After letting Jenavieve nap, we went to Reyna's birthday party. The party was at Grandma Marquetta's house, so Vivi was already familiar with where she was and with some of the people that were there, so she wasn't too shy. Ka'Praisha met us at the car of course, and once we got inside Reyna stuck by our side too. She was Eric's little buddy since dinner the night before, she always wanted him to hold her. More guests started showing up, we got to see a lot of the family members and a few people from church that we met last year, and got to meet a lot of new family members. There were a lot of kids running around giggling. Auntie Quanda bought matching shirts for the girl cousins that were there-Ka'Praisha, Reyna, and Jenavieve. They have Princess Tiana on them, and then each girl's shirt says Princess and then her name. We changed Vivi into hers and of course everyone wanted pictures of the 3 princesses!
When the house was full of family and friends, Marquetta turned on some upbeat music. Jenavieve started dancing and quickly became the center of attention. When Michael Jackson came on, the other kids started dancing too. Those kids have moves! Ka'Praisha knows all the moves to Thriller, and an older boy, Tayon moved just like Michael Jackson. We pulled out the camera and the video camera to document the fun, and after the song was over, the bigger kids wanted to use the cameras. Tayon used the video camera and played documentary filmmaker, and his sister Zakira and Ka'Praisha used the regular camera and took pictures of family members, the birthday cake, the stove...but they got some really good candid shots of the family members too. Zakira was posing different people together and telling them what faces to make. She posed Ka'Praisha next to me on the couch for a picture, which turned into a game of 'saloner' where the sat on either side of me and did my hair. While they played, they talked, and it sounded just like a beauty shop, except they talked about school and toys and other kids. It was very cute.
Meanwhile, Jenavieve, Reyna, and Gianna, who are all close in age, played in the back room and danced. Gianna was the baby last year who slept while her mom did her hair. It inspired me to start experimenting with Vivi's hair, and copy what I saw her do, so I was excited to see her again. This year, I was inspired again, although not nearly as intricate. Pictures of that to come later...
Then dinner was served-yummy southern food! All I really remember is the Cajun rice with shrimp, but there was a ton of food! Vivi got to show off her cake eating/smashing skills to her southern family. She did some cuddling with Auntie Kapri and showed off for the family members.
I was able to have nice conversations with various family and church members, and got to spend a lot of time with Marquetta, which I was glad for. I was afraid with the party setting I wouldn't have a chance, and I had some questions for her about the family history, etc. We both wound up sitting in the back room watching the toddlers play, so we had a good talk. She shared with me that her grandmother was full Cherokee, which is a fun piece of information to have. One of my best friends, Alex, is 1/8 Cherokee, so she'll have to teach Vivi about their heritage when she's older.
Then she got out some gifts she had gotten for Jenavieve-an alphabet book that is personalized with her name in it and a message that says 'love, your family in Charleston, SC', a really soft stuffed lamb, and an adorable little wooden chair that says Jena on it (that's their nickname for her down there, I like it!). It was just the perfect gift, I've been wanting to get her a personalized chair, and she loves books and is really into pointing at letters for us to to say out loud. I love the lamb too, that she has something from Grandma Marquetta to cuddle with.
It seemed like we had just arrived when it was time to get going. We went around and said goodbye to everyone, and Marquetta and Ka'Praisha walked us out.
Outside, Marquetta shared with us how appreciative she was for the letter I sent her on Mother's Day. It basically thanked her for welcoming us into the family and for sharing with us her side of the story and how difficult it all was for her. It really meant a lot to me to hear all of that, and she could not have been more welcoming when we first met. She hugged us and said "I don't just think of you like family, you are my family". It was a very touching moment. We all hugged again, then she kissed Jenavieve and prayed over her in her carseat. Ka'Praisha climbed up to kiss her and drew a cross on her forhead with her thumb, like they do at their church when they anoint and pray over someone. After more hugs and promises to keep in touch and visit each other's states again soon, we left.
We were so wired from the fun day we'd had, we were able to drive late into the night before stopping at a hotel-we didn't bother trying to drive straight through. We enjoyed another complimentary breakfast, then got on the road again. Vivi was, again, quite well behaved. We drove to Dayton to visit Eric's sister and her family for a few hours before we headed home. Anya and Asia had church that evening, so for a lot of the evening it was just the babies. Jenavieve and Aera were so cute running around together!
When Vivi got cranky, we headed out for the easy 3 1/2 hour drive home...until we hit a fatal accident investigation that closed the whole highway. The worst part of our vacation was 40 minutes from home, although it took an hour and a half to move a mile and get off on the next ramp. Vivi was sleepy and tired of being strapped in her car seat, the m&ms I brought as a just in case snack only lasted 10 minutes and then she was mad that they were gone. Luckily, her favorite Sesame Street dvd saved the day. We watched it twice, and were on our way home!
She was asleep when we parked, but woke up when I carried her in. I was hoping she would transfer easily to the bed, but she was so excited to be home and see her toys that she ran around, picking up a toy, bringing it to show us, and then dropped it and ran for a new toy. Eventually she ran out of steam, and we all collapsed into bed after a really great vacation!
Here are the pictures, most of them have captions to describe the picture
|South Carolina 2010|