What an eventful week at the Valentino household! We broke our normal routine and Stephanie kept the kids until Friday last week. Why break routine you ask? – Stephanie and her husband went on vacation this past Saturday to Wednesday – so Matt and I not only kept James and Jordan, but Noah (Steph and Paul’s son) too!
Back in November, Stephanie asked us about keeping the kids while they go on vacation – Noah too. My first instinct was to say “Yes!”, because Noah is hilarious, adorable and always welcomed at our house. This was also seven months ago – before Stephanie and I became friends. I was actually shocked and honored that she asked us. I talked it over with Matt and he had no problem with it, so we set the date and the day finally arrived this past week.
The responses I got from some people about Noah staying with us weren’t shocking to me. I know it might sound like a crazy idea, but it’s really not. Noah is 3 years old. To the best of my knowledge I don’t think he has stayed with anyone else besides family in his entire life, let alone be away from both of his parents for longer than an over night stay. Stephanie trusted us. She trusts us with James and Jordan and I know she felt that he would be taken care of so she wouldn’t have to worry as much. All three of her kids would be under the same roof. It only made sense to have him stay with us in my mind and I’m so happy he did!
Saturday morning we all woke up and Matt made pancakes and eggs. The kids and I packed lunches for our “adventure day” that I had planned at the park later. Matt left for work and the four of us headed out to the park. We live near a place where there are 10 jungle gyms in a 5-mile radius. We went to about four different parks and ate our lunch in the warm afternoon sun. When we left to head back to the house for Noah’s nap, all three kids passed out in the back seat. Mission accomplished!
I’m pretty sure we did almost everything on Noah’s list of things he wanted to do:
- Go to a lot of parks (we went to 10!)
- Play outside (they played for hours outside with each other and the neighbor kids)
- Get slurpees (we made a special stop after dinner one night)
- Go to Taco Bell
- Watch Goosebumps (Noah’s favorite movie of all time – so he says)
- Play in the water (they played in the rain, what kid doesn’t love that?)
- Eat Donuts for breakfast (we went to our local bakery Sunday morning and the kids picked out their favorite donuts)
- Build a fort (right in front of the TV on a rainy night with popcorn)
The only thing I can think we missed was going to Witches Hat Brewery. Noah informed us he LOVES going to Witches Hat and it is one of his favorite places to go. LOL The boy can recognize a good brewery, gotta give him props for that!
I’ve missed hearing tiny voices in the house, the toddler giggles and pitter patter of little feet. Our babies aren’t babies anymore. The munchkins are growing up so fast, right before our eyes – I swear it was just the other day I was chasing their naked little bodies around the house after bath time. Now it’s all about dance recitals and baseball games. So many memories came flooding back to me throughout the week and I also realized I didn’t lose my touch on being able to decipher toddler language. I still got it!
Watching James with Noah has actually made me a little emotional. James is an amazing big brother, I’ve always known that, but how he is with Noah – just blows me away. The kindness, compassion and over all love those two have for each other is a bond that could never be broken. James has grown up so much and seeing him in this role has really showed me that. Noah loves James and Jordan, but James and him have a different connection, a deeper one.
Seeing Matt with little kids always makes me smile. Kids LOVE this man. They must sense his inner child. When I walked out of the bedroom on Saturday morning, I found Noah and Matt laughing hysterically in the kitchen while James and Jordan looked at them like they were nuts. All this just reassures me I’ve truly met my match and reminds me the very reason I feel in love with this man in the first place. He’s a phenomenal father and the kids are lucky to have a dad who loves being goofy just as much as they do.
Another thing I’ve been thinking about is what adding another child to the mix might be like. I have had a lot of flash backs of the kids since Noah has been here. I forgot how silly a 3 year old could be. I’ve missed those years and Matt agrees. This has made us even more confident in our decision in growing our family.
Monday, Matt was home from work. He took the two older kids to school, then Noah, Matt and I headed out to more parks. We played freeze tag and hide-n-seek until it was time for lunch. We went to a nice downtown area with little shops and pubs and sat outside on their patio, while enjoying the gorgeous Michigan weather.
Our five days with Noah has came to an end and everyone kept telling me by the end I will be singing a different tune about having Noah over, but I’m not and neither is Matt. This little 3 year old has so many people in his life he can depend on and I hope he knows he is ALWAYS welcome at Jess and Matt’s house. Even though he isn’t one of ours, he is apart of our huge, crazy, blended family. His laugh, his smile and all of his silliness is what makes him one kick ass kid, and I’m proud James and Jordan get to have him as a brother.