Sunday, April 19, 2009

And we're back!

I miss the family being all together, and I miss my gorgeous, sweet little niece, but I am glad to be home. I have edited this post multiple times throughout the course of the day, but keep ending up being waaaay too wordy, so I decided to break it down:

The trip up: Loooong. We got on the road around 5:30pm on a Friday night, and got there around 12pm Saturday. Bella and I were crammed into two tiny seats in the back of the SUV we rented, but we enjoyed ourselves despite being surrounded by all the stuff that didn't fit into the roof rack. I did not sleep at all, because I was worried about Brian driving, since he only had bout 5 hours of sleep under his belt. But we made it!

My niece: Absolutely gorgeous, adorably cute, captured my heart at first sight.

Bubba felt the same way, apparently, because he smooched all over the baby. Everytime he walked by her he had to stop and give her some spitty kisses:

Our sleeping arrangements: My in-laws slept in the master bedroom; my sister-in-law, her husband and their baby slept in the baby's room, and my little family slept on the living room floor or on the couch or loveseat. It was difficult because Bubba would just wander around playing until he collapased from exhaustion, then he would be out of sorts. And stayed out of sorts for the better part of the trip. But all of the family was together, and that is what mattered.

Easter Sunday: A good day. We went to the base church for mass. The service was lovely. Bubba slept through it, but Bella dissolved into tears halfway through, I think because she was tired. The music director accidentally turned her microphone on about ten minutes before the service started, so we got to listen to her correct some intonation issues, ask the piano player if she was playing the same song the choir was singing, and then, possibly as a grand finale, burp. Bless her heart. Anyway, it was a good day, all around.

Children's Museum: Fun. Educational. Some of the better exhibits were broken, but I think you have to take into consideration that, being a children's museum, things are bound to break or be broken on fairly regular basis. Bella was fascinated by most of the displays. Bubba was bored until we got to the under-3 play area and then he ran around like a fiend before staking out the top of a climbing toy as his spot.

Virginia Aquarium: Lovely. I was smitten with the sea turtles, Bella loved the seahorses, and Bubba was very, very grumpy. I actually bought him a crab stuffed animal as a souvenir, because it fit his personality that day. Bella discovered a love of spiders, which was interesting. She was actually afraid of the sea turtles - I asked her to stand in front of the tank to take a picture, because there was a turtle slightly bigger than her floating right beside her, but she said she didn't like turning her back on it. I don't know what she thought it might do, but we did get the picture - Bella looks scared, and the sea turtle is swimming off, probably disgusted at the implication.

Colonial Williamsburg: Just as wonderful as I remember it. I could have spent days there, days and days, but Bubba was unhappy and Bella's feet were tired after an hour of walking. We did stay for a few hours, though, and Bella learned quite a bit. I just can't say enough good things about it - I would go back tomorrow, if I could. If it wasn't 16 hours away.

The dress is a period costume rented from the visitor's center, the jeans and Hanna Montana shoes are NOT period dress but it was too cold to roll them up and I wasn't buying new shoes. Despite the odd mix of old and new AND the fact that there were tons of other children roaming around in costume, we were stopped multiple times by people who wanted to take Bella's picture.

The trip home: Long and agonizing. I was able to sleep, which helped. Bella and I, once again crammed into the back of the truck, were close enough to each other to have the following conversation:

Bella: "Mom, you have a hair growing out of your chin"

Me: "Yeah, that happens sometimes when you get older"

Bella: "I'll get it" and then leaned over and yanked the hair out. "Mom, are you growing a mustache?"

Me: "It's not a mustache, Bella, it's just fuzz. Why don't you read? Where's your Junie B Jones book?"

Bella: "But I'm just wondering, why would you want to grow a mustache?"

Me: "Where's your gameboy?"

Bella: "Are you going to grow it out like Dad's, in a goat?" (meaning goatee)

Me: "Find something to do other than look at me, Bella"

She eventually did read, and finished off the novelization of 'Barbie and the Diamond Castle'. She is a zippy reader!

We left Virginia around 12PM on Friday afternoon and arrived back home around 4:30am Saturday morning. After unloading the car, I ran to the store to get groceries, then came back home and attempted to sort suitcases and other things out, then dropped the kids off at my sister's house and was at work by 10Am. Whew!

Some other random thoughts:

I am sooo glad we had the GPS unit my sister gave us for Christmas. Even with the GPS, we still got lost a few times, but it would have been much worse, otherwise. On that note, does anyone remember AAA triptiks? I remember when I was a kid we would get a triptik to go anywhere. It was a little comb bound book that showed your route via multiple pages of maps, and construction areas were stamped on in red, and rest stops, etc. Old school!

Bubba threw horrible tantrums the whole time we were gone. Hitting, kicking, throwing himself to the ground, screaming. An amplified version of his normal behavior. I'm really, really hoping it was because he was so tired and off his schedule, because otherwise I will never be able to take him anywhere. I haven't really taken him anywhere since we got home, actually, because I'm sort of scared. Bella never threw tantrums, so this is very new to me. I just don't know what to do when he does that. My instinct is to remove him from the situation, which is usually inconvenient or rude if not both, but that's the best I can come up with for now.

Before we left for this trip I was mulling over some changes that I need to make in my life, for my own good and for the good of my family. I am going to steal a page from Jennifer over at the Conversion Diary and make this time after Easter like a mini-new year, a time to re-evaluate, assess and make changes. I have a lot of ideas, of course, but one concern I have had for a while now is the amount of television that Bella watches. And not only does she watch a lot, she is a TV zombie - when she is engrossed in a show you can't talk to her or tell her anything, because she won't hear it.

For that reason, and since the timing worked out so well, we are going to participate in TV Turnoff Week. And since I'm ripping off other bloggers' ideas, I'm going to borrow the idea (and the image) from Unplug Your Kids to take that one step further and include ALL screen time in that turnoff. So I am going to try and avoid the computer during the times I am at home. I probably won't be posting until the week is over, but lately I haven't been posting that frequently anyway. I'll still be able to check and comment on blogs from work, though, which makes me feel better. Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Aimee said...

Great pics! SOunds like a fun trip :)

I think it sounds like bubba is just plain worn out! My kids were always like that after a long trip - they still get cranky even now. Especially if they are not keeping their regular sleeping schedule -- which is impossible if you are bunking in someone else's living room. :)

Good luck with the no TV week -- I should be doing that as well. Maybe I'll start up this afternoon when the kids get home. Won't that be a nice surprise for them?! ;)