We had a very good visit. My parents and siblings enjoyed him so much; and this time, he was able to consciously enjoy them as well. He learned how to say "haaaaaat" (to their wood stove) and a cheery "hiiiiiii" as he walked into whatever room we were in. He learned how to go down stairs backwards, jump on a trampoline (kind of), and tried his hand at picking up cats.
The highlight of our 2-week stay was the amazing snowstorm on Sunday and Monday the 26th and 27th. The northern part of Western WA was covered with a foot of snow. So much snow, in fact, that the trees were bent under the weight: any time outside was accompanied by the grand cracking of tree limbs ripping off and falling to the ground. A sad event, but a terrific crashing noise. My parents had two trees - a dogwood and a pretty little coral maple - that split in half under the weight. We were especially sad about that.
This picture was taken the first night of the storm.
But the most exciting part is that my parents were out of electricity for 5 days. Because they heat with a wood stove and have a gas oven range, we were cozy and well-fed. We brought in bags and bowls of snow to keep the refrigerator cold and put all the frozen goods outside in coolers. Amazingly enough, my mother had a HUGE back-stock of candles. So our evenings were spent in front of the wood stove reading to each other in the candle-light. It was absolutely, positively, gloriously lovely. I'm still reveling in it.