Thursday, September 25, 2008

Planes, trains, and automobiles...or just trains

M and J love trains. Love all types of trains, squeal at the sight of train tracks (with or without trains, it really doesn't matter) on the side of the road, spend hours scooting toy trains around their room, and know all the characters from the Island of Sodor and Tidmouth Sheds and Knapford Station and all...and they know which of these characters they own and which they do not so as to be fully prepared to pick up a new one at any given outing. I am no longer the keeper of this vital information. This is a clue as to how I lost track...

M and J laying with all their trains pre-move

Bird's eye view without the boys

Please read that first caption; these pictures were taken before the packing and moving. The boys were allowed 10 trains each to bring along the ride. They have accumulated at least another 10 each since we left. The miles of tracks of all varieties and stations and all other types of accessories obviously couldn't fit in the pictures. Spoiled much, you think?

Anyway, the point is, they love trains more than anything else. All other toys not train-related are played with for approximately two days or twenty minutes and then cast aside in favor of more train play, even if the trains aren't as new as the other toys. So, what reason would someone - someone who calls himself a parent of these charming boys and demands that others regard him as a parent of them - what reason could he possibly have for not wanting them to play with trains?

I could understand if we were talking about kids obsessed with something like pirates, so much so that they constantly ran around leaping from furniture into imaginary sword fights, shouting about how they will pillage, plunder, and/or ravage any who dare get in their way, threatening everyone with walks on a plank. That could be construed as a bit violent, and I could sort of understand someone's objection to that, but trains? Really?!? What harm is there in train play?

His condemnation that trains were no longer age appropriate is beyond my comprehension abilities. How, exactly, are trains to be deemed inappropriate for 4-5 year-old boys? Why must he act so exasperated at their desire for all things train and ask me so desperately if they will outgrow this soon? Somehow I think he wouldn't be so displeased with their interest in transportation if they were more interested in planes, his favorite. I can only imagine the eye rolls and disgust he would express if they had taken to boats or, even better, submarines!

So, instead of taking full advantage of the opportunity to win the boys over again and again by indulging them in their passion for trains, he's vowed to never buy them trains again. That's alright with us, their family, because we certainly have no problem enabling their train addiction. It may not always be "Thomas" trains as they get older, but I don't see their train fascination dwindling anytime soon, not when one of them is so certain he wants to become a conductor when he grows up.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Driving Cross-Country Chronicles - Day 2

Wednesday morning began a tad later than I thought it would with us waking up well after eight o'clock and getting everyone fed breakfast and not beginning the drive to the Louisville, Kentucky, area until nearly ten. With nearly 10 hours of driving to our next destination, our timing was less than ideal.

LMX was not happy with the long distance driving, prompting me for a stop with each passing hour...or less. I finally determined part of his problem might have been due to pressure in his ears from going up and down through the mountains as I noticed some irritating pops in my own ears. I would eventually learn that he probably just hates being in his carseat for any length of time beyond 15 minutes regardless of the terrain's grading.

Speaking of going up and down mountains, I thought my car might get airborn on one of the downhill cruises. My cruise control was set around 65 mph, but with a rapid increase to 85 and no indication of reaching a plateau soon, I tapped the brakes enough to keep us from defying gravity...though that would have made the trip so much shorter. Soon after, NS zoomed past me; he did not feel the need to interfere with nature by using his brakes, so his car exceeded normal traveling speeds by a little bit. All in all, it was a fun time.

Nearing one in the afternoon, right past the entrance to West Virginia, we took a break for lunch. This began with me with me hanging up my phone and then gasping in horror as it slide into my very full 32 oz cup of water instead of the pocket on the side of the diaper bag. I fished it out as quickly as I could in my state of shock and disbelief. I rushed to remove the plastic case in which it is kept "for protection" and started soaking up water and wiping off water and shaking out water. It seems to have survived well, without any loss of functionality or disfigurement, but ever since then, I've been bombarded, more or less, with a message about how "this accessory is not compatible with the iPhone" or some such admonishment, to which I say, "Duh. Water's not a compatible accessory for the iPhone. No kidding, huh?"

Anyway, Big Dog still refused all offers of food during our stop, even human food, as he had been doing for two full days by now. M and J expelled some energy by running around in the grass and posing for some pictures.

I also captured an amusing shot of Miss P airing out her tongue.

With LMX taking a solid four-hour nap after we got back on the road, we were able to cover some quality mileage for the first time since we'd left. We still didn't get to our hotel in Clarksville, Indiana, until almost 8:30 that night, which meant it was nearly nine before we sat down to dinner at IFKAMH's place. Following a late night round of rough-housing, we retreated to the hotel for a night of rest and rejuvenation. The plan for the next day was to meet at their house for lunch and then go to a nearby water park.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Baby's 1st meme...

Y'all, this is LMX here. Momma's nearly caught up with the backlog of blog posts in her Google Reader, so you should be hearing from her real soon. In the meantime, I'm taking over to answer some super personal questions for all your inquisitive minds.

1. Cloth or disposable? Well, I've only ever tried disposables (Yeah Pampers!), but as soon as momma gets paid this week, she's ordering me some bumGenius! 3.0 clothies. Promise I'll make her tell you more about them after I've tried 'em out.

2. Breast or bottle? One of daddy's friends sent me a bib that says, "Boobies make me smile," and has a smiley under that; it suits me well;> I've not had the artificial stuff, and mom's planning to keep it that way. I have taken a few bottles with momma's milk, though, and it's a suitable alternative.

3. Eczema or reflux? Neither...whew!

4. Jumparoo or play mat? Jumperoo! JUMPEROO! JUMPEROOOOO! There is no other toy I love more...I get bouncy just thinking about it. As far as I'm concerned, we could just do away with the rest of that crap.

5. Mommy or Daddy? I love people. Just talk to me all excited with a smile, and I'm your friend...until I get hungry.

6. Sling, front carrier, or stroller? Sling was great in the beginning, super easy for me to snuggle against momma's chest and make her feel like she's got a kangaroo pouch, but it's getting a little difficult for mom to fit me into, I think. Now, for anything more than a quick trip, I'm hanging out with ease in the Ergo carrier. Mom would rave about it if you asked her how she likes it. Apparently, it's quite easy on the back and will hold me for years to come. She'd probably tell you these are a couple of her most favorite purchases despite their cost. I've got a questionable tolerance for the stroller...well, maybe that's just because of the disdain I have for my carseat carrier, which mom may tell you more about as she finishes the chronicles of our drive to Washington.

7. Pacifier or thumb? Usually, pacifier. I don't use my fingers or thumbs much for comfort or soothing, but I do love them for entertainment.

8. Bumbo seat or bouncy seat? Bumbo ALL THE WAY. I love feeling like I can sit and hang with everyone as they do their sitting.

9. White noise or silence while sleeping? I think my mom would prefer it to be silent while we sleep, but I don't really care what's going on while I snooze.

10. Crib, Pack'n'Play, or parents' bed? I fall asleep in mom's arms. She takes me to the Pack'n'Play next to her and dad's bed, but I sleep next to her in their bed after I wake up for a middle of the night feeding. I hear we'll be changing out the Pack'n'Play for one of my big brothers' cribs once we move into the new house, though.

Thanks Zoot and Culture Cat for a cute and fun twist on the blog meme!

And, yes, AndyZ, I know about the feet, too. Just wait 'til you get them in your mouth...positively awesome discovery!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Driving Cross-Country Chronicles - Day 1...

We left Virginia on Tuesday, August 12th, as planned, just a few hours later than we'd hoped.

First of all, both packing and truck-loading took an extra day each, with our storage unit not getting done until Tuesday morning. I had gotten up early, after getting a whopping two and a half hours of sleep, to meet the movers at the storage unit when the gates open, at seven o'clock, and I thought I was running late when I didn't get there until 7:25. Around eight, I sent NS a text message asking if he had a number to call the movers because I wasn't sure if they'd been there and left or if they just hadn't gotten there yet. I got a message from the moving company a couple minutes later that they were on their way. By nine, one of the trucks was there, the smaller one, driven by one of the packing ladies. The bigger truck was right behind her but disappeared. They had to find a place to turn around and park because the big truck wouldn't fit in the storage area. Our check out inspection was originally scheduled for ten in the morning, but when nothing had been loaded on the truck by 9:45, and I was ten minutes from home with cleaning and car-stuffing left to do, we would not be able to keep that appointment. I called to get it rescheduled for noon.

Just after I left the storage unit, I got attacked by what I now deem to be "sleep-deprived, stressed stomach pains", which are kind of like having a vice grip with razor-sharp ends squeezing my midsection. This happened Saturday morning, too, which is why I think it's from lack of complete sleep, seeing as that was another late night/early morning combo. Well, this shortly rendered me useless in the efforts to finish cleaning the house and packing the cars. Thankfully, NS is awesome and made sure we were ready to go; my family also helped with consolidating some items into bags and accepting items we couldn't take with us, like all our candles and cleaning supplies, NS's woodworking liquids, and my betta fish...yep, Marmaduke was adopted by my mom and her husband.

So, by 2:30 we were finally able to start the drive up to DC to visit with Missalove and her husband and their kiddos for dinner. But, about twenty minutes later, LMX had woken up and wanted me to stop. This was not a good omen for the long drives ahead.

We made it to this first official stop around 6:30 in the evening. After dinner for all the solid food eaters at Red Robin and a meal for LMX back at the house, we were driving again in a few hours. I needed gas about an hour later, and by this time, I was desperate for a place to lay down and sleep. The thought of driving for more than another hour to get to where we were planning to stop for the night was so far beyond less than appealing, so we wandered a little way down the road from the gas station and stayed at a Ramada in Strasburg for the night.

Sleep has rarely felt so good or well-deserved as it did that night. The freedom to rest without the nagging, subconscious awareness of an alarm set, ready to shock the peace out of my mind just to witness my heart quicken its pace to panic mode as it forces my muscles to take flight away from the bed, was a welcome relief from the night's before.