While this summer has been spent unpacking the house, we have also hosted friends and family when they have come to visit. It has been nice to have people over at our house. Quality time with those we care about is important.
I was a little nervous when one of my best friends came to visit with her three kids, who are also my godchildren. They are six, five and three. I wanted them to have fun and enjoy themselves. And I hoped that I would have enough to keep them busy! I'm not a mom, so I was a little worried. Could I hack it for a weekend? Of course my friend was coming and it was not like I'd have them all on my own, but I wanted to do a good job.
Fortunately, our new house is right down the street from a fun little park and splash pad. I was just hoping for good weather. There is also an ice cream shop down the other way. So, that was good for a walk and a treat. Then I looked online for touristy kinds of things and there is a nice children's museum in town. Plus, if we had good weather, there are nature parks with hiking trails that the kids could handle, as I've seen other families there in the past.
I had an outline of big ideas, but wanted to think about the time between, too. Kids have a lot of energy and if they do not have something to do, they will find something. So, T~ and I went shopping for toys. He has young nephews around the same age. We figured buying some toys would be a good investment. We picked out some things for inside and outside play. I tried to get some things that can be gender neutral and a few things that may be a little more gender specific. For example, Legos are great for many kids and for a good range of ages. Lots of kids like to play with kitchen sets, color, use play-doh and play with outdoor toys, like hula hoops and a kickball. But, I also got some superhero action figures with a couple of small vehicles and a princess doll set with a small fold up castle. I tried to stay within a budget and not get too crazy. Another thing we had going for us is that my husband has a good collection of Pixar movies and we have Netflix. Not that we want to rely on TV, but it was likely to rain.
In addition, I worried about what the kids would want to eat. I checked in with my friend and then went grocery shopping. Again, I didn't want to go crazy, but at least have a few options. I just really wanted my friend and her children to feel welcomed. I thought about the times my brother and I would visit family as little kids and tried to pull from those experiences as to what made us feel comfortable and welcomed in someone's home. A little bit can go a long way.
Finally, I was concerned about whether or not I'd have the energy to keep going the whole weekend. I'm pretty used to a quiet house and that is very different than three small children. I hoped I would not feel overwhelmed.
However, the weekend visit went very well! The kids played nicely and had a lot of fun. I got to enjoy quality time with my friend. And I hoped she felt like she may have gotten somewhat of a break with the trip. Her husband has been very busy with work and as a stay-at-home mom, she does a lot of the caregiving.
The kids loved the park and splash pad. We went to the park the first night after dinner. They had a lot of fun going on the swings and teeter totter and climbing equipment. The next morning we went to the splash pad before it had a chance to rain. The day before was better weather for it, but the kids still enjoyed it. They were very silly running around, slashing and filling a bucket of water. Just good old water play and exploring.
We also went to a small, free farm at one of the Metro parks. It ended up being smaller than we thought and it was self-guided. With the possibility of rain, we were the only ones there. I thought it was kind of a bust, but it turns out that the kids got a kick out of it. They talked quite a bit about it the next morning.
They had a blast at the kid's museum, which I'm very glad that T~ came along so that each child could be paired with a grown-up. This gave each child the ability to explore and spend as much time as they liked in the different areas. It flowed well and we generally stayed together, but one or two may have lingered before moving onto the next thing or maybe skipped something that was not as interesting from time to time. We spent quite a bit of time at the museum. It was fun to play along with them, too.
The kids were very cute. My friend said they could not wait to come and visit. She said they were so excited to come to our house. I've been to their house lots of times, but I think this was a fun adventure for them. Snuggles and hugs and happy memories made. I hope my friend comes to visit again, and we'd welcome the kids, too. It was a successful, fun weekend!