Moms Barf, Too (future children’s book???) July 26, 2009
On Sunday we started the long journey home from Los Angeles. I was beyond miserable because I had made an interesting choice the night before. We all went out to dinner to Mastro’s in Thousand Oaks to celebrate Greg’s (Chris’s brothers) 40th birthday party. We had a wonderful time celebrating and eating delicious food and drinking spectacular wine.
We got home at 11:30pm and were heading back to Sacramento the next morning leaving at 6:30am. At dinner I had about four glasses of wine, two lobster tails, creamed corn, gorgonzola macaroni and cheese, jumbo shrimp and mozzarella and tomato salad. For dessert we had a gigantic butter cake with ice cream. By the time I got home I was beyond full and slightly drunk. Chris collected some Ambien from his mom for when we go to France so we could sleep on the plane. I thought it would just be a genius idea to pop one of those so I could actually sleep before our big trip home. You see, when I eat too much food too late into the night, I tend to not be able to sleep at all that night. I needed a good sleep for our labor intensive trip home the next day. So I swallowed one of those little purple pills and the next thing I remember is that I was being woken up by Chris at 6:30am telling me we had to get going. I could barely move. I popped out of bed but then I was walking like a drunk and every word I tried to say was a huge effort. I barely could get my clothes on. I walked around in a stupor, worthless to the packing process. I think I may have done some concentric circles around the house before Chris said “Megan, the kids have been sitting in the car for 40 minutes —we have to go!” Sherri poured me some ginger ale in a to-go cup and I went to the car to get the kids organized. I told Sherri I have to throw up now so I hopped out of the car and threw up in the bushes next to where Dick seemed to be teaching one of the kids something about the plants or flowers or nature. Baarrrrffff. To save myself further humiliation I made it into the bathroom for a little more barfing. Of course Ava followed me in to watch my misery because she would never miss out on a moment like this.
“What are you doing mommy?” asked Ava. I am throwing up. I feel horrible. “Why are you throwing up?”asked Ava. Because mommy ate too much food, drank too much wine and in a moment of extreme poor judgment, took a sleeping pill. That’s why. I’m a disaster. And now I get to sit in the car for seven hours trying to make four kids happy while I risk my life climbing all over the moving vehicle.
At one point on this drive as we stopped at Denny’s for lunch I was so tired and drugged up from my one little Ambien that I just started laughing and couldn’t stop. Ava had her headphones on and was singing so annoyingly loud and out of key, and from time to time she yelled out “I see the McDonald’s sign!” really loudly waving her arms enthusiastically. Violet would laugh at that enthusiastically from the back seat. Chris would say, “they really got you,” referring to the golden arches advertising reeling in our 4 year old. The babies were telling us that they needed a break from their car seat so we pulled up to Denny’s and had a disgusting meal with all the kids. The mess on the table and the floor warranted an extra big tip at the end of it all.
After our awesome lunch we all got loaded back into the car and on the road I was actually able to keep my eyes open and carry on somewhat intelligible conversation.
Our trip was a big success. Ava had a very fun time playing with her cousins the entire week and the babies loved being in a different environment and they adjusted to their new surroundings immediately. Violet decided to walk full time while she was at grandma and pappa’s house. They played outside everyday in buckets and with paintbrushes, went on many walks, had many visitors and even went to the beach.
We loaded everyone up to go to the beach and dragged Dick and Sherri along and my nieces Briana and Sophia also went with us. The babies weren’t so sure about having sand all over their bodies and in between every finger. They went into the water just a bit but the waves and currents were really big that day. We could not have asked for more beautiful beach weather. It was sunny and warm and we got to take lots of pictures of the kids in the sand. We only stayed a couple of hours and then we de-sanded everyone which was a huge job and headed back for naps. I was so exhausted that I fell asleep in the car also. Ava and I slept together in the car long after the car was home. Chris said I was like a three year old he had to leave behind in the car to sleep. I don’t care though, because my nice little nap left me feeling refreshed the rest of the day.
On a scale of 1 to 10 on the success of the trip with four small kids driving the minivan down to Los Angeles and spending the week at a house other than our own, which is quite a task when you have three 17 month old babies, I give it a 10. Dick and Sherri’s house is pleasingly equipped for small children with cribs, strollers, high chair booster seats, toys, etc. The kids were great on the drives . . . as good as they could be. The babies were extremely adaptable and well behaved the entire trip . . . Ava was a pain in the tookie half the trip and good the other half. We got to do fun activities like go to the Skirball Museum with Ava and Elsa and the beach, and see friends and family. We enjoyed a very nice dinner out which can never be undervalued in my life. And the trip to Southern California granted us all a change of scenery which was much needed.
Ava-ism for the trip:
Uncle Ron, who is a pretty strict guy, was taking Ava for the day to go swimming at Uncle Greg’s house with all the cousins. Chris and I were staying home with the babies. Chris, Ron and Ava went outside to go over the rules. Ron says in his most serious stern voice, “okay Ava, rule #1 is you will listen to me at all times. And rule #2 is that you will listen to me at all times.” Chris says, “Ava, please repeat the rules back to Uncle Ron.” Ava sat there for about 30 seconds thinking and then she looked up at Uncle Ron and said very seriously, “I’m going to make up my own rules.” I think Uncle Ron was a little scared since he was used to his super easy, very sweet and accommodating nine and 11 year old girls.
I will send tons of great pictures of the past week through very soon.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.
On the Road July 23, 2009
On Thursday through Saturday Preston had a fever over 103 degrees. It was scary because I have never had a child with a fever that high. I brought him to the doctor and since he doesn’t exhibit any other symptoms the doctor determined he probably just has a virus his body is trying to fight off. As a side note, the doctor said that if he gets a rash all over his body he probably has Roseola. Sure enough on Sunday morning his fever had broken and been replaced by an ugly rash. I just wish his fever wasn’t so high. He just wants to cuddle and sleep all day. Roseola it is. My poor buddy. So far his sister’s aren’t sick and I just have to hope it stays that way.
Ava had her last swim meet of the year last Saturday and within one minute of getting to the race at 6:30am I had already spilled my coffee all over my white shirt and Ava had already fallen and scraped her knee up. Ava did her best racing yet – I believe she was still last place but her time and her strokes were improved. She did her backstroke all by herself the entire length of the pool without a coach verbally assisting her along.
In other news, a week ago (July 14th) Violet decided she would get up and walk. We were all upstairs playing and the babies were running around laughing and falling and being silly and Violet got up and started doing laps around the room. She finally decided it was her time to walk. I was so excited for her. She was a good little walker and she was so happy about her new accomplishment that I could hardly put her to bed because she just wanted to walk.
On Tuesday we hit the road to Los Angeles on a seven hour road trip that could go very wrong and Chris and I had not a clue what to expect. On our previous road trips we had left at 6:30pm and the kids slept the entire way. This trip we were leaving at 6:30am and we hoped for peace, contentment and a few naps. The babies in the back can reach each other from their car seats so we see a lot of sweet interactions such as hand holding and games of footsie, and then there are naughty things like Elsa taking Violet’s blanket and Violet taking Elsa’s binkie and then they get mad at each other. Elsa is definitely the rebel rouser of the group, trying to take everything she can that belongs to Violet so she can get a reaction out of her. Most of the time Violet is very easy going about this kind of sisterly bullying, but nobody messes with Violet’s monkey. As soon as Elsa takes Violet’s monkey there is screaming, pinching, biting, or any other torture Violet can inflict on Elsa in order to get her precious monkey back.
About half way through our road trip we stopped at a gas station and brought all the kids in to pick out some snacks. Elsa had a candy paintbrush in each hand that she was waving around, nearly missing customers as they walked by her. Preston was on the ground sorting through a variety of chocolate bars and Elsa had chosen one candy and was coveting it calmly. Ava had chosen the most gigantic bag of sour gummy worms that she could find and coincidentally that was the same candy I had chosen. Like mother like daughter. We loaded up on snacks and packed them back in the car. So far no one had taken a nap so we were hoping for some shuteye from the back seats. Our wish was granted as right before we started the journey through the grapevine around noon we looked back and all four kids were sound asleep. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. This was an easy road trip so far.
And then we made a terrible error in judgment. At 12:45 pm Violet woke up and then she woke Elsa up and then they woke Ava and Preston up. By 1pm everyone was already up from their nap and they were not just hungry, they were starving. There were four starving, grumpy, screaming kids and two stressed adults in our Toyota Sienna and we couldn’t get to food fast enough. I jumped in the back and sat on the ground trying to calm and entertain them. We finally found fast food heaven by 1:15pm and quickly stopped at McDonalds. We ordered our chicken nuggets and hamburgers with screaming kids in the back and I guiltily broke off pieces of the disgusting greasy chicken nuggets for my babies to eat. The children were temporarily consoled. We had 45 minutes of the drive left and let me tell you that was a long 45 minutes. The babies pretty much cried off and on the entire rest of the drive and Ava cried AND complained the rest of the way. It is a six to seven hour drive and the kids were done. I felt badly for them but we made it 5.5 hours with hardly a complaint so that was nice.
When we got to Dick and Sherri’s the kids were ecstatic. They played with all the toys that were laid out for them, waded in the kid pool and then went to bed and slept well until morning hallelujah.
Today we went had Chris’s cousin Jill and her two sons visit as well as his Aunt. It was a crazy house full with our four, my nieces Briana and Sophia who are also at Dick and Sherri’s for the week and Jill’s two kids– we were like Jon and Kate plus 8 without the crazy marital drama.
Later that day we visited Marshie and Hermie (Chris’s grandparents) in the Valley. Hermie has been suffering through Cellulitis and other ailments. He has been fairly miserable and was lying in bed when were arrived. By the end of the visit he was up and out of his room with a big smile on his face. He said that this made him happier than he has been for awhile having all the kids around him. It was nice to see Hermie so happy. It is funny though because as Chris describes, being in Marshie and Hermie’s house is like being in a Chinese museum. There are three low lying glass tables situated around the family room and each one is decorated with very breakable Chinese glass items. It was very funny trying to keep three 17 month old babies from breaking any of the decorations at their reach. They did all have fun messing with the vertical blinds though.
Tomorrow we are off to Zuma beach with the kids and then Chris and I are going out to dinner with a couple of Chris’s old friends.
In the car Ava was talking on a kid phone. We asked her who she was talking to and she answered Barack Obama. We told her to ask him something she wanted to know about her President and she said, “um, Barack Obama, can you please go into your pantry and see if you have any cookies?”
We were on our way to Costco the other day with all the kids and Ava asks out of the blue “when the babies get bigger can we all be twins?” and I said “sure you can”. Ava continued with “we can all wear the same clothes and the same shoes and we can die Elsa’s hair red.”
I thought it was such a cute thing to say because it was Ava’s way of trying to include herself in the triplet world. She wants to be one and the same with her brother and sisters and not feel like the outsider so she is imagining ways in which she can make that happen for herself. I asked Ava if she thinks that Elsa will feel left out when she grows up and realizes that she is the only one without red hair. Ava had a solution to that potential problem: we will just dye it she said.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.
Preston and His Pink Vacuum July 13, 2009
Yesterday Chris turned 35 years old and we celebrated by getting Nanny Kathy to watch all four kids so we could go wine tasting and out to dinner in Amador. The weather was perfect and we started out with a lovely picnic that my parent’s provided. By 2pm I think we could’ve all taken a snooze on a wine barrel somewhere between sipping wine and sitting in the warm sun. Angela and Bob met the four of us at a cool restaurant in the funky little Podunk town of Plymouth – a diamond in the rough – and we had a wonderful four course dinner and of course more wine. Chris had a nice birthday which he deserved. Everyone deserves to have a nice birthday because it is your one special day that is all your own out of the whole year.
Ava is at Country Days camp all day every day this week which takes immense pressure off of me to figure out how to keep her busy all day without too much computer time. Even though she is at camp from 9 to 3 everyday bouncing in the bouncehouse, riding horses, swimming in a pool, and dabbling in arts and crafts, when I pick her up this afternoon she will still ask me “what are we doing today?” and “who is coming over today?” Oh the ways that my four year old can make me feel like I am suffering a slow and torturous decline into insanity. That is one way. The other way is her new particularity about what she wears and how her hair is done. Ava has all of these nice clothes and shoes, yet she will only wear a select few because she doesn’t like the way her shorts and pants feel around her waist or the way her shoes fit her on that particular day. She will only have her hair partially pulled up on the sides, where I then have the choice of doing a ponytail or a braid. I had to pull out my patients that are kept in reserves to get through the dressing this morning. Oh well, just another way that children try to gain independence from their parents I suppose. Sigh.
Ava and I had a very special trip to San Francisco a week ago. We met Nicola and Kei and went to the Aquarium at Pier 39 and to the new Academy of Science at Golden Gate Park where there is a four story Rainforest and another Aquarium. We had a wonderful day of culture which is hard to come by in Cameron Park! Later that night Nicola and I went to this cool spot for dinner, A16, in the Marina district and had lots of wine, good food and caught up on old times. We have been friends since our first year of college so it is a special history we share even though we don’t get to see each other much with our busy schedules. The next day Ava and I headed to the Discovery Museum which is made just for small kids and it was a very cool place. Ava tells people she got to paint windows and then squeegee them. She painted carpet squares and stamped them onto paper. She played in moon sand. There was a fantastic playground overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge where everything seemed to be a learning experience. There was a cultural center that taught the kids about the Chinese culture this month. We spent a few hours there and then we headed to Sausalito for pizza on the water. Ava slept the whole way home. We can’t wait to go again soon.
Meanwhile, Elsa is becoming an expert on animal sounds. She does the scariest lion you will ever hear, reaching down to her gut to pull that roar out just right. This morning she perfected the “neigh” and she can also do a very good “moooooo”. We are working on “meow” which is a more difficult combination of sounds. Elsa is averaging about one new word a day. Meanwhile her adorable brother and sister prefer to not say much of anything. Violet can take any direction you give her and she knows exactly what you are saying. She is a thinker and does very well playing by herself and putting things together quietly. I have one word for Preston – boy. He is like, duh, I am just going to scream and grunt and throw things and run my toys into the walls and bang my cars on the windows and that is how I will communicate with the world. Preston has also formed a very interesting relationship with his toy vacuum which is at times loving and other times adversarial. He drives that pink vacuum all over the house looking like a professional janitor until it gets stuck in the corner or gets tweaked out of position and then he gets pissed. He stands there and screams at it and cries and gets very ornery. The other day Chris and I couldn’t take it anymore – Preston and his unhealthy relationship with the pink vacuum – so we took it and hid it behind a bunch of clothes in the closet. The next day Preston had already found his special vacuum friend and was cruising it around the house.
The babies’ interactions with each other are very interesting these days. Violet gets along with everyone is very easy-going and good natured. The others take toys from her all day and she just moves on and finds something else to play with. She gets along well with all her siblings and they love her also. Preston and Elsa are not getting along. They scream at each other just because they aren’t getting along. I had to move Violet to the middle booster chair to avoid all out screaming wars between Preston and Elsa that ultimately ends up with crying. So now when Preston is on one side and Elsa is on the way other and Violet isn’t in her seat yet, Preston will look over at Elsa and give her a little warning scream to show her who is boss. She will give him a short scream back to tell him that she is still the leader of the pack.
In light of Preston and Elsa’s unfriendly interaction lately, we have decided to put Violet in the middle of Elsa and Preston in the car also. It was so sweet because on the way home from My Gym on Friday I looked back and Violet was reaching her hand over to Preston and reaching her other hand over to Elsa and they were all holding hands with each other. Violet is our little peacemaker.
We have a busy couple of weeks ahead of us. This weekend is Ava’s last swim meet and then early next week we head to Thousand Oaks to stay with Dick and Sherri. I plan to do beach day trips, museums, lots of walks, and just enjoy the Southern California scene. By the end of the next week Chris and I head to Paris. There is so much to do to get ready to leave my precious kids that it is overwhelming to think about. I will have to be very organized and plan on making many meals to freeze so everyone can have good lunches and dinners while we are gone. It will be a whirlwind but it will all get done and when I am sitting on that plane I can take a deep breath and enjoy each moment that comes my way.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.