I love you more because you're the owner.

My sister-in-law stopped by on Wednesday night, with her 5 kids. They’re on their way back to Oregon from a summer in Jacksonville, Florida, and chose to pass through Raleigh. I’m so glad they did - my kids (ages 5 and 4) have only met any of their cousins once, and have never met this particular set. In fact, I hadn’t met the youngest two of Heather’s kids, either. Such is life when you’re many hours’ drive away and you’ve got small kids, right?

It was great fun to see them - so much fun that they decided to spend a second day. We ended up at Monkey Joe’s for a couple of hours, and then hit up the Crazy Fire mongolian barbeque. I walked in and said words I never thought I would say - “Two adults and seven children for dinner, please” and I think I managed to say it smoothly enough. Turns out it was a very pleasant and surprisingly calm meal, and I was very proud of that. :)

Rowen and Elliott LOVED playing with their cousins. E- is 8, and Rowen latched onto her and barely let go for the entire two day visit. Elliott found a partner in crime in 4-year-old T-, and the two sat playing on the kids’ computer for FAR longer than either of their individual attenion spans would have indicated. We spent some time talking on the couch, watching the kids play, and loving just being related. :)

As they were leaving last night to go back to their hotel (they left town this morning), Rowen gave each and every cousin a huge hug and a kiss, and then ran back to Heather for seconds. As she was hugging, she told each cousin, “I love you! I just LOVE you!” and then to Heather, arms around her neck, she said, “I love you more because you’re the owner.”

Heather laughed and said, “The owner of these kids, you mean?”

“Yeah, you take such good care of these SWEET cousins!”

We both cracked up. We will miss them. It’s one of the VERY few things I miss about being on the East coast with almost all our family in the west (I have a brother in Cincinnati, but everyone else is west of the rockies). The casual time. The growing-up-together time. Did you grow up near cousins? What was your experience like?

And on a completely unrelated note: If you have a little girl, how do you contain her clothes? We have yet to figure out a hanging-up vs. folding system that actually works and keeps Rowen’s clothes from a pile on top of her dresser. Do you hang all? Fold all? Have a dresser+closet? Any help would be appreciated. :)