As you know, all of my family came into town the first part of November. It has taken me a long time (too long!) to get pictures posted, mostly because I was simply overwhelmed by the number of shots everyone took. Apparently all three of us siblings viewed the occasion as something special and took lots of pictures to document it. Ha ha ha! Between us we shared all the pictures and when I went through I finally stopped at 60 pictures to share with you via slideshow. Even I recognize 60 is alot and you may be bored by all of them, but it was such a small slice of our life for four days that I had to share.
Travis, Abra and baby Maggie (8 months) flew into Salt Lake City Thursday morning, November 10. After doing an airport run to pick them up, Elliott and I immediately turned around to pick up Tracy, Matthew, Levi (2) and baby Jessie (5 months). Everyone stayed with us until Monday, when we did the drop-offs. We are so glad that we were able to have all of the bedroom space to share and all of the kids did REALLY well in spite of all the changes we were throwing at them - time changes, new rooms, extra kids, extra activities, etc.
It was the first time my siblings and I had been in the same place since Tracy's wedding in 2004. In that time since all of us had had children and it was so special to be able to get the cousins together for the first (of hopefully many) times and to meet babies we hadn't met before (shout out to my niece Maggie!). Seeing all of the babies lined up on the floor with Piper trying to hug them all, Lily and Ava trying to entertain them and Levi hovering around the edges overwhelmed by the girliness of the situation melted my heart.
I laughed every time I saw Levi interacting with my girls because he is such a boy! It was hilarious! Tracy had called me before they came because Levi kept asking her if we had a basketball, a football, a skateboard, etc. I told Tracy "I have girls! We have dress-up clothes." Levi would play with the girls through rough-housing, hitting, or pretend shooting while Lily looked at him like he had come from another planet. Levi is a very well-behaved little boy with parents who are uber-attentive and discipline when necessary, but in the end he is full of little boy energy and mind-set, something that doesn't occur in our house very much. We just have a lot more estrogen going on.
Tracy, Abra and I spent some time crafting in my sewing room, which was so much fun. Abra and I showed Tracy how to make the little girl hairbows we had been creating at our houses - and we created a monster! Tracy went crazy with my ribbon stash and the glue gun for awhile, resulting in some of the cutest bows you ever saw. I also showed Tracy how to do freezer paper stenciling. We went to the store, picked up some pretty kitchen towels, printed out a beautiful font for the letter "L" (for Tracy's last name, Lindley) and stenciled it on the towels. (Tracy reported to me yesterday that the towels were a hit with her friends and although she tried to tell them how easy it was they all think she's a rock star so she's going with it.)
We ate our meals at home, creating a large Thanksgiving dinner on Friday afternoon so that we had leftovers to eat the rest of the weekend. I made lots of yummy treats ahead of time too, introducing my family to "cake balls" (which I hear is now a requested dessert at the Lindleys, much to Tracy's chagrin). My mom enjoyed being back in the kitchen, taking care of her kids through food and we were more than willing to be babied a bit. Travis, now an avid runner who completed his first marathon this year (I'm so proud), organized daily walking trips for the dads and kids, which the kids loved. At night, after we got the kids into bed, we would stay up and play games. Flashbacks to childhood abounded, with Travis so "generously" reminding us of our past game-playing behavior. Lots and lots and lots of laughing. (And boy does Travis have alot of energy! Abra says he is like that every day. I would be exhausted by him.)
Besides enjoying each other's company, the only other goal of the visit was to take some family photos. I had hired a photographer for Sunday, who called at the last minute to let me know she was very sick and wouldn't be able to come. After some scrambling we were still left empty-handed but decided we would do it ourselves via Travis' camera-timer and a tripod. I had already arranged for my neighbor Polly to come over and direct the kids' attention so we could all get them looking the same way, so we were set. Here are some shots that resulted:
Didn't they turn out GREAT?! We collaborated ahead of time on coordinating our clothes and the weather cooperated beautifully for our shoot outside. The other great shot of the weekend:
Looks at those cutie-patooties and their little naked toes. Aren't they adorable? Yes, yes they are. This was our houseful over the weekend. And we couldn't be happier.
Here are a couple other of my favorite shots:
Here are a couple other of my favorite shots:
It was sad to see everyone go, but we plan to get together again in 2013 and do so every other year after that. I don't know if I will be able to wait that long, but I am glad I got my Johnson fix.
I love you guys!