Sunday, December 4, 2016

October 2016: Part II - Tyler and Allison's Trip to Utah

Oscar and I decided to celebrate our 10 year anniversary with a kid-free Eastern Caribbean cruise. Our actual anniversary was in February, but Allison was still exclusively nursing back then, so we delayed it until October when she'd be over a year old. By then I was down to nursing her once a day, and she was never very emotionally attached to it to begin with, so I figured she'd transition just fine. We planned on dropping them off in Utah with Oscar's parents, and since Oscar's mom had already helped to wean two of Emily's kids, we figured Allison would be in good hands.

We left for our trip around 3pm on October 12th around when we'd expect both children would nap. We figured this would work well since Ty usually gets a nice 2.5 - 3 hour nap, but he only napped an hour in the car and then made lots of noise intentionally trying to wake up Allison (in spite of our continuous attempts to stop him and threaten punishments. Unfortunately Allison didn't fall asleep until about 10 minutes before Tyler woke up, so she got very little sleep and spent most of the drive screaming miserably. We stopped at Burger King to give them a little break. At first she was still unhappy there, but eventually she and Tyler started playing around. She and Tyler crawled around the dirty floor together and she LOVED the chicken nuggets and fries. Her skills at feeding herself started really coming along in those days leading up to our departure.We hoped the energy they spent at BK would be enough to knock them both out again, but no such luck. Tyler was wired and Allison screamed for the rest of the trip. We made it to Chris and Cambria’s around 8:30pm and immediately got the kids to bed where they went down instantly and slept until after 7:00am, a record for sleep while traveling). We had an excellent chicken gnocchi soup dinner with them and thoroughly enjoyed their company. I say this every time we go, but we seriously could not custom design a better stop for our road trips.

We took off the next day later than expected since we hadn't imagined we and the kids would sleep so well based on previous experience. Unfortunately the drive was pretty miserable with Tyler constantly waking up Allison. We had to resort to threats of slapping and such, which I hate, but we had no other option, like time outs and sending him to his room. We somehow made it to Nampa, ID before we took our first stop and had over an hour break at a Carl’s Jr with an amazing, enormous play area. Even Allison was able to climb around and have a little fun.
I don't like supporting Carl's Jr because I hate their pornographic commercials that come on during family friendly programming (like the Olympics). I've heard from other concerned moms that they've written to the company to complain about the commercials, but the only response they get is "too bad. You're not our target market." Why do they claim moms with kids aren’t their target customers and then have great play areas for kids? I was happy to see that at least nothing in the restaurant was pornified, and we were really tired of Burger King by then (we go there a lot on road trips since they have children's play areas and neither of us cares much for McDonald's).
This play structure was by far the best indoor play area I've ever seen. It may have even been a bit too big since Ty got thrown around a bit on the way down the big slide. I heard a big thunk as he came down and then he ran into my arms crying. The racing slides were really cool though. I did those with him and they were fast and fun. I was fascinated by how it never seemed to end. Every corner had new places to explore (most of which I couldn't get into without being on my knees).

Stopping here did help wear the kids out enough to get their naps, so we finished off the drive and made it into Layton around 9:00pm. We got settled in and explored Marcus and Martha's new home. Allison learned some caution around the open stairs since they didn’t have baby gates put up yet (Oscar had to figure out how to attach them with zipties). Each of the kids had their own room and Marcus and Martha had lots of toys. Ty had some potty accidents soon after our Utah arrival, so he ended up in pullups for the entire stay and never pooped on the potty the entire time we were gone. I was a bit worried we would have to potty train all over again when we got home, and he did REALLY fight me when I'd tell him it was time to use the potty, but he didn't have any accidents and soon got back into his usual routine.

The next day we visited mom in the morning and met baby Nolan, Allison and Tyler’s second cousin. My cousin Justin and his wife Anne were childless for over 15 years before finally having a miracle baby. Allison enjoyed playing with Nolan's toy, and fortunately he enjoyed watching her.

I couldn't believe mom was already on her feet so soon after her surgery, but she'd quickly need a break. She fed Allison yogurt and bread while Tyler watched Halloween Bubble Guppies on her bed. She let him eat his grilled cheese there, which I knew would be messy, but she wanted him to be nearby for the limited amount of time she had with the kids. Hopefully there weren't too many crumbs. I told Tyler not to get used to eating in bed.


Afterwards we went back up to Layton to meet Oscar's sisters and their kids at a pumpkin patch. Unfortunately we got back later than expected and the line for the hayride out was way too long. We wanted to see the family though, and get pictures of Oscar and his three sisters with all of their class of 2034 babies, so we had some fun inside looking at the fish. We were lucky to be inside when an enormous gust of wind came. We were actually just about to walk out the door to meet back up with the family when we saw it happen. It was like a mini tornado. 

We went back to the house with Emily and family while Martha and Melissa went to grab donuts. Unfortunately Martha had the only key, so we all hung outside for awhile. Allison loved playing with her cousins through the screen door. "It's a mirror and Dillan's behind it!" She was actually laughing way more than I got in this video. Ethan, Emma, Sophie and dad joined us and they all had fun playing in the play room and in the leaves in the backyard. Tyler started calling my dad "cousin grandpa," which makes sense since he always sees him with cousin Ethan, cousin Sophie, and cousin Emma. I didn’t bother putting Tyler down for nap with so many cousins there. He'd never have slept with all the excitement going on.

Martha made the entire group spaghetti before we drove down to Lagoon for Frightmares.

The kids rode a few rides until we met up with Mike and Ethan's friend from Centerville. I wanted to first do everything all of the kids could do together, so we did the trick or treating in the bumper cars and pioneer village areas.

The train puffed out real smoke that smelled really good, like baked goods. 

Ty insisted on putting his whole head in the wanted posters and the guillotine before we picked up some cookies and drinks at Sweets.

We all went on Tidal Wave, and Tyler really enjoyed sitting across from and giggling at silly Uncle Mike. Mike took a selfie with him and his kids, so I tried to take one with Ty, but this is the best I got.
Mike and the kids wanted to go on Cannibal and other big rides, so dad and I took Tyler on a couple kids rides before my friend Kara met up with us at the boats. 

I know Kara from my undergrad at the University of Utah, and since we both moved out of the state we've somehow managed to see each other every three years. First I flew to Chicago for auditions and stayed with her, then she came to Utah at the same time I was there for Julia's wedding, and now we were both in Utah at the same time again. It was super cool hanging out with her and catching up. Her four kids were recovering from a stomach bug, so she left them home with her mom that evening. We did the Dinosaur Drop and Bombora before it was becoming pretty clear that Tyler needed to get home for bed (which was unsurprising since he'd just had an incredibly full, exciting day and didn't get his nap). Kara helped me move the car seat out of Mike's Infinity and Oscar came down to meet us and take Tyler home. Oscar took Ty right to bed (glad he was already in a pull up which was barely wet the next morning). He slept in his coat and slept all night long.

Kara and I went on Wicked and Spider (or as she called it "teacups in the sky"). Ethan had gotten a bloody nose that would not clear up, so we all headed on out and Kara was nice enough to give me a ride home. Unfortunately she lost her external battery at some point and went to report it to lost and found. On our way there we ran into one of my favorite authors - Brandon Mull. First the Lagoon employee recognized him and told a coworker, then I said "I though that was you." Inadvertently we ended up following him and his wife to a drink stand where I got up the guts to ask for a picture with him. He was super cool, and we had a great chat about his upcoming books. He obviously likes his fans.

I was sad to have had such a short visit with Kara, but thrilled we got to have one at all. We'll have to plan something longer for the next one. Maybe she can come to Seattle (hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

Julia came over with Baby Jane the next morning where Allison quickly discovered her. Again, the pics and video only capture a small glimpse of the cuteness we beheld. "Cousin Jane is the best toy!"

Ty and I went to Lagoon when they opened at 11, but before that Oscar took him to Walmart to pick up some things his parents would need while we were gone. I got to enjoy some peace and quiet and get some good cuddles in with Allison. She had her final nursing session then took a bath. Unfortunately she had a bad fall in the bathtub onto a hard plastic Nemo and started screaming, so I wrapped her in a towel and got in some awesome cuddles with her. It was a pleasant memory to leave for the cruise with.

We brought our coats to Lagoon, but then it got really warm, over 70 degrees. I took Ty's hood off his head just before we went on Bulgy the Whale, and he missed it so much he held his head the entire ride.
Dad met up with us around 1:00pm, so we did as many rides as possible before then that Tyler can't do with both me and dad. I loved having time to just have as much fun with my boy as possible before we took off on our trip.
My boy's already driving. Sniff. Sniff.
Tyler shared a helicopter ride with this little girl who seemed a bit shy and didn't want to go on her own. He was very excited and kept calling her "girl."
He couldn’t figure out how to get his elephant up on this ride though he did fine with it on the helicopters, and it's the same concept (out for up/in for down). He was really excited to ride on "Dumbo."

He also shared the Maliboomer ride with a sweet non-verbal boy who was clearly loving every minute. At first the dad walked around before telling his son "sorry, they're all taken" when I jumped in and said "oh no! Tyler can share." There were 4-6 seats per vehicle on this one, so I don't know why they weren't putting more kids together to reduce the lines. Sure some would say "no I want to be by myself," but I think most would be okay with it.

We then met up with dad and did Teacups, Odyssey, the Animal Kingdom Train, the Skyride, Flying Aces, and the big Ferris Wheel. Ty ran off and got lost for a bit near the Flying Aces. Dad went after him but couldn't keep up with him, which got me scared enough that I ran out of line. Fortunately Tyler ran up behind dad, grabbed him and said "Got you!" People were nice enough to let us back in the front of the line, and dad and I agreed that next time Tyler runs, I go after him.
After that we dropped Ty off with Oscar in the parking lot while dad and I headed back in to get lunch at Teriyaki Stix. We also rode the skyride back the other way (at dad's insistence), and met up with Mike and family for Cannibal. By then the park had become monstrously crowded. Mike said he'd never seen it so bad, so we all decided just to do the one ride. Fortunately it ended up being only 35 minutes even though the line was even further back than when the ride first opened. It was long, but at least it moved. It was also super fun and totally worth the wait.

Mike dropped me off at Marcus and Martha's while I got packed up. The rest of the family went to the nearby Boondocks where I met up with them later with Tyler and Allison. I took Ty in the play area where he kept repeating the same slide over and over, but by the end he’d figured out how to get everywhere within it. Later we went to Sill’s Cafe where Oscar had already gone to eat with his brother William. I texted to invite him there and he said they'd just gotten back. Allison ate incredibly well there. She loved her scone and Emma's scrambled eggs and my creamy vegetable soup. Tyler started getting really fussy and tired (he only slept in the car on the way home from Lagoon), so we took off and got the kids in bed. I cried while getting them down and held Tyler extra tight. I tried to give extra loves to Allison too, but she was super wiggly. I was grateful for our towel snuggles earlier that day. After that we did an intent will with Marcus and Martha as witnesses just in case we got lost at sea and wanted to make our wishes known for our kids and our property. We also exchanged money since I had so many ones they were making my wallet too fat, but we later regretted that on the cruise when we constantly needed small bills for tip.

During the cruise I asked Martha to send me a picture a day of each child (or one with both kids). Here are her pictures with comments.
"Pretty baby doing circles in her Sunday dress. She prefers Legos of coordinating colors."

"Tyler last night playing with marshmallows"

"Allison just now playing with Tyler's Legos while he's not looking. Yesterday he filled her shirt, front and back, with Legos:). She didn't like it much. We just ate breakfast and sent grandpa off to work and Tyler is now happily playing in the play room. The first sign of sadness was him crying for his daddy during the night... And then mommy too! Both kids are well today."

"Allison has a sore bum, but she's finally drinking more, so we should see good improvement soon. Tyler had fun with Dillan and Justin and grandpa last night while I went to book club. Emily is bringing all the kids today so it should be a fun house. :)"

"Having fun in the backyard!"

Dad drove mom and Ethan up to the play with the kids the Saturday before we got back. Mom couldn't do much with her surgery, so she mostly stayed and played with Allison while dad and Ethan played out back with Tyler.

Having fun at the screen door and eating in their chairs. After spending two days of difficulty trying to feed Allison without a highchair, I knew Martha would want to get Allison's booster seat out of storage ASAP.

"The box monster" and "Tyler and his yummy robot cake. :) "

While we were dining at a restaurant in Puerto Rico, they were celebrating Melissa's birthday and having fun with cousins.

We had a decent drive home, definitely better than the way there. It took us awhile to get going though, because Oscar and I got back after 1:00am and still needed to do the final packing in the morning. We weren't able to get on the road until about 11am. Tyler was still awful about trying to wake up Allison, and we actually had to pull over and give him a time out on the side of the road, but Allison was able to sleep in spite of his interruption. She had been sick with a stomach bug just before we left, but her tummy seemed fine on the drive. We made our first major rest stop for lunch at a Burger King in Burley, ID where the kids played for over an hour.

We also stopped for dinner at the A&W near the Idaho/Oregon border where Tyler got a mini mug toy with his kid's meal. He, of course, wanted to drink Root Beer out of it, so I obliged.
It was definitely one of our better drives. I just wish we'd been able to start it earlier so we didn't have to arrive at Cambria's after 10:00pm. Fortunately they had kindly set up Tyler's airbed and Allison's pack and play so we were able to just go right to bed when we got in. I'm so glad we didn't have to drive through or stay at a hotel that night.

Ty does well sleeping in their play room because he wakes up and plays instead of waking us up at 5:00am like last time. Tayla came in to play with them and the two of them were really cute to watch. She seems to like him more too now that he's a bit older and can respond better to direction.

Allison woke up ravenous the next morning at Cambria's house. When Oscar held her she immediately tried sucking his face and neck off. I decided to try and nurse her since she was really fussy, and it was going to take us some time to get food for her out of the car. That was a bad idea! I'm not even counting it as her last nursing session because she basically rejected it. It was maybe 45 seconds total, and she seemed really displeased and underwhelmed by it. It was as if she were saying "Ew! Why isn't it grape juice?" After she bit me three times, the last one being particularly hard, I pulled her off and decided we were done for good. She wailed, of course, but it wasn't worth the work of trying to teach her not to bite me when she was already over a year old and she hadn't been enjoying it much anyway. In a way her reaction made me glad because now I felt less guilty about forcefully weaning her for the trip.

Ty didn't sleep on the 4 hour drive back since he'd had plenty of overnight sleep, so he got pretty restless and wanted to get out of the car. Unfortunately for him it was very rainy and very cloudy. To give you some perspective, this picture on the right is actually a beautiful lookout we've stopped at many times. We did have to stop at a gas station in Cle Elum, WA where Ty wanted to help Oscar pump the gas. Here's how the conversation went down.

T: I wanna help daddy get the gas.
Me: We'd love to let you help, but it's pouring rain right now. You'd get wet and cold and be very, very sad.
T: I wanna be wet! I wanna be cold! I wanna be sad!

Needless to say, we were happy to get home and get everyone down for a good nap!

1 comment:

  1. Loved this blog stacy. It was so fun seeing all of you at Lagoon and all the fun rides you and dad were able to take tyler on. Martha too a lot of adorable pics of allison and Tyler and loved all the comments about where you were what was happening and even when tyler was bored in the car and wanting to wake Allison up. Thanks so much for putting all of this together. Love you all so much. Mom