We left South Bend on September 17 at 5:40 pm with a view of maybe 100 private planes at the airport because of the ND football game. Our flight was a United non-stop to Newark. With a shuttle ride to the airport Hilton, we were at the bar for pizza and drinks around 8:30 pm. We have good memories of this Hilton because it is where we were stranded last Christmas.
Sunday: We took a $50 Uber ride to 250 Ashland Place in Brooklyn, Dan's new home. He showed us around the neighborhood with a good walk to Ft. Greene Park. We stopped for brunch on the way back to his place--and then took another Uber ride to the Brooklyn Museum. I loved seeing Judy Chicago's iconic feminist Dinner Party installation and Dan and Jim enjoyed the sports photography exhibit. It was another easy Uber ride back to the apartment and then still another to Penn Station. That was a long ride in heavy traffic partially due to the bombing in Chelsea the night before. From there we took Amtrak (just 1 1/4 hours) to Philly's 30th Street Station where Michael picked us up and a busy evening with four little ones.
Monday: We met Gabrielle, the new nanny who stays from 8 am to 8 pm Monday through Thursday. She was wonderful--pleasant, firm, organized, cheerful. I spent the morning sorting boys' clothes from one of the closets, coming up with plenty of size 2 fall and winter wardrobe hand-me-downs for Alex. Gabrielle and J went for a good walk to get acquainted while we took the other kids.
Gabrielle had the kids and Jim making their own pizzas for supper and she and I enjoyed a Caesar salad with shrimp. She put Alex to bed and then left us on our own for 12 hours. Laura and Michael flew to Paris in the late afternoon where Michael had McKinsey meetings and festivities.
Tuesday: Alex was awake at 5 am. We kept him in bed with us until 5:38 when I went downstairs and fed him. At 6:30, I called Jim on his iphone and asked for relief. He came down shortly and I went back to sleep for a full hour! J and S were on the bus at 8:40 and Gabrielle took R to school at 9. She and Alex met another nanny and child for a play date. I drove to Ardmore to visit a friend from our church who had moved there last summer. It was good to see her and her little ones doing well. I stopped at Trader Joe's for my favorite candy bars. Later in the afternnoon Jim and I picked up R in Bryn Mawr where she had a play date with a friend. Gabrielle took J to play practice while I put mac and cheese and Gabrielle's chicken salad on the table. We gave everyone baths and showers and she put A to bed again. He sang and talked in his bedroom until 8:30 and then went to sleep in front of his bedroom door. Jim picked him up and put him where he belonged in his bed.
Each night we had a prayer time with the older three in our bedroom. We took turns holding a battery-operated candle I bought at a dollar store--which worked beautifully. I had done this with the kids in July and they remembered and asked for it again. J does not need much sleep so each night he spent some time with Jim going over one of his encyclopedia style books. At that point, Jim and I indulged in a little more wine.
Wednesday: Jim and I walked to town for a few groceries and a cup of coffee. We left for Princeton around 2 pm and checked in at a Holiday Inn north on Route 1. It was one of the few places in town for less than $150. We met Jeff and Susan and J and M for supper at Ruby Tuesday's and then went to their place to see all the changes they had made since K left for college. We spent an hour afterwards with the Moorheads chatting with them and Olivia, their daughter, now a public defender in Trenton. I do the after dark driving these days--and we did make it safely back to the hotel.
Thursday: We had coffee and a scone in the hotel room, followed by a real breakfast at a McDonald's hidden in a Wal-Mart along Route 1. We were back in Gladwyne by 10:30. Gabrielle had been with the kids overnight so we encouraged her to leave by 4:30. Supper was scrambled eggs and bacon. Jim took S and a neighbor boy to Cub Scouts for an hour from 6 to 7. I gave baths to the little ones and put Alex to bed. He went right to sleep and then woke up every hour from then on until midnight--very congested with a new cold and crying hard. We took turns holding him and rocking him. At 12:15 am I left him for the last time and we all slept until 6 am! Not bad after all.
Friday: The other Gabrielle came at 8 and took charge of kids. Jim and I walked to town again for coffee. I took J to swim practice from 5 to 6. Laura came home and fixed supper amidst the needs of two little ones who wanted her attention. Jim tried to help but it was their mommy that they wanted! R and I had made brownies for S's birthday treat and we gave him our gifts--including a large bubble maker. We wrapped gifts for S's birthday and Laura went to bed early. Michael came home around midnight and was greeted by J and Jim, both of whom were still awake.
Saturday: The three older ones had swim, football and soccer practice in the morning so Jim and I took Uber to the airport via a Ram truck! We had good flights with a three hour layover at O'Hare and were home around 6:45-just in time to see ND lose to Duke.
The week was a blur of activity and yet we had plenty of time to ourselves with the nannies there during the day. Jim did quite a bit of work on his Jubilees project and I have to admit that I napped daily. We tried to do things with one or more children when all were home and we helped with laundry and dishes and cleaning up. It's a busy life with four little children! I am so grateful we could spend the time with them and have the energy to enjoy them.