Roughly 355 days out of the year, I am with my children 24/7....give or take.
And roughly, 355 days out of the year....I really love this arrangement.
Give or take...
Coffee Art.  It's a beautiful thing.
But, for just about a week every winter, and for the same amount of time every summer - my sweet Mama and Daddy-O kidnap our babies and take them up HOME for a few days.  It's tradition, and it's one of the highlights of the year for my kids.  Up North, they are educated in all things Redneck - like target practicing out the basement door and driving laps around the house on four wheelers.  They stay up late watching movies, they eat copious amounts of junk food, they trap wild animals and drive on old back roads to release them....and they live the County Life for a week...getting their love tanks filled to overflowing while spending time with two of the most important people to ever mold me into the woman who I am today.

That's a gift, man.  A treasure.
One in which I do not take lightly, and one in which we all look forward to and savor.
My sweet parents are saints, and need a long winter's nap when all is said and done....
My kids come home feeling loved and spoiled...with tales of glory and adventure.
One of our favorite coffee spots...
And, this Mama over here....
Well, those five days were jet fuel to my soul.
They are my push to re-set.
And they give me just enough of a break from my normal reality...that I crave the chaos of their return.

I see my kids with fresh eyes.
All of the empty, quiet spaces that were my life for the previous week are all flooded back in with CRAZY.
And I fall in love with my life all over again.
The Stonehurst Manor in North Conway, New Hampshire.
One of our favorite getaway spots...
That little break...that little recharge has done wonders for my soul.
I have a fresh set of eyes.  I have renewed vision for our days.
Kev and I have had full and complete conversations.
We've usually skipped Dodge for a day or two.
We have reconnected.  We have both recharged.

And we find ourselves craving the chaos once again....
It's a good thing to crave your kids.  I LOVE getting the chance to really really miss them....all the while knowing they are having the time of their lives.
Meanwhile.....we are as well!
I will be forever grateful to my parents for ASKING to take my kids.
I don't take lightly the role that they play.
I honestly believe that (good! godly!) grandparents play a role in our kids' lives that we cannot play.
I LOVE surrounding them with older and wiser people.
I LOVE seeing the active role that my parents play in their grandchildren's lives.
I love hearing of their conversations and their discussions on.....whatever.
And I love the memories that they will have - just like I still do - of the countless nights spend at my own Grammy's house.

It's a beautiful thing.
Happy Valentine's Day.  To us.
And so, I thank you - sweet parents - for loving on my babies.
Thank you for loving me....just by the way that you love on them.

I apologize for anything that may have gotten broken during their stay.
Because.....I'm SURE it happened...
...and for your ears that are probably ringing from the car ride back to meet us.
...for any potty accidents London probably had.
,..for the super de duper early mornings that you all got to experience.
...for the brothers who (I'm positive) still wrestled like puppies (even though I repeatedly warned them not to).  I'm sure they still did it.  They can't help it.  It's how they show their love.
...for the squabbles I'm sure you had to referee.
...and for the groceries that got destroyed by four Hoolie children.
P.S. ~ Any family secrets that Jesse told, be assured that they were embellished....

I'm fully aware that my parents are some of the BEST....
I think for a wee, small fee they could be rented.  I can check for anyone inquiring....

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