They had two guest bedrooms set up, both with queen size beds. One was upstairs, near the master bedroom and the bathroom. The other was downstairs in the basement and was a bit of a labyrinth to find (you had to go around the stairwell, through the door into the laundry area, and around the corner). So, The Wife and The Baby stayed down there, and the older boys and I stayed upstairs. We kind of figured that we didn't want the older boys (specifically Little Bear) wandering around the house at 5 AM looking for a grown up. It worked out surprisingly well, considering The Boy's kicking spree.
Side note: the two or three nights before we left and last night, after we got home, The Boy spent the entire night in his bed. On one hand, I'm glad about that - kicked WAY less often. On the other hand, that's really depressing. I love my little boy snuggles. Side note over.
Saturday morning, after breakfast, we drove over to Slavey's house to visit with my college friends. It was, as I expected, all kinds of awesome. I've been blessed with some tremendous friends: interesting people who are successful in different disciplines of life, who are universally friendly and fun. We went to a go-kart place and drove go-karts, which was a huge success.
All of the kids are 6 and under, with three kids under 2. The three babies couldn't ride, and none of the kids could drive, but the others could ride with a grownup. It was an expensive morning but well worth it. The older boys were in absolute heaven, careening around the track, skidding / drifting around curves, and really feeling the wind in your teeth. Lunch at the Firehouse Subs went quickly and easily, as every child and adult had worked up an appetite.
Back at the house, it was really and truly wonderful to watch the kids playing together. It wasn't all smooth: they're kids. Stuff happens. But, it's still neat to see my sons become friends with my friends' kids. Around dinnertime, they started to turn into pumpkins, so we went back to Aunt C's and the traditional Jewish Meal of Celebration: Chinese food.
Sunday morning, The Wife took the boys and Aunt C to the local playground while I caught up on some seriously necessary sleep (about three hours' worth). Once they were back and we had some lunch, the older boys went with The Wife and me down to the train station.
We rode the Metro into Washington DC to see Armando's special birthday concert, and that went far better than we had an right to expect. The boys loved the train ride and were good for the walk over. The Wife and I brought the back carriers so that we could carry tired boys, and those got ample exercise. We passed a Rita's Italian Ice on the way to the concert, which became the bribing point: "Good boys who cooperate during the concert deserve treats from Rita's, right?" They agreed. The concert itself was great: both boys slept through large parts of it. Well, The Boy slept through large parts; Little Bear only slept a little bit and listened pretty attentively to the rest.
That kind of surprised us, because most of the music had been written since 2008. It was wonderful, and I absolutely loved it, but I imaged it being quite difficult for a 3.5 year old to understand! But, no worries. The Boy also liked the concert, even though the last piece (which was 13 parts, most of which were between 60-90 seconds) needed a countdown ("5 parts, 8 parts left!"). At least he got an education on what numbers add to 13, even if he wasn't so interested in solo guitar works. Still, they both made it to the end without issue and lived through the various hugs I had to give to people on the way out. We did have Rita's, and it was epic.
In the meantime, The Baby stayed with Aunt C without issue, including a trip to poo in the potty! Go, Baby!
That night, The Boy and I went back to Slavey's house from about 9 to about 12. I hung out and chatted with my friends, and he played with the other kids until they went to bed, and he then watched Tarzan and played quietly. He was very good, and he even bitched me out a bit: "Daddy, it's too late at night. You should have left me at Aunt C's house to go to bed." Smart-ass.
Monday morning, we went down to northern VA to see Armando and his wonderful family. They are some of my dearest friends, and it's such a joy to see them, particularly at a time when things are really turning in the right direction for them. After spending a couple of hours with them, we met Uncle C for lunch then drove back to Pittsburgh.
The drive back was uneventful and included a rest stop race through a field behind a gas station. The Baby used the potty a whole bunch during the trip, which was nice to see. All told, this was a wonderful and easy trip.