This weekend, we hosted our children's first slumber party. My good friend and her husband were celebrating a milestone wedding anniversary, so a few months ago, I volunteered to watch their three children so they could get away for a few days. Their almost eight-year-old daughter has been in the same class as our children since kindergarten and is in Girl Scouts with our girls. And their newly turned nine-year-old son is in Cub Scouts with William. Their five-year-old daughter will be a rising kindergartner with Henry in the Fall ... and all seven of the children swim (and dive) on the same team.
While we've never hosted a sleep over before, the circumstances for this event were just right. Although, when I told Charlie about my offer that was accepted and we'd be watching seven children - under the age of 10 for a weekend - he was initially concerned. I think his exact comments were, "Wait a minute. Whoa, whoa, whoa. You said we'd do what? For how long?"
That Charlie ... he's so funny!
Because I believe that (just about) anything is possible with the right amount of planning and good attitude, I'd mentally prepared a laundry list of activities to do - including a trip to the pool and free children's concert - because I thought that for sure they'd get restless and we'd need to go out for an adventure. But since we only wound up watching the children for one night and the time went so fast, we never did leave the house. Here are some photographic highlights from our time together.
Painting rocks from the creek.
A picnic, on an absolutely perfect day.
150 water balloons which took Charlie and I more than one-hour to inflate with water.
150 water balloons which took the children less than five minutes to toss and explode.
The garden hose, which was easier and much more saturating than water balloons.
The necessary gear to defend one's self against the garden hose...
When said garden hose is in the control of one's merciless brother.
Taking a remarkably well-behaved dog for a walk (I think he likes her hat and glasses)....
Henry, dressed in his knight costume, helping to set his tent up for the night, while being observed by a potential future prom date. Henry has many crushes but this five-year-old, who loves Spiderman as much as he does (as evidenced by the mask she is holding) really makes his little heart go pitter-patter.
She also loves ice cream ...
And dancing ...
And jousting. In the foreground, the girls having a hula-hoop contest; in the background, Charlie laboring on his, I mean the children's, new tree house.
Elizabeth, the first to stand on the floor of the new tree house. A big moment, indeed.
The little tent (on the left) that the boys slept in ... the big tent (on the right) where the girls slept. The girls needed more space, because in the boys' words, "Crazy takes up A LOT of room." Oh boys ... you have no idea.
Although it was a cloudless night (with no forecast of rain) and a nearly full moon, we set up a path illuminated with lanterns from the tents to the backdoor so that the children could easily find their way back to the house in the dark, if needed.
Building dams, fishing and splashing in the creek. Charlie and I sitting outside until past midnight waiting for the incredibly excited children to fall asleep in the tents. Henry, waking up and coming inside at 3:00AM and declaring that he is cold and wants to sleep with us. William and his friend waffling back and forth about sleeping in the tent? Or in the house? Or in the tent? Or in the house? Before deciding to sleep in the tent ... until they came in to the house at 4:30AM and woke me up because they'd changed their mind again and would be playing with Legos in William's room. The four girls coming in to the house at 6:01AM and asking if it was breakfast time yet because the sun was already up and they were HUNG-RY! Me, going outside at 6:15 AM to extinguish the lanterns and feeling the first raindrops. Me, throwing rain tarps on the tents, because taking them down would have to wait until after breakfast.
This is breakfast.
This is five minutes after breakfast when the rain (which had not been forecasted) was coming down in BUCKETS. I'm just glad that it didn't start raining when the kids were still in the tents, or they would have only had an hour of sleep as opposed to a whopping two.
Making a three-foot anniversary card for their parents.
Marble runs, in a warm cozy house - after the kids exhausted their energy building forts out of couch cushions. I think they are asleep with their eyes open in this picture.
My friend and her husband said they had a wonderfully fun and relaxing time on their getaway. We really had wonderful time, too. Albeit not a "relaxing" time since I suspect it'll take us several days to recover from the "fun" of just one night.