Good Morning everyone! I hope you are doing well this week. For this week’s blog post I really felt compelled to brag a little about how much fun I have spending time with my nieces and nephew! Being an Aunt is one of my favorite things in the whole world!! I remember doing fun things with my grandmothers when I was young: going to McDonald’s every year for St. Patrick’s Day to get a Shamrock Shake, sleeping over and walking to get soft service ice cream from Carvel, going shopping with my grandmother and her buying me Hello Kitty toys (yes, Hello Kitty is really that old!!), and even going to the small amusement park rides on the boardwalk at Jenkinson’s in New Jersey. Those memories are still fresh in my mind to this day and are treasured.
When my nieces and nephew were born I felt very strongly that I wanted to create those same types of memories for them so that they would hopefully treasure them like I did. When they were very young, I enjoyed being the “silly Aunt” – making them laugh in the middle of Walmart by acting silly and being loud just to entertain them. I’d even do funny noises when we would drive in the car for making turns and going over bumps or hills. As they got a little older, I started having special sleepover nights on the weekends. They would come over and we would do all sorts of fun stuff together – go to Chuck E Cheese, eat dinner out, go to a movie, play miniature golf. Then, they would sleep over and we’d stay up as late as they wanted and watch movies or play games. The next morning, we finished the visit off with a special breakfast – usually donuts or even chocolate chip pancakes but it was their choice!
Now, as they are getting older we still have fun “Aunt Time” together but our activities have changed a little. A few weekends ago, I had my three nieces and nephew with me for the day and then they all slept over that night. We had a BLAST! We started the day having lunch together and then headed to Frederick, Maryland, to visit the Roads and Rails Museum. They have a HUGE miniature model train display as well as a Lego room and we spent almost 2 hours walking around seeing everything. They also had a scavenger hunt where you hunt specific items in the model train display and cross them off of a list. Whether you’re an adult or a kid, I guarantee you’ll love visiting this place and I highly recommend that you check it out.
Next, we went somewhere I knew my nieces would love – I took them to Charming Charlie’s to pick out some jewelry. Not only did they love wandering all around this amazing store, they also found some great pieces to buy. Now to be honest, I figured that Gabe would be bored to tears but he was such a trooper! He had a blast walking around checking out all of the colors and thought the jewelry was pretty cool too!
After shopping we stopped at Red Robin for dinner before heading back to West Virginia to continue our shopping spree at Walmart. This time it was my nephew’s turn to shop as he had decided at Roads and Rails that he wanted a new Lego set to put together – prompted by their Lego room of course! So we walked around the toy aisles for about a half an hour as he made the very important choice of which Lego set was worthy to buy (I believe he settled on a Marvel set). Then the girls decided to use their money and buy some fake nails and nail polish while we were there too and our shopping trip was complete.
Our final stop was at Kohl’s to buy them all new sneakers for back-to-school. Not having children of our own, this is one of the fun ways that I can still have a part in the back-to-school events in the fall and I always look forward to it. But I have to say that we were all pretty tired by this point and “Aunt Erin” was wearing down fast. Thankfully, because they are older now they were able to hunt through the hundreds of boxes of shoes themselves and try a bunch of pairs on without my help until they each picked a pair that they loved and I was able to just sit on a bench and watch them until we were ready to check out.
Once we got home the girls started getting all of the stuff set up to put their fake nails on and paint them and Gabe began to assemble his Lego set. I was able to just lay on the couch and rest while we had a kid’s show playing in the background on the TV. We then decided to put a movie on so we found Puss in Boots that the kids had not seen yet and watched that for the next hour and a half. Finally, one by one the girls began to head to bed and I got them set up in the guest room and on our large couch. My nephew was the final holdout though as he HAD to finish putting the Lego set together before he relented and went to sleep, which he finished shortly before midnight.
After I got him tucked into bed and said goodnight, I was finally able to crash for the night myself. The other nice change to our sleepovers is that as they get older, they also sleep later in the mornings. When they were young they’d be up by 7am and I’d need to be up with them. Now, we all sleep in a little later and make sure we have something fun and easy for breakfast. This time, we decided the night before to pick up boxes of pop tarts so it was fast and easy breakfast that they were able to get themselves. We were able to just hang out and watch some TV and my nephew played with his Lego set he had put together (since he was too tired to play with it once he got it all together the night before) and we had a relaxing morning together until my sister came to pick them up near lunch.
I have to say that I had a WONDERFUL time with them for the weekend and even though I’m not able to have them stay over as often as I’d like because of my work schedule, I’m already looking forward to the next one we schedule. What types of memories are you building with your children? Your nieces and nephews? Your grandchildren? Are you creating those lasting memories that they will look back on as adults and want to share with their children, nieces and nephews, or grandchildren? None of us knows what is in the future or how long we have with each other, so strive to make each moment that you are with your loved ones count. I’d love to hear some of your ideas of fun times with family too so don’t forget to leave a comment and share this post!
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