Tag Archives: family

The Three Under Five Road Trip

We took Daniel (and the rest of the fam) down to “Gram and Papa’s Preschool Paradise Camp” to meets his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Following our the highlights of our return trip.

Loading the 8-passenger vehicle (that only holds 2 adults, three car seats with accompanying children and the dog) and the cargo box takes about 45 minutes.  Golf clubs and overnight bags go into the cargo box.  Children go in car seats (Daniel and Charlotte in the second row, Madeline in the third row.)  Dog goes into the back, next to Madeline.  Dog goes in early because she gets anxious that we might leave her behind.  Bag with diapers, wipes and car snacks (copious) goes in the second row as well, but out of reach of Action Man lest he eat all the snacks or do something like find the bottle of sunscreen and squirt it all over the window.

Charlotte now hates her car seat.  She schreeches when we load her in, settles in after a few minutes but that only lasts for 45 minutes, maximum.  When faced with a three hour return trip, that 45 minutes of calm is just a tease.

When her crying starts, it seems to coincide with Action Man’s limit of being in his seat.  So I vault over the seat to wedge myself between them to better distract them.  Unfortunately, the only distraction that C is remotely interested in is nursing, a big no-no in a moving vehicle.  So I try shaking toys, feeding her cheerios, giving her water. . .then Action Man wants the toys, the cheerios and the water.  His greatest comfort is to cling to my arm, which I need to distract Cha Cha.

D does have another favorite distractor– an endless stream of questions.  “Mom, we go in tunnel now?  We go up a hill?  We go down a hill?  Go later?  Go home?  Go to the park?  Where’s Uncle Mike?  Where’s Gram?  Where’s Madeline?”  I try to answer, but the questions keep coming. . . . tunnel? hill? Gram?  I try to ignore him and then my life seems like that oft-quoted (at least on FB) episode of “Family Guy”:  “mom, mom, mom, mom, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy. . . . ”  I want D to know how language works and that he can use language to acquire information, so I’m reluctant to shut him down but sometimes, wow, I can only answer the same freakin’ questions so many times!  But when I ask/tell him to stop, he cries.  Good times.

So now Cha is crying, Daniel is crying (and he’s exhausted too, having slept poorly the night before because of fireworks and the overstimulation of Preschool Paradise Camp) and traffic is building.

At the end of my rope, with another 90 minutes to go, I hang my head, prompting Mads to say, “It’s okay,  Mama!”  I find something for Daniel to color, which is a bad idea for two reasons– first, I didn’t bring crayons so all I can offer him is a spotty ballpoint pen and I don’t have another coloring page for Madeline. 

89 minutes to go.

All are placated, some sleep, we stop for a snack at Dunkin Donuts, because Mama needs coffee just to keep on going.

Did I mention that C had been up since 5:30 and therefore I had been up since 5:30?

“Daniel, would a snack make you feel more happy?”  The kid recognizes the DD logo at 100 paces, so I was pretty sure that I could satisfy his anticipated request for a chocolate doughnut.

“I want french fries!”


“Madeline, do you want a snack?”


I know this is a lie, so we order a chocolate doughnut and hash browns (the closest facsimile to fries.)

I divide out the snacks and amazingly, everyone is happy.  Happy-ish.

20 minutes to go.

The project manager in me insists on a post-mortem.  What did we learn?

Plan a route with multiple tunnels.  Bring crayons.  And sedatives.


Evolving and resolving

Someone recently told me that no one cares about my paper towel usage.  I’m fine with that.  If you are reading this, great.  If you don’t want to know about my paper towel usage (which, by the way, has been drastically reduced since John is now on the bandwagon), skip that part (and any other parts that don’t interest you.)  If you are just here for the pictures (none today), click on the tag in the cloud that says “photos”.

I haven’t been posting recently.  I’ve been putting all of my time and attention into working full time and being a mom and a wife.  By necessity, other things have been falling by the wayside.  But LOTS of things have happened.  I could write eleven-teen posts about it all.  I’ll start with this one.

A while back I blogged about all of the “stuff” I had going on right now. Some of it is no longer an issue.  We’ll go down the list.

Two dogs– not any more.  Jack left us May 24, after 17 or 18 years.  He died lying in the sun in his backyard, which he loved.  He was an old boy and a good boy, my longest successful adult relationship and arguably, the reason I am sane.  Jack and I lived through a lot together and I only hope that he knew on some level how much he was loved.  Holly is still with us, seemingly unphased by her new status as an only dog.

Housemate.  Shawn moved out.  I already blogged about this.

My sister-in-law, sadly, passed away last week.  She had breast cancer, one of the most beat-able cancers.  Unfortunately, Ann never really responded to treatment and the cancer spread to her liver, lymph nodes and brain.  She leaves her devastated husband (still in remission from prostate cancer), two in-denial kids and a stepdaughter who is now the de facto maternal figure down there.  I’m grateful that Ann is no longer in pain but consumed with worry about her husband and kids.  More on this another day.  Shanti shanti shanti.

Our adoption.  Closer and closer!  Things are happening. There are people that I want to talk to in person who may or may not be reading this blog, so this update will have to wait.

My jobless brother got what amounts to close to his dream job– working for the US Tennis Association in some high up executive capacity. 

Stayed tune for upcoming posts with monthly resolution updates (super duper two-month edition), the return of Food Waste Friday (the accountability does help), Menu Planning Monday (but we’re eating the same things over and over, so the plans are boring) antics of the goobies and all the other fantasticness you’ve come to expect from all of us here at AFTHOTW HQ.


(image source:  http://en.clipart-fr.com/clipart_pictures.php?id=4968)

I saw this on www.thepioneerwoman.com and really liked it, so here you go.  In honor of Valentine’s Day, a list of stuff I love.

  1. Heart shaped boxes of chocolates
  2. My swell husband who always sends me roses on Valentine’s Day
  3. My goobies
  4. The move Witness
  5. Making things from scratch– it wasn’t there before, and now it is!
  6. Talking about books
  7. A good blow out, generally from Jeff (you should see my hair right now!  The man is a god!)
  8. Listening to Madeline sing
  9. My cousin Marisa
  10. Generally everyone in my family, so don’t feel slighted if you are not mentioned by name
  11. Hotel showers
  12. Brunch
  13. Mimosas
  14. Snow in December
  15. Christmas carols
  16. Advent
  17. Handel’s Messiah
  18. The Sound of Music— it’s even better to me now because Madeline likes it
  19. Target
  20. Cashmere sweaters
  21. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  22. Summer evenings at the beach
  23. Boxes of fried shrimp and sweet potato fries
  24. Cake icing
  25. Lemon bars
  26. Pedicures
  27. Frank Sinatra
  28. Tiger lilies
  29. Murphy’s Oil Soap
  30. Peace Prayer of Saint Frances (Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. . . )
  31. Dance class (not that I’ve gone in about forever)
  32. Bacon
  33. My Kitchen-Aid mixer
  34. Coffee (but for me, loving coffee is like loving air– both are necessary to life.)
  35. Drum corps
  36. Bubble gum pop from the 60’s
  37. swimming pools

I might add more in the comments as this is obviously an incomplete list.  What do you love?


First, I am on the clock.  I’ve committed to posting Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, plus Food Waste Friday, and right now it’s 11:15 p.m.  Today we learned that blog posting needs to happen in the morning, lest I have to drag myself out of my warm bed and precious scarce sleep to post.

I got a wonderful, long email from my cousin Marisa (hi Missy).  Marisa writes rambly, intelligent emails that make me feel like we’re having tea together.  She says (writes?) that she is “unapologetically happy and proud” of what she does, as well she should be since she’s a SAHM to a little nugget, Max, adopted last year.  I’m temporarily a SAHM and Missy’s sentiment resonates with me.  Being a good mommy is the thing I’m proudest of.  It gives me joy and satisfaction in a way that being good at my money-making job never has but that pride also brings me guilt.

I feel guilty that I am enjoying choosing to not work right now, even though I work in a reasonably motherhood-friendly occupation.  I feel like I’m failing to blaze forward at “having it all” and therefore disappointing the spirit of feminism.  I’m wasting my education.  Worst of all, I just don’t care.  My guilt is tempered with gratitude that I get to do this. And the daily hilarity of the kidberts.

Humility is a central lesson of Christianity and general good breeding.  Yet we use it as a carrot to encourage children to achieve– “Mommy will be so proud if you use the potty!” (hasn’t happened yet.) “Mommy and Daddy are so proud that you slept in your own bed all night!” (happens all too rarely.)  We want kids to be proud of themselves and then later, expect them to not be proud.  Parenting rarely makes sense.  Proud adults are often seen as arrogant.  We only allow ourselves and others to be proud if that pride is accompanied by some humble gee-whizzing and abashed foot scuffling.

Let’s have a holiday, National It’s OK to be Proud Day.  It can be like Pride Day, including all the rainbow leis and pulsating techno music.  Emulate the little kid who has just mastered pedaling a tricycle.  If you are complimented, simply say, “Damn right, I’m good!”  Then eat a cookie to congratulate yourself.

On another note, January 21 I had the highest number of hits yet– 23!  My blog stats scale changed from increments of 1 to increments of 6.  Who’s lurking?  Comment and let me know.  I’m just curious.  Pass along a link to a friend who needs a dose of me in their day.  I’m also hoping that someday that number will seem pathetically small.  You know, when I get my lucrative book deal. . .and yes, that would make me proud.

BTW, the posted email address on my contact page, AFTHOTW at gmail dot com is experiencing technical difficulties that I have not yet unraveled.  If you want to contact me, leave a comment.

Coming in under the wire at 11:50.