Chapter 6 ~ The Decision

It was Friday morning, the day after Annie received the call from her cousin, and she woke up to the feeling of someone tickling her and the sound of giggling. She looked over and saw Abby and then sat up, "Good Morning, Sweetheart."

"I'm ready for my morning bath and then can I please have some fried eggs on toast?" Abby asked as she crawled into Annie's lap and hugged her.

"Yes, you can, Baby. Let's go pick out your clothes and get your bath water started." Annie replied as she smiled and hugged Abby.

Abby smiled as she stood up. "Okay!"

"After your bath, I'll take your new sun dresses downstairs, so they can be washed." Annie told Abby as she helped her pick out some clean clothes.

"So, they'll be in the washer getting clean, while we eat breakfast?" Abby asked.

Annie smiled as she closed Abby's bag. "Yes, they will, Honey." Before, taking Abby's clean clothes to the bathroom, she checked the other rooms to make sure Matt, Mary and Lucy were all awake. When she saw the rooms were all empty, she caught up with Abby, who was skipping through the hall on her way to take her bath.

"Does Uncle Eric know if we can go to Michigan, yet?" Abby asked as she started to unzip her pajamas.

"Not, yet, Sweetie. Later this afternoon, he'll meet with a few people who might be able to fill in for him at the church while we're gone. If he can get someone to fill in for him, we can go, but if he can't, then we won't be able to go." Annie replied as she turned on the water for Abby's bath.

Abby smiled as Annie helped her out of her pajamas. "Oh. I hope we can go. That will make it my favorite summer! What are we going to do there?"

"Uncle Eric is going to help teach Vacation Bible School some of the time and there will be a family reunion in July. You'll get to meet a lot of your cousins at the family reunion." Annie replied as she continued to help Abby.

"How old are they?" Abby asked.

"You have a lot of cousins on that side of our family, Sweetie, so I'm not sure how old everyone is. I think there might be at least one or two that are your age, though." Annie explained.

"Are they going to stay in the cottage with us, too?" Abby asked as she stepped into the bathtub.

"No, Honey." Annie replied. "We'll only see them at the family reunion in July. Cousin Alice's cottage isn't big enough for all the people who will be at the reunion, but it has five bedrooms, so it will be big enough for all of us."

"Is Alice my cousin, too?" Abby asked.

Annie smiled as she folded Abby's pajamas. "Yes, she is Sweetie. She's also my cousin and your Daddy's cousin."

After Abby finished her bath, Annie picked up around their room and then took the sundresses downstairs to be washed.

"Hey, Mom, did you ask Dad if Jeff can come over today?" Matt asked when he saw his Mom and Cousin coming down the stairs.

"Yes, I did, Honey. We talked about it last night. After school, we'll let you call Jeff and we can work something out." Annie replied as she carried Abby's sundresses to the laundry room.

Matt was confused. "Why does something have to be worked out?"

"If he stays here we would have to work out a place for him to sleep, since all the rooms are taken." Annie explained as she put soap in the washing machine.

"We can sleep on the living room floor in sleeping bags." Matt offered as he followed Annie back into the kitchen.

"You really want to sleep in the living room?" Annie asked.

"Yeah, I don't mind and I don't think Jeff will either." Matt replied.

"Okay. You can use the air mattress in the closet so you won't have to sleep on the floor." Annie said as she set the frying pan on the stove.

"You have a air mattress, too?" Abby asked.

"Yes, we do, Sweetheart." Annie replied.

Abby smiled. "Now we both have one!"

Annie looked back at Abby and smiled as she grabbed a stick of butter from the refrigerator.

"So, it's okay if he comes over and spends the night?" Matt asked.

"It's okay with me." Eric answered.

"Yes, he can come over, if you don't mind sleeping in the living room." Annie said.

Matt started to rinse his dirty dishes. "Okay."

"You can go ahead and get ready for school, Honey. I'll take care of the dishes later." Annie offered.

"Okay." Matt said as he turned off the water and left the room.

Abby smiled as she watched Annie set two eggs on the counter. "I want runny yoke."

"I know, Sweetheart." Annie smiled back.

"I'm done." Mary said as she picked up her cereal bowl.

"Me too." Lucy added.

"Mary, Lucy ~ as soon as Matt is done, I want you to go upstairs and brush your hair and comb your teeth ~" Eric started to laugh, "I mean comb your hair and brush your teeth."

Abby started to giggle until she was laughing so hard she couldn't stop. "Uncle Eric, you're funny!"

Lucy laughed. "Okay."

"Okay." Mary replied as she took her empty bowl over to the sink.

Annie smiled as she walked over to Abby and hugged her. "Are you okay, Sweetie?"

"I can't stop laughing!" Abby replied as she tried to catch her breath.

Annie smiled and laughed a little as she continued to hug Abby. "Okay, I just don't want you to fall off the stool and hurt yourself."

Abby was still laughing. "Okay."

Annie kissed Abby on the head and then walked back over to the counter and continued making their breakfast.

A few minutes later Matt came down the stairs. "I'm ready."

"Mary and Lucy, you need to go upstairs, now, so you can finish getting ready. It's almost time to leave." Eric reminded his daughters.

"Okay, Daddy." Lucy said as she left to go upstairs.

"Do we get out early today?" Mary asked.

"Yes, you do, Sweetie. You get out at one~fifteen." Annie replied as she took the first egg out of the frying pan and put it on a slice of toast for Abby.

"Good, I'm getting tired of school." Mary said as she followed Lucy up the stairs.

Abby smiled as Annie put the plate down in front of her.

"Do you want some sausage?" Annie asked.

Abby smiled. "YEAH!"

Annie held out the frying pan with the sausage. "How many do you want?"

Abby was still smiling. "Three."

Annie smiled back, as she put three sausage links on Abby's plate and the rest of them on hers.

"Does Lucy still get out at her usual time?" Eric asked.

"Yeah, she does, Honey." Annie replied as she sat down next to Abby, and started eating.

"Okay." Eric said. "I'm not sure what I'll do in that hour and a half, while I wait for Matt and Mary. I guess I'll just make two trips to the school."

"We can take Lucy and Simon, and pick up Matt and Mary, if you want. That way you won't have to go to the school, twice." Jenny offered. "Then we could take them all out to lunch ~ or do they have lunch at school on days when they get out early?"

"I don't think they're having lunch today." Matt replied. "Now, we have to wait longer before we can eat."

Eric liked Jenny's idea. "Yeah, actually that will help, since the meeting is scheduled for one~thirty."

"Okay. Your Grandpa and I will take you, Mary, Lucy and Simon out to lunch after school." Jenny told Matt.

"Okay." Matt looked at Eric. "What meeting?"

"He's going to meet with a few people from church, Honey." Annie said before taking another bite of her toast.

"Oh." Matt said as he sat down at the table to wait for his Dad and Sisters to be ready to go.

Eric looked at his watch and then started to go upstairs, with Matt following him. "I'll go check on Mary and Lucy to make sure they brush their teeth and everything."

"Is that the meeting where he finds out if we can go to Michigan?" Abby asked.

"Yes, it is, Honey, but don't say anything to your cousins yet. Uncle Eric and I decided not to say anything to them until we know for sure if we'll be able to go." Annie replied.

"Okay." Abby said as she took another bit of her egg and toast. "I hope we can go."

Annie hugged Abby and then kissed her on the head. "I know you do, Sweetheart."

Abby picked up another sausage link off her plate, when she bumped her cup of orange juice with her elbow, accidentally knocking it over and spilling it. "OOPS! I'm really sorry, Auntie Annie, I didn't mean to do that."

"Oh, it's okay, Honey." Annie said as she stood up to get some paper towels.

"Can I please have some more orange juice?" Abby asked.

"Yes you can, Sweetie." Annie replied as she cleaned up the spilled orange juice off the floor. "As soon as I finish cleaning up the orange juice, I'll get you some more, okay?"

"Okay. I'll try not to spill it this time." Abby said as she watched Annie clean up the mess.

After Annie finished cleaning up the orange juice, she rinsed her hands in the kitchen sink and then poured some more orange juice for Abby.

Abby looked like she was about to cry. "I wish I didn't knock stuff over and make messes all the time."

"It's okay, Sweetheart." Annie said as she hugged Abby and then kissed her on the head. "I know you don't mean to do any of those things."

"Oh." Abby said. "My Mommy doesn't like it when I make messes and spill stuff. Thank you, Auntie Annie."

"Your welcome, Honey." Annie said as she put the cover back on the orange juice. She started to put the orange juice back in the refrigerator as Eric came downstairs with Matt, Mary and Lucy following behind him.

"We're leaving, now." Eric said as he grabbed his car keys. "I'll be back soon."

"Okay." Annie replied as she hugged Eric, then Matt, Mary and Lucy.

Abby started waving her hand. "See you later, Uncle Eric!"

"See you later, Abby!" Eric replied as he closed the door behind him.

Abby continued to eat her breakfast, while Annie and Jenny cleaned up the kitchen. "Here, Sweetie, I'll put that in the dishwasher for you." Annie said a few minutes later.

"Thank you, Auntie Annie." Abby said before taking the last drink of her orange juice.

"You're welcome, Honey." Annie said as she rinsed Abby's plate, before putting it in the dishwasher. "I just have to put the clothes in the dryer and then we'll get ready to go to the carnival, Okay?"

"My sundresses?" Abby asked.

Annie smiled. "Yes, Honey."

"What will happen if they get done drying before we get back?" Abby asked as she followed Annie into the laundry room.

"I guess we could hang them outside, but that might not be a good idea since you have allergies. I'll just put them in the dryer and we can always turn it back on for about ten or twenty minutes when we get home." Annie said as she took the dresses out of the washing machine.

Abby smiled. "Yeah, then my dresses will be really soft, really warm and they will smell good, too."

Annie smiled back. "Yes they will, Sweetheart. There are two reasons why we turn them on for an extra ten or twenty minutes. We do that if they're still a little damp or if they have been in the dryer a long time after it shuts off so we can get the wrinkles out."

"Oh." Abby said.

"Come on, Sweetie, let's go get ready for the carnival." Annie said as she closed the dryer and turned it on.

Abby smiled as she started skipping through the kitchen. "Okay. Where did Grandpa and Grandma go?"

"I think they're in the living room with Simon." Annie replied as they started to go upstairs.

"Oh. What are they doing?" Abby asked.

"I don't know, Honey. They're probably playing, or watching TV." Annie said as they continued up the stairs.

"Oh." Abby said.

"All we have to do now, is brush our teeth and then I think we'll be ready to go." Annie told Abby.

"Okay. Can I please, have my hair put up, so it won't go in my face when I'm on the rides?" Abby asked when they entered the bathroom.

Annie picked out a hot pink hair tie from a small bag that Abby brought from home. "Do you want me to put your hair in a pony tail, Sweetie?"

Abby smiled. "Can I please, have pig tails?"

"I can put your hair in pig tails, but it will probably still go in your face." Annie explained. "Are you sure you don't want a pony tail ~ just for today?"

"Okay." Abby said. "Can I please, have it braided, too?"

"I can try, Honey, but your hair isn't very long." Annie replied.

"Okay." Abby smiled. "I hope it works."

After Annie was finished putting Abby's hair up for her, they brushed their teeth. "You're so beautiful, my Sweet Baby." Annie said as she picked Abby up and hugged her.

"So are you, my pretty Angel." Abby said as she hugged Annie.

Annie smiled. "Thank you, Sweetheart ~ but not as beautiful as you."

Abby giggled. "No, you're prettier."

Annie was still smiling. "No, you are."

Abby was giggling so much that she could hardly get her words out. "No, you are!"

Annie laughed. "Okay, let's go to the carnival."

"Okay." Abby replied as she continued to giggle.

Annie hugged Abby one more time before putting her back down and then they left for the carnival.

Abby smiled as they pulled into the parking lot. "I want to ride the tilt~a~whirl one hundred times!"

"I'm not sure if that would be a good idea, Sweetie. Don't you want to ride on some of the other rides?" Annie said as she pulled into a parking space and turned off the car.

Abby started giggling and laughing as she unhooked her seat belt, "I really like that ride."

Annie stepped out of the car and went around to the other side to open the door for Abby. "Let's go get some tickets."

Abby smiled. "Okay! I want to ride the tilt~a~whirl first."

"Okay, Honey, but not one~hundred times." Annie replied as she helped Abby out of the car.

Abby started giggling again as they walked over to stand in line for the tickets. "Can I please ride it ten times, since that's how old I'll be on my next birthday?"

"You can ride it ten times total, but you will probably want to ride some of the other rides, too." Annie suggested as they stepped in the ticket line.

Abby smiled. "What are you going to ride on, Auntie Annie?"

"I will probably ride the tilt~a~whirl with you one time and then the faris wheel and carousel." Annie replied as the line moved and they stepped closer to the ticket booth.

Abby was still smiling. "It's almost time to buy our tickets."

Annie smiled back. "Yes, it is, Sweetheart. We're going to have a lot of fun today." As soon as they were at the front of the line, Annie bought the tickets and they rode the tilt~a~whirl together with Abby laughing and giggling the whole time. After Abby rode the tilt~a~whirl for the fifth time, she decided to save the other five times for last. "Let's go in that big tent and jump around!"

"No, that's okay, you go ahead and get in line Sweetie." Annie replied. "When it's your turn, I'll hold your shoes for you so they don't get mixed up with all of the other shoes."

Abby smiled as she started to unhook her Velcro shoes. "Okay."

"Honey, let's wait until it's your turn before you take your shoes off, okay?" Annie said.

Abby stood in line and then took her shoes off when it was her turn to go in. She jumped around for a few minutes and then tried to walk over to the side, where she saw Annie standing on the outside, watching her. She kept falling down on her way over there, but finally made it when she decided to roll instead of trying to walk, "I wish you had one of these at your house!"

Annie smiled. "I think it would be fun to have one, too."

After Abby finished jumping around, she put her Velcro shoes back on and then they walked around to find the next ride. "Will you please, go on that big slide with me?"

Annie smiled. "Sure, I will, Sweetheart. Let's go take a rug and get in line."

"Okay." Abby said as she skipped over to where the rugs were. "I hope I don't get a shock off that silver part on the slide."

Annie and Abby each took a rug on their way to the top of the slide. "We only need one rug, Honey. Let's put that one back, okay?"

Abby put the rug back and they walked up the stairs to get in line. After going down the Super Slide a few times, they rode the faris wheel, then the carousel and then Abby took her last five turns on the tilt~a~whirl before they left to go back home.

Abby smiled as she stepped into the car. "Riding all those rides made me hungry!"

"Yeah, me too. Do you want some Macaroni and cheese and hot dogs?" Annie asked.

Abby smiled. "YEAH!"

Annie smiled back as she hugged Abby and then kissed her on the head. "Okay, Sweetheart."

"I wonder if Uncle Eric knows if we can go to Michigan, yet." Abby said.

"Not yet, Honey." Annie said as she pulled out of the parking lot. "Uncle Eric won't have his meeting until another hour and a half. We will know after his meeting is over."

"Okay." Abby said. "I hope the time goes by fast."

"When we get home, I'll start making our lunch and that will make the time go by fast." Annie said as she turned onto another road.

Abby smiled. "Okay. I can't wait until we can eat."

"I know, Sweetheart." Annie continued to drive for five more minutes, when she pulled into the driveway. They walked in through the kitchen and Annie started the water for the macaroni and cheese.

"Can I please, have something to drink? All that riding made me thirsty." Abby asked as she stepped up to sit on the stool by the Island.

"Yes you can, Baby Girl. Do you want Rootbeer or Seven Up?" Annie asked as she opened the package of hot dogs.

Abby smiled. "I want Seven~Up, this time."

"Okay, Sweetheart." Annie said as she took two cans of Seven~Up from the refrigerator. "I'll have some too."

"Can I please drink mine out of the can?" Abby asked.

"Yes you can, Honey." Annie replied as she opened a can for Abby and then handed it to her. "Do you still want me to cut your hot dog for you?"

Abby smiled. "Yeah ~ no bun, please."

"Okay, Sweetie. How many do you want?" Annie asked as she filled another pan with water to boil the hot dogs.

"I want two." Abby said as she watched Annie put the pan of water on the stove.

"Okay." Annie said as she took the first hot dog out of the package. "I'll make four ~ two for you and two for me."

Abby smiled. "Okay. I love you, Auntie Annie."

Annie walked over to Abby and gave her a hug and then kissed her on the head. "I love you, too, Baby Girl." When the water started to boil, Annie went back over to the stove and continued to prepare her and Abby's lunch until it was ready. She took two plastic teal bowls out of the cupboard for the macaroni and cheese and a couple paper plates for the hot dogs.

Abby smiled as she watched Annie cut the hot dogs for her. "This is going to be an awesome lunch."

"I hope so, Sweetie." Annie said as she handed Abby her plate.

Abby was still smiling. "It will ~ you always make the best foods!"

"Thank you, Sweet Baby." Annie said as she started scooping macaroni and cheese in one of the bowls. "How much do you want?"

Abby smiled as Annie continued scooping macaroni and cheese into Abby's bowl. "A little more, please."

Annie scooped some more into Abby's bowl, "Is that enough?"

"Yeah. I might want some more later." Abby said, before taking her first bite.

"Okay, Honey. Don't forget there is still some peanut butter pie left if you want some after you finish your lunch." Annie told Abby as she scooped some macaroni and cheese in her bowl.

Abby smiled as she put ketchup on her plate for her hot dogs. "Okay! I'll have that instead of more macaroni and cheese."

After Annie had everything, she sat down next to Abby. "About the time we finish eating, Uncle Eric should start to have his meeting."

"Okay! Let's eat fast!" Abby said before taking another bite of her macaroni and cheese.

"Sweetie, don't eat too fast because you'll get a tummy ache." Annie put her arm around Abby and kissed her on the head. "I don't want you to be sick and eating faster won't make the meeting happen faster."

After Annie and Abby finished eating their lunch, Abby went into the living room to play Nintendo, while Annie cleaned up the kitchen. While she was playing, she noticed three men, who she didn't know, follow Eric to his office. "Who is that little girl with the strawberry blonde curly hair?" One of them asked.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Tom." Eric said as he closed the door to his office. "She was just having lunch in the kitchen with Annie and I didn't see her walk into the living room. She's my niece ~ her name is Abby. Do you remember Annie's brother John?"

"I think so." Tom said as he sat down.

"Abby is John's daughter. She's staying with us for the summer." Eric explained.

"How old is she?" Tom asked.

"She will be ten in August ~ she has the same birthday as Annie and they are very close. Annie is like a second Mom to her ~ she's very protective of her." Eric replied as he sat down.

Tom was surprised. "She's almost ten? She looks like she's only about four or five."

"Yeah, she's not very tall for her age." Eric agreed.

"So, is she going to Michigan with you?" Tom asked.

"If we go. That's what I needed to talk with you about." Eric said as he continued his meeting. After they worked out the summer schedule and everything, Tom and the other two men left while Eric went into the kitchen to tell Annie the good news.

"Are we going to Michigan?" Abby asked as she followed Eric into the kitchen.

Eric smiled. "Yes, we are."

Abby smiled. "YES!"

Annie smiled as she ran over to Eric and hugged him. "I'm so glad that you were able to get everything worked out. We're going to have so much fun and I can't wait to see all of my cousins again."

Abby smiled. "I want a hug, too, Auntie Annie."

Annie picked Abby up and gave her a hug and then kissed her on the head.

"Is it time for Sesame Street?" Abby asked as she hugged Annie.

"It will be on in two more hours, Sweetheart." Annie replied. "I just remembered something ~ I think we should go and check on your sundresses." Annie walked over to the dryer, still carrying Abby and let her sit on the washing machine, while she checked the dresses.

"Auntie Annie, I'm getting tired." Abby said. "If I went to sleep, would you wake me up when Sesame Street comes on?"

"Yes, I would, Honey." Annie said as she kissed Abby on the head. "You aren't feeling sick, are you?"

"No, I'm just tired." Abby replied.

"As soon as the dryer is done, why don't we go upstairs and lay on the air mattress and listen to children's Bible stories on one of my tapes." Annie suggested.

Abby smiled. "Okay!"

After the dryer stopped for the second time, Annie took Abby's sundresses out and put them each on hangers and then joined Abby on the air mattress to listen to children's Bible stories.

Later that afternoon, Annie was getting dinner ready when Matt walked in. "Mom, when are we going to pick up Jeff?"

"After dinner, Honey." Annie replied. "It's almost time to eat, now."

"What are we having to eat?" Abby asked as she walked into the kitchen from the living room. "It smells good."

"Tuna Casserole and cheesy potatoes." Annie continued to make dinner until everything was ready. Eric set the table, while Charles, Matt, Mary Lucy and Simon sat down, waiting to eat. Annie and Jenny walked in carrying the casserole and potatoes, with Abby following behind them. After everyone was seated and the prayer has been said, Annie told everyone the good news.

"How are we going to get there?" Mary asked.

"We're going to take a road trip." Annie said before taking another bite of her potatoes.

"When are we leaving?" Matt asked. "Is Abby coming, too?"

"Yes, Honey, Abby is coming, too. On your last day of school, when you get home, we'll drive to Phoenix and stay the night with Grandpa and Grandma and then we'll get up really early in the morning and leave." Annie explained.

Lucy smiled. "Are Grandpa and Grandma coming with us?"

"No, but we'll be flying to Michigan for the family reunion and then stay a few days." Jenny replied.

"That sounds like fun." Mary said.

After everyone finished their dinner, Eric took Matt to pick up Jeff, while Annie called her cousin and then cleaned up the kitchen with Jenny.

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Chapter 7

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