Ice Cream Social (Russian Style)

Okay, first of all, this post is way overdue. In fact, I almost forgot to post about this event entirely–not because it wasn’t memorable, but because immediately following it, we went into warp speed around here with house guests, work and party planning. But I don’t want to ever forget this trip, so here it goes, two weeks later…

I’ve mentioned our neighbors, The Russians, previously. They have four children, three girls and one boy (who is mentally and physically handicapped). The girls are OBSESSED with Emma Vance and unafraid to show their enthusiasm. They’re wholesome and innocent and passionate, all of the things that I hope E.V. grows up to be like. Honestly, I wish they could be our forever-neighbors so that Emma Vance would have their good influence around, but I’m determined that Amityville is going to be a small part of our life story, so our time with The Russians is fleeting.

After Ryan got the Scout de-topped (that’s the technical term, right?) and ready for dusky summer evening cruises, we had the idea to take The Russians for ice cream. When I asked the girls, they were over the moon, eager to go right then¬†and scared to ask their mom’s permission. “Would you ask her? She might not believe us,” the middle girl begged me. So I did. There was a bit of difficulty in translating the idea to the ESL mom, but with the help of her eldest daughter, we set a date and made plans…and it was so fun!

When I went next door to get the girls, they weren’t quite ready yet, asking for 15 more minutes “to get dressed up really pretty.” {Insert collective “Awww!” here.} When they came bounding across the yard a little while later, they had all clearly picked out their coolest, hippest outfits and were proud to show off their dressed-up looks. It was so sweet and made me eager for the days when Emma Vance wants to dress up to go get ice cream. The girls requested Taylor Swift for driving music (of course), and with their mother and brother following in their van behind us, we cruised in the evening hours, taking the long way to Menchie’s. The three of them sang to the radio, giggled and enjoyed themselves thoroughly.

At Menchie’s it was a free-for-all. (Menchie’s is a chain of self-serve yogurt shops where you pay by the ounce.) Left to their own devices, all three girls piled their bowls as high as they could go (literally) with the sugariest, sweetest, grossest combination of yogurt and toppings possible. Ryan and I were a bit more modest with our selections, although it made me laugh to see them bouncing around the toppings bar, trying to balance a mountain of toppings as they ran around. I do have to hand it to them, though: Those girls ate every last bite of their ice cream. Every. Last. Bite.¬†Although their mom refused anything for herself or her son, the girls shared bites with their brother, who ended up being just as excited as they were about the trip. At the end, we double-checked to see if their mom wanted anything, and she replied, “No, I’m just so happy my kids are happy.” :) Us, too.

Our date cruising and eating ice cream with The Russians was so fun and so innocent. It was an evening that reminded me what summertime–and what childhood–is all about: casual, carefree evenings, eager attitudes, simple fun, and being with friends.

The size of the girls’…
…v. the size of mine. :)
The littlest Russian and I decided to draw on the chalkboard.

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