Last weekend we had the pleasure of treating Jack's awesome brother and wife to a weekend without kids. They did us the favor in early June and we reciprocated.
30 hours. Five kids. Six and under.
Thankfully, our niece (Lily, age 6) and twin nephews (Lincoln and Max, age 4) are really great kids. It comes from their parents. We started off our weekend with a trip to Toddler Time at the Salt City Splash, and pretty much stayed put at the house until church on Sunday morning. Traveling with five little ones is difficult - especially when you don't have a minivan!
Here are some things I picked up on while caring for the clan last weekend:
* Grocery Bills: I figured larger families have larger grocery bills, but I didn't realize how much it exponentially increased. Sorta like the laundry and dishwasher - I swear, we just added one to our home 9 months ago and both things are never-ending. But back to the grocery bill....I think we went through 2/3 loaf of bread and 2/3 gallon of milk in just a weekend with all of the kiddos. Yipes!
*Outings are Rare: Why go anywhere when you have five to lug around? Now granted, we didn't have a minivan or large enough SUV to haul the clan in, but still. It was a work-out just loading and unloading everyone and took great skill as well as a certain order of when and where to put everyone.
* Church as a "Babysitter"? I see why larger families can't wait for Sunday mornings (after the initial excitement of worshiping their mighty Savior - first and foremost!). Please don't read this the wrong way, but I have to admit, I breathed huge sighs of relief when we dropped off each child to their respective classrooms and knew that for at least two hours they would be learning the best lessons ever plus we didn't have to be under constant watch (and soak in our wonderful pastor's teaching ourselves!).
* Savor My Babies' Naps While I Can: The boys' were told to go down each afternoon and they had to be laying down and trying to go to sleep for at least an hour. They slept for a little more than an hour on Day 1 and conked out for 2 hours on Day 2. I can swing that. What I had a hard time adjusting too, however, was sweet Lily's "quiet time" for an hour. She was to play quietly for an hour in a room by herself. Now granted, she wasn't in her own environment, but quiet time sure led to a lot of visits to our bedroom to quietly remind her to play quietly. I shall savor the fact that my "big" baby, Mackie, still takes a good solid 2 to 2 1/2 hour nap each afternoon, while Brax typically takes his morning snooze and then a longer afternoon one for 1 1/2-2 hours. I'll enjoy it while I can!
* Mackie is a Chatty Cathy. She's going to be that one who we get called at 2 a.m. during a slumber party because she's keeping everyone up due to her excessive talking. Case in point: Lily and Mackie shared a room for night - something they've done before (at Lily's house, they even share her bed!). Anyhow, Lily - after several minutes of our threats - had to move away from Mackie and told her the following: "I won't be able to stay in here much longer if you keep talking, so I'm moving far away from you. Stop talking, Mackie!" Oh me.
We enjoyed our sweet visitors and the wonderful memories made with our kids. I love how the cousins are close in age and can have these experiences together. While it was a LOT of work (I don't know how you mamas with 3+ kids do it!), we'd do it again (not in the near future...but again).