There is no doubt that packing, loading and transporting 4 kids 4 and under is no easy task. No one ever said it would be and no one probably thinks it should be. I am living proof that traveling under these circumstances is a little crazy and stressful and anxiety-filled for sure, but so worth it. Afterall, what else are we going to do? Sit around our toy infested house and get lost in the exersaucers and rattles? So on Sunday evening we departed Cameron Park for our second road trip down to see Grandma and Pappa and the rest of the Woolsey clan and extended family. From about 4-6:30 I needed a Xanax for anxiety, from 6:30-12:30 I needed an Ambien for sleep and from 12:30-2am I needed a good dose of Valium to relax. Unfortunately all I had were a couple of advil.
The babies did great on the drive but it is when we are finished with the drive that things get crazy. The babies wake up to a new environment and a new bedroom and new cribs and we ask them to simply go from their carseats to the cribs and go to sleep. It is as if Ava is on speed with her hyperactivity surrounding the excitement of being at Grandma and Pappa’s house. It took her until 2am to wind down. We triple teamed the triplets to eventually get all of them down to sleep – but not until 2am also. At 5:30am Violet graced us with her cheerful chatter and up we were after 3 1/2 hours sleep. I was a zombie the next day but we were happy to be at our destination and ready to have a great week.
We layed pretty low on Monday and Monday afternoon Marshie and Hermie came to visit (Chris’s grandparents). The triplets made them an even 20 in the GREAT grandchild department. Unbelievable. They feel lucky for their great grandchildren every day and are so proud of each of them. Marshie fed Preston, played hide-and-seek with Ava and talked to the baby girls and we had a nice time visiting. Then Uncle Greg (Wago – don’t ask me why he is nicknamed that) and three of his four kids came over (Aunt Peggy and cousin Ryan were home because Ryan wasn’t well) and Ava LOVES to see her cousins and play with them.
Tuesday night Chris and Sherri went to see a Laker’s game and to dinner together and Dick and I held down the fort. We hired a nice 13 year old neighbor to come and play with Ava to take a little bit of pressure off of Dick and I. It worked amazingly. Dick and I smoothly put the three babies to bed and fixed ourselves some steak fajitas while Chris and Sherri were at the game.
Wednesday Chris tried another field trip with Ava hoping this would be better and it ended up being a huge success. I have asked my guest writer Chris to describe the experience they had at the Skirball Jewish Museum (or as Ava calls it, the Screwball Museum) seeing the Noah’s Ark exhibit in the next blog posting after this one. Now I just have to get Chris to write it.
Wednesday night was exciting because Chris and I got to go out for a date. We went out and saw the uplifting (or not so much) film, Boy In the Striped Pajamas, and then went to a swanky sushi restaurant in Westlake. We ordered fancy martinis and ate some rolls and ran into some old friends of Chris’s from high school. It was fun and liberating. Meanwhile, Chris’s parents enlisted help from the 13 year old neighbor again, and her 15 year old sister to manage the Woolsey children and put them all to bed. They were all in bed by 7pm. Don’t we have them well trained?
On Thanksgiving Day Ava woke up and cheerfully wished us a Happy Thanksgiving! It was too early for me to remember that is was Thanksgiving but you know, Ava is all about the holidays and would never let one slip by unannounced or would she exist for even one minute on the day of a holiday with anything but pure exuberance and enthusiasm. So, we prepared for 30 people to come to Dick and Sherri’s house which is mainly Aunts, Uncles, cousins and all the cousins kids. Ava and the triplets have many second cousins and 8 of them were there Thanskgiving night. Ava waited all day for her cousins to show up at the door and when they did there was nonstop playing for hours on end. At one point, Uncle Steve was outside with 9 children under the age of 9 surrounding him and running from him as he announced “I want you in my belly”. He was the monster you see and the kids were joyful and not one bit fearful of the prospect of Uncle Steve eating them. I sat outside with Preston and we watched all those kids having the time of their lives – all this family surrounding Ava – and I actually teared up because this is what the holidays are all about. It is all about watching your kids have a good time and it is all about family and in that moment there was both. The babies were passed around and played with until it was their bedtime and they were good sports about it. I don’t really think any of them complained once about anything, which was refreshing. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving with good food and it was so nice catching up with family.
We rounded out the trip with an outing to the mall on Black Friday. We took the baby girls and left Ava (a shopping nightmare) and Preston (the spit-up King) behind and headed to the mall to see if we could find any bargains. The girls were so good – looking at everyone and smiling. Everyone would ask – twins? We would simply say yes and carry on so we wouldn’t have to open up that triplet can of worms. Dick took Ava to the lake to see some ducks and then to lunch at California Pizza Kitchen. They had a nice time together. Sherri and Preston bonded back at the house.
And now we are headed home on highway 5 about halfway through our trip. We just stopped for gas and McDonalds and EVERYONE woke up when the car stopped, as usual, which means inevitable crying and parental stress. I was subjected to incompetent and rude staff at McDonalds which ultimately ended in me spilling Chris’s extra large diet coke across the food pickup counter into all the containers they had on the other side of the counter and all over the floor. I vehemently apologized for the accident but the ornory staff wouldn’t acknowledge me. I had to walk away because I was having a hard time not laughing. I don’t really know why. If they hadn’t been so rude to me then maybe I wouldn’t have accidently spilled my coke. Karma is a bitch. I shuttered to think what the car would sound like when I re-entered, but alas it was silent. A Thanksgiving miracle.
When people began leaving Thanksgiving dinner last night Ava said “is it going to be Christmas tomorrow?” . . . and we are onto the next holiday just like that. I guess we will pull out the Hanukkah and Christmas decorations tomorrow and get our tree and start celebrating once again.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.