Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Luke, Patty, Anna Kate, Caroline, and Eleanor

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cousin Time!

Last week we were finally able to get some time away to go up to Virginia to meet my new niece Rebekah, and my new nephew Colton!  Because it's a pretty long drive, we really wanted to wait until we could spend a good amount of time with everyone, and I'm so glad we did.  I got up at 3:30 on Tuesday morning (yes, you read that right) and the girls and I were on the road by four.  The idea was that they would sleep for the first three hours, and then I would only have three more hours after that to keep them entertained.  They really didn't sleep all that much, though!  Maybe an hour or two.  But, they actually did great in the car, thanks to a collection of Dr. Seuss books on CD that I checked out from the library.

We arrived around 10:30 and we spent the next two days with just Stephen and Rachael and Leah and Baby Rebekah.  We played around the house, snuggled babies, went to the park, visited historic Yorktown, and just generally had a wonderful time!  These girl cousins are just so sweet to each other.  Here is a picture of Caroline giving Rebekah kisses!


Leah and Anna Kate are also developing quite a close relationship even though we live so far apart and only see each other a few times a year.  Something very special happened while we were touring historic Yorktown.  My sister-in-law, Rachael, just blogged about it herself, so I will let her tell the story:

"Anna Kate is a very special little girl, and I'm not just saying that because she is my niece. She is a very aware and thoughtful child and has a special place for Leah in her heart. She is very good about initiating interactions with Leah, talking to her and bringing her toys. This, of course, endears her to me all the more! It's hard for young children to understand Leah's disabilities (hey, it's hard for adults to understand!) and to know how to act around her, but Anna Kate is not put off by Leah's differences. She loves Leah as though she were no different. And that makes this Mama's heart full. One of the most special things happened with Leah and Anna Kate. They walked together. It was the first time Leah had ever walked without an adult. 

It was truly a moment of hope fulfilled. Not necessarily that Leah would walk without an adult, but that Leah would walk with a friend. Even thinking about it now, it brings tears to my eyes. As a parent of a child with special needs you look at the "normal" moments in life differently. Making a friend and going for a walk are wonderful milestones in a typically developing child, but in a child with special needs, it is a monumental occasion. We have prayed for a moment like that. We have worried and fretted, wondering what things Leah would do in her life and have had to turn those fears over to the Lord. Praise God that He cares for us enough to take our fears and give us even the smallest of desires, like watching our child walk with another child."


After some special girl time (well, with Stephen too!), Luke arrived on the train Thursday morning and my sister and her crew of boys arrived from DC Thursday night.  If Leah brings out the sweetness in Anna Kate, Sarah's boys definitely bring out her silly side!  Wesley and Cooper just crack her up and she loves to be crazy with them!  They decided to form a band at one point.  I'm not sure what they were performing here, but they certainly were having a good time!

It was so fun to have all SEVEN cousins together for the first time!  Of course, we had to get some pictures of them all together.  Logistically, getting a 5-year-old, a 4-year-old, two 3-year-olds, an 18-month-old, a 3-month-old and a 1-month-old in a picture together was a little difficult, but thanks to some good planning, a picnic table in front of some pretty azaleas, and some Smartie candies (for bribes to sit still), we made it happen!


And just because they are so cute, here are some close-ups of the two babies we went to meet!


To finish off our wonderful week together, we were able to all be there to celebrate sweet Leah's fourth birthday!  Rachael went all out planning a super fun beach-themed party!  The birthday girl and all her cousins and friends had a wonderful time!

Birthday girl opening presents!

 Digging in the sand for buried treasure

 And how cute is this beachy cookie cake!?!?  All made and decorated by Rachael!

After the party, it was time to say goodbye.  The two littlest babies needed some goodbye kisses from Aunt Patty and Uncle Luke!



And, just to tease 5-year-old, Wesley, we told him that he was a baby too!


We left Norfolk around 7:30pm on Saturday night and except for a couple of fusses here and there from Caroline, the girls slept really well all the way home.  We transferred them to their beds around 1:30am and then made it to church by 8:45 that morning.  Let's just say that we ALL took naps on Sunday afternoon!  But spending such special time with our family was more than worth it!

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