Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Extending Family Time

We're on our second snow day so far this year (third for the school year) and I'm as happy as a clam for the extra days spent with my kiddos. Yes, we have had two weeks off for Christmas break, but for the last week the boys have alternated spending a couple days with my parents. While I was grateful for the time they were getting to spend one-on-one with their grandparents and only having two with me at a time, nights were harder without all my boys under the same roof. The younger two both had a hard time sleeping in a room by themselves (both at home and at Papa's) as they have become accustomed to knowing the comfort of sharing their space. I also had a rather difficult time falling asleep (even knowing they were in great hand) and didn't get to bed until as late as 3 or 4 in the morning. I think we were all glad when Sunday rolled around and we headed down to bring Jacob back home, as well as for a weekly visit and laundry day.

While there was some snow coming down, although not enough to qualify as a "snowstorm" Jordan and I went out to shovel. It was killing Jordan that I was making him use a shovel (like I was) instead of just using Papa's snow blower. I kept reminding him that not only does shoveling build muscle it also build character. After getting the driveway and walkway cleared (for the first of many times) we gathered the other boys to make a snow family for the grandparents to enjoy when we left. The snow was packable just not enough for large snowballs. We settled for many smaller ones and our snowball fight was well on it's way.  Papa had planned to take the boys for an archery lesson, so after and hour and a half we went in for hot chocolate and for them to get ready to leave.

While they boys were out doing their thing, Grandma and I headed into their basement to "go through some stuff". I love going through stuff with my mom; it's kind of like going to Ikea, you get all sort of cool stuff you didn't know you needed. I'm the proud owner of a casserole dish (I have to now find a casserole to make), some new bowls, light bulbs (that I really did need), and a one cup teapot (that I bought for her a couple years ago, but it does go rather nicely with my kitchen). I also found some of my winter decorations I had been looking for (no wonder I couldn't locate them I was storing them at her house). I also found a stack of old home movies on VHS that I snagged to bring home to watch with the boys (they love to see the goofy styles (and hair styles) we wore. Jacob had opted not to go shoot the bow and arrows for some alone time on Grandma's Kindle. After a lovely visit we had planned to leave shortly after dinner.

Well, our visit turned out to be much longer than any of us planned. I had heard of the snow storm headed our way, but didn't pay much attention to it (not like the other people in the grocery stores, who were clearing the shelves). I figured the weathercasters are wrong as much as they are right, so we might end up with only a few inches of snow and we would be fine. Also we live in Michigan and deal with snow and ice just about every year to varying degrees and we'd be able to make it home without much trouble. Turns out I was wrong and the weathercasters had called this one. I held out hope until after dinner when I received word that school would be canceled for Monday. The boys were very excited that we all would be spending the night at their grandparents.

What else is there to do when you can't safely make it home, but to stay and have a pajamas party. Everyone got comfy cozy in their PJ's and Grandma did what grandma's do best and gathered some munches and we played quite a few rounds of a family game.  When bedtime rolled around things got interesting. There were two spare bed and a couch, but four of us to put up. The younger two after some convincing agreed to double up and I was more than happy to take the couch (and the TV). The boys started off with the expected whispering and giggling right away, which gave way to the fighting over who had which blanket and where the dividing line was for the middle of the bed. After two and a half hours (and a couple visits from Mom) they finally settled to sleep. I was able to sit with my mom and enjoy a movie with her, this is something we use to do a lot when we lived with them. I also made many attempts to control the snow piling up in their driveway before heading to bed myself.

In the morning Joey and Grandma made everyone some plain and blueberry pancakes. Having a houseful, Papa also took a snow day and hung out with us. I again tried to tame the snow drifts for a good part of the day. Jordan helped some (after some convincing) with the snow and digging out our cars. Papa and the boys enjoyed watching some television shows together (they have cable!!). Grandma took Jordan out to buy some new gloves as he keeps swiping mine (which he complains don't work very well). All in all we kind of just had a lazy snow day while hanging out over there, it was awesome!

While having all of us under the same roof again I couldn't help but reflect on when this was a daily thing for all of us. It was a lot of fun, but can't figure out how we did it before. I love that we can always stay there if we need to, but we were very glad to get back home and everyone to head off to their own space and to get tucked into their own beds.