Mini Reunion!

**Note to myself (who is meticulous with details and will want to know that dates have been altered later...) this post is being written on 10/22 because last week was exhausting, but MAJORLY FUN and I never got to blog at all!**

Oh my goodness did we have fun! On Friday the 12th I got an email from my friend Cindy (Caroline's mom) that she worked out her frequent flier miles and would in fact be headed to NC to accompany Jon on his business trip. Over the course of the weekend there was much typing between Cindy, Shannon (Lottie's mom), C.C. (Darby's mom), and I. Then Monday brought rounds of phone calls as we tried to finalize making schedules work best for maximum play dates with our four girls.

Tuesday morning (my AWESOME boss understands the importance of our friendships with Kylie's China sisters and let me have a day off) Kylie and I headed to Raleigh to meet Cindy, Jon, & Caroline at Crabtree Valley Mall for lunch after they landed at RDU. Though we'd seen each of the families since then, the significance of the date ~ the 16th, exactly 8 months since we'd parted ways in China ~ was not lost on me. We exchanged many hugs, chatted to catch up on the past 5 months, feasted on Chick-fil-A (surprise, surprise), and of course, shopped a bit. Kylie and Caroline acted as if they'd seen each other just yesterday and were immediately up to mischief pulling clothes off hangers at Baby Gap (the sale rack had some good deals).

After Shannon got home from work, we headed over to our "home away from home" for the next few days. It was a nice afternoon, so we took the girls outside to play in the back yard. Kylie, Lottie and Caroline were having a blast playing together on the swings, climbing up into the "big kid" tree house/slide, and climbing the Little Tykes equipment. They enjoyed each other's company, but it didn't take long for them to start acting like sisters and jockeying for sliding position. Kylie is a bit bigger, but Caroline is used to older siblings and managed to push past Kylie to slide first. Luckily there were no hard feelings and by the time Kylie got to slide she had forgotten that she'd been upset at all. Of course, maybe she didn't forget... Minutes later she headed over to "chat" with Mr. Jon. Maybe showing Caroline that two could play at that game as all the girls are quite possessive of their parents.

Before we headed back inside, we of course lined up the girls for the obligatory posed photo. I think that I took 20 and this is the best I came up with ~ most of them have at least one girl throwing mulch, but luckily never at each other...

Yes, Kylie is the youngest of the group though size would seem to state otherwise...

Before much longer Lottie's daddy and brothers got home and then Darby and her parents came over for dinner. We had a wonderful visit. Before dinner Caroline and Lottie rough-housed with Lottie's twin brothers (Graham and Noah). They ran and squealed and with Darby and Kylie watching with mouths wide open, it was obvious to see which girls were currently "onlys." We did managed to calm them all down a bit before dinner and the girls kept switching laps to hear books being read. Mr. Stephen (Darby's daddy) was the first to get three girls (Kylie, Caroline, and Darby) to sit still for a rousing rendition of "Polar Bear, Polar Bear."

Then it was dinner time. I'll have to say that when I realized dinner was lasagna and that Battle (Lottie's dad) suggested that we let the girls sit at their own table I had serious doubts about how well it would go. I figured that there would be pasta everywhere and we'd spend time cleaning the walls. I guess now I've really realized that with toddlers you always should be prepared to be amazed. They sat like little angels and scarfed down pretty impressive amounts of lasagna and bread before deciding to leave the table!

"This is some good stuff! Hey Mama, can we get a table like this and have our friends over for dinner at home?" ** Can't you just see Maya having a hey-day with such a short table?

After dinner we all headed down to Lottie's family room to catch up. We reminisced about our time in China together, made some preliminary plans for our reunion (hopefully with all 11 families in our travel group), enjoyed some cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory, and just enjoyed being together. All too soon the evening was over, but we made plans to meet Darby's family at the State Fair in the morning...

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