Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Visiting, Destroying, Adventuring, and Vomiting

This is the post that ends with you probably wanting to give my sister a giant box of cookies...or a trophy...or perhaps the crown of sainthood. Just a heads up.

So last Wednesday, I bravely crazily packed up my two tots, boarded a plane alone with them (don't be fooled by the simplicity of those words), and descended on my older sister's house to subtly and silently fit into the fabric of their lives with her (almost) three year old and (almost) six month old.

Turns out our entrance was about as subtle as a herd of elephants in a china shop on a windy day swinging bats and throwing random explosive devices. (too much?)

We live far away from my family, so when my three siblings were all going to be back in town with my parents, I jumped at the opportunity to introduce my kids to my side of the family and let them get to know their aunts, uncle, and grandparents. Since Aaron was in his busy season with work, he couldn't take off to come with us, but who was I to let a little alone travel with my kids stop me from an awesome trip? (this is where I would like to plead insanity...more on the actual flying experience later.)

We set our trip timetable for almost three weeks. So far I have turned a year older (the digits 29 are truly scaring me), attended a friend from grad school's wedding (CONGRATULATIONS TJ!)- we have been to the zoo, out to breakfast, out on walks, out to eat, shopping...and many, many other adventures.

We have been staying with my sister and her family. They are gracious and wonderful.  My sister is an extremely neat, clean, organized person. She has trained her three year old daughter to be neat, clean, and organized. Her husband is neat, clean, and organized. Her six month old spits up, poops, and eats in a neat, clean, and organized fashion.

My children? Carried on as usual. (think...antithesis of all of that)

When Addison dismantled the Apples to Apples game, spreading ten million cards every which way (oh, so YOU'VE counted?)- my sister Bekka barely blinked an eye. When Addison tore apart her cousin's room during nap time, her three year old cousin shouted "OH NO!" and then swooped in to show Addison how to pick up all the toys. When I couldn't figure out Bekka's coffee pot and spilled coffee grounds and half-made coffee all over her pristinely sanitized counter- she smiled and jumped in to save me. When clothes were scattered and diapers piled up? She did my laundry...FOLDING and PUTTING AWAY the perfectly clean clothes. (seriously, sainthood was invented for people like her)

When Carter Henry decided to fall back on some old vomiting habits- spewing nastiness all over her baby girl's adorable nursery (to get out of his nap...of course...NOT sickness...)...Bekka did slightly wince and run from the room as if going to be ill herself. (I have been desensitized to this...after two years of it.) But after I cleaned it all up...and the lingering odor of vomit clung to the air- she didn't say a word.

I forgot how much more work it is to parent when you take your children out of their normal space, normal schedules, and normal eating habits. All of a sudden they feel they have the right to ignore you, run away from you, and refuse all foods that are not coated in sugar or salt. It makes my usual "disappear into the background and try to be super helpful" houseguest motto seem ridiculous and unachievable.

When you have two cranky toddlers (otherwise known as Addison and Carter) plus a cousin who is eager to add her screams to the duet performing on center stage...and a baby who wants to badly to be part of the action...you get a lot of chaos, fun, and a teeny-tiny sprinkling of "WHY DID WE HAVE CHILDREN????" thoughts.

(I have decided that I don't want any more children. Oh wait...)

All of that aside- we are truly having a great time. We seem to have found a schedule/activity balance with the 4 kids 3 and under. Uncle Jon is already a favorite among the tots...along with the train ride at the zoo, and the popsicles that seem to magically multiply in Aunt Bekka's freezer.

This is the stuff memories are made of. Worth the extra work...and the extra exhaustion taking over this very pregnant mama. The kids are truly having a great time. New experiences, new spaces, new adventures- we needed this. And I am getting many, many teachable moments with my children that perhaps wouldn't have cropped up in our space back home.

Thank you Bekka, Eric, Lauren, and Emma for putting up with us. Your home is lovely (well...it used to be...) and has been an amazing place to let the cousins bond, siblings to reconnect, and grandparents to get very well acquainted with the littles carrying their genes.

Here's to another week of constant play dates....a long road trip with Grandma...seeing more cousins....and lots more activities and moments that will make my family no doubt want to ship me back in the nearest box (so now it's a crime to have a winning streak during game night????)

p.s.
- check out Instagram for pictures updates of our trip. (user name: eanfe)

-Love you, Bekka

-Carter- let's stop at 3 vomiting episodes...shall we? You don't like to nap...we get it)

-Andrea, thank you for changing Carter's diaper explosion while I was writing this little update.

- Dad, thank you for picking us up and driving two screaming kids for two hours just to help us avoid a layover in our travels.

Like peanut butter on the fingers of a curious toddler, this post is begging to be shared.

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