25. My nieces and nephews. Words cannot describe the joy I find in the role of Aunt.
Thanksgiving day, all of the Russell side gathered to celebrate. Mckenna and Gabe got to play with their 3rd cousins, whom they see once or twice a year. We hardly saw the kids...they simply played, with no fighting, and very little trouble, for 2 solid days. There are 3 boys, all full of energy and fun, and my kids adore playing with them.
Also there were my 3 nieces, Jadelyn, Lizzie and Audrey, and my 2 nephews, Michael and Malcolm. I was intentional about spending some time with each one.
Malcom is almost 1 month old. His parents knew they would have a hard time removing his sweet, sleeping form from my arms. They were right. Holding him is pure peace, and I got lots of holding time in.
Audrey is 9 months, and a charming, easy going, sweet smiley girl. She acts much older than her nine months, and is so fun to play with. It was fun to see her and then go shopping for her for Christmas, knowing what she would enjoy.
Lizzie is 2 years, and often slow to warm up to others. But on her daddy's lap she blossomed as I talked with her, tickled her, teased her and helped her finish her turkey dinner. She has the most beautiful hair and loves all things girly.
Jadelyn will be 3 soon (seems impossible) and is the most delightful little girl. Her pouty lip and huge eyes make it hard to say no to anything--charm oozes from this one. She is so smart, very determined, and to the credit of her parents easy to correct when she goes astray. Of course, she acts like a perfect angel for me, so I don't really know what they are talking about when they say she acts badly :o) We spent countless hours talking about the trash truck and calling him on an old cell phone. She even demonstrated her knowledge of modern commmunication when she texted the trash man! We read books, got dressed, ate lunch, and talked about her soon to be baby brother all day. It was bliss.
Michael is nearly 4, which also seems impossible. He is constant smiles, and barrels of fun. He held onto a construction truck with a scoop all morning, asking to go back outside. I bundled him up and took him out, where immediately he scooped snow into his truck. So clever! Michael sat next to Juliana at Thanksgiving dinner (which meant he sat next to me), and was extremely polite and brave. He took a little bit of everything, and with each bite proclaimed it was good or, "I like it!" with enthusiasm. His parents let on that they had been working on that with him, and boy did he show off what he has learned!
I have another nephew, Harvest, who lives across the country. Although we only see him once a year at the most, I am so thankful he is part of our family. He is a mere 4 months older than Mckenna and they have grown up together in many ways.
We also have 2 more nephews on the way--one due around Christmas and one in late February/early March. We cannot wait!
I could never post about nieces and nephews and exclude 2 boys who are constant sources of joy in my life. I love them every bit as much as if they were family. Hayden and Noah belong to our dearest friends, and I laugh out loud whenever they are around. Hayden is 1 year younger than Juliana to the day. They are the best of friends, and also double trouble whenever they play together. He is smart, creative, determined, fast as can be, and all boy. Noah is his counterpart. At 15 months he has had a bit of a rough time--an eye surgery, then an emergency surgery to undo the first one because of an allergy, and a third surgery to redo the correction. But true to his nature he has handled it all with ease. He is easy going, quick to giggle, and very easy to please.
For nieces and nephews, I give thanks.