Last week Mom came west for a visit. She's not the first guest to stay in our new guest room, and not the first grandma either, but she was our longest-duration guest so far. It's nice to have room for relatives to stay here. The last time Mom visited she had to stay at a nearby hotel.
The girls were very excited about Grandma Jan's upcoming visit. I think they would have been even more excited if they knew what was in store for them during the week.
The theme for this visit was "dessert". Honestly, I don't know when we've had so many desserts. The day mom arrived I made us dinner at home, including brownies and ice cream. The next day while the kids were at school and I was at work, mom made "special jello" she had been talking to the girls about. When John and I make jello we usually just make it plain. I sometimes put fruit in it. Mom thinks that's boring and she mixes some of the jello with Cool Whip and then makes alternating layers of jello + fruit with the cream/jello mix. Around here, that's WAY fancy. So the girls were thrilled to have that to look forward to after dinner on monday.
On tuesday my brother and his wife came over for dinner so mom and I cooked all afternoon and mom taught me to make these great pear tarts for dessert:
Then another workday for me came and in my absence my mom got busy picking some of our apples and making pie. And lasagna for dinner that night.
I've never made apple pie. John's mom makes some from our apples sometimes and both Dora and my mom make some really killer apple pies. "You know," John told mom, "there are a LOT more apples on that tree and some extra pies wouldn't be a bad idea...." Mom didn't mind the overt hint and she made and froze two more pies for us to bake in the future.
Mom wanted to go shopping to buy the girls outfits as presents for their upcoming birthdays one morning while they were at school, so we did that too.
So by thursday I was feeling pretty guilty about having taken advantage of my mom's free labor in our kitchen. We had a fridge overflowing with food from each of the previous night's dinners and leftover desserts everywhere, though those were more rapidly disappearing. "Let's go out tonight," I offered. "Someplace you like. Someplace with good seafood, or mexican, or whatever. You've been here several days and all you've done is pick up my kids from school and cook for us."
"I lived here for 15 years. I'm not a tourist, I don't need to be taken places. Let's have leftovers," mom countered. I tried but I couldn't persuade her otherwise. I was imagining the eye-rolls from her friends back home when she returned and described her "wonderful" "exciting" trip out west to see her family. They are going to think we're a bunch of dead-beats.
When I did occasionally let mom out of the kitchen, she was promptly put to work as a hairdresser. I don't know how that came about. Either she offered or the girls begged her or some combination of the two led her to put braids into their hair. Several braids. Every day. Sometimes done in the evening after a bath and then touched up the next morning before school.
Finally, on friday evening, her last evening here, we met with my brother and sister-in-law again and went out for dinner, to a place I like and my brother likes, but my mom wasn't so sure about. We went to a German restaurant with a nice courtyard/biergarten and live music.
As usual, when Brad is around he is the center of the girls' attention, and their favorite dance partner.
It was a nice warm evening and great be dining outside and we were there for hours. The food was good, the beers were large, the music was jazz, which wasn't what I was hoping to hear, personally. I really would have preferred fun German folk music, but I guess I'll get enough of that soon enough when we return here with friends for Oktoberfest. Brad knows the owners of this resturant and tried to get Erin to speak to a waitress he knows in German, which he's heard her doing a lot lately, but she doesn't like performing on demand.
Mom, despite her week's various duties of migrant farm worker, chauffeur, children's personal shopper, resident chef, and on-demand hairstylist, said she had a great visit. WE sure had a great visit. And I'm sure she's happy to be back home and I hope she is able to rest after her "relaxing" vacation.