Thursday, December 22, 2016

Visitors from Finland

To say we were thankful this Thanksgiving is a large understatement. My son and his wife, a Finn, live in Helsinki.  We have made three trips there in the last five years and their last visit here just after our first granddaughter was born four years ago.  Fate and a cancer diagnosis for my wife has kept us pretty much homebound the last year and a half.  In the early fall of 2015,  shortly after our last visit, a second granddaughter was added to the family and until last month's visit we had never met her other than on Skype.

They were able to be here for three weeks and what follows is a quick tour of their visit mainly composed of cute shots of the granddaughters.

But here's the whole family on the airplane and ready to depart for America.



Several long hours later they were in Chicago's Union Station waiting to board the  Polar Illinois Zephyr for a trip to Galesburg.


Right on time here comes the train into the Galesburg station.



Thirty minutes later the visitors were taking their ease in Grandma and Grandpa's living room.



This one's Frida                                                                      Selma can't spell yet, but she's still Selma


Grandma grabbed the first opportunity to get re-acquainted with the four year old.  We had been reading stories to her on Skype, but now a real lap and real snuggles add a new dimension to reading.

 

My sister and her husband arrived from North Carolina in time to join us for a lovely Thanksgiving dinner. Sorry Selma is not visible.  She was snoozing in her carry basket on the floor.


We discovered that the first thing Finns want to do when they visit is get out in the cold?   So it's off to the park regardless of the temperature.   Strangely no competition from the locals for seats on the swings.









 Monmouth also has indoor activities and one of the best is to enjoy our local library, where Grandma has been on the board for a guarter of a century.


Our story lady Danielle was in fine form with lots of participatory activities for both parents and children.







                                                                                                Hey don't forget about me!








Back at Grandmas both little muffins get a snuggle from mama.

Reading kept getting better when Jim's sister took over.  She was a children's librarian in another life.



When Aunt Amy arrived with her big boys, there was no more room at our our house.  But staying at the local motel was not a sacrifice because they have a nice swimming pool.   Aunt Amy gave a fresh new waterbug her very first swimming experience in a real pool. She took to it just like her Aunt did some years ago.








With everyone gathered Grandpa tried to get a group picture and he was only one person away from perfection.



After a week at our house, the family piled into the rental car and went to Cedar Rapids for a week with Aunt Amy.

 

From there they traveled to Lisle, just outside of Chicago, where my son was able to work at one of his company's offices. We took the train up to Naperville and met them for a few days to say good bye.  Our big moment was the opportunity to take Frida to the Du Page Children's Museum while Mama and Selma had a chance to do some shopping.



Nothing like a wind tunnel to get a hair do.





Or a giant bubble maker
 

 We also managed to work some clay



And see a puff puff air machine blow scarves and balls into the air.


Back at the hotel in Lisle, we found that Smithfield Foods was having a big party in the ballroom and had a huge carved ice centerpiece of three Pigs.  (Ironically Smithfield is a major pork produced and has one of their main packing plants in our home towm.)




Selma thought the piggies were pretty cool.  Indeed they were icy cold. 


 And oh so quick it was time to head back to Finland.  Packed and ready to head for the airport. We hope Selma isn't destined for the cargo hole in her basket.




Bye bye America!  Glad they let her  travel topside in the cabin.

 


Back to Helsinki in short order (View my son took from his office window on his first day back at work.


And then a Finnish Christmas for them with Yuloupouki (Santa Claus)




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