August 25th, 2014

I’m SO not ready for this coming weekend! I mean, I’m EXCITED, don’t get me wrong. But I am NOT prepared. It snuck up on me fast and I have SO MUCH to get done before Wednesday afternoon, when we start driving to the Atlanta airport!

Gah!!!

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Posted in Living! |
August 3rd, 2014

Yesterday was the last full day with the kids. They actually let us get some sleep, so I didn’t get out of bed until around 8:00 or so. We got up and the kids played Super Smash Bros. again for a while. Justin and Amy both decided to get some more rest after being up for a little bit, but I kept an eye on the kids.

Once Amy was up and moving again, we made plans for the afternoon. The kids really wanted to go back to the beach again, even though the weather wasn’t looking great. So we packed up lunches and all the things that we use at the beach and packed into the van. The adults picked up food on the way out, since we didn’t have Lunchables like the kids, and then we ate a picnic at the playground and park that’s near where we’ve been going to the beach.

The kids played for a while until Audrey hit her head really hard on something in the playground, and then we decided we’d make our way down to the water. As soon as we got set up, we could see lightning way out over the ocean and the life guard pulled us all back out of the water just as we were getting into it.

That was a bummer, but we all played in the sand for a while, waiting for the storm to pass by. Okay, they played. I took pictures.

Digging holes in the sand

Ethan works on digging in the sand

Amy helps Isaac with his digging

Audrey cleans off her knees in the water

Ethan’s hole keeps getting filled with water

They did eventually let us get into the water, and Audrey and Isaac definitely wanted to go in, so Justin and Amy went in with them. The currents were kind of strong and the waves were fairly choppy, so they ended up drifting pretty far down from where we’d set up all our stuff — which is why this is such a terrible photo.

Swimming WAY away from where I was standing

Ethan wanted to keep playing in the sand for a while, so I stayed on shore with him. It was rough enough out that it was hard to be heard and I didn’t want any of the kids heading into the water without someone watching them. The wind was strong enough it blew our umbrella over and I had to go rescue it.

After a while, it started to rain big heavy drops that stung with they hit skin and sent several of us running back to shore and the protection of the (now on it’s side) umbrella. I wanted to make sure my camera was safe, too. We wanted to stay longer, so when the raindrops got less painful, we went back out to the water. I was walking out to the water and Amy looked at me from where she was standing calf-deep in the water with Isaac and Audrey and shouted over the sound of the surf and rain, “WE’RE MAKING A MEMORY!!”

But it was just too hard to keep an eye on the kids with the weather the way it was, so we packed up and went back to the car. Justin sent us back to get the kids taken care of and he bought all the things — boogie boards, towels, umbrella, etc — dragging the tote with all the dry things all the way back up the boardwalk to the picnic grounds, with the umbrella held above it so things would stay dry-ish. We dried off the kids and got everything packed up, stopped for Sonic drinks on the way back home, and started the 6-person rotation through the showers.

After that, we all went out to Jim ‘n’ Nick’s for dinner, which was probably the best-loved by the kids meal we had the whole week. They ate every single thing on their plates!

We went back home and the kids Skyped with Nathan again and then we worked on picking up things as much as we could, getting toys found and laundry sorted or washed, in the case of the wet beach things, and dried. The kids were exhausted, so they went to bed earlier than almost any other night they were here.

When I woke up today, I was worried I’d missed saying good-bye, since it was 7:30 and quiet upstairs. All the kids’ stuff upstairs had been packed up and taken down, but I ran into Audrey when I was checking her room — she came back up for something that had fallen off the end of her bed.

I went down and the boys were playing games and Amy was working on getting things packed into the van. Justin got the kids to sit down for breakfast and we sat there chatting while they ate. And then we did a last sweep of the house, got all the rest of the stuff packed up into the van, and started the good-byes. Everybody got hugs and “let’s do this again sometime” and then they were in the van and buckled and pulling away. Justin and I stood and waved until they were out of sight and then went back into our suddenly very quiet house.

We looked around a little bit, went “yeah, we’ll clean this later” and I went back to bed. Justin sat up at his computer for a while before joining me there and we both caught up on a little bit of sleep.

It was a long visit, but we really did enjoy it SO MUCH. We enjoyed taking the kids to the beach and playing around in the sand and the waves. We enjoyed taking them to the playground and having fun with them there. We played video games, Justin played Magic cards with Ethan, we did a craft project thing and made brownies and watched movies. I listened to Audrey read and tried to define a new word to Ethan from the book he was reading. We laughed and laughed at Isaac’s crazy antics. We listened to so many knock-knock jokes in the car and tried to answer riddles from the book Ethan brought with him from home. Justin answered question after question after question about so many things. Sure, we had to break up fighting and remind them again and again not to run in the store and not to shout when we asked them to be quieter and keep hands, elbows, heads, feet, legs, bellies, and chests inside their space in the car. And we made our own mistakes, for which we apologized and learned and tried to do better. All in all, we had a FANTASTIC time and we would love to do it again! We LOVE these kids and it was a DELIGHT having them in our lives for the week. And our house, while it’s more clean now this afternoon than it was this morning, and it’s also a lot more quiet, it’s also a lot more empty and we’re both looking forward to the next time we see our nieces and nephews.

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August 2nd, 2014

I’m a couple days behind, so here’s a quick attempt to catch up.

Thursday I went to work like normal, though super tired since I was up until almost midnight after the movie on Wednesday.

Unfortunately Justin wasn’t feeling well, so he set up the kids with Super Smash Bros. and they entertained themselves for hours that way. Justin came down to check on them every hour, but otherwise, he dozed and they played.

I got home at noon and got the kids eating lunch and sent Justin back to bed. He slept, and we played games, I did a little tidying, and then we went down to the pool and playground for a little while to burn off some energy.

We came home, woke up Justin, put the kids back in front of the game for a little while so I could shower. Justin got Meet the Robinson’s started and we made dinner. We paused the movie to eat dinner and then Skyped Nathan and Amy. After that, we finished the movie and everybody went to bed. Including me, because I was super tired.

We had previously planned to go to a beach to look for shells, but everybody needed a break and some rest, so Thursday was changed to be more of a restful day.

Friday morning, I went to work again. I’m not sure what the kids did in the morning. Justin was feeling better, but I really don’t know what they did all morning.

I do know that the pressure-washing and a/c maintenance guys were earlier than expected, so they both did their thing while I took care of making lunch. The weather wasn’t looking very good, so people weren’t interested in going to the beach. So we played a little and then I took the kids down to the playground for a little while. When we got back, we went to the chiropractor’s office again, where once again the kids behaved perfectly, and then stopped at the grocery store for a few things. We stopped by Staples to print off the Magic cards for Ethan — our printer wasn’t up to the challenge — and into Target to get plastic sleeves to protect the cards. Isaac was really worried for a minute when we said we were going to Staples. He has an entirely different relationship with staples, since apparently they were used on his head once!

We got home and started working on dinner and the kids did some cleaning up before Amy arrived. She got here safely around 5:30 and the kids were VERY excited. They put signs on the door so she would know where to go. And then they showed her around the house so she’d know where everything was. We sat and chatted while cutting out Ethan’s cards and working on making dinner.

We ate dinner, Skyped Nathan, and then Justin and Ethan played Magic with Ethan’s new deck and the rest of us watched a little bit of TV while we waited for the brownies to finish baking. And then everybody went to bed.

It’s not a great update, but here are a few cute pictures of what happened on our way to the drive-in.

 

Sleeping and reading on the way to the drive-in

Still sleeping, even though we moved him out of the car

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July 31st, 2014

So the big, exciting plan for yesterday was to go to the drive-in to see the new Planes movie with the kids. Justin took them to the pool for a long time in the morning in the hopes that they’d get worn out and take a nap or at least a quiet time in the afternoon, but despite staying at the pool for more than 2 hours, they were still completely full of energy and not the least bit interested in sitting still.

So we ate lunch and played games for a little while — I challenged them to try to play Mario Kart in a rotation so everybody got to play. Once they understood what I was trying to explain, they were pretty much okay with that idea.

Justin and I had a chiropractor appointment in the middle of the afternoon and the kids were absolutely wonderful while we were there. We chatted in the car before we arrived about how I’d like them to make sure not to bother anyone and not run around and shout but to sit and play with either the things they brought with them (Audrey brought some of her dolls and Ethan brought a book) or the toys that are in the office. And they did that perfectly! In fact, they whispered instead of talking normally, just to show that when I ask them to be quiet, they can REALLY be quiet. :)

We played for a while after getting back to the house. Justin’s sister, Jessi, stopped by to pick up her car and she stayed for the homemade burritos we had for dinner — another meal that we weren’t sure would go over well but seemed to be enjoyed by all. We made sure to pay better attention to how much each kid was eating this time and didn’t make them eat the whole thing when they got full. Isaac managed to down the whole burrito! Both of his siblings only ate half, but Ethan had a big lunch and Audrey’s was a lot bigger, so eating half was plenty of food.

Before getting ready to go the movie, we took a video of the kids so they could send a message to their parents, since our schedules didn’t work out for the Skype call last night. It’s about 3:30 minutes long of very excited kids shouting their well-wishes, but I haven’t been able to get it to upload to YouTube yet. I’ll try again later this afternoon. It really is ADORABLE.

And then we went to the movie. The two youngest fell asleep in the car on the way, but Audrey woke up to play on the playground at the drive-in with Ethan for a while when we arrived. Isaac slept until the movie was about to start. We sprayed bug-spray on the kids, got popcorn and sodas, followed later by funnel cake sundaes, and watched the very cute film. I asked Audrey what she thought and she said that she likes inside movies better because the bathrooms are closer and there are less bugs. I had to agree that those were pretty good reasons to like indoor movies better. The bugs last night were unpleasant.

We hit melt-down o’clock heading home, where two kids started crying between packing up the car and driving home. It was quite late by the time we got home and got everybody into bed.

Today, we had planned to take the kids to a beach that’s supposed to be good for looking for shells and things, but we think everybody needs a quiet day to rest up and not have such an exciting, tiring day today. I’m hopeful that they slept in late this morning, since I know the adults in the house are both exhausted, too. And we’ll be sure to get to bed on time tonight. We’ll head to that beach tomorrow.

And now, I have to get to work! I’ll try to upload that video this afternoon.

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July 30th, 2014

The video I took of the kids this afternoon won’t load and now it’s almost midnight, so I’m heading to bed and I’ll give better updates tomorrow!!

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Posted in Living! |