Wednesday, June 30, 2010

same old same old, with new twists of awesomeness

some of my favorites from the kids over the last couple of days. Enjoy.

This morning we walked the mile from Jerah's place to our new Brooklyn palace after playing at P-roc's playground for over an hour. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to look over just in time to see my "sneaky cats" licking each other's toes clean.


NYC looked so different from any other city the kids had ever seen and it was so exciting to drive in to Brooklyn across all those bridges. The kids were squealing and hyperventilating in the backseat.
But they had a few questions.
BR: "Do people in NY have swords?" And L. was mystified: "Why is it called new if everything is so old?"

day 5: we are here!

After 1783 miles, we catch our first sight of the Great City:

other first glimpses:

as I reflect on the days on the road, here are some lessons learned:

- if you have no A/C, good substitutes for those fresh fruits that would have otherwise quickly gone bad in the heat are banana chips, dried pineapple rings, applesauce cups, dried apricots, all-fruit "leather," dried mango slices, dates.
- other non-perishable snacks: nuts, cheerios, granola and/or cereal bars
- "color wonder" and "color wow" (the ones where you paint with water and are reusable) pads are AMAZING
- when there is no A/C and the windows have to stay down, it is LOUD in the car. This is when Mom and Dad really enjoy the "rear fade" option of the car's stereo system (so we can't hear their music, woohoo!)

- stickers and temporary tattoos help to kill time and are not difficult to manage on their own
- water guns: not so good (hard to refill)
- regret: i should have made a music mix CD of the kids' favorites
- Kit told me that her mom used to pack each of her siblings a little "box" with new surprises for each day on the road. I adopted that idea and filled their backpacks with new things to discover every day. and then I made them wait to open each pocket on their backpack so they wouldn't spoil the fun within the first 30 minutes of the day. It worked great!
- traditional coloring pads: also not so good
- books and stories on CD: excellent. trying to read aloud above the roar of engine and wind: not so good, and extremely exhausting.
- plan to stop and take a break every 2 hours. but if everyone is happy and you have enough gas in the car: keep driving!!

I hope to remember many of these tips for our flight to India and all the train and bus rides while over there. This time around, I was thankful every. single. time. for the potable water and western toilets at rest stops across the US of A!

oh, one more note to self: when you're in the car for 5 days after packing and moving, sooner or later, they will fall asleep in the car. But maybe not until the fifth day.

So yes, we made it, and the kids even enjoyed portions of it.
But perhaps most impressive of all, our little '96 Jetta made it and didn't give us any trouble at all. Not even a single flat tire. Now that's amazing.

day 4

we got an early start, before 5am, to try to beat the traffic and the heat. We succeeded at both, although we were so sad only to be able to shout a 'hello' to all our friends (and Uncle Garrett!) in Wheaton, Chicago and Chesterton as we flew down the I-80.

here is a little photo log by L. the photographer:

We arrived in Western Pa in the late afternoon and decided to call it quits for the day after going more than 550 miles.
Lucky for us, it stayed pretty cool all day. and now, we had less than 300 miles to go, woohoo!

day 3

we rested on Sunday, and enjoyed our time out in the cornfields of IL with these hooligans:

we miss you already!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

day 2

Another uneventful day and now we are more than halfway there. YES!

With the help of plenty of animal crackers, a variety of dried fruits, squirt guns and Color Wonder sheets along with a few HFCS-laced bribes--not to mention temps in the low 80's (thank the Good Lord!)--we arrived in IL safe and sound and...happy! Another small miracle.

Tomorrow there will be no driving. We will be playing with Heidi & Josh's kids and visiting all day. We'll pick up our A/C free cross-country adventure bright and early on Monday.

(unless we decide to quit here and get a job in Chi-town. it is very tempting...)

But before we sign off tonight, we must share the quote of the day: we were driving past a cemetery and L. asked me if there were "real people" buried there.
"Well, yes, after they die," I answered.
She thought for a moment. "Mommy, will they become saints....or zombies?"

Friday, June 25, 2010

day 1

we drove for about 7 hours today and there is virtually nothing to report, which is wonderful. Only 23 more to go, heh heh...

the temperature was somewhere in the 90's and we are now somewhere in Nebraska. (the misting fans, somewhat miraculously, have not been broken yet!)

highlights included toys and treats from mom's goody bag. Among them, these:


and this:

we also enjoyed the (usually forbidden) ring pops L. bought with her tooth fairy money:

what is extra-cool about ring pops is that they do this to your tongue (we compared for quite awhile):

finally: we stuck in Billy's mix CD of "New York" music, and turned up the volume. We were rockin.
However, we have no intention whatsoever of not sleeping until we get to Brooklyn...we haven't (completely) lost our minds yet.
Goodnight, everyone!

here we go!

we're packed to the gills...

...and because we don't have A/C, Aunt Kay got us these awesome misting fans.

nothing can stop us now!

last day and a diploma!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

she is 6!

we went to an amusement park, we ate heart-shaped cake
and got icing all over our faces.
a perfect birthday for a six year-old.

one of our favorite rides was this "frog hopper." L. is third from the left, and A., with the swinging feet, is second from the right. we had a good laugh watching her fly off the seat like that, tee hee.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

teeth, teeth, we love teeth

L. lost her first tooth on Memorial Day.
She was so happy to find out that it doesn't have to hurt!


At breakfast I overheard L. telling her sister: "A., you look like a vampire because of your pointy teeth."
I was quick to intervene to try to avoid tears: "L., I like A.'s teeth and she's so pretty and maybe she doesn't want you to say things like that--" and then I noticed A.'s face: she was grinning from ear to ear and obviously extremely proud.

Guess she doesn't mind being compared to a vampire after all.

you asked...

when we move: next thursday!

when we arrive in NYC: the 29th.

Bright and early next Friday we will load up the Jetta with kids, suitcases and boxes (in the trunk and on the roof) and we'll drive off. On the way, we plan to visit Heidi & Josh and family in IL for a day and a half and hang out with their wild and crazy offspring.

(and no, although we will be tempted to do so, we won't put the kids on the roof or in the trunk. we'll save that space for boxes.)

I can't wait to post photos of all of this; it's going to be quite a picture.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

we're not moving, we're just packing

This time we pack up all of our belongings it will be different: we won't have to un-pack for a long time. So it's not really like's more like we're going on an extended vacation. Kind of.

When I think about it that way it seems so simple. I tried to tell myself, "All you have to do is pack the boxes, clean the house, and then get in the car. No more cleaning or unpacking on the other end."

Unfortunately, my pep talk hasn't really worked so far, and it is not so easy anymore to convice a 3, 4 and 5 year old that it is fun to play in boxes all day, either.

the first disastrous day of trying to pack up the house, it was clear I would need A PLAN. We would need to keep all of us happy and that meant doing stuff we all enjoy.

I spent that first weekend brainstorming, and this is what I came up with:

It is a list of fun things that we want to do, along with the list of things that we must do. It goes something like this:

- play "possum" (L.'s idea)
- go out for ice cream (my idea)
- read stories (BR's idea)
- go to a playground (A.'s idea)
- play "escape the robot" (L's idea)
- paint our nails (A & L's idea)
- make a race car course in the livingroom (BR's idea)
- do "awesome stuff" (BR's idea)

- play with bubbles & water balloons

So that's what we have been doing: BR and A. help me tape some boxes closed and L. does the labeling. Then we do the other stuff on the list and come back for more boxes later. I have also been making sure there is a steady supply of homemade fruit-juice popsicles in the freezer (in case of emergency) and some fun little stuff to play with somewhere close by (like old crepe paper I find in desk drawers as I am cleaning them out--it's good for playing mummy, remember?).

For most of the past week, we've been sticking to the plan and not messing around. When it's time to play porcupine, that's what we do goshdarnit, and when it's time to do awesome stuff, you better believe we're ready for it.

We have also accomplished quite a bit of packing.

Sometimes it is maddening to have to drop what I am doing to go paint fingernails, but other times it is very easy to do something fun in the middle of a chaotic mess. For example: throw the picnic blanket down on the kitchen floor and voila, a "picnic lunch"!

Other times, however, we deviate from The Plan. For instance, I do not recall that "playing with mom's camera" was on our Master List. But then I found these...

So yeah, um... I have no idea where was I when that was happening.
Also, in case anyone is tempted to think these are the not-so-humble confessions of a supermom, I also need to publicly and profusely thank Aunt Kay because she has had all the kiddos over to her place twice to free up both of my hands for a couple of hours.
And finally, to make this post a more complete picture of life here over the last 10 days, here is a sample from A's debut as a filmmaker. Clearly someone's mother was too preoccupied with the computer to pay any attention to them:

Monday, June 14, 2010

showed up at our door the other day

something beautiful in the midst of the packing mess. i love them.

Friday, June 11, 2010

family gatherings

Everyone from my dad's family showed up to Wedding Weekend 2010. Here are just a few photos from the collection:

the beautiful bride:

and look at this handsome couple:

I have some serious gaps here, folks, so help me out: Baby Margot is nowhere to be seen!
Also missing: the groom. Yikes, someone email me, quick!
*update*: over at the Little Parisian, there is a photo of Baby M., and me!
Also, a fantastic shot of the happy bride and groom on their way out of the church.