We try to be strategic with our weekend family activities. With four small children, big crowds, lines, and anything overlapping with nap time is just going to be a problem. We decided Saturday morning we wanted to hit the Philadelphia Flower Show, but it didn't open to the general public until 11 a.m. So we quick went online at 8:30 a.m. and joined the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, and thus got to attend the "member preview" hours from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Good thing, too, because when we left, the lines to get in were out the door. I think we would have turned around and left.
As it was, we did not exactly linger over much of the flowers, if you get my drift ("Mom, can we leave now? I want to go home NOW. Mooooommmm...."). But we did manage to stay in the butterfly exhibit for about 40 minutes. The kids were just mesmerized. We all got Q-tips with a sugar solution on them, and if you held one near a butterfly, the butterfly would come visit you. All the kids spent quite a bit of time with butterflies sitting on them. My kids don't usually sit so still, so it was kind of nice! Plus, they were surprisingly gentle. Even the 2-year-old.
Alas, the 2-year-old was not so gentle with his 20-month-old cousin. My sister-in-law is getting re-licensed as a nurse after a career break, and so she was on training all weekend. To fill the time of a weekend of solo parenting, my husband's brother came up later on Saturday with their four children, who are all exactly matched with ours (the biggest gap is 10 months). That makes for eight kids under the age of 10! I had quite the assembly line going on meals (see my fruit and veggie prep in the photo). The kids played so well together, and had their fun cousin sleepovers, but the one bad spot was my toddler constantly chasing after his cousin and trying to knock her over. Here's hoping it's just a phase.
In other news: I read A Piece of the World, by Christina Baker Kline. Has anyone else picked that up? She is also the author of Orphan Train.