Monday, July 11, 2011

I Survived (Updated)

Holy cow- it's taken me about 2 weeks just to upload pictures and get a title for this post about the boys' and my trip to Colorado. Now it's way too late and I'm starting the writing- STUPID me, but oh well.

On July 1st, I took my first solo trip with all three boys to Colorado. At 6 months, Jake is the oldest of all three boys for his first plane ride. Zach flew at 8 weeks; Drew flew at about 12 weeks. I was nervous, but felt that Drew and Zach would probably be fine; it just was a question of how Jake would do. Would he sleep during the whole trip? Would he be awake and happy? Would he be awake and fussy? Well, he fell asleep a little before we boarded the plane (which was leaving late), and woke up right before we took off. He wasn't unhappy on the plane, but I did have to work a little to keep him happy. Zach and Drew watched a movie and were a piece of cake. I got off the plane feeling relieved that one of two plane trips with all three boys was done.

The boys slept pretty well at my parents' house the first night, and the next morning we headed up to Winter Park for the holiday weekend. Zach and my nephew Cam rode with Grandma and Grandpa, and my sister Becky, brother-in-law Tom, nephew Myles, Jake, Drew, and I piled into Becky and Tom's car. I had a feeling that since I was in the back with the 3 little boys I'd be on entertainment committee, and I was for a bit, but then they all fell asleep. First Myles, then Jake, and finally Drew.

Becky has a friend who was letting us stay at her house in the mountains, and it was a very nice house. We were very comfortable there. This was the view from a little park down the street. Oh, it was so good to be back in Colorado!

Zach cracked me up- it's been a few years since he's been up to the mountains (we're always so busy when we're visiting that we just don't get up there), so he wasn't sure how it would all work. He asked me the night before we headed up, "So, will we, like, walk up the mountains?" I said, "No, we'll drive our cars." He said, "Whoa- I bet that will really slow our cars down!"

Here's Drew, Cam, and Zach enjoying some time together. Yes, Zach is older than Cam, but Cam is quite a bit taller.

Becky, Tom, Zach, Drew, Cam, and I headed into town for some free ice cream, balloon swords, groceries, and more playground fun that afternoon. That night we grilled some burgers and hot dogs and relaxed. Well, we relaxed until bedtime, actually. The house had 2 stories, with 3 bedrooms and a loft area upstairs. We decided that we would get the little boys (Myles and Jake) to bed first, as they were sleeping in pack-n-plays with their parents. Once they were asleep, we thought we'd separate Cam, Drew, and Zach by putting one in each bedroom until the adults went to bed, at which time we'd move the sleeping cherubs to sleeping bags out in the loft, and they would snooze the night away peacefully. We told them the plan so they wouldn't be confused if they woke up during the move or after. So they went to bed easily. At 10:40, we were ready to hit the sack, so Becky and Tom moved Cam and I moved Zach and Drew. I was hoping they'd pretty much stay asleep, but they didn't. I think Drew got up to potty. I went to sleep. For an hour. I awoke at 11:40 because Drew was crying. Turns out Zach had hit him. Zach hit him because Drew insisted Zach was sleeping on his (Drew's) sleeping bag, but it really was Zach's; it just looked exactly like Drew's. So I got that worked out, told the boys they HAD to go back to sleep, and went back to my own room, where I was really hot and worried non-stop that Jake was too hot in his pack-n-play. I finally slept some, only to wake up around 1:00 to "Nah-nah boo-boo, you can't get me!" I went out to the loft to find Cam across the room staring at a clock, and Drew nearby laying on top of a life-size bear cub, and Zach appears to be asleep (to this day, I have no idea if he was faking me out or if he really was asleep- I'm guessing the former). I decided that I wasn't messing around any more with Drew, so I pulled his sleeping bag into my room and threatened him within an inch of his life if he woke Jake up. I also told Cam he needed to get back into his sleeping bag and I did not want to hear from him again. Drew went to sleep on my floor and, aside from me still being hot and worrying about when Jake would wake up for the same reason, things were good. For an hour. At 2:00 I woke up because Zach and Cam were making noise. I went out to the loft area pretty much spitting fire. I was so tired and so sick of these little boys messing up my sleep! Zach and Cam were trying to figure out how long until they could get up, because they were sure it was almost time. After informing them that it was nowhere near time to get up, I chewed both boys out, moved Zach's sleeping bag over away from Cam's, told Cam if I heard from him again I'd be moving him into his parents' room, and said for the millionth time that there was to be NO MORE TALKING!! I went to the bathroom, and as I came out, I heard a quite whisper, "Zach... Zach..." "Cameron, I said NO TALKING!" Cam said, "Oh, I didn't hear that." I have no idea if they talked anymore or not, but I didn't hear them. Then Jake got up for the day at 5:45, so it was a rough night for me. He was cute and happy (and, to be fair, he was still on Central time, so it was 6:45 there, which is his normal waking time anyway), so I couldn't be mad at him.

Later in the morning I found out that Becky and Tom had also been up a couple of times between 11:40-1:00, with Becky nearly putting Drew in the laundry room at one point and in my parents' room as well. It seems Grandma and Grandpa were the only ones who slept really well that night, as they heard nothing.

We decided that we would go hiking that day, and the kids were really excited to "hike up a mountain." They had it in their heads that they'd be hiking to the top of a mountain, and we had to keep explaining that that takes all day and is too hard for kids to do. Becky had read that there was a good, beginners-type trail nearby at Snow Mountain Ranch, so we drove up there. Unfortunately, once we got there, we found out that it was going to be $15 per person for everyone except Drew, Myles, and Jake. Turns out the $15 basically pays for a day-pass at the ranch, and the only way to hike those trails was to get the day-pass. We weren't planning on spending all day at the ranch, so instead we left the ranch and basically drove around wasting precious time looking for a new trail to hike. Myles is like his mom and seems to pretty much fall asleep any time he's in the car for more than 10 minutes. I actually got a cute video of him snoring away, but I don't feel like going to all the work to get it posted on here. Sorry.

So after driving around for a while, we decided to stop and eat lunch. Jake was beyond tired, so I was doing my best to keep him happy and maintain my own sanity. After lunch we basically headed back to the house so Jake and Myles could sleep, and after some play time, Drew took a nap as well. Becky and I then took Cam and Zach to a nearby rec center for some swimming fun. It was great, and probably one of the highlights of my trip. I honestly don't even know the last time I got to spend time just doing something fun with only Zach. It was awesome to just go and have fun with him, with nothing else on the agenda at all. It was also fun to spend the time with my sister and nephew. There was a slide we went down about 50 times, and Zach even braved the diving board at the request of his younger cousin. Becky and I were asked if we were twins, which isn't that uncommon, but always kind of makes me laugh, because I don't think we look that much alike.

We returned home to find Drew, Myles, and Jake well-rested and happy. Jake had also successfully taken his first bottle in forever. That was one mission while in Colorado- have my mom and/or sister give Jake a bottle every day until he was taking them well. The kid surprised us all and did well from day one. Drew had napped for about 3 hours (no big surprise, given his antic the night before), and since we hadn't had Cam and Zach nap at all, we decided they'd go to bed early and in their own rooms. I wasn't taking any chances the second night, so I figured out that I could fit Jake's pack-n-play in the laundry room and put Zach and Drew both in with me, on opposite sides of my bed. So after some much-enjoyed stories from Uncle Tom, I think Zach fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. Meanwhile, I wanted to take some time to give Drew some one-on-one attention, so he and I did a sink-or-float experiment outside on the deck. I had to think of something quiet and easy in a house without a lot of toys or resources, and Drew thought that was awesome. Just like earlier with Zach, I felt really good about having the time to devote 100% of my attention to Drew. When I did put Drew to bed, I did threaten him that if he woke Zach up or talked to him before 7:00, he would not get to have any candy at the Fourth of July parade the next day. That threat seemed to do the trick and we all had a good night's sleep!

Monday we went into Granby for the parade. Here's Jake hanging out with Grandma Ruth.

And playing peek-a-boo with his hat.

It was challenging to get a good picture of all 5 little boys. It didn't help that the only camera I had the whole trip was my iPhone- the real camera was on the surprisingly short list of things I forgot to pack.

It was also challenging to get a good picture of just my own three boys.

I thought this picture of Zach, Cam, and Drew walking with Grandpa Dick was pretty cute.

Myles stayed awake in the car this time, but after we got back to the house we packed up and headed back down to the city, and unfortunately we ran into some traffic issues, so the normally 1.5 hour trip took us about 3 hours.

On Tuesday, my parents took Cam, Zach, and Drew to the real pirates exhibit at the Denver Museum of Science and Nature, and then they treated the boys to some McDonald's. The boys thought the exhibit was pretty cool. Before they returned, a few of my old friends arrived at my parents' house for a visit. First to arrive was Angela, who is a lawyer and mom of two. Ange had her second baby boy in March, so he and Jake are just 4 months apart, although they appear to be pretty much the exact same size. I think from the picture below, the only way you can tell Jake is older than Will is because Jake is sitting up and Will is leaning back, as he's still a little young for sitting up unassisted. Two happy little guys, though, that's for sure!

Ange also has a little boy named Ben, who is almost 5 months younger than Drew. Ben is very social, and Drew is not (well, it depends on the situation), so I was curious to see how these two got along. Once they realized they both love the Cars and Cars 2 movies, they got along pretty well.

Ange and I became friends right around age 3, so it was really fun to see Drew and Ben together and think about us at that age. It's crazy to think that we're that old already!

My friends Ana and Malia came over, too, but I didn't get pictures of them. Ana just finished her residency and starts up her new life (with normal hours!) as a pediatrician in a few weeks. Malia is an airline pilot with Frontier, and she brought along her little cutie Alex, who is about 15 months old. I could just squeeze Alex's little (big) cheeks all day!

It was lots of fun to catch up with my girlfriends and to see the kids together. Ben and Drew even enjoyed cooling off with their feet in my parents' little pond for a bit.

The boys all seemed to need a little down-time, so I put in Mater's Tall Tales (a Zach and Drew favorite) and let each of them pick one cartoon to watch.

Tuesday night Ana and I hit up one of our old haunts- Red Rocks Amphitheater. Ok, it wasn't necessarily an old haunt, per se, but we did go to a few concerts there when we were in high school. It's pretty much the coolest place ever for a concert. They do this cool thing called "Films on the Rocks" or something, where they show old movies on a big screen there. This particular night, the movie was Top Gun, a true oldie-but-goodie. I haven't seen that movie from start to finish in over a decade, so it was awesome to just sit and watch it in an awesome atmosphere. Even though it was rainy and kind of chilly, the crowd was into it, and it was so fun. Ana and I had a great time.

The rest of the trip included some fun on Grandpa's drum set,

playing on Sadie's pillow,

and fun at various parks. Becky and I also got to watch some World Cup Soccer, and Zach and Cam got to have 2 sleepovers at Cam's house (Drew was very sad to miss out on those, but he did get to have a movie night with Grandma, Grandpa, and me, and he got to play with Grandpa's trains, which he absolutely loved).

Look at how cute my nephew Myles is!! I love this picture.

Drew missed naps more often than he took naps in Colorado, and overall that worked out ok for us. One day on the way home from Becky's house, though, he just couldn't stay awake.

The plane ride home was definitely more challenging than the ride out, unfortunately. We were traveling right at nap time, and this time, all three boys needed the sleep. Zach fell asleep before we even took off, as did Jake, but Drew just wouldn't give in. Instead, he was crabby and needy. It was actually kind of a pain that Zach was asleep, because I could have used his help, as he was sitting in the aisle and Drew at the window, and I was across in the other aisle seat. Anything Drew needed I couldn't help with, because I couldn't reach him and Zach couldn't pass things to me because he was asleep. Drew was thirsty, but I couldn't get up to get his water because we were about to take off; he was hungry, but I couldn't open his snack because I couldn't reach it (the nice lady behind him opened it for him); he couldn't hear me, but I didn't want to talk loudly for fear of waking Jake up. Once I did talk loudly enough for Drew to hear me (probably to tell him why I couldn't get his water), sure enough, Jake did wake up, and it was not nearly long enough of a nap. Then I had to work really hard to keep Jake happy, and I even fed him baby food (very dangerous, as he can be a bit grabby and I was worried I'd end up with pureed mixed vegetables all over me). Zach finally woke up and got the DVD going, but the DVD player quit part way through the flight. Thank goodness I had a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode on my phone that the boys could watch. I had a young guy sitting next to me, to whom I jokingly said at the beginning of the flight, "I bet you're wondering how you drew the short straw today, right?" but he was really nice and friendly and talked to Jake and stuff, so that was nice. As we were descending, the real fun began, because Drew's ears started hurting, and therefore so did the crying. The lady behind him offered him gum, but he said, "No! I'm not 4 or 5 so I can't have gum!" I told him he could try it this one time (I was desperate, and taking drinks from his water bottle- which I had finally managed to get- wasn't helping), to which he replied, "No, I'm not ready for gum yet!" Then, after some more crying, he said, "Putting gum in my ears won't help them!" Zach took the gum, though, which ended up being cinnamon, so I'm glad Drew didn't take it. I think that would have made him even more upset. Drew was full of his classic one-liners as the plane landed, and he cried plenty. At one point he was being a brat to Zach about sharing the arm rest, and Zach started to cry, too. I told Zach that Drew was in the wrong, but could Zach please, just this once, just keep his hand off the arm rest to make things easier for me. Such a good boy- he sucked it up, quit crying, and said ok. As we finally landed, I apologized to and thanked the people around us for their patience. They were very understanding and kind, and even told me I was very brave and deserved "Mom-of-the-Year" or at least a massage for traveling with 3 little ones by myself. The flight attendant, who had a very clear view of us while we were landing, told me as I got off the plane that I handled the 3 of them better than some parents handle one, so that nice. Oh, the crying continued as we walked through the airport, and Drew was complaining of a tummy ache, which he had complained of earlier that morning. While he was waiting for us, Mike heard someone walking by say, "There was a little boy crying on the plane because his ears hurt." And at baggage claim, the lady who was behind us said, "Drew, are your ears better? We were famous, or maybe infamous is a better word. Oh- the guy sitting next to me had commented at the beginning of the flight that I was lucky to be the mom of 3 boys and that he was one of 3 boys as well. At the height of Drew's crying towards the end of the flight, I laughed (it was that or cry, and I'm not much of a crier) and asked the guy where he fell in the line-up of 3 boys. He said, "Well, I wanted to tell you, I'm the middle and my name is Drew." Again, I had to laugh. I said, "I hear the middle is the most challenging." He said, "Yeah, I'd say that's probably true."

Anyway, poor Drew ended up having a fever that night and the next day, so I have a feeling that played into his less-than-awesome plane ride. But, we had a fun trip and of traveling on my own with all three boys, at least I can say I survived. Thanks for putting us up, Mom and Dad, and thanks to my parents and Becky & Tom and fam for such a fun trip.

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