This past weekend was very busy, as usual, but very but doing very different things than normal.
For my Mom's 65th birthday we had professional pictures taken at Portrait Simple at the mall in West Hartford. It was...interesting.
The photographer was fine. I think she was used to taking pictures of kids and wasn't quite sure what to do with 5 adults. But, we ended up with some nice shots and Mom got a formal picture of the family like she wanted, so that's what matters in the end.
Our nephew (A, 5.5 yrs old) managed to not actually smile like a normal person in any picture taken.
(Note to self: time limit before 3 and 5 year olds start bouncing off the walls ~ 15 minutes.)
After the photo shoot we went to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch. Another interesting experience for childless folks like us. The food was ok, the whole forest theme is very detailed and the apes were actually pretty cool. The kids certainly enjoyed it, even if they didn't actually eat anything and basically spent the time climbing all over the booth.
Then, the main activity for the weekend: Backyard Camping.
After lunch we all headed back to my brother (J) and sis-in-law (K)'s house. The idea was to introduce the kids to camping in an easy, non-threatening way so that we can really camp with them when they're older.
It went MUCH better than expected.
We played with the kids for a while (they are REALLY good at winning games, it helps when you make up the rules as you go along) and cooked dinner out on the grill - hot dogs, beans, corn, grilled pineapple. They have a "fire pit" that we used for our campfire so we could make s'mores (YUM!).
B and I brought glow sticks to help distract the kids once it got dark. Their normal bed time is actually before sundown in the summer, so they were getting a bit overtired by 9 or so. The glow sticks bought us about 15 more minutes - enough time to clean up - before any major meltdowns.
J&K borrowed a tent from a neighbor that was big enough to sleep them and both kids. They put an air mattress in the tent for the kids (I think K slept on it too). I was jealous, we just had our sleeping bags and mats. At least the weather cooled down enough to sleep comfortably and it did rain or thunder.
The kids quieted down pretty quickly, after B gave them a shadow animal show through the tent wall. We really need to practice how to make better shadow animals, there must be a YouTube video on that...
Amazingly, our niece (S, 3.5 yrs old) managed to sleep outside the entire night (about 10pm until 7am). J stayed in the tent with her. A had an "accident" at about 2:30am, so he and K went back inside to get cleaned up and just stayed in for the rest of the night.
Thanks to the crazy day on Saturday the kids were a little crabby today. So after breakfast B and I headed home :-). Ok, so really it was because we had lots of cleaning and laundry (and napping) to do.
**Pictures will be added as soon