This picture is called "This is What Happens Five Minutes After the Kids Get Home from the Grandparents."
I don't even know how this happened. I just remember going out to the car to get the baby and their suitcases, and I walked back in to a paper explosion all over the living room and boys chattering about all the stories they wrote and pictures they drew at Nonny's house.
Husband and I sent the boys away for a week-long stay at my mom's house (thanks, Mom! Sort of! I mean, thanks for keeping the boys! No thanks for sending home all the "artwork" they created while they were gone!). While the house sat silent, with only the infant to keep us company, Husband and I organized the house, donated half their toys, cleaned out our old clothes we'll probably never wear again, reduced our books by about 200 (there are still about 800) and tidied the entire house. So you have to understand, the house was spotless before boys walked in.
"Wow!" they said, because they have never seen it so tidy. "How did you get the house so clean?"
Five minutes later, they had their answer.
WE SENT YOU AWAY.
Connections like that are lost on kids, though. They could not see the tidy house and, five minutes later, the papers-taking-over house and think, "Hmm. This must have happened because I decided to show Mama and Daddy my five thousands pieces of artwork."
Oh my word.
I just got done reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I sort of thought it might be possible to keep our house tidy if we just had a place for everything and we reduced enough of our possessions so they wouldn't make a mess every ten seconds.
They'll always find a way to make a mess of things, I think. I'm done trying. So, welcome, papers. Thank you for coming. Please stay a while. Crawl between our couch cushions and get shoved under the armchair farther away than my arm can reach when I finally have the energy to tidy up again and make sure you come visit our bed right before we fall asleep. That's my fave.
P.S. Nonny, we are now working on Project For Nonny wherein they draw five pictures every day until the next time you take them for a weekend (don't make it too long or...). I'll make sure to pack them up in a suitcase all nice and neat and pretty. So of course they'll stay tidy.