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So I am happy to report that my Christmas prayer was indeed answered. My sons and I had a lovely visit with my parents and their aunties and uncles. Patience was in abundant supply most of the time, no valuable objects were broken (if you don´t count the wineglass Chip kicked to the ground on purpose under my dad´s nose, still would have liked to have been a fly on the wall for THAT one!) and holiday cheer (mainly in liquid form) and goodwill were readily available too.

Gloves were worn without complaint, though for some reason pajamas were the preferred choice of clothing and much time was spent discussing why we could not put on Superhero car pjs at 1:30 in the afternoon. Of course exceptions were made for Christmas day (and maybe the day of Christmas eve, and the day after….ok, let´s just say we wore PJs during the day a lot, but hey, we were on vacation).


Even the aunties like PJs….

hey Nicky, are you drinking your bottle in street clothes??? how the heck did that happen??

As for my concerns about being punctual, that was pretty much a non-issue, largely because we weren´t invited to many holiday parties, at least not with two small children. Which in the end was just fine!

The outings we did attempt were to visit friends in their homes and atop their ponies, which is definitely the best place to play with other kids, as seen here:



We might have also tried to “have coffee” in town with dear old friends. While “having coffee” between consenting adults really means a short yet meaningful encounter shared over a cup of java often accompanied by some sort of scone you would never eat if you weren´t “having coffee”, with two small children it really means free run of an enclosed and not child-proof space (the coffee shop itself) and a small truckload of sugary pastries to keep them occupied while I attempt to conduct a meaningful “I can´t believe it´s been 10 years” conversation with someone who does not have two small children, otherwise we never would have met in a coffee shop.

This encounter is inevitably punctuated by the verbal child repeatedly announcing ” I want to go home” while the baby forages for the crumbs of said sugary pastry under the table and using those amazing pincer skills, picks them straight up off the (unwashed and snowboot-trod) floor and into his mouth before I can intercept. Which isn´t really an option anyway as I am trying to learn about what you have been up to, the state of your love life and which is the most gratifying of the eight amazing jobs you´ve held in the past five years. Our conversation is surely interrupted as I look up and smile wanly when someone unsuccessfully attempts to enter the café through the door onto which Nicky is blowing bubbles into the glass panes with no absolutely no intention of moving.

Yes, doing everything with two small children tucked under your arm is challenging, but not impossible. And encounters with old friends who are in the same boat as me (i.e. also carrying small wiggling bundles under their arms everywhere they go) were lovely experiences spent in playrooms, building forts and ensuring that no one was brained with a Duplo, which beats the coffee shop attempt any day…  as seen here:

visit colette and lauren

We also got a chance to play in the snow, which lasted the first 5 days of our visit, but that was enough. Thank goodness I lugged one snowsuit and bought another for exactly two snowball fights! Never hurts to be prepared….

Charlie throwing snowballs snowsuit 1

charlie snowsuit

Nico snowsuit

Zippers are always tasty, especially when there is a chance they might stick to your lip!







Yes, he´s immobile, yes, it´s cold and yes, I am trying to push THAT stroller in THAT tall snowy grass.

yet the camera comes out

and he´s all smiles.

Love this kid!

So there´s a quick recap of the first half of our Virginia visit, stay tuned for more in the next few days!