Once Christy B had her baby in March, Niki and I got serious about visiting her. She'd had her 4th c-section and could use an extra hand or two for the other 3 kids. Mostly, we just wanted to see her again, so we bought our tickets and made our plans!
Ah, we were a sight to behold. Niki and I trekked through both the Long Beach and Portland airports in style. Each of us had a baby, a baby carrier (for the terminal and plane), a stroller, a car seat, a large diaper bag, and a big suitcase. We pushed the car seats in the strollers with the diaper bag hanging off it with one hand and hauled our suitcases behind us with the other. I wish I had a picture of one of us doing that, but, um, my hands were full. At least we got this shot. At one point, I stopped and looked at all our "stuff" and how overwhelmed we already were just to get on the damn plane. I joked to Niki, "Hi Christy! We're here to help!!" and we both cracked up.
Both babies were real troopers. I had never flown with a baby before, so it was awesome to take Tessa's first plane ride with an experienced mother. Just watching Niki at the security check made me admire moms the world over. We rented a car in Portland, but with all our gear/children, it was a tight fit. Niki's suitcase rode shotgun while 80-lb Niki squeezed between two car seats in the back. Well, she didn't even have to squeeze, really. In fact, she could have comfortably sat in a car seat herself, except that would have meant we'd have to put my baby on the floor of the passenger seat, just rolling around at every turn. Apparently that's how my family dealt with traveling before all this car seat/laws/safety crap came around. It's a point of pride amongst my siblings that my mom used to drive the older kids to early morning seminary in our Honda stickshift whilst breastfeeding the latest addition. She was probably eating breakfast at the same time.
Upon our arrival, it was necessary to have a proper greeting. This was my version of "proper".
And this was Christy's version. She had made up a room for Tessa and me, and another one for Luke and Niki. She's so fabulous.
And in case you didn't see the welcoming gift on the dresser, here it is up close.
We fussed and fawned over our little welcome baskets (especially since I'd forgotten soap!) and wore those slippers basically everywhere. The chocolate made a nice breakfast. Along with some bacon. John and Christy invited some other Oregonian friends over for dinner the night of our arrival. I'm so glad we keep in touch with all of our Pasadena ex-patriots. We had a ball - excellent food and tons of laughter. The babies, of course, were the hit of the party.
Trying my hand (and lips) at the pan flute. Not shabby!
And I just had to include this one. Tess is sporting a fantastic double chin these days. Ted and I squeeze, stroke and kiss it all the time. I loved that I caught Sharla doing it too.
We made it out of the house twice. Once was to lunch at a Thai restaurant, and this was the most noteworthy picture:
The other outing was just to get some fresh air around the neighborhood. Here are a few shots:
(The abandoned stroller is mine - evident of my future abilities as a mother)
Jane was quite the little helper. When her mom had her hands full, who was there to change Annie's sagging-to-the-knees diaper? Jane! When Annie wouldn't eat dinner, who coaxed bites down her throat by sweet-talking? Jane! When Lizzie cried in her chair and mom couldn't come over right away, who went to soothe her with a little song? Sweet Jane! I, of course, loved that she couldn't wait to hold Tess.
These next pictures I love. Tessa is a mere 5 weeks older than Lizzie, but I couldn't get over how TINY that newborn was. Tess was never that small - born at 9 lbs 1 oz, I never got the feel of a really itty bitty baby. And, being my child, she's porked up even more since her birth. Here are a couple side-by-sides.
Lizzie is already learning how to fend for herself.
This lactation station was where the boobs were whipped out more often than not. At any given time, you'd see one of us with a baby attached to a nipple somewhere in here. And when they weren't attached, you'd almost always here one crying somewhere in the house. So the theme of the week became "is that mine?"
John just loved having additional women in the house. All joking aside, we wondered about the days of polygamy and if you liked your fellow wives, how much fun you could have just hanging out and crafting and cooking with a couple other chickies all the time. Plus you could split up the carpools! The caption to this shot? "Polygamy: not such a bad thing!"
It was a grand five days. The picture below represents the Oreo "milkshakes" I attempted to make but didn't think to get a picture of, and also three women who barely kept it together but who found laughter and solace in each other (the darkest swizzle belonged to my Diet Coke-laced glass. The other two kept theirs filled with "just water" all week - brats).