On Saturday BVZ had to work, so our angel of mercy (Bubby) came over to take care of babies while we took the girls on an adventure. I had been wanting for some time now to get the kids to the Play For All park for all abilities and this seemed as good of a time as any. I got lost and had to turn around a few times and then any time I would make a turn Norah would shout from the back of the van, "are we STILL lost, Mom?"
Eh, whatever. I got us there.
It's an impressive place. There's an enormous play structure, lots of different kinds of swings, all kinds of sensory tables and centers, and a fake town. The girls loved the fake town. M and I were a little more indifferent, probably because there wasn't even the slightest hint of shade at the fake town and even at 10:30 in the morning, we were roasting.
The sand pit was also a huge hit as well. It was by far my favorite thing there. Coincidentally it was the place with the most shade.
We got the girls happy meals on the way home, which in retrospect wasn't my smartest move. I got Norah a cheeseburger and just took the bun off but she later complained of a stomach ache, so I am pretty sure that I gluttoned her. I suck.
The girls played in the air conditioning for the rest of the day and when BVZ got home we went to the Salt Lick for dinner. I will never understand why so many people like a restaurant with Lick in the name, but it's an Austin institution. I don't have a single picture because Lou is a h.a.n.d.f.u.l. Throw in the rest of the kids (who were very well behaved, but still kids), and it was a very fun, but not relaxing at all, evening out. The blackberry cobbler sort of made up for it. It was awesome.
After the kids went to bed M and I went to Super Target. Yes, come halfway across the country and I will entertain you by taking you shopping for toilet paper and pool floaties. I am that good.
Sunday morning I took the girls and Lou to the subdivision park while M relaxed a bit with Baby E. It's tough to take three kids to the park by yourself. We lasted about 15 minutes. I have no idea how people have more than two kids.
We spent the rest of the day at Aunt Amy's house hanging out with the whole family, swimming, and grilling turkey hot dogs. Ruby is a champion swimmer for not even being four. It makes me feel very negligent about how lax we've been about getting Norah into the pool. She likes the water, but my resistance to put her in lessons has been entirely selfish. I just don't feel like I have the time to commit to it. Oh, and I have no intention of wearing a bathing suit in public.
Anyway, Norah is always a lot more adventurous when Ruby is around. She still wouldn't put her face in the water but she seemed way more at ease. Lou was into the pool and we floated him around in his own little baby raft. Baby E had a giant smile on her face, even when she got a mouthful of pool water.
It was great for the rest of the family to finally get to meet our friends, considering we all talk about them pretty much non-stop. Ruby was as smitten with cousin Megan as Norah is.
I don't think Norah took off her goggles for the rest of the night. She has worn them in the bathtub every night since Ruby left.
That night I totally had to make up for Super Target, so my sisters and I took M downtown to dinner and then to a wine bar. It was pretty quiet for a holiday weekend night, but at least M got to see that there is more to Austin than cul-de-sacs and enormous grocery stores.
Monday morning we had tentative plans to go to a friend's Memorial Day BBQ, but all the kids were getting pretty snotty (I think it originated with Lou) and we figured they might just need a low key all-day play day. I wasn't really concerned it would be any other way, but I was very relieved to see that Norah and Ruby are still best friends. Over the course of a long weekend they had a few moments of bickering and both had an epic meltdown or two, but overall they were nothing short of awesome. They have such genuine affection for each other and still love so many of the same things. They are simply great play mates.
Norah wanted to show Ruby how to make a crayon tracing of her entire body and M had the idea to make them three dimensional and then dress the life sized paper dolls. Norah currently has the Ruby doll in her room and talks to "paper doll Ruby" every day.
This kid. I actually can't think too much about her because it bums me out not to get to be around her all the time.
Lou was so into her (he spent a good 20 minutes ticking her here), until I dared try and hold her. Then all bets were off. Good thing he gets to always be the baby around here.
The girls played outside in the yard in in Norah's playhouse until I noticed a fire ant crawling on the side and asked BVZ to wipe down the side. He got out the broom and moved the playhouse across the patio to make sure there weren't any more. Um, so, there were more. In fact, underneath the playhouse was an enormous nest of fire ants. Like 12 billion fire ants and 15 billion fire ant eggs. BVZ went out to get some poison and committed some serious fire ant genocide. Needless to say, no one is allowed in the backyard for the rest of the time we are at this house (like 10 more days). Oy, Texas.
Eventually, M and I took all the girls to the community swimming pool at our subdivision, which is right beyond the park. It was pretty crowded but the baby pool was all ours. Norah and Ruby probably could have stayed there for at least 12 hours.
M and I determined that if we could somehow combine their personalities they would make the perfect kid. For example, Norah never gives me a hard time about leaving someplace fun and is incredibly cooperative. But, she can be really timid and reluctant to try new things (ie, putting her damn face in the water). Ruby has a harder time when it's time to go sometimes, but she is brave and bold and adventurous. I think it's a huge part of why they compliment each other so well. There's a slide at the park that Norah has refused to go down every day since we've lived here. She spent two minutes at the park with Ruby and went down the slide multiple times.
The rest of the day was spent playing and eating take-out bbq. As it got closer and closer to bedtime I could tell Norah was getting more and more agitated and out of nowhere she burst into huge racking sobs and wailed that she didn't want Ruby to leave, she didn't want Ruby to leave, she didn't want Ruby to leave. All I could do was hug her tight. See, Norah got to hang out with her BFF but I also got to hang out with mine. And I wasn't quite ready to say goodbye.
My sister gave both of the girls a frame with the picture of them together in their nightgowns. I took M, R, and E to the airport very early on Tuesday morning. Norah woke up to give them each a big hug and then went back to bed. When I got home she was up for the day and ate her breakfast staring at the picture the entire time. She told me that her heart was crumbled.
The sadness lasted the better part of the morning but then we talked about how great it was to have her around, and the next time we're going to see Ruby and all the fun things we are going to do with her. Hopefully there's some Fairyland involved. And some Caleb.
It was a great visit and we are so appreciative to have such cool forever friends. We're already looking forward to next time.