Pullman to West Point 2011 (Part 2) – 8 Kids, 2 Dogs…

The next chapter of the moving adventure takes place at my brother’s house in Virginia and today happens to be his birthday, so I’ll set the stage by telling you a little bit about him.

He is a very gifted Senior Submarine Radio Chief, which means that he can execute and troubleshoot communications from beneath the ocean while my cell phone service is sketchy 30 miles north of New York City. If you met him you might think he can be heard from underwater because he never picked up on the concept of an “indoor voice” but in reality it’s because he is seriously smart and very good at what he does. In fact, he is like a Submarine Whisperer. He helps little attack vessels to express themselves from deep, dark depths.

Okay, maybe his job isn’t quite so touchy feely and if he ever reads this he will be shouting “Oh, my….…!” in his outdoor voice at about this point, so I’ll stop bragging on him and get back to what is relevant to my summer itinerary regarding my brother, and that is that he is a great guy, a great dad and….

…he has F-I-V-E children. The oldest is E-I-G-H-T. 8, 6, identical twin two-year olds, a 5 month-old and a dachshund named – get this – Sampson!

I love every one of them to pieces! They are seriously adorable, but when you add my three boys, my dog and factor in Rob’s version of an indoor voice, you get a lot of kids, a lot of noise and, not very many adults.

I would stop here and simply tell you which days I was at their house, but some of you have been asking to hear about “The Weekend” for which many titles have been suggested, to include “Lisa Plus Eight”, “Super N-Auntie” and “Adventures in Babysitting”. So here goes….

I am a master of bright ideas (my husband sometimes calls me a GFI Fairy), so it occurred to me before I even left Washington that Rob and Betsy might need a break – some couple time. So, I offered to watch all of the kids while they went away for a weekend. I even kind of hounded his wife, Betsy, whom I also love dearly, about my idea. I may have even said it would be a piece of cake because, although Ric would be long gone to West Point, my 13 and 11 and 9 year-olds would be a great help.

And, they were a great big help, but I ate the “piece of cake” part cold for dinner less than two hours after I saw Rob and Betsy out the door. The twins and the baby all did their big diaper jobs at the same time just as the enchiladas that my sweet little niece (the only girl in the bunch) had requested were coming out of the oven. Thankfully, JP is competent with oven mitts! I worked my way through about 82 baby wipes while he distributed enchiladas to the hungry throngs around the dining room table. It was kind of like the opening volley of a fireworks display though. After the initial burst, the explosions settled into a steady, pleasant rhythm and we actually had a very enjoyable weekend.

If you’re noticing the lack of pictures: it’s because all electronic devices were stowed in the overhead bins for this flight.

I think Rob and Betsy had a good time and I would happily do it again. Really. No shower all weekend, but my niece and I did manage to bake cookies so it was great.

Lest you start thinking I’m some sort of great unselfish person you should know that I am NOT, as evidenced by the fact that I took off for Georgia two days later and left my big hulking dog with them as if Betsy didn’t already have enough kid and dog to worry about. Then I came back, stayed a few more days and left him again to join Ric for 10 days in the Army lodge in New York where we’re still waiting on our Quarters. Apparently he’s been stealing waffles from toddlers while I’ve been away and surely he’s been finding terrifically inconvenient places to take his long naps. But, I am finally getting ready to drive back to Virginia this morning to pick him up and if all goes according to plan I will once again be captain of the Dog Breath Mobile on Thursday to get him back here and spend a night with him in our empty quarters before the movers bring our furniture on Friday morning.

I also want to say how much I truly enjoyed the few days I got to share with my sister-in-law. Of course the uninterrupted talks of days gone by were impossible in the midst of Todderdom, but I really enjoy her personality and company so even if we did just put out fires together is was a treasured part of this whole adventure. One night we even threw caution to the wind while Rob was underwater and stayed up until about 10:45 talking on the front porch with only mosquitoes and fireflies to eavesdrop! Heady stuff when there is such great potential for wee ones waking you in the middle of the night, but Ahhh, the joys of summer!

Here are all the kids.

Here’s why the big ones were holding the little ones!

Here they are in the water park they built in the back yard, which the younger ones were calling a “casino” after one too many commercials about all the fun to be had in casinos! We cleared up the vocabulary confusion pretty quickly but it was cute.

And, last but not least, a little bit of girl time with Pepto-Bismol pink polish and flower decals!

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