Wait, was it last week? You know, I don't think it was. I think it was the week before that. Crikey, I meant to write about this sooner. This is how most of my blog posts go; I write dozens and dozens in my head each month, but only a few actually make it on here, and not because of my rigorous self-editing process or anything, but because by the time I've sat down to write about it, I've forgotten whatever it was that made that one topic so interesting. You don't know how many times I've sat in this chair and thought Hmmm, peanut butter... it had something to do with peanut butter or I know there was a potential post somewhere in there about vacuuming, and it was just hilarious, but- but that can't be right, can it? It all gets tangled and lost somewhere in the vault (let me just stop and say how ridiculous it is that I just referred to my own brain as "the vault" when anyone knows it should have a title more like "the sieve" or "that closet at your great-grandma's house that everyone's afraid to go into and smells weird"), never to be thought of again.
The only reason I haven't forgotten about this post is because if I didn't have a husband and children of my own, I'd be that annoying family member that stops by waaaaay too often because my nieces are the sweetest and best and most beautiful and smartest and funniest and most scrumptious little girls in the world. After my Adelaide, of course.
My excuse for going down for a visit in the first place was to visit my newest niece, six-week-old Norah:
She is soft and warm and smells good and loves to be cuddled. It was heaven.
I also got to spend some long overdue quality time with her big sister Charlotte:
Charlotte is somehow almost two years old. I'm not quite sure how this happened.
Charlotte takes her new role as big sis seriously. She lets anyone with hearing know if there's the remotest possibility that Norah might need something, and when she's not helping with Norah, she's swaying and rocking her own baby doll to sleep. Kelli joked that Charlotte is more maternal than she is. This is true, but by the end of two days I'd decided Charlotte is more maternal than Michelle Duggar.
Char's other favorite thing to do (aside from holding tea parties) was smile, which makes it all the more mystifying that I never get a good picture of her. This is probably because all I can do is smile goofily back when she unleashes the full force of her cuteness on me.
This is Norah smiling and cooing at me, and Charlotte kissing Norah's hand, because that's just what they both do. You can see why I didn't want to leave.
We also got to see my other niece, Vada:
We had to let her sit on Adelaide before I could get a good picture of her; in every single other one she was a blur, because's that's just what stage she's in right now. Her mom, my sister Steph, is due to have her second baby in April. I get exhausted just thinking about Stephanie's life.
Derek's mom was so, so kind and watched our kiddos for a few days, making all this baby time possible. This made everyone happy: I got to see my sisters and their families, my kids got to have some much-begged-for grandma time, and Derek got to golf 126 holes down in Florida, all but ten in the pouring rain. He had his golf stuff strewn around the house for days after he got back, just waiting for it to dry out. Fortunately, his life with us is so hectic back home that he was still able to look at a sopping wet trip as a vacation.
We also got to get together with my dad and his wife after I'd reunited with our kids:
I love this picture of Norah because that is how Adelaide slept for the first couple months of her life: arms stretched up, hands on either side of her head. It was also a little bittersweet to see Char wearing so many of Adelaide's hand-me-down clothing. Nothing shows you how monstrously gigantic your children have gotten as seeing their sweet, former teeny tiny clothes on your nieces.
Adelaide's two goals for the trip were to jump on the hay bales at grandma's house (done within fourteen hours of our arrival), and to hold precious Norah. Two for two, Adelaidey. (Note again how UTTERLY HUGE our children apparently are. It would seem I've been spending too much time with friends who have kids that are older than my own; I've been thinking of our children as relatively small and young. This trip set me straight, because all three are obviously humongous and apparently also practically on the verge of leaving for college.)
I swear I could make an entire photo book just of Kelli and Aaron reading to our children, and we live seven hours apart. Every time we see them, one of our kiddos finds and coerces either the aunt or the uncle (probably whomever happens to be sitting down) to read them a book (or five), and the other two soon flock to the impromptu story time.
It was such a good trip, and not just because traveling with our three kids gets easier and easier as they get older (so. much. easier.). Now I just have to count the days (or months, I guess, *sob*) until we get to see them all again.