We had such a great time!!
I have to say, we had our hesitations about bringing our family of 7 into the home of another family of 7. BIG ones. Especially, when we've never met a majority of their family (just Shelley)! But Shelley and Robert both are such sweet and easygoing people with HUGE hearts, and their children opened right up as well :)
I'm afraid Kristopher and Zoe might have a little something going on... They are LOL! And Kristopher asked at dinner this evening whether he could marry someone from a different state. I said yes, why? He said he's thinking he'd like to marry Zoe. I told him that would be wonderful, but he has a looooong time to decide who he wants to marry. He seemed ok with that :)
Xander and Emma are also so very much alike. They definitely have their distinct little personalities, but so many of our joys and struggles with those four kids are alike that it's so easy to openly talk and be able to honestly have someone respond with "I know just what you mean." Micah is such a little lovey kid and he took to Shelley really well. He wanted to win her over I'm pretty sure! And Brianna took to Robert really quickly. (And I am now sure he really does like baby girls, he just doesn't want another one!)
Kristopher was in heaven both with Zoe and Jakob to play with. A big boy with play guns (we had about 4 conversations about not talking about guns at school) and a little girl who was just as bossy as he is :) Pure joy.
And not to leave out Olivia and Grifyn! Grifyn was right in with one group or another and switched off between the "big kids" and the "little kids". He and Brianna played a little and he played with the older kids some. He's much tinier than I had thought from pictures! But he's SO sweet and loving and goodness he understands a lot!
Olivia... she's going to be a wonderful mommy one day :) She decided Lynae was the neatest little person ever and after she figured out how to hold her without her arms getting tired, there was no getting the baby away (until she cried or pooped or puked!). Shelley had to quick and sneak in some snuggle time when Olivia wasn't looking or she lost the chance to hold her LOL.
Early mornings (WAY early the first morning... 5am is earlier than I ever want to be up!) with little ones, late nights talking and watching movies and just hanging out together, and fun relaxing days... that's the best way to spen a vacation.
Not only that, I'm home, it's 10:20 at night, and I don't feel like we just ran a marathon. It was relaxing, refreshing, and I hope we can talk the Bedfords into coming down here before too long (at least we know we'll see them in July for the conference!) to spend more time with their family.
We had a great time. I only wish we lived closer so we could have this fellowship more often. But a refreshing weekend away is just fine too!
I'm so thankful for each of my kids, too. We have surely been blessed. It took us 10 1/2 hours to get to their house (6 hours away) because of awful traffic and a wreck that had us sitting parked on the Turnpike for over an hour on the way up. But we had no problems in the car and the kids were great when we got there an hour after their regular bedtimes.
Then 3 nights (and naps and everything) in a different house and we really had no qualms. Two full days with an additional 5 kids and in someone else's house with different boundaries... and really no big difficulties. Then after we left the Bedfords around 10:30 and got to Jacksonville at 5:30... 7 hours later... we ate at Applebees with my older brother, Bruce (who hadn't yet met the 3 newest kids), and the kids were awesome. Seriously, they were GREAT. It always makes me feel good when the waitress comes over and makes a point of saying how good the kids are. Not to praise them or say "wow you were good!" to them. But to me, quietly, and to say "with so many little ones it could be so different, your kids were great, you're doing so well with them." That is the best way I could have chosen to end a 4 day trip.
We had a wonderful visit with Bruce and the kids all loved him. We hope to see him next month when he comes down for Christmas!
Better run... baby is ready for some snuggles after a long (sleeping) trip in the car.