Sunday, January 26, 2014

Saying Goodbye to the Monkeys

By Thursday I was getting preeeeeeeetty good at this whole having a girl thing. I was a hair braiding, outfit coordinating, headband applying pro.
The kids had suggested Monkey Bread as a dinner idea for one of the nights. Apparently they had never had Monkey Bread before, so Jeff and I tried to convince them they would all turn into monkeys the morning after eating the Monkey Bread. Emma and Luke were eager to help make the new treat.
It had been years since I had had Monkey Bread! It was a favorite for everyone!
By Thursday, the kids were starting to get tired of me nagging them to clean the house every evening. So after several failed attempts of me trying to motivate the kids to clean, Natalie and Emma came up with the fun idea to do bucket races! The kids had to pick up 10 toys to get a ticket to ride in the bucket. It was a very successful idea!
Eli's at the cute age where he does things like this when I say smile:
After bucket races, Natalie orchestrated a bedtime story corner.
I loved that Pillow Pets were a mandatory part of the activity.
On Friday, I was trying to snap a picture of Claire's cute outfit when Carson decided to become a part of the photo op. Claire wasn't too keen on Carson stealing her thunder.
I think this is my favorite outfit I put her in. Little girl clothes are to die for!
I went up to take a shower, and when I came back down, Jeff whispered to me, "Look at Logan and Eli. They've been planning out some race all the cars are going to have for the last half hour." They had all the cars lined up, and they were discussing the order the cars would race in, and which of the cars would crash, and where they would all go. It was so funny.

Claire spent the week by my side helping me edit the music video.
When the kids got home from school on Friday, there were more bucket races to be had. I love this picture.
Claire and Carson snacked on the counter so I could keep them both contained while I cooked dinner.
Luke loved showing me his doll -- Sarah.
On Friday night, the kids were begging to do something fun. Luke had mentioned the idea to do snow cones. I've never been one to turn down a snow cone, so we had a winter snow cone party!
You can probably guess what word I said right before I snapped this picture...
And I'm not sure what word I said to get this reaction out of Logan:
Emma and Natalie were our snow cone baristas.

Even Claire got a taste of the flavored ice.
We had a few last shots to get of the music video before we watched a movie.
Saturday morning, we got a text from Jacob first thing, so we sent this text to Jacob to welcome him back to solid ground:
And then it was time to clean up! First up, the kids! Turns out a five-person bath is as fun as you would expect it to be.
Then came the bribery. Jeff had taken candy orders from the kids that morning, and he had bought two candy bars for each kid. Each of the candy bars "cost" them $2. So they had to do $4 worth of chores to get both of their candy bars.
It worked pretty well...once I started threatening to eat their candy if they didn't clean. I'm happy to say everyone earned both their candies!
Jacob and Laurie were delayed a little bit, so we filled the extra time that evening making a second batch of chocolate covered strawberries, and then we rented a movie.
Then the boys went to bed while Emma and Natalie stayed up to make their parents a welcome home banner.
They were so cute to write down all the fun things we did while their parents were gone. They couldn't wait for their parents to get home so they could show them our music video surprise!
While we were taking pictures, a little rascal emerged from the basement. Carson learned how to climb out of the pack 'n play while we were there, and he was practically impossible to put to bed.

Jacob and Laurie arrived safely home, and we had a fun time exchanging stories. Then on Sunday morning, Logan insisted on sitting between Eli and Carson for their goodbye breakfast.
We got a quick group picture before heading off to the airport with tears welling up in our eyes to have to say goodbye to our "fake children."
We were much less nervous about our plane ride home since we only had a one-hour layover this time. On the second flight, all of Carson's refusing to sleep in Nebraska finally caught up with him and he fell asleep in my arms within 10 minutes of takeoff. It was so pleasant.
Then Eli fell asleep as we were landing, so we decided to be the last ones off the plane to let him have at least 10 minutes of shut-eye.
There we were, peacefully staring at our two, darling, perfect, adorable sleeping children -- taking a moment to exhale as we let the responsibilities of five extra kids float off our shoulders -- when I felt something snag my hair. I ran my hand over the top of my head to get all my hairs smoothly in place and unhooked from whatever they were snagged on, when I felt something fall behind my back.

My first thought was that it was a cell phone, until I looked back and saw the girl standing behind me looking completely horrified. Then with a gasp she whispered, "I am SO. Sorry."

Why are you so sorry about a cell phone? I wondered. And then I felt moisture on my back. And then I heard her say, "It's all over your back. Do you have wipes or anything so I can help you wipe that off?"

And then I saw that it was a cup that fell on me. Full of a milkshake. And it was all over my hair and back, and I was sitting in a puddle of milkshake slush.

She picked the right person to milkshake though. Because I did have wipes. And I have had many things much worse than milkshake spewed all over me between the two little rascals that were so deceivingly peaceful in that very moment. So no harm done. But it does make a good story. So thank you clumsy milkshake passenger. I do appreciate a good story for the sake of finishing off my adventurous trip to Nebraska.

So there you have it. We had an awesome week. I would do it again. The conditions were perfect, and I couldn't have imagined it to have turned out better than it did. Thanks for the fun opportunity, Jacob and Laurie! We'll be your go-to cruise babysitters for life! Or at least until we have another kid. :)


Rebecca said...

Aw! You made tending seven kids look so fun and even...easy! Way to go! I love Claire's outfits and Eli's cheese faces. I think I'm going to plan a cruise now that I know there's such a reliable babysitter around!

Kim said...

Love Claire's little happy face peering out of the bathtub as she is surrounded by four little boys.

You look so beautiful in the picture of you in green holding Claire.

The welcome home sign is so cute. I especially love the girls posing in front of it (with a little someone special in the middle of the pose).

My favorite picture is of all of you together in a one-big-happy-family photo. CUTE!!

As always, great story telling with cute photos filled with lots of fun activities. Almost makes me wish I had been there. But so glad you were there so I didn't have to be since I was out there one week earlier.