It wasn't all about the kids, but that's the part that got photographed. We actually went down for a conference. Jeff's parents met us at the (fab, beach front) hotel and did a heroic amount of babysitting so that I could go to the talks and we could stay out "late" (11:30 pm? Sad, I know) with our Santa Barbara friends, many of whom we were seeing for the first time in forever (and very few of whom actually still reside in Santa Barbara).
Seriously, it was so lovely all around. Post conference, we skedaddled to a cheaper hotel across town to chill with the Kraxaws and the Joelster.
Below, Grandma and Maria check out one of the hotel's many fountains. (Apologies to Grandpa for the lack of pictures. He contributed as much labor as Grandma to the babysitting project.)
Anyway, the kids swam. A lot. In the pool.
In the ocean.
(I have permission to put a half-naked picture of Joel on the internet as long as I laud his childminding skills. He's very good with the kiddos!!! Also, he's very charming! I believe he's single, ladies. Or he has many, many women and for the sake of decorum just edits that part of his life out of all conversations with me. Maybe I should get back to you on that.)
There was also swimming at a water park.
I am amassing quite the collection of Kurt-on-waterslide pictures. He's a junkie.
There was an afternoon snack on a red caboose.
And there was much merriment among the Niehome and Kraxaw children in various locales. Seriously, they got along pretty great. Kurt usually had 1-1.5 magnificent meltdowns a day. But in between those he was happy to be with Sylvia and, at one point, patted Hannah on the head affectionately in the way he often pats Maria, Bunny and me.
I'm sure I don't have to tell you that when the kids were asleep we partied hard. Sometimes we were up until midnight, eating fattening snacks, drinking random beers, and playing a totally hardcore board game about the construction of railroads.
(Now that I'm seeing it in print, it does sound pretty awesome.)
The actual roadtrip part was, well, spotty. I drove the whole way (I love to drive!) and Jeff did conflict resolution in the backseat. There was a ton of Kurt yelling "No Maria look at Kurt!!" and Maria casually slinging an arm toward her brother with the clear intention of making him howl and enjoying the spectacle. Objects were thrown, and one of them hit me in the back of the head, and we were all very lucky that I didn't just crash the car on principle right then because THAT'S WHAT I TOTALLY FELT LIKE DOING. We have one more road trip to go in this Summer of Roadtrips (next week we head to the Poconos for a chill with the NYC Niehomes via Boston). I would say it's been tolerable, and I'm sure it will get better with each passing year as the kids mature. But I'm pretty sure we're flying this Christmas.
Time to refill my Ativan prescription!