Saturday, July 14, 2012

Our Crazy June Part Two.

To see Part One, Click here.

So, here it was, Sunday afternoon on the day we were supposed to leave for vacation.  We got home and were faced with the decision of whether or not to pack our car and head on a 10-day, 1500 mile road trip. 

I started to feel lousy.  I had been having diarrhea while LBZ was in the hospital, but I think adrenaline and a need to care for him drowned out my own symptoms.  I had a low-grade fever and began to worry that I had salmonella too.

We decided that we would go on vacation after all.  I packed very quickly and reluctantly since I was feeling badly, but we decided to do this after all.  We packed a lot after the boys went to bed.  I woke up the next morning with a plan.  I'd head to the urgent care first thing in the morning to see a doctor before we left.

I did and he took a sample for the lab to test for salmonella.  He also gave me a prescription for an antibiotic and told me not to take it until we got the results back, just in case it is negative.  I dropped the prescription off and headed home.  We packed our final things, packed up the boys, and we were off!  We picked up the prescription on our way out of town and were Florida bound!

About 20 minutes into the trip, BBZ began to fall apart.  It suddenly hit me that we did not prepare him for this drive at all.  We kept talking about going to the beach, but at no point did we talk to him about what the car ride was like.  The "when do we get to the beach?" questions began, and didn't stop for days.

The only way to describe his behavior on this trip is absolutely terrible.  I'm going to save most of the details of that and how we have re-visited our philosophy on positive discipline for another day.  Just know that it was, and continues to be, a very tough journey.

So anyway, let's talk about the fun parts of our vaca!!

First of all, I don't know what I would do if I had girls.  Boys (and peeing) are so easy.  When you gotta go, you gotta go!  We did this about 5 times during our trip.  He waits until the last minute and says I have to go NOW NOW NOW!!!

Our first stop was in Metropolis, Illinois.  They built this huge Superman statue and have a museum and store with a bunch of over priced Superman stuff.  BBZ loved it!

We walked to a nearby Dippin' Dots for a snack.  We were only 2 hours into the trip, but stopping often became the best plan of attack for keeping both boys pretty happy.  This was the first place that I had to change LBZ's diaper on the floor of a bathroom.  I cannot believe how many times I had to do that during our trip.  My opinion is that if the restaurant has a child's menu, they should have a changing table in the bathroom.  End. Of. Story.

Our next stop was Nashville, TN.  We planned to stay here for the night, so we went for a nice walk around downtown to wind down from the car ride.  We ended up in front of the capitol building on the top of this hill.  The view was gorgeous.

I have such fond memories of my family vacations spent in hotels.  Me and my sister, acting silly, in a hotel in our jam jams.  This picture reminds me of those days.  I hope we are also creating fond memories for our boys.

The next morning we walked around Nashville and visited the original Grand Old Opry.  This was something N was really excited about.  He has such a love of music.  It was so cool to be in a place where huge stars played.

Next stop was the Nashville Zoo!  We are unbelievably spoiled in St. Louis by having a free zoo.  This trip was the most money we spend on the whole trip (besides the hotel in Florida).  It was worth it though.  What a fun day!
They had a dinosaur exhibit that BBZ was super excited about.

They also had a huge playground for kids.  BBZ was climbing across this net saying to himself "I can do it, I can do it" cute :)

I could just num on these cheeks all day long!  It was a pretty hot afternoon, but we had lunch and sat in the shade and enjoyed the surroundings.

Then we got in the car for our next stretch.  We had reservations at this cabin in Oak Mountain State Park, just outside of Birmingham, Alabama.  It was so peaceful and lovely.  It was a perfect place to stay.  I wish we could have spent more time here, but the night was all the time we had.

These geese must be used to people feeding them.  We had some crackers that BBZ fed them.  He stood on a perch so they wouldn't nip at him, and as he threw the crackers, the geese bit each other in the butt to try and get the crackers.  BBZ thought that was just about the funniest thing to ever happen.

I love this one of my rough-housing boys :)

It was Wednesday morning and we were on our last stretch to Florida.  It was the longest stretch, so we were in for a long day of driving with the boys.  LBZ did really well the whole time.  BBZ did...not so well.  But we made it. 
I got a call from the urgent care center that confirmed what I thought...I had salmonella, too.  Since it had now been 9 days, I decided to take the antibiotic.  Within a couple of days I felt 100 times better.
This is the view from our hotel in Florida.  Finally, the beach!!!!

BBZ was unbelievable in the water.  He faced those waves with an amount of gusto I have never seen in him.  As uncomfortable as he is in a pool sometimes, I was really surprised by how willingly he ran toward those waves and laughed hysterically as they knocked him down into the ocean.  It was so great to see him this happy.  The absolute best part of the trip for him was being in the ocean.  It was the happiest I had seen him since we left on Monday.

Oh and my sweet little Lu.  He was also quite happy on the beach.  He did tend to eat sand, and when he got so tired that he wanted to nap he was very unhappy that his little fingers were covered in sand so that when he put them into his mouth he tasted and felt that grainy sand.  But other than that, he loved the water and the beach.

BBZ was pretty crabby about a family photo, so this was the best we could do :)
We built a lovely sand castle.  It's hard to see because the sand is so white!

I love Instagram.  It helps someone like me, who is clueless about photo editing, add cool effects to my photos.  I love this one of me and BBZ :)

When BBZ was 16 months old, he got tubes in his ears.  At his 3-year doctor appointment the tubes were still in place.  In February of this year, the doctor said they had fallen out and were in his ear canal.  While we were sitting in the hotel in Florida, BBZ was watching TV and said something in his ear tickled.  I watched him pull this out.  I am so happy that I got to see it!  It's bigger than I imagined it would be.

So that's it for Florida.  The wedding was on Friday and I had both boys by myself since N was in the wedding.  A friend held LBZ during the ceremony so I could focus on keeping BBZ busy (and relatively quiet) during the ceremony.  It was right on the beach and it was beautiful.  There was a cocktail hour close to the ceremony before the reception that was held at another hotel.  BBZ did not do well while there.

I decided to take the boys to a restaurant where we saw a play place the day before.  It actually worked out perfectly.  It was right next to the hotel where the reception was and it gave BBZ a chance to be somewhere where he could really be a kid.

LBZ ended up falling asleep at the reception and I really wanted to stay.  BBZ was exhausted by 9:30pm, but we stretched him to about 9:45pm.  He fell asleep instantly when we hit the car.

The next day (Saturday) we got up and hit the road.  We planned to stay a couple of days in Jackson Mississippi, but we decided to change our reservations to just one night since we were all read to be home.

BBZ did 100 times better on the way home.  I think he was better prepared for the drive and was also ready to be home.

Jackson is not a very happy city.  In fact, where we stayed downtown it was a little scary.  N and BBZ wanted to go search for ice cream and the concierge was hesitant to send them walking through downtown.  It reinforced our decision to head home the next day.

N did find this nice cafe that had ice cream with their pie.  The place was packed and the woman tried to let them not pay, but he did, of course :)

Our last stop on our way home was where it all Memphis, Tennessee.  We first ate at The Flying Saucer, which is one of the places we went during that first trip to Memphis.  It was funny being there on a Sunday morning.  They had a huge bloody mary bar and had a hard time finding a kids menu.  I ended up ordering a pita sandwich with cucumber, tomatoes, hummus and all kinds of deliciousness, which was perfect to share with LBZ.

This is at one of my favorite junk stores, right on Beale Street.  It was fun having the boys in a place N and I have been to so many times.
We ended up buying the boys' first instruments there.  A slide flute for BBZ and a rhythm egg for LBZ.  Their first instruments are from Memphis.  That seems appropriate.

And no trip to Memphis is complete without a visit to the ducks at the Peabody hotel.  BBZ was impressed and tried to hypnotize the ducks with his new slide flute.

Finally a decent family photo!  It's not perfect, but I'll take what I can get.

I love this picture of N and LBZ on the streets of Memphis.

It reminds me of this one, which was taken nearly 9 years ago on the streets of Memphis :)

It was a whole lot of craziness that led up to our first official family of four vacation, but it was sure worth it!  We got home on Sunday evening and my sister and her family were at my house beginning their vacation.  They had an unfortunate turn too.  My sister tripped down the stairs at my house and broke her foot!  We went to my work on Monday and got a wheelchair, which helped her get around, but what a pain!

Since 4th of July was on a Wednesday, I took Tuesday off too and didn't have to go back to work or school until Thursday!  We had a nice few days off with my sister's family and they headed home on Wednesday.

I mentioned BBZ was a bit of a nightmare.  I think a lot of the reason for his behavior is that he just really likes his daily routine.  On Thursday I took the boys to school as usual.  I pulled into the lot and into the parking space.  As a put the car in park and began to shut it off, BBZ says to me "Oh mommy, I am so happy to be back here!

I love that he loves his school so much.  That's money well spent, friends!