My parents still live in the house I grew up in, and it’s awesome because I get to see my kids exploring the woods I used to explore, swimming in the pool I used to swim in, and sledding down the same hills I used to sled down.

And they do things that we never did, too. For example, my parents have this cast iron door stop in the shape of a little dog — I always thought it was a Chihuahua but my sister pointed out that it actually looks more like a French Bulldog or maybe a Boston Terrier. I don’t know where it came from, my family has never had little dogs and my mom hates knick knack-type things, so even though this technically does have a use, it’s about as close to tchotchke territory as my mom allows.

Every now and then Mary Virginia would crawl back to the bedrooms and look at the dog.


But it was funny because she hated it.



It was a completely masochistic habit. She stayed in the hall, looked at it and cried.




Once, because she wanted to see her cousins who were all in the bedroom, she mustered up enough courage to crawl past it. She gave it a wide berth — about three feet — and crawled past as fast as she could.

It was hilarious because she’s a baby, she’s learning and growing and trying to make sense of the world, and for some reason she decided this little guy was equal parts unsafe and fascinating. She couldn’t stay away and she couldn’t stand him.

Even when he was wearing this jaunty little hat.


Maybe it was her way of telling my parents how much she likes this cute bird doorstop?


I’ll be honest. As we were planning our summer visit with family, I was a bit apprehensive about how David would fit in with his cousins. The last time he saw them he was completely fascinated, but he was just 11 months old. He’s older now, and my nieces and nephews are, too.

But they picked up right where they left off.

When we arrived, my sister’s four kids were having some down time watching Magic School Bus. David had never seen that show, but he sat and watched with them. From time to time, his eyes would dart from the screen to his cousin’s faces, cautiously examining them one by one.

After the episode ended, they were all chatting about it with my mom, and after a few minutes there was a pause in conversation. David took a deep and asked, “Do you know Wild Kratts?”

Wild Kratts was, at the time, David’s favorite show. But his cousins had never heard of it and, because I wasn’t there, they couldn’t understand what he was saying, so they guessed a few different things and then moved on. It was David’s way of breaking the ice and, more importantly, the beginning of an awesome visit. David was in love with his cousins, and they were wonderful with him.

They included him, showed him where to pick wild blackberries, helped him stay away from poison ivy, taught him to use the iPad.














At the end of our visit, even though they’d been playing for a whole week, David was still having trouble keeping his cousins names straight.

“Mommy? What’s that name? Is that John Amnos or Abram?”

“What’s that big boy? Big boy? Big Abram? Abram?”


Now, Magic School Bus is David’s all-time favorite show. He has no interest in Wild Kratts, Thomas, Dinosaur Train, or anything else. He loves Magic School Bus so much that he actually enjoys reading the books almost as much as he likes watching the show. Almost.



And Big Abram and John Amnos? Well they’ve grown to love Wild Kratts.

These cute cousins

This Gabby.
She’s like, the sweetest little thing.

Gabby is my niece, and I got to meet her for the first time a few weeks ago. She is cuddly and adorable and crawled right up in my lap to snuggle.


Gabby and Mary Virginia have also never met. The last time my sister’s family visited, she was 14 weeks pregnant with Gabby, and Mary Virginia was just a glimmer in her daddy’s eye.




But these two must be Facebook friends or something, because they acted like they’ve known each other all their lives. While the rest of the kids were off doing big kid stuff, they shared, played, hugged, and showed belly buttons.


Gabby, especially, was in love with Mary Virginia. She smiled and clapped whenever I brought Mary Virginia into the room.

It was almost like Mary Virginia was a real life baby doll for Gabby, but only better. A real life baby cousin.




(I can’t help but think of these two baby boys.)

Thanks to Hanna Andersson, MiniBoden, and Janie and Jack for keeping these cousins looking cute.

Linking up with Modern Camelot for Trendy Tot Tuesday.