We are deep into a long-ish vacation (but the husband is home now, so the house is protected) and things have been going swimmingly--literally: we have done almost as much swimming these past few days as we did in the beginning of the summer. We began our tour with a short visit to see the husband's parents. The last time J saw Grandma Beth, he was, umm, let's say less than loving! I was overjoyed that this time he settled right in and decided he was quite happy to play with his grandma. Baby E was a little more skittish, but, as with almost everything in his life, he was willing to buy into whatever J was doing. We got settled and helped the grandparents pack up all the necessities for the next leg of our journey, a trip to Bear Lake. Packing the food for all the meals for 23-ish people for 3 days that had to last through a 2 hour trip was quite a challenge to even my well-honed packing skills, but we all persevered and got the entire back of a Ford Explorer, the space under two car seats, and the trunk and back seat of a Buick Century packed to the gills with food, clothes, coolers, and other tidbits.
Then we set off for the lake, which was TONS of fun! There was the swimming, of course, but also horseback riding, playing, eating, t-shirt making, bonding, four-wheeling, eating, talent showing, sorbet making, gaming, and eating raspberry shakes, all taking place in a luxurious condo (two floors! two bedrooms! a kitchen! and still, somehow, Baby E ended up sleeping in the bathroom--but you know he loves it!). We did everything but actually get into the lake, the result of some stormy weather when we arrived. The boys got to spend some time with their older cousins (perhaps more time than the cousins wanted, since some became de facto baby sitters at times), we all got to relax and recharge and refresh, which is just what I want out of a vacation, at least part of the time. Many thanks to those who planned the whole event and bought all the food and subsidized our visit--we had a ball!
After our time at the lake, we headed back to the husband's home of origin for a little more time with him until he had to fly back to our home and get back to work. Then the boys and I spent a few more days with Grandma Beth, during which time we visited an amazing children's museum and spent some more time with the boys' great Grandma Van and great Uncle Bruce.
Next, we drove south to stay with my parents, where we are now. So far we've gone to Kangaroo Zoo, jump castle nirvana, in the midst of running numerous errands and making fun purchases for both me and the boys. On the docket for the rest of the week, we have a visit to not one but TWO dinosaur museums, the requisite pilgrimage to Ikea, some cupcake gorging, another little family trip north to Lava Hot Springs, and lots of playing outside and picking tomatoes since it's not so blooming HOT here. J has settled right in here, too, though his behavior is suffering a bit from his father's absence. Baby E, on the other hand, is more withdrawn and a bit unsettled, as evidenced by his return to night waking since we've arrived. He cozied right up to my mom, Grandeur, but has taken a bit longer to get cozy with my dad, Grandest (yes, that's what the grandkids call them; can you tell I come from a literary family? I come by my English degrees honestly, folks!). We're here a few more days, then it's back to the other grandparents' and we fly out from there.
In all, we'll have been gone 20+ days, and the boys will have slept in 4 different places, and met in person about 30 relatives. I'd say they've done pretty well, all things considered!