But, savor this last one full of crisp cell phone snaps and precious memories.
Let's begin by stating, for the record, that Simon kept assuring me that the drive to Indianapolis was, "an easy three hours away" but in reality, it was actually a grueling 5.5 hours full of traffic and angry children. It was fine. In the moment those drives are so full of hair pully hours and resolves to never ever ever travel again but once we get there, all is usually forgiven.
I have to admit that I was a tiny bit apprehensive about marching into the very nice hotel lobby with the ragamuffins. It would be totally understandable if the hotel staff bristled. Simon says rental houses should require that tenants put down a child deposit rather than a pet deposit because kids are far more destructive then animals and so ... a slight bristle was almost expected.
But instead of giving us the up/down and asking the pointed, "and how many people will be staying in your room?" questions they were so gracious and warm. It was awesome. They let the kids pick little toys out of a basket (HEAVEN for the older three, Phoebebadger did not care - like always), and kept smiling in our direction. At one point Theo decided he didn't want to stand with Simon who was checking in but wanted to come back to the fold with Mom and the gang. So he ran across the lobby and dropped his blankie in the process. The concierge picked it up and wrapped it around his shoulders like a cape ...
... Theo says no words but was so thrilled and I have to admit that I was taken aback by his kindness.
Chugging along. Let's move beyond check-in, Speedy Gonzpatton.
Here we have the big kids up at some ungodly hour and totally and completely mesmerized by the free ice from the row of ice machines on the second floor.
The bathroom was big enough to fit a portacrib. Praise the LORD. It made all the difference getting Theo down for his (mucho necessario) afternoon naps and getting him to bed for his (also necessary) early bedtime. The trip would've probably gone down 89 quality points if he had had to sleep out with the commoners in the actual sleeping area.
The more you know.
One of the nights we walked over to the mall for a little food court dining. There was also some sort of christian women's conference going on at the neighboring conference center so when we saw that the mall was hosting ...
... complete with booming top 40 beats spun by a deejay and a fashion show featuring one of the Real Housewives of New York (I didn't see/hear which one because Phoebe was having a leedle bit of a meltdown so I had to mallwalk with her for a few and I'll never forgive myself) I knew we were in for a treat.
Let's just say the dance routine (that Julia still talks about, terrible parents!) that was performed to some bumping Beyonce was maybe not totally appreciated by all of our fellow food court patrons. The awkward permeated the air.
Part of Girl's Night Out was a table full of Cinnabon samples and Theo took full advantage of the situation ...
by the end of the night the Cinnabon gals were bringing him new sugar whenever they noticed he was out. He was a smitten sugar rushed little kitten.
I promise we did more than just go out to eat but Simon had a little window of free time during one of the days so we decided to try to find some food outside of the hotel Starbucks/attached mall downtown. At one point we pulled over to Google, "family friendly restaurants in downtown Indianapolis" and it turns out we were parked right in front of the first placed listed. Fortuity for the vin.
Outside said establishment ...
It was 57 degrees. Julia GRACE Patton for a reason.
One of the most exciting 90 minutes of the entire trip was when all the kids magically fell asleep at the same time. God bless sound machines.
forever and ever ...
+ We met up with my cousins, Jimmy and Bryan, who are 2/3 of a set of triplets for dinner one night. They are in their first year of dental school and I went the entire meal unable to tell them apart. After about seven minutes of enjoying our company one of them (I think it was Jimmy) commented, "it's like kids are a full time job!!" ....
+ I took the kids to Target to buy Simon a black belt because he forgot his. It was about as exciting as it sounds.
+ So many people suggested we hit up the children's museum and I was a total lame-o and didn't heed their advice. Mostly because I can barely make it through a grocery trip with some of them contained so I can't really imagine a museum situation (Bash is a runner and does not care if I'm out of sight for an eternity) and the last (and only) time we went to the St. Louis children's museum a few years ago the kids proceeded to get more sick than they have ever been. Three weeks of super sick and super hell that left me with a bad case of children's museum PTSD. And yes, I'm obviously totally fine with taking the kids to the hospital on a weekly basis, my logic knows NO bounds. This was not worth noting. I'm sorry.
+ And while I wasn't there to see Simon give his presentation I'm positive that he did a phenomenal job, Target black belt and all.
We'll most certainly miss our conference trips but I know you'll miss them more.