Remember the holidays? Yeah, it's kind of a blur for me too. We went places.
First to Santa Barbara, chez Kraxaw, where our children bathed together.
And made music.
(If we can get Maria on a lute and Sylvia's future sibling on some percussion, I think we could put together a lovely renaissance chamber group. See, I'm all about creating opportunities for children to explore their potential. That said, it would be nice if one of our kids could play a freaking sport well enough to support us in our old age, but I don't see it happening.)
We also went to parks.
Yes, that's my son outside in bare feet in December, because California is awesome.
On the Santa Barbara Zoo train.
Babies in bows. Yes!
Visiting people with small children means that there will be frequent occasions for your own small child to frolic and scamper.
As an interlude we went up to Sacramento, in a car journey that felt epic at the time but doesn't seem so momentous from the safety and comfort of my living room as I type this. My sister Lisa and her husband Kevin renewed their vows, this time in a real church! (Dad would have been so pleased!)
A gaggle of sisters.
Finally, we made it to St. Louis. Twas festive! Kurt sat through a good eighty percent of an honest to goodness (short) theater performance. Long, rich, delicious meals were devoured. We heard our nephew Luke craft many, many knock-knock jokes, some of were actually and intentionally funny. And I spent more than half the week in fleece pants with a mug of tea in my hand, so you know I had a good time.
Here's Kurt letting Uncle Paul hold him.
Uncle Paul, in fact, won a prize in the category of Guy Who Tried The Hardest To Win My Kids Over, the prize being getting to hold Maria.
Seriously, many others tried and were brutally rebuffed. You'll note, for instance, the distinct lack of pictures of Grandma. But here's Grandpa giving it a whirl.
Sawyer and her sidekick.
Maria got a ball popper for Christmas. She had to fight the other kids off for it.
Sometimes with a light saber.
By St. Louis, the kids were exhausted. The crutches we rely on at home sparingly or when things get really tough-Veggie Booty, pacifiers, bottles, electronic devices-became standard fare every day we were there, just to maintain basic tolerable moods. Here's Kurt having a midday break with a blanket, his trusty Bunny, a pacifier, and of course, an iPhone.
For everything that Kurt does object to, however, there is some random thing he thinks is perfectly fine, like having a bow in his hair.
So, on the subject of three week trips to the States, when I say "Never AGAIN!"I think I might mean it this time. For as good a trip as we had, I think it could be even better if we were a bit less wrung out by the last third. But ask me again next year.