Visiting family, and more family, and more family!

We just got back from a multi layered trip, where we got to visit everyone from Dave’s parents to my sister – and Griffin and Lilou’s families too! We flew to Arizona last weekend, and settled into a house to let the kids decompress a bit after the travel. They were mostly nuts, but we had plenty a room for them to run around and play. We went to a giant aquarium with my brother, and reacquainted the kids with their cousins. We also got to visit with Griff’s Great aunt and uncle, who drove three hours each direction just to see him for a little bit. When I talk about epic love, this is what I mean.

Then we headed up to Winslow to see Dave’s family and meet our niece and nephew, who just turned one! We had a lovely visit with Rose and Dan, grandma Betty and poppi Joe, and Becky and her kids. Tanti Sarah Kay was in town too, and set up a child’s paradise around the house! There’s nothing like a gentle warning about a four foot long bull snake that has been hanging around the sandbox to raise my Midwestern eyebrows, but they had thought of everything! (By the way, bull snakes are good snakes. Yes, good snakes do exist.)

We headed back to Phoenix for one more visit with Brett’s kids and a lovely evening with Griffin’s mom, grandma, and sister. The restaurant I remembered so fondly ended up being incredibly noisy and the food was not as great as I remembered. That could’ve ruined our evening, but our favorite park was just around the corner, and the time we had there totally made up for the restaurant bummer.

Dave then took Lilou up to Colorado to see Amy! What’s one more flight when we’re already out there? They had an amazing time together, and both came home delighted this morning. They even snuck a visit in with my sister and her family before catching their plane.

We have absolutely grown to love visits, and we’re always amazed at how wonderfully the planning and saving pay off, even if they are never as long or as frequent as we would like them to be. That said, they are always full of surprises too.

With writing the blog, I feel like our whole life is on display most of the time. But we can’t cover it all! I was startled in one conversation to realize that not everyone knows about my job change, from working remotely from home for a Fortune 100 company to working in an office at a nonprofit. It’s hard to realize that no matter how transparent I think we are being, there’s always something I missed. Apologies for startling anyone we don’t get to see regularly!

People also seemed surprised to learn about our babysitters. Working full-time means babysitters are a necessity. We choose ours carefully and keep them for a long time, so they become really close friends with each other and with us. We even have an annual T-shirt!

Our family is incredibly precious to us, and we don’t entrust them with just anybody. That doesn’t mean we are hands off parents though! We work hard to make it home for dinner, make dinner ourselves, and spend the evenings with our kids and tuck them in ourselves as well. We get them up in the mornings, and plan our weeks out so that our kids get lots of time with us. Nothing is more important. The beauty of having an au pair and babysitters is also having lots of flexibility. Our kids are taken care of by other people when we have to be other places, but the minute we’re home they are with us.

If nothing else, these trips remind me to take stock of the decisions we are making and doublecheck that we are doing everything possible to be good parents. We adore seeing how deeply our kids parents love them, and how strong their kids react to them even at a young age. We have been entrusted with their precious children, and as cheesy as it sounds that pushes our parenting to higher limits. So we’re settling back into our normal life, but can’t stop smiling about a great week and lots of amazing people.