As always, I have a million other things that I should be writing, but I've decided to get some blogging done (a) as a treat and (b) out of necessity. Last week Kelli, Rosie, and Irie were here. Already it's this week and Grandpa is here. So I have a lot of ground to cover!
Fortunately for me, Phoebe had a string of very easy nights, where she went down around 7:00 pm and slept for a good 12 hours (aside from a few wakings to refuel so she could sleep some more). Tonight we were...not that fortunate...but it does mean that I got some good headway on my assignments over the past couple of days.
Anyway, when Kelli arrived I was surprised to see that she and Rosie had packed three big suitcases. For four days?! It seemed excessive.
Well, one of those suitcases was filled to overflowing with toys and things for the kids, including a ginormous stuffed unicorn for Zoë and a slightly smaller but still enormous stuffed owl for Alexander:
They had fun racing each other to find the toys and treats wrapped up inside (before the next player rolled doubles and the ball of saran wrap was passed down the line).
Here's Rachel helping Irie with her bottle:
She was standing so funny, holding her legs stark straight and leaning back against Rachel like that. She drank her whole bottle that way.
Here are the kids playing with some fake snow that they won in the saran wrap game:
Kelli brought one of her favourite books to read with the kids—Parts by Tedd Arnold. It was lovely to have her take over bedtime stories for a few days (not that I don't enjoy story time because it's one of my favourite parts of the day; however...I have this new baby and school work and...it was nice to know they were being read to while I attended to other things).
Though I think all I was doing at this particular moment was taking pictures, since Kelli has Benjamin, Alexander, and Zoë entertained, and Rosie and Rachel were playing with the babies:
Here's Ireland with a big, tall hat:
Another night Kelli read Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique to the kids, wherein Fancy Nancy instructs a number of small children to walk with a banana on their head to perfect their posture. So...we ended up walking around with bananas on our heads (because while Mommy probably would have said, "Cool idea. However, I'm tired and it's time for bed," Auntie K said, "Let's go get some bananas!"):
The kids know that Auntie K is my sister, but they are flummoxed by everything else. Zoë made a card for "Uncle Austin," Rosie's husband, to tell him that she lost a tooth (because he's in dental school, so she thought he'd be excited to learn that). She really thinks it's possible that Rosie is my sister, because Josie is my sister, and they're about the same age. But she also knows, in theory, that Kelli is Rosie's mother and that Kelli is my sister, making Rosie my niece and her cousin.
She knows that in theory.
But then you throw in the complication of Ireland. Who is she?! She's Rosie's baby, but she's the same age as Phoebe. So then she's our cousin. Ah, but Rosie is our cousin. So what does that make Irie?
"Are you the grandma to Millie, too?" Alexander asked Kelli.
"No. I'm Millie's auntie," Kelli told him. "Naanii is Millie's grandma, just like she's Phoebe's grandma."
"But not Irie's grandma?"
"No, not Irie's grandma."
"Then who's Irie's grandma?!"
"I'm Irie's grandma, remember! Naanii is Irie's great-grandma."
(They also have no idea which of my brothers is older and which of my brothers is younger than me, even though I've told them about a billion times).
It's a little confusing. But, family is family, so it all works out. As (I believe it was my mom's cousin) Nola would say, "We don't do 'removed.'"
Let's see...here's Zoë (in a fancy dress from Auntie K that she wants to wear every day) holding Phoebe in her little St. Patrick's Day outfit:
And here, much later in the day, is Zoë snuggling with Auntie K:
And here's a picture of Rosie taking a picture of Alexander holding Irie, while Andrew and Rachel work on hanging a picture in the background:
Here's Irie hanging out upside down (she seemed to like doing this):
Kelli also planned a rather intense craft project to do with the kids, which was nice because I haven't had the time or energy for very intense craft projects lately. She actually shipped a lot of the supplies directly to my house rather than packing them in her suitcase. She didn't want to travel with a jar of glitter, for example, and I understand why. Glitter gets everywhere.
She helped the kids make fairy lanterns—gluing a silhouette shape of a fairy or dragon to the inside of a jar and covering the outside with tissue paper—and when she announced there would be glitter, Alexander's eyes got big and he said quite seriously, "This is a glitter-free household."
It was hilarious because...I'm not really sure where he got that idea from. It's true that we don't have glitter, but we've never announced that we're glitter-free. I would say I'm surprised by his choice of phrase, but I'm not...we joke about being _____-free of lots of things.
Here's a little video of the finished lanterns:
Zoë was pretty sad to see Kelli leave (and I don't blame her):
We went outside to wave them off, which is a childhood tradition of mine. This is the recipe for a proper goodbye: you hug, you cry, you say goodbye, you follow them outside and wave as they get in their car, you wave as they drive away, then you chase after their car waving until you can't see them anymore.
It's just how it's done.
We couldn't find Alexander for a little while, however, because he's not aware of this tradition (he has no memory of visitors or anything like that; all he knows is COVID) so he made up his own tradition and went upstairs to my bedroom window to watch them leave. We called him outside to show him the proper way to say goodbye.