(This post could also be titled When I Spent 3 Hours Blogging or When I Blogged 34 Pictures in One Post. You’ve been warned.)
My step-sister, Cindi, and her husband Matt had the opportunity to go to Ethiopia a few weeks ago on a mission trip with their church. Ethiopia is a place very near and dear to their hearts. Their 4th child, Sam, was adopted from there about 18 months ago. I had a lightbulb moment a few months ago as I was thinking about Matt and Cindi’s trip. Why don’t Madison and Abby come stay with us for a few days while their parents are gone! My kids adore Madison (who is 11) and Abby (who is 7.) Truth be told, I adore them, too. They are such sweet and spunky girls!
The fun began pretty much as soon as we arrived back at my house from the 4.5 hour trip to pick them up. They spent the afternoon swimming, eating popsicles, and just playing together. The dynamic between the 5 kids is so great–in some ways it was easier than when I am just home with my three!
I had big plans for each day that Madison and Abby were with us. The first day, we went to gymnastics, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and headed down to Galveston to play at the beach. I was nervous about going to the beach by myself with 5 kids, but it ended up being a ton of fun, and even a little relaxing! There were NO waves the day we were there (hello, Lake of Mexico rather than Gulf of Mexico). Camryn wasn’t thrilled with the water, so she never wanted to go past her ankles. Madison and Connor are both great swimmers and as long as they stayed together, they were good to go. And Abby and Logan just weren’t allowed to go past their waists. We all had so much fun!
There was plenty of playing in the sand,
And even more playing in the surf.
Proof that I was there too.
On day 2 of the great cousin adventure, we went to a waterpark. I didn’t bring my camera with me, and I didn’t even take any phone pictures! Just like with the beach, I was nervous about going to a waterpark with 5 kids, ages 11, 8, 7, 6, and 3. While it wasn’t as relaxing as the beach because it was more crowded, it was still really fun. Madison and Connor were great ride buddies while the 3 younger ones and I went back and forth between the lazy river and the small slides. Pirate’s Bay is a relatively small waterpark, which is perfect for my life right now. We cam home happy and tired, which made for a really easy bedtime.
On day 3, we spent the morning at the Kemah Boardwalk. It was a new level of hot that i don’t think I’ve ever experienced before. But on the upside, it really wasn’t very crowded at all because no one in their right mind goes to Kemah during the day in the summer. Summer nights are a totally different story, but I knew I didn’t want to fight those crowds. Despite the sweltering heat, we had fun riding rides, eating pizza for lunch, and finally cooling off in the fountains.
The boy’s all time favorite game at Kemah is to sit on the fountains and wait for them to spray. It’s like a universal boy thing because as I would look around, all the boys were just sitting on the spouts, waiting for the spray while the girls all run around squealing. I think I could do an entire gender study just on the behavior I saw at the fountains!
In a crazy turn of events, it actually started pouring down rain on us at the end of the day! You would never guess it by these pictures, but a big cloud rolled in (thank you Jesus for the relief from the beating sun!) It has not rained here in months, which is really unusual for us. So I figured there was no way it was going to rain. But the sky got darker and darker as we tried to cram in one last ride for everyone. Unfortunately, the sky opened up just before Abby got to pick her ride. We tried to wait it out, but after about 10 minutes we decided to just call it a day. It was quite the adventure trying to get 5 kids through a parking lot and into the car in the pouring rain! I have to admit it was pretty fun…I love playing in the rain and it felt SO good after the ridiculously hot morning.
On day 4, our final day, the kids decided they wanted to spend the morning having a lemonade stand and swimming at our neighborhood pool. They were so cute making all the preparations for the stand. And this wasn’t your ordinary lemonade stand. They were also selling paper airplanes, origami yoda, paper fortune tellers, and origami ninja stars. Madison and Connor worked so hard and sat out there for over 2 hours! I think they came away with about $7 which isn’t too bad except most of it came from me, my neighbor, and a nice man who just gave them $2 for sitting out in the hot sun and didn’t even buy anything. Honestly, I was really amazed that more people didn’t stop. We set up at a prime spot in the neighborhood and lots of people drove by. I, for one, never drive by kids selling lemonade without stopping to buy a cup. The kids were happy and entertained, and I guess that’s what really matters.
The best thing about not having too many customers…plenty for the workers!
And that wrapped up our week of cousin fun. That afternoon, we drove them back home, and the next day their parents got home from Ethiopia.
It was such a fun week! My kids are already asking if Madison and Abby can come back next summer. Camryn has proclaimed them her “best friends.” I, for one, am all for it.