Monday, January 14, 2008

the non-sleep over

This past weekend I took the girls a couple of hours away to my buddy Susan's house. Actually, we went to Susan's mom's house. Susan's house has, according to her, a severe and hopefully temporary heating problem and a not-so-temporary clutter problem. She may kill me for writing that.

We had been talking back and forth for weeks about having a sleepover with all the kids, which is an idea her girls came up with, I think. My girls just adore, ADORE Susan's girls because they are smart and cute and loads of fun but more importantly, they are older (9 and 11), and therefore they possess an irresistible combination of qualities--they can do critical and mysterious things like safely use sharp knives, operate the microwave, pour liquids without spilling them, and reach things on upper refrigerator shelves like adults can, but they won't tell my girls to eat their vegetables or clean up their room.

Then to add to the fun and chaos and reunionish aspect of the weekend, Trish decided to fly up to join us too. Growing up, Trish and Susan and I were inseparable, until high school graduation when we went to three different colleges in different areas of the state to study three different subjects and enter different careers. And, as a group, we are currently geographically challenged. But we're always in touch to some degree and even when many months go by without seeing each other, when we finally do meet up again and even before any drinks are served, we can pick up right where we left off. That's a great and rare thing.

Leigh Ann and Lauren conspired and planned and shopped and had a whole list of things ready to do to keep everyone entertained. So we all arrived just after lunch, (later than scheduled, as Trish and I were each delayed by a frustrating and unsuccessful cheese ball search. The closest thing to the original that I could find is here . Cheetos apparently discontinued its original product, the one that used to be a staple at our sleepovers 20 years ago, so did Planter's, and the three of us didn't get that memo.) That's ok. We found a new, slightly different sleepover staple--margaritas.

L&L, the little cruise director/girl scouts, took control of my girls and started the activities immediately. I can't remember what they did first. I think it was some stencil drawing, followed by fingernail painting, followed playing dress-up, followed by cookie making, interspersed with Kate and Allison getting on Rusty the Dog like white on rice. And that was all before dinner. Everything that L&L planned was a huge hit.

After dinner the energy level subsided somewhat. The girls watched a video for a while and then finally and altogether too late, crammed into the big girls' room and crashed, leaving us in the living room, still drinking, and yakking about old times and new plans and old news and new, ah...concerns. And we may have stayed up too late ourselves.

If ever there was a morning that I would have appreciated the girls sleeping in, this was it. And with all the activity of the day before I had my hopes up but I think being in a new environment was counter-productive to sleeping well, or late. "Late" being 7:30am. Nothing doing.

In the morning came the vital introduction and instruction on yardstick use. Trish actually brought a wood yardstick on the plane with her for this very important purpose. When we were kids and used to spend the night at Trish's house, her mom got out a yardstick and hit and chased us with it to get us up in the morning. This may or may not have been part of the reason why we usually chose to crash at Susan's house during those years.

Leigh Ann gave it a try on her mom as Trish coached her.
"Ok, that's good, but don't only swat her bottom, you have to poke her in the ribs, too, and be sure to yell 'Get up!' 'Geeeeeeeeeeet up!' at the same time!"

Trish was a fine instructor, though I must observe she lacked the intimidatingly frustrated voice of her mother that not only having six kids, but also having their annoying friends sleeping over creates.

Ah, the memories.

The morning was busy with more dog fun, more crafts, and some hair braiding.

The girls had a fantastic time, until nearly lunch time when I absolutely had to leave to make it back home for Poppy's birthday dinner that afternoon. It was sad to have to go as our time together went by so quickly. We weren't two minutes down the road before the girls started asking when they would see Leigh Ann and Lauren again, and, because like all successful sleepovers it was decidedly lacking in sleep, we were not ten minutes down the road before they all dozed off.

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