My parents and sister Teresa (or TT as Brennan calls her) came to visit last week, and with family visits come massive amounts of pictures. Mostly because I don't let anyone out of my house before stealing the pictures from their cameras. It's like a fee for spending time with my children.
Anyways, we had a very busy and insanely fun week. I was so.flipping.excited for their visit, I could hardly contain myself. (I should pause to say that the only thing that was missing from the trip was my little sister Michelle. You know, in case she reads this and gets all "Everyone always has fun without me, why am I left out of everything, my life sucks" on us. Miss you George.) They flew in on the Monday after Easter. I was shoulder deep in a pile of laundry when the boys physical therapist showed up. After a nice therapy session, I put the boys down for a nap while frantically stalking my phone to see when they would be on their way over. They waited til I had both babies down so that they wouldn't disrupt nap time because they're incredibly thoughtful. Well, either that or my Dad needed to get his Chick-Fil-A fix before heading over. It was probably the chicken. When they walked in the door, Brennan was in the middle of opening a giant box of Easter presents from my aunt and uncle. But he was thrilled to see them. Grammy, Grampy, & TT trump presents ... but only for 10 minutes. Then it was back to the presents. We spent the afternoon catching up and relaxing. The boys all got the life squeezed out of them and their cheeks kissed off by Grammy.
On Tuesday we headed to Kennedy Space Center. Brennan was so excited to go see the rocket ships. He wore his "rocket ship shirt" and chattered about "go see rocket ships" all morning long. He and Brian went twice last year, but this year he was old enough to actually enjoy the rockets and not the lights in the floor like last summer. I think it's safe to say that he had a blast. We even had to go back to the rocket garden before we left so he could run around between the rocket ships one last time.
We did plenty of relaxing around the house too. It was so nice to have helpers to fold laundry and wash bottles and entertain children while I grabbed a quick nap (!!!!). And I think it's safe to say that Grammy, Grampy, and TT loved getting their fill of toddler and baby love.
Both sets of grandparents have been informed that when they come to town, they must choose a hotel with a pool so that Brennan can get his fish on. The pool was beautiful, but it was a little chilly so we only went swimming for one day. It didn't stop Brennan from doing his scoops and kicks and blowing bubbles. But his favorite part was climbing in and out of the pool onto the little ledge that surrounded it. It's the little things in life I suppose. The babies did spectacularly well despite the pool being so chilly. But I suppose being 75% body fat helps with the whole insulation factor.
On Friday we headed to the zoo. Note to self: avoid the zoo on Fridays during the school year. Holy school buses. My kindergarten teacher sister was going insane. But we managed to make sure that Brennan didn't get herded into a school group (We totally saw it almost happen to another kid though. His parents looked horrified.) and even the twins seemed to enjoy the day. Well, Kiernan enjoyed his nap, but Beckett seemed to like looking around. Brennan was really impressive that day. I've never seem him so interested in a lot of the animals and he didn't run around like a crazy person. He has favorite animals to visit - the deer and the giraffes. Probably because he is able to feed them both. But this time he also requested to feed the fishies and to see the crocodiles. The 2 crocodiles that the zoo has weren't out, so I showed him the 32349823 alligators that they have (hello, welcome to FL where you can see alligators on the side of the road and deer in the zoo) and told him they were crocs. I think I may have another year of lying before he gets all smart and points out the difference in their snouts and looks at me like I'm an idiot.
We planned to spend the day at the beach on Saturday, but Mother Nature had other plans. The beach isn't all that enjoyable when it's raining, so we decided to head to the bowling alley instead. Brennan has been before, but he had a ton of fun this time. Beckett and Kiernan didn't seem to mind the noise and enjoyed being passed from one person to the next while we bowled. Kiernan managed to grab a quick snooze while we were there ... are you noticing a pattern? After mass that evening, we headed out to do some shopping and grab frozen yogurt for dinner. Yum.
On Sunday we finally made it to the beach! It was a bit windy at first, and we had to take our tent down before it blew away, but we were able to enjoy some time in the sunshine and the boys' little tent withstood the windstorm to provide a nice little nap shelter for Kiernan. Yes, Kiernan can nap almost anywhere. Beckett had a harder time falling asleep, but he and Daddy got to snooze for a bit in the sun (fully lathered with sunblock and covered with a blanket and hat of course ... crispy babies are not fun). As always, Brennan enjoyed the surf and sand and had lots of fun showing Grampy and TT his beach.
After a quick Panera lunch (the 42nd one that week, complete with an order mistake every.single.time) and showers for Grammy, Grampy, and TT, we said our goodbyes and they were off to the airport.
I miss them already. Poor Brennan is quite confused and has asked "Grammy, Grampy, TT went?" a million times. Of course, we tell him that they went home to Michigan. But the poor kid just doesn't quite understand where this "Michigan" is. He tells me he wants to go to Michigan to see them and asks when they're coming home and that he wants Grampy to get him mac & cheese in his white car. And this morning he panicked because he thought Daddy went to Michigan and when people go there they tend to not come back. Each set of his grandparents have disappeared to this place in the last month after spending the better part of several days with him and he's utterly confused.
Things that I'm hoping that when we head to the Mitten in June, he'll grasp the concept that it's far away a little better. And that it's not some place people disappear to, but only a place where the people we love live and that we can visit them and they can visit us. And that they're only a computer screen away thanks to Skype. But when the computer screen closes, he's sad again. It's just a temporary fix. It's not the same as kisses from Grammy and playing in the backyard with Grampy.
My heart hurts and is heavy with guilt when I see him feel this way. Brian felt the same way after his parents left last month. We're sad that our kids don't have the luxury of living close to their grandparents like we did. He has such great memories of his Grandma babysitting while his parents were at work. I have awesome memories of weekends spent with my cousins playing in my grandparents pool. It just doesn't seem fair that our boys don't get to experience that same joy. But my hope is that we can create different joys for them. Joys that include airplane rides and road trips and changing leaves and snow. While changing seasons were a normalcy in my childhood and the beach was reserved for vacations, my boys will experience the opposite. They'll have the ocean on the weekends and build snowmen on vacation. So it's not bad, it's just different. And it'll take some getting used to.