Yesterday we drove to SB to visit with Colin’s extended birthfamily and to pick up his brother and sister, Jason and Hailey. Jason and Hailey’s grandma was at work, we picked them up and went to the mall playground to meet the rest of the family. Colin’s aunt (Amber), his maternal grandma (Trudy), and his cousins (Camren, Kiley, Kiara, and Michaela) were all there. (I have some pictures to post, but I’ll do that later.)
We stayed for a couple of hours and the kids all played together while the adults had a chance to talk. I’m glad that I can really mean it when I say, “The kids *all* played together,” including Noah and Zoe. It’s not like these visits are all about Colin. It’s about our whole family. While we haven’t quite figured out what Noah and Zoe should call Jason and Hailey, we call Amber their aunt, we call the cousins their cousins, and we call Trudy “Grandma Trudy.” Jason and Hailey and their grandma had Christmas presents for Noah, Zoe, and Colin, as did Grandma Trudy. It’s awesome that they included Noah and Zoe, too.
We went back to Jason and Hailey’s house once their grandma was home so we could see her for a while. Then we all drove home. My minivan is a little packed with seven people, especially with two car seats and one booster seat, but we managed. Zoe fell asleep on the way home, but Colin stayed awake. He almost never stays awake on long car trips, but he was pretty excited and he fought it. He was a tired guy by bedtime.
We made a quick dinner once we got home, and it went smoothly. The last time they were here, we ordered pizza. Jason grabbed a slice and ate it standing up in the kitchen before I even had plates made for everyone else. This time we made plates and everyone took them into the dining room. It’s possible that they don’t sit down together at home and have meals, but they remembered that we did and it wasn’t an issue. Colin was the first one to say he was finished and I said, “OK, you can be finished, but you have to sit at the table until everyone else is done.” It was perfect that Colin said it so that I could address it to him while Jason and Hailey heard “the rule.”
I addressed the shower issue by saying, “Noah, Zoe, and Colin are going to take baths right after dinner. Do you want to shower now, while I finish dinner, or do you want to shower when they are done?” (the classic “choices” trick – where the kid has a choice, but either choice is a desired outcome for the adult). Jason decided to shower then, and Hailey said she would shower after the little kids. (She ended up not showering, but said she would shower in the morning instead, so no big deal.)
We have a finished basement where we have the playroom, but we also have an area that’s a bedroom with a queen-sized bed and dresser, etc. The last time they were here, they slept there until the last night, when Jason slept on the couch in the family room and Hailey and Zoe slept on the futon in Noah’s room.
Jason decided he wanted to sleep on the couch again (so he could watch TV) and Hailey ended up sleeping in Zoe’s room. We just told them that if they wanted to stay up late, they had to sleep in the basement or the family room. If they wanted to sleep in Noah or Zoe’s room, they had to go to bed when they went to bed. (We didn’t offer Colin’s room as an option because he NEEDS his sleep and I didn’t want to mess with that.)
Hailey slept in Zoe’s room, and Noah ended up being jealous. There’s only room for two to sleep in Zoe’s room. Noah has room for three, so we’ll move Hailey and Zoe in there with him tonight. Noah was pretty tired last night anyway, so it was probably best he got some rest, since Hailey and Zoe stayed up talking and laughing. We didn’t say anything for a while because they were having fun and it was cute (and again, because we are glad that Noah and Zoe are included in all of this, too), but we put the brakes on it a little after 10pm.
We mapped out the next few days with them. The last time they were here, we packed things in. Last time we did two or three things a day. We’re still doing a lot – at least one thing each day – but it’s not as scheduled as last time.
Friday we are taking them shopping so they can pick out their Christmas gifts from us. We’re also taking Jason for a haircut and letting Hailey get some hair feathers. (We got their grandma’s permission when we saw her.)
Saturday we are going to Chuck E. Cheese’s (their choice).
Sunday we are going roller skating.
Christian is driving them home Monday. (I have to work again.)
The only exception is today. We’re doing quite a bit today. I had to work, so Christian took them all to Monkey Joe’s to bounce. Colin and Zoe are napping now, and we’re going to go to the zoo tonight to see the Christmas lights, and then we’re going out for dinner.
Something tells me I’m going to need a nap by Tuesday.