On Friday afternoon, the doorbell rang. Muttola lost her mind, Brex was upstairs sleeping (home sick from daycare). I opened to door and got hugs from Aunt Trust and Aunt Ruby. My Cousin Long Blonde Hair and her three kids peeled themselves from the van and stumbled in half asleep. The youngest, Lady of the Lake was excited to meet the baby and disappointed to hear he was sleeping.
Our office has a daybed that pulls out to make a king sized bed. I figured Long Blonde and her two girls could share that bed. Apparently Long Blond and the kids usually all end up in the same room, so I grabbed a camp mattress and sleeping bag so that X-man could sleep on the floor in Jrex's side of the office. We have curtains that pull across the archway so the office feels somewhat private.
Aunt Trust and Aunt Ruby were happy to share the guest room's queen bed and we set up an air mattress in Brex's room for Cousin JR. We tucked Brex into our master closet in his pack n play. During our Christmas vacation, he woke up a few times each night. One of my theories was that the mattress in his Traveler bed was too hard (it's essentially a thin blow up camp mattress). For his nap, I had the Traveler sitting on top of his crib mattress.
As we were all visiting in the kitchen, Aunt Ruby tilted her head, "I think I hear little feet upstairs?" I listened, sure enough, someone was walking around. Uh oh!! I ran upstairs and opened the closet door. Brex looked up from playing with a couple of my shoes and happily trotted towards me. Behind him, a trail of mayhem led to the Traveler laying on it's side next to the mattress. Ah well. I picked him up and gave him a hug. Then put the mattress back in his crib. He ended up sleeping just fine in the Traveler without waking up either night.
I brought him downstairs to say hi to everyone. Lady of the Lake wanted to hold him right away. I suggested she wait until first, he let go of me and got down, second, he wandered around and then third, came up to her. THEN she could pick him up. She's nine years old, very precise, and happy when there's a system in place. With a decisive nod, she began to watch for each stage to be achieved. In the end, she was an attentive attendant and Prince Brex graciously accepted her adulation. I found out from Long Blonde that it's the first time that Lady of the Lake has ever taken to a baby.
With help from many willing hands, we threw together tacos for dinner. Halfway through, Cousin JR showed up and was greeted with much joy and chatter. A while after that, Jrex got home from work and quietly grabbed a chair near Brex. Once people realized he was there, he also got hugs and hellos.
Saturday, first the aunts, and then Aunt Trust and her son JR took advantage of the porch swing. Peace Corps cousin arrived mid-morning. Aunt Trust helped me throw together chili in the crockpot. Then after a buffet lunch of sandwiches, we managed to fit in two cars and get to the zoo for a couple hours.
Back at the house, we fed Brex a quick dinner, then I put him to bed while the garlic bread and brownies baked in the oven.
After dinner, JR, X-man, Aunt Trust and I played bare-knuckle Scrabble while Jrex began a rousing game of Go Fish with Lady of the Lake. The middle girl, Beautiful Queen, soon left our boring (to her) game of Scrabble and joined in the fun. Even X-man was eventually lured to the madness. The Go Fishers were in the kitchen while the Scrabblers sat at the dining room table. Hearing Jrex laughing loudly, JR asked, "How often does he cut loose like this?" I smiled, "Often if it's just us at home, rarely in company."
Sunday morning, the van load piled in and pulled out by 8:30 AM leaving Cousin JR alone to join our traditional Sunday brunch. The only time JR and I had ever met each other before was at a family reunion when we were eight years old. We chatted about family history, found a lot of parallels between him and my brother, a lot of parallels between the two of us. He had a flair for music and art, but didn't get a chance to really pursue it. Now it comes out in his construction projects and tattoo art.
Peace Corps Cousin is having a big birthday bash in April, so it looks like we get to repeat the house party! Cousin JR is planning to come up early so that we can pay him to finish the brick pathway that I started a while ago. He's a meticulous craftsman, so I'm excited to get the work done right.
It's fun to get to know a side of the family that I didn't see as often when we were kids. If we were in Portland, I'd certainly be seeing my immediate family more often, but I'm really happy that we're still getting lots of extended family time.