Brave Souls, Parents...

This post is partly a shout-out to myself for being a fun auntie. It is, in greater part, a HUGE shout-out to all parents everywhere who are able to take their children out in public without absolutely losing their minds.

We got to my parents' around suppertime on Thursday and, as always, I was in full-on crazy aunt mode from the minute we arrived. This includes tickling, wrestling, carrying, reading, kissing, hugging, and general frivolity at all times. Unfortunately for my nieces and nephews, though, I am not really the "oh it's okay if you're being terrible... Auntie Ashley loves you!" type of aunt. (And they're not terrible!) I guess it's the teacher in me, but I can play bad cop with the best of them. On top of that, I'm not at all laid-back with things being out of place, or ear-splitting excessive noise, or boisterous behavior in public places. You can imagine, then, how outings with a four-year-old and two two-year-olds make me break out hives. (I'm only slightly exaggerating.)

Costco with baby Steven.... he is such a sweet boy! And it's so fun that he is really talking now and able to say, "Auntie Ashley" rather than "Aaaaahhh" (his former pronunciation of my name.) 

The kid is two years old and can whistle. I find this hilariously clever.

Jolly man.

Kisses and hugs for everyone! (Also, Emily has become, like, a teenager overnight. I am elderly.)

Seeing Landon (finally) on Sunday night! This boy is huge!

Jonathan was meeting Landon for the first time (at five months!) and they were inseparable. (Also, watching my husband get all mushy over a baby is nothing short of adorable.)

Always ready with a pose...

Leslie does the most hilarious laugh that sounds like Woody the Woodpecker. If I can pin her down and capture it on video I'll totally post it. 

Ice cream trip to Chick-fil-A... where my (apparently dormant) state of OCD kicked in as drooly spoons and sticky hands and dirty feet sent me into panic mode. (Also, I love that Emily takes great pride in being the most mature one of the group.)

Sweet girl.

Excited about ice cream!
These kids are sweet, adorable, hilarious... and such a handful! (And they're not even "bad" kids!) Seriously, my hat (probably a fedora) is off to all you moms and dads who take your kids out in public and deal with the humiliation of another child pointing at your child as the one who hit him (ahem, Leslie) or apologizing to the nice lady in the next booth because her hair is being ripped out of her head (ahem, Steven) or peeling the big sister off the little brother, beating him up in the name of "kung fu" (AHEM, Emily). Only Landon is exempt from this angst, and he's just a baby. =) 

Oh, well... stress or not, there is nothing better than loving on these babies (and having them love on me!). And if holding Landon gives me baby fever, nothing brings that temperature back down to normal like a good rousing screaming match with the other three. =) 

Off I go... it's time to be a human jungle gym. I can't say that I mind.


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