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?
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!