Friday, May 31, 2013

Best Weekend Ever (Day Three)

Saturday was another day of rain and thunderstorms.  Which was nice because it wasn't so flipping hot, but a little tough because the kids didn't get near as much pool time as they wanted.  Last year we took Ruby to a fun park that she loved and when I asked her what she wanted to do while she was here she told me all she wanted to do was go to the "town park" (there is an area that looks like a little town).  My plan had been to go to the town park on Saturday, but the rain made it a no-go.

So I did what any good tour guide does with out-of-town guests.  I took them to the mall.  And you know what the mall in Texas has?  Inflatable Wonderland.  Oh yes.  The malls here have giant jumpy houses.  We left Louie with BVZ (again, me half not wanting to infect anyone with potential viruses, half just not wanting to deal with him) and let the big kids loose.

Lucas may be petite but he is mighty.  Kid is ripped.  He has these crazy strong legs and when he was at the top of the inflatable slide he would do this turbo boost move where he would hoist himself up and then torpedo himself down.  It was awesome.

It was fun, but crowded, and we coaxed them out with promises of ice cream (which I don't think we ever delivered, but I think they forgot).  We stopped at a Stride Rite shoe sale.

Ruby and her dad play this game on the ipad called Plants and Zombies and she got Norah into it as well.  While we waited for shoe shopping to finish they showed me how you would go about eating someone's brain.

The mall also had a carousel.

And a food court.  This is where Ruby and Norah ate pretzels like "Lady and the Tramp" (ie, one eats from one end and the other eats from the other end).  We also learned a great new word on this trip, "Hangry."  It's Megan's word for Ruby when she gets grumpy/mad because she's hungry.  It's a great word that is now a part of our daily vocabulary.  Just today Norah told me that Lou was throwing a fit because he was hangry.

In an effort not to have to return to the jumpy house area we agreed to go to the Disney Store.  We had good (or bad--depending on how you look at it) timing because we were there only a few minutes before story time started.  Check out the moves Lucas busted on Norah.  He is such a lover.  He was so sweet to the girls, always wanting to hug them and hold their hands.  When he would want me to do something for him he would walk over, put his hand on my arm and look at me lovingly with those big, brown eyes.  That dude is a heart breaker.  For sure.

They were so tired I thought they might just wrap around each other and fall fast asleep.

This was not a sturdy wall.  It was very flimsy and both Ruby and Lucas tried to lean back on it, almost knocking themselves and the backdrop over in the process.

On the way out of the mall there was a police car, motorcycle, and ambulance that you could climb on.  I tried to teach the children an important lesson--if the officer asks you to open your trunk you can just say no.

With some birthdays having recently passed and others on the horizon, there was an exchange of some really awesome gifts.  From us, each kid got a fancy, personalized beach towel.  Aileen has become quite a seamstress and made Louis a travel holder for his matchbox cars (I need to take a photo of it, it's so cool), and she made Norah a fabric notebook holder with a place for a set of markers.  Norah has decided the notebook is her "life history" book and writes/draws in it every day.  From Ruby's family, Lou got the super cool ball in the photo below, and Norah got a matching outfit to Ruby, down to the shoes and coordinating bracelets (plus some really cool goggles).  She was beside herself with the outfit and they looked adorable.  It now hangs in a special place in her closet and every time she wears it, it is as though "Ruby is here in my heart."

We all went out to dinner so the girls could wear their outfits (well, that wasn't the reason really, but that's what we told them).

I made both Megan and Aileen get a Mexican Martini.  I don't know what our problem is, but we failed to get even a single photo of the three of us the entire time they were here.  I blame BVZ, the only other capable adult.

By this point, Lou was feeling fine.  Fine enough to eat Mexican rice and 8,000 tortilla chips.

Due to poor planning on my part, I ended up at the end with the kids and the other grown ups ended up at the other end with each other.

I didn't mind my company one bit.

It was a rinse, repeat of the previous two nights.  Boys to bed, girls let loose in Norah's room with an ipad and the instruction to just "don't wake up the boys" and the moms had adult beverages, ate pita chips, talked, laughed, and had more adult beverages.  I hadn't been that tired in a long time.  Or that happy.

Best Weekend Ever (Day Two)

Day Two (Friday) started with me making a frantic call to the pediatrician's office to see if they could work Lou in for an appointment that day.  I think I called at 8:20 and the only thing they had all day was an 8:45.  The office is about ten minutes away.  I threw some clothes on and hightailed it out of there.  BVZ was already on the way out the door for work.  Thank goodness for friends who will make coffee and feed your other kid breakfast.  

Shockingly, Lou did not have an ear infection, just a random, high fever.  The doctor was confident it was some random virus but just to be on the safe side since we had a house full of people and a long weekend ahead of us, she had some blood drawn to check for anything out of the ordinary.  I was expecting the worst from a blood draw, but to my surprise the lab tech said that they would just be pricking his finger and collecting the blood that way.  I thought there was no possible way you could get enough blood in that manner, but she told me that when you have a fever your blood is much thinner and it will "flow out like water."  Totally gross, right?  But sure enough, they stabbed him with the finger stick and flow like water it did.  He also lost his ever loving mind with the finger stick, to the point where I had tears as well (and I am tough when it comes to that kind of stuff).  By the time we were pulling into the driveway, we had the results that he checked out all clear.

The weather was spotty and thunderstorms were predicted and I knew that if we were going to go to this super splash pad it was now or never.  Plus, there was no way I was even entertaining the idea on a weekend, so this was going to be our last chance.  Thankfully, Bubby was available and willing to come over and hang out with a droopy Lou.  He's been to this splash pad before and even though I was sorry he was sick, I was mostly glad he couldn't go. Water activities are rough for me with a kid in diapers and he's just bananas and hard to keep up with.  He pretty much needs man on man defense at all times.

Norah is so much braver than she used to be, but she's still a big chicken about a lot of things.  She likes to survey the scene and take things in before making her move.  Ruby and Lucas, on the other hand, are dynamos who dive right in.  I love having them around because they really push Norah to do things she would otherwise shy away from (especially with Lucas being so much younger).  They went down this slide a couple of times until Norah scraped the side of her ankle and wanted to sit out for a minute.

The other thing about Ruby is that she is extraordinarily friendly to other kids and makes friends wherever she goes.  Norah is stoked when a kid at a public place approaches her and will gladly play with just about anyone, but she is very, very (very) rarely the one to make the first move.  While Norah sat out for a bit, Ruby made friends with a similarly outgoing girl at the top of the slide.  They went down together several times, came down and said something to Norah, and then started to move off to a different fountain area.  As they walked away, Norah started to cry.  I just assumed it was because they were moving on and I reminded her that we were there to do fun things, not sit on the sidelines and she couldn't expect everyone to just stop what they were doing because she didn't want to do the slide or anything 'scary' anymore.

She told me no, the reason she was crying was because Ruby had introduced the girl to Norah as "my best friend."  I told Norah that she must have misunderstood and that there was no way, no how, no chance that Ruby actually said that.  Norah insisted that she had.  I was about to launch into an explanation of how we sometimes hear things incorrectly when Megan said, "um, I actually think she did say that."  Uh-oh.  Long story short, Ruby makes a best friend wherever she goes.  In fact, when we first moved she would talk to kids at the park and tell them that her best friend Norah had moved away and so she needed a new one that day.  In a move that I would never had expected from a not even five year old, Ruby returned to Norah's side, reassured her that she was her one and only best friend forever and she loved her with her whole heart and could they please go play in the water fountain and do something fun?  All was well.  It was heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time.  Lucas probably thought they were nuts.

It was hot but overcast, so somewhat tolerable.  They played in the water and then the sand pit, and then the water again.  We finally convinced them to take a break and have some lunch.

Which may or may not have included gummy worms.

Norah was exhausted and I thought for a split second she might curl up in the grass and fall asleep.  She did not.  She did however, play a rousing game of hide and seek with Ruby and Lucas.  At one point she was hiding and I could not see her.  My eyes had not connected with her face in about ten seconds and my heart pretty much stopped.  Myself, Megan and Aileen all had a moment of panic and I yelled for her only to discover she was hiding next to a wall about a foot from where we were sitting.  I could have reached out and touched her.  She was super pissed we outed her hiding spot.

As we were getting ready to leave a very scared and very lost two year old kind of wandered up to us. She didn't have words yet and so we did our best to keep her calm and find her mom/dad/whoever she was with.  Finally after about ten minutes, her mom wandered up pretty nonchalantly to claim her.  Different strokes, I suppose.

Not too long after we got back to the house, the skies literally opened and it POURED for several hours.  Not only did it pour, but the thunder and lightening was pretty spectacular.  The kids watched another movie in the movie room and although I don't specifically remember, it is quite possible we partook in an early happy hour.

This dude had about 75 popsicles and was feeling much better.

I made a lasagna while Aileen and Megan made a grocery store run to restock some supplies (ie, wine and gummy bears).  The kids were getting antsy and the rain had stopped so I took them on a walk to look for worms.  Four kids, just me.  If it hadn't have been for Lou it would have been a perfect outing (he's ahem, a runner).  Lucas held my hand the entire time and sang songs.  We found a lot of worms.  As Ruby would recount later, we found one dead worm being eaten by ants, one dead worm that had been smushed, and one alive worm.

After dinner the kids made their own desserts by frosting a gluten free muffin (which we convinced them were cupcakes), crumbling on "dirt" (GF oreos) and topping with a gummy worm.  It was a perfectly appropriately treat following our walk.

I can't remember if we got in the pool that day (likely no because of the lightening), but once the skies cleared the girls got in the hot tub.  There is nothing worse about being a pool owner than having wet bathing suits in your house.  That combined with the fact that taking wet swim suits off kids might be one of my least favorite tasks of all times, means that I let my kids take their suits off in the water.  Which of course leads to skinny dipping for a minute.  But who doesn't like skinny dipping?  Norah always loves it but she especially loved it with Ruby.  I think they probably spent more time naked in the pool and hot/tub than they did in suits.  Hey, they were on vacation.

Another late night, another midnight bedtime.  Another glorious day.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Best Weekend Ever (arrival night and Day One)

The day Norah has been waiting months and months for finally arrived and we just spent a glorious five days with Ruby and her mom Megan, and Baby Lucas (who is no longer anything resembling a baby) and his mom Aileen.  Hands down some of our favorite people in the whole wide world and the house is painfully quiet without them.

This is what Norah looked like last Tuesday when I told her she only had one more sleep before Ruby arrived.

We needed a car that could fit three adults and four kids. Wednesday afternoon, I picked up this baby because it claimed it could comfortably seat seven adults.  

While technically I guess that would be possible, three of those seven adults would have to be painfully thin.  And certainly could not be small children riding in gigantic car seats.  It wasn't ideal but we managed.  Thank goodness Aileen has a tiny tush.  

It was late when everyone arrived but Norah made me pinky swear promise that she could go with me to pick them up.  The last time the girls saw each other was Disneyland.  Even though they Facetime (that's talk on the phone with video for you old people), I always have that split second of panic before they see each other that they won't have anything in common, that too much time will have gone by, that they won't even LIKE each other anymore.  Thankfully, my worry is always for naught.  There is no like here.  There is nothing but pure, total, unconditional love.  It's just what a best friend should be.  

Although I got to see Aileen last fall, we had not seen Lucas since the last time we were in the bay area, which was December of 2011.  He wasn't even two!  Now he's a fully formed three year old and he's awesome.  He took to the girls right away and was a part of the action every step of the way.  At first we thought he would be a good playmate for Lou, but nothing makes you realize the difference between two and three year olds than trying to get a two and three year old to play together.  

We got home, gave everyone the grand tour of the house and then let the girls loose.  Lou was already fast asleep, Lucas followed suit not too long after, but those girls stayed up for hours.  As in, did not close their eyes until 2:30 in the morning.  I couldn't believe they were still on their feet (none of the grown-ups were).  Clearly there was a lot to catch up on.  

When Ruby was here last summer it was hot.  Really hot.  Hot to the point where it was hard to move around.  I was expecting the worst this time around, but the universe was smiling on us and every day was overcast, breezy, and more often that not, rainy.  It cut into some of our pool time, but the pros far outweighed the cons.  It was remarkably pleasant to be able to move around and get in the car without feeling as though we might die.  The next morning we goofed around as long as anyone wanted and then went to the dinosaur dig and splash pad park approximately three minutes away.


After the park there was more lounging, a movie up in the movie room, playing outside in the backyard, popsicle eating, and wine spritzers before 3:00 pm.  Moms were on vacation too. 

The afternoon and early evening was so pleasant that we sent BVZ out to get bbq (about 30 seconds after he got home from work--he does have some redeeming qualities!) and set up on the front driveway with a bucket full of sidewalk chalk.  Lou loves to play in water when Norah is chalking, so I let him have the hose with the smallest drizzle of water.  The girls soon realized that chalk and water makes paint/paste and proceeded to create masterpieces on both the concrete and themselves.  At one point they were painting Norah blue (Smurfette) and Ruby green (Elphaba).  I am still finding chalk under Norah's nails, a full week later.

Lucas and Lou were having a great time until, when out of nowhere, Lou started to cry for so discernible reason and could not be comforted for a good fifteen minutes.  He felt warm and so I took his temp and found he had a 102 fever.  I had a split second (terrible) vision of a weekend of four sick kids, but thankfully it didn't last and didn't spread to anyone else.

The boys went to bed, the girls stayed up until at least midnight, and the moms gave up trying to make them go to bed and had cocktails instead.  A win-win for all.

To be continued...