Wednesday, February 23, 2011

President's Day: Roadtrip & friendship

What did you do this weekend?  It's a perfectly natural question, especially on the heels of a long weekend.  Around here, it's school vacation week, so many folks are away for the duration... off skiing or to Florida or some other sunny destination.  As for us, we had the good fortune to visit friends in Boston... which seems to evoke a fair amount of awe from most folks.  I'm pretty sure they're not stunned to discover that we actually have friends (I'd like to think that we're a fairly affable bunch!) but rather, that we packed up five kids six and under for a four hour car ride for a three day weekend; I think it's our sheer numbers that send most folks into a tailspin.

But this trip was an easy one.  In fact, it's the lightest I've packed since long before Kevin, Declan and Cormac arrived on the scene.  A typical weekend away relies on the following checklist:
  • One Swagger Wagon packed to the gills
  • Two strollers -- either two doubles or a double and a single, depending on our destination and available cargo space
  • Three pack & plays (with sheets) and three portable high chairs
  • Four DVDs (At least -- our passengers have grown accustomed to "in-flight entertainment")
  • Five kids (a frequent head count ensures they're all present and no one gets left "home alone")
  • Six varieties of snacks (to ensure that "in-flight service" can be maintained from our front door to arrival at our destination and account for potential traffic jams)
  • Seven water bottles -- one for each of us. Yes, even Mom and Dad get to drink water!
The list goes on and on... diapers and wipes, blankies and "wawas", books and games and on occasion, even Finn, the family pet, who weighs in at 90 pounds and likes to travel with a stuffed dog as big as he is. 

But this past weekend was different.  We didn't bring the highchairs -- at almost 2 1/2, we figured the triplets could get by without them for a few nights.  We didn't bring the pack & plays -- our friends borrowed them (and had them assembled awaiting our arrival!).  We didn't bring two strollers -- we knew we could borrow one if we needed it.  And, we left Finn with Aunt Fiona for the weekend, which really freed up some room in the minivan!

All we packed was our bags... which were admittedly overflowing over with onesies, pull-ups, pjs, jackets, boots, Liam's entire baseball collection and more than a fair share of Ciara's "babies"... but, even so, this was nothing given what we're accustomed to.  What might typically be ten trips to and fro with tots and bags was reduced to just a handful.  This past President's Weekend, we were treated like royalty and couldn't be more grateful to our friends and their extended family for taking us in. 

We arrived in the midst of a violent thunderstorm -- which, in the middle of February in the Northeast is not only unusual but just didn't feel like a good omen!  Alas, all worked out in the end though -- for us, anyway.  I swear that our kids finished off at least a gallon of milk, several boxes of cereal, several dozen chicken nuggets, a couple of pizzas, pancakes galore and pasta aplenty.  While the thunderstorm subsided, we left a torando of crumbs and toys in our wake.  We didn't even pack away those pack & plays! 

I guess I'm not stirring up a lot of positive PR for the Lyons Den as houseguests but ,that's not the point.  The point is that we are truly blessed to have friends who lighten our load both literally and figuratively.  And, friends who against all odds have offered to have us back again.  I have to say, I'm looking forward to a return trip and Aud, if you're reading this, next time I'll do my best to remember to pack socks and a coat!  Needless to say, I left these crucial items off my own packing list and was lucky enough to borrow them... because hey, that's what friends are for right?  May we always be so lucky!

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