I've just had the most fun (and hectic) weekend. My sister Gwenn's kids came to stay while Gwenn and Nick had some business to attend to in Raleigh. After a false start (see Gwenn's blog for the whole story! link at right), the kids arrived late Friday night. They stayed over at my house that night, and Saturday we played (and trashed the house...see pictures of "we're gonna play dress-ups!", below). Also on Saturday was my Mother of The Year moment. I was feeling very virtuous and on top of the game, because, despite getting up with the baby at 4 AM (which was no big deal, but I'm not used to it!), I fed the kids breakfast, wiped faces, gave the baby another bottle and breakfast, got all their clothes (AND SHOES!) on, put the baby back down for a nap, and shooed the kids outside to play so I could clean up the breakfast dishes. My master plan was to wait until Josiah woke up, and then pile the littles into the wagon, the baby into the sling, and to take a walk to the post office (4 blocks or so) to see Nana. So as I exit the bedroom where I've laid the baby down, Nia comes in the back door. (Keep in mind that they've been outside less than a minute at this point.) If you don't know Nia, you must imagine that the voice speaking these next words is very high, sweet and quiet. She says, almost apologetically, "Auntie Gretchen? It's raining kind of hard; do we have to stay outside?" Yes, folks. I forgot to check and make sure that the cloudy overcast skies weren't, in fact, producing rain. Which they were. Quite copiously, I might add. So, dammit, let's all come inside! Be quiet! The baby's sleeping! (And I still have to do the breakfast dishes!) So I say, "Why don't we watch a movie?" In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that it's not exactly a "treat" for my kids to watch a movie. For a TV-free family (as in, no television, network or cable, but not no television SET, and we are Netflix addicts around here), my kids sure do know how to quote a movie. But I digress. Shocking, I know. So they go back and forth about what movie they want to watch; can't agree, and then Abbie and Nia cook up the big idea to play dress-ups. I'm a little apprehensive about this, because it usually makes a big mess that requires threats and tears (or me doing it) to get put away, but since my options are few, I consent. I caution them, though, "DON'T FORGET! If you take it out, you put it away!" Like I said earlier, if you look at the picture below, you can see how well THAT worked out. Next, they decided that they could, after all, agree on a movie, and abandoned the dress-ups to go watch Shrek the Third. Notice they are still wearing their fancy clothes.
That evening, they spent the night at Nana's (well, just Gwenn's kids; mine went there for a while and then came home with Jon). They seem to have survived THAT particular brand of craziness (just kidding, Mom! You do such a great job with all of them). After church on Sunday (which the two little boys stayed home from with Nana), Micah went back to Nana and Grandad's house, and we had "girl time". Which involved shopping for earrings (because Abbie can't keep her friggin' expensive ones in...grrrr...), going out to lunch, running an errand and getting ice cream at Big Al's. Oh, and then we came home and baked pretzels and made homemade wontons and crab rangoon for dinner. (Yum! I'll post the recipes at some other time.) The capper of the night was Nia getting her hair Manic-Panicked pink. Not entirely pink, but some cutie streaks that showed up beautifully against her hair. While the color was setting in, Uncle Jon taught her to play dots and she smacked him down. (Not really, but she thinks she did.)
Speaking of Uncle Jon, he handled one of the overnight baby duties with complete cuteness. Josiah had gotten up about 3:30, sucked down half a bottle, and went right back to sleep. About 5:00, he started whimpering again, so I said to Jon, "Would you get him this time?" He quickly agreed (surprising to me!), and took the baby out on the couch for the second half of the bottle. When I got up about 7:15 this morning, Jon was dozing on the couch with the baby on his chest. I have so many memories of finding Jon the very same way (with the very same blanket!) with our own kids. It was very cute.
Before we had school this morning (spring break's over, folks!), we instructed the children in the fine art of the "dogpile". Before anyone becomes alarmed, please be informed that Josiah was, at the time, asleep in the crib, not at the bottom of the pile. I say this only because he's the only one not in the picture. And while we're on the subject of pictures, let me apologize for not getting a group shot. Those little buggers are FAST! Bring out the camera or the Flip video and they scatter like mice.
The last picture is of Micah and Nico. Jon took it in last night before he went to bed. (Oh, and I should also say that just after he took this picture, he came in our room, saw Josiah sleeping in the Pack&Play, and said, "Oh, I just want to pick him up!" I assured him that the baby would probably sleep right through it, which he did. Jon also [I guess about half an hour later?] came back in our room and WOKE ME UP just to show me the cuteness of Jo-la-la [as Nico calls him] with his arms around Jon's shoulders like he was hugging him. It was, in fact, quite sweet.) In any case, Micah shared his bed with Nico while they were there, and this is how Jon found them last night. You can't really tell in the picture, but Jon said their hands looked like they were praying.
Clean up the dress-ups? Of COURSE we will!
An attempt at a group shot...oh wait, the baby's not there!
There he is. Admittedly, that was where he stayed for quite a while. I think that kid needs to get into a 12-step program for Cheerios addiction. (Sorry to make light of addiction, but seriously, Jo-la-la...STEP AWAY FROM THE O'S!)
Playing dots and dying hair...
The end results...love it!
And from the back...
Josiah's petting Jon's beard; Jon said he did that for quite a while. :)
DOGPILE ON KATIE!
Sleeping boys. They are so sweet, huh?
And just for kicks, here are two videos: