We really do have awesome friends and family who "share" their kids with us on a regular basis. In the past we have kept my sister's kids ,Tayler, Eryn and Trevor, overnight or for a weekend. I still have great memories of them spending a week with us when we lived in Detroit. We visited Bronner's (the world's largest Christmas store), had our own Hawaiian Luau at home and spent lots of time running around Metro Beach. They are old enough now that they no longer "need" a babysitter, but we still enjoy doing something fun and special with them whenever we travel back to Michigan.
Amy and Tayler putting together a puzzle
Jim and Eryn reading Calvin and Hobbes
Amy and Trevor making cookies
This past summer we spent a whole week with my brother's kids, Cali and Javan. We picked them up from my parents and set off traveling around California. Out of the 8-9 days we were with them, we spent only a few days at our house. It was a magical week (even without going to Disney). We explored the Grand Canyon, visited the ocean and ate seafood in San Francisco, explored lava tubes and hung out with friends at Burney Falls. It was a great week! And we definitely got practice in the fun and not so fun parts of parenting. Poor Cali got a bad ear infection, so we were up for a few nights with an understandably not so happy child. She was a trooper! They were both great travelers. One of my favorite memories was Javan singing himself to sleep on our long car drives...so precious.
Javan and Jim with high-flying and high-fiving fun
Amy and Cali at Yosemite National Park
Our friends Brian and Cindy's kids, Max and Madi, are also two special people in our lives. They are like family and we consider them our "adopted" niece and nephew here in California. Madi shares my love of sewing and we have created several fun projects together. Max shares his latest computer and drawing endeavors with us. Both of them are very creative. We love spending time with the whole family and feel blessed to have been part of their lives for the past five years.
One of my sewing projects with Madi
With Max and Madi at Burney Falls
Our friend Kathryn's kids have also played an important part in our lives. Quinten and Kiana are my little buddies. It makes my day when they come find me on Sunday mornings to give me a hug. Kara is very creative and keeps our fridge adorned with sweet drawings. Also thanks to her, we have had a Veteran's Day parade in our living room, a castle/fort built in our nursery and operated an animal rescue using clothes baskets for ambulances. The older boys, Mathew and Joey, are also great kids and we enjoy spending time with the whole family.
With my two little buddies, Quinten and Kiana
Kara and one of her castle creations
There are many others that I could tell you about...kids (and their parents) that have enriched our lives and helped fill our home with life and laughter. Our adventures in babysitting have been and will continue to be a fun and wonderful part of our lives. They have prepared us well for what will hopefully be the next chapter in our lives- Adventures in Parenthood!