Grateful.

I am.

When you leave a home that includes six children, five of whom are still under six years of age, for several days, it’s kind of big deal.

Shoot, when you do anything at a home that includes six children, five of whom are still under six years of age, everything is kind of a big deal.

(Or at least it feels that way most days.)

So when the idea for an adventure with Beth was just in the beginning stages, I immediately started planning what to do with kids 1 through 6.

Kevin wouldn’t be away from home, exactly, but his job at a camp makes him basically unavailable for hour by hour child care during the summer months.

I’ve said it before – but I am frequently amazed by people’s kindness.

And I always struggle with being on the receiving end of such abundance.

This trip has been no exception.

Riley stayed at home to spend time with Piper Finn and Wilder.   Her friend came over for two days to help out and keep her company.  I know Wilder was treated with love and gentleness.  Piper had painted toenails and has talked non-stop about all the delicious chocolate milk she enjoyed with every meal.  I tried to bribe Riley and her friend into potty training Piper while I was gone.  (That parenting task that inevitably eludes me with every child.)  They tried, I think.  But mostly in vain, I am afraid.

London traipsed next door to stay with our good friends and neighbors Dan and Theresa and their two children Noah and Gloria.  Gloria and London are the same age and are great buddies.  I think they may have just been waiting all year for an opportunity to spend loads and loads of one on one time together.   London returned home knowing how to use a chinese jump rope and sharing the plot of some Barbie movie that apparently fascinated her.  (She was confident that the Look Up Lodge employee sitting across from her at lunch yesterday looked exactly like the cartoon prince in the film.)   She was treated to a movie with popcorn AND a drink!  (That’s a rare treat when you’re a girl with five siblings.)  She played dolls and games to her young heart’s content.  In fact, she confessed upon my arrival that she was a little disappointed to have to return home.  (And yes, I know this is not really a picture of London and Gloria from this visit, but I didn’t send my camera with London – I was using it on my adventure.  But at least it is a photo of both of them together!)

As I was discussing the plans for the remaining two Keiglets, Nate (of Jingle Twins fame) practically jumped out of his seat in an effort to volunteer his services.  (I am not kidding.)  And thus Mosely’s fate was sealed.  This kid – she had some adventure, I tell ya’.  She spent the days with Nathan and spent the nights at home.  Every evening she came cruising in after hours, slinging her loot across her shoulder or piled high in Nate’s arms.  She learned a magic trick (yes, after visiting a magic store), had her fingernails painted, saw a movie at the theatre, ate out at a vast variety of restaurants and, according to her care giver, learned how to run a mean scam for cash.  (I don’t know exactly what that means but I do know that Mosely’s pockets have been full of change and loose dollar bills.)  It did make my heart proud to hear about how obedient and well-behaved that cute Mo-Town was during all of her adventures with Nate.  Next time you see Mosely  – ask her to show you her magic coloring book.  It’s a good one.

The little Hawkeye (who still won’t let me spike his mohawk) left our house even earlier than the rest.  When we left Florida last week he strapped his seat belt in Aunt Emma’s car and headed to their house for his Boys Club.  I love to watch Bergen and Colton play.  Maybe because they play just as you might imagine – like two little boys.  And my house is not full of boys.  So I don’t get to see Berg interact with boys and play long, continued games of cars or Legos or trucks.  Or dig in the sand box or ride bikes.  When Bergen is not at our house, we really don’t hear from him.  He’s not exactly a big fan of chatting on the phone.  But Emma said the boys played splendidly and I know Bergen was infatuated with the fact that Cole wanted to follow Berg’s lead since at our house Bergen is usually following London.  And I know Bergen requested dessert for breakfast and struggled with staying in bed all night long and loved seeing a movie and faced the swimming pool more bravely than usual.  And I know that he had a wonderful time with his friend.  And I adore the fact that Bergen and Cole are friends.  It is a sweet thing to witness.

And I remain

grateful

because I know it sometimes takes many families to make an adventure like mine possible.