Thursday, June 28, 2012

Coming or Going

I need to make a deal with myself that we don't go anywhere in July. This shouldn't be difficult as we only have the one car until we decide what we're going to do. Scooter? Commuter? Golf Cart? Bite the bullet and bring in the Mini Van? Of greater priority is to figure out how I'm going to do laundry. My washer literally died on it's last load as we left out of town. Last week? Two weeks ago? What day is it?

My Grami was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. After spending an afternoon looking at Assisted Living Facilities in Salt Lake with me, Jess came up with a no less than brilliant plan. Let's go on vacation! We pitched it to Grami and she bought it. My Dad had flown into Salt Lake and started packing. Jess and I went to a wedding on Thursday. Thursday night I flew to St. George to meet my Husband and kids where we visited with my in-laws. Jess and Ez, Dad and Grami caravanned down to So. Cal on Saturday. Sunday we packed up the kids and left St. George and headed to So. Cal. John dropped us off and then continued home in my sister's car. We've been here with the kids and getting Grami settled on her permanent vacation. Tomorrow we will head home with the kids, Jess will spend a day or two and then drive back home to Utah. 

An estimated 2,881 miles and 48hrs in the car (not including our trip to Monterrey earlier in the month).   

Sitting down to schedule my grocery delivery. Right. now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Whoa Nellie! (You didn't know I call you Nellie, did you?)

We are havin' fu-un!

I just finished nursing at a truck stop outside of Battle Mountain, NV. Ever been there? No? You lucky devil.

If your idea of a vacation involves 30+ hours a week in the car, Veggie tales Christmas medley, a nose-picking booger flicking two year old, and visiting the craziest of the crazies in Crazytown, well then baby, I got your number......





Sorry 'bout that.

Had to take a break to belt out "Break Free!!!!" Oh, the poetic irony of perfectly timed Queen.

"God knows, I want to break free-eee!"

"I've got to break free-ee!"

"I want to break free, yeaaaah!"

"I want, I want, I want, I want to break freeeeee!"

We are driving to Utah where we will stay with my sister overnight. Then Husband and the two loudest, I mean oldest kids will head on to St. George. I will attend a wedding with Juju and fly to St. George that night. We will spend a few days with Husband's family and then drive home after the weekend.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Long and short of it.

The long version is...well, I already gave my husband an earful of the long version. And my mom. And my sister.

The short version is...we tried to go to the Zoo today and were unsuccessful. We did not see as many sights as I would have liked, but we eventually found adequate parks. Twice. The day was not a total loss, though. We found ourselves in front of Penzey's and a great knit shop after being lost without GPS signal for over an hour. I made a deal with Scrunch that I'd let her pick the color of my token travel skein if they were oh so good in the shop. Now what to do with the hottest pink Madelinetosh sock you've ever seen? They were not so good at the Goodwill so we had to leave without books for the drive home. Then we got lost again. Juju was a dream baby per her usual even though she is majorly teething. I deserve a cookie for keeping a straight face while listening to Scrunch give an unsolicited dissertation on the nastiness of the outdoor ashtrays or "sickoramus" as she calls them to a little old Asian man I'm pretty sure spoke only limited English. Never again will I buy granola bars with chocolate chips and then toss them in the direction of the kids after they have been in my bag all day. Did I mention we got lost today? And the traffic is horrendous? And that's coming from someone who learned to drive in Southern California. I don't foresee us moving to Portland any time soon. It is pretty, the weather was unusually nice, they have lots of fun things to do, but I like it hot. Note- not necessarily hot pink but oh well. Oh, and I am sooo looking forward to sleeping in my own bed.

Yes, that was the short version.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I moonlight as a sherpa.

With Porkchop on my back in the Ergo and Juju on my front in the sling, I held Scrunch's hand as we stepped onto the MAX headed for the Children's Museum today all by ourselves. They did great! I'd even take it over ensuring that Porkchop keep his carseat straps buckled any day. We loved the Museum and every time the MAX goes by and Porkchop catches a glimpse of it he screetches, "choo chooo!" at decibels almost only dogs can hear. Almost. We can still hear it. It is awesome.

The pool is awesome. The food has been awesome. (i.e. Pasta Presto's Tortellini Rustica and Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe's Aztec Mousse). The blackout curtains in our room are awesome. Having a vending machine is awesome. Housekeeping with fresh towels any time we need is awesome. Traveling with the kids has proved to be quite awesome.

I would however, like a dollar for every time I have heard the least helpful comment ever by strangers.

"You've got your hands full."

It grates on my nerves. Why thank you dipshit, I didn't notice. Now hows 'bout you hold the door? Honestly. What does that even mean anyway? From the cute little old lady with a nostalgic smile I can handle it. It's sorta sweet. But from anyone else, it totally bugs. It's often one of those observations handed down with a note of condescension. What am I supposed to say? "You're right. Which one do you think I should give back?" One of these times I'm going smart off and get us all in trouble when I smile sweetly and respond with, "And my heart, Jackass."

But mostly, even the strangers have been awesome. Especially all the ones Scrunch insists on talking to. Every where we go. Including the homeless ones. I held my breath she wouldn't say anything about the six foot cross-dressing blind man who stood in line behind us. What if he wasn't as good natured as the young man wearing a turban who she questioned incessantly at In N Out last fall? She has no fear, that girl. The first time I watched this video I thought, "I could see Scrunch doing this."

Send it sistah ! from sebastien montaz-rosset on Vimeo.

Mind you she doesn't speak French. She wanted to stand on the edge of the rail on the city overlook, and open the windows on the aerial tram. She danced to drums of the Occupy movement in downtown. She wants me to let her ride the MAX by herself. She offered to watch Porkchop at the park so they could go. She's four.

OK, I give. I do have my hands full. And (no sarcasm involved) my heart.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Travel Tips

I knew we would either be taking a few road trips or a long plane ride with the kids this summer. Either way, I knew we would be locked in a confined space with the three of them for a long period of time without a scooter or a sandbox- our go to sanity savers. I started reading blogs and scouring Pinterest for ways to make it easier and for some helpful hints. More than a couple of people have expressed that perhaps we were crazy for attempting a roadtrip to Portland with them. Husband got so much flack over it at work yesterday that he called mid afternoon to "check" on me. "You brought your wife, three kids, and a dog to live in a hotel for a week while you work?!?!" I missed his call. We were swimming.  I refuse to sit home for the next five years waiting for my kids to be 'old enough' to do things. I'd lose my mind. Knowing this makes it worth the work and effort involved for me to keep it together as we tag along on Husband's business trips. These is what has worked (for us) (this trip).

I started packing each day's outfits in a separate bag. It seems like a minor thing, but I can stick panties, hairbows, everything in each day's bag and know we have it. It makes it lots easier when Husband helps dress the kids. The baggies come in handy for all sorts of things.

I used to pack a huge bag with different pairs of shoes, and this time I started listening to all the posts I've read about creating a wardrobe pod. This is all I packed for nine days. (Minus the unmentionables not pictured.)

We don't do movies in the car. I'm not against it, it's just not something we do. In the past I've packed a little snack and Dollar Tree doodad in a little baggie for each hour we plan on spending in the car. This time we did something a little different and I gave each of the kids a pile of 'tickets' (craft foam strips) and they could "buy" snacks and activities when the store was "open". Porkchop totally didn't get it, but he was happy to "pay" with his tickets. Scrunch most definitely did. Especially when I asked her if she would rather pay me a ticket when misbehaving. These are the kinds of activities I started compiling weeks ago...

Busy Bingo
Their own embellished clipboards for the torn out coloring and activity pages.
We made these car kits at our RS Activity last week and I filled it with bandaids and alcohol wipes which then Scrunch covered Jujus legs in.

Squence matching from the Dollar tree blocks and cut up craft foam.
I used one of the tutorials out there to make coloring pages out of pictures for Scrunch.
Dollar tree cookie sheet with monkey and banana magnets which can also be used for tic tac toe.

Tan grams cut from craft foam.

On our way out of town I saw signs for a book sale and made Husband stop. I scored an entire bag of Best Seller's and popular book club books for 3 dollars! Score. Know how many pages I read on the ride up? Zero. Zilch. Major bummer for Mom. If I wasn't doling out snacks and activities I was working. We tethered my phone to my laptop so I could do this and it's kind of cramping my style, but not as much as it would have had I taken the week off. 

You have to be willing to let the plan change based on the kids' mood. I struggle with this. Come on! A tour of the Tillamook cheese factory would have been awesome! But two additional hours in the car would have done everyone in. Dairy Queen ice cream cones is kind of like visiting a dairy, right?

Make frequent stops. Not like you have a choice if you have a nursing baby, but even half an hour at the ghetto park in Podunk, OR is better than cranky, screaming kids for the half hour you would have gained in travel time.

No matter how prepared you think you are and how many snacks you've packed, you're going to get bored. So are they. You'll want to run screaming from the car. It's okay. You will find ways to pass the time, and then when you think you're really going to lose it and change your name to something other than Mo-om, you're there!

A great hotel pool is worth every penny.

So is finding great local places to eat. 

Repeat the last two as needed. I've planned a busy fun-filled activity day alternating with a low key cartoons on fluffy beds interrupted by swims day and so far, it is working.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I have a vacation hangover. Where you wake up in the morning thinking, "what just happened?!?" but it hurts your head to think about it. And yet you know you're totally going to do it again this weekend. 

This is the low-down. Or download. Or whatever of our adventure this weekend. I'm boycotting the use of the word vacation. There are outings, field trips, adventures, but no such thing as a vacation with three littles- let's not kid ourselves.

Monterrey Bay Aquarium- Thumbs up! Kids were in total overwhelm. Picture taking is not so fabulous because all you get is the back of their heads as they stare in wonder.

Camping at Big Sur- Only one picture of Squishy made the cut. Trying to keep track of everything and everyone while hiking, eating, and sleeping in the dirt is about all I could handle. The State Park was great, Riverside Campground- not so much. Crowded and cranky rangers. S'mores and friends saved it.

Pfieffer State Beach- Beautiful and freezing. Scrunch loved it, Porkchop might have had the blowing sand not been right at his eye level.

Hogs Breath Inn- Best thing I ever did was make friends with a foodie! Thumbs way, way up.

Carmel- If I was rich I still wouldn't live there. Driving up and down the 1 (Pacific Coast Hwy) gives me an anxiety attack, but once you're in town you feel all swanky and posh just being there.

Hyatt at Monterrey- Nice. Wish our room had a jetted tub, but now I'm just getting picky.

Beach Party- Thank goodness my son is hard headed since he totally fell off the shuttle bus as we arrived. The hard headedness really kicked in when the tide came in and we had to keep Scrunch out of the water. Camping for two days prior really made the food and accommodations seem that much more awesome.

Twisted Stitch- Knitting shop in Monterey is teeny, tiny but got the job done and I came home with two beautiful skeins of Malabrigo Finito.

Monterey Crepe Company- Yum!

Dennis the Menace Park- Highlight of the trip and we have the most pictures of the kids in playing in the maze. Amazing what having them fenced it can do for my sanity and feeling like I could pull out the camera.

Sonic in Tracy- Strike one! against Sonic, as much as it pains me to say it. No one was more disappointed than I that it was just plain awful. We found a nice park not far away though to stop and get our wiggles out.

Overall I rate this a lovely jaunt, fabulous excursion, or charming expedition. I have officially kissed the notion of a vacation good-bye. It's cool though. You feel all smart and exotic when you can tell people you've just returned from a peregrination. Watch for an upcoming post entitled Peregrinating Portland. Please, for the love! It will make my ten hour trip in the car that much more enriching if I can picture you incorporating peregrination into your next meal with co-workers, in a conversation with a grocery store clerk, or in a Sacrament talk.

Friday, June 1, 2012

How can you blame this face?

Don't you just (as Holly would say) want to chew on her cheeks?

It is hard to be anything but totally gaga over Squishy, so we let her take the hit for things. 

We thought it was a great plan to let Scrunch spend the day running errands and riding around in the Mini with Papa. Until they arrived at the dealership and she realized they were there to sell it. She cried, which in turn made Husband cry, and then he blamed Squishy- knowing that Scrunch will forgive Squishy anything. We have to sell it. There's just no room for Squishy in the Mini. Which is true, but not the only reason. 

I blame Squishy for my being the squishiest I've ever been. Totally her fault! Which is also true, but not the only reason.

We are camping right now and there's a high probability I bail and sleep in the car. Again...blaming Squishy. Mostly true, but definitely not the only reason.

Blog Archive