We packed up and headed out on our annual Thanksgiving trip down to Thousand Oaks. Our minivan was packed to maximum capacity (I wish I had taken a picture) and it was about 2 minutes into the drive that I realized we needed to invest in a rocket box in a hurry. We had a pretty good trip of non-stop Baby Einsteins and snacks. As I am the personal servant to each of them at home, I am also their servant in the car. I pretty much spend 6 1/2 hours switching videos, passing out snacks, retrieving dropped blankets and binkies and in-between I Internet shop or browse magazines.
The kids were so very excited to see Grandma and Pappa and the feeling was mutual. Within 5 minutes of our arrival, the pristine living room floor was covered in toys. At Grandma and Pappa’s house the triplets sleep in porta-cribs in the same room. At home the little girls sleep in the same room and Preston has his own room since he tends to sleep in later in the morning. Ava sleeps with us in our room. The first night we were there, we put the kids to sleep around 8pm and we could tell that there was going to be a potential riot in the room. The kids were wound up and they were shouting and screaming at each other.
Typically, at home, Elsa is the only kid that climbs out of her crib, and back into her crib, at record speed. I would like to add that during naptime and bedtime, she NEVER climbs out of her crib. Elsa is a rule follower. I mention this because I didn’t think that one of my night-time challenges would be that the kids would climb out of their cribs. At around 9pm the party was escalating in the triplets sleeping quarters. I sent big bad daddy in to break up the party and encourage them to be quiet or else something that they hold near and dear to their hearts such as binkies and blankets may have to be removed from their cribs. What he saw when he walked in was like a scene from a casino in Vegas: Preston was still in his crib but he had reached the top drawer of the dresser and handed Violet, who had left her crib, a deck of playing cards. Violet, in turn, was passing the playing cards out to her fellow gamblers. Elsa was playing a little Texas Holdem and had lined her playing cards up neatly in her crib. They were all excitedly talking to each other in extra loud voices like they were competing with the noises of chips, roulette and gamblers chatter in the casino.
The next night was loud and raucous as well. When big bad daddy went in to break up the potential gambling party, all three of them were out of their cribs running amok.
The third night Chris and I went to see the new Russell Crow movie, which was very entertaining I must say, and Grandma and Pappa were in charge. When they heard the loud noises coming from the room, Grandma went in to give them a talkin’ to. At the end of her speech, she asked for some general buy-in to her terms and conditions for the evening. At that point, all three of them said, “OK Grandma”. When Grandma closed the door all three of them started hysterically laughing.
Chris and I took Ava ice skating on Monday. The sky was blue but the air was cold and it was great ice skating weather. I had warned Ava that I had only been ice skating once in my life when I was a teenager and I sucked really bad. “I am really not a very good ice skater Ava,” I think were my exact words. I got out on the ice and I actually wasn’t too bad. I was skating around that rink no problem. At one point I was feeling so cocky about my ice skating abilities that I considered moving to the middle and trying a fast spin like another little girl was doing there. Then I thought about a broken arm or a sprained wrist and decided that I was perfectly happy skating nicely around the perimeter of the rink like everyone else. Toward the end of our skate, Ava stopped me at the side rails and said, “Mommy, you told me you weren’t a good ice skater and you are really good! Why did you say that when it wasn’t true?” I said, “well Ava, I really truly didn’t think I was going to be any good at ice skating.” Then Ava said, “so, it’s like a dream come true.” When they buzzed us out of the rink because our time was up, Ava couldn’t believe it. She would’ve stayed in there all day and skated, taking hard falls to her bottom along the way.
On Wednesday before Thanksgiving we took the crew to the Skirball Jewish Museum again to enjoy the Noah’s Ark area for kids. It really is a wonderful place for kids to explore in a hands-on atmosphere the sounds storms make, the way a giraffe moves its long neck, and it has a big climbing area. The climbing area is for 4 years old and up but there was no way on earth that my 2 1/2 year olds were going to miss out on this opportunity. Ava, of course, was at a great age to maneuver up the nets and through the exhibit. The triplets needed a lot of assistance and I found myself climbing through small netted areas and over wobbly wooden bridges that I hoped wouldn’t collapse on me. I was sweating, and I could feel the eyes of the other parents down below staring at me, probably saying to themselves, “boy does she have her hands full!” Well, I did have my hands full and Chris kindly captured it all on film from below. I think he felt sorry for me, but was extremely amused at the same time.
Thanksgiving was very nice. Chris’s brother Ron and his family visited from Connecticut and the kids had a great time visiting with them. While Sherri and I cooked Thanksgiving dinner, the whole crew drove to the Valley to see Marshie and Hermie, Chris’s grandparents. Hermie is pretty bedridden at this point so he was laying in his bed when everyone arrives. The kids all climbed up on his bed and gave him hugs and kisses and love. Hermie later told Chris that it was the best day of his life. I can only imagine what it must feel like to be almost 90 years old, struggling mentally and physically, to have grandkids and great-grandkids surrounding you showing you love: that is what family is all about.
We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner and then made our way home on Friday morning. Ava asked me numerous times on the drive if we were going to start decorating for Christmas right when we got home.
And now the Christmas festivities begin.
Ava had a behaviorally-challenged day tonight and as Chris was saying goodnight to her he was discussing how she could’ve showed better behavior. In response, Ava said to Chris, “you know what daddy, when you behave badly Santa only gives you get rocks for Christmas. But you know, I really really love rocks.” That was Ava preparing herself for the possibility of getting a stocking full of rocks for Christmas. Way to make diamonds out of quartz Ava.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.