Last week the boys and I went back to Colorado to visit my family. The trip almost didn't happen. We were all set to leave early Thursday morning, and very early Wednesday morning (like 4 a.m. early), Drew started throwing up. He threw up a couple of times within an hour, and then still woke up around 7 a.m., which was when Zach got up and threw up. Of course I didn't send Zach to school, although after he threw up he seemed perfectly fine. I had an appointment and thankfully Mike's mom came over to watch the boys so I could keep the appointment. The plan was to come home and pack while the boys napped, but Drew fell asleep sitting on the couch around 11 a.m. and slept for the next 3 hours, waking up just in time for Zach to take a nap. While Zach was napping, Drew proceeded to have diarrhea all over the living room floor, and about a half hour after I got that cleaned up, he threw up again. It was shortly thereafter that I started to wonder about the state of my own stomach. I had called Frontier to see about changing our flight, but it would have cost us $50 per ticket plus the difference between ticket prices. So I decided I would make the decision the next morning. So, after eating just a banana for dinner, I finally got to packing my own bag, and proceeded to throw up said banana and anything else I had eaten that day. It wasn't pretty or fun. I went to bed before 9:00, and tossed and turned all night. It felt like the longest night to me. But, when I got up at 5:00 the next morning, I decided we were going for it.
The whole traveling situation already had me nervous. Flights from our hometown airport are very expensive, and I can drive 2 hours to another airport and pay a third of the cost. Driving 2 hours, parking the car in long-term parking, and getting our luggage and the 2 kids into the airport and everything by myself had me a little worried. Throw in 3 very unpredictable stomachs (or at least 2, as Zach's seemed to be ok after the one puking incident), and it made for some very big nerves on my part. But, we woke the boys up at 6 a.m. and were in the car by 6:20. The boys were great in the car and really pretty good in the airport, too. Since Drew wasn't feeling good, he wanted to be carried, and I was really counting on him to walk so that I could handle both suitcases. He wasn't having that, and the smaller suitcase was just big enough that it was difficult for Zach to handle, though he sure did try. Thankfully there were some very helpful airport employees who made the whole thing much easier.
I had paid for Frontier "Classic" service (as opposed to "Economy"), which meant that for an extra $20 per ticket, approximately, we didn't have to pay for the bags we checked, we got to pick our seats ahead of time, and we would have free DirecTV during the flight. The DirecTV was really the thing that sold me- easy in-flight entertainment without me having to carry a DVD player, headphones, etc. We had to wait a little while for our airplane to show up, and when it finally did (about 10 minutes before our departure time), it said Midwest on the side, and I instantly had a bad feeling. We boarded the plane and found that my feeling was not in vain- Midwest planes (Midwest is now owned by Frontier) do not have DirecTV. Since I was counting on that as my entertainment for the boys, I had packed only 5 books, which we had read all of while waiting for the airplane to arrive at the gate. I'm still not sure how we made it through the flight without any big meltdowns. I'm so thankful that Zach is used to traveling and is so good about it. He basically sat in his seat and played with a puzzle (didn't really ever put it together, just enjoyed doing various things with the pieces) the whole time while I tried to keep Drew entertained. Drew got upset when he found out he had to be buckled in, and there were other random things that made him mad, but we read all 5 books again, sang some songs, and snuggled some. In hindsight, it may have been good that Drew didn't feel so great still, because he was more mellow than he would have been had he been feeling good. I was also very thankful that it was a short flight- less than 90 minutes.
So my dad met us at the airport and the boys and I were very happy to see him and to be done on the plane. We headed back to my parents house for lunch and naps and a quiet evening at home.
The next day we went over to my sister's house. Zach and my nephew Cam were so excited to see each other. It was a gorgeous day, and the boys wasted no time in getting outside to play. We hadn't had any days like this in Iowa, so it was so awesome to just be outside in the sunshine and warmer temps.
Zach and Cam enjoyed climbing the tree in Cam's backyard.
And they got out in the front to ride bikes and scooters.
Then they got to have a picnic.
Where was Drew during all this? Well, once again, he fell asleep at just about 11 a.m., sitting in my lap. I laid him down in a pack-n-play and he slept for about 3 hours. Obviously the kid still wasn't feeling well.
The next day was Saturday, the morning of Cam's birthday party at a cool place with lots of inflatables. Zach and Cam were basically inseparable there- they did everything together, and I have to say, it was pretty cute to see them as such good buddies.
The giant boxing ring was Zach's favorite feature at the party. Here you can see he has his serious face on, the one that he uses anytime he's playing sports or being competitive.
Drew continued to be somewhat of a thorn in my side at the party. He seemed to be feeling better, but he was just crabby and didn't want to do much on the inflatable stuff. Mostly he seemed to want me to carry him around. I got tired of that, and occasionally told him if he didn't want to walk and play, he could just sit on the bench while I had fun with Zach and everybody else. I didn't want to be a jerk, but I just needed a break from his crabbiness. He didn't mind too much.
I found out later that Drew had kept Zach awake some during the night (they were sharing a room at my parents' house), and from what Zach said, it seemed like Drew had been awake since 5 a.m.-ish. Ahhh, crabbiness explained.
My dad and brother-in-law Tom got in a game of air hockey. I'm not sure who won.
At one point, Drew decided he wanted to go down this huge slide. He wasn't quite big enough to climb up the ladder on his own, so I basically had to carry him up. When we got to the top and looked down the slide, I worried about how much Drew would enjoy it. That thing was steep! And I was right- he didn't like it at all. Just when we were starting to have fun, he got scared by this slide and decided we were in no mood for fun that day.
Drew did give the little car a spin, but didn't seem too enthused by that, either.
After an hour and a half or so of play time, it was time for donuts and fruit (it was a morning party, so cake before lunch just didn't seem right). Lucky for me, Drew didn't want anything to do with his Krispy Kreme donut (whose kid is this?), so I got to eat it. Here's Cam blowing out his candles while Zach and Drew look on.
After the party Zach went home with Uncle Tom, Cam, and Myles, and Drew went home with Grandma and Grandpa so Becky and I could go do some birthday present shopping for Cam. We all joined back up for a very tasty pizza dinner at Becky and Tom's house.
On Sunday afternoon Becky and the kids came over to play for a while. Becky left after dinner and Cam stayed for a sleep-over, but first we all sat and watched Snow White. Here's Grandma Ruth with 4 of her 5 grandsons, enjoying the movie.
Drew got a little extra snuggling in with Grandpa when he went to say good night.
Zach and Cam slept in the upstairs bedroom at my parents' house, and this was the best sleep-over they've ever had. I think it really helped that after I read to them, I stayed in the room and rubbed Cam's back for a while. After a few minutes, he said to me, "Aunt Sawah, are you going to leave?" I told him, "I'll leave when you guys are asleep!" A few more minutes passed, and Cam said, "Aunt Sawah, I'm asleep already!" I had to laugh at that one! I stayed a few more minutes until I felt like they were both near sleep, and as soon as I stepped outside the room, I heard them start talking. I opened the door and said, "No talking, guys! It's time to sleep." We never heard another peep from them until the morning.
Since Becky had to work on Monday, my parents and I took Cam, Zach, and Drew to the Denver Children's Museum. I don't think Drew had been there before, and it'd been a long time since Zach had been there. Right when you walk in there's an old fire engine that the kids can play on. They all thought that was really cool, and Drew even put on a fireman helmet for me. Oh, and notice the mittens. This kid always wants his mittens and hat on, even when it's nice out. He'll be wearing those mittens in June, I think.
Upstairs we found the grocery store/restaurant. Here's Zach working on some cake in the kitchen.
We were there early, but pretty soon the store filled up. Here you can see the teamwork we used, as Drew worked the cash register, Zach scanned items, and I bagged them. I think we could have a future in running a family grocery store!
Then we headed into the nature room, where Drew absolutely refused to crawl through any tunnels. I don't know what his deal was. He has really gone through stages where he gets afraid of things. For the longest time he was a little daredevil, but then as he's gotten older, it's like he's also grown more cautious (like at the bouncy place for Cam's party).
Zach and Cam had fun dressing up like a bunny (Zach) and a squirrel. Here they are showing off their food, although I don't know if bunnies eat worms.
We did get Drew to stand still for a moment in this giant nest. I knew there was no way I was getting a costume on him, so I didn't even try. At this point he was more fun, but still a little moody. He has a knack for being that way on trips. It's pretty exhausting when you're the only parent there to deal with it.
Zach and Cam were finally big enough to do some of the stuff in this building station, and they fell in love with sawing things.
While the big boys sawed, Drew and I played in the train room. At first Drew wouldn't play because there weren't any Thomas trains, just the cheaper counterpart. Eventually he decided that would do, and he was happy with whatever he found. It was weird that he was like that, because he plays with the trains at our library all the time and at Grandma Linda and Grandpa Curt's house, and they're not Thomas. I don't know why he was feeling so elite that day.
After all of that we had a quick snack and headed to the vet room. Zach, Cam, and all the kids in this room seemed to really enjoy giving the various dogs and cats shots. Not sure why, but they were into shots.
Finally we headed downstairs for one last stop on the fire engine before heading out for some lunch. On the way to the museum, Zach and Cam had ridden with my dad in his car. Grandpa Dick mentioned how funny it was to listen to the two boys talk. At one point they were discussing how strong their fathers are, and they decided that their dads could each lift a fire hydrant. So we decided to take this picture of Zach and Cam demonstrating how strong their dads are.
Later that day, after naps, Zach and Drew sat down with Grandma Ruth to read a book. I don't know what the problem was, but I'll be honest- Drew was a brat to my mom the whole trip. Drew has always had a thing for Grandpas- for some reason he seems to favor his 3 grandpas over his 3 grandmas, and he sure was holding a grudge against my mom. I felt really bad for her- she would just try to talk to him, and he'd say, "NO!" By the end of the trip he was at least saying, "No thank you," and "No talk, Grandma," but still, I felt terrible about and embarrassed by it. He got a few time-outs and had to apologize to Grandma a lot for his rudeness. The thing was, when I wasn't around, he wasn't so bad, but if I was available, he wasn't very friendly to my mom. So I took this picture because it shows how stubborn he was. She was reading, and he did not want to sit by her, so he sat on the other end of the couch and listened to the book. What a stinker.
Then he gave noticed me taking the picture and gave me this great smile, which made me feel a little less annoyed with him.
On Tuesday my mom, the boys, and I got up early and got ready to meet Becky and her boys at the zoo. Sadie, my parents dog, is a 70 lb. golden retriever who thinks she is a lap dog. So when Zach sat down to put his shoes on, Sadie thought he was sitting down for her benefit, and she promptly sat on his lap. Zach loved it.
We had amazing weather at the zoo, and got to see lots of animals. We even watched a peacock take a sandwich out of a little kid's hand. Those peacocks make me nervous!
That afternoon Becky and I took the kids to a park near my parents' house to meet up with some of my high school friends.
Here's Drew and Ben, who will be 2 in July. Ben is the son of my friend Ange, who has been one of my very best friends since preschool. It's pretty neat to see our kids playing together.
Zach and Cam especially loved sitting on the little bouncy motorcycles and pretending to be policemen catching bad guys.
My friend Ange has 4 sisters, and we all grew up together. Our parents were extremely close friends for a long time, and we took many trips together and spent many holidays together. We were like one huge family. Ange's older sister Adrienne is a good friend and former classmate of my sister Becky's. This picture is of Becky and Myles seeing Alissa, one of Ange's younger sisters, with her daughter Caroline, who is just about 10 days younger than Myles. Becky and Alissa had fun comparing notes on the two babies (except when Becky heard what a great sleeper Caroline is compared to Myles).
Although Zach and Cam were hogging the motorcycles, they were pretty good about letting other kids get on with them. Here's Zach giving Ben a little ride. I was a little nervous about this because I didn't want Ben to fall off and get hurt because of Zach, but he did fine.
And then Zach gave Olivia, who is Alissa's 3 year-old daughter, a ride on the motorcycle. Zach and Olivia make quite a cute couple, I think!
Eventually Drew wanted on, too, but didn't stay on for long. I think those nervous/scared feelings came back, and he quickly got off.
I had my friend Ana take this picture of the Crowley girls (2 of them, anyway) and Becky and me with our kids. As I said, I've known Ange for almost 30 years, so I love seeing a picture like this. To think that I was younger than Zach is now when Ange and I first met is crazy to think about. So this picture goes Becky with Myles (6 mo.) and Cam (4 yrs.), Me with Zach (4.5 yrs.) and Drew (2 yrs.), Ange with Ben (20 mo.), and Alissa with Olivia (3 yrs.) and Caroline (almost 6 mo.).
We left the park and I dropped the boys off at my parents' house for the night while I went and got dinner with Ange and 2 of our other high school friends, Ana and Malia. We had a nice girls' night out and did some great catching up. It was really fun to see my friends again.
Wednesday Zach got to go to the Colorado Railroad Museum with my dad. I had considered going along and taking Drew, too. Zach was just about 21 months old the first time he went to the museum, and he loved it, so I thought Drew might like it, too. However, it's such a favorite place of Zach's, and I think part of that is that he relishes the time alone with Grandpa Dick, so I decided that for now, we'd let it stay that way. So while Zach and Grandpa were gone, Drew and I played and took Sadie for a walk.
After Zach and my dad got back from the railroad museum, we went over to Becky's. It was another gorgeous day, so the boys got to play in the sandbox, ride bikes, and we went to a park for a while. Later on my parents and brother-in-law Tom joined us for dinner. Even though Cam's birthday wasn't until Friday, we went ahead and celebrated Wednesday night. It was a joint celebration of Cam and Drew's birthdays. Cam wanted a Spiderman cake, and he got a real piece of artwork.
It was a good cake, and everything you see on it was completely edible. It was chocolate with a cookies and cream filling, and it was very sweet! The boys loved it (although Zach says now that he didn't like the frosting that much; I think it was just a little too sweet for him).
After the cake I gave the 3 bigger boys a bath while Becky got Myles in bed, and then Cam and Drew got to open presents. We then decided to have an impromptu sleep-over for Zach and Cam at Cam's house. The boys went to sleep really well, but it seems they were awake from 2:00 to 4:00 in the morning. Ouch. Needless to say, they were both pretty tired the next day. Becky brought Cam, Zach, and Myles over Thursday afternoon around lunchtime, and it was very obvious that Zach was on the brink of a major meltdown. He even admitted to being really tired, which is saying something. He went down for a nap and slept for a good two and a half hours before my mom woke him up. We had one last big family dinner at the Spaghetti Factory, and then the boys and I had to say goodbye to Becky, Tom, Cam, and Myles. For the first time in many recent visits, Zach didn't cry when we said goodbye.
After a few beautiful 60+ degree days, we awoke Friday to snow already accumulating on the ground. We headed out to the airport pretty early, but not before we received a phone call from Becky alerting us that she, Tom, and Cam all were throwing up all night long. All I could do was say a little prayer that they had the exact same strain we'd all had at the beginning of the trip and that the boys and I would not be afflicted. And, for the most part, we got through just fine. Drew was a little whiney, and once we got through the massively long ticketing line and security line, he was also a little stinky. I asked him if he tooted, and he replied, "No, poop." Ok, no problem. We went to the nearest bathroom and changed the diaper, which was pretty icky. All three of us then went into a stall so I could go to the bathroom, and while we were in the stall, Drew said, "Poop again." Wow, that was only 5 minutes. So I changed him again and we headed down to our gate, which was in the basement of the airport practically in Nebraska, it was so far out there. They were boarding our plane when we got down there, but not our row yet. So we sat down and I started talking to a high school girl from the area where we live, discussing high school students she knew who I used to teach, and Drew said, "Poop again." Again? Great. We went into the bathroom AGAIN to change his diaper, and as I was finishing up, I heard, "Final boarding call..." So we quickly finished up and headed out to the plane. Again I said a quick prayer- this time it was that Drew not poop anymore, because I was plum out of diapers at that point. I had used all three of my diapers in a matter of 15 minutes, and I still had the hour and 20 minute airplane flight and 2 hour drive home with what seemed like some finicky bowels on Drew. Amazingly, we made it through the rest of the trip without needing a diaper change. The boys were decent on the plane (though Drew gave me a little trouble, but at this point I expect that from him) and good in the airport. It helped that I had downloaded some shows to my iPhone for them to watch, since I assumed our plane would once again not have the DirecTV I paid for. The drive home was stressful because it was snowing. We grabbed some lunch and ate in the car, and after I threw away their trash, I told them it was time to sleep. As is the general way of life in this family, Zach followed directions, and Drew decided to do his own thing. Basically Zach said, "Ok," and was out. Drew grabbed his puppy and did the fake snoring bit for a few minutes before he started blabbing away to himself. That little stinker never did fall asleep anytime in that whole two hour drive.
So, our latest trip to Colorado had its ups and downs, but all things considered, it went quite well. I was most nervous about all the traveling with a 2 year-old and 4 year-old, but I feel I'm getting quite seasoned at that. As always, it was wonderful to see my sister and her family and my parents (except when Drew was screaming at my mom- that wasn't so wonderful). The highlight of the trip had to be watching Zach and Cam interact and just seeing them have so much fun together. I don't have any cousins anywhere close in age to me- they're all at least 4 or 5 years older, and most are more like 10+ years older, so to see the friendship that Zach and Cam are creating is just great fun to watch. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for letting us stay with you, and I do apologize for Drew's attitude! Maybe next time he will have outgrown that (I hope!) kind of stuff.