After my Pennsylvania and Texas relatives left town last week, Tory, Aden and I spent the remainder of our days in Nebraska with my parents, my sister Ashley and her family. It was back to work as usual for the adults, so I offered to babysit my nieces Brooke and Neeley in the mornings while my sister worked. I felt a bit limited what I could do with four kids (ages 7, 3, 2, and 1) because I couldn't fit enough car seats into my car to drive anywhere, but we managed to fill our time with walkable trips to the park and playtime at my parent's house. Let me say this; walking four little kids (namely, a toddler and preschooler with short, little legs) to the closest playground was a bit like herding cats down the sidewalk. We ate lots of snacks along the way and played many games of "I Spy" to keep the group moving along.
The playground we visited each morning was actually my childhood elementary school and not surprisingly, hadn't changed in the 30 years since I was enrolled there. It seemed like yesterday I was cruising around those slides and monkey bars, which felt nostalgically impossible now as a grown adult. Super surreal seeing my own kids and nieces climbing around the same spots now.
In the afternoons, the kids and I headed to my sister's house to play there after she got off of work. We'd put Aden and Neeley down for naps and let Tory and Brooke run through the sprinkler while my sister Ashley and I sat in lawn chairs in the drive-way.
Tory was pretty unsure about running through the sprinkler, not ever wanting water on her face, but Brooke was able to prod her into participating. The hot afternoon sunshine solidified the official start of summertime.
One day after nap time, Aden and Neeley joined the big kids in the sprinkler. Neeley wasn't so sure about it until we turned the sprinkler down low, but Aden was a huge fan of the sprays of water. He'd walk right into the water and stand there while it pelted him in the face. Wet hair, don't care!
Daily freezie popsicles to beat the heat were mandatory, obvs.
Sometimes these cousins tend to butt heads after spending too much time together (especially Tory and Neeley, being just a year apart in age) but overall they played so well together during this visit. It's fun to see their relationships with one another grow stronger. I know Tory will be talking about memories made for months to come.