After church Mia was ready to hit the road. Sadly for her, Katie had a lot of people she wanted to say hello to. She grew up in this area, and there are still a lot of families who were excited to see her and the girls. I'm sure Zach was ready to hit the road with Mia, though, as he doesn't know anyone - but he was a good sport who knows that trying to get Katie to stop visiting is an exercise in futility. She is a social animal.
At last we made it out to the car, much to Mia's immense relief. We got home and got comfy, got out the toys, and of course, that meant the fairy castle. Mia remembers all of the toys, but Hayden doesn't really have a memory of them - it was all a new treasure trove for her. I did have one new item I'd bought: a foam hopscotch game that fits together like a puzzle. The top square is a kitten face, and the whole game is a girly pink. We fit the pieces together in the living room, and Mia practiced her hopscotch, which she said is her very favorite game at school. Hayden hopped along like a little frog right behind her.
Hayden thinking what other trouble she can get into.
I was in the kitchen trying to chop and dice and stir. After awhile I noticed that it was very quiet out in the living room. The girls were gone, and when I asked where they were, Katie said that L had taken them up to his office. When we went up to check, Mia was sitting at L's second desk coloring away on some Strawberry shortcake coloring pages that L/Papa had downloaded and printed out for her. Hayden was also busy coloring pages. Mia told us that she was an "artist of coloring" and that her Papa was an "artist of rooms" - presumably because his office is so nice. Every so often, L would let them strum his electric guitar a little bit, and then they'd go back to coloring. He kept them busy for a couple of hours - it was heaven! I was able to get dinner completely finished while he kept them occupied.
My parents came over for dinner as well - it was their 60th wedding anniversary, but they never get to have the day to themselves because it is also Scott's birthday - and he and Ashley (or as Mia calls her: Aunt Ash-a-lee) also came to dinner. It was one of the best family dinners I've ever had. Everyone had fun, no one cried, the food was good. It was so good to see Katie and Zach, and Scott and Ashley being able to enjoy being together. I think that's what I miss the most with the kids all spread out - everyone being together and having fun. It rarely happens anymore. Even L was having a good time. He usually retreats to his office when we have a house full, but this time he stayed downstairs and visited with Zach and my dad.
Katie and Zach were hoping for a little "alone time" and were hoping that both of the girls would spend the night. Wild horses couldn't have kept Mia from staying over, but Hayden was iffy. We got her bathed and settled in watching a movie, and I thought she would settle in, but all of a sudden she started to scream that her "bum hurt." I called Katie to ask what that means, and Katie told me she had a bad diaper rash. I tried to check her diaper and could see she'd had a "blowout" but she wasn't about to let me do anything about it - she was screaming by this point. Yes, yes - I know I'm the adult here, but have you ever tried to subdue a screaming 2 year old who has a bad diaper rash? It would have taken L to hold her still while I tried to keep the crap contained - literally - to the diaper. I just really didn't want her to go away with a memory of being held down by the two of us, so Katie turned around and came to get her. Hayden is only 2 1/2 - and she wasn't really having the idea of spending the night. So, sadly for Katie and Zach, off she went with them, and we settled Mia in for the night. When I checked on her 5 minutes later, she was out cold. It was a beautiful thing, because I really needed to put my feet up and just chill out. Pretending, playing fairies and unicorns, and quieting screaming toddlers kind of takes it out of you when you're not used to it.
The next day Katie and Zach were taking the girls to Disneyland, and Aunt Ash-a-lee was going too. I kept wishing I was going, but I knew I'd never last as long as they would. And then I'd get crabby and turn into a martyr. Better that they just go and have the best and longest day possible because Disneyland is obscenely expensive. It's disgusting, really, what it costs to get it, but I won't go off on that tangent.
Mia got up and I made her pancakes and bacon (she doesn't like eggs, she said) and she poured her own syrup on her pancakes and dipped her bacon in syrup. A little gourmet. A little while later she was hungry again and had a few blueberries and a strawberry smoothie. We went out on the porch to wait for her mom and dad. And Aunt Ash-a-lee.
Mia contemplating meeting Disney princesses.
Tuesday I was lucky enough to not have a lot of work to do, so I didn't feel bad about spending the day with the gang. We went to Huntington Beach and spent a little time just walking around, shopping, and having some lunch at Wahoo's (fish tacos!) The girls just wanted to go to the beach so we walked across PCH and hit the sand.
Hayden headed straight for the water. Waves kept hitting her, knocking her down, and she'd roll and tumble and come up laughing. Tough kid, that one. Zach finally had to drag her out and dry her off.
I stayed up on the dry sand with Mia. We were collecting small shells, and digging in the sand. The water was a little too cold for her liking so she was happy to stay up with me. It struck me that she is getting her mother's long legs. Brought me right back to when Katie was small.
Mia - our little beach baby.
From there we went back to the hotel for baths and a little rest. Family pictures at 6:00 - we were meeting Katie's friend Michelle down in San Juan Capistrano for a little photo shoot and Katie was working very hard to make sure everyone looked perfect. I remembered how hard it is to get a good family picture when you have a 2 year old, and I kind of felt sorry for her. Hayden was up to no good from the very beginning.
She refused to wear the beautiful hair clip Katie had ordered for her. She insisted on blowing raspberries, arching her back, throwing gravel - anything she could do besides pose for pictures. Photographer Michelle was really working it, and I was feeling sorry for her as well. In the end, Michelle being the genius she is, and Katie being just as stubborn as Hayden is, there were enough good shots to choose from. Here's a small sample: Mia looking lovely, and Hayden with her hair in her eyes.
Mia trying to contain Hayden. Hayden doing her best to escape. So naughty.
L/Papa met us there to say goodbye to the girls, and we spent a little while playing with them and their new Disney toys, and loving them up. It's always so hard for me to say goodbye to my girl Katie too. It seems that we never quite have that girl time for just us and it always leaves us feeling that we need more. As I walked away Mia ran to me and gave me a hug, and then Hayden ran over on her little legs yelling "Huggies! Huggies!"
It was a sweet few days. I haven't even begun to tell all of the sweet little things that were said and done. I think one of my favorite things was seeing L spending time with the girls and enjoying his role as "Papa." I love the feel of tiny hands in mine, and soft cheeks to smooch on. I looked at the clock this morning as their plane took off, and I felt like my heart was going with them. They're off to Arizona for a week with Zach's family, and then it's home to Worcester. Katie said Mia told her that I'm the best grandma. And that's just about the best thing anyone has ever said about me.
Huntington Beach Pier