Yesterday Annikah's cousins' Joel & Silas invaded Chicago for the day. Jorie and Mark were in desperate need of some time to clean and de-clutter their home in Grayslake so they can put it on the market (they just brought a place in Iowa near Jason's parents) so we decided to help out by spending time Joel and Silas. Annikah LOVED her cousins and was so enthralled by their every move. It was so fun to see them interacting and Anni loved them so much that when we went out to say goodbye and shut the door to their van she started crying; too sweet! After having the kids for just the afternoon I can understand why it is impossible to get anything done with them at home- they are sooo busy! Add Anni to the mix and we had one crazy threesome yesterday. Jason took the train obsessed Joel on his first L ride. He reported to me upon his return that he rode Thomas and Ben. After lunch (the kitchen resembled a high school cafeteria after a wicked food fight) we all headed to the beach. Jason and I took the zone defense method as we were outnumbered for man to man. Another family was laughing at us trying to wrangle all 3 kids as we would call out "I got Anni & Joel- you get Silas", etc. Luckily, Joel and Silas are both excellent at listening! I was very impressed with them. After lodging sand in every possible crevice sand should never go we decided to return to Chez Engstrom for a hose down and nap time. On the walk back Silas and Anni had a blast poking each other through the double stroller. After a cousins bath we put all 3 kids down in separate rooms and prayed for 1 hour of nap time. We knew this would take a miracle, kinda like the parting of the Red Sea. We demonstrated our skills that rival Supernanny in getting them all down at once. The toughest customer was Joel. We set up the pull out couch for him in our front room and told him it was a big bed that was special just for him. We said goodnight and were off to check the other kids. I returned to the room a few minutes later to the sound of the African drum been played. I opened the door and caught Joel in the act. He knew he was "in trouble" as he quickly said "I already wake up." Now, I have to give the kid credit for trying but this points out why I love 3 year olds: he has no idea that obviously there was no time that passed and actually believed I would buy his reasoning that after a restful 2 minute nap he awoke to play some mad beats. I told him that I needed him to stay on the bed and that when he got up after a nap we could all play again. He returned to the bed. 3 minutes later I see through the slated door that he was up again and this time I said "Joel, auntie Roxi does not play games, you need to lay down." He looked up as if the voice from above was dictating these vital instructions and then returned to his bed. Lying there he kept repeating to himself "Auntie Roxi don't play games, Auntie Roxi don't play games," sort of like a mantra to keep himself from the temptation to get up. Reminds me of when I repeat "only take the veggies not the cheese cubes, avoid the cheese cubes" in a buffet line. Well, I am happy to report he had more success than I usually have with food as he was sound asleep in 5 minutes. A quiet house was our reward for the chaos that preceded it. After everyone awoke Jason drove the boys back home and Anni and I went for a walk. It was a great time with Annikah's cousins!