Thursday, December 21, 2023

Uncle Patrick is here!

Uncle Patrick arrived late on Monday night, so when the little kids woke up in the morning—surprise!—they had a visitor. It wasn't really a surprise; we'd talked about it before his arrival. Rachel and Miriam had gone to the airport with Andrew to pick him up. Benjamin, Zoë, and Alexander were unquestionably excited for him to come. But before I took Phoebe downstairs for breakfast we talked about Uncle Patrick again (and pulled up some pictures for her to look at and so forth). 

She did a pretty good job accepting him into her home, though I'm sure the treats that he gave her (hand-selected by Uncle Patrick's special someone in Vienna, who felt—probably correctly—that the children would enjoy sweets more than the ornaments he'd picked out for them (though I think they still appreciated the ornaments)) helped her warm up to the idea of...him.

And, boy, did she warm up!

We have treats coming out our ears! Uncle Patrick lives near the Manner factory in Vienna, so he brought an assortment of wafer cookies, as well as some Mozartkugel (Mozart Balls), and licorice and things like that. 'Tis the season for indulging!

So far we've been pretty boring. We all stayed up until about 2:00 on Monday evening (Why though? I can't even remember. Just talking, probably) and then were really tired on Tuesday, most especially Patrick, who was jet-lagged. On Tuesday evening we left Patrick home, playing video games with and under the care of Zoë and Alexander (who were tasked with keeping him awake until bedtime) while the rest of us went to church for various reasons. Benjamin asked why we'd been so boring all day and I explained that we were just having a "sleepy day" because Uncle Patrick was jet-lagged and so forth. 

Poor Phoebe (who'd had a rough second-half of her night) sighed loudly and said, "Me, too! Sleepy day! Me, too!"

And then she proceeded to mostly just cry the entire time we were at the church (full disclosure: a music rehearsal for me, Rachel, and Miriam, and priesthood preview evening for Benjamin and Andrew—neither situation was a great place for a screaming baby). Evidently she was really feeling the sleepies!

Anyway, let's are the kids reading books with Uncle Patrick (while Miriam practices the organ):

And here they are leaving for a walk around the block:

Our neighbourhood hawk—that the kids decided to call Bob—was sitting on the roof of our neighbour's house (with his feathers all fluffed against the cold), so here we are admiring him (he likes to be admired):

Today we took Uncle Patrick to Costco where he took pictures of outlandish things to boggle the minds of his international friends, such as the fact that you can buy a flat of 5 dozen eggs.

The main question he got about this (when he texted it to his friends) was, "What does one do with five dozen eggs?!?"

I understand this sentiment and am shocked whenever we purchase and consume such a quantity of eggs. It's a large number. But we're a large family. My kids like to eat eggs for breakfast (and sometimes for lunch). Then there's scrambled eggs and French toast and holiday baking...

Anyway, this afternoon while Miriam and Zoë were at music lessons, Uncle Patrick joined the Minecraft realm and played with Alexander and Benjamin. They all seemed to have a lot of fun, though it wasn't without drama. 

At one point Alexander started screeching at Benjamin (who was in the other room at a computer) and we had to tell Alexander to chill out and tell us what happened (rather than shriek about it). 

"Benjamin stole my bed and filled my house with chickens!" Alexander fumed.

Patrick snorted.

"I mean," he said, trying to keep his laughter under control. "As far as pranks go...that's...pretty hilarious."

Benjamin tends to just skip around in these worlds fomenting chaos—burning down forts, flooding villages, stealing beds, and filling houses with chickens. You never can tell what he's going to do next...

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