Monday, February 27, 2012

Adventures With Aunt Gwen (guest post)

I’m Anita’s sister, Gwen, but I also happen to be the world’s greatest aunt. I’d like you to join me for the journey I had with the children this past week. 

My husband and I live just outside of Dallas, a mere 3 hours from my sister. We don’t have any children, so we enjoy the rare occasion that we get to have someone else’s kids in our home – better yet, ALL TO OURSELVES! (It’s great to be able to make all our mistakes on other people’s children before we have our own.)

The weekend started Friday, with the three youngest children being dropped off around lunchtime. They were already fed and napped, so we got right down to having FUN. 


We got the ball rolling with some bubble fun. Maddox ran as fast as he could after each one, which, sadly, was not very fast at all. By the time he got there, he was met only with the space that was once a bubble. But he didn’t mind, since there were always more bubbles to chase…and miss. 

Somewhere in the mix of things, Connor thought it’d be a good idea to TASTE the sudsy mixture.

                             “Mmmm – dis good!”

He spent the rest of his time not trying to pop the bubbles, but to EAT the bubbles, with the occasional sample of the solution.

Then, it was off to feed the horses. They live a park that is just around the corner from here. We loaded up some carrots, and were off. We were quickly met with disappointment when we discovered that the horses weren’t out. But, we weren’t about to waste the playground nearby…or the carrots! 

The boys enjoyed the snack – a little too much. I ended up throwing away a pair of undies, and Connor woke the next morning with orange poo. See what I mean about being able to make all my mistakes…?

This is my favorite picture of the day (maybe even of the weekend). In the foreground, we see our sweet Kelsey Girl...


...and in the background, we see our little escape artist.

The rest of the weekend was wet and rainy, so we were cooped up for most of it, bottling up our energy for Monday. And Monday was a BIG day. 

We started off by going to a friend’s house to pet and hold some baby goats. I must mention here that the entire time before this was spent asking, “When do we get to see the goats? TODAY?!” And every day after was spent asking, “Can we go see the goats again? When can we?!”

I think it’s safe to say that this was the highlight of the trip.

We held the baby goats for a good long while, and enjoyed playing with the donkey, too. Maddox was outnumbered and outsized by every animal there, but that didn’t stop him from having a great time.

On our way out of the barn, the kids discovered the awesome wonderland of my friend’s backyard.

She had tire swings, a trampoline with a slide, a zip line, a pond, a merry-go-round, and a seesaw! No wonder our “quick visit” extended into most of the morning. We were all having a great time. 

Then it was off to the skating rink. Uncle Richard was a real hero, and stayed home with the sleeping baby so I could go with the older two. They really caught on to the whole thing pretty quick. They both started off with these guards, to help them balance, but it wasn’t long before they were both flying solo.**

Connor spent most of his time “playing” video games. Apparently you don’t actually need money for these things; just a really great imagination. If he needed to get somewhere, he’d roll along, or crawl – whichever suited him best. 

Kelsey quickly went from skating in the practice ring, to making her rounds around with the Big Dogs. She was awesome! I was so impressed. She had her share of topples, but she got back on her feet every time.**

We came home, exhausted. But we didn’t have too long to rest, since it was time to get ready for the much-anticipated party! 

The first day they got here, Kelsey announced that it’d be a great idea to have a party, since this was a special trip. I was a little skeptical, so I told her to make a list of the things she thought we’d need for a party, and I’d let her know what was reasonable. 

Here’s her party list:


Don’t you love her artwork? I especially love her wiggly arms and legs (I think that’s her dancing). Even more, I love Uncle Richard’s impression of this drawing. But he won’t be making any showings here; sorry folks. 

We decided to have the party for Family Home Evening. Once we got home from skating, we prepped the cake. Kelsey had something akin to a spiritual experience while licking out the batter bowl – see her eyes?


She decorated the blue frosting.

We very much wanted to put some candles on the cake (Kelsey decided this was a giant birthday party for all of us), but I couldn’t find those things anywhere, so we had to forego that bit of genius. 

We started the evening with dancing. Things got fun and crazy fast. It wasn’t long before people were on the coffee table! And of course I let them; after all, it’s just not a party until someone’s dancing on the furniture.Here’s a sample of the fun.

When it was time for cake, we all donned the party hats. Kelsey had the idea for us each to wear two, since there were enough. (And you’ll see that this was not her most creative idea when it came to the hats...)

Then, it was bedtime for Connor, and movie/Stay Up Late time for Kelsey. We watched Elf, with Will Ferrell. Halfway through the movie, she looked at me, wide-eyed, and asked, “Is this real? Or is it just made up?” Later, she longingly confessed, “I wish I could meet Santa.” 

She soaked her feet in a bowl of warm salt water while she watched. All that dancing and skating made for some pretty sore paws!

The next morning, the party hats were the toy of the hour. Kelsey put one over the front of her face, and was a mosquito. Then, she changed gears and became a bee. So did Connor. 

I got "stung" quite a few times.

Then it was off to the park again, in search of horses to feed. Jackpot! The horses were out, and Kelsey had a great time feeding, rubbing, and naming them.

At the playground, I got a couple cute pics.

The countdown began on Wednesday. That was our last day together, and I was exhausted. The kids spent most of the day trying not to make eye contact with me, or make any sudden movements. I was a little grumpy. 

Before we headed back up to Oklahoma, Uncle Richard had to stop by his office for a bit, and I had the “great” idea to pack everyone up and go with him. We waited out his few work hours at a nearby park, that also happened to be lined with a pond.

 The kids bored quickly of the playground, and wanted to go see the ugly ducks. Seriously. They were disgusting. I don’t know what kind of ducks they were, but they looked like their face has been chewed up, then regurgitated. But one of them really made our day by leaving an egg for us all to “Ooo” and “Ahhh” over. 

Then we went to McDonald’s for an early dinner and an ENCLOSED play area that did not have so many opportunities for a toddler’s sudden death. 

Connor ate EIGHT chicken nuggets! I barely blinked and they were gone – I never intended that he would, or even imagined he could, eat so many! And as I watched him stuff his mouth full of French fries, drink a bunch of water, play until his face was red, come back for more fries and water, then go play – over and over again – I thought to myself, “He’s going to throw up.”

And he did. In our car. On the way home to Oklahoma. 

But when it was all over, and the kids had changed hands back to their rightful owners, I have to admit I shed I secret, silent tear. We had a wonderful weekend with the children, and look forward to having the boys come down for a whole week in March. 

So for now, this story is To Be Continued...


Anita said...

I'm laughing so hard reading this, Gwen! Great post :-) I love how you capture my kids' personalities so well!

Not to mention how well you display your own...

Love you!

Shannon said...

I love it!! Gwen, I could hear your voice in my head reading it. I especially loved the picture with the escape artist in the background... :-)