1800 miles and as many diapers later ...

10 April 2013

how do you say "refreshed" in toddler?

Let me just say that nothing (fine! lots of things including the entire tube of Desitin that Julia just emptied into her belly button) annoys me more than blog posts beginning with something along the lines of, "I'm sure you noticed I've taken a little break from blogging .... "

Funny, I didn't at all but flattery looks great on you. I didn't expect a single soul to notice my little blogging hiatus but to the peoples that did and emailed -- you're the best of all the other readers.

I could tell a blatant lie and say that I was taking a much needed retreat from screens and technology and going to focus my time on cuddling my children and really living my life but  .... laugh. The kids and I tagged along on a conference trip with Simon to Charleston (and if the conference had been in an uglier place we totally would've forced ourselves on him and his travels as well ... don't underestimate my dedication to quality family time in the van with Dora the E and Bob the B) and I was absolutely going to punish you with minute by minute play by plays of our every mile but then we had to use the laptop as a sound machine (favorite website in the entire world wide web, blogs included) in our hotel room in Atlanta the first night and it died and I just let it be for the remainder of the trip. How many paragraphs can I dedicate to the e-absence you lost sleep over?

One more!

We peer pressured and pressured lots of lovely people to spend time us along the way and it was just what the winter doctor ordered by way of face to face conversation and I'm already feeling nostalgic about the entire thing. I need to pen a post about my problem with nostalgia some day. I get nostalgic about high school and I was one of those people that strongly (strongly!!!!!!!!) disliked the high school years so I think me and nostalgic have an unhealthy relationship but .... our trip was the best ever and I want to go back again and again.

Want a rundown? No? I thought vacation recaps were the most interesting blog posts on the w-cubed.

Cue Barney's pleasant and nasaly voice ... "Here We GOooOoOOooOo......!!!"

I went to Nashville and all I got was this crystal clear of the Parthenon from one of the (many!) parking spots that doubled as electric car charging stations. Hm.

No, that is not true. We met up with one of Simon's bff+e from high school and his sweet wife at Centennial park for lunch where they had every kid's dream waiting in a giant gift bag ... bubbles, a bubble machine, light up pinwheels and more bubbles. Pretty soon the kids are going to catch on that gifts consist of more than just Dora Band-Aids and generic chocolate chips. The weather was perfect and the kids were on their normal behavior (not awesome) and I'm sure we scarred them with the state of the van a mere 6 hours into the trip. I purposely didn't get a people picture here so that we can come back to visit them asap .... lock your doors, guys!

Onward ... to Atlanta. We stayed outside the city in a hotel and Sebastian wreaked absolute havoc on everything in sight. Simon left to hunt and gather provisions while I was left to bathe and dress the kids with zero diapers in the room and all the diapers in the ark with Simon. There was a bachelorette party of sorts going on in the room next to ours and I can't tell you how happy they looked to see the troops being dragged into the neighboring suite. Sebastian locked himself in one of the bedrooms twice and Julia (unbeknownst to me) called the front desk so many times in a row that they came to see what the deal was just as Simon came back ... it was all very not funny and not awkward.

The next morning we rose and raided the free breakfast bar (mini pancakes in a plastic bag with the syrup already added? um, we'll take 99 of those "cookies" for the road) and raced over to Augusta where Rachel (I had the pleasure of rooming with her sister, Jojo in college) welcomed us into her Pinteresting home for some lunch and southern hospitality.

Guess which adult duo insisted on photo documentation? Crazy menfolk.

If I had an eye for home decor like she does you better believe every other blog post would be a boasty home tour because it was incredible. Her boys were so polite (did you hear that, Sebastian??) and Isabel (with the prettiest hair!) tolerated Bash and J plowing into her room to play with her toys that will forever outfun ours. Simon decided that we'll be sending our kids down to their backyard for summer and manners camp. I can see Rachel's enthused smile from here.

Back on the ro-nope ... forgot the Dora ball from Nashville that Julia grew unhealthily attached to.

Now ... back on the road to our final destination: Charleston. We stayed with Tim and Sarah at their house/resort and I was spared the fun of juggling the kids alone in a hotel the entire time while Simon was at the conference AND got to talk Sarah's ear off during nap times ... hopefully she's listened to a lot of quiet since we've left. Sarah is an amazing (healthy!!) cook (chef? what's the proper terminolage here?) and we haven't eaten that well since ... ever. It's making our pantry of canned kidney beans and crunchy snap peas look like a vending machine full of stale sugar. Take me back. The first night we arrived we got to see more FUS alum (Marina is the most talented human in all of the Etsy land) and the night before we left -- even more and I think my kids nearly exploded when their social meter hit the highest daily count they've ever seen.

Fun for all, even Spidermens.

Bash giving Gretchen a bear hug.

I could ramble on and on about their generosity but I'm scared you all might show up on their picturesque doorstep tonight expecting similar treatment so I'll stop but we were completely spoiled and owe them our future fourth born which I know excites them to no end.

Sweet Ben on picturesque doorstep who told Julia whenever she had her diaper changed that he was potty trained and I loved him for it because I thought maybe it'd spur some interest in her but judging by this mornings bevy of accidents ..... nope.

While Simon was busy at the pelvic (we all know that that is a euphemism) conference the kids and I trotted over to Hallie's house for a few hours. She JUST HAD A BABY, the sweetest little Charlie baby but still was gracious as ever in letting us barge in and visit and eat their food and hoard their toys. We talked to Jen in the midst of her delayed induction and had thee best time. When we pulled up, Hallie's oldest daughter, Sophia raaaan across the street, jumped in the van and asked what she could help with? She is SIX years old and I guess you could say Hallie and Dan are maybe doing something right. Her two oldest boys are so sweet and respectful and everything I hope Theo and Sebastian will be in several years and I know I'm setting myself up for disappointment.

Lucy and Julia in matching dresses and unfortunately for Lucy, non-matching footwear.

Tim and Sarah kindly took us to the beach and Sebastian ate his weight in sand.

You'd think after the first 8 handfuls of grit and gross one might slow their roll but ...... nope. Why is there no beach in Saint Louis? I think it lifted my spirits enough to get me through this coming call weekend which is saying a LOT.

The 14 hour drive home yesterday was about as lovely as we expected it to be.

Don't let this fool you. This is before shit really hit the car seats, Theo faked colic, and Dora Hip Hop Easter had been watched 99 times in a row.

So many sneak attack diaper bombs from all three kids, so much gross food (tell me I'm not the only one that resolves to eat well on trips and does well for the first 1.5 days but by the last day is shoveling chocolate, carby grease, and straight sugar down their throat ... please), and a lot of "this was stupid! this is awful! I never want to see any of you AGAIN!!" especially many hours after the kids should've been in bed and our kids mostly refuse to nap in the car so getting them to sleep was nothing short of a first tier miracle and I'm fairly certain I'm emitting magical powers just for kind of doing so if you have any magical favors you need performed - I'm your mom dot com.

We pulled up and only unloaded the necessities (arsenal of sound machines, laptop charger, Theo in his car seat) while the neighbor and his new (creepy!!) mustache did the awkward chat and dance around the good night make out with his giggly girlfriend thing outside her minivan forever and ever. I think my awkward tank is now filled for life. 

I don't believe a single one of you read that entire thing.

AND NOW ... back to our regularly scheduled housemousing and failed potty training battles much sooner than you'd like.

ps spare prayers more than welcome and very much appreciated for Jen and sweet Joseph!


  1. Oh man I don't know what it is about sand! 1-year-old John Paul went CRAZY for it at our first trip to the beach - kept taking bites of an apple, dropping it, and licking off the sand that had adhered to the flesh!

    Glad you had such an awesome trip :)

  2. 1. Totally noticed you were gone and even visited your site to see if maybe your feed was just broken or something. This recently happened to another blog I follow but she was gone 3 weeks or so before I noticed, so you should be quite flattered!!

    2. Did I miss the explanation of what happened to Sebastian's face in that top photo?? Is he ok??

    3. You are my road warrior hero! I am super impressed by your travels!!

  3. Thank heavens you're back... I was crossing over from "it's been awhile" to "better send out the Gracehounds." Needless to say, you were missed! But what a fun trip... Glad you guys got to visit lots of non-local (aka NOT Costco or the hospital) places :)

  4. Okay, I'm a lurker. But! I never would have expected this blog to venture into my hometown of Augusta! And then to my neighboring city of Charleston! I feel like my little internet world just imploded.

    Glad y'all had a good trip and enjoyed Folly Beach!

  5. Oh I did read the entire thing and thought I was going to spew my afternoon coffee! This so reminded me of all the long car trips we took with our 4 when they were young. This to will pass!

    Come visit my blog!

  6. Yay! You're back! :) I'm so glad. I read the whole thing.

  7. Good thing it's the Easter season so we can all appropriately shout, "Hallelujah!" That was a tough week with nary a word from the camp.

    slow their roll
    mom dot com

    This is why we need you so. Don't ever do that to us again.

  8. Super missed you, thank you for coming back.

    If you ever get down to Florida, the Lobodas AND I will welcome all y'alls with open arms. And kitchens and toy bins.

  9. Looks like a lovely, fun, and well-deserved break! :)

  10. 1st. I did read the whole thing. 2nd. Praying like mad for Jen and her sweet little guy. 3rd. I almost had a panic attack by Sunday with no post from you and almoooosssttttt sent out the National Guard to make sure Basher had not made his usual Dasher into the street and you were still chasing him three states away. But thankfully you had tweeted a pic that made me totally J of you two on the beach and I figured you had landed somewhere wonderful in your dash for bash so I left well enough alone. 4th. Welcome back but never, ever again leave us sans post sans announcement. 5th. Good luck with potty training!

  11. I missed your blogging, but looks like you had an amazing time being treated well!!

  12. Your explanations are too funny. I wish I could write well like you, so I could accurately describe our daily circus, since in less than seven weeks we will have 4 babies, 3.5 and under. God Bless!

  13. how do you manage to shove so much wit into one single blog post? Of course I noticed you were gone. Thanks for the hefty dose this afternoon

  14. I read through the whole thing (do I get a little prize or something?) and am a little jealous that all the cool bloggers were hanging out hobnobbing while the rest of us had to wait impatiently for blog post updates that never materialized. But that's okay because it sounds like things are back to normal at your house. And a call weekend as well - better stock up on Dora Band-Aids and chocolate chips!

    Am also jealous that you went to Charleston. I LOVE Charleston...that's where my husband proposed to me.

  15. I am so glad you share my sentiments for "Sorry I was gone from the blog" posts. Guh.

    Also, yes, I start vacays with a bag of grapes and animal crackers for snacking. On the way home? Beef jerkey, snickers and slurpees. Another guh.

    Glad you're back!

  16. I missed you!!, but so glad you got to get away and have some fun. My husband missed you too, apparently I laugh more when you are blogging. Go figure.

  17. Only unloaded the necessities hahaha. When Lucy was about four weeks ago (two months ago, but I want it to sound like it's been a long time since I was an inexperienced parent....) we showered for the first time in a month, Chad got pretty and we made it to the door. I picked up the car seat and thought, "My arms really are getting stronger. This carseat and so light!" I took a step out and heard her sneeze in her crib. Since I'm so awesome at parenting I would never in twenty years take a road trip that long with small children, even small child, and expect them to make it back with me. Cheers to you!
    Thank goodness you survived!

  18. I missed you. I updated Google Reader and Blog Lovin's and then sent myself endless emails to make sure my email was working...

  19. I have missed your posts, and you were in my neck of the woods - well, former neck of the woods. Was that Sullivan's Island?? Hope you got to eat at Poe's if it was. Next time, come down when I'm hone visiting! :)

  20. I totally noticed you were MIA and am glad you are back! I read the entire thing and enjoyed every minute of it. I almost burnt my pumpkin bread, but seriously, how needs pumpkin bread when there is a new post at the camp to read?!

    1. Love your name! It's about as awesome as mine ;)

  21. holy cow! sounds like one heck of a trip! All your pics are too cute and YES of course you were missed...I'm pretty sure I checked your blog about 8 times a day, wondering if I was missing out on anything. Until I remembered from IG that you were on a trip....but then I would turn around the next day and check again -- JUST in case ;)

    so glad you're back! hope you get SOME rest and recovery :)

  22. I too noticed you were MIA but figured you were enjoying some time off. :) Random, totally unrelated question...that brown bag you're sporting in the beach photo -- where is it from??? I am seriously coveting it!

  23. I read the whole thing Grace :) and I did miss you too!!

  24. Ok so I had two unread posts in my reader and I clicked the one I thought was yours and it was a baby announcement and she was 14 weeks along and I was like GRACE HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE AND MAYBE YOU SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM SIMON FOR A FEW MINUTES BETWEEN BABIES but then it wasn't you. Phew. Because I'm fairly certain she was getting pregnant the DAY Theo was born and you were kind of busy that day.

    Aaaaanyway, glad you got a little vacay. They are absolutely necessary for motherly sanity. Although, a 14 hour drive is enough to put you right back where you started.

  25. Completely noticed/missed your normal blogging so much so that I joined instagram so I could follow the Camp.

    And now I'm addicted to instagram.

    I'm trying not to guess how old your neighbor is...creepy mustache and a girlfriend with a minivan,ha

    1. isn't it the best/worst. I like it so much more than Facebook.

      and I'd say he's 43ish? He lives with his very old parents and he is VERY creepy.

  26. Yes - you were missed! Glad you were having such a "fun" time...while I worried something awful had happened. Let us know next time you will be gone!!!

  27. I read it all!!! You are so brave! We did a 17 hour car trip when Maggie was 3 months old and now the furtherst we will drive is 8 hours to see family. I hate car rides with kids!

  28. So glad you had such a wonderful time! I did miss your blogging -- glad you're back!

  29. Definitely hit the "refresh" button on my new bloglovin feed to see where ya were! (Thanks for the rec on that feed reader too!) So glad you had a fun adventure! :)

  30. WAIT.. you were gone?? I hadn't noticed, and definitely didn't facebook stalk you and cave and post a WHERE ARE YOU comment on your page. Never.
    In other news, Bash and Ryder ARE kindred spirits.. I knew it. Rydher slammed/smashed his fingers in a door Saturday and broke his fingers. I don't know what Bash did to earn those gems on his face, but I hope he's ok and that you didn't have to spend 3 hours in the ER chasing him around whilst he tried to climb every available surface and push chairs around the room and you had to explain, "no, I'm sure it's definitely broken; he's just invincible" on your only 'day off' and also having no diapers, food, milk, bottles, toys, etc. because who thinks of that when they leave the house with a toddler?
    So so happy you had an awesome trip, and kudos to surviving the car rides. I don't even like taking Ryder down the street because he hates sitting still THAT much.
    And, cross my heart, I read every word. Next time, warn us before you go MIA. :) Glad you're back!!

  31. Wow, I am like 17 degrees jealous of this trip- that is so fun that you got to see Sarah and Tim!!

    So happy for you, you deserved every second (of the fun stuff, not the stressful anything).

    Really glad you're back!

  32. That sounds like an action packed vacay... We crazily took our 2.5 yr old and 9 month old to the DR for a 'beach trip vacation'. More accurately... parental work trip. Once we finally made it through the food poisoning 24 hrs before leaving, 4 legs of flights, security checkpoints, rolling/running the girls to get to our last gate, an awkward but totally necessary diaper change in front of the world right at after the x-ray station - my husband and I decided to reward ourselves with a milkshake from McD's at midnight on the night we got back because we totally survived that trip. Now the almost 3 yr old is asking when we get to ride airplanes again... mmmm... how about not any time soon?

  33. I am so glad you were back! Now I no longer have to worry about breaking my no cursing when I was upset all the million times I checked to see if you had a new post. But I am glad you are back and yes I read the entire post.. It sounds amazing you should keep recapping the trip..for forever! I am glad you had such a good trip but I am also thrilled that you are back!!!!

  34. that was EPIC!! your travel stories sound like ours skipping the Dora Hip Hop experience. there are diapers bombs (in wheelchairs no less), greasy food that tastes good going down but not so good three hours later, bad hotels and no napping. My husband Jerry is very cranky when he doesn't get in his traveling nap. LOL!

    I am so happy your home sweet home. I am so jealous you got to see Hallie, hold Charlie and talk with Jen. Know that we are praying here for James.

    Potty training will come in time...I will...

  35. You're back!! I did not email, but I'm not about to act like it didn't cross my mind! Each time I checked and there was no update from you I would think, "Where's the Camp? Did the iodine get to her?" Glad to know that all is (mostly) well and that you had a great trip! I do not envy you that car ride, that's for sure. I don't even have kids yet, but I hate every thing about long car rides!

  36. I um, only slightly noticed you were gone... and only had to slightly hold myself back from creepily emailing or commented to inquire.... and by slightly I mean as in daily clicking on your blog in full blown middle school stalker style... and may or may not have had conversations with people I know who read your blog as much as I do speculating your whereabouts.... Yes, you were missed!!!!

    And while I'm outing myself as crazy anyway, I also read this entire post to the end and didn't think twice about it until you mentioned it at the very end :)

  37. Grace, I am SO glad you are back! Seriously, so glad :). you were so missed.

    Theo, faking colic had me laughing out loud!

  38. So glad you guys had a fantastic trip and so glad you're back and bloggin'! :o)

  39. Hooray! Glad you're back. I was getting tired of bacon-wrapped dates. :)



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