Before we moved we had already made plans to return to California for a long weekend to meet Baby Goo Goo. The gorgeous Ella made her debut on November 15, so was just over two weeks old for our visit. Norah and I talked about our trip for months. At one point I thought I would take both Norah and Louis, but thankfully every single person I consulted talked me out of it. Logistically it would have been a nightmare, and this way Norah and I got to have a girls only trip. Big thanks to Bubby (and Amy) for taking care of Louis on Thursday and Friday and a good job to BVZ for successfully keeping him alive on Saturday and Sunday.
We left for the airport before dawn on Thursday. We were both too excited to sleep. Norah is such a great traveler. We always fly JetBlue because of the individual television consoles. Norah loves the idea of getting to watch Nick Jr. for like four hours straight and getting to eat the special snacks we picked out the day before.
We were beside ourselves to get there.
The flight was uneventful and we were able to quickly rent a car at SFO. Grandpa Gene and Ms. Mary graciously drove all the way from the east bay and met us at the Millbrae Pancake House. We were tired, which I hope excuses the fact that I didn't take a single picture. Norah was over joyed to see them both and gave Grandpa Gene one of her awesome, running bear hugs. We had a great brunch and had a chance to catch up with them a bit and exchange Christmas gifts.
After pancakes we immediately drove to Ruby's house. We timed it just right and got there about 10 minutes before she needed to be picked up from pre-school. Of course, Ruby knew we were coming for the weekend, but no one told her that Norah would be picking her up from school because we didn't want to set anyone up for disappointment if the plane had been late, breakfast delayed, etc. Ruby's school is about a 2 minute walk from her house, so we walked over with Pamma, Megan, and Ella. As soon as Norah saw Ruby emerge from the classroom door she ran over and basically tackled her with a giant bear hug. I don't think that Ruby quite processed what was happening for a good 30 seconds, but once she did there was a lot of screaming and a lot more hugging. One would say, "I LOVE YOU!" and the other would scream, "I LOVE YOU TOO!"
Then they took off running holding hands and made a beeline straight for the swings.
It was cold and windy so we went back to Ruby's house and the girls immediately changed into princess dresses.
They took a breather while we waited for Caleb and Lucas to come over. At any given time there was a lot of hugging.
The boys got there and it was just like old times. We all fell into play and chatter the way it has been for the past 3 and a half years. Which was awesome and terrifically sad all at the same time. We ordered pizza and let the kids have a movie party. Lucas is only 20 months old but man, he can hang with the big kids.
We took turns cuddling Ella. She's such an awesome baby. She's a good eater (already gaining a ton of weight), and is in that great and cuddly, sleepy newborn state. When I first met her on Thursday I thought she was the spitting image of Ruby as a newborn, but by the time we left on Sunday she looked completely different. Her own little perfect self.
There was a costume change and then a lot of running.
We stayed the weekend at Chateau B, which was fabulous. They were great hosts and accommodations were perfect. I felt so bad because I wanted to stay up until all hours of the night with Aileen, talking and watching horrible television, but I went to bed every single night with Norah (so, like by 9:00 pm). I knew that being away from Louis was my chance to SLEEP and I took advantage of it. Norah was out like a light every night and didn't move until morning. It was GLORIOUS.
Friday morning we met up with everyone at Cafe Zoe. I had never been there even though it was a place that Pamma, Ruby and Norah frequented on a daily basis during their "Gramma-share." It's a cute cafe with a play house in the back. Ruby and Norah asked to wear princess dresses and they are pretty irresistible, so Rapunzel and Aurora ate bagels and played "jail" for a good two hours. Caleb was not into the princess aspect, but soon warmed up and agreed to play jail. Lucas was a good sport and was basically willing to play anything that the bigger kids would let him.
Ruby has Rapunzel hair (a crown with a long braid attached to it), which was a very popular accessory.
Norah and I snuck away for a bit and had lunch with our friends Diane and Josie. Josie and Norah are only three days apart in age and became fast friends when they were in the same music class (and our families got to know each other well over the years). It was great to see them again. Josie is a peanut but has the vocabulary of a first grader.
We drove up to our old neighborhood because Norah asked to see her friend Tony (the 96 year old neighbor). Unfortunately he wasn't home, but it gave us a chance to drive by our old house. Of course it looked the same, I mean, we've only been gone three months (although sometimes it feels like a lifetime), with the exception of the cosmetic renovations that were done in order to sell. Norah asked whose car was in the driveway. She absolutely gets that we don't live there anymore, but I don't think was ready to accept the fact that someone else lives there now.
We consoled ourselves by buying marshmellows for hot chocolate and went back to Ruby's house. Ruby adores her baby sister and liked to show her off. Norah asked for a baby sister. I told her there was no chance, no way. She got a brother and that was the end of it. She thought about it for a second and then told me that if she couldn't have a baby sister, she wants to share a room with Louie when they are bigger and she wants bunk beds. Done and done.
Pamma very graciously offered to host a kajama movie party with the girls so that Megan, Aileen and I could go out to dinner. We had a great night out, one I desperately needed.
Saturday morning we popped over to see our friends Tara and Sean for a quick visit. They rescued a dog that recently had puppies and Sean was stoked to show Norah the dogs. Norah is like me and is very apprehensive about dogs, but she was pretty into the puppies. We had hot chocolate and coffee cake and did a Christmas ornament craft project.
Then we met up with Megan and Ruby at the Muppet Movie. The girls were only too willing to pose with these guys outside the theater.
The movie was disappointing at best. Totally boring at worst. I was super bummed. I was really looking forward to seeing it, but the first 85% was just, well. Dumb. And really, really boring. Things picked up towards the end, but overall I thought it was kind of a turkey. The girls liked it, but these girls would watch paint dry if it was on a movie screen and they got to eat popcorn while doing it.
We made a quick stop to pick up treats for our Louis babysitters and dessert for that night. Then we headed back to the B house where Aileen made chili for us and pasta for the kids. Caleb and Lucas have a great playroom that has a spare bed in the corner. Despite the fact that there are approximately 18,000 toys in the playroom, all they wanted to do was jump on the bed.
Ella made a quick appearance as well.
At one point all the kids were downstairs playing in the playroom and Megan, Aileen and I were upstairs chatting and I had that moment where I thought...THIS is the sweet spot! This is what we've been working towards all these years. Getting the kids to go off somewhere on their own and leave us alone to gossip and drink wine. It made me so sad to think we won't get to do this on a weekly basis, but it made me very happy to think we'll be able to have these kinds of special weekends for years to come (and maybe some joint vacations...hint, hint).
Now, come to find out they weren't actually playing in the playroom. They were ah, well, playing on the stairs. A game called TRAP! (it seems to me the game is spelled in all caps with an exclamation mark), that they made up themselves. From what I understand, they way you play is one person gets on their belly and slides down the stairs feet first. The other two would try to catch the slider before the slider got to the bottom. If they didn't save the slider, the slider would hit the TRAP! and "be dead." Luckily, it seems the slider was always saved before he/she met their untimely demise. Very good times.
Sunday morning Norah got to spend some quality time with the B boys and we headed back to Cafe Zoe for a bit.
We then met up with Ruby at a local park where the kids got their play on.
There was rock climbing.
We picked up lunch and took it back to Ruby's one last time. Leaving was hard. And really sad. Norah did great until she actually had to put on her shoes and say good-bye. Thankfully, Megan, Pam and Aileen totally understood that I needed to just give them a quick hug, say see-you-later, and then have them go inside before I completely lost it. Norah apparently didn't get that memo and was hysterical. She cried until we were about two minutes from the airport and then fell sound asleep. And then cried when I had to wake her up at the car rental return. And then was excited about the flight and getting to see her dad and Louis, so she perked up a bit.
It was such a great weekend. There were so many people we wanted to see but just didn't have the time to make it work. Next time we're going for a week. Maybe two. Everyone ready for that one?? :)