Sleep – I think I’m caught up, if that exists
house – looks like I was gone for 3 days
bathwater – I think I saw a stick in someones hair
Travel – Home from NY, aiming at WI
The weekend away was really nice. I picked a really hectic travel schedule to maximize time with people but that did cut into the time I’m usually asleep. On the bright side all things went well or even better than planned. Got to NY at 1am (late) but managed the trams etc and my last post had me meeting my sister who flew in from Hawaii and that all worked out just fine. We took a taxi and a train and then a car and finally arrived. I then went on a boat just to round things out, hitting all the transport methods possible in 24hours.
Visiting with no kids was weird because I had nothing to do. No hand to hold, no person to make sure was ok. That isn’t to say my kids didn’t call frequently…. Niamh figured out facetime and would pop up all the time to say hi. They had a good time here too and vacation friend did a great job of subbing in as a mom.
The wedding itself was very nice. I knew more people than I expected, I talked to quite a few new people and they were all intelligent and interesting. My cousin is marrying into a good crew. I did some crazy swing dancing with a cousin who is practicing regularly and I had to recall my dusty knowledge of lessons years ago. We looked ok I heard, I didn’t get (too) dizzy and he gets all the credit for being a good leader. I wish Lars liked to dance but it was fun to just jump in and do it too.
Getting home we planned for massive holiday traffic but there really was nothing and I got there so early I was there before the airline check in desk was even there. JFK seems to be doing a new thing with security – they ‘gate’ checked my carry on at the desk so I only had a backpack and then I was directed into a security line that had me take out and off nothing. I was through that line in under 5 min from walking into the cattle shoot to walking away into the inner realms of JFK. I have a feeling with security issues now happening outside security they want to get people through as fast as possible.
I got to JFK with 5k steps and decided to get up to 10 so I walked around the whole place 3x. Definitely not the biggest terminal I’ve ever been it (they split them up into 5 buildings) was interesting enough to walk around. I got overpriced and underwhelming sushi and ate it at a nice central table with a charging spot. We boarded exactly on time and I sat in my seat and nearly immediately fell asleep. That was my power nap because we landed at 11:25pm and between one thing and another we didn’t get home until 1am and I was promptly woken up by children at 6am.
The 4th of July is an odd holiday. I like it, I like what it stands for, but we ended up with a fairly quiet day because I was so tired and so many things needed to be done. I rallied early to make the breakfast and hang out with the kids and since it was only 80 degrees we headed out to the parade. Post parade I slept and after dinner we went to the tiny carnival that comes to town for the 4th. No fireworks – it takes too long to get dark here and I didn’t want to deal with bugs and traffic and kids so I put 3 mad kids to bed hearing fireworks (that were neighbors doing little loud things) with promises of going to a fireworks later in the summer. I was in bed by 10:30 and this morning I hit the ground running.
I would say I have no idea what day it is but in reality I’m all too aware that I only have 3 days before a big camping trip. Today we did the shopping, tomorrow I’ll pre-cook and pack and more of the same on Thursday. In there I hope to also work out because that has not happened in a week. I did get a bunch of odd things done like the MOMS club annual report but I wish there was a pause button for the world because I have things to do but I also don’t want to miss anything so I can sit and do them. My 85 days of summer is zooming by!
Ok, time is ticking and I want to arrange camps for later this month for the girls. I might not get them in but worth a shot.
Today Fiona turns 4, unbelievable yet totally believable because I’ve been here for all 4 of those years and I completely appreciate how far she has come! My ‘dear Fiona’ post is in process but not ready but I can’t post ON her birthday and not even mention it.
This past weekend was all the fun. We had friends come from ND so we made extra efforts to hang out with them. Another friend hosted a BBQ and we did indeed bring the Cowboy Caviar mix that Lars made and I had a good time creating a My Little Pony Zombie cake. It was a special request for a 13th birthday and I think I could not have done better and kept it tasty. Fondant looks so nice, but, tastes so yuck. I like to use a really simple chocolate recipe that is 1c heavy cream brought to a boil and then 9oz of chocolate added – stir until smooth and remove. It’s great because you can pour it right on hot for a smooth shell look or wait until the consistency you want to ice with happens due to solidification. You can also wait for it to cool and whip it and that makes it even better for smoothing or piping or even sculpting. I firmly believe that MLP are full of rainbows so I started with a rainbow cake, then a crumb coat, then the icing, then the accessories including swedish fish cut to look like ribs and whopper eyes and my extra ‘puppy chow’ got used as gnarly pony teeth.
The reason I got to do such a fun fancy cake was because our new neighbor is awesome! She is a year older than Niamh but the younger of a boy/girl sibling set so they really don’t play together much and she is girl starved. Their house backs on ours so you don’t even have to cross a street and the moms can both hear what is going on in the yard. She loves coming over and plays with everyone, including Fiona, and they all played with very minimal parental guidance all day Saturday and half the day Monday. I kept an ear on them (bonus to windows open time of year, and, a relatively small house) and around lunch time just piled up a tray with fruit and carrots and leftover pizza and just slid it into the playhouse entry. I also got a good chunk of the routine cleaning done so today I don’t feel behind even though I semi missed my Monday.
Sunday we actually got to go to Valley Fair! The weather cooperated, Vacation Friend was able to go and as always we split nicely where I love the thrill rides and she loves the water stuff and the kids love her so we were set to cover the kids. Our ND friends were the reason we were even going and they also lent a hand on the kid watching since there is nothing better for a 13 year old than the love and adoring company of little kids. I ended up alone on a ride because they all choose other adults and/or teens to be near! It was our first try to stay ‘late’ and it worked pretty well because Fiona just crashed out on me for an hour and a half in the sling and I missed a ride or 2 but no problem, I got the ones I really wanted first thing.
Yesterday was a holiday here so it was like a preview of my summer with 3 kids solo on a nice day. The summer will need some time management instituted but overall it was a nice relaxing day. **I’m really really glad I got that play house done, it is such a perfect place for summer play**
That brings us to today, #3 birthday and I’m at cake capacity. Today I made a bunt just to do something new but it has been a very good cake season. We need to do our 3-girls ‘family’ party soon but thats another schedule issue that I’m going to think about tomorrow.
Location – back in MN in my own home
Nap – I got one, told them all to sleep or not but don’t bother me! Locked the front door and scattered snacks on the floor.
House – doing well for not being touched for a week.
Cat – back from cat vacation and happy (or as happy as a cat shows) to be back
My most recent Instagram is a picture of me at 4am. Our flight was at 6, I woke up at 3, it was a good flight really but nothing is actually ‘good’ at 4am. The kids are getting very adept at travel and I wish they would have slept, calmly playing a game for an hour was good enough even if I had to ‘look!’ every 2-5 minutes. The best thing about a flight that early is that even after getting to the car, getting home, dropping off Lars and going to go get the cat and then getting home to stay I felt like it was 5 pm but it was only 10:30. The kids chilled with TV powered by a remote they know and I kicked them outside to play in our spring sunshine.
I marked this last day of vacation by eating a cookie with my coffee, to say good-bye to unrestricted eating. I didn’t go crazy eating on vacation but I also didn’t try and count because we were out so often. The food, on the whole, was very good, we went out to a fancy steak place and a well known tex-mex tacarita. We found a phenomenal sandwich shop that I could go back to every day and even the ‘Whataburger’ fast food was solid. Our goal was to avoid any food place that we could eat at here. The weird side of food was the lack of grocery shops, they must be hiding because we had a ton of trouble finding them. The kids ate more pop tarts in the past week than in their entire lives but I think it balanced.
On the exercise front; I got a good run in plus some time at the hotel gym last night and most days we walked 5k steps or more. My exercise log should also reflect that I carried Fiona a quarter of the time too. Spoiled little girl with no baby to take her place on my hip – she was toted around like an infant but in return she slept on me most days, fulfilling her nap requirement and keeping us from abandoning her. Travel with kids is a balance of food and sleep and fun and managing the extremes of schedule changes while still actually doing different things.
I unpacked a bit and I’m glad to have the rest of the day to get to the remainder of that. My camera is not yet out so this won’t get pictures – just average it with the past two posts and we work out square. Just in case, I never actually write another post on this adventure the brief itenery was;
Friday night – travel and arrive at the Dallas hotel
Saturday – hotel shuttle out to the Perot museum – stayed until lunch. Went out to the mexican place and then strolled up the road to the Art Museum. Saw a brief, but good, round of art and then rode the street car up and back. To a public park that was way too crowded and back to the Perot again. That was the night we tucked the kids into bed and left them with Becki and we went to the fancy steak place. The day was very sunny and warm and just right to walk around Dallas.
Sunday – collected our ride for the week, a 10 passanger van that reminded me of the space shuttle. Out to Ft Worth to the stock yard that is a total tourest place to view the cowboy side of Texas. We left there and drove drove drove to Galveston to check in at the Air B&B house. (the house was its own story, in short, I give it 2 stars of 5)
Monday – wake up to waves and sea air! Head into the main part of the island and take the ferry on a trip across and back again. Ate at the fun sandwitch place and drove around a bit taking in the victorian houses and finally finding a grocery store. Back to the house and the rest of the afternoon on the beach where boogie boarding and sand building were the order of the day.
Tuesday – getting mega storm warnings all day but nothing more than a sprinkle actually happened. First I dragged them to the visitor center that is an 1830’s house and along with good info on where to go, we got to peek in on the house and its exibits (it was closed). They directed us to the library across the street for genelogy info and it also had a huge Texas history museum floor as well as a nice and modern kids area. It was an unexpected find and very fun for all. Lunch in town and then we went to quite a few shops along the historic main street including the beef jerkey and choclate shops. I strolled a sleeping Fiona while they went to the pirate museum. Last, we got to the Bishop Palace and begged our way into a tour even thought they were just about closed and finally back to the house for an evening beach walk.
Wednesday – Close up the house and drive drive drive (in the rain) back with a brief stop in Huston for the space center. We had no time to really go in so we just ran around the outside a bit. The rental car had a hard deadline of 5 pm and there are somethings you can’t talk your way out of. The end of the day was a mash of finding food and a not so great hotel but when you select for proximity to airport and 24h shuttle you have to compromise on the actual quality of other things. Hey, it had a pool, so that worked out.
And that, in a thousand words or less, was the vacation. We got lucky all around with weather and got most of what we wanted to do done.
Now on to part 2 of spring break since the kids had zero snow days, we have Monday off too. 4 more days of break! I wish we had more time in Texas but I’m glad to have some days here to enjoy. Lars is just about done tuning up the kids bikes so I’m going to leave this and go enjoy some MN springtime.
Naps; I got to sleep late, Fiona is sick so is more or less sleeping all day
Bird Tree; picked clean, time to refresh!
House; left it clean, came back to that weird closed house smell, now it has luggage-splosion going on
Health; Fiona has a fever, Niamh and Zoe are ok so far, Lars and I have the nose/minor cough thing.
Lake ice; in 10 days it went from nothing to solid enough for crazy people to sit on (and they are). No trucks yet
Mom Miles; YTD 10, today (so far) 1.67
Today has been major catch up and I’m stealing a little time from my workout to write so I won’t be doing a real post right now but I wanted just a little something here to greet the new year’s word count.
We got home yesterday in good order. Flights were easy and on time and kids were reasonable. Fiona was coming down with the community cold that our NY cousins had so she wasn’t delightful but she could have been worse. Lars and I are still pretty pro at family air travel; He went to fetch the car while I waited for luggage and when he got to the curb I loaded 2 kids and took #1 to help with the luggage. SWA lets you have 2 checked bags per person so transporting Christmas was not a problem but getting it out to the car is still tricky but Niamh was a big help hauling 2 rollers herself!
We did a mini Christmas in the evening with the few things that we didn’t want to transport because they were already wrapped and/or too big to bring. The animals were a big hit, I’m glad we indulged, plus now we can talk about the elephant in the room….
Today was very home based since Fiona could not really go out. I took Zoe for a massive shopping trip since we left zero groceries to waste when we left. Now we need to start resetting ourselves for a regular week including putting away a ton of clothes (brought home clean!) and making backpacks school ready again.
Now I must hop on the elliptical so I can earn my steps for the day. I passed my misfit on to Zoe so I have in-house competition for steps and she is very very good at moving around