Friday, July 30, 2010

What I Did On My Summer Vacation, Part 2

Day Three: Pittsburgh to Indianapolis, 375 miles, 6 hours (8 with stops)

After a lovely day relaxing and having fun at Val's house, we faced down the last leg of our trip out to Indianapolis with mixed feelings. I was dying to see my family and wanted to get on the road, but we both fully expected the girls to launch a full-scale bloody coup when they realized we were about to spend another long day in the car. I was a bit surprised that they only offered mild irritable complaining as we strapped them into their seats after breakfast and hit the Interstate Highway System once more. Maggie contented herself for the first hour or so with her favorite vehicular torture method: Are we there yet? Where are we going? Are we going to Gram's house? Are we going home? How far is home? Are we closer to home or closer to Nana's house? Are we to Nana and Papa's house yet? Are we in America? Where is Oklahoma? Are we going to Grandma the Great's house? Are we there yet? Are we going to work? Where is Sandy and Everett's house? Do they live with Noah? Is it near Noah's house? When will we get to America? Do they have a dog? Are we there yet?

The screaming didn't start until West Virginia.

Unbeknownst to most people, I bet, is that when one drives straight west out of Pittsburgh, one runs into West Virginia - that little sticky uppy part that contains Wheeling. I've now been to WV twice and still haven't spent more than a maximum total of about two hours there. It's a quick peek at Appalachia and then - zoom! drive away fast! And yet, although Wheeling leaves a little something to be desired, it is very beautiful there out in the forested hills around it.

Somewhere in that handful of West Virginia miles, the whole catastrophic plan for the day dawned crystal clear on Maggie and she started screaming. We tried to say comforting things. Then we tried to reason with her. Then we tried bribes. Then we tried angry threats of pulling over to the side of the road for a time out. She opted for the time out. She ASKED for the time out. SHE GAVE HERSELF A TIME OUT. Mike screeched to a halt on the side of the road, yanked her from her car seat, and plopped her down in the grass on the road side. Then he stood there facing away from her as though admiring the forest as Kate and I listened to Curious George in the car and stared glassy-eyed out the windows at the traffic speeding by. After they got back in the car, we crossed into Ohio and everything was just fine after that.

Ohio is a good name for it because it sounds like a lament, like a sigh. OH-hio! Ohio, ohio, o-HI-o! Why oh why oh why oh? Why could we just not leave Ohio? Ohio lasts forever. Forevah and evah as Maggie says in her unfortunate Boston accent. We didn't even get to change highways; it's I-70 the whole way across. Truck stops and cornfields and flat straightaways. There's not much to tell you about the hours of our lives that we left behind in Ohio, except for this little gem:

We stopped in some town whose name I can't remember to eat lunch at Arby's (which we don't have in New England so we were really excited to go there even though the food is never as good as you remember it). We had a fairly uneventful lunch wherein the girls learned that they love curly fries. Just before we left, I took Maggie into the ladies' room and Mike took Kate to see if the men's had a changing table (nope, the jerks). I hoisted Mags up onto the toilet seat and somehow, neither of us really understands the mechanics of how this happened, she peed all over my foot. My foot! I was wearing a pair of Rockport sandals which means that most of my foot was bare and the part that wasn't bare was rather expensive. You want to know what else? THREE AMISH WOMEN were waiting outside the stall to use the bathroom while I stood there in a puddle of pee holding my crying three-year-old over the toilet and trying not to let loose the torrent of four letter words slamming against the inside of my skull. As they stood there, strangely silent and expressionless like statues, I cleaned us both up, changed Maggie's pants, rinsed off our shoes, and left them with a warning about the puddle next to the toilet. I changed Kate's diaper in the front seat of the car, put my shoes in a plastic bag in the trunk, and went back inside to apologize to the lady behind the counter and let her know about the state of their bathroom.

And that wasn't the last time I'd have pee on my shoes on this trip either, but we'll save that story for later.

We coasted into Indianapolis just before dinner under a dark grey Midwestern thunderstorm less than an hour, I think, after my parents and grandmother arrived at my Aunt Sandy and Uncle Everett's house. All the trials of the road were forgotten as everyone joyously greeted one another, carried in stuff from the car, settled into rooms, brought out gifts, and sat down to dinner. It's easy to forget the hard road you've travelled when you're happy to be where you are.

Day Four: Indianapolis

Summertime, and the livin' is easy!

We encouraged the girls to do gladiator-style battles with pool noodles.

Whatever, they liked it.

Sandy & Ev's special boy, Jammydoodles. The girls loved him! Who doesn't?

They played with this little bowl of rocks constantly. Sandy and Everett say they're getting the girls rocks for Christmas. I bet if they do, the girls won't play with any of their other gifts because they'll be too excited about the rocks. Kate kept putting them up to her lips, thinking twice about it, looking around to see if anyone was watching her, and then putting the rocks down without actually eating them. Aw, she's growing up!

The Coolest Park #2

Running off all that energy saved up from the day before!

Double Seesaw

Mags and Maya, who's walking whom?

When we said, "Where's Papa?" Kate pointed to Papa. When we said, "Where's Nana?" Kate pointed to Papa. My mom didn't care for this game too much.

She was having fun... really!

Curly Sue - it was really hot and humid!

Maggie Jane, Domino Shark

After the park, we cooled off in the pool. The girls were awesome in the pool. They were brave and loved the water. They don't get that from me!


That was a HUGE beach ball!

Aunt Sandy and Mags

Stay tuned for Part 3!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What I Did On My Summer Vacation...

We might be crazy. Four days on the road with a three year old and an 18 month old. But Mike and I love road trips and we hate flying with little kids and it's been almost a year since I saw my parents or they saw the girls, so we forged ahead with our nutty plan to see America with Thing One and Thing Two in the backseat. Luckily, Jeff and Jeannette were willing to loan us their dual screen DVD player for the car - six hours of Max and Ruby on repeat is actually less jarring to the nerves than the ear-splitting screams of toddlers.

Day One: Boston to Pittsburgh, 600 miles, 10 hours

Ten hours of driving, but you can add another two hours for multitudinous stops including all three meals.

We actually started the day off poorly. The alarm was set, but it didn't go off because it decided that the first day of our Car Trip Outta Crazytown was a great day to get broken. Nevertheless, we were dressed and out the door in record time. I'm still not sure how it happened or how we managed not to forget anything or leave the doors unlocked. Luckily our neighbors had agreed to feed the cats, put the trash out, pick up the mail, and play our Wii for us while we were gone. We hit the open road at 8 am with Dunkin Donuts in hand and the Curious George theme song blaring from the head rests. The girls were PSYCHED! They weren't sure exactly what they were excited about, but obviously it was something awesome! Munchkins and movies in the car! Maggie said it was "like magic."

We had one crazy, emergency, "I have to go potty RIGHT NOW" stop in central Mass., but we got to a rest stop and she made it to the potty just in time.



New York... (We waved to Amy and Roger and Baby Elizabeth as we passed I-87 South and had lunch at McDonald's.)


(snacks and juice boxes)


(take a break to run in the grass at a rest stop)


(threats and cajoling)


(dinner at a Perkin's Pies where, in one of my least intelligent moments as a parent, Maggie and Kate split some pancakes topped with rainbow sprinkles and whipped cream and then raced around the restaurant screeching)


Finally! Valerie and John's house! The girls actually clapped and cheered when we pulled into the driveway and turned off the car. 8 pm! Bedtime, thank god.

Day Two: Pittsburgh, 0 miles, all day

We planned to spend the next day just hanging out at Val's all day and not go anywhere. I'm SO glad we did because all four of us were twitchy and exhausted from being in the car so long the day before and because all the kids had such a fabulous time playing together. Noah and Annalise are the cutest, sweetest kids. Nevertheless, four kids under four makes for a very chaotic day even with group parenting!

We played outside in the yard:

The kids shared toys very well and got along great even though Kate and Noah are still kind of at that "play at the same time but not actually together" age.

What do you think they were talking about?

Baby Annalise, nearly 3 months old.

Val kicked Mags' butt at Guitar Hero

We went to The Coolest Park #1 after dinner (the Coolest Park #2 is in Indiana).

Then we put all three kids in the tub together. Chaos ensues. Val showed us the enormous dimple in Noah's bum cheek. He'll be able to work for the CIA smuggling secret microchips in that dimple when he grows up!

That night, Annalise, Noah, and Maggie all crashed out immediately but Kate stayed up thrashing around in her pack 'n play for ages talking about Val's dog and cars and the pictures of ice cream on her pj pants and I don't know what all. We all sat in the living room chatting, eating snacks, and drinking Yuengling beer and watched her on the video baby monitor until she finally gave up and passed out.

Val and I agreed that life would be exponentially more awesome and much easier if we lived near one another. How nice it would be to just call up and say, "Put a fresh pot of coffee and a Disney movie on. I'm coming over. Oh, and don't bother to get your kids dressed because mine are still in their pajamas, too, the little heathens." Ah, maybe in our next lives...

Coming soon... Day Three: Pittsburgh to Indianapolis, 375 miles, 6 hours (8 with stops)

The girls with my dad the evening we arrived in Indy

PS - All our pictures are up on Snapfish.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Lesser of Two Evils

Kate had her first superfluous band aid today. I put a Dora the Explorer band aid on Maggie's thumb because she was obsessing over a small scratch. Kate went ballistic insisting on having her own band aid as well, so I stuck one on her knee.

Skip forward about 15 minutes and Kate wanders past me with no band aid. When I asked her what happened to it, she just pointed into her mouth and laughed!! Either she just learned how to tell a lie or else she ate her band aid. I'm not sure which option I think is better and which is worse. No matter how many times today I've asked her about it, she just points into her mouth and laughs and laughs.

I still haven't found the band aid.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

18 Month Check Up

We went to the doctor on Tuesday for Kate's 18 month check up appointment. She's about 24 lbs., which is 50th percentile, and more than 33 inches, which is 93rd percentile. She's always hovered around these percentiles and in this proportion to height and weight, so the doctor was happy with her growth. He said that, assuming average growth rates, most people's adult height is double their height at 2 years old. If Kate doesn't grow another inch in the next 6 months she will be my height (a little taller than 5'7''), but most kids do grow quite a bit between 18 and 24 months, so she's probably going to be closer to 6 feet! Maggie, who is now only about 36 or 37 inches tall and a couple of pounds heavier than Kate, will probably be about as tall as I am.

Here are some photos showing Maggie last summer and Kate this summer wearing the same clothes. Maggie wore 24 months sized clothes at 30 months and Kate's wearing them at 18 months!









Monday, July 12, 2010

Maggie Sez...

(very seriously, while sitting on my bed watching me get dressed this morning)

... Mom, are those your boobins bobbins?

What?! Did your dad teach you that??? Where does she get this stuff? Not from me!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Maggie Sez...

(while holding my face in her hands with her forehead against mine)

... Ieeeeeee!! ...

... Loooovve!! ...

(aww. Yes?)


Thanks. Crackers love you too, Mags.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happy 8th of July!!

Yeah, yeah. Save your complaints. It's been a hectic week here, OK?! Didn't you get enough photos last week anyway? Uh huh, I get it... you know we were hanging out with Elizabeth last weekend and you want to see some cute baby pics. Fine, here you go, but be warned - you might need a big glass of milk to wash down such sweet, sugary goodness.


Kate just loves a hat, any hat.

Everybody wants to hold the baby.

Romper Room!

We went to a farm stand that has animals for kids to pet and feed.

Maggie loved it! She jumped right in and was extremely brave, which is unlike her normally cautious self. We've always know she has the heart of a farmer.

Kate, not so much.

Mags was pretty proud of herself.

City folks visit the country.

Getting dolled up on the 4th.

Little Lady Liberty - with foam hat and bug spray.

Baby Liberty

Gram and Grandpa

Little E is quite patriotic.

Maggie spent half the weekend scooping these pebbles out of the garden into sand pails and then redistributing them around the yard. Her passion for farming exceeds her know-how, perhaps.

Betty Poop

Stars in Stripes!

Do not adjust your television.

Where's Waldo?

We hit the beach for a picnic dinner.

Kate was thrilled by the water.

Maggie makes a sand angel.

E was not impressed by the temperature of the water. Perhaps she's a West Coast girl after all.

She preferred napping with Dad.

Have baby, will travel.

The girls got all dry and comfy, but Mike was still a little damp.

Miss America

Ice Cream, of course. Those were the cutest little kid-sized double Adirondack chairs with a table in between.

That's the "Kiddie Cone!"

Didn't stop her from begging bites from Grandpa, too!

Sugared Up Silly Pants

Happy 4th of July!