(You are singing the song now, aren't you?)
We returned a few days ago from a spur of the moment visit to my sister Smead's house. It was a blast! How could it not be? Picture seven children, two large dogs, a swing set, and two exhausted moms and you have a good time brewing for sure. Smead has been tired lately too (for different reasons, no matter how many people try to tell us we have the same thing...), so it was good to hang with someone at my activity level. I also got to spend time with my brother-in-law who I love dearly and who was one of my best friends in high school. (Yes, they met through me. I know, I rock. Most days they think so too.)
I grew up with most of my cousins nearby and I probably spent more time with them than I did with school friends. It is a different time now, and my boys don't get to spend afternoons and weekends with their cousins, so this was precious time for them and for me. While I loved hanging out with each of Smead's kids, it really warmed my heart to see my boys spending time with their cousins.
My niece, EJ, is a beauty. She is so grown up and thankfully, so far, she has no idea how beautiful she is. I got to help her study for a Social Studies test one night and she had to help me with some of the questions. I am a little rusty on my Egyptian history!
MJ, my nephew, introduced me to the wonderful world of WebKinz. Oh. My. Gosh. Seriously. I could spend all day doing WebKinz stuff. I was slightly startled at my fascination. MJ is a WebKinz expert and has quite the nice set up for Mike and Spike. He is a great kid and a great helper.
HLJ, my niece, is a pistol. Smart, tough, did I mention, smart? She is legally blind (for long time readers of the blog, they finally have a "Blind Child Area" sign at the end of the street in place of the "Deaf Child Area" sign...), but you would never know it. Jude and Cal spent several days with her and still don't believe me that she can't see. She doesn't hesitate. She doesn't calculate risk. She is much too busy doing for that.
LJ, my nephew, cracks me up. First of all, I find him incredibly adorable (which will horrify him as he gets older I'm sure). He has this infectious laugh that just bubbles up out of his heart. I helped him with his math homework, and the child took all my cherries and laughed the whole time. (It makes sense in context of the assignment, I swear.)
And then there is Woocie-Woo, a.k.a. "girlfriend". She is all girl. I mean ALL GIRL. Smart, fun, and with the hair color I was meant to have, she is this spunky little exclamation point to end their family. I was proud - she and Cal went toe to toe and she held her own. He finally told her that if she didn't stop being mad at him he wouldn't be her best friend anymore. Yes, they made up.
Jude and Cal loved being with their peeps and getting to know their Uncle and Aunt a little better. Not sure Cal was ready for Uncle Wade though. Wade told Cal that in their house the saying goes, "If you mess with the bull, you'll get the horns", which didn't process quite right because Cal spent that evening feeling timid with Wade until Cal finally said, "Uncle Wade, please don't put a cereal bowl over my face if I mess with you." Hmmmmmmm. It was also reassuring to me that Cal is as stingy with his kisses to Smead as he is to me. No need for jealousy.
It was a wonderful trip, and I love that while my boys may not see their cousins for months now, they will have these sweet memories forever.