My sister's family came to visit this past week, and now I am exhausted. Her family includes two girls, ages 5 and 7. Well, technically they are 4 and 6, but their birthdays are at the end of August and early September, so it is close enough.
Anyhow, I am wiped out. I took off Wed-Friday to spend time with them. They were all staying at my parents' house, which is about 30 minutes from where I live.
On Wednesday we (me, Laura, my sister, and my mother) took them to downtown Chicago to the American Girl Place store. Laura wrote about that here (complete with links). It was a bit overwhelming. At the risk of caving into stereotypes, I really wasn't into dolls much as a kid, so I really didn't expect to enjoy this particular excursion. It was actually quite fun, much to my surprise. I suspect much of the fun came from watching the delight of my nieces. There was no doubt that they were having a great time, even though Grandma (my mom) made them dress in matching pink dresses and hats. Well, maybe they liked the pink dresses. I would post a picture (they were quite adorable), but I think my sister would not appreciate pictures of her kids circulating on the Internet.
I suspect the commuters on the Metra train did not really appreciate the very loud singing on the way there and back that day. To anyone who rode the 10:05 AM Metra Union Pacific West line train from Geneva to Chicago last Wednesday morning -- you have my apologies for the noise. Ditto for those on the 5:32 PM train from Chicago to Geneva.
We spent a little time with them on Thursday, then all day on Friday while my sister and her husband got a full kid-free day. We watched videos (I've think I've had enough Peter Rabbit for a while. My mom started decorating the house with Peter Rabbit stuff when the older girl was born, and she has had nearly seven years to collect the stuff. The kids decided to create a "made up" uncle called "Uncle Peter Rabbit." I think that demonstrates the overabundance of Beatrix Potter stuff in my parents' house).
Anyway, we also played outside, where the older girl was fascinated by bugs, particularly this one on a tree leaf:
She kept calling it a ladybug, and I kept correcting her. Then it changed color and she decided it had made a cocoon:
She would not believe me when I said it was still a bug. Finally she ran and got Grandpa and he managed to convince her that it was still just a bug. I think Laura is appalled by this fascination with insects.
After lunch we walked the girls to a nearby park. We stupidly forgot to bring water, so we couldn't stay very long before heading back. Cricket came along on the walk, and was so exhausted that she took over the kids' doll bed:
Hey, it was the perfect size! She was rather traumatized by the small people running around shouting "Cricky!" and wanting to pick her up, so she deserved a good nap:
Saturday the kids came to my house briefly so that they could see where "Aunt Sara" lives. I think they found my house dull, because unlike Grandma's, it does not have toys hidden in every corner. We all went back to Grandma's for dinner.
It was great to see the kids. They currently live on an Air Force base in Oklahoma (my brother-in-law is in the Air Force, but no, he does not fly planes). Before that they were in Okinawa, and before that they were in New Mexico. There is a good chance that they will be sent off somewhere again, possibly overseas, or maybe to Alaska. So there is no guarantee how often they get to visit.