We survived the trip back from Ohio (only hours before the ice storm struck the route), and now after finally settling back in, I shall regale you with all of the wondrous things I have learned in my TOP TEN THINGS I LEARNED IN OHIO (or on the way there):
10. Car DVD players are quite useful. I still like to have my children experience boredom in the car. I think it's a fantastic life skill, BUT, at the particularly brutal 10+ hour, the DVD player was incredible that last hour of the trip. Thank you my dear friend, Tanya, for lending me one! Oh, and mini-vans rock.
9. City life has its perks. Though I had to get used to locking my car and parallel parking, walking to my sister's house and driving 2 minutes to the grocery store was quite a perk. Most things in New Hampshire take 15 minutes for me, so it was a welcome change!
8. My son is kind of a bully. So, Emily has the most darling 2 1/2 year old boy, Gabe. He is charming, friendly, and quite likeable- except to James. My 2 year old (who easily outweighs his cousin by 10 pounds) decided to repeat "Bad Boy" over and over again to the confused angel-child. This development made me realize how easy it is to spoil your youngest child, and I had to be extra vigilant with his grumpy behavior and tone. This also reminded me that supervised play dates are best for this age so you can be there to correct behavior as it happens.
7. Boys are different. Yes, this seems obvious to most, but I have two girls as my eldest and I am NOT used to the rambunctiousness, athleticism, and carelessness of boys. Seeing six boys together really changes your perspective on what noise is.....
6. Aldi's Grocery store is AWESOME. Emily has mentioned Aldi's Grocery store before and I thought, "Yeah, it's just like my Market Basket (or Shop-Rite for you southerners)," but I was wrong. Some items are soooo cheap (I seriously bought 6 bags of chocolate chips), and other prices are comparable to my discount-grocery store. I do wish I lived closer to one.
4. With ten kids, someone's not going to like dinner. We took turns cooking for the crowd of 14 every night, and used many of the meal suggestions we have posted about before. I made bacon-wrapped cheddar chicken one night, and the review of my 9 year-old nephew was, "What is this? I mean, chicken and cheese just don't go together." Granted, he did eat it without complaint, and other kiddos asked for seconds.
3. Boys like crafts too. I love crafting, and the one reason I was thrilled to have a girl first was to take her to AC Moore's to pick out craft kits to do together. I really thought boys might not want to sit still and enjoy crafts. Emily's boys LOVE crafts... however, Emily does not. So when I come to visit, it is expected that I bring at least ONE activity for them to enjoy!
2. No one sleeps at sleepovers. My lovely niece joined us for a night to enjoy some cartoons, hot cocoa, and cuddly girl time with her cousins. Though they were put in bed at 8 PM, they giggled, read, and jumped until well past 10 o'clock. I was half-asleep listening to them on the monitor until they finally wore themselves out....
1. Cousin time is worth the trip. Having our children 12 hours apart is hard, but with Skype, bi-annual visits, and emails, they CAN develop a close bond. Seeing our kids enjoy each other makes the entire 24 hours in the car worth it!
Easy Rule #2999- Cousins can be close no matter how far away they live if you put in the effort!
Easy Rule #110111- Even though other people's children might seem wonderful and perfect, try to remember that certain grumpy-traits are just age-related... so don't trade 'em in.... yet (though my nephew Gabe is my first-round draft pick...)