and I'm exhausted! But it was a good weekend. Always wonderful to see the family. I thought it would be fun to post a few highlights - and unfortunately lowlights - to catch y'all up.
We left Thursday afternoon and mostly the travel was fine. The kids actually did quite well. Our stroller, however - our beloved Inglesina Zippy - didn't survive the first flight. It should be noted that this stroller replaced our first Zippy almost exactly four years ago, after the same airline broke the handle off on its very first time in use, ever. This time it was the wheels. I picked it up on the jetway, opened it, and tried to push it - no go. I looked down to see a wheel assembly missing - it was leaning up against the wall where the stroller had been. The plastic just snapped in two. I envisioned myself having to make the rest of the trip with no stroller and buy a new one when we arrived - but thankfully a nice ticket agent took pity on me and got the luggage people to bring up a spare they had lying around. It's a horrible stroller but it got us through. I did have to lug the broken one all the way to Indy in order to file a claim to get them to pay for the replacement - only to find out that usually they don't pay for broken wheels. What's up with that? Oh, it should also be noted that when I picked up the substitute stroller at the end of the trip tonight, they'd broken off the child tray in front. I am never going to trust the airlines with a stroller again!
OK, now to the good things about the weekend. First, there is my wonderful niece Hannah. She is just such a lovely baby! She is really doing well. When I was holding her on Saturday I got lots of smiles - so precious. Holding her makes me remember how nice having a baby in the house is. It sounds like her next surgery is going to be in May or June. I don't have plans to visit again till late July/early August so I'll have to watch for cheap tickets to take the kids for another visit before then!
It was also fun to see the cousins playing together. They are all stair-stepped in age: Jacob is 5, Ben is 4, Mary is 3, Sarah is going on 2, and then Hannah is 3 months now. Jacob and Ben played together quite a bit and did very well. It was so hilarious watching them, since they have similar personalities in some ways. They both have pretty strong ideas of how things should be, but they didn't always match up. Here's one little example from when Ben was pretending that everything in the house was an elevator (his favorite thing in the world) while Jacob was pretending everything was a train (his favorite thing in the world).
Ben: "Let's get on the elevator."
Jacob: "Well, actually, it's a train."
Jacob: "Hey, I think that door is an elevator!"
Ben: "Well, actually, it's a room."
And yes, they both really talk like that! The other hilarious thing happened at Jacob's house yesterday, while the kids were all playing. Jacob (being the older cousin) had the tendency to call the shots while they were playing - but Ben didn't always want to take it. We had been talking about the saying "You get what you get," which Jacob had learned at kindergarten and has been trying to apply to his life. Well, Jacob told Ben, "You get what you get means that if I tell you to do something, you get to do it." Um, not exactly!
One of my favorite moments was also yesterday. Ben found some musical instruments and brought them out, and we started singing some songs - well, it wasn't long before the four oldest kids were all playing and singing together. It was really sweet and adorable. We did get some photos - the only one I have doesn't have Hannah in the shot much, but Christine brought her over so we actually had all the cousins together and happy for a short while!
Speaking of music, Sarah is singing all.the.time now. Or at least trying to. I noticed it first a few days ago, when I heard her saying some of the words to a song from the Pooh Heffalump movie. And this will only make sense if you know the song: "shoulder... eye... water... jump... sky-y-y-y-y-y!" Cutest thing ever. So on the plane to Indy I got out the safety card for Sarah to look at - always a big hit with Ben - and we were looking at the A-B-C letters on it. Next thing I know I heard her saying "Double X..." and realized she was "singing" the alphabet song! I've also heard her trying her hand at the good-bye song from our music class, the Little People movie theme song (OK, kinda embarrassed about that one, but my kids love those videos), and I think a couple more. I'm so excited to see her so enthusiastic about it!
One sad thing came about while I was in Indy - I discovered that my grandfather, the spouse of my grandmother who died in December, is dying of advanced liver cancer. He was given a prognosis of 3-5 months to live. He is not pursuing any treatment beyond making him comfortable. I think he is ready to be with my grandmother, and he's had an amazing life with a faith that touched many, many people, so I'm trying to find some joy in this for him. It's sad to be losing my grandpa, though, especially so soon after my grandma. But it really makes me glad that we took the kids to see him on our road trip. I'm so grateful that we had that opportunity.
And as far as stamping, I worked on lots of card fronts over the weekend - I don't even know how many - but not many are finished yet! I tried to punch out the shapes I would need and bring it all with me but I just didn't do a good job of predicting what I'd want. When will I learn that it doesn't work? I'll have to see what I can get done in the next few days. It's official - I'm doing the Feb. 13 craft fair, and also one on May 7 for Mother's Day. I'll try to keep blogging since I'm going to try some new Valentine's Day stuff that I'd love to share. It sure was crazy for the Christmas fairs, though, so try to forgive me if I slack off a little! :)