Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day!

I spent mine making shirts. Which is a good thing and I’m thankful and everything, but it was definitely nice taking a break for dinner. Our kids were still on post-vacation exhaustion, so they slept/cuddled all through the meal.

Seriously, some days things are crazy. Mitchell’s on a hair trigger, Rosie refuses to let me put her down, they’re fighting over every single toy in the house, etc., and I just want one freaking second to myself. But, within a few minutes, one of them comes in for a hug. And I’m reminded how great my life is.

I read a book recently (What Alice Forgot; I completely recommend it) in which the main character hits her head and loses the memories of the previous decade. Her last memory is being pregnant with her first child; when she wakes up, she has three children and is getting divorced and is a completely different person than she was ten years ago. The entire book is her looking around, astonished at the choices she’d made and the person she’d become. Anyway, it really got to me. Obviously, I have no idea what kind of person I’ll be in ten years. What if my vision of my future doesn’t come true? What if we get sucked into this mode of “just surviving” and forget to have family time? It only took me a few days to read the book, but it was a whirlwind of emotions for me during that time.

Then, when I finished it, I thought about my thoughts and dreams a decade earlier. What if I hit my head today, woke up, and had forgotten the last decade of my life? I’d thing I was 22, living in Manhattan, getting ready to move to Texas with my boyfriend, completely terrified. I had no idea if Justin actually loved me or if he was just going with the flow. I’d just dropped out of K-State because I was a hot mess.

I realized that if I woke up without all the memories of getting here, to this place in my life, I’d be shocked that I had such a great life. Yeah, we’re in Ohio, which I hate, but I have an awesome husband who goes out of his way to compliment me; two kids who want nothing more than to hug me; I’m one class shy of graduating with a master’s degree; and I have a way-more-successful-than-expected shirt shop. My life is pretty snazzy.

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By themagnificentms

Philadelphia: second half

Two weeks later, here’s the second half of our Philadelphia trip. Yeah, I’m winning at life.

On Thursday, we went to a place called the Please Touch Museum. The kids pretty much thought it was the best place on earth. Mitchell didn’t want to leave the car wash, which was weird, because this kid is terrified of car washes. TERRIFIED. It’s a weird, new thing, and I might have had second thoughts about getting a white minivan if I’d known this phase was coming up.

Anywho. Please Touch Museum. Kids loved it. There was a bus, a trolley, a ramp to the bus that just begged to be run up and down, an entire Curious George exhibit, a rocket room, and then we finally moved away from that room. Seriously, we spent the entire morning in a single room. I mean, it was a big room, but still. And getting Mitchell to leave it, even though we were just headed to lunch, in the same museum, with the promise to return as soon as we ate lunch, resulted in an amazing amount of tears. Really, though, even though the kids took ridiculously long naps the entire week, I could watch their exhaustion level grow throughout the week. By Thursday afternoon they were on a hair trigger.

After lunch, we went to another room in the museum: the water room. It was the same concept as the Discovery Center here, like a giant water table with boats and dams, but much larger. Amazingly, Mitchell was only so-so about it. He was more excited to go ride the carousel.

THEN. We went downstairs. DOWNSTAIRS. It was the BEST, most AWESOME Alice in Wonderland exhibit EVER. Not that I have anything to compare it to. Here’s the problem: it was a series of mazes. And the maze walls were approximately 4’10” tall. So I couldn’t see over the walls. And I have two very independent kids. We stayed together for about two minutes, and then I turned around and Mitchell was gone. I did a round of Marco Polo, found him, and kept him with me for two minutes, and then Rosie took off. I chased her down, came back, and Mitchell was gone. So we did Marco Polo again. That was my afternoon. The cycle never stopped. Except for that stretch of fifteen minutes when I couldn’t find him. I was just headed to the security office when I found him playing happily in another section. Mama had a nap time beer on Thursday.

Thursday night was Best Philly Cheesesteak night. Of course we had to. Rosie decided she was done with the day on the floor of the restaurant.

Friday was Mommy’s Choice Day. We only had the morning, and I chose…THE PENITENTIARY! That’s right. It was awesome. It’s a living history museum, so they’ve only taken a few of the cells back to what they were, and the others have been left alone. One of the cells restore was Al Capone’s cell. AL CAPONE! It probably says a lot about me that, of all the places I went/could have gone in Philadelphia, a rotted, falling down jail was my favorite. But whatever. If this were the 70s, I’d have an entire slide reel dedicated to it. I took sooooo many pictures.

Then, the ride home. It wasn’t bad. The kids were happy to be home, that’s for sure.

Pictures!

Oh yeah. Check out the price list at the hotel. The minibar was equipped with motion sensors, so if you moved or shook or whatever an item, they charged you for it. Which means that your toddler can spend his entire college tuition on one lousy game of grocery store.

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By themagnificentms

Philadelphia (thus far)

I was going to wait until the end of the week to put all these pictures on here, but I have so many so far that I thought maybe I should do it now.

My kids are currently half-sleeping. But the napped from about 3:30 until 7 tonight, so I shouldn’t expect them to be terribly tired by 10:30. But they’re half-sleeping together, adorably, so I’m not fighting it.

First, some narration.

The drive here was a bit more stressful than I expected. I don’t know why, but Rosie VERY much disagreed with being in the car seat. I had to stroke her head pretty much the whole drive, which required some interesting newly-invented yoga positions. She slept off and on (if I removed my hand, she woke up; if  I rubbed her head, she slept) the whole way. But she kept her neck craned up toward the top of the car seat almost the whole time, so it couldn’t have been comfortable.

Mitchell spent the drive learning to make faces. That’s right, we’re headed to Philadelphia, which is steeped in history and culture, and my son won’t stop crossing his eyes and then laughing his little butt off about it. Ok, yes, it was hilarious. But still.

We stopped in West Virginia along our route so we could say we ate in West Virginia. We stopped at Dairy Queen because Justin was still in his “it’s your choice, it’s still kinda your birthday” mode, and we sat in a booth next to an old woman who had the loudest, witchiest cackle I’ve ever heard. It was terrifying. Every time Rosie or Mitchell smiled, she would laugh cackle and point and both kids would burrow into me. I didn’t get to eat as much of my meal as I would have liked, but don’t worry, I still made it through that blizzard. Priorities, yo. Deal with your problems, kids, Mommy needs ice cream.

Justin knew right when we hit the Adirondacks, but I couldn’t tell. They definitely aren’t Colorado mountains. But I knew we’d hit them when we started going through tunnels through the mountains. The first tunnel shocked Mitchell and he didn’t crack a smile until the end. The second tunnel I was turned around laughing at him the whole time because he couldn’t stop giggling with excitement. As we neared the third tunnel, Justin pointed out how many tons of rocks and dirt were on top of us, all while we went through this little tunnel, oh and remember that show we watched about America’s failing infrastructure, so I spent the third tunnel curled into the fetal position doing my deep breathing.

Of course, as we neared Philadelphia, we got the dreaded phone call that Kingsley was headed to the emergency vet. So that put a heck of a damper on things. I still took a touristy amount of pictures of all the beautiful buildings we were passing. I just can’t get over the intricate details and carvings in almost everything here! I can’t imagine living with this beautiful architecture right in my back yard. Sunday night we ordered some pizza delivery because we were so exhausted from the trip.

Justin has to attend meetings and lectures and whatever else brainiacs do at conferences from about 8-5 every day, so it’s just the kids and me during the day. I tried to do the historic stuff on Monday morning, since they’d be the least bored at that point, but really we just got to the Liberty Bell, Benjamin Franklin’s house site, and the Benjamin Franklin museum. We walked all over the district, though, so we walked past Independence Hall, The Second Bank of the United States, lots of Quaker meeting places, and so many founders’ sites that I completely lost track of them (here’s where so-and-so drafted such-and-such, here’s where Thomas Jefferson drafted the Constitution, here’s where Hamilton told a man to eff off, here’s where Benjamin Franklin’s sewer line was…you get the idea). The kids and I ate lunch at a ridiculously yummy little sandwich shop. You know it’s awesome if I admit I liked a sandwich place. Once Justin got done with his smart stuff, we tried to take him to the Liberty Bell but it was closed. So we took him to the Benjamin Franklin site instead.

Tuesday I tried to make it the kids’ day with a trip to the zoo. We took the bus, which was great for two reasons: 1) Mitchell LOVED the bus, even if he wouldn’t sit with me; and 2) judging by the traffic/driver attitudes I’ve witnessed thus far, I would get into a wreck almost instantly here. The Philadelphia Zoo is the oldest in the nation, and, according to the brochure, amazing. But we went on a very drizzly, foggy, nasty day, so it wasn’t much fun. Our trip began with the children’s zoo area, which was basically goats. Grumpy goats. Mitchell tried to give a goat a hug and it turned around and headbutted him. In the face. I was an unhappy mama. The same goat then turned and headbutted another goat, which started running in the other direction, and knocked Rosie butt-first into a mud puddle. So within a few minutes of getting to the zoo, my kids were soaking wet, muddy, and injured. Awesome. Things didn’t get much better from there. But once we got on the bus to come home, they were magically turned back into little angels. We had lunch at this AWESOME market that was…I just can’t describe it. HUGE. Hundreds of stalls, kinda like a farmer’s market, but with food and gifts and dessert. Oh, the dessert. I consumed an entire week’s worth of calories in one sitting. And I didn’t regret it at all. Tuesday night was dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, where Mitchell picked out his first souvenir: a lanyard badges, just like Daddy. Rosie picked out a stuffed teddy bear until she saw Mitchell’s lanyard, then she had to have one of those instead. Luckily they were understanding and exchanged it.

Wednesday was a group tour. First, we went to the Aquarium, which was fantastic. We saw penguins and hippos being fed, Mitchell walked across the Shark Bridge, we went through the shark tunnel, and we saw so many fish we couldn’t remember them all if we tried. It was great. Then we went to lunch on the USS New Jersey. Oh, did I mention we were in Camden, NJ? The city with the highest crime rate in America? Because yeah, that’s where we were. Anyway, the info on the tour just said we were having lunch on the ship. Which Mitchell enjoyed. But then we ended up going on a tour, as well. A THREE HOUR TOUR. WITH NO STROLLER. THREE HOURS OF CARRYING ROSIE, GOING UP AND DOWN LADDERS, AND TRYING TO KEEP MITCHELL CORRALLED. Seriously, by the end of it, Rosie was throwing herself all around trying to get out of my arms (even on ladders) and Mitchell was just  trying to take off the moment he got to the tops of ladders. The tour guide was even chasing him down and pulling him off of ladders that weren’t meant to be climbed. It was not my proudest moment as a mother. But we came back and both kids took 3.5 hour naps. It was lovely. And then Justin went to a banquet, the kids and I had some awesome burgers, and I FINALLY found a store that sold beer. Hard root beer makes everything better!

And now, hopefully somewhat in sequence, pictures!

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By themagnificentms

Random pictures update

It’s crazy that the first time I’ve had time to update this blog is when I’m on vacation. But, both kids are sleeping, my semester is nearly over, and it’s not like I can get caught up on t-shirt orders right now.

So, I blog!

Lots of pictures. I can’t even post to the present, because my phone met an untimely demise on the Discovery Center floor (thank you, Rosie) and I haven’t had time to download the pictures that were backed up (learned my lesson the last time!).

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Hide and seek with the curtains: wp-1460730251126.jpgwp-1460730243515.jpgwp-1460730218539.jpg

Lambs at the farm!wp-1460730197758.jpgwp-1460730188570.jpgwp-1460730164904.jpgwp-1460730148589.jpg

Mommy, move out of the way! https://goo.gl/photos/zNThPcCkpo4GjBE2Awp-1460730099170.jpgwp-1460730090996.jpg

If it isn’t a box on her head, it’s a bucket. So proud.wp-1460730060108.jpgwp-1460730046643.jpg

Found a new outdoor nature center, and Rosie just refused to believe that she wasn’t big enough for this swing.wp-1460729993039.jpgwp-1460729986012.jpgwp-1460729970478.jpg

Rosie LOVES brushing her teeth.wp-1460729941767.jpg

In an attempt to help Mitchell recognize his feelings, I put up an emotions chart. Whenever he’s feeling an emotion, we ask him which face he’s wearing. The other day, he was pointing out all the faces and talking about them. He got to the surprised face and said, “Oh, look, he’s surprised! I want to be surprised! Can I have a surprise toy so I can be surprised?” Tricky, kid.wp-1460729924929.jpg

By themagnificentms

Goodbye to our very first.

Kingsley Bear joined Laika on that rainbow bridge today.

We left home on Sunday. Justin is attending a conference in Philadelphia, and the kids and I got to join him. Right before we got to Philadelphia, I got a call from the doggy day care where Kingsley was staying, saying that Kingsley needed to be rushed to the emergency vet. He was bleeding profusely from…well…the bum. So they got him to the emergency vet, who did some tests. He was anemic from losing so much blood, and his red blood cell count was way down. They tried antibiotics, they tried medicine to make his blood clot, they took ultrasounds and x-rays trying to locate the problem, they even performed a couple blood transfusions and some chemotherapy. But this afternoon, his body had had enough. He passed away. They think it was probably cancer, and this was just the final phase of it.

I feel completely worthless here, but the vet assured me there was absolutely nothing I could have done there. Kingsley was in such bad shape by this morning that he wouldn’t have known if I was there or not, and the kids would have been scared silly to see him in that condition.

Quite a few tears have been shed here, and we haven’t even told the kids yet (and won’t, until we get home). Kingsley was…well, he was Kingsley. He definitely had some really annoying quirks, and there’s probably enough Kingsley hair in our house to build a stuffed Kingsley as a memorial, but goodness, he was a GREAT dog. The kids climbed all over him, pulled his hair, roughhoused with him, and he let them. I think he even liked it sometimes. Especially when they dropped food while doing it.

Kingsley was my baby. He was always there, and I never even imagined a moment when he wouldn’t be there. I always assumed he’d live a long life. Which, granted, 11 years isn’t a terribly short life in dog years, but still. I just thought we’d have him so much longer. And he gave no signs before last night that he wasn’t going to be around for a long time. He was happy and spoiled and energetic even as we dropped him off at doggy day care.

I’m crying for Kingsley because I will miss him, but I’m also crying because my children are going to be devastated. Rosie’s face lights up whenever she sees him. Mitchell loves including him in play, and I swear Kingsley walks a little straighter when he’s playing Bullseye and trying to hold Woody up on his back.

Kingsley, wherever you are, may you have an unlimited number of legs to hump and an unlimited number of black clothes to turn white.

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By themagnificentms