"Raising a kid is part joy and part guerrilla warfare."
~Ed Asner

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Little Break

On Friday Kris and I loaded up the truck with everything we owned, strapped the kids to the roof and ran away.  Okay, we only packed enough for an overnight stay and there was enough room in the truck for the babies.  But even the shortest trip involves so much more when you have children.  I'm one of those prepare-for-anything-that-could-possibly-happen kind of girl.  That means clothes for any type of weather (this is Michigan after all); socks, coats, oodles and oodles of snacks, allergy medicine, lots of headache medication, breathing machine for Noah (just in case); umbrella's, tranquilizer, extra blankets and pillows (in case the hotel ones wouldn't suffice); pack 'n play for Noah, 3x more diapers, pull-ups, butt wipes and underwear than you think you'll need; plenty of earplugs, soy 'special' milk, cups and bibs for Noah, potty chair for Izzie, double stroller, sunscreen, sandals and walking shoes, camera, extra battery for camera, more snacks, restraints, lotion for Noah's eczema, Tums, extra brain in case mine gets fried, chocolate (for emergencies); a month's supply of Lysol wipes and disinfectant spray...And that's just the first half of the list.  Oh, and Dakota.  Our sweet baby dog.  We would have taken him with us but we didn't think dogs and indoor water parks were a good combination.  We dropped him off at GiGi's house and headed to Frankemuth.  

Frankemuth is also known as Michigan's Little Bavaria.  You'll probably catch a festival or art show; there are fudge and candy shops, bakeries, other quaint shops to explore and of course the famous chicken dinner. 

About fifteen minutes from Frankemuth is the Birch Run Outlet Mall and oh, if I had a eight more arms, I would have used six arms to keep my children in two and the other two arms to shop.  We went to Bath & Body Works where I purchased some delicious fragrances.  Then we hopped over to American Eagle where Noah discovered how fun clothing racks could be.  Round and round we go, where we pass out from dizziness, give Momma an anxiety attack, run into a rack, or knock over a mannequin, nobody knows.  When Kris was done getting his style on, he took Noah so I could try on a dress.  I got the Izzie approval and we were good to go.  You know those parents that entertain their children with shameless abandonment in the hopes that they will not start screaming or tearing up the store?  Yah, that would be me.  Emphasis on the me.  My husband stands off to the side and while he won't deny my existence, he will steer absolutely clear of any embarrassing songs, motions, and games.  

After a couple of Excedrin and a quick moment of mediation I was over my claustrophobic anxiety attack.  We made our way to Zehnder's Splash Village which is right outside Frankemuth.  The hotel has an indoor water park, yah.  I couldn't wait to wear a bathing suit in public.  So much so that I bought a new one.  I also bought a giant paper bag and cut arms out of it to wear as a simple yet fashionable swim cover up.  But before we entered the whimsical water park full of giant mushrooms and dragonflies we needed to take our children to the watering hole for the some replenishing.  The babies settled into our lovely room and gorged on grilled cheese & french fries along with a blue raspberry slushy to wash it down with.  We could have stayed in the hotel room the whole time and the babies would have thought that was it.  They jumped off the couch, swung from the lights, jumped on the bed, opened and closed the refrigerator about a million times, played in the empty bathtub, and enjoyed a cartoon that was so much better because we were in a hotel.  Izzie made herself right at home in of the beds that she would have all to herself.  Kris laid next to her and asked her if she liked the bed.  She turned to Kris and said, "Daddy, get out of my bed.  Go sleep in your bed."  I hope she's not expecting an upgrade to a queen sized bed when we get home.  

Coincidentally, some friends of ours were staying at the same hotel for the weekend.  They have a little girl, Leah, who is about six months older than Izzie.  We walked around Frankemuth for a bit and then met up with them for a famous chicken dinner at the Bavarian Inn.

Beast wanted to make sure he got every last morsel.  At one point, he had the plate plastered to his face.

 After every last noodle was slurped, every piece of chicken devoured and every drop of ice cream consumed, we headed back to the hotel.  It was too late to go for a swim, and to be honest, we were all tired.  Izzie had no problem settling in to bed.  Beast thought the party was just getting started.  We set up the pack 'n play next to our beds and plopped him in.  In one swift, ninja like move, Beast was out of the pack 'n play.  After several unsuccessful and very dramatic attempts at getting him to calm down and stay in his bed, or Izzie's bed, or anybody's bed; we turned off all the lights and crawled into bed.  Kris was laying in one bed and I was laying with Izzie in the other bed.  She was a trooper and although, she had a hard time with everything going on and just wanted me to lay with her, sleep took over and she was out within a few minutes.  Beast paced back and forth for about a minute before he realized that wandering around in the dark by himself was no fun.  He starting calling out for us.  



You could hear the panic and sadness in his voice.  I put him down again and he started sobbing.  Kris laid down next to the pack 'n play and I leaned awkwardly over the side, rubbed his back, and sang to him until I was sure he was asleep.  It took about about an hour but after twenty minutes my arm went numb, one of my feet fell asleep, and my back was frozen so it wasn't so bad.  In the morning, Beast woke up crying.  Ah, yes, you were finally defeated my son.  You fell asleep.  There was no all night party train.  

We spent all day Saturday in the water.  There were water slides for grownups and little ones; a pool area with basketball hoop and other games; a lazy river, an area that had lots of geysers and water sprays; a hot tub; and a pool that only went to 2 ft. deep.  That was my zone with Izzie.  She's completely different in the water than she was last year.  She's older and has a better understanding of what will happen if she gets too deep in the water.  It took her awhile to warm up, but she did have a good time.  She went down a smaller slide by herself, enjoyed the hot tub and didn't cling to me like a monkey the whole time.  

 There's my happy girl.

Noah was a bit freaked out by one of the bigger slides that Kris and I both took him down, but other than that he just wanted to be free.  He chilled in the lazy river with Kris for awhile, tried to deep sea dive in the hot tub and roamed around the kiddie pool.
Do you see that giant bucket in the top right corner?  It fills up with water.  When it's nearly full, a bell starts ringing warning everyone what's about to happen.

400 gallons of water on your head.  Well that's refreshing. Or not.

Kris stood in the kiddie pool with Noah several times to get dunked.  I kept telling him not take Noah.  "Oh, he likes it."  Yah, because the terrified look on his face as giant waterfall crashes on his head means he likes it.  I hope my baby doesn't have permanent damage to his head.  I love his head.  And his hair.

Hi sweetie.  You okay?  Your head looks a little flattened.
(I think this was the best shot I got all day.)

Around mid afternoon, you could tell the babies were starting to wane.  Izzie was sitting on the side of the pool just relaxing and Beast was being a bully.  I was really, really, hoping I would never have to use that word in the same sentence as my sweet, baby boy.  In his defense, he was tired.  And when he gets tired; he gets crabby and well, kinda mean.  The beginning of the kiddie pool is only six inches deep.  There were several spots where water bubbled out of a hole.  All the little kids loved to step on the holes or put their hands on them.  There was the cutest little boy all decked out in his life jacket who was just getting used to the water.  He discovered one of the pockets of water bubbling up and smiled with glee.  His dad was standing next to him.  Along comes my son who was suddenly blind to all the other pockets of water to play with.  He stood behind the little boy and shoved him.  Great.  Mother of the year right here.  I scolded him, had him apologize and then I apologized to his dad who wasn't the least bit upset.  I removed Beast from that area of the kiddie pool and he decided to play on the see saw.  

   I failed at getting a clear picture, darn kids wouldn't stop moving.  This picture was actually from earlier in the day when Noah was playing nice.

After playing on the see saw for a few minutes by himself, Izzie came over to join him.  Beast screamed at her, waded over to her side and tried to pull her off.  Izzie couldn't be bothered with these shenanigans and left.  Beast waded back over to his perch and sat down.

I have another picture that accurately describes his mood, but it's one giant blur of beast and tantrum.  This is the clearest one I have.

Beast was king of the see saw and sat there with his sword drawn, ready to battle anyone that dared to come over and attempt to ride on it with him.  I don't think the concept of being a team player was registering with Beast.  Turns out, the see saw wasn't as much fun with only one person on it.  Also turns out that two days in a row without a nap combined with being stuck in a cramped truck, walking around town, and spending all day in the water makes for two wrinkly dried out prunes. 

We had to check out of our room in the morning but our friends were staying another night so they let us stash our stuff in their room and were kind enough to let us use their shower and dechlorify.  They joined us in town and we walked around and visited some of the shops.  We bribed the kids with ice cream hoping it would buy us some more time before another meltdown.  We parted ways for dinner which caused huge distress for Izzie and her best friend Leah.  Every time we separated Izzie wailed, "But I really miss my best friend Leah."  Sometimes I imagine what it would be like if we acted like young children.  What if, at that moment, every adult around us started acting like Izzie or Lord help us, Beast?  Throwing temper tantrums, crying over leaving a store, trying to climb over the bridges to play in the creeks, faces covered with ice cream, sobbing over saying good bye to someone; saying out loud, "I have to pee, but not poop...just pee."  (Whenever I ask Izzie if she has to use the bathroom and she says yes, she makes sure I know that she only has to go number one.)  As I picture a bunch of full grown adults acting like a toddler or preschooler, I always start laughing out loud which makes me look like a crazy person because no one knows what is going on inside my head at that moment. 

Anyhoo, Kris and I took the babies to a restaurant called The Brewery.  We heard their food was good and wanted to try it out.  Our waitress was really nice.  She thought our babies were cute.  Well, duh.  I don't know how this came up, but she told us that the night before there was a really cute girl in with her family.  She got her arm stuck in between the slots on one of the chairs and they ended up having to take a saw to the chair to get her arm free.  Umm, Noah don't try to put your arm through the chair slots, okay?  I don't think his arm could have fit through those slots.  That little girl must have had really skinny arms or a lot of determination to get her arm through that chair.  Dinner was good, beer was good, service was good.  Kris peeked at Noah's diaper before we left and said he was poopy.  Excellent, to the bathroom we go.  Izzie started crying saying she had to come with me.  Okay, I didn't know changing Noah's diaper was the highlight of the evening.  Well, it turns out that it was.  Maybe Izzie had a vision or just a feeling of what was to come.  I was very thankful that the bathroom had a changing station.  Even though they're not exactly comfortable, it's better than laying him on the floor or trying to situate your baby alligator on the counter.  Noah freaks out on these changing tables.  The combination of hard plastic and being high up makes him nervous enough to lay still, which again, ended up being something that saved me from an even bigger mess.  To my horror I discovered that Beast had a blowout.  In case you're reading this and you don't have children or you don't know what a blow out is let me clarify.   A blowout is when the poopy contents of a baby's diaper explodes out of the sides and/or top of the diaper.  Think of a sewage back up that results in crap all over your backyard; only in this case, it's crap all over your child's body and yourself.  It was the end of the day, so my supplies were low.  I had no more extra clothes with me and wasn't even halfway into cleaning Beast before I ran out of wipes.  This is where Izzie comes in.  My sweet Izzie who insisted on coming to the bathroom with me.  I told her she needed to go get daddy and tell him to come to the door.  Her first obstacle was the bathroom door, which was extremely heavy.  She was able to open it just enough to see that Kris was already standing in the hall waiting for us.  

He opened the door so she could come out and I yelled the situation to him.  I can only imagine what everyone in the restaurant was thinking as the woman's restroom was right by the bar and one of the dining areas.  Of course we all know how Kris handles situations like this and he couldn't just come into the woman's restroom and help me.  Not sure how to ask the bartender for a cloth to clean his sons body that was covered in poop, he ran to the men's restroom and grabbed a whole ton of paper towel which he then soaked with water.  He handed them to Izzie and opened the door just enough for her to squeeze through yet not enough for him to see the inside of the restroom because you know, he might go blind or something. (At this point, there was no one else in the bathroom.)  Izzie rushed over and said, "Okay, you got this Momma."  Always the encourager.  The paper towels kind of fell apart as I cleaned him but it was enough to get the job done.  I was out of plastic baggies so I wrapped up his diaper and soiled clothes separately with paper towels, a lot of paper towels.  While I cleaning him and wrapping crap up with paper towels there were two woman who came in to use the restroom.  They both smiled but their smiles said different things.  One of them was young and as she smiled probably thought, "I am never having children."  The other one was older and as she smiled, probably thought, "I do not miss those days one bit."  Beast ended up walking out of the restroom in a diaper and tennis shoes.  Everyone in the restaurant smiled and chuckled.  Well, at least they smiled and didn't throw up.  I smelled like poop.  And I'm pretty sure that was a slight, tiny smear on Noah's lower back.  We parked across the street in another parking lot.  Kris picked Noah up and held him under his arm.  As we walked across the street I thought about giving everyone a shout out from Detroit.  Once Noah spotted the truck, he started screaming, "Truck! Truck! Truck!"  Kris put him down and my diaper clad beast ran the rest of the way to his beloved truck.

We were planning on walking around town before heading home but our luggage was still in our friend's hotel room and by the time we found them, got their room key, and went to the hotel to retrieve our luggage it would have been too late.  And I was not about to let my son walk around town with only his Huggies and Keds on.  So Izzie had to say her final goodbye to Leah when we met them after dinner.  I felt like we were separating two long lost friends who had just found each other after fifty years of not knowing what happened to the other.  Telling Izzie that she was going to see Leah the next day at Leah's 4th birthday party was no consolation.  Once at the hotel I threw on the babies sleepers in the truck cause that's how I roll and we were on our way home.  Noah was out cold within the first two minutes and Izzie was out within the first ten.      

Besides spending time with my crew, my favorite part of the trip was walking along the river which is lined with willow trees.  I have this obsession with willow trees.  I think they're beautiful and majestic.  The way they sway back and forth and when you get up close and see how big they are...I wish I had a willow tree in my backyard.  I  took as many pictures of the willows as I did of my children.  I was extremely bummed when I uploaded my pictures at home and saw a huge smudge in the middle of all the pictures I took that afternoon.  Someone had their grubby, little fingers all over the lens of my camera.  I'm working on the pictures to see if I can make them look any better.  I'll post them soon.

We got in late Saturday night and everyone slept in on Sunday, Hallelujah.  We finished off our weekend with a birthday party complete with an ice cream bar.  Noah was anxious to get back the truck.  It was a rockin' party but he loves to play in that truck.  I gave Izzie plenty of time to prepare for when it was time to leave.  I guess I knew it wouldn't matter.  My sweet Izzie finally had to be carried legs flailing, arms outstretched towards her friends and the party.  It was a sad sight.  On the way home she said, "I already miss friend Leah."  


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