Kendra had the chance to hang out with her girlfriends for dinner and a movie. I gladly agreed to spend my evening with Uno and Dos. We shared five days together with no school and no work and no company. I can't remember the last time we did nothing but family time for that long of a stretch.
For the third year in a row we joined Kendra's cousin, Megan, at her fiance's house. Brandon's parents have a small mansion in the hills North of Phoenix. The drive is about an hour away, but well worth the trip for the opportunity to spend time with such great people. Her fiance, Brandon, is Easton's hero because not only does he have a real telescope he has time and consideration enough to show Easton some stars. We brought gifts and cookies for the betrothed couple as well as a hand written card from Layla.
The highlight of the trip for me was when Layla agreed to sing a duet with me for the whole family (10 or so of us). As we walked out of her room to the waiting audience she whispered, "I'm scared, Daddy". I put her hand on my cheek, reassured her everything was going to be fine, and affirmed how wonderful her voice is. She sat on my lap in her pajamas with everyone staring as we both watched the video clip together like we do every night.
The song by Miley Cyrus, "Butterfly Fly Away", started and Layla jumped right in with her most soulful, loud voice. My part came and we sang together as though it were just her and I in her bedroom. When we finished everyone clapped and smiled. Her eyes lit up and she proudly smiled back. That was one of those moments I'll never forget as long as I live. Yes, it was simple and silly and meaningless in the grand scheme of performances, but it means the world to me. I was proud of myself for making it through without crying.
The only low-light of our trip was what happened to my camera. I picked up my brand new ultra cushioned back pack which I bought on sale for a third of normal price. My camera was snugly protected and the zipper completely closed. As we loaded up the car for our trip to Brandon's house I felt the backpack slip out of my fingers. I tried to cushion the fall, but unfortunately it landed in a way that cracked my LCD screen of my most coveted Canon Digital SLR. I opened the case and cringed when I saw the broken screen. My 2-year extended warranty is a mere 4 months past the expiration date. I'm a little distraught over the loss of my blog-enabling camera, but there are worse things in life than having to use a point-n-shoot to capture the wonderful blessings of life.
For example, this picture of the twins getting reacquainted with swimming in the hot tub was taken with my point-n-shoot. not bad, eh? I haven't heated up the hot tub in months, but thought this would be fun time for the three of us to play star wars, dolphins, and mermaids.
After their hands were nice an pruney with steam coming off their heads I let them take a bath together in their swim suits. They stopped taking baths together long ago, but occasionally we let them play together with their swim suits on. I spiked up Easton's hair with shampoo. We laughed about this heartily. He said he looks like Zander, one of his friends from church.
Speaking of church... Kendra dressed us Sunday morning. She went with a black theme. Layla's new dress from Costco was outstanding. Easton and I matched like Dr. Evil and Mini-Me. Kendra was not ready to be in pictures at this point in our morning routine. So it's just me and my offspring.
I also wanted a picture of just me and Easton.
My mind can barely comprehend how this is the same baby boy I held like this just a few years ago.
I vaguely remember when he was completely unaware of me and the world around him. Back when he was 100% work with zero feedback or short-term return on my investment. The way I poured into his life during those early years is extremely rewarding now as I watch him become a big boy.
Life was much simpler back then with the twins, but life is much more rewarding now with five-year-olds.
See you soon!