I had an idea. We now live in a town we know nothing about. We need to explore while dragging four kids with us, and we need a way to keep them happy. I think I figured it out.
We'll explore Portland by seeking out the best ice cream shop in town. So tonight's entry? Cloud City Ice CreamRating system 0-5 spoons with 5 being the best ice cream you've ever had...and 0 is stuff headed for the compost pile
Joe: sea salted cookie dough. Think Ben & Jerry's, but with sea salt. Four spoons.
Jen: Nutella. starts with chocolate, ends with smooth hazelnut goodness. Four and a half spoons.Ike: organic mint in a gluten free waffle cone. Clean mint flavor. Four spoons.
Elli: Circus Friends. vanilla ice cream with sprinkles and Mother's frosted animal crackers. Four spoons.Gwen: Bourbon vanilla. Two spoons.
Gray: Organic Mint. Five spoons.
The ride to Reno was uneventful. We checked into Circus Circus with no problems. We were disappointed to find the buffet closed, so we ate at their in-house diner. The kids had hamburgers.
We got up early and started the drive to Salt Lake. I was warned by several people that there's not much to see between the two. I found them wrong. Gently rolling hills, little valleys, rivers, trains, livestock and gorgeous colors of vegetation! I was really impressed by the abrupt change in the landscape between Nevada and Utah. You knew immediately you were someplace different.
We spent two nights in Salt Lake visiting one of my friends. We went to This is the Place Heritage Park in the morning. The kids really enjoyed it. Its a living history park and the houses are either historic buildings moved to this area or are recreations. I liked how they showed both the homes of poor people and those who were better off. Ike was fascinated by the blacksmith. We also got to see the live version of "gotta piss like a horse" I've never seen that before and the kids were impressed. We spent the afternoon down in Temple Square. The history museum was interesting and the visitors center was fascinating. Then we walked around the temple. There are two sets of impressive doors that haven't been used in ages. If temple-goers want to go in, the entrance is a street away and you go underground. I shudder to think about how they would get everyone out case of fire. The other thing about the Temple that struck me is it's size. Or rather lack thereof. Now. It's tall. It's gloriously tall and impressive. However, the footprint is quite small. I think my Mom's parish church has a bigger footprint. I was expecting something like a Roman Catholic Cathedral size. It's not. I was told they spent 40 years building it. For some reason, I wasn't too impressed. They've been working on the Gaudi Cathedral for over 100 (131 so far with another estimated 13 to go (a couple of wars halted construction, go figure)). Gray decided that he was going to get sick that afternoon and spent the afternoon in my arms. Sleeping. He also decided to pop a pretty good fever that night. But he woke up the next morning bright and chipper.
We spent the 28th driving to Jackson, WY. I got to see wheat fields for the first time ever! Cool. I tried not to breathe too deeply. Pretty drive. I found a road allanh s husband Randy needs to drive. Not only did it have the joy of curves and ups and downs...you got to dodge livestock! It was an uneventful drive. Jackson is gorgeous! We definitely want to go back. We only spent this one night and there's so much to do! Gray decided to get really sick on this night and we were up from about 1:30-4:30 with him alternatively vomiting and extreme EBS. Poor thing. I left a huge tip for the housekeeping crew, he threw up all over the bed several times (after Ike woke us up at 6).
We got up and went to this alpine slide I read about. It was awesome!!! First time I've ever ridden a ski lift. Then we hit the road. Drove through the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. Amazing thunder storm overhead as we entered Yellowstone park, and then we crested a hill, and the storm was gone. Blue skies and warm sunshine. Had to convince the children to stick around long enough to see Old Faithful. I had to bribe them with ice cream. Wow. Just wow. Drove out of the park to our next hotel. Gray was miserable by this point and needed to go to bed. Ended up seeing a bison just wandering down the road in the opposite lane before we got out of the park. Yes! Only wildlife we saw in the park. Got to the next hotel and put everyone to bed.
On the 30th we drove to Missoula, MT. There's all these little signs on the side of the road telling you interesting things to see. I stopped at one called the "Lake that Tilted". It kinda caught my attention. Serious earthquake in 1959 literally tilted the lake and created another billion gallons of storage area. It also dumped 80 million tons of rock on the north end and drowned a campground. The mountain damage is obvious and you drive ON TOP of the fallen rock. It was kinda eerie, but also fascinating. Got to the hotel in Missoula.
Everybody felt great the next day on the 31. Joe was flying in and we had time to kill. We had breakfast and then I started to feel awful. So did Ike. I finally got us out of the room and into the car and stopped at the Carousel for Missoula. There's a dragon for the kids to ride!!! Ike was sufficiently sick, he stayed in the car to sleep. The other three rode it twice. Then we hit the road for Kalispell and Joe. The drive was nice, but I was feeling too awful to really notice anything. I got to Joe an hour late. =( But we got to the next hotel and I went to bed while Joe took care of the 3 non sick kids.
This morning we got up and moving and checked out from the hotel with like 5 minutes to spare. We stopped at a local grocery store for food for a couple of days and made it to the house we are staying at. It's gorgeous. On a lake. The kids played. And passed out.
To start: Surgery went well and Ike is resting as best he can in the PICU. He's complaining of a headache (duh) and so far no nausea (yes!) So we shall see how the night goes.
He was anxious and wiggly this morning. We got here in plenty of time. And then we sat for 3 hours in the pre-op room. Ike kept himself entertained with either my our Joe's phone. They finally wheeled him off at 1:15. The surgeon came out almost exactly 3 hours later to tell us how it went. Shortly afterwards he was transfered to PICU, and woken up. He's been spending much of the time sleeping. And has recently woken up enough to ask to watch TV. He's drinking apple juice and is getting morphine. And believe it or not, he's really, really quiet. It's kinda nice. :)
In his bed, asleep and quiet.
The side benefit from this injury. In the MRI the Doctors spotted a Chiari Malformation (translation: structural defect of the brain). So we are being referred to the Pediatric Neurosurgeon for consult to see if anything needs to be done about it.
In the mean time, I just have to keep him quiet for the next week or so. No running, bike riding, swimming, climbing, scootering or anything where he might bang his head again, because the next boot to the head might be fatal. No pressure!
Never, ever dull around here.
Oh, and we are home! Yea for home! And my Mom is AWESOME! She came down today to chase children while I sat with Ike in the Hospital and Joe went to work. On top of that, she did 5 loads of laundry, got the girls to clean their room (including the sweeping) and changed the sheets!
Oh number 2. I have an awesome friend. I called her Monday night and asked if I could leave Elli, Gwen and Gray with her for most of the day and she said yes. That woman had 6 kids aged 6 and under at her house. She walked them a half mile to the park and back. And took it in stride when Joe killed the battery on my van and was late picking them up. Then, just to show off her awesomeness, she fed my family dinner. I really lucked out on having this friend. She's totally awesome!!!!
Jen: Probably busted "Piggy who went for Roast beef" (Its so swollen I can't bend it, its as purple as a grape, and hurts like hell) and "Piggy who stayed home" is swollen and stiff, but normal color.
Ike: Headbutted Gwen, bloody nose, gouge out of inner upper lip. No bump. A little pukey and dizzy after a two hour ride home which he spent watching TV damn near laying down. Pupils normal and reactive. On the concussion watch.
Elli: Grazed her head on the corner of the diving board executing a back flip (more like a side flip). No bump. Pupils normal and reactive. On concussion watch.
Gwen: Was Headbutted by Ike. Bump on head where he landed. Pupils normal and reactive. On concussion watch.
Gray. No injury. (lucky guy!)
Lucky for me I have an appointment with the podiatrist tomorrow about my foot/ankle problem. I guess I don't like this foot at all. In Jan 2011 I kicked a door and broke my big toe. Two months of wearing Birks to allow it to heal induced another case of plantar faciitis. Plantar faciitis cleared up in April 2012. May 2012 I tweaked the ankle. July 2012 I've busted a toe (new toe this time.)
Four children asleep. Two feverish and coughing badly. Gray is having problems breathing again, so I got out the albuterol from 2 weeks ago and gave him a couple of puffs and put him to bed. I think I am very glad I have tomorrow off. I really don't think Ike is going to school tomorrow. He sounds awful. Damn shame too, as there's only four day of school left. (Holy Crap! When the hell did the end of the school year sneak up on me like that???) And he has a LOT of work left to do! Technically, there's only 3 days of school in which to do work. Graduation and party is most of day Friday.
Oh. And I have a job interview/family contract negotiation scheduled for the afternoon of June 9 at school. Still not sure which job I am applying for, but I'm hoping to have a full time job at the children's school for the next academic year. It will just make life that much more insane. =)
Having friends from out of town stay for two nights? Awesome.
Not getting enough sleep? Worth it.
Going to church anyway? Thoughtful.
Having a day to recover? Amazing!
Doing all the damn laundry? Productive.
Running everyone ragged so that they get sick? Normal.
I'm glad I have tomorrow off...a couple of the kids may need to stay home to finish coughing the crap in their lungs out. =\
On the fly this morning, Joe and I decided to take the kids to Renn Faire. Joe and I needed a few things for a wedding next month (He's the best man, and its a costumed Fairy Tale themed wedding).
- a pair of pants for Joe
- an awesome hat for Joe
- Red Riding hood velvetish cape for Elli
- Rainbow Wings for Gwen
- Autumn Fairy Garland for me
- purple garland for Gwen
- red and black garland for Elli
- wooden battle ax for Ike
- sword belt for Ike
We are now ready for Halloween and that wedding. All I need are wings, and I found a perfect pair on clearance on Etsy. Waaay below a price what I would have paid today, had I actually found a pair I liked. (Or even a pair to purchase. Found some for kidlets, but not adults)
There was some temper tantruming (expected), food, lots of huzzah!ing, no meading (dammit), a maze, a puppet show (first time I've ever seen a Punch and Judy), maypoling, swinging, no napping, waving at the Queen, a couple of play, morris dancers, furries, and lots of boobs on display. Oh. And a joust! (kids loved this bit)
After leaving the Faire, we stopped at Casa de Fruta proper. We discovered their pomegranate wine back when I was pregnant with Ike. Its a seasonal thing and when its gone for the year, its gone. I bought a case.
Right before we hit the 101 on the return trip, I noticed a Sonic Drive in on the other side of the road. We've never been there! So Joe made a u-turn and we stopped for dinner. The burger wasn't bad, wasn't great and really annoying for us GF people. Yet another burger to eat with a fork. Bleh.
But other than that....it was a good day!
First, it was the lizard...then a frog. Today? A baby snake in the garage.
What is up with the wildlife???
We came in through the garage after running an errand and I spotted this baby snake on the floor along the walkway. I got all the kids in, all the stuff in, grabbed my longest set of tongs and found a bucket. Now, I like snakes. I know how to pick them up. I plan on having another as a pet someday. But I didn't know if this was a constrictor or not and I was sure how it would behave. Better to be safe than sorry right? So I scooped up that little black snake with the tongs, tossed him in the bucket. Then announced "Hey! Guys! Come look at this snake I caught in the garage!" We "oooo'd" and we "ahhh'd". Ike got the camera and we took a picture. We then set him free in the rosebushes. Over the protestations of the children. They wanted to keep it. The fact that we don't have a tank I think is the only reason why I won that particular argument.
Then we went to the reference books to see what kind of snake it was. We were able to ID it as a California Racer Snake. It took an online search to determine if it was poisonous or not. Not. However it was noted that when threatened or handled they strike often and viciously. Glad I got the tongs.
Bonus? Ike spent the next 45 minutes pouring over the various field reference guides looking at pictures and asking me to read him information. Cool! Gotta love those informal lessons. Now that's a picture perfect homeschooling minute.
We all got sick, so poor Joe spent his vacation taking care of almost everything. (Wonderful man that he is) The big bummer is that we didn't have a chance to have any fun. No trips to the zoo, park, whatever. We had specifically planned a family trip to the Siliman Aquatic Center up in Newark. If there's one thing we really lack in the Bay Area its indoor play spaces. This one specifically is an indoor aquatic center. Not just an indoor pool. We've got those at the Y. This place has a play pool with this great play structure and a deep water pool with 20+ foot tube slides surrounded by a lazy river. And since its a non profit, it's actually fairly reasonably priced. But we didn't get to go over Christmas.
So we got to go today. Adding to the fun was my parents also joined us. The kids had a blast playing in the water, floating in the lazy river, Ike is just tall enough my Dad got him on the tall tube slides. We got there shortly after they opened at 1 and left around 5. It was an excellent day, all the kids were amazingly behaved, everybody got tired, we had a good time...and we didn't spend a whole lot of money (entry fee for the 5 of us and a run to the snack bar cost $35.00 total). Next time I'll know I can bring in my own snacks and water and will save a few bucks there. It was cheaper than a trip to the movies and is a much healthier family activity.
These are the trips/family memories I've been living for. Actually going out and having fun with my kids without a lot of stress or fighting. I'm looking forward to (hopefully) more trips like this one.
The kids definitely want to go back.
Elli went home with Mom and Daddy to spend the night, we stopped at the Great Mall to shop for some jeans for Ike (kid shot up, size 5 fits great in the waist...but they are waaaaaay too short. He shot up since Thanksgiving.) Gwen fell asleep on the way home from the mall, Ike and Joe are playing games on the PS2.
It was a great day.
If I had known that assembling all the stuff was going to cost that much, I might have waited until his birthday. I'll know for next time. But once I said we were getting a hamster, I couldn't back out.
The cat will be happy with more litter and food.
Gwen was definitely catching some air. Everybody had a good time...kids slept well last night...and 2 out of 3 are taking a good nap. In fact, I need to go wake them up.
Police arrested 21-year-old Patrick Thorpe of Fairfield on Sunday afternoon for attempted murder and being armed during the commission of a felony. He was booked into the Solano County jail. More suspects are being sought.
Police went to the area of Camrose Avenue and Asbury Lane around 5:24 p.m. in response to a report about gunshots. Witnesses reported a black car leaving the area and two or three subjects walking away from the scene.
Officers detained some of the involved parties a short time later and learned two people were being treated for non life-threatening gunshot wounds at Vaca Valley Hospital in Vacaville, police said.
Detectives determined the involved parties met at Camrose Avenue and Asbury Lane to complete a drug deal, police said. During the deal someone fired shots inside the vehicle that was seen leaving the scene, police said.
That's my cousin who's been arrested. He's a little late on fulfilling my prediction (in jail before 20), but the spirit of the prediction came true.
I ran into a friend at the gym this morning and made arrangements for us to meet at the park after she got her son from pre-school. I was looking forward to visiting with her, playing with her baby and generally liking the idea that the kids would wear themselves out playing.
And the universe said? NO WAY!!! Hahahahahahaha!
About 30 minutes after feeding everyone, I'm watching Gwen on the monkey bars from a short distance, munching on the last of my lunch, when I hear screaming and another mom bring Elli to me. She's got blood all over her face and down her shirt.
Oh shit, not again. Yep, she did, she fell down and put teeth through her lip. Third time this year she's done this to herself. Since I didn't see the fall, I'm not sure how it happened, but I could see it was a clean, but long gash across her chin.
I loaded everyone in the van, called another friend to come pick up the other two and headed off to Kaiser's "Minor Injury Clinic" formerly known as "Urgent Care". Now normally when I go to this area, its a 3 hour trip. Which is why I called my friend C to come get Ike and Gwen. We were in and out in just over an hour. In fact, as Elli and I were walking out of the building, I saw her pull out of the parking garage.
But, back to Elli. They cleaned up the wound, got out some sand, and glued it together. And she sat still for the whole process, no need to Papoose her like last time. I think she's getting used to it. =/
She's fine now, I gave her some Ibuprofen, she ate a snack, and is happily watching Dora. Nobody has had a nap today and we have guests coming over for dinner. Going to be an interesting night. At least dinner is on the stove and ready. Soup! Yum!