Visiting David and Heather’s for Halloween is a newer tradition. This year somewhere during Halloween night I offered to take the trips for the eve of Thanksgiving. We have hosted enough large parties to know that a gig like the Mott Thanksgiving is a ton of work and Nadine and I are mostly empty nesters so, what the heck. It’ll be fun to have three, three year olds cruising through the house, and Heather and Dave’s preparation for all the Mott’s might be a bit easier. And it’s just for a night. Perfect. We can be rock star relatives and then hand them back to their parents. So the deal was struck.
I mentioned to Nadine a few days later that I had extended the offer to take the trips. “Are you kidding me? This house is not triplet proof. Do you read Heather’s blog?” Come on, we raised five of our own. We can do this. Though truth be told I was a bit apprehensive myself. I was at Meijer doing some grocery shopping when I realized I don’t know what these guys eat. I called Heather for advice and then started tossing stuff into the cart; Coco Puffs, OJ, apples, bananas, string cheese. The plan is totally coming together. Yikes, what about entertainment? We have a ton of VHS tapes and no VHS player. We’ll play it by ear. Heather texted that David had left and soon Colin, Declan and Finn would grace our doorstep.
I was grilling fish when they arrived. (No, not for them. Well, they were welcome to it but Nadine had made tortellini for them.) I enthusiastically greeted them.
“Hey guys, are you going to stay here tonight?”
In unison they replied “Why?”
“What do you mean why? Are we going to have some fun tonight?”
Again, on cue and in unison, “why?”
They came in carrying their sleeping bags that they dropped in the hall as they kicked off their shoes and mad a bee line for the family room. “What is this?” they asked about a giant hoola hoop. “Can you do it? How? Why?” Then on to the next thing. Whirling dervishes, they moved from room to room getting a quick lay of the land. Soon enough we settled down to dinner. They recited grace and then ate their tortellini and fruit. Now I may have forgotten to mention that it was also Nadine’s birthday. So after dinner we lit a few candles on a birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday to Aunt Nadine. Nadine asked them what to do with the lit candles and they said “you have to blow them out”—then Declan did. He couldn’t help himself but his brothers were not cutting him any slack. “Deccy, you weren’t supposed to blow them out!” So cake and ice cream topped off dinner. So far so good.
During dinner we talked about our daughter Colleen’s wedding. Colleen is Finn’s godmother and Finn was supposed to be the ring bearer but he decided he wasn’t going to do it on the morning of the wedding. “My buddy Deccy will do it” and so he did. I mentioned that I had pictures of the wedding and Declan in particular wanted to see them. Well, he wanted to see pictures of himself. So we fired up the laptop and were looking at pictures at the kitchen table. Nadine suggested we move to the couch but the boys thought laying on the living room floor was a good idea so that is where we spent the next 45 minutes. They attentively looked at pictures from the wedding and our summer Mott trip to
I decided we’d sleep in the den on a fold out couch. I told them we were sleeping on the couch and they ran into the room and jumped on the couch. “Dudes, this turns into a bed. Hop off and then take the cushions off.” So they did and then jumped back on. “Get off of there. We aren’t done yet. You have to help me pull this out.” And we did pull it out and tah dahhhhh. “Hey, is this a bed? Why?” They got ready for bed after posing with pull ups on their heads, laughing loudly.
Declan and Colin decided they’d sleep on the bed but Finny wasn’t having it. “I’m sleeping on the floor next to you Uncle Billy.” Uh, I was not planning to sleep on the floor. But I did drag our camper egg crate mattress up from the basement, put it and my sleeping bag on the floor, and sacked out with them. We said our prayers, (they clearly have a ritual and they recited prayers for family and cousins then the Hail Mary) and they were out cold in five minutes.
Nades came down in the morning (Yea, she did NOT sleep on the floor) and asked me why they were crying. “They aren’t crying, they’re laughing!” So she opened the den door and wished them a Good Morning! Sure enough, they were jumping on the bed and fooling around. Finn announced that his brothers had wakened him and he was “not cozy. When are we going home?” Coco Puffs will stop that talk. “Hey Finny, how about some breakfast? I have Coco Puffs and Cheerios.” Finn and Declan went for the Cheerios?!?!?! After breakfast they put some ornaments on our Christmas tree. Nades brought up the box of figures for Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Rudolph, Clarice, the elves, Bumble the abominable snowman. Trips didn’t know these characters. Guess I have a present idea now.
Now Nadine was busy preparing her offerings for the Thanksgiving feast; sweet potatoes, squash, salad, JoeFurkey with potatoes and carrots for the vegetarians so I need to keep these guys busy.
After tree decorating they made cookies to bring to their mother. 3,000 pounds of glitter later, the cookies were decorated, cooked and plated times three complete with bows that they each held their finger down to tie. Last night they observed David and I bring the Christmas tree up from the basement. “This place is so cool.” So after making cookies they wanted to return to the basement. Now our basement is a mess—a compilation of stuff totally unorganized, ranging from old school instruments, to toys to tools. They poked around for an hour and I dare not leave them alone. “What is this?” asked Finn as he was uncovering the sump pump hole. At the opposite end of the basement Colin was inspecting my tool chest on wheels. “My dad has one of these.” Finny found three pieces of 2x4 that he asked to take home, then he placed them in a bag, and the bag in a box and carried the whole shebang upstairs. Finally we got dressed and moved outside. I had uncovered a pedal car that belonged to my son Willy and had that at the ready. They dutifully took turns riding it. We went up to the neighborhood school playground for a bit returning home for lunch.
I noticed that somewhere along the way “Why?” turned into “Can you help me?” Help me get dressed, roll up my sleeping bag, pedal the “racer”, get on the swing, climb the slide. Seriously, when did you guys become so dependant? Lunch was bananas, apples, oranges, salad for Colin, string cheese, pretzels and milk. A quick nap (NOT) and we climbed into the car for the trip home.
Twenty hours. Wow! I was surprised at how much work the past twenty hours was and these little guys are good boys. Really. Heather and Dave are doing a great job with their troop. The kids are fun, polite and kind. Tradition? Does one year make a tradition? We’ll see. Let’s have them work on raising the toilet seat between now and next year. J