THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 19
We headed to sunny California on Thursday morning to visit the Hendersons. We hadn't flown as a family for a year and it was a whole new experience. We went sans-stroller, sans-sippy cups and I packed only the kids' clothes and essentials. Then I gave them backpacks and told them to fill them with whatever they wanted on the plane but not to make them too heavy because they were going to be responsible for them. They chose surprisingly little and were perfectly content. They also wore them through four airport visits and generally traveled like seasoned pros. We were truly really proud of them.
We went straight to Butch and RoRo's and arrived at the same time as the Tucker clan. The kids all piled out of cars, took off running and never looked back. It was amazing. They began playing like they'd seen each other last week and, save a few moments here and there, played without fighting or fussing the rest of the week. It was this afternoon when my sister-in-law, Maria, noted that Thomas and Claire sized each other up, seemed to reach an unspoken agreement and then played together the rest of the stay with virtually no conversation. Funny.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 20
This day began with a stroke of brilliance wherein Maria and I left bright and early for pedicures while Mark and RoRo took the kids to the park. After stuffing ourselves with yummy Mexican food for lunch and napping little ones we enjoyed smoothies at the newest joint in Claremont and the kids played at the Tuckers' until they were very exhausted. Then we ate some more food that someone prepared. I could get used to a delicious meal just appearing in front of me every evening. :-) We watched a movie after dinner and bathed kids who were so tired that they fell asleep on the way to bed. I love that.
I helped Maria cook dinner this evening - my only domestic foray of the week - and the kids played, played and played some more. They invented a game whose rules we were not privvy to, but basically it involved them hiding in the bedrooms then all running like screaming banshees into the kitchen, dining room and family room in search of adults. As soon as an adult made eye-contact they would turn and run away, screaming all the while. They did things like this with no adult-intervention for hours on end. It was truly impressive that they could play so well and with so much joy for such extended periods of time. It gave the grown-ups actual time to actually sit and have actual conversation. Huge.