As a Christmas present to the Humphreys, I volunteered to have Victoria and Christian come and spend the night. I was going to have them over Mark and Kelly’s anniversary, but we didn’t do Christmas early enough (actually, we still haven’t done it, but it is finally scheduled, for the 28th) and Kelly made other plans.
Then, out of the blue, she tells me she needs a sitter for January 22nd. I said I’d love to–and I meant it!
I planned so many special activities, but we ended up mostly just playing.
But, back up a bit. Let’s talk details.
First, it was countless emails with Kelly about what to bring. She was planning on bringing everything but the kitchen sink. I did my best to talk her out of it. I know parents get nervous about making sure the kids have what they need, and I don’t have kids…so that might be an added level of “what will they do if they need _____?” But, I know from experience that very little is actually needed. Next time, Kel will just bring the kids, already in their jammies, and we’ll be set.
The arrived about 4 pm. I was so excited. I think, perhaps, Victoria might have been more excited, but it was a close call. Kelly was normal and Christian and Mark were a little apprehensive. Christian I get, he’s little. Mark–well, let’s just say that before he left his children with me, he made me promise 2 things.
1. The children would still be alive the next day. (Yes, I really promised not to kill his children, on purpose or accidentally).
2. That I wouldn’t let them jump on the couch for fear they might bounce so high as to jump over the railing and fall down the stairs. (I promised this with a straight face and kept it. I didn’t even let them sit on the couch….)
And, then, just before he left, he made me promise to keep my phone on, just in case they wanted to check in. Then he called me–to test that it was on, before he left. (But I think that was a joke?)
He’s really quite cute, worrying so much.
Once they were gone, we started the fun. We checked out where everyone was sleeping, then we jumped on the “bed” I had for Victoria, an air mattress. Since it’s about 4 inches tall, I didn’t worry. They bounced and jumped and played and occasionally I’d pick up one of them and toss them onto the bed. We just laughed and laughed at this. Then they started running from the hall and jumping, once conking their heads together. After that, I made them take turns at running and jumping. (So very few rules at my house).
We then started dinner (by that I mean, I preheated the oven for frozen pizza) and then went out for a walk. I had set up our Mystery Walk, which was a special walk, outside, after dark, carrying flashlights. These kids love Scooby-Do, so I had planned to have us solve a real-life mystery in my neighborhood. We solved “The Mystery of the Flashing Red Light”. There is a red light you can see from far away, slowly blinking, day or night. We set out to find out why.
Before our mystery could commence, there was a car on the street (very, very rare…), I herded the kids back into my driveway, to assist in keeping my promise to Mark. Well, the car stopped right next door, it was my neighbor, Donna, home from an evening out. Donna met the kids and saw their little flashlights, so she asked them to light her way to her front door. Donna’s front walk is really long, like 3x longer than mine, and there aren’t any lights. So they walked her to her door, shining their lights the whole way. Victoria also shined hers on Donna’s locks, to help her get inside. It was so adorable.
Then, we got my mail.
Finally, we did our walk. I wish this had been longer, but it was so cold outside. We just walked down the length of my street toward the light. Less than halfway there, Christian stopped cold and said “it’s a water tower!” and it was! I was so surprised he could tell. You can’t see the shape of the tower at all from where we were, only the light on top. I was impressed. Victoria ran ahead and as she got closer and could see it, she agreed with Christian.
When we got to the end of the street and could see it clearly, we stopped for a photo, to commemorate our successful Mystery Walk.
Victoria, bless her little heart, wouldn’t stop talking long enough for me to take a picture. She was telling me a Scooby-Doo story about…something. Sorry, I forgot.
And then we walked back home because we were all cold (though in truth, we’d been outside about 6 minutes).
Once we got back inside, I put the pizza in the oven and we selected a movie. Victoria had great fun sorting my movies into piles. “Adult movies” (and that would be movies adults are allowed to watch, not porn) “Kid movies” and “We’ll See”
The “We’ll See” category was developed when she tried to convince me she was old enough to watch “Batman Begins”.
We ended up choosing to watch “Cheaper by the Dozen” with Steve Martin. I’m a firm believer in having kids watch live-action, rather than cartoons, and they seem to enjoy it more. Once the pizza came out, I let it cool while I set the kids up at the table with my laptop. This sparked a HUGE discussion because they were convinced that you cannot watch movies while eating dinner. I tried to explain, but ended up going with, “when you’re at Olivia’s house, you follow Olivia’s rules–Mommy is NOT in charge” and that seemed to work.
You can see my little chair off to the side. My mother will also note the lack of tablecloth. I had to pull it. Little kids and tablecloths are NOT a good mix. There was pulling and tugging and my computer almost dove off the side of the table. So we went with bare wood and it was fine.
I love this picture, you can see how much they’re loving this. Christian is pointing out things to Victoria that he noticed in the movie. If you’ve ever seen it, it’s chaotic, lots of things going on at once. And Victoria is just entranced.
However, they ate surprisingly well. Two and a half slices of pizza (triangle slices, not squares) EACH. They were wolfing it down.
Then when the pizza was gone, I asked them and they wanted popcorn right away. So we moved to the cushions in the living room and did popcorn and the rest of the movie.
Victoria is bouncing on her cushion, I think I caught her mid-bounce. Christian is, as you can see, the happiest boy in the room! He sure likes popcorn. (Maybe even as much as me!)
After the movie ended–and they sat for the entire thing–it was still too early for bed, so we played some more. I have this game called “Pass the Pigs” where you shake two tiny rubber pigs (about the size of dice) and however they land, you score points. We were going to play the game, but I wanted them to expend more energy, which is how I came up with GIANT Pass the Pigs. We took my two stuffed pigs, courtesy of my favorite Aunt Judy, and used them.
This was one of Victoria’s turns. She tended to throw them one at a time, I think it was tough. When they held both pigs, they were as big as the kids. Christian is watching intently, figuring out how many points she was getting.
And now, Christian’s turn. You can see how challenging this was for them. But they absolutely loved it! You only scored one or two points per turn, and we played to 10. So it took a while, but after Victoria won the first game, we played a whole other game. I won the second one…but I told Christian he won, as he came in second. And his little face lit up when I said he won, so it was worth it.
I think this is one of my favorite pictures. He is saying “no more pictures” as I take this. It cracked me up, because if you know his mommy, you can only imagine how sick this little boy gets of having his picture taken!
Next, Christian said he wanted to play baseball. Well, it was January in Minnesota, so that took some thinking to figure out how we could make this work. Plus, I don’t have a bat and a ball. Eventually, I devised this game:
We put my huge floor cushions out and used them as bases. We used the inflatable fire truck (V’s got it in the picture) as the “ball” because if they threw it, it barely went anywhere and wasn’t strong enough to break anything. So when it was your turn, you stand at “home” (C is next to it) and throw the truck, then run. The other two get the truck and try to tag you with it. If they can’t and you make it all the way around, you get to go again. If you get tagged, the person who tagged you gets to go. No scoring. I get sick of keeping track.
I love these action shots! And please notice that Christian is running the wrong way. Which was fine. When it was her turn, Victoria would run to first and stop, every time. The concepts were a bit much in this game, but we were silly and they laughed and laughed, so it was fun.
Then I figured I best get a shot of me, so Kelly could see I was playing with her kids and not just supervising, so I set the camera up to take 6 pics in a row and this ONE turned out.
We’ve moved past baseball to a baseball/tag/football combo at this point. So C is trying to tackle V, but I grabbed her and started swinging her around. And he’s trying to jump to get the “ball”.
Then I glanced over and noticed it was about 8:45pm. They normally are sleeping at this point. I asked Victoria what time she goes to bed and she said 8:30. I told her we should go do jammies. They didn’t want the fun to end, so I told them they could watch a movie for a bit before bed. Christian picked Scooby-Doo that they had brought.