Friday, April 17, 2015

A Visit From the Vols

My brother and his family live in Tennessee . . . about 9 hours by car from where we live. Because of this, we don't get to see each other too often, though it generally ends up being 3 or 4 times a year. Back before the babies were born, they made plans to come visit us during their kids' spring break from school. That way, they would have a trip to look forward to for spring break, be able to meet the babies, and also be here to help us out for a few days. 

They arrived at our house on the afternoon of Saturday, March 21st. When they arrived, all four of our kids were napping, but the bigs soon woke up SO excited to see our company! Not long after my brother and his family arrived, my parents also came. Poor Brecklyn was pretty overwhelmed by our houseful of company and just cried and cried. The babies were almost 7 weeks old at this time, and Brecklyn would often cry inconsolably for periods of time throughout the day :-(. We went to dinner at our local Mexican restaurant that night where my sister and her family joined us (they live about 20 minutes from us). 

Our house is pretty full with just our family. We don't have any extra space or extra beds, so my brother and his family stayed in a hotel while they were here. We're not used to that as we all generally just pile in at whoever's house we're at, but we just truly have NO extra room. The next morning (Sunday), they came by our house before we all headed to church. We were able to take some nice pictures.

JT, Kaylee, Shawna, and Jeremy . . . our guests for the week!

The kids minus cousin Chloe Jo . . . Brianna, JT (holding Brecklyn), Kaylee (holding Brooke), and Brenson

Kaylee and sweet baby Brooke . . . Kaylee LOVES babies and got plenty of baby-holding time!

JT and Brecklyn . . . happy she was calm for the moment 

Brianna absolutely adores JT. He's 10 years older than she is, and she has always just thought the world of him. She couldn't get enough snuggle time with him!

One perk of someone else being at our house on Sunday was that they could take a family photo for us :-)! 

After church, everyone (my sister and fam, my parents, and my brother and fam) all went out to eat together. We would have loved to go, but we just weren't in a place where we were able to do that with the babies quite yet (not after a busy morning at church). Instead, we came home to get a bit of rest. Jeremy, Shawna, JT, and Kaylee came over a bit later and snuggled babies for us.

JT with baby Brooke

Uncle Jeremy with Brooke

Oh, this face! Brooke has changed so much from this squishy little newborn!

On Monday morning, Kaylee really wanted to take Brianna to Build-a-Bear Workshop. We had never been, but it was something that Kaylee loved when she was younger. Jeremy and Shawna offered to watched my younger three so I could get a little break and take Kaylee and Brianna. We weren't gone long, but we had a fun time!

Picking out the heart for her bunny

Filling the bunny with stuffing

Brianna loved this whole process!

Doing the heart ceremony  before putting it in her bunny

Brianna and Kaylee bathing their twin bunnies

The finished product! 

That evening, I asked if everyone (including my sister and her fam) wanted to meet at a local museum that has beautiful grounds and take a few photos. I wanted a photo of all the kids for my mom for Mother's Day. I knew this might be quite a challenge, and I was right! Getting five littles (including two babies) and two teenagers to pose and smile nicely was not an easy task!

Here are a {very} few of the {many} shots I took:

Lovely children . . . haha!

This is the one I ended up liking the best. It's not perfect of Brecklyn (I believe she's crying), but it's pretty good of everyone else.

This is what the final product looked like after I enlarged and framed it. I was happy with it!

After taking close to 65 shots of the kids, I also took a few photos of the guys. They thought it would be fun to pose on top of this wall. 

Brenson was not thrilled to be included in this group. He's very cautious and was afraid of being up so high.

I think Chris sometimes forgets that he's not 20 years old anymore. He leaped off of this wall and landed on the ground with a thud! I'm just glad that he didn't break any bones, ha!

This is kind of fun of JT and the bigger littles.

Brenson was very afraid up there as well, so he promptly got down. Brianna (my little fearless girl) wasn't nervous at all with JT up there with her!

One fun thing about our company staying in a hotel was that they had access to a pool. Our big kids each got to go with them for one night, swim, and spend the night in the hotel. Brianna and Brenson thought this was great! It was a really special thing that they both needed at the time when we were pretty much completely consumed with caring for the babies. 

On Tuesday, all of the guys (including Brenson) met for lunch at a Hibatchi grill. While they were gone, the girls hung out at our house and Shawna helped me with some chores. I was so thankful for the help! Just having extra people around to hold the babies was a big relief at that time! Then, that evening, Jeremy and Shawna offered to keep ALL of our kids so that Chris and I could go to dinner. Ummmm, they didn't have to ask us twice! We left as soon as Chris got home from work, and both went to the chiropractor for adjustments. I mean, doesn't everyone begin their date nights with chiropractic adjustments?!? Ha. 

After our adjustments, we went to dinner at Chili's. It wasn't anything fancy or over-the-top, but it was SO nice to be out by ourselves. It was the first time we had been out since the babies had been born!

For some reason, as the week went on, I started failing on my picture taking. However, on Wednesday morning, Shawna, Lisa, and I all went and got pedicures. Once again, it was great to be out and getting pampered just a bit. My brother watched all of my littles with help from his kids (Chloe Jo was in school at the time). He rocked it!

The girls are wearing onesies that my brother brought them. They say "Super Cool Just Like Uncle!" :-)

That evening, things got a bit crazy. We met my sister and her fam for dinner at Taco Bueno before we all headed to Bible Study. During dinner, a huge storm rolled in. It was not only severe thunderstorms, but tornadic activity as well. We decided to head to the church building early in case we had to take cover. Sure enough, about 15 minutes after we got to the church building, the tornado sirens began sounding. We all crowded in the sound room at the building to ride out the storm. The wind was crazy and the rain was coming down in sheets. I just kept thinking about how sad it would be for Mom and Dad if we all got blown away in a tornado. Thankfully, we didn't get blown away, though there was some significant damage from the storm in surrounding areas. It definitely ended up being more excitement than any of us were wanting or anticipating!

After Bible Study, we went out for ice cream (and the babies melted down the entire time . . . we had definitely pushed them too hard) and said our good-byes. My brother and his fam headed back to their corner of the world the next morning. It was a really nice visit, and we were thankful to introduce them to the babies and for the time we were able to spend with them!

No comments: