Spring Break Days 8 & 9

I didn’t post yesterday, but it’s ok because really yesterday and today go together.

Two years ago, we took a four-and-a-half-year-old Eddie to Chicago for two nights. A two-year-old Charlie stayed with my parents. It was such a fun trip and he mentioned over and over that maybe next time Charlie could come along. This year since Charlie is now four, we thought we would take both boys overnight to Gurnee (north of Chicago) so we could go to Gurnee Mills and do Rain forest Cafe and the Lego store. Alice stayed with my parents.

It was fun, but Cortney and I think perhaps we should have waited one more year. Charlie was a little, um, maybe not ready?

Yesterday started off quite challenging. The boys would NOT calm down. They were over-excited and just bickery about everything. Charlie has no concept of how long minutes and hours are, so although I kept telling him that Dad Dad had to work until after lunch, he whined and carried on that he wanted to leave now.

By the time the boys and I went to drop Alice off to my parents’ house, I was ready to call the whole thing off. But I didn’t.

When we finally left around 2pm, it didn’t take long for the boys to pass out. Glorious.

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I will say this about our kids: they road trip well. We don’t have a DVD player in my truck nor did we bring any electronic devices. I packed some activities like coloring books and dinosaurs, but I never had to get any of it out. The boys are content to sleep or just ride. Due to the excitement, there was some fussing for the last 30 minutes or so, but overall I am pretty impressed.

Also Charlie never needed to pee the entire three hours there or back. Kid has an iron bladder.

The boys totally waltzed into our hotel ready for the pool: Eddie had on his goggles and Charlie had on his goggles and life jacket. Over his clothes.

We needed dinner first though, and since Cortney and I stayed in this hotel last year for our anniversary, we knew their restaurant was super yum.

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They made chocolate for the boys (they only had white milk, but our server was all “I bet we have hershey’s syrup!”) and everyone who saw him complimented Charlie on his life jacket. We really love the staff there. Every single person on payroll there was amazing to not just Cortney and me, but to the boys as well. And if you know Charlie, you know he most definitely had a few moments that were not compliment-worthy. So…if you’re ever in Gurnee and need a hotel, we highly recommend the Hilton Garden Inn.

After dinner it was POOL TIME.

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The way these two acted, you would think the three hour drive was all about swimming in a hotel pool. We did learn from our last trip with Eddie, that it’s a giant part of what is fun for kids when you go anywhere. The other stuff is secondary at this age. Really we could have just gone to the Hampton down the street from our house overnight and if they got to swim in the pool, they would have called it the best vacation ever.

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Charlie kept talking about how he hoped they had a “little pool” for him because he is rather cautious when it comes to water and big pools make him nervous. I couldn’t remember if they had a hot tub or not, but everyone was thrilled to see that yes, yes they did. Cortney and I even got in there. It was pretty glorious. Eddie very quickly tired of the hot tub, and upon realizing the “big pool” was four feet at it’s deepest point, he ditched his life jacket.

That’s right, my boy is over four-feet tall. Sigh.  Plus he’s had enough swimming lessons that we felt cool with that.

Because of the time change, it was well past their normal bedtime by the time we got upstairs and in jammies. The boys had a little snack and we watched the Johnny Depp Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. When it was time for lights out, Cortney and I learned within five minutes that the boys were definitely NOT going to be able to sleep together. So Cort and Charlie switched.

And then Cortney and I found out that Eddie’s warning of, “Dad. Just so you know, I move around a little in my sleep,” applies to both of them and is very, VERY understating the very real aerobics both boys do in their sleep.

So no one slept well.

Then everyone woke up cranky. Cortney, being the upstanding guy he is, offered to take the two hooligans downstairs for breakfast so I could snooze a bit longer. The story I got back was not a good one and involved two of the three of them rolling around trying to kill each other in the lobby.

So then they went swimming again.

2016-04-09 10.06.22That was going, well swimmingly, until Charlie’s fingers got caught in a very heavy bathroom door. Then there was screaming and more tears and I said silent prayers that we were, again, the only ones in the pool area.

Cortney took Charlie up to the room and I let Ed swim a bit longer. When we got upstairs, Charlie was all red-eyed, but hunkered in the bed watching cartoons.

We decided to get everyone ready, check out, and head to the Rain Forest Cafe for lunch, hit the Lego store, and book it on home.

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I was nervous about Mr. Bird since he was two for two on terrible restaurant behavior, but he was quite taken with the Rain Forest Cafe. Everything was AWESOME!

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Eddie didn’t like the loud noises…or the elephant butts I made him stand by for a photo opportunity. Whatever, dude. You are not too cool for elephant butts.

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Finally we got to the Lego store. Cortney took Ed and I took Charlie and we set off to find them some treasures ($25 or under) to take home. Charlie chose a Lego Junior set with a firefighting helicopter and motorcycle while Eddie chose a small Angry Birds set and a small Ninjago set. Cortney got himself the Lincoln Monument. I didn’t get a treasure, but that is because my mom bought me the Big Bang Theory set for my birthday last week.

It was then time for the trip home. The boys both slept all the way through Chicago, waking just as we were getting to the Skyway.

They were super good on the drive home, but started to get antsy to get their sister and get home. I couldn’t blame them, I missed having my little partner around.

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While it’s hard to say “IT WAS GREAT!” about the trip now, I think it was. We had some challenging moments for sure, but I think it was good for the boys to have us totally focused on them–they each had a parent. Plus both boys said to each other more than once, “You’re my best bud, right? We are trip buds!” And that is awesome. That is how brothers should feel about each other. Even if they also want to pound each other.

So while Cortney may not agree with me yet, I am calling this endeavor a success.

One more day off and the it’s back to our regularly scheduled life.

Spring Break Day 5: Alice’s Closet

All three kids went to daycare today, so yes, that was the sound of angels singing you heard around 7am this morning as they all left and I continued to sleep.

Apparently writing about my Charlie Bird unleashed a massive flood of worries and anxieties and I slept terribly last night. I woke up around 3am crying. My body was very thankful for the extra hours of sleep and then lazing around I let it do this morning.

By 11am, however, being lazy was getting over-rated and I felt the need to be productive.

After a glance at my To Do List, I knew what needed to be tackled while all the kids were gone: Alice’s closet.

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We bought our house in December of 2004, and I moved in right away. Cortney did not join me until after we were married in June 2005, but his stuff started moving in right away.

This room was our office/spare room and this closet was the only finished closet space other than our own and the linen closet in the hallway, so it became our first storage spot. As the years wore on, things only got shoved into this closet, not removed. The boys both called this closet sort of theirs when this room became a nursery first to Eddie in 2009 and then to Charlie in 2012.

Now it is Alice’s closet. And it’s a total poop show.

Or it was.

I tackled that thing in a way I have not cleaned it in all the years we have lived here.  And I found things.

I found my very first journal That I started in January of 1997–my freshman year in college. In my very first entry, I mentioned needing to write things down because my thoughts jump around and I can’t talk out my thoughts and feelings because when I get to talking about them, I no longer feel them and can’t remember what I thought. I also mentioned that I was writing to calm down because I had some anxiety about going out that night.

Huh. I guess some things never change.

I also flipped through some of the other entries and was brought back to a lot of angst and “boy problems” and conflict with my parents in my late-teens/early-twenties. So I closed that and set it aside to join the rest of my journals.

I found a shoebox full of all the things I had kept on my desk in college including pez dispensers, post cards, hand drawn thank you carts, senior pictures, and silly newspaper cartoons.

I found the diaper bag Cortney bought me on Valentine’s Day before Eddie was born.

I found all the bottles (aside from the ones Alice is currently using).

I found my Dutch Dance Costume (don’t even ask).

I found five of the ten bridesmaid dresses I have worn (the other five, along with my old prom dresses, live at my mom’s. MOM, GET RID OF THEM!) and all the dyed shoes that went with them.

I found a copy of Ramona the Brave.

I found all the cards from our weddings and the bridal showers.

I found my wedding dress and the massive slip that went with it.

I found my old backpack (it sort of smelled like vomit. Ew.)

I found my graduation gown from my undergrad ceremony, my Master’s gown, and Cortney’s cap, gown, and tassel.

I found two black leather jackets.

I found even more than that, but I don’t have the time nor the space to list it all.

Most of it got donated, some of it got relocated to a better keepsake spot, a few things got thrown away.

I organized three tubs of girls clothes that were donated to Alice: 2T/24 months, 3T, and 4T+.  And I stored the few 18 month items I have in her dresser for when she has her next growth spurt.

It took me two and a half hours, the Pearl Jam station on Google music, two cups of coffee, a large glass of diet coke, and a granola bar, but I finished it.

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The only things in here now are Alice’s things, our wedding keepsakes, and a few other things that are not there on a permanent basis.

Alice has her own closet space now.

I have lots of fodder for writing.

And Thursday I plan to tackle the boys’ closet.

Send more coffee.

Spring Break Day 4 & Charlie’s Tummy

I was not wrong about them getting up early.  Lord help me, they were up by about 6:15am. The good thing is that Cortney was up and getting ready for work so I heard nothing until he left. Then all the things were VERY IMPORTANT and required my immediate intervention and attention.

I believe I was waving the white flag and crying by 9:30am.

Did I mention I am not good at the stay-at-home mom gig?

There was no pee anywhere but in toilets today and no vomit, so there is a bright side, I suppose.

The boys were…”brotherly” today. They would find something to do and do it nicely for about ten minutes. Then there would be shouting followed by things being thrown, maybe a punch or kick or something. Then the tattling. Then the separation and refereeing while trying to contain the situation.  Then the lull. Then they find each other and something to do and it all repeats. About 30 times in one hour.

Alice is usually my little bright spot, but she was a whiney, clingy mess today. Girlfriend sat outside the bathroom door and had an all out cry-fest while I peed today.

Parenting these kids can be challenging. I know I’ve said as much about Charlie in particular. And lately we have been a little concerned about our little Bird.

Today I took him to the doctor.

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You see, our little guy has all but quit eating.

I know, I know. He’s four. Picky eating is a phase.

And that is what we said too…two months ago.

But our little guy has also been acting out even more–to the point where we are a little nervous he might hurt one of us in his fits by throwing something or hitting his brother. He’s even bitten Eddie pretty hard.

Cortney and I constantly talk about wanting to be aware of signs that something is wrong with our kids without jumping to the doctor over “normal” things and being helicopter parents. Doing the right thing constantly feels like a little dance on a very thin line.

So we gave it some time.

After all, Cortney had been a very rage-filled kid himself and went through a phase where all he would eat was hot dogs. He’s fine.

But after more than a month of Charlie’s eating going from only cheese sandwiches to practically nothing but chocolate milk, we felt we needed to reach out to the doctor. Our doc is our family doctor. We all go to him because we really like his no-nonsense attitude and that he doesn’t just push tests and meds at us in lieu of really listening. So when he said he would like to see Charlie ASAP and not wait the eight weeks until his well-child, we made the appointment.

Our suspicions were confirmed when he stepped on the scale. He weighs 37 pounds. Only a pound more than last year, but he’s grown an inch and a half. He is still within the standard deviation on his growth chart, but coupled with some of his behavioral things, our doc was glad we came in.

Also like his father, Charlie is not a big talker about his feelings. If something hurts, he is likely not to tell us unless it’s bleeding or dangling off his body. So there is a very real chance his tummy could be bothered and he won’t tell us.

As a baby, he had reflux (and never cried about it because he’s iron man, apparently), so the least invasive thing to try is some reflux meds. There is also the chance he would have an allergy or intolerance, but without any rashes or respiratory stuff, that is also hard to tell without him complaining. To find that out would be more invasive and uncomfortable.

There are also some chances that he has some emotional stuff that is causing him to not want to eat and to act out. If that is the case, he may need to do some therapy, but it was suggested that we find out as much about how Cortney acted and what his mom and dad did as we can.

And it’s possible it’s all just normal four-year-old with a strong personality middle child stuff.

That is the one I am hoping for.

Charlie was a brave, good little dude for the doctor, so we stopped for a cake pop on the way home and he insisted on getting one for his big brother too.

He was very cuddly and lovey with me for the rest of the day. I know he knows I am worried and he is doing his best to show me he loves me.

It’s hard to be four. It’s hard to be in the middle. It’s hard to have big feelings.

Today was a challenge.

Tomorrow will be better.

Tomorrow is new.

 

Spring Break Day 3

Remember how yesterday started with vomit? Today started with pee.

Last night Alice had a pretty hard time going to sleep. Then Eddie had a bad dream and Cortney went down to console him (aka lay by him) and Alice cried a few more times. We were tired. So when Eddie came into our room by 6:30am this morning with the news that his brother had peed on him and on his blanket “just because” Cortney was not having any of it.

Sure enough. Charlie had peed on the carpet, on Eddie, and on Eddie’s blanket because he “wanted to be mean.”

What in the world?

And thus started our Sunday.

Somehow we all managed to get out of the house by 9:45am without killing each other and made it to church mostly on time.

After church we came home and changed our clothes and started some laundry and then packed up to go to my parents’ house. They were in Mexico the whole week before Easter (which was also my birthday), so we didn’t get together to celebrate. My mom had my brothers and their families over too and made all my favorite foods. I opened a few presents and the kids acted mostly good. Eddie is at the lovely phase where he gets sassy when we ask him to change what he is doing. So he lost some screen time over that, but like I said, mostly good. I was happy.

When we got home everybody was crabby because we had missed nap.

So we took naps.  Well, Alice did. And because he tried to bite his brother, Charlie did too. I dozed off for about ten or fifteen minutes before Cortney informed me it was after 5:00pm and maybe the children shouldn’t keep sleeping.

Everyone was still stuffed from such a huge late lunch, so we had a very light, grazing dinner.

Kids were all in bed at regular time with reminders that we don’t have school tomorrow so PLEASE DO NOT GET UP BEFORE 7:00!

They are getting up early, aren’t they?

Sigh.

Spring Break Day 2

I woke up today to Eddie again. This time it was 9:30 and he was saying, “Mom! Dad says he needs you to get up because Charlie just barfed!”

Not really a good start to the day, although I did get to sleep in, so I suppose there is that.

Upon flying out of bed, we both realized Charlie’s throwing up was probably due to a lot of drainage, and not a tummy bug, so while cleaning up the madness was still gross, we at least were pretty sure we weren’t going to be dealing with barf all day.

Once I got Charlie changed into what he called “something warm and comfy”, I used the bathroom and made myself some coffee. Just as I was sitting down, Cortney goes, “Nice. It’s snowing.”

Lovely.

I made the comment that I was sure it wouldn’t stick.

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Then we got like six inches of snow. That stuck.

This is a joke, right?

The day wasn’t all snow and vomit, though.

Charlie painted some dinosaurs he got for his birthday. He was ridiculously excited and focused. That was a peaceful ten minutes.

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I spent a good two hours in the boys’ closet pulling out all the clothes that are too small for Charlie to be divided between two of my baby nephews. I had mixed feelings as I pulled out clothes that both of my little dudes wore. I smiled as I folded them and tucked them into bags for two little guys who won’t fit into these clothes for another year at least. I was a little sad to send more little man clothes out of my life. I’ve said it before: I do not want anymore babies coming out of my body, but man. I sure do miss tiny little dudes.

Allegedly I hugged some of the jammies and sniffed the Dreft smell on them before placing them in the bags.

When I was done, though, there were two tubs gone from their closet (which is still a wreck and on my To Do list for later in spring break, but I can’t get rid of toys with them home. ahem.)

We also packed up the jump-a-roo today to give to my baby nephew, Max. Closing some baby doors today, man.

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Cortney got groceries today while I fell asleep on the couch during the Little Kids’ nap time. Eddie watched something dumb on Netflix. After nap, Eddie invited Alice to play blocks with him.

I can’t even begin to describe how much I love watching her big brothers play with her. They play so differently with her than they do with each other. They are so protective and so intent on trying to make her laugh and smile. Yes, they get frustrated when she tries to play with their stuff uninvited, but if it’s her toys, they are all about her.

And she looks at them like they are miracle workers. Like they are the ones who hung the moon and placed the stars in the heavens.

Of course ten minutes after Charlie got up from nap (yes, he still naps for about two hours every day. He is four. My kids need sleep), it was loud up in here. It was the witching hour and by the time they went to bed an hour ago, Cortney and I thought our patience was going to pack its bags and get out.

Whew.

I know they say “the days are long, but the years are short.” Today was one of those long days.

I did finish reading my book last night, though. So I started Far From Home by Na’ima Roberts. It’s the last of six my students will choose from to read for book clubs after break. I’ll post about all six when I am done with this one!

Tomorrow is Sunday…and my birthday party at my parents’ house! Yay!

(and I still have to finish my birthday post with all the books that were donated!  We passed my goal of 38 and hit 42!)

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