July 31st, 2014

So the big, exciting plan for yesterday was to go to the drive-in to see the new Planes movie with the kids. Justin took them to the pool for a long time in the morning in the hopes that they’d get worn out and take a nap or at least a quiet time in the afternoon, but despite staying at the pool for more than 2 hours, they were still completely full of energy and not the least bit interested in sitting still.

So we ate lunch and played games for a little while — I challenged them to try to play Mario Kart in a rotation so everybody got to play. Once they understood what I was trying to explain, they were pretty much okay with that idea.

Justin and I had a chiropractor appointment in the middle of the afternoon and the kids were absolutely wonderful while we were there. We chatted in the car before we arrived about how I’d like them to make sure not to bother anyone and not run around and shout but to sit and play with either the things they brought with them (Audrey brought some of her dolls and Ethan brought a book) or the toys that are in the office. And they did that perfectly! In fact, they whispered instead of talking normally, just to show that when I ask them to be quiet, they can REALLY be quiet. :)

We played for a while after getting back to the house. Justin’s sister, Jessi, stopped by to pick up her car and she stayed for the homemade burritos we had for dinner — another meal that we weren’t sure would go over well but seemed to be enjoyed by all. We made sure to pay better attention to how much each kid was eating this time and didn’t make them eat the whole thing when they got full. Isaac managed to down the whole burrito! Both of his siblings only ate half, but Ethan had a big lunch and Audrey’s was a lot bigger, so eating half was plenty of food.

Before getting ready to go the movie, we took a video of the kids so they could send a message to their parents, since our schedules didn’t work out for the Skype call last night. It’s about 3:30 minutes long of very excited kids shouting their well-wishes, but I haven’t been able to get it to upload to YouTube yet. I’ll try again later this afternoon. It really is ADORABLE.

And then we went to the movie. The two youngest fell asleep in the car on the way, but Audrey woke up to play on the playground at the drive-in with Ethan for a while when we arrived. Isaac slept until the movie was about to start. We sprayed bug-spray on the kids, got popcorn and sodas, followed later by funnel cake sundaes, and watched the very cute film. I asked Audrey what she thought and she said that she likes inside movies better because the bathrooms are closer and there are less bugs. I had to agree that those were pretty good reasons to like indoor movies better. The bugs last night were unpleasant.

We hit melt-down o’clock heading home, where two kids started crying between packing up the car and driving home. It was quite late by the time we got home and got everybody into bed.

Today, we had planned to take the kids to a beach that’s supposed to be good for looking for shells and things, but we think everybody needs a quiet day to rest up and not have such an exciting, tiring day today. I’m hopeful that they slept in late this morning, since I know the adults in the house are both exhausted, too. And we’ll be sure to get to bed on time tonight. We’ll head to that beach tomorrow.

And now, I have to get to work! I’ll try to upload that video this afternoon.

July 30th, 2014

The video I took of the kids this afternoon won’t load and now it’s almost midnight, so I’m heading to bed and I’ll give better updates tomorrow!!

Posted in Living! |
July 29th, 2014

Today was another beach day, this time on Hilton Head Island, following a picnic and playing on the playground at  Jarvis Park.

Everybody had fun, but we are all exhausted. The kids are pretty hyped up right now, I’m pretty sure they’ll pass out quickly once they stop moving. We’re watching the end of a cartoon episode while they eat frozen juice pop things (‘freezies”) and I type this. And then we’re ALL going to bed.

So here’s just a bunch of photos because I’m too tired to write anything! :)

Picnic Lunchables

Audrey swinging

Justin lends a hand

Playing on the playground

Running away from the troll under the bridge

Looking for shells in the tide pool

Digging in the sand

Trying to dig a hole under water while Isaac runs back and forth

Trying to fill a hole with water

No pictures of the kids in the water because any time they were in the water, we were in there with them. But trust me that most of the time at the beach we were actually in the water and they were absolutely having a blast.

Tomorrow we want to head to the drive in because the new Planes movie by Pixar is showing. The movies change out on Thursday and it won’t be showing after that. So tomorrow everybody takes an afternoon nap or quiet reading time and then we’ll be up later than usual going to the movies.

And just in case it didn’t come across well in yesterday’s post, when I say the kids are excited or mention that I’m not sure how parents manage to do this all the time, it’s not that the kids are being bad or anything. They’re really being quite good and a pleasure to be around. They’re just little bouncing balls of energy! All three talking at the same time or heading in three different directions! I’m not used to it but it’s not bad and they’re not being bad. I’m just not used to it.

And I get tired really fast. So me and my sunburn are heading to bed!

July 28th, 2014

Today was a pretty quiet day around here, as far as things go with a handful of excited kids. Yesterday, they all asked, “Do we have to go anywhere in the car tomorrow?” So we decided to take a quieter day and stick close to home.

I had to get up in time to be at work by 6:30, so everyone was still sleeping when I left. Justin, on the other hand, got a 6:45 wake-up from a crying Isaac. Justin’s first reaction was, “Oh no, did he puke again?” It took a little while to figure out that the toilet downstairs was having some trouble and that was the cause for concern. That was easily resolved, I heard, and that was the biggest “Oh no!” of the day.

They went down to the pool a couple times during the morning — apparently the water was cloudy and the maintenance folks had to run tests and balance the chemicals a little better or something. I’m really not clear on what happened. But swimming people had to get out while the pool people did their thing.

I worked and it was not terribly exciting nor notable.

When I came home, we played some games and ate lunch and figured out what people like to eat so we could work up a grocery list. And then we all went to the grocery store together, which was another learning experience for us. How on earth to you all corral these excited kids while trying to do any shopping? The looks we got from other people in the store was interesting — most of them were really understanding that we looked like we had no idea what we were doing. Others were less patient, but not verbally, which was nice of them.

Cassie, one of the young women who works there, saw us and said, “Do you kidnap some kids?” I said, “Yeah, but I figured we should feed them anyway!”

Once we got home, we played more games inside. It was really hot outside today, so playing in the yard wasn’t the best idea. We stayed inside and played Mario Cart and Lego Indiana Jones on the Wii and stuff like that.

For dinner we made macaroni and cheese and really confused the kids by making it from scratch instead of from the box. But they were all willing to give it a try anyway. I’m pretty sure Ethan even ate the hot dogs that we sliced up and put in there, even though they weren’t cheddarwurst.

The biggest mistake we made there was telling the kids that they had to try to eat what was in their bowls or they wouldn’t get ice cream for dessert later, but misjudging how big kids tummies are. So poor Audrey, who is so good about knowing when to stop eating when she’s full, started crying because she didn’t want to eat anymore but she still had food left in her bowl. We felt TERRIBLE when we realized that she was willing to keep eating to make herself sick because we told her she wouldn’t get ice cream otherwise. We told her that she could absolutely stop eating and that we were very sorry and that we’d do better about that tomorrow. And she was smiling again in no time, so I guess we were forgiven for that mistake.

And that was probably our biggest “Man, we stink at this!” for the day.

Tomorrow, once again I will work in the morning and they’ll stay home and do things around the house with Justin. If the weather is nice, we’ll have a picnic in a park at lunch. And then head to the beach to play in the water for a while. They’re all looking forward to the beach again — even Audrey, despite her run-in with the jellyfish. Her leg is doing fine today, I assume, because she didn’t mention it even once.

I have no photos for today, but I’ll make sure to include some tomorrow!


July 27th, 2014

We met Nathan and Amy just south of Atlanta yesterday afternoon and absconded with their children. We met for lunch and then they set off back home and we packed all the kids into our little Nissan, and set off for South Carolina. We stopped at a place called Noah’s Ark on the way because we all needed a little more time to get out of the car for a while.

Noah’s Ark is an animal sanctuary with a LOT of animals and it’s completely free of charge. They run on donations. I thought it was a petting zoo, but that did not turn out to be accurate. They are, however, still really awesome.

Checking out Barney the tortuous

They have tortuosus, horses, donkeys, goats, peacocks, several tigers, bears, monkeys, a lion, and a lot of birds. And possibly other animals than that, but we didn’t get to see everything.

Playground at Noah’s Ark

We didn’t see everything partially because we spent a bit of time running around on this thing playing troll-under-the-bridge and racing down slides and generally trying to burn off energy in preparation for the 3 1/2 hour drive that we still had to go after leaving here.

Tiger photo for Ethan

We did get to see a lot of the animals, though, before we left. Ethan’s camera batteries died and he asked me to make sure I got a picture of the tiger for him. So this is the picture of a tiger for Ethan.

We did make it home, though much later than we’d anticipated, and got everybody settled in. The kids got a Skype video chat with their parents to do good-night prayers and everything. And then everybody got tucked into bed. Some of us a little more exhausted than the others. Okay, so the exhausted ones were mostly just the ones older than 10-years-old. The younger ones were still pretty wound up, but they did fall asleep eventually.

Of course, around midnight, we woke up because Ethan came into the room saying, “Isaac’s throwing up.” Justin, of course, popped right out of bed and ran downstairs before I was even aware that there was a child in the room. Isaac apparently had eaten too much food and too many sweets and with too much excitement or something because he got sick all over the bed and poor Ethan. We were able to get everybody cleaned up, though, and bedding swapped out for clean sheets (thank goodness for the vinyl waterproof sheet we put down on the bed!) and everybody put back into bed without too much worry. Isaac was shaky for a while, probably just because he was freaked out by the puking more than any other reason. Ethan cheered him up by telling him stories while we sat on the floor after getting cleaned up while Justin cleaned up the bedding and pulled down more sheets from the attic.

Audrey, sleeping upstairs in the library, slept through the whole thing.

This morning, they let us sleep until at least 8:00 — we showed Ethan Saturday night how to turn on Netflix and told him he could turn it on after it was light outside in the morning. So they watched some cartoons for a little while. And then the kids and I worked on a crafty kit thing that we picked up from Michael’s while Justin slept a little longer since he’d had to be up later the night before. When he did get up, Justin made everybody French toast for breakfast. The kids played outside for a little while so I could get the kitchen dishes cleaned up and Justin hosed off the bedding from last night’s excitement before throwing them into the laundry.

And then we set off for Savannah. We had hoped to get into the butterfly exhibit in the Savannah Mall, but we mis-judged how long it takes to get everybody moving to the same location — also the butterfly place was not great about explaining how that worked and that they only took a limited number of people through every 15 minutes. So if we were to wait around for a time when we could get in, we would have been late for the thing at the beach later. So we peeked through the windows, grabbed some lunch at the cafe-court and set off for Tybee Island.

Peeking in at the butterflies

Again, we’re still learning how long it takes to do things with 5 people instead of 2 adults, so we almost missed the beach thing, too. The Tybee Marine Science Center has a scientist who takes people on walks and things and tells them about what they’re seeing at the ocean. We thought it would be a nice way to introduce the kids to the ocean and all of the things that are involved there. Of course, parking there is just miserable, so they dropped me off so I could run in and get us signed up for the event and then had to wait for everybody to show up after parking. We just barely made it, which is why the kids were still in their regular clothes when went down to the water. We did manage to get sunscreen on 2 of the 3 before heading down there, though, and the 3rd one got sunscreen shortly after that. My sunscreen was a little later than that, which is why I look like a beet.

Sift and Sieve activity at Tybee

The activity that the kids did was the Sift and Sieve and the scientist lady gave everybody a sieve and told them to fill it with sand from the beach and then take it to the water and sift out all the sand, and then dump what was left into the bucket she had on the beach and she would tell people about the things that they found in the water.

The kids had a lot of fun doing this, I think, once they figured out how to make it work. It was a little confusing at first. Plus the waves were a little surprising because they kept sneaking up on them.

Audrey sifting the sand from her sieve

After looking at what they’d gotten that way, the scientist lady got a handful of people to hold onto a net and they walked through the water to see if they could catch something that way. I stayed on the shore watching our bags because I was wearing a skirt and Audrey and Isaac lost interest and just started playing in the water, so I kept an eye on them, while Justin and Ethan went out with the net for a while. Apparently they did manage to net a fish or two!

Netting for fish

When they came back on shore, since she’d already lost interest in the science thing, Audrey and I went back up to change into our suits while Justin stayed with the boys looking at the fish thing. When we came back, Justin took Isaac up to get his suit on. Ethan already had his trunks on because he was having trouble with his pants before we left the parking lot, so he stayed at the water with me and Audrey. And we all went into the water and splashed around and had a really fun time! Justin and Isaac made it back before too long and everybody had a great time for a while. I didn’t get any good pictures of this, but they’ll be back at the ocean again and the photos that day will look pretty similar, same background and all, you know, so I’ll try to get some later this week.

Ethan went into the water just fine. He had a lot of fun trying to not let the waves move him around a lot and digging around at his feet looking for shells and things. Audrey kept trying to jump over the waves and then trying to also not let them knock her over. Isaac was a little unsure about the whole waves thing, so Justin picked him up and carried him in a little bit. He was a little bit freaked out until Justin got him to put his feet down and Isaac realized he could still touch the bottom. The ocean does not get deep very fast close to shore.

So everybody was doing great and having a lot of fun until Audrey got stung by a jellyfish. I was sitting on the shore. Ethan had come in a little bit before because something had maybe stung his food so he was rubbing sand on it and playing in the sand and I looked up and all the other three were walking in and Audrey was crying. It stung her up her leg, which Justin knows can really hurt. (Ask about our engagement sometime.) He got a little on his foot, too, but she got it more. We packed everything up and went to shore where Justin got some soapy water in a pail so she could wash off her leg a little, and then he ran and got the car while we rinsed off.

And then we all went back home for showers and dinner and the nightly call with Nathan and Amy. The kids had their lines all worked out on the drive home. Isaac’s line was, “I puked.” Ethan’s was, “I got puked on.” And Audrey’s was “I got stung by a jellyfish.” And all of them would say, “But we’re having a great time!”

They got to bed a little late tonight, but it didn’t take long for them all to be completely konked out. Justin went down to look and he said that Audrey turned off her light all on her own for the second night. Ethan was hugging his book tightly to his chest, but his pillow and blanket were on the floor. (Justin got him covered up again.) And Isaac was completely spread-eagle on the middle of his bed.

I think we wore them out a little bit today. But I’m pretty sure we’re all still having a really fun time!