Monday, October 12, 2015

Heather's Visit

Two weekends ago, Eric went to Denver for a work-related thing and I invited my sister Heather up to keep me company. Heather has only visited us in Jacksonville once before, back when we had just moved here. We were still in our old apartment, so this was her first visit to our house. I was so excited to have her come see our current digs! And of course, the kids were just as thrilled as I was to have her stay with us for a few days.

Heather arrived Thursday evening and was kind enough to babysit E.J. for us so Eric and I could go to Ellie's Open House and focus on her. Then, having her here allowed me to drive Eric to the airport early Friday morning, leaving us girls to manage the kids all weekend. Heather was an enormous help!

Heather handling the bedtime story!

On Friday, we went to our local library for storytime, then walked over to San Marco Square to play for a bit. I was excited to show Heather our neighborhood!

Heather and E.J. at storytime

After storytime, Ellie and Heather made a "parade" around the children's department!

Dancing in Balis Park

After lunch, naps and dinner, we ventured back out for the members-only opening night of the Nature Unleashed exhibit at MOSH. Ellie was very excited to "see some science" and see some science we did. As soon as we arrived, the MOSH "weather crew" interviewed Ellie, and she actually played along! They asked her if she's ever been through a hurricane and she answered "yes," though I don't think she actually knew that she was, in fact, in Hurricane Sandy! We wandered all through the museum, checking out the various learning stations they had set up in addition to visiting our favorite exhibits. And, of course, we checked out the Nature Unleashed exhibit which was actually really cool. I look forward to going through it again and looking at everything more closely soon.

Making a hurricane in a bowl, then Ellie drew her own hurricane on a map

Snakes! This has nothing to do with weather but it just isn't a trip to MOSH without a stop in the animal room.

Learning about lightning

After the museum we walked out to Friendship Fountain to show Heather the river views. Jacksonville was looking lovely!

A nice little bit of Jacksonville-ian orange and blue action

When we got home and put the kids to bed, Heather and I spent the evening drinking wine, watching movies and chatting. Let me tell you—that was good for my soul. I have so missed having my sister around to talk to and it felt so indescribably great to sit next to her on a couch, drinking wine together and talking about life. I needed that!


On Saturday morning we took our time getting out of the house, then went to the seahorse park for a little while. E.J. was so funny: he took a liking to a grandfather that was there with his son and grandkids, and when the men were standing around talking, E.J. would just walk right into the center of their little circle and start chatting them up. Then he insisted the grandfather hold him (and he kindly obliged) and cried when I tried to take him back. For whatever reason, he loved that guy!

He also saw a kid climb this tree and desperately wanted to try it for himself.

The E.J. Strut

Riding the seahorse!


When we were ready for lunch, we walked over to Maple Street Biscuit Company and had an absolutely divine meal. Ellie wasn't interested in it, but Heather and I loved it and E.J. quite enjoyed the biscuits and sweet potato fries.


Double-fisted biscuit eating

Of course, after lunch we had to stop for a little more play time in Balis Park.

E.J. in the park

He discovered this (slightly deranged-looking) dog statue and it was love at first sight. He even kissed it.

After naps we set out again in continuation of Heather's tour of San Marco. This time, we walked over to Treaty Oak. A large wedding party was taking photos there, so we stayed off to the side and out of the way as much as possible, but the kids had fun playing under the big tree nonetheless.

Everybody run!

Heather and Ellie at Treaty Oak

E.J. got up close and personal with some dirt

Tried to get a nice picture of the three of them at the tree, but Ellie wanted to make silly faces and E.J. wanted to crawl/climb to his death so this was the best we could do.

After getting the kids put to bed, Heather and I resumed our evening ritual of wine, movies (Brad Pitt in "Troy" was the night's selection) and good conversation. I also kept tabs on the Gator game via Siri's oh-so-eloquent updates.

More bedtime stories from Aunt Heather

Preach on, Siri.

On Sunday morning, we went to the zoo. Ellie was so excited to show Aunt Heather all the animals! It was a nice cool day and we had a really nice time!

Sleepy rhino

Ellie on the rocks by the elephant exhibit

Pretty penguin

Group selfie!

E.J. got to ride the carousel big-boy-style for the first time!

Heather and the kids on the carousel!

The rest of the day was a quiet one at home. We went back for lunch, put the kids down for naps, and then spent the evening relaxing and watching Rapunzel (with Ellie in full costume, of course).

E.J. getting a closer look at Pascal

"Mama, there's something missing in this hand. I need a frying pan. Rapunzel has a frying pan."

When the kids went to bed, Heather and I watched a few episodes of "Orange is the New Black" before I had to leave to pick Eric up from the airport.

The next morning, we all took our time getting going. Mid-morning we said our goodbyes to Heather, who left our house and went straight to Epcot for the Food and Wine Festival. Meanwhile, the rest of us went to the grocery store. So, you know. Samesies.

Thanks so much for coming, Heather! It was a big help having you here, and even more than that it was just so great to spend time with you again. We've all missed you! Please come back whenever you like!

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