The past few days have been very chaotic at our house. A friend of mine from college and her two kids came to stay for 5 days, and our house has been a flurry of activity with kids playing and other friends stopping by for a visits. At one point, we had 9 kids between the ages of 3 and 8 at our house. I never realized how 9 kids could have such different personalities or how much the energy level could increase with that many kids in one house!
It is always good to see old friends; however, I tend to get a little stressed with how my kids act. They are good kids, but I will be the first to say that they are not perfect and that those imperfections seem to shine through more often when they are out of their routine and not getting much sleep. David tends to get whinier, which can grate on anyone's nerves, and Nathan just gets a little naughtier.
This past weekend, Nathan used the "shock and awe" approach with our guests, although it might be better to use the term "shock and horror" for his antics. Soon after our guests arrived, I think he realized that they weren't comfortable with a naked child meandering through the house, so EVERY time he went into the bathroom, he would come out of the bathroom short a pair of pants and underwear. Thriving on the looks of horror, it continued the whole time our guests were here. Since they left, the fun of horrifying people is gone, and he has returned to his clothed self (most of the time!)
Our company left yesterday and we headed to the Petit Jean state park with some of the youth group. We had so much fun. We climbed rocks and walked some of the trails. We had a picnic lunch with all the big kids. The group then hiked down the mountain to see the waterfalls. It was supposed to be a 2 hour hike and I wasn't sure if it would be easy enough for the boys to do, so we stayed at the picnic area and hung out while the rest of the group went to the falls.
I must say that days like this are good for my soul. The boys and I had so much fun together. They played on the playground. We walked by the lake and talked about how lily pads float and looked for fish. We tried feeding the fish Fritos, but I guess fish aren't big on corn chips because we did not have any takers. We found a little toad and the boys watched it until Nathan tried to encourage the toad to jump by poking it with a stick and accidentally gored it. (Not a pretty moment or an easy one to explain to a 3 year old and 5 year old!) Except for the frog incident and some minor scratches and a splinter, the boys had a blast.
For me, it was fun seeing all the good in my kids come out. Sometimes I forget to see all those good characteristics in my kids, especially during times that are a little more stressful or when we are not in our normal routine. I loved seeing Nathan hug and kiss the little girl at the playground after she got hurt even though he had no clue who she was. I loved hearing David tell me everything he knows about frogs and listen to his stories about how everything in the world works. Most of all, I enjoyed seeing my kids be kids and play their little hearts out. They were so tired that they were both asleep pretty quick once we got back onto the bus to go home. And just to be totally honest, I will admit that I also enjoyed the fact that they slept on the way home! :-)