Monday, July 31, 2023

A day with the Heiss cousins (June 13)

Spanish Fork has funded a number of social spaces since we moved away. They built a beautiful new library, for example, as well as this beautiful splash pad. I think they got an all-abilities playground and there's talk of building a recreation center as well. Not everyone is happy about these plans, finding public spaces to be superfluous to society (I'm friends with many of these people on Facebook), but I personally love to see my tax dollars at work in this way! Public spaces are so important to communities! 

I'm sad that they didn't have anything like this while we were there, but we survived without them...and got to enjoy them when we visited!

Grandpa suggested that we spend the day at the splash pad with our cousins on Tuesday the 13th, so that's what we did! Emily had driven down from Idaho with her kids; they stayed at Uncle Jacob's house. We didn't expect Uncle Jacob to come to the splash pad (because we were under the impression that he had to work), so we were surprised when not only Emily but also Jacob showed up! It was fun to have them both there. Andrew, Emily, and Jacob had a nice little visit together while the kids played. 

Carter and Dean were with Aunt Shayla this particular day. Aunt Shayla had taken the boys to go stay at her mom's house...because Jacob just recently asked her for a divorce. But Jacob hadn't yet told any of us this (silly guy), so there was some obvious tension in the air surrounding things unsaid. I believe their split is public knowledge at this point (like, I think they've signed papers and everything). Jacob is living in a friend's basement up in the SLC area and Shayla is in the house with the boys for the time being. So, yeah...that was a bit of a...tension...throughout the day. But it seems like things are going better now. 

Anyway, Carter and Dean missed out on the fun, and we missed seeing Shayla. But the rest of the cousins present had fun together.

Below are some pictures of them playing (I'll try—but will probably fail—to limit the commentary):

Phoebe and Benjamin

Phoebe really liked this water table feature:

Here's Logan coming to check it out with her:

In this picture you can see Benjamin and Alexander in lime green (not by accident); Gavin is standing with them. Arwyn and Logan are in the bottom left corner; Zoë is in the middle right.

Benjamin and Gavin

Logan, Benjamin, Gavin, Maren, Zoë

Emily with her kiddos (and Miriam with Phoebe)

The kids decided they'd try to make a human dam (and they well nigh succeeded):

This waterfall was pretty fun!

Phoebe with Mommy, Alexander, Benjamin, Gavin, Maren, and Grandpa

The water shuts off between 2 and 3 PM, so the kids ran around doing dry-land activities for that hour (it got really hot)! Phoebe was quite jealous of Logan's shoes (which have Grogu on them).

She was equally jealous of Gavin's Grogu towel:

Here she is trying it on:

I'm not sure what she thinks Grogu is, but I'm fairly certain that Grogu is one of her very favourite "animals." She's probably wondering why we've never run into a Grogu in real life. After all, cats, dogs, elephants, giraffes, sharks...those all turned out to be real. But for some reason, there's never a real-life Grogu to be found.

Anyway, here are the little kids enjoying the slides:

They were all so very good at taking turns; they're a good bunch of kids!

Here's Phoebe playing:

Rachel had the camera all day, so while there are no pictures of her, there are several of me...doing random things like getting into the diaper bag (and playing with my kids).

And here's a couple more pictures of this trio of siblings:

When the kids were good and worn out, we left the splash pad and reconvened at Macey's, where Grandpa treated everyone to an ice cream cone (Benjamin was bummed that Grandpa just got everyone the same size of cone—the Baby Kong Kone (59 cents)—when he wanted to try the Daddy Kong Kone ($1.49 and ginormous—I mean, look at the size of the baby cones!); luckily for Benjamin, Grandpa took him on a little trip to Macey's just to get a Kong Kone later in the week, though I think they settled on the Momma Kong Kone (99 cents), which was plenty large for Benjamin).

Then we parted ways to get dried off and changed so that we could meet up once again at the Gillespies' for a cookout (any westerner would probably call it a barbecue, since John grilled up some hamburgers and hot dogs, but I live in the south now and am learning that there is a distinction between a proper barbecue and a cookout). Whatever you call it, it was so kind of John and Dawna to host all...fifteen!...of us for dinner. Suzy came with her three little boys as well. It was a real party! The kids had a blast playing in the backyard, which is perfectly set up for grandchildren! 

Desert was brownies and ice cream! I was happy to have ice cream offered to me by the Gillespies again. The last time they offered ice cream to me was, I believe, in 2012 when I was expecting Alexander. John caught Andrew and I on a walk one evening and invited us in for ice cream. Andrew had some, but I said no because I was on a post-dinner walk to control my blood sugar before my rich-in-fiber-and-protein bedtime snack cream didn't really factor into those plans very well. But this time I took up the offer for ice cream and quite enjoyed it.

Here are some little cousins enjoying dessert together:

Alexander, Arwyn, Zoë, Maren, Logan

Same kids, same order, with Gavin added in on the far right

I did have one moment of panic in the evening where I needed to ask John a question (I think just about trash location) and I used his name to get his attention. But then later when I was replaying the conversation in my mind (not that I ever fall prey to anxiety spirals or anything), I was worried that I'd actually said, "Hey, Jim! Where shall I put these plates?" instead of, "Hey, John! Where shall I put these plates?"

It's all Dawna's fault! 

Hear me out:

Andrew's grandpa's name is Frank and all the grandkids call him Grandpa Frank. That's what I call him, too...except when I slip up and call him Uncle Frank. And then everyone is like, "Uncle Frank?!"

But my Grandma's sister Celia was married to a man named Frank. And I grew up calling him Uncle Frank. I don't really have many memories of Celia though I know that I saw her at a family reunion or two before she passed away in 1994. My family moved to Alberta the very next year and started spending time in Raymond, where my grandparents lived...and where Uncle Frank lived. He didn't pass away until 2003, so he was around the entire time I lived in Alberta and I saw him a lot. 

He'd ride his bike over to my grandparents' house to drop off his wonderful homemade bread and would stay to visit and tell stories. My grandma was worried for a time (after my grandfather passed away in 2000) that Uncle Frank was trying to court her (and she was not interested in getting remarried, especially not to her sister's husband). 

Anyway...Uncle Frank...those words are paired deep in my memory, so even though I have known Grandpa Frank longer than Uncle Frank, those childhood memories have a strong pull on my tongue. 

The same is true with John/Jim and Donna/Dawna.

Growing up in High River, there was a set of four brothers whose ages closely aligned with kids in my family: Grant, Mark, Luke, and Scott. You might remember Grant friend who died in a paragliding incident in 2019

Anyway, I spent a lot of time with the Thompson boys. Their mom was my piano teacher for a while. They did gymnastics with us. And swim team at times, too. Went to school with us, seminary with us. We went to stake dances together, hung out together.

Their parents' names? Jim and Donna. 

Jim and Donna—it just rolls off the tongue. It's like one name in my mind. 

For a long time the Gillespies were Dorothy and John and the thought of confusing John for Jim never crossed my mind. But then Dorothy passed away and John married a lovely woman named Dawna and the two became John and Dawna in my mind. So now you're seeing how this could be a problem, right?

John and Dawna. 

Jim and Donna. 

Anyway, I'm like 90% sure I called John John, but that 10% of my mind sure had me wondering whether I accidentally called him Jim. So, John, if you're reading this and if I called you Jim, it's only because I have your named coupled with Dawna's in my mind...and the name Donna simply happens to also be coupled to Jim...and I had a long day of chasing ever so many children through a splash pad and may have roasted my brains a bit. 

But thank you for the ice cream and for a wonderful visit!

And not to confuse anyone regarding names, but did you know that Suzy's two oldest boys are named Logan and Gavin? It's true! She had to come up with her own name for her third little boy (who was just a week or two old when we visited and I got to hold him in all his newborn glory and he was beautiful and wonderful and Suzy was a champion for driving all that way with three little boys). It was so nice to see you all!


  1. I think you meant that Miriam had the camera all day, because I wasn't at the splashpad with you guys :)

    1. That's right! You were off doing cool teenager stuff with your friends! I had forgotten (and just figured you had the camera because you weren't in any pictures). But you're right. You were out with friends, and Miriam had the camera for most of the time (except for when she was in the pictures).