On my side of the family, I have two siblings who seem to plan their families on the same schedule. I try not to ask too many questions. However, it is a nice feature when it comes to traveling and celebrating big momentous occasions with new cousins. This particular weekend in March we were heading to Kansas City to celebrate the arrival of two of our newest cousins...Lydia and Jase. Lydia belongs to Michelle (and the rest of the Walker family) while Jase belongs to Nick (and the rest of the Bell family). It was such a fun trip to make....even though it was jam-packed with events and celebrations and plans. Addison is at the age where she just adores her cousins and is always eager to spend a weekend with them. Thankfully, they adore her just as much. And I adore watching the kids being entertained by them....while also having family to watch them on a whim when we feel like escaping for a minute or two. ;o)
We headed up on a Friday evening and were lucky enough to pick up Grandma Bell in Joplin on our way up. It's always more fun to carpool. Especially with Grandma Bell since she entertains the kids while we enjoy some peace and quiet. We arrived Friday evening in plenty of time to just sit and visit and let the kids go crazy playing with each other. It never takes long for them to warm up to each other.
The next morning, Saturday, was a fun one. John and I were able to sneak away with Uncle Kendall to admire their new land purchase. Michelle willingly stayed at home and watched all the kiddos. I don't even think our kids knew we had left. It was a great piece of land and we are very excited for the day they are able to build on it. We couldn't stay and admire it as long as we liked since we had to run back, change into church clothes, and head to the temple. Another one of the biggest perks of a Kansas City trip is being able to utilize the new temple and to utilize the family who is always willing and eager to be babysitters while we drive the 10 minutes (ten minutes folks!) from my sister's house to the temple. It's so nice to have a relaxing morning with John in the temple and have no rush or worries about the kids or a long drive back or staying awake, etc.
We were even lucky enough to bring Grandma Bell back home with us after our session. She is a temple worker on specific weekends throughout the year and it worked out that she was just finishing her shift as we were finishing our session. It also worked out well that she could meet me in the dressing room before AND after my session to help get my pregnant self into my dress. Phew.
The rest of the day was spent with family. Eating, playing, relaxing, napping, you name it. All of it was fun. The evening even ended with a pizza picnic at the park and an Easter Egg hunt thrown in. It was a blast (once we survived quite a long Addison tantrum on our way there). She managed to kick and scream and yell at us for the majority of our drive to the park. John and I were able to lean on each other for support when it came to tuning her out and breathing deeply and trying to refrain from losing our minds. Sometimes when she gets in these modes there is nothing you can do to calm her down besides just riding it out and letting her suffer her consequences after it's all said and done. What was hilarious was about five minutes before we actually made it to our destination she finally decided she was done and was ready to give us some energy back. Her tears almost immediately went into singing "Frosty the Snowman....was a jolly happy soul who had a snake and it turned out to be alive!" (Yes, it's her modified version). After she finished that song, we were still quiet and she decided to say "Let's try this again....Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells!" That one had us laughing and I'm sure had her breathing a sigh of relief. If only she knew how close her timing had been with it all as we were just pulling up to the park to play. By then, she was fully aware she had consequences awaiting her and she accepted them willingly and afterwards was FINALLY able to get out of the van and have some fun. Sigh....the interesting moments of parenthood!
The next day was Sunday, and was the real reason we made the trek to KC. We had a full day of baby blessings and dinners and luncheons....oh and Easter. The kiddos all woke up and enjoyed a somewhat rushed Easter tradition of baskets and trinkets and candy. Then we all got dressed up in our Easter best and headed to the Walker's ward where we got to listen to Kendall give a beautiful blessing to his daughter Lydia Rose Walker. She did so well and was very patient through it all. It's always so fun for me to see the priesthood holders (brothers, husband, and brother-in-laws) that are able to participate in such a special moment. So glad for my family that is always striving to be worthy of such moments.
Right afterward, we rushed to Michelle's house shoved some food in the kiddos mouths and hoped they'd nap as we drove to the next church building where Nick was able to give a blessing to cousin #2: Jase Judson Bell. He was also a good participant and by now even the tired and rushed cousins were still holding up pretty good as well. After their sacrament we headed back to Nick & Colton's house...took an endless supply of pictures and enjoyed a delicious dinner before we loaded back up in the van and finally made the trek back home.
All in all, it made for a rather LONG weekend. However, I wouldn't trade living close by family for the world. It's so fun to be able to share in these momentous occasions and for cousins to build such close relationships with each other. I don't ever take for granted how lucky we are that for right now in our lives and our locations, we get these moments. Who knows when/if it could change?
Jonas was a fan of the egg...especially once he realized there was chocolate in them. Which explained why he had no interest in finding multiple eggs. He'd much rather sit and eat each of them one at a time instead of continuing the hunt. It was especially momentous when he actually ate some of them without the wrappers. Nothing like starting a picnic with lots of chocolate and sugar!
|Our mini missionary at Sacrament Meeting/Blessing #1. It was almost impossible to look at him and not squeeze him to pieces.|
|Most of the cousins, heading down the stairs on Easter morning. So excited to venture off and find their hidden Easter baskets!|
|Wahoo! It didn't take Addison long to find hers! (Jonas was still sleeping so he enjoyed his own treasure hunt a few minutes after everyone else).|
|Showing us her loot! (In the back you'll see where the Easter Bunny hid her brother's basket.)|