Visit renews bonds with family members

We spent a week in Champaign, Ill., recently and it was so great to see our daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law from Germany. We also spent time with my two brothers.

The last face-to-face meeting we had with the German-side of the family was two years ago when we traveled to Berlin, Germany. So much has changed since then.

Our granddaughter, Livi, is walking and talking. She has a mind of her own and, while she understands English, she speaks more German. On our way back home, Randy and I both decided we better learn a bit more German or we aren?t going to be able to communicate with Livi at all.

Case in point was when Grandpa Randy wanted to help his little granddaughter into her car seat, but as he went to lift her into the car, she let out a blood-curdling scream and wanted down.

Unbeknownst to Randy, Livi didn?t want help getting into her car seat. She is a big girl at 2 years old and couldn?t figure out why he wouldn?t let her do it herself.

Communicating in another language does have its trials and tribulations.

Livi was also such a character about facial hair on the men in her lives. Being on vacation, Randy doesn?t want a close, smooth shave, but Livi on the other hand, did want a smooth feel when she kissed people.

Even though Grandpa had a strike against him for not shaving close enough, Livi was very forgiving and the next morning was there with open arms.

Of course, as Grandma, I could do no wrong. Ha! But sometimes my daughter, Tracy, didn?t appreciate some of the habits I was trying to teach her. I can?t really think of anything mind-blowing at the moment, but seemed like Grandpa and I had our share of timeouts.

It was also funny to see the look on Livi?s face when Tracy would introduce me to her.

?Livi, this is your mommy?s mommy,? she said. Livi would then look at Tracy and then at me and it was OK. After all that, she then knew Randy and I belonged. We went to the park, enjoyed hopscotch, played on the swings and threw a frisbee.

Another fun thing we did during a rainy afternoon was visit a children?s museum filled with all sorts of scientific, interactive games that inspired Livi?s imagination, along with keeping the grownups occupied.

What also made this trip special was because I had a chance to see my second to the oldest brother, Logan, and his wife, Linda. I don?t think we had seen one another for more than 10 years. That is way too long. My oldest brother, Pete, is someone I visit during the Thanksgiving holidays, but Logan was truly a surprise.

After stuffing our faces with a lot of good food, watching movies to our heart?s content and catching up on everything that has been happening for the many years we were apart, it was time to head back to Kansas.

Our children were continuing their trip to Michigan and planned to spend another week near Cadillac before returning home to Berlin.

My oldest brother, Pete, was packing up for New York to spend July 4 festivities with his wife and their grandson and parents there.

Logan headed back for Havana, Ill., but before he left, he asked Randy and me to please consider making a small stop there so we could see all the home improvements he made.

We weren?t disappointed! The place was gorgeous. Linda showed us how awful the place looked with ?before? photos. To see it now was like night and day.

Randy and I felt like our trip back to Kansas was priceless. Neither of us are getting any younger and these moments spent with family….well…let?s just say, ?It doesn?t get much better than this.?

Not that we are planning to take a trip anytime soon, but I am already looking foward to the time when we can return.