Thursday, November 1, 2018

Nora's 11th birthday and Halloween

Brief announcement: Last Saturday we said goodbye to Sara and saw her off for her next adventures! We fit a lot into the month together... We have no idea of apprenticeships are in our future here at Tangly Woods, but we were glad to give it a try to I think we all learned a lot! It hasn't yet been "just us" since there were Airbnb guests here the whole weekend until hours before Mom and Dad arrived. They leave this evening and then the next Airbnb guests arrive tomorrow. This place has been hopping with activity and people! Now to the subject matter for this post:

Other than trick-or-treating up the stairs to Grandma and Grandpa's last night, our actual Halloween day was very un-Halloween like. But we did enjoy a Halloween party with neighbors and friends last weekend. We had a panda, a princess and triplets! Not having any grand ideas, Kali, Jason and I decided to dress up as each other. We do not have a picture of us becoming quadruplets, but the best part of our costume ended up being having a friend arrive at the party dressed in brown shoes, jeans and the same Virginia Blood Services t-shirt (without being in on our plan). It was a fun moment! We enjoyed a lovely hay ride, with the added treat of seeing a flock of wild turkeys and some deer. They didn't seem too bothered by us riding near them and Jason enjoyed thinking of them saying to each other, "don't worry, they are in a cage."

This Tuesday then was Nora's 11th birthday. We decided to go to Storybook Trail. We had only been there one other time. We learned about the trail from Samuel and Margaret, as it was a favorite spot to take their family. It was also the last hiking spot Samuel went before he died, as the trail is handicap accessible. It felt like the right spot to go to remember Nora on her birthday. It was a gorgeous, cool and clear day! Just days before, we had discovered that Terah was now tall enough to ride the tricycle so all three girls had bikes. What a hit! I don't know how many times Alida commented on how fun this was and how we should come back more often!
We enjoyed a picnic atop one of the large rocks along the trail. We got to watch various hikers go by, and my favorite was two men hiking with a small dog on one leash and a large cat on the other. Only one of us got a very short post-lunch snooze (actually, I think it was not a successful snooze but it was a good spot to try for one).
It was fun to take the back road to and from - though the ride home was less fun since Terah was tired but is not, and never has been, a car sleeper! Thanks to Terah being more interested in being upstairs than with me during this short visit from my folks, and thanks to them being willing to have her hang out with them, I got in on a short gardening stint with Jason upon our return home (and that was after getting to go for a walk with Mom) - yes, the day had lots of meaningful times of connecting with those closest to me, which is always my top goal for Nora's birthday!

In the evening we made an outdoor fire - as it was too beautiful to stay inside - and made pizza pockets over the fire. I got to sit for a few minutes in Nora's garden as the fire got going and enjoyed the few flowers (mostly orange!) not yet killed entirely by the frosts we have had to date. It was a good day!
The two most touching moments around Nora's birthday came on the eve of her birth and then the morning of her birth. When I got home from work Monday, I was snuggling with Terah and catching up a bit. We were having a late 3rd birthday celebration with my folks and so she was eager for her birthday meal and to be sung to. I mentioned that the next day was Nora's birthday. She looked at me with the quizzical look she is so good at and asked, "Are we going to sing Happy Birthday to her?" We talked about it and in the end she noted that Nora had died but she was still here (and definitely wanted us to sing to her - which we did!).

Then the morning of Nora's birth, we were all able to enjoy breakfast together (thanks to my dad helping us with the chore routines!). We sat down to eat and looked at our pre-meal blessing card for that day. It was the only meal we ate at home around our table all day and the card up next was the song "When the Rain Comes Down." This is the only song in the stack of cards from the lullaby CD that we played 24/7 in Nora's room before she died, and it happened to be the one we started Nora's birthday singing together. Of course we included the verse, "When a baby smiles, she's smiling for everyone!"

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