Tuesday, June 18, 2013

There and Back Again (Part 2): Homeward Bound

Our family has mostly recovered from the trip to New York.  In fact, Madelyn has already been talking about doing it again, although she has told us that maybe we should take a plane next time.  "Driving takes a long time."

After probably the worst night ever in Chicago on the way there it was a relief to make it to New York and the kids actually settled in pretty well there.  It helps that Mommom and Poppop are there...some of their favorite people.  When we arrived in New York Madelyn started out telling Poppop that they did not need to have a pillow fight, but 10 minutes after we got there she said something to the effect of "well, Poppop, if you really wanted to have a pillow fight we could probably do that..."  It was really funny (although maybe you had to be there).

We spent Tuesday out at the farmhouse with Justin's extended family.  I think having the kids around was a good thing, and although Justin's grandmother was having a hard time it seemed like she was glad to see them.  Madelyn loved running around outside and playing with Justin's cousins and Evan did well with being social.  Later in the afternoon Justin took Evan back to be with Mommom so he could get a nap and some quiet which was good for him.

Wednesday was the viewing and the funeral which was a tough day for everyone.  Madelyn had a lot of questions about her Great Grandpa.  At first she asked why he was sleeping in a crib at the front of the church, but then had a lot of questions about why he died.  She also wanted to know how he got to heaven and when she would get to see him and play with him again.  She told us that she didn't want him to have died, and asked how he got to heaven.  She definitely had some struggles with death and some big questions that we found difficult to answer and also found that our answers did not seem to be able to satisfy her questions.

Thursday we had the burial and said goodbye to most of the family who packed up and began heading home, except for one of Justin's aunts who was staying to help pack things up before heading back to Ohio with Justin's Grandma.

Friday we began the long drive back home.  This time Madelyn knew what she was in for and told us right away that she did not want to drive.  She let us know that Chicago was a long ways away.  We did pack up the kids and get in the car anyway :)  It ended up being our longest day of driving for a couple of reasons.  1) I think Madelyn figured out that if she told us she had to go potty we would stop the car.  However, she did go every time we did stop and she didn't have a single accident any day of driving, so maybe she really did have to go every hour and a half or so.  2) We noticed that as we got up to cruising speeds on the highway that the car was a little shaky and finally, about a half an hour outside of Toledo we stopped and took a look at the tires and the rear passenger side was flat.  When we tried to put air in it we could hear the air coming back out and could see that the rim was bent.  Although there seemed to be enough air in the tire at the moment to keep driving we figured we better stop and get the tire checked out.  There was a place right off the next exit that we stopped at (the had a card at the travel plaza) and they looked at the car right away, took a sledgehammer to rim and pounded it out, checked again for leaks and told us we were probably good for a while.  They only charged us $20...and it was a pretty fast stop for needing to have a car looked at, so it was a good experience.  Then we continued on our way.  However, it had gotten late enough in the day that we decided we needed to stop for dinner before getting to Chicago...just adding more time.  In all that day it took us 10.5 hours...it was long.

Friday night actually went smoothly in Chicago.  Whew...

Saturday we got up early so that we could try to make it back to Minneapolis for a grad party.  We got on the road.  The kids were pretty unhappy about the car by this day and it was a rough day in the car with them.  Madelyn finally fell asleep when we hit the state of Minnesota...bummer for us.  Justin actually stayed in the car with her when we got to the grad party so she could get a little more sleep.

All in all we survived it and found out that it could be done.  4 days of travel to 3 days in New York isn't a great ratio, and we probably wouldn't choose to drive it again if there was a reasonable alternative, but it is nice to know we can do it if we need to.  And, maybe when the kids are a little older the drive wouldn't be quite as tough.  We are so glad that we were able to all go as a family and spend the time together.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Evan's 8 Month Updates

While we were in New York, Evan turned 8 months old!  It hardly seems possible that he is already 8 months, but the calendar does not lie :)

Evan is sitting up much more reliably on his own now, although he is still very prone to throw himself backwards or sideways without any warning, so for now he still needs someone close by and something soft surrounding him.  He has also started scooting forward (just a little) while sitting in order to get to things that he wants.  He really likes anything that crinkles, like paper or toys with the crinkly plastic in them.  Sometimes when we give him something that just rattles but doesn't crinkle he looks at us as if he were saying "What is this? I want crinkles!"

He has continued to be a very social baby, although he prefers people in small groups and quieter settings.  He can get overwhelmed when there are a lot of people or it is very noisy.  He also continues to babble almost continuously when he is awake, although now he seems to be trying to form words.  He watches our mouths closely when we say things and sometimes tries to mimic the sounds that we make.  He did say his first word while we were visiting Mommom and Poppop in New York.  He clearly said "Poppop" and was delighted with the reaction that he got every time he said it.

We have now tried with some success to have Evan and Madelyn sleeping in the same room at night.  Evan is waking up less frequently and now going back to sleep once he eats.  He is also putting himself to sleep more easily and seems to enjoy being in the room with his sister while he is trying to go to sleep.  Sometimes Madelyn talks to him after we put them to bed and this seems to have the desired effect of helping him go to sleep instead of keeping him awake.  Time will tell if this has just been a few random good nights, or if the kids are actually heading in the direction of sharing a room.

It has crazy to see how fast Evan is changing and I am sure the next month will bring more changes as well.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

There and Back Again (Part 1)

Justin's grandpa passed away on Friday, May 31 and after a little thinking and planning we packed up the kids and the car and began the long drive to western New York on Sunday.  We haven't done the drive with the kids before, but we anticipated that it would be a little tough on them and us.  The important thing was for us to get back and be with Justin's family and driving seemed to be the best option.  Fortunately for us (although potentially not for them) Justin's brother and his wife live in Chicago and we decided to crash there for a night to break up the drive.   It meant two days of 8+ hour drives, but we didn't think that 15-16 hours was really doable in one shot with the kids.

The drive to New York was filled with memorable moments.  Madelyn played a lot with the iPad, her dolls, and listened to music. Along the way to Bemus she was singing along with Daddy and blowing him kisses.  It was a pretty sweet moment :)

Saturday night before we left Evan came down with a pretty nasty cold and basically didn't sleep from about 1-5 am, so Justin and I were both pretty tired and thinking that Evan might not travel very well.

Sunday night at Aaron and Lauren's was also pretty memorable.  After finally getting Evan to sleep around 10pm he started screaming hysterically around 11.  Justin decided to take him out to the car so that he wouldn't wake everyone up and drove around with him until about 12:30am.  We finally thought we were going to get some sleep but then at 1 am Madelyn starting crying and calling for me.  When I went to see what was up she had thrown up all over herself and the bed we had made up for her.  Justin and I scrambled to take care of her and thought we got her resettled, only to start a 4 hour long battle with her throwing up which ended with her sleeping in the bed with us because it was the only place left for her to sleep.  Evan finally passed out at 3 am for a stretch and Madelyn conked out at around 5 am.  Evan was pretty much up for the day by 6:45, although after I fed him he did doze until about 7:30.  Madelyn slept until 9 and seemed no worse for the wear.  We did manage to get all packed up and back into the car to continue the trek east.

The kids were both troopers about getting back into the car.  For Evan sitting more upright in his car seat seemed to help with the cold, although his carseat over 2 days of travel with with a cold became  progressively more disgusting.

We did eventually make it to Bemus Point late Monday evening.  After a quick stop by the Olive Garden where Justin's grandma was having a late dinner with two of Justin's aunts, we headed to Justin's mom's house where we were happy to finally crash with the kids.  The kids were really happy to be out of the car and really happy to see Mommom and Poppop.  And, that night of sleep did go better for all of us.