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Time with la familia

Last week, Dan's sister and her family spent most of the week with us.  They live in Thailand, so we only get to see them every couple of years (at best!).  They're in the US as they launch their second child into college (in IL).   We were their first stop where they were also reunited with their oldest, our niece who had been staying with us.


Our nephew Joel pretty much had celebrity status in Jude's world.  He gave Jude uke lessons over Skype this year and a special friendship developed out of that connection.


We helped Joel get set up with a laptop and phone for college and were absolutely floored/amazed/humbled when he presented us with this drawing that he made.


Isn't it incredible?!  Can you believe he drew that?!  It's based off of a clip from Band of Brothers.  We were speechless.

Our niece Sarah was nicknamed 'the baby whisperer' as somehow she was able to quickly forge a bond with Iris.  Iris cries if anyone other than Dan or me holds her.  But with Sarah, Iris crawled into her lap and even let her carry her.  It was really amazing to witness!  Evie absolutely adored Sarah as well.  It was so wonderful for my kids to have such beautiful memories made with their cousins.  Given their cousins are teenagers, it was cool that they took so much time to play with the kids, especially since they were jet lagged.


Dan's brother happened to be in town (from Florida) for a work conference here.  Serendipitous, I know.  Having three of the four siblings together at one time doesn't happen often and the incredible blessing of time together wasn't lost on any of us.


My niece Ellyn celebrated her 20th birthday while she was staying with us.. As part of the celebration I bought a dairy free/gluten free brownie (since she avoids both) and 20 candles. Her mom suggested we wait to sing and do the cake until after they arrived and we were happy to oblige.


Making a wish...


When it came time for them to leave, Jude cried.  Joel sat down next to him and sympathetically said, "I'll miss you too, bro."  I don't think there was a dry eye in the room.   It was hard to say goodbye.  It always is.  But we are thankful for the time we were able to spend together.


  1. What?! That picture is amazing! I could spend the rest of my life drawing and still not come up with something half as good!
    And I love that birthday wish picture!

    1. i know, right? i can't even draw a mug to scale, much less something like that! it took him 30 hours, all in pencil. we were so impressed (understatement).

  2. Gorgeous post, Rachel! Love the stories and really love Joel's artwork - fabulous stuff!

    1. thanks so much, Caryn! it's an especially meaningful compliment given you're an artist yourself!

  3. such a cool family story. what love is evident here! so beautiful to see.

  4. That drawing is AWESOME!

    I know how hard it is to get 4 siblings all together in one visit--and mine all live in the US.

    Is Sarah interested in working with children when she's grown? It's a special gift to be able to connect to the littles.

    1. sarah says that she wants to be a teacher or a counselor. it IS a very special and unique gift, especially in this culture where many seem too busy to really take the time to connect with/listen to kids.


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