My mom and dad took the kids for five nights (Count them - FIVE. NIGHTS.) this past week.
I know, right?  I am fully aware of the gift that I have in my parents.
They take them for almost a week every winter and every summer.

They ask to do this...
I don't even have to beg...

I hope I'm that cool of a grandparent when I get older.  I hope I'm not too old and washed up.
I also hope my kids don't have a lot of children...  Juuuust kidding.  Truly, I jest.
I fully intend to give this same gift to my kids, if they will let me.
Trader Joe's.
One of my most favorite places in the world.
A week of refreshment.
A week of rest.  Of spending quality, intentional time with your spouse.
Time to refuel.  To fill back up spiritually, emotionally, physically....
It's been amazing.
Old Port.  Delish coffee.

And it's been awesome for the kids, as well.

Both Kev and I have some of our most favorite childhood memories that include extended time with our grandparents.  Some of my most cherished memories that I hold the most dear were times spent at my Grammy's house on overnights.  And I did this all the way up through high school.  Simple pleasures like long, leisurely breakfasts.  Playing duets on the piano.  Grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken and stars soup for lunch.  Staying up late talking in bed together.  Watching movies.  Picking flowers.  Catching frogs in the pond and taking them up to the house to show her my treasure!  Those memories are forever, firmly implanted upon my soul - a part of who I am today.  And my parents are now giving my children those same, deep memories for themselves.  What a gift!
Coffee art.  
I hesitate to even write about it, because I am well aware of friends who don't have this same gift in their family members.  One of my dearest friends said to me the other day:  "I have a love/hate relationship with your mother."  I get it.  Mom's a rockstar.  A lot of grandparents don't -- or even, can't -- do this for their grown children.

I know.

And the real beauty behind it all, is that the kids live to go up there. They love it...and I swear, they don't even miss us.  Mom and Dad have a laundry list a mile long of things to do with them while they're up Home.  They've spent the night in Dad's little cabin out back; he's dragged them behind the four-wheeler on some sort of homemade contraption over the snow.  They've watched movies and ate an obscene amount of junk food. They've stayed up late.  Dad's done projects with them....  And Mom's even done school with them!
Afternoon tea at our Inn.  Super sophisticated we are....
My parents are amazing.
They are intentional with their time.
They've loved on my kids as though they are their own.
They have filled their love tanks full to the tippy top brim.
And in doing so, they have filled up mine, as well.
This is the gift I want to give to my own kids some day.
Duck Fat Sandwich Shop.
Still having trouble wrapping my brain around that one...
And so, while my parents loved on my babies...Kevy and I snuck away for a much anticipated Belated Valentine's Day getaway.  We blitzed it South just a wee bit and spent two nights and three days at a sweet little Inn and had the best time -- just doing nothing.  It was so blissy!  We slept in, we ate lots of beautiful food.  We poked around some fun little shops.  We took naps.  We went out for coffee in the evening - just because we could.

And we reconnected.
We assessed and reassessed.
We asked ourselves questions like:  How are we doing?  Where are we going?  How is our family? What things need to change?  What things are really great?  How are our jobs?  Where do we need to be more intentional?  What do we need to take off of our plates?  What should be added?  Where do we see ourselves in five years?  Are we good?  Are we connected?  Is there anything we need to talk about?

Holy Donut.  Made with mashed potatoes.
Hands down the BEST donut I have ever eaten in my entire life.
Well worth every. single. calorie.
Good questions -- always good to ask and re-ask every few months -- especially when life has you passing like ships in the night sometimes...and when your family has spent an entire month puking.  I also really love having a few days in a row of extended, uninterrupted conversation.  That was quite lovely....

And so....while the re-entry might be just a wee bit painful...and a little bit shocking to the senses....
We are ready.
We are filled.
We are connected.
And we are missing our Loves....

And I will look across the room at him - over the heads of three little boys and one crazy little girl....
I will have to raise my voice just a bit - over the bedlam and chaos that is our life....
We'll start a couple of conversations and then we'll give each other a knowing look that says:  "Let's wait just a couple of hours til the Hoolies are tucked in for the night...."

And then, we'll curl in close...for a night of sleep involving multiple interruptions for sure...and an early morning that will come ALL too soon....

...And I'll tell him this:  "It's crazy.  But it's good.  It's SO very, very good.  And I wouldn't have it any other way...."

We are blessed beyond measure.
Pressed down and overflowing...

To my parents, I thank you.
For loving on my babies.
For giving us this gift of Time together.
For filling love tanks full to overflowing....
We are so very blessed indeed.

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