i don't usually visit charlotte in january, because my december trip is always extended and sometimes even runs into the new year, but a january trip just so happened to work out this year.
and so i went.
the day i arrived, T and lee went out to dinner with our cousins and i got to hang out with my nephews. it might seem funny that i essentially arrived in time for them to hand me two children with their plates of dinner and say, "k thanks bye!" but it wasn't.
one, because it wasn't actually that rushed. there were a few hours in between my arrival and their departure. and two, that is basically what i secretly hope for every time i visit. apparently it's what luca always hopes for as well because he didn't even wait for it to be time for them to leave before he kindly told T she could take jack downstairs while he and i played upstairs.
aka, auntie's here now so you can go, if you want to.
i fed them dinner, like a proper babysitter. and then we had all the fun. that mostly involved a raging dance party to an instrumental song on the tarzan soundtrack (which luca prefers over the trolls soundtrack ??). and then more books at bedtime than would usually be appropriate.
also i just want to explain to you how rare it is that i get a photo of me and both of them together where they are both smiling and genuinely look happy and interested in what's happening. and these two i got that night were the ONLY two. obviously, i snapped more than these two, but the window of getting a photo like these is VERY SMALL. like, i'm pretty sure these weren't even the photos i captured, but thankfully the live photo exists, where you can go in and select which frame actually contains this rare and golden moment. which i kindly filtered into black and white because, did i mention that i drove almost seven hours earlier that morning?
anyway, it was only because i got those precious hours of just-me-and-them time that i volunteered to spend the entire day on saturday away from them and helping my mom instead, doing the work i spent three years pre-nashville doing (and very much not enjoying).
i don't miss that dual-screen life.
to be fair, i never actually had two monitors when i worked for my mom, though it would've been incredibly helpful if i had. in fact, when i quit, i left behind a beautiful 27-inch imac computer that was wonderfully synched with my personal itunes library for easy listening while i worked. in my final stretch of working there, i attribute my at-work sanity entirely to the imac. (yes, and also to the fact that my boss was also my mom, which came with privileges i will say are somewhat similar to being the youngest child – speaking from experience. she treated all her employees fairly, but i can't say that if any of the other accounting associates requested dunkin donuts for our weekly staff meetings, she would've brought them in every time.) but, i have lived the dual-screen office life and it's kind of all the same, isn't it? when you need two monitors, your job is kind of intense.
but bookkeeping and data entry, while helpful in areas of personal growth, are most certainly not my calling. i will be forever thankful for the opportunities (and donuts) that job afforded me, but i am also incredibly thankful for the passing of that season. though, it was kind of nice to dip my toes back in, six (!!) years later, and remember how i got to where i am.
it helped that it was only for one day.
it also helped that, for the second half of the day, my job was to go shopping for frames, put prints in those frames, and then hang them on the wall. and, not just any prints, but my prints. the one-of-each my mom purchased when i first opened the shop, with the intention of displaying them in her office to advertise for me, because she is my biggest fan.
y'all. i cannot.
my mom is simply the best.
to be honest, the rest of the trip is kind of a blur, as i recap close to march and backdate to january.
luca is now tall enough in his seat to reach that handle above the car door. that's what these photos are documenting, along with some silly faces.
i think we went to my parents' house? i mean, we did, because i have some photos of luca "fixing" a chair there. but literally all of my photos from this trip are of my nephews only, so there is no real proof that anyone else was there at all. (except there is because T blogs weekly now.)
and obviously someone has to be driving the car we are sitting in, because squishing between two car seats in the backseat of a sedan is not my idea of a super fun pastime.
jack now says "yeah!" and in true jack fashion, he says it (exclaims it) in a whisper. just like his roar and "waffle." T and i spent the majority of this weekend asking him yes or no questions (that we knew the answer was yes to) just so we could hear it. it's adorable, and there's never any shortage of excitement from him about saying yes. sort of like how luca went through a phase of saying "no way" instead of a simple "no." except the opposite. (although i will say that jack does let you know when it's a no.)
he also does that thing luca used to do, where he squints his eyes shut when you ask what a bunny says.
and we're still in the phase where the carseat photos are some of the best ones i get. because, you know, he is strapped in and has no where to go.
i just remembered i'm the one who bought him this wooden toolbox set. (and was immediately like, "but your dad will have to teach you how to use it because i can't help you there.") (also he's twice the age he was when i gave it to him. what?) thankfully, he has learned how to use the tools, otherwise someone might've fallen out of that broken chair before he fixed it, and he takes that work very seriously.
on monday, after we picked him up from school, luca asked to have a donut date with me. which was, obviously, the best. T is always saying how he asks her on dates regularly, and he did insist i be a third wheel on their date when i visited for christmas, but this time i got one of my very own.
he still goes for the pink frosted donuts (they had no sprinkles this time), holds up his toys to be in photos, and my favorite person to have a conversation with.
jack has been very into wearing this pair of crocs at all times of day and, if it were up to him, nighttime too. (but we say night night to those crocs like they need to get their rest at bedtime and nap time too.) i think he also wears them in the bath, which i know because i've heard what happens when it's time to get his feet washed.
he also sits still long enough to read books, and he has a few favorites he likes to read over and over again. (looking at you, tiny board book of opposites.)
that's it. that's all i got.
i do want to clarify that luca isn't scrolling instagram, but google image searching rescue bots. it's like the next best thing if he can't actually watch the show. and, while i don't necessarily understand the thrill of it, it still remains that basically anything luca asks me to do is something i suddenly absolutely want to do.