Brandon and I were getting ready to go to church the next morning when the younger boys came up to speak with us before they got dressed. We wondered what they wanted, because they all looked more than a little depressed, so I decided to confront them directly.
“Is something wrong?”
“Yeah, Dobby peed on his pad last night,” Hayden announced.
“That means he’s not potty trained,” Hunter whined.
“It’s not unusual for Dobby to have a setback, but he’s still nearly there. Let’s just wait and see how he does tonight.”
They agreed to do that, and then they went off to change. When everyone was ready, we drove down to collect Becky next. As soon as we got to church she pulled me aside so we could talk.
“As we were riding here, Revin told me that you wanted to speak to me about something?”
“Yes, but I thought he was going to let me bring it up. However, that’s not important and I just wanted to let you know that we will be going away the weekend after next to attend my brother Pat’s wedding in Pittsburgh. He’s tying the knot on Dad’s birthday, so we’re going to have a dual celebration while we’re there. When I told Revin about this, I informed him that he wouldn’t be able to stay with us that weekend because we wouldn’t be home. That’s when he inquired about where we were going, and when I told him he asked if he could go with us, because he said my dad was his grandpa too.”
“Yes, he considers all of you to be his family. Before we met you it was just the two of us, and he really appreciates having the rest of you around.”
“And we think of the two of you as part of our family as well, so how would you feel about us taking him with us? You can go as well, if you wish, but that’s entirely up to you. We’re chartering two buses to take everyone to Pittsburgh and we’re leaving early on Saturday morning and returning Sunday afternoon.”
“I have other things to take care of and can’t afford a weekend away, but I don’t mind if you want to take Revin. It’s certainly your choice and I don’t want you to feel that I’m trying to pressure you into doing this.”
“Oh, I’d never think that, however, it does lead me to ask you another question. Does Revin have a suit?”
“No, I’m afraid not. Is that a problem?”
“Actually, it’s not. We have some suits the other boys have outgrown, so we’ll see if one of those fit him. Do you mind if we take him back to the house with us after church so he can try them on?”
“No, that will be fine. And thank you for doing this for him.”
“It’s not a problem. As I said, we’ll be staying overnight and he can sleep in the room with Tristan, Wyatt, Hunter, and Hayden.”
“I hope you aren’t planning on leaving them alone?” she responded sounding concerned.
“No, their room will be connected to ours, so don’t worry.”
“I was just thinking that they might do some damage and you’d have to pay for it.”
“Don’t worry, they’re all housebroken,” I teased, and she giggled.
“Yes, I suppose that’s one way of looking at it.”
As soon as the Sunday school classes and the church service ended, we went to the diner for brunch. During that time, Becky and I told Revin that he’d be able to go with us to the wedding, but he’d have to come to the house after we finished eating so he could try on suits.
“I can do that,” he quickly agreed. He was so pleased that he’d be able to go on this trip with us that I’d venture to guess that he would have done just about anything to keep us from changing our minds.
After we dropped Becky off at her house, I took everyone else home. Brandon offered take care of having Revin try on the various suits to see which one fit best, and he also agreed to drive him home after they finished. During that same time I’d be taking Holly and the twins to Shady Pines to visit their mother, so I told them to stay in the SUV and we’d get going.
“How come you’re taking us in this instead of the car?” Hunter wondered.
“Brandon needs the car to do something else, so I told him we’d use the SUV instead.”
That was enough to satisfy him, so we took off to visit their mom and Alice. The women were in high spirits when we arrived and it was a nice day, so we wheeled them outside for a while. During that time I announced that we’d be unable to visit them the weekend after next, since we’d be out of town. I then explained what we’d be doing and they both assured us it would be fine.
“And I… want all… of you… to have… a good… time,” Julie added.
Her comment had an immediate effect on her children, because up until then I felt as if they were all feeling a little guilty that they weren’t going to visit her that weekend. In fact, Holly had considered staying home and using her car to visit her mother while we were gone, but now that was no longer necessary. Julie had given them her seal of approval and they all seemed to perk up about going to the wedding, instead of visiting her.
We spent a couple of hours with Julie and Alice, and we talked about many things before we said goodbye and returned home. When we got back to the house, I asked Brandon how the fitting had gone with Revin.
“It went very well and the suit fits him nicely. It was the one we bought for Benny when he first got here, because the coat sleeves and pant legs on Joshie’s old suit were too long for him.”
“That’s not surprising, and I guess I should have figured that out on my own.”
“And while I’m at it, I might as well help the twins find suits that fit them as well.”
“Ok, I’ll tell them to go with you then.”
While Brandon was doing that, I set about doing my chores, while the other boys and Holly were busy entertaining each other. Fortunately, my chores allowed me to keep an eye on Holly, Ryan, and Noah at the same time, and the day proceeded without any unexpected bumps in the road.
After dinner we spent some time watching TV with the kids, and then we sent them upstairs to get ready for bed. Brandon and I went up to read to them a little while later and we finished the final chapter of Superfudge.
“What’s next?” Wyatt demanded.
“The next book is called Fudge-a-Mania,” Brandon told him.
“Yay, we get to read more about Fudge,” Hunter and Hayden both cheered. In fact, they all seemed happy about this.
After we tucked them in and kissed each one goodnight, we made our rounds to do the same with the rest of our brood. None of the others had much to say until we got to Holly’s room.
“I’m glad my mom doesn’t mind that we won’t be visiting her in two weeks.”
“I didn’t think she would, but I’m glad she told you and your brothers that in person,” I concurred. “And with the trip in mind, one night this week we’ll take you shopping so you can pick out a dress to wear to the wedding.”
“I’ve got dresses I can wear.”
“Yes, but the wedding will be a little fancier than the things you have, so we’ll get you something more appropriate.”
“I have the gift cards from my birthday, so I can use those to pay for it,” she offered.
“No, those are for college, not the wedding, so we’ll take care of this,” Brandon insisted. “We can do it one night after dinner.”
“Ok, but what about my brothers? Do they have something to wear to the wedding?”
“Yes, when the three of you got back earlier after visiting your mother I had them try on the suits the other boys had outgrown. Once we found the ones that fit them best, we told them they would wear them at the wedding, and we have more than enough dress shirts and ties to go around.”
“Oh, ok.” She hesitated momentarily before she spoke again. “Do you remember that I’ll be leaving for college on the Saturday after we get back from the wedding?”
“Of course we do,” we both agreed.
“Then do you think I can buy some other things when you take me shopping to get the dress for the wedding?”
“Certainly, and that’s an excellent idea,” Brandon agreed. “In fact, Trey mentioned that he’d like to go with us when he heard we might be doing this. He has a really good eye for fashion, so would you mind if he joins us?”
“No, not at all. I’ve always had my mom with me whenever I went shopping, so I’d appreciate having another opinion.”
“Great, then Trey will probably go in Danny’s place, because he’s not particularly fond of shopping.” He then looked at me and smirked.
“No, I’m not,” I confirmed, “and I’m glad Trey offered to do this for us.”
Holly giggled. “At least I have two people to help me pick out the different things I’ll need to buy.”
“And I’ll be here when you need other things,” I pointed out.
“I know, because you’ve been here for my brothers and me plenty of times already,” she replied.
Shortly after we left her room, Brandon and I headed to bed as well. Much had been accomplished, but there was still a great deal left to do.
The next week was kind of hectic as we attempted to tie up a variety of loose ends. Not only was there the shopping trip, but we needed to make sure the laundry was done and everyone had packed their suitcases.
When we arrived home from work on Monday the boys were upset because Dobby had another accident overnight.
“It’s ok. It will happen from time to time, but I’m convinced he’ll be able to hold it in all night very soon.” That seemed to placate them for the time being, so Brandon and I left for work.
Later that evening, Brandon and Trey took Holly shopping after we finished eating dinner with the family, and when they returned she wanted to show me everything she’d purchased.
“This is the dress I’ll be wearing at the wedding,” she announced as she held it up for me to see.
“It’s gorgeous and you’ll look lovely in it.”
“That’s what Uncle Trey and Dad Brandon said too, and these are the shoes to match.”
“Those are nice as well and I’m glad you got those to complete your outfit,” I told her with a little hug.
She then showed me the various other items she’d purchased to take with her to college, and they were basically the typical assortment of garments that you’d see any college co-ed wearing. She was thrilled with all of it, so we were happy too. She even went to show Dad, Pop, and Dion everything as well, seeing she’d used the gift cards they gave her to purchase some of those items.
Shortly after she had done that, we sent everyone to get ready for bed. Once they were ready, we read the first chapter of the next book in the Fudge series to them, and then we bid them sweet dreams and made our rounds to do the same with the others before calling it a night ourselves.
Unfortunately, Tuesday morning the boys discovered that Dobby had another accident overnight, but then the situation changed again on Wednesday when they discovered his pad was dry. We wondered what they were going tell us about Dobby when we arrived home on Thursday, but Dad wanted to fill us in about another incident instead.
“I just want to give you a little heads up before you go say hello to the boys. I’m not sure if they will mention this to you, but we had a little excitement earlier. The boys had been skinny dipping in the pool, but I guess they were taking a break and running around and playing with Dobby and Flash when Becky walked out there and saw them. She’d showed up much earlier than usual and heard the noise the boys were making as they played, so she went out to tell Revin it was time to go home.”
“Was Becky upset that we let her son do that?” Brandon quickly asked.
“No, in fact she was laughing when she told me what happened, but I guess the boys weren’t thrilled about it.”
“Which boys were out there at the time? Was Ryan there too?”
“No, but the rest of the boys were there.”
“So who was the most upset that she saw them?” I followed.
“That would be Revin. He wasn’t happy that his mom had seen him naked again.”
“I’m glad Becky wasn’t upset or angry about it.”
“As I said, she was laughing, and she also made a comment about Joshie being a lot more mature than his age would indicate.”
“Yes, I’m sure his penis would have definitely caught her attention. Did Joshie seem bothered by what happened?”
“Dion asked him that question as well and said Joshie just shrugged it off, but Benny told me Joshie seemed flattered that she was staring at his manhood.”
“He’s a lot like his father. As you remember, Dion reacted the same way when we went to those nude beaches.”
“Hey, if you’ve got it, flaunt it,” Brandon joked.
“And Dion certainly did, and it seems that Joshie is just like him,” I added. “So did Becky explain why she arrived here earlier than normal?”
“Yes, she said there’d been a traffic accident near where she worked and the building lost power. She said her boss called the power company to find out how long it would be before they corrected the situation and was told it would be a couple of hours minimum, so he sent everyone home early.”
“Good for her and bad for Revin.”
When we went to say hello to the boys, they told us about what had happened too, but most of them thought it was kind of funny. Tristan even gave us his take on what had occurred.
“I don’t know why Revin got so upset when his mom saw him like that. She’d changed his diapers when he was a baby and given him baths until he was seven, so she’d seen it before. I think he was making too big of a deal about it.”
“Didn’t it bother you and the other boys too?” Brandon asked.
“Yeah, we were all a little embarrassed that she’d seen our dicks, but we didn’t make a big deal about it like Revin did. We just used our hands to cover up, but Revin screamed at her and told her to go wait in the car until he got dressed.”
“Oh, I thought she would have gone in the house and talked to Grandpa Josh while she waited.”
“Nah, but when we told him about what happened he went out and talked to her.”
“Ah, I see.”
“Oh, and Dobby didn’t pee in the carrier again last night. Does it mean he’s potty trained like Flash now?”
“It’s a good start, but I want to see if he can keep it up for a couple more nights before I’m convinced he’s truly potty trained.”
Later that evening I talked to Dion about what had happened earlier and he basically told me the same things Dad had. I also made sure he remembered that he’d agreed to drive Owen to the bus station the next day.
“He has to be there before we get home from work, so are you sure you’ll be able to take him for us?”
“Of course, and I’ll stay with him until he gets on the bus and it leaves the depot.”
“Thank you. We really appreciate your help.”
When we got home after work, the boys announced that Dobby hadn’t peed in the carrier again, so we were all very optimistic and hoped both puppies were now in full control of their bladders. After lunch we had everyone change into their swimsuits, and then we drove them to the state park to swim. The water in the lake was much cooler than the water in our pool, so taking a dip in the lake was much more refreshing on a hot August afternoon.
We stayed there for a couple of hours and spent time in both the water and relaxing on the beach, and then we stopped for ice cream on the way home. We felt pretty good by the time we arrived back at the house, although we were also exhausted from using so much energy while swimming. This caused most of us to take it easy until dinner, and during that time Ryan received a phone call from Owen.
“He just wanted to let us know that he got home ok,” Ryan informed us, “and he told me to thank you again for letting him stay here for an extra week.”
“He’s more than welcome, and he was never a problem so he’s welcome to join us anytime he wants to come back.”
Since we were all hot and tired, rather than having someone slave over a hot stove, we agreed to order take out instead. Dion and I volunteered to pick it up, and I went to get the Chinese food while Dion left to pick up the pizzas. When we returned, there was more than enough to go around and we all filled our bellies.
After we finished eating, we took it easy for the rest of the night. As it grew later, we went up to read to the boys again, and then we made our nightly rounds. When we got to Ryan’s room he thanked us again for letting Owen stay an extra week and for talking the younger boys into letting them use the PlayStation.
“It wasn’t a big deal, but just remember this when we ask you to do something for them,” I replied. “And speaking of that, do you think we should have the Haunted House again this year?”
“Of course. All the kids around here are counting on you doing that.”
“But there’s only you, Benny, and Joshie to run most of the attractions this time. Do you think some of your friends might want to help?”
“I’ll ask them as soon as school starts, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be happy to do it. They all came to the Haunted House when they were younger, and I think they’ll be thrilled to do it for the other kids too, and some might even want to do it just to scare people.”
“Ok, that’s good to know.”
Shortly after we bid him goodnight, Brandon and I did a few other things before turning in. Everything seemed to be working out quite well and the summer was rapidly moving to an end.
On Sunday morning, the boys were eager to tell us that Dobby had gone another night without having an accident. “Then I guess he’s potty trained as well,” I agreed.
“So do we have to put them in the carrier at night?” Hayden followed.
“That depends. It might be a good idea for you boys to see if you can coax both of them to follow you upstairs when we get home from church, but you can’t help them in any way. I want to see if they can do it on their own, as well as being able to come down again on their own, and if they can do both of those things, then maybe we won’t have to put them in the carrier at night. I’ll stop and buy a doggy bed for them after I take Holly, Hunter, and Hayden to visit their mom, and that way we’ll have it when they’re ready to sleep upstairs.”
“Yay,” they all squealed, and then I urged them to get ready for church.
After we attended Sunday school and sat through the church service, we went to the diner for brunch. While we were there, I decided to talk to Becky about a few things.
“The boys will be sharing suitcases for our trip and we already have the suit Revin will be wearing, so we’ll only need you to drop off a few additional items. I’d suggest a couple changes of underwear and socks, along with comfortable clothing for him to wear on the bus ride there, and another set for the ride back. Does he have dress shoes?”
“Yes, he does, so I’ll drop those off too. Is there a specific day when you would like to have everything?”
“We’ll be helping the boys pack their suitcases throughout the week, so as soon as possible would be helpful.”
“Ok, I’ll make sure you have it all by Tuesday at the latest.”
“Thank you and that will help a lot.”
“It’s the least I can do, seeing you’ve volunteered to let him go with you.”
Now that this had been cleared up, we finished eating and then I dropped them off on the way home. The rest of us had a great deal to do in order to get ready for the following weekend, and Brandon was going to make sure the laundry was done while I took Holly and the twins to visit their mother.
Julie was happy to see her children again, and we spent a couple of hours with her and Alice. Before we left, Holly had something to say to her mom.
“This is going to be the last time I’ll see you for a while,” she began, and then she hugged her mother. “I’ll be at the wedding next week, and then I’ll be leaving for college the following Saturday. I promise to call you at least once every week, and I want you to know that I love you very much.”
“I love… you too… and I want… you to do… well in… college.”
“I will. I promise.”
It was a very tearful parting between the two of them, which was filled with a great deal of hugging and kissing, and then she finally agreed to leave.
“Are you ok?” I asked once we were in the car.
“Yes, I’m fine. I’m just going to miss her.”
“You’re a good daughter and I know she’ll miss you too, but she wants you to do your best at college so you’ll have a great future.”
“I know, and I’ll spend a little extra time with her when I come home for the holidays.”
We stopped to pick up the doggy bed on the way home, and when we got to the house Tristan came running out to greet us. “Hurry inside. I want to show you what Dobby and Flash can do.”
I already had a fairly good idea what he was referring to, but I followed him anyway. The twins were eager to see what he was so excited about as well, and once we were inside Tristan attempted to get the puppies to follow him as he went up the stairs. He had a treat in both hands, one for each of them, and he used the treats to coax Flash and Dobby to follow him upstairs. To my amazement, both of the puppies managed to make their way up the steps unaided, and then a minute later Tristan got them to follow him downstairs again. That effort was a little less graceful and the puppies slipped and bumped their heads on the steps a couple of times each, but they made it all the way to the foyer, nonetheless.
“That’s great and I bought the doggy bed, so we’ll have them lay in it while we’re reading to you this evening.”
Needless to say, the boys were very excited, so I took the doggy bed up to the twins’ bedroom while they were taking Dobby and Flash outside. When they came back inside again, I told them we needed to give Dobby and Flash a bath, so we took them into the downstairs bathroom and scrubbed them down quickly.
When we finished and had dried them off, the boys played with the puppies until it was time for dinner, and then they feed them before we ate. As soon as the boys had finished eating dinner, they took Dobby and Flash outside again, and then we all spent time together watching TV until it was time for them to go to bed.
Before we sent them upstairs to get ready for bed, we had them take Dobby and Flash outside a final time, and then they got the puppies to follow them upstairs. When they got to the landing at the top, Dobby and Flash ran up and down the hallway while the boys were showering. After they finished, we had the boys place Dobby and Flash in the doggy bed while Brandon read to them. As they listened, the four of them petted both puppies, and then after Brandon finished reading we had them get in the bunk beds. I made sure Dobby and Flash stayed in the doggy bed while they did that.
Once they all seemed settled in, we bid them sweet dreams and left. I returned to check on the puppies a couple more times before Brandon and I turned in as well, and Dobby and Flash seemed very comfortable in their new accommodations. They also seemed happy to be in the same room as the boys, rather than alone in the family room, so I took that as a good sign that this was all going to work out very well.