This year was even more special because Ava and Kenyan both had American Girl Dolls...and Van is so accomodating: he brought along his old Woody "doll" (Toy Story) so he could play with them, since I think he figured out that Kenyan was definitely attached at the hip to her new doll, Emily.
I scrounged around my room/the house for mini items that Kenyan could use for her doll~Ava has a great collection of things from tea sets, to mini perfume bottles, to tiny dolls for her dolls. She is also super imaginative and makes a lot of cool things for them; like a mini pizza and delivery box that she made. Kenyan was pretty impressed and the two of them decided to figure out a way to make laptop computers for the dolls. I, never losing my inner child, had to take it a step further:
I took pictures of them with their dolls, uploaded the pictures to my laptop and then took pictures of the pictures on the laptop and uploaded and printed those and ~whalla!~instant laptops! (Of course (!!!) I deleted those pictures but here are the original pix....as well as a goofy sample.
We also designed a bed for Emily~complete with padding, gauzey fabric, and a real blanket...Ava suggested using the box Emily came in, which worked out perfectly because that way it can travel easily with Emily and Kenyan.
After a while, Ava broke out the dress up clothes for a late night fashion show. She is so clever with designing outfits out of simple pieces of fabric! The hats, however, were custom made and belonged to my grandparents!
I think this is when I heard Van wishing he'd brought the new
shirt and tie we'd given him for his birthday: green like this
awesome custom-made Lord & Taylor dark green velvet hat
that once belonged to my grandfather.
Ava gave Van and Kenyan lessons in the fine
art of the catwalk!
I think this is about the time that Van pooped out and asked to please go to bed! The kids were all sleeping in Ava's room (the girls in her bed and Van on cushions on the floor). I took him up while the girls continued to play. Poor kid was even to tired to brush his teeth~something he is typically really good about doing. It was 11:15 at the end of a looong day, so I didn't hassle him. Instead, I took him into my room to show him my new (and hated) CPAP machine; I hadn't shown it to the kids before and didn't want to scare the crap out of them if they came in my room in the night/morning and saw me with a mask over my nose breathing through a hose!! I explained to Van what it was, why I had it, and showed him how it worked. I thought I was being such a great auntie. He looked at it blearily, put his head down on my bed, and said plainitively, "Whatever...Can I puh-lease go to bed now?!" (I was gratified when Kenyan was properly horrified that I stop breathing on a regular basis when I don't use the CPAP machine! However she, too, took it in stride and it turned out to not phase any of them in the slightest!)
I read Van one book and he was out like a light. The girls, meantime, had changed their dolls into PJs and set up beds all around the living room for them (because there are 4 additional dolls besides the 3 AG dolls that needed their loving care). I was rather surprised when Kenyan chose to have Emily sleep downstairs with Ava's Alysa and Julie rather than in bed with them, as she hadn't put her down for longer than a minute since opening her birthday present earlier that day.
Finally, at midnight, I had the girls put their girls to bed and herded them off to bed as well....
...by 12:15 all I heard were sweet snores coming through the monitor I'd set up in their room. I didn't manage to drag myself off to bed til 4:30 in the morning. I took the monitor in my room with and heard the sounds of sleep slumber for the remainder of the night.
That was til 7am when Kenyan thought they should all get up; I convinced her otherwise and woke up again at 8:30 hearing Kenyan telling Van she didn't think I'd let him get up since I'd told her it was too early. He totally ignored the threat of me and went into the kids' play room to read. I stood outside the door and listened to him read out loud the book I'd read to him the night before (Love You Forever by Rober Munsch). So sweet.
And then I let Kenyan up and an hour later forced the self-proclaimed "early riser" Ava up so they could play before Kenyan left for Portland that day.
I managed to burn the pancakes and the sausage and gave them all hot chocolate that was tooooo hot and burned their mouthes...all before 9:30am. And me not usually awake til 10! Really made me appreciate how Gramma usually gets up in the morning with them!!! (She had horrible allergies and couldn't see out of one eye and could barely breathe! It was awful!)
But, I'd say, overall, it was a great time!