Shawnee Style, Part I

This vacation, my fellow readers, was an adventure in all sorts of ways. From the packing, to the unpacking. From the naptimes to the bedtimes. From the cooking the meals, to the eating the meals, to the cleaning up the meals. From the inside pool, to the outside pool, and then back in the inside pool again.

This vacation was fun, a lot of fun memories, but let's admit it, it really was all about the kids. Well until about 10 p.m. each night, unless of course you count the ladies afternoon to the spa, or the insane amount golfing that my husband needed to partake in.I think there will be two about the vaca, total, so you won't be too tortured if you weren't there. The first will be with the main list of characters, since us adults were simply just the supporting cast, if even that. I think Kraft Food Service Workers is more like it.

Quintyn was the oldest. Quintyn is usually always the oldest when we all get together. I sympathize with him really I do. I was the oldest all the time too. And man it can get old having to watch sesame street, color, wait your turn behind a bunch of whining kids, play silly games, and sing silly songs. He is a growing boy for goodness sake, and lets not forget it. On this trip Quinn frequently fluffed his feathers, particularly in my direction, to remind me of the role he was playing, that being the 'oldest.'

Many of the ideas I had for the kids to do Quinn deemed, 'stupid.' When I would suggest something to do, I could count on Quinn to reply on cue, 'that's boring, or stupid', or would tell me that he 'hates to do that.'

Me: Wanna go on a scavenger hunt guys?
Quinn: That sounds boring.
Me: Wanna go and see who can get the dirtiest down by the river and try to throw rocks to the other side?
Quinn: I hate doing that.
Me: Wanna see who can hold their breathe the longest underwater?
Quinn: That's stupid.
Me: Wanna see if you can beat me at bowling, I'm really bad, you are bound to win?
Quinn: Bowling is dumb.

Sounds like an awesome kid, right? No, he really, really is. He just tried to play the bored card. I will go on and tell you the following:
When we went on the scavenger hunt, who had the most fun, and proceeded to play scavenger hunt all week? Who had the most fun getting muddy, throwing rocks, and getting everyone else wet? Who challenged me at least 700 times to see how long we could hold our breathes under water? And who was cheering the loudest and wanted to remind me over and over again that he beat me at bowling? Yup, that's right, this boy. Who for some reason wanted his picture taken by this bark growing on the tree, which was one of the things to find on the hunt, which was and I quote,'really cool.'

Next up, Juliana. My lovely daughter emulates Juliana. Anything that Juliana was going to do, Kendall was right on board. And what a lovely trooper Jules was. Juliana was quickly my bedtime buddy. Since my children seemed to misbehave the most at bedtime, I became resident bedtime cop. A couple of nights that week, since Kendall wanted to sleep next to Jules, I was graced with Juliana's take on the room and the delinquents inside of it. She would whisper really loudly, 'Do you hear that? That is Ian, he is laughing, I think you should tell his mom.' or 'Why does Ethan snore? Is there lots of boogies up there in his nose?' Which would result in all those still awake, laughing. I would then whisper for everyone to quiet down, and would hear her older brother grumble, 'that wasn't even funny.' See, I mention him again, that's how much I loved Sir Pissy Pants role.

Jules also sees me as a walking and talking confessional. Many times during the week she would fess up all that was wrong in her world, and what she had done to make it this way. 'Remember when Ethan cried earlier? That's because I pushed him down, I'm sorry.' Or, 'I took a Gatorade and opened it on the porch when Mommy told me not to, and I drank half of it and left it there.' This went on all week between her and I. On many occasions I felt like I should be placing my hand on her head and pronouncing her forgiven or telling her her penance, and then I remembered that not only am I not a priest, I am not Catholic. Maybe to her I looked like the biggest sucker out of all the adults with us, I was the easiest to confess her wrong doings to, because the consequences were usually, 'Thanks Jules for telling me, could you go and say sorry to so and so', or, 'go ahead upstairs and grab the princess doll that you are hiding from everyone so we can share.' Sucker.

Then there is Ian. Ian can best be described as a wind up toy. He goes and goes and goes, and then just stops. Seriously. This kid is on full tilt and then crashes for a nap, and then he is at it again, and then crashes again at bedtime. Similar to my darling daughter, Ian was enthralled with the idea of living with friends for an entire week straight. He of course desired to be doing just what Quinn was doing, which Quinn in typical fashion, sometimes loved, and sometimes hated. Ian has also won the award for the loudest child. Sometimes I would just have to laugh because his normal speaking voice is so loud. When he would talk to me, I am certain my eyes would be wide because the volume is astonishing. Still when someone asks Ethan, 'Who was on vacation with you?' He replies, 'Ian.' So certainly Ian left an impression on him.

. Kendall was the most confused out of all the children this week. She didn't know if we were coming or going, what house we were going to sleep in, or what time of day it was. She was all about her friends. What they were doing, when they were doing it, and how she could do it with them. This anticipation caused her to at times to just jump up and down in excitement, but to also not know which end was up. Can you blame her? I mean how much fun would it be to have children, all around your age to play with all day long for 7 days straight, that's it, that's all you have to do is play. It took her a few days to really grasp this was indeed happening. She woke up in the morning, and the first thing out of her mouth would be, 'when are we going to see my friends?'

Kendall's key phrase of the week was, 'You're not my best friend anymore!' She said it so many times when someone wronged her that by the third day it lost it's effectiveness completely. I mean, Gabby and Jules were probably like; she said I wasn't her best friend yesterday 5 times, why is she telling me this again? I am already not her best friend. Big whoop. Not only that she tells this to everyone, so how many best friends does this chick think she has? During one terrible car ride with the baby screaming, Kendall proceeded to add to the insanity by going on and on in the back of the van with Jules and Mariah, her cousin, as to who was and wasn't her best friend, and crying about it, talking nonsense, there was no consoling her. She was lucky that my arm was out of swatting range, that is all I am going to say. I mean who would want to be best friend's with someone acting as beastly as that?

Then there is Gabriella. She wins the prize for the best behaved all week, hands down. I at one point thought that she was an angel in child form sent from heaven above, and then she went and punched Ian in the chest in a fit of rage directed at him, and that theory went out the window. Gabby made it her weeks mission to take care of Ava. I think she actually thought that she could do it better then Ava's mom. She was all about doting on her, wanting to meet her every need, all week long.

As the week progressed I got to see Gabby's quiet defiance, and I still thought she was so cute. Since I have the word, 'sucker,' tattooed on my forehead for her sister, I think Jules let Gabby in on the secret. On many occasions Gabby would corner me in the kitchen and bat her full eyelashes looking oh so cute and ask me in her little mousy voice for this or that. And thinking nothing of it, I would just hand her her request. I mean why would she not ask her parents first? I then began to hear, 'Gabby, who gave you that juice box? I said no more juice boxes until lunch, you can drink water.' And I would sneak out the door. I then began to tell her to go ask her mom or dad when she would ask me for something which typically would cause her to jump a little bit, quietly whine, and then try and ask me again. I tell you though, I would take this whining over my kids whining any darn day.

. Ethan, in typical Ethan style, just followed along with the rest of the troop. If they went on a walk, he went on a walk. If they rode bikes, he rode bikes. If they ate ice cream, he ate ice cream. If they chanted at the top of their lungs that something wasn't fair, he was chanting with them. My only beef with him on this vacation, was again his eternal desire to be my siamese twin at the most inopportune times, and his new fascination with fixing things. 'I do it!' If I hear it 300 times a day, it is a good day. Ethan has to turn off and on the lights. He was to turn on and off the tv. He was to press play for the movie to start. He has to turn on and off the faucet. He has to snap the top buckle in his car seat. When and if I tell him no, it as if I hurt his ego for the rest of his life and not letting him be the man he has the potential to be. So when the other kids would turn off the tv, or do something that he deemed his job, there would be a meltdown. And as far as becomming my siamese twin, me being the terrible mom would run out when he wasn't looking so that I could go and do something, or have a minute to myself. He would soon recover. It is just the initial heartbreak that I would have the audacity to leave him behind.

Next comes Ava. Ava is beginning to come into her own, mix this with Gabby's need to take care of little Ava, Ava is not a happy camper. Ava is a tiny little lady with a head full of curls. One of the youngest of the crew for the week, and on many occasions she was also just going along with the flow of things. However, her gift was to clean up. A girl after my own heart. No sooner would the kids have all the crayons out, she would be following after them with the baggie they went in, cleaning them all up. All the kids would be yelling, 'hey get her to stop!' And Ava would just keep on cleaning them up, ignorance is bliss.

And lastly, sweet baby Annabel. I mean seriously what can I say about her? My favorite time with Annabel was on the drive to dinner at my in-laws on Tuesday night. It was a 25 minute trip. Annabel screamed the entire time and the girls in the back fought about who was whose best friend. It was a lot of fun. Trista just sat there sipping away at her coffee, I about smacked my head into the steering wheel full force. Really though, Annabel was quite content the entire week with the exception of that one night. She went to anyone, and went everywhere. The poor little turkey didn't get very much sound napping in, but she is still alive, and really isn't that what counts?

We did have some guest stars during the week. The Hibblets came to visit for two days. And how many Hibblets are there you ask? There are 4. I am all about having 4 kids, sounds like fun, on a good day, but my friend Cherie has 4, all under 4. What the...? I know. It started off nice with sweet little Rory. Then they waited a bit and decided on Tate. Then they thought, oh let's try for one more, and BAM! Twins. That's what you get. God is just so silly sometimes, right?

I tell you what though, Cherie keeps it going like a well oiled machine. Bravo. It's o.k. Cherie, stand up and take a bow.

Now Rory is the same age as Jules, a year older then Kendall. The three of then are in the same Sunday School Class, and typically, the saying holds true for this little tripod, 'Two's Company, Three's a Crowd.' So you know I was a little apprehensive about the catfights that might just erupt, but I wasn't going to let that ruin the time with my friends, so the Hibblets and their parents came, and you know what? Not a tear. Kendall shared her princess dolls like a true champion. I can only assume that since Rory also has the utmost respect for what is the Disney Princesses, Kendall had no problem sharing and letting Rory do as she pleased with them.

Then there is Tater Tot. Tate is all boy, all the time. And he moves as fast as lightening. All the time. Cherie says he is up at 6, and blasts through their bedroom door ready to move. I think I would have a heart attack, every single morning. Kendall and Ethan, think just like Tate, that his name is Tater Tot. I have tried over and over again to explain it is a nickname when Kendall asks why his mom and dad named him Tater Tot, but to no avail. Tate makes me nervous. Any sudden movement could send something flying that I need to catch. Or any mad dash could send him flying into a pool. Could you imagine being Cherie? Poor Woman. Oh but he is a cutie though, and he is potty training. What is up with that? Ethan could care less.

Then there is the twins. Jonas and Elsa. If you were going to have twins, it might as well be them. They are so mild mannered. Really I think they were either sitting in their seats playing, eating, sleeping, or playing on the floor, and were content. I never heard them make a sound. Really? Is it possible? Afraid so. I have found proof.

I had to borrow the pics of the Hibblets. My only defense to not having any pictures of them is that again, with 12 kids, 11 under 4, running rampant, do you have any time for anything? Oh yeah, that's right, us girls, we left to go to the spa...

To be Continued.

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