Yesterday, we returned from a quick vacay to see the family back in the homeland. Well, my family anyway and my homeland...well, kinda the homeland for Super J, too. ANYWAY! Suffice to say we took a family trip at the last minute.
These are the very long list of things I've learned from those oh so short days:
1. You CAN get out of practice traveling with children when you have not done it for approximately 10 months, and such a vacation is NOT physically relaxing and refreshing in the least. Emotionally satisfying, maybe. But very very tiring.
2. When you have four daughters, guess who gets to take them to the bathroom at all the pit stops.
3. Packing for 5 is harder than packing for one (because Super J can pack for himself, see?).
4. Bunk beds are only safe for 6-year-olds when there is a safety bar at the top.
5. You say many many many prayers of gratitude if your six-year-old falls out of the top bunk in the middle of the night and doesn't break anything after hitting the wooden frame of two different beds because the bottom one juts out by a foot. Oh yeah. As a mom, I nearly peed my pants and I do believe I used a profane word or two.
6. You feel relieved when your two-year-old falls out of the same bunk bed but luckily the bottom one and just looks dazed and confused as to how this could happen.
7. Trust me, you will revel in the fact that you can go on a date with your hubby and NOT have to pay a babysitter because you have nieces who are old enough to watch the kids.
8. You may very well be amazed at how your two-year-old daughter and her 3-year-old male cousin (by six months) can look and sound so amazingly alike it is surreal and continue to be gobsmacked that they have the same weird quirks, like having their shirts buttoned to the very top, wearing a hooded coat with the hood up (regardless of temp), and a shoe fetish. Fervently believe they were twins, separated at birth...and six months...and two different mothers. But other than that, know they are twins.
9. You realize that your eldest daughter looks DANG CUTE with BOTH of her top teeth out!!! Yes! Miss A lost her second top tooth, thanks to her eldest cousin pulling it out for her. We dare to dream Laney is a dentist in the making because she has "the touch" when it comes to home dentistry.
10. You wonder at the utter lack of convenience and supreme rudeness when "the painters come" (aka: Aunt Flo) whilst away from all your favorite necessities and will also be driving many many hours.
11. You CAN enjoy all the amazing and wonderful foods from times past and enjoy the nostalgia with those you love, even during a trip to Wal-mart from the town where "you first met." Sappy, but true.
12. You can read almost an entire book, learn how to play Texas Hold 'Em, talk until 1:00 am (ie: be very preoccupied with other fun things) and de-louse a niece (oh yeah, that particular talent came in handy...for good or for ill, those dang buggers seem to be following me everywhere I go!!!! Begone, foul lice! BEGONE!), and STILL have incredible heart burn that starts you thinking maybe it's more on the Ulcer side of things than you want to admit.
13. You realize that there are people with problems and issues and concerns all around you, and it's helpful to know you're all in this together and that you just have to keep going. One way or another, keep on keepin' on.
14. You are reminded that a two hour broadcast for stake conference a week after General Conference feels like yet another session of conference, but not as fun since you aren't at home and you have ten kids all squirrelly and chatty and "bored" and then who turn to making paper airplanes out of programs on the floor of the chapel (well, the overflow area, let's be honest), which will unfortunately send your second eldest daughter into hysterics when someone takes her program and NO OTHER PROGRAM WILL DO!, and your two-year-old can STILL pee herself through her tights, down her leg and into her shoe, just to top it off. Spiritual Uplift? What spiritual uplift. EASTER???? WHA????
15. On the drive home, it will seem to fly by until everyone actually wakes up from their naps and then it becomes a VERY....LONG....DRIVE....in dreary, rainy conditions....until Miss E starts to shriek that she must use the bathroom, NOW! And then she starts to WRETCH and you, who are driving while your husband is sleeping, SCREAM for your eldest to give her the near-by Easter Bucket. NOW! Give Her The Bucket!! GIVE.HER.THE.BUCKET!!!!!!!!! Promise later, as your hubby rinses it out with your bottle of drinking water, that you will wash the bucket out, as it turns out to be Miss A's bucket and she's a little put out by the whole vomit in her sacred vessel issue. Oh, and thank you, Easter Bunny for forgoing the traditional BASKET and instead giving all three BUCKETS! I don't know what possessed you when at Wal-Mart for that particular holiday shopping weeks ago, but you go, GIRL! (THANK YOU EASTER BUNNY! Bock, bock!) And yes, that is a pat on my very own back.
16. Finally, you'll remember that family rocks--your mom, your siblings, your in-laws, your nieces and nephews, all of 'em! because regardless of how tired and weary and crampy and sleep deprived you are, you're just so glad to be in this crazy life with them. Oh, and let's not forget to mention the wonderful feeling of coming home, even if it is where your current nest-egg of problems dwell. Somehow, it will all seem more do-able. And that's worth the price of the trip right there.