Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On the Road Again

It's road trip prep time again.

In this house, that means a trip to Target for sunscreen, neosporin, band aids, bug spray and sand toys. It means a trip to the grocery store for the pantry items too necessary and maybe weird to count on procuring at the random beach grocery store. It means at least twelve loads of laundry, twenty piles of clothes to possibly make it into the suitcase, a stack of beach towels, and a host of toys campaigning for a spot in the one bin allowed. It means finding a spot for a heap of baby gear, back for its encore farewell tour this year.

It means yet another trip to the grocery store for car snacks, always in search of the zen balance of enough to calm whining, and not too much to create sugar overdrive in the backseat. When I was a kid, the car snack variety ran towards root beer barrels, bit o honey's, tootsie rolls and peanut butter crackers. For us, it's more a goldfish cracker, fruit snack, jolly rancher, Pringle medley.

It means loading the CD carrier with the right DVDs, and stacking my own reading materials with a mix of magazine and novel, maybe even an audio book on the iPod to drown out baby screaming in hour 8 and a half.

I know what a long car trip looks like from the passenger seat. On rare occasions I get to witness it from the driver's side. But I have no memories of doing it from a car seat in the back. We rolled around on a platform in our station wagon when I was really young. Then I stuck firmly to my own side of the back seat with a book (yes, I was known to draw an imaginary line down the center) while my brother fidgeted and tried to engage me in arguments because he couldn't do much else without getting car sick. I was so glad when he finally got a walkman, I was even willing to listen to the second hand sounds of Living Colour's Cult of Personality on an endless loop.

But what is it like to be confined to a car seat for hours on end? Hard to imagine, which is why in our van and/or Jeep, we rely heavily on technological help. (DVD, Leapster, IPad, etc.) For a view of life inside the five point harness, check out the photo essay that follows -- culled from photos taken by O. and N. on my iPod when I thought they were playing Ant Smasher or Fruit Ninja.

(I think O. was trying to create a kind of photographic flip-book slideshow, where you could watch the Pokemon episode via snapshots)

What about you? How do you prepare for vacation? What are your go-to car snacks? Any thoughts on how to break through the DVD glaze?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Water Babies

If you're looking for us these days, check the pool. O. and N., finishing up two weeks of swim lessons today, so we've been there rain or shine, hot and cool.

They might as well be growing gills.

Don't let this one fool you. He only stays in the stroller long enough for me to haul all of our stuff in from the car. After that, it's one long wrestling and retrieval match for he and I, in and out of the water. He looks pretty darn cute in a swim shirt, though.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Longest Day of the Year

Wondering where I might find N. today, taking the nap she swears she no longer needs.

So excited to watch this movie that Uncle Roy
let her borrow that she fell asleep clutching it.

I wasn't on this boat ride, but I'm told she slept
right through some of the roughest wakes of the weekend.

Nothing like a bed of potting soil pre-heated by the sun.
Slept right through the planting of vegetables this year.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Since I've Been Gone...

I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time apologizing for my bloggy absence. For one thing, I know the one who has most missed my presence here is me.

I have had plenty to say, had plenty to report, and have been aching to be able to puttogether some coherent thoughts.

Parenting three kids and an elderly dog has gotten a little bit harder to manage now that the baby is on the run. (Not literally -- yet. But he is cruising the furniture with no fear.)

Mostly, there is not a lot to complain about. We have been living life at full speed, which is mostly how I like it. Late April and May are always a frantic race to the fun.

What follows are some of the highlights of how we have spent the time since I last blogged.

There are potential posts for all of these waiting to be written, but for now, a photo sneak peek.

Somehow, I became the mother of a six year old, one who knows a lot about Pokemon. Officially not just the mother of small children, I.

Two teeth appeared on the scene. (Two more coming through on top this week.)

My own side of the family suddenly branched out, my kids have two new cousins,
and I am the proud proud aunt of two beautiful nieces.
It is so fun to share parenthood with someone you grew up with,
even more than I knew it would be.

O. finished up kindergarten,
and I guess I have to say he is now a first grader?
Even harder than that he is six.

O. actually played a couple of tee-ball games,
after most of his practices and early schedule were completely rained out.
Speaking of, we spent a LOT of time in the basement riding out tornado sirens.
The dog has pooped in the house approximately eight times,
possibly weather anxiety related, possibly not.

We went to the lake!

J. and I got to escape for a few days, thanks to his company,
his hard work, and the kindness and devotion of my parents.

L. will be nine months old next week. (?!) You didn't hear much about months seven and eight because he and I were having it out on a few issues, namely eating and sleeping.
He's still the most wonderful baby I've met since 2005 and 2007, and definitely the happiest one I've ever held for hours at a time.
However, he will not drink anything resembling milk out of anything resembling a liquid holding vessel.
Also, he was so busy crawling away from me finding ways to open drawers, climb up steps and get himself to a standing position that he wouldn't hold still long enough for many photos.

This week, it's full on summer. We've been to the pool every day. The days are just waiting for us to explore, and to try to find a balance for my children between freedom and sloth.

Recent comments to characterize the summer thus far:

O: "It's my summer vacation and I just want to relax!"

N: "Mommy, it is a beautiful day. Aren't we going to go play outside?" (I just may have won one over to the bright side!)

L: "Ba ba ba baba ba!"

J: "Wait, did we discuss this already? I can't remember. It's the vicodin."
(Did I mention he had sinus surgery last week? There's a month's worth of posts right there in that sentence. He has been a super duper trooper through a rough recovery. And I have discovered that solo parenting is way harder when the 'absent' partner is still in the house. We are hoping the worst of it is behind us, and that he will soon lose the pain and regain his sense of taste.)