Everyone told us when we were getting ready to move to Texas that it was a good time to go because it would be before Norah formed strong connections or attachments to people or places in California. Obviously, nothing could have been further from the truth. She remembers in intricate detail our old house and places in the neighborhood we used to go. She talks constantly about her old school and Grandpa Gene. She asks about her friends and what they are doing now and demands to see pictures of them. She reminds me on a daily basis about that one time she got to take a bath with both Caleb AND Lucas.
And then, of course, there is Ruby. There was a lot of heartbreak surrounding Ruby. When Norah was having such tremendous separation anxiety last fall someone said to me that while it was tough at the time, she would move on and make new friends and Ruby would eventually become a distant memory. (Yes, this person is kind of an asshole). It could never have been that simple because, 1) Norah has the memory of an elephant, and 2) Ruby's mom is one of my most favorite people in the entire world and I sure wasn't going to stop being friends with her just because we did something crazy like move to Texas (oh, and we're pretty partial to Ruby's grandma too...) I figured we would somehow make it work.
So, we have the girls skype and facetime and we went to California last winter (and hopefully plan to go again this summer). Oh, and I may or may not text Ruby's mom 50 or so times a day. So imagine our delight when Ruby's mom decided to bring her girls out to visit. It was major anticipation for months. MAJOR.
Norah was obsessed with getting the spare bedroom "just right" for M and Baby Ella. Then she showed me nine million times her "cutie" face that she was going to make when she saw Ruby for the first time.
The ladies didn't arrive until very late Thursday night and I couldn't bring Norah to the airport with me (not enough car seats). She very begrudgingly agreed to go to bed if I promised, promised, promised to wake her the instant Ruby walked in the house. Her allergies were out of control, so I may or may not have plied her with Zyrtec. For the allergies.
I picked up Ruby, M and Baby E at the airport and proceeded to get stuck in the worst traffic (construction) for well over an hour. It was probably 11:30 by the time we got back to the house. Ruby marched directly into Norah's room and woke her ass right up. Norah was disoriented for about 15 seconds and then threw her arms around her friend.
Despite the late hour there was no way we were telling these girls they had to go to bed. They played until, oh roughly 2:00 am. We gave them milk and cookies at like 1:00. It was that kind of night.
The last time I saw Baby E in person she was just weeks old. WEEKS. Now she is a rolling, smiling, laughing, load of baby awesomeness. Despite the fact that she traveled all day and it was the wee hours of the morning, she was just happy to sit and hang out. I love her.
There had been a lot of anticipation that Ruby would sleep with Norah in her room. We put the futon mattress on the floor and told the girls they could figure out where they wanted to sleep. It lasted about 10 minutes before Ruby decided she wanted to sleep with her mom. Norah was bummed but they agreed they would try again when they are five.
They slept in (kind of) and immediately launched into serious dress up. It was a princess tea party pancake breakfast.
M had the brilliant idea of renting a mini van so we could load it with all four car seats and ride together. BVZ went to work and Bubby came over to hang out with the kids while we went to get the Dodge Caravan. (I won't shit talk the van too much...it was actually pretty awesome). Installing four car seats in 95 degree heat? Not awesome.
Lou was excited to see new kids and pretty smitten with E. He kept bringing her toys and tried to play with her. I think he would have wrestled her if he could. She's nine months younger but just a few pounds lighter. He has a lot more hair.
We figured we could handle one outing a day and so decided to load them all up and head to the splash pad. It's hard to get four kids out of the house. HARD. And we are two (very) competent adults. The girls were thrilled to sit in the back seat together. There was lots of hand holding. Sweetness overload.
The splash pad is at a park right across from the new house (so we did a drive by). The park itself is tough for me because there is very little shade, but there is a nice and covered "dinosaur dig" (ie, giant sand box with fake dinosaur fossils) that the kids really like. The past couple of times we've gone there has been a series of large mud puddles. I am not sure who put them there (I hope the parks and rec people), but nothing could possibly gross me out more. Of course that means it is the first thing Lou headed for. He didn't really leave the vile mud water until I dragged him out. There are pails and shovels and other random toys scattered throughout the dig. For sure he used several things to drink the mud water. More than once. I look in his eyes every day for brain amoebas.
After the mud they hit the splash pad. You can't really tell but the sprinkler system is in the shape of a whale. It's cute.
Lou hit the swings while the girls decided they needed a "nap." I wish.
Then it was back to the mud and back to the water and back to the grass. Throw a picnic lunch in there, rinse and repeat.
World's cutest, and most agreeable, baby.
Ruby brought a lot of awesome presents for Norah, including this fabulous hat. It wasn't completely intentional for them to look this adorable together, it just kind of happened. Again, adorableness overload.
Norah loved E too. She and Ruby decided that they would share Ruby's little sister. Norah offered to share her brother as well. I am not sure Ruby took her up on it. I am not sure E was too keen on the deal either.
It was really fun but really, really, really, really hot. It was nice to have M around because we both complained as much as we wanted to about the heat and didn't feel bad about it at all. Hot days call for pizza movie and popcorn nights.
(To be continued so that this post isn't ridiculously long...)