After a short drive from the airport we strolled into Venessa’s beautiful new house. We took a few minutes to settle in and then put Eamonn down for a nap. The plan was to chill for a bit and then go over and meet Venessa’s neighbour to the east. Venessa really wanted me to meet Michelle. I didn’t totally understand, not having much of a knowledge of the family (not really a TV watcher). Now having met Michelle, I can understand why Venessa wanted me to meet her.
I did feel a bit like a voyeur as we were driving up. The family was preparing to leave town and we were interrupting their packing. Michelle graciously welcomed us into her home, chatted with us while she prepared the first aid containers and asked me about our [badass] trip. She then invited us to wander around the house to see how 20+ people can fit into one home. It is very clear that community and family togetherness are important in the family. The 3 bedrooms (girls, boys, and parents) are relatively small, only enough to fit the beds and people and the common area is large. The house is huge but really, it’s mostly living room, kitchen(s), music area, and study/playroom. The laundry room houses 4 washers and 4 dryers and sits next to a large common closet. All of the clothing for the family is in the closet, organized by age(ish) and gender. The kitchen is huge, with a couple of fridges and a large open concept counter. But that is really the ‘front’ to a much larger and well-appointed restaurant style kitchen behind swinging doors.
What I do find quite fascinating about the family is that they are completely self-funded. Jim-Bob was going to get a loan for a business venture, early on in their marriage, when he had a discussion with someone about being debt free. They made some early sacrifices and managed to start a business debt-free and things have just snow-balled from there.
Eamonn has hesitant at first and did not want to let me put him down but he closely watched the younger girls play with a ride-in car. I could tell that he was pretty fascinated by it but still wouldn’t let me put him down on the floor. So I tried to put him directly into the car. That worked and he was off and running (or rather, driving). The girls pushed him around the room and then into the playroom, where they transitioned to the in-door trampoline. By the time I returned, after the house tour, Eamonn was deep into play with the girls and Maisie was being loved on by Jill (who is apprenticing with Venessa and studying to become a midwife).
Our day ended early thankfully, with the babies settling easily into their beds and falling fast asleep.
The next day, Thursday, was a much slower paced day. We ate a late breakfast and let Eamonn explore the house. That afternoon, the pool was calling to us and we ended up spending 1-2 hrs in the pool while Maisie slept. Eamonn seems to have lost his concern about the water. Initially, he was a bit put off by the coolness of the water but once that was done, he was wanting to explore further afield. He was happy to slip off the end of the slide to a gentle splash into the water.
There are so many extra experienced hands here to hold a baby, I am able to get off to the bathroom alone every once in a while and the babies are happy to be loved on by others.
Two more days here and then we head to meet another little boy with the same eyes as my son.