’t feel like he was gone.  It just felt like he was out in his shop.  The only thing that seemed odd is that he wasn’t with my Grandma.  She had a bunch of old photos out getting ready for the service. 

That evening we met with Aunt Kelli and Aunt Guppie for the world’s largest bowl of Pho.  We thought the larger bowl wouldn’t taste as good, but oh were we wrong.  They made their own noodles.  Everything tasted incredible!  The giant bowl was so fun too!  Highly recommended as we will DEFINITELY go back.

Friday was another day of business.  We had haircuts, my new crown in my mouth, and made sure we had all our preparations for the service (shoes, clothes etc.)  We also stopped and picked up the things we wanted to take back with us.  I had also discovered with the kids arrival that their passports were due to expire!  Yikes!  So I started getting appointments set up and pictures taken. 

The day of the service was very hard.  It was so lovely to see my family.  I had cousins that I hadn’t seen in a while and it was great to catch up.  I loved hearing the fun stories of about my grandpa, even if I’d heard them before.  I made sure to get a picture of my Grandpa’s resting place.  I’m glad he’ll be in the house with my Grandma.  It is very fitting for him to be in his lunch box!  It’s the lunchbox he took to work every day for 40 plus years. 

After the service we all departed.  My family planned on going out, but no one really felt like it.  I just wanted to be together and watch a movie, and that actually worked out spontaneously.  My mom had taken ownership of our TV, sound system, and Xbox on our purging before our departure.  She needed some help setting it up.  The kids were also starting to get hungry.  So we did a grab and go at their favorite pizza place and visited Grandy.  The kids all ate, laughed, and visited while watching Crocodile Dundee 2 (the best of the 2 in my opinion).  I was in the back room getting the wires connected, passports put in, and remotes working.  Calvin got to open an early Christmas present, lucky boy.  It drew late as we finished the movie together.  We enjoyed a family prayer all together before we made our good-byes. 

Our last day, Sunday, the kids choose to attend the Issaquah Highlands church.  We gave hello and goodbyes.  Afterwards the kids made rounds to their friends to get a few last moments in.  The Johnson family cunningly got another dinner with us.  We all love her cooking.  We toured our friends new home and then had our Federal Way visit with the McConville family.  We tried to visit earlier and they were at Disneyland and then in Idaho.  This family is one of our dearest and closest.  I was so excited to hear that their flight had landed and we would be able to catch them before our early flight.  We probably stayed longer than we should have as we were all extremely tired and then we had to pack!  It was worth it.  I love them so dearly. 

As we boarded from the tarmac the pilot called to us from the window to come visit him. The kids got to spend a few minutes playing up by the captain.  Ella got to welcome the passengers aboard over the intercom.  So I guess they still get spoiled even when travelling with their Mom.  We are now headed back to warm weather, sunshine, and our daily routine.  I’m so anxious to see Matthew.  We have had 3 days together this month.  We learned a lot, like never do that again.  I’m thrilled that we will all be together and ready to keep going on this adventure!  We plan to leave tomorrow for the Florida Keys!