August 9, 2013

ignorant bliss

Oh kansas, you seem a little confused, if memory serves me right it goes APRIL showers bring MAY flowers… although, who am I to complain about rain in August. Not I; normally the Midwest would be brutal with the need to seek refuge from the blistering heat but instead we have enjoyed the influx of mosquitos and lots of mud...

A child’s dream playground; no concrete jungle for these babes of mine!

And so,  last weeks family adventure landed us at Hillsdale State Park, with every intention of remaining for, wait for it, 48 hours!


It’s a learning curve people, seriously I know somewhere there is a punch line associated to the joke, how many trips in a travel trailer does it take, to make it past 24 hours…

It’s the little things in life, and in this particular circumstance just pure ignorance. We laughed when we saw people at the site driving 5 miles an hour towing these dwarfed plastic containers. WTF, it looked ridiculous, we were dumfounded by what they could possibly be?

Well ladies and gents, tah dah, we are the assholes … that coveted plastic container in the RV world is a 30 gallon tote-along tank. Yep, when you have given your babes three baths thus far and cleaning up from your fifth meal, it's at that very moment you turn to your husband and make some sarcastic remark  regarding the water that is pooling in the sink… and then you check the bathtub.


See what we needed at that moment was yep, a 30 gallon tote-along tank, and since we are super smart and did not even know those existed, fucking unicorns, we did not have one. Which required hooking the trailer back up to the truck and taking it to the waste water dump site at the park to then unhitch and set everything back up again, too daunting. So the decision was made to head for the hills… oh wait, I mean away from the hills.

Oh the humor in our daily life, so with two 19 month olds we had to pack up and hitch the trailer in 30 minutes. Oh why, you ask, we were smart and only stayed an hour and 15 minutes from the storage facility but it was 7:50pm and the storage facility closes at 10:00pm.

Bam! Success 9:47pm trailer drop and headed home…

Lesson 1: Things that look ridiculous in RV parks are a necessity

Lesson 2: Survival of the fittest requires many gadgets


Lesson 3: Not a thing matters when you have results such as these

August 2, 2013

and so it begins

If you had to hear my incessant bitching regarding our first flight experience with the babes, you will be happy to know we fulfilled our vow to avoid flying with them for years to come.

Oh, yes we did, and as a result bought a second home…

You would have thought our flight experience would have been enough to convince us that a travel trailer was a must, yet we toyed with the idea… as I have unbridled fear of commitment.

The kicker was when I realized I found myself using the word NO more than I had ever intended… I cringed when I started to identify the implications that I am constantly redirecting behaviors that include observation, exploration, and boundary pushing… what the fuck am I doing, I thought to myself.

It was at that moment a home away from home became a necessity.

A place where NO is limited and observation, exploration, and boundary pushing activities, intentions, and behaviors are fostered. A place where being a mother is taken out of context and ultimately out of my comfort zone. A time to wander the elusive road that is known to be less traveled.

In truth, I needed to lighten up.

I am a social worker… yep, I tell people daily to navigate with eyes wide open. I know the ramifications of the past and how it is often used to shield the future. What I don’t know is how to abandon control… what it is to be a child. There is a story lodged in the spaces between those words, however, another day… another time.

As what we have here is our first attempt… strategically planned 24 hours, and I will tell you it will take several more for me to truly find solitude in letting go. For being a mama bird means forever trying to protect my babes and pulling a 31’ trailer behind us at speeds upward of 70 miles an hour down dusty highways and around blind turns made for many dirty looks, exaggerated seat shifting, using the word dude, and the occasional… what the fuck man until we arrived at our destination.

I can tell you, the first night was, thus far our only night. Nothing like boisterous thunderstorms and eccentric lightning dances, lasting for 6 hours plus, to make one thankful not to be in a tent. As expected our babes refused to sleep, this has been a regular treat at home as of late, and in this case surrender occurred. Placing me with Bell in the queen size bed, and my husband with Pistol in a twin size bunk… clinging on to warmth with the infant sized crochet blanket left behind by Bell.

Although my husband is a hero, it is no picnic to sleep with Bell. This babe rotates in her sleep; I equate her to an Australian Shepard herding sheep, and I ultimately find myself hugging the edge of the mattress. Not to mention her random screams in the middle of the night when she stirs and realizes her “ba ba” is not in her mouth. As a result, triggering my fight or flight response in my attempt to locate the elusive “ba ba”. Yet, she sleeps soundly through the ever so daunting pounding rain and snaps of thunder. I remember multiple times, that night, thinking my husband was walking around the trailer as it swayed from side to side… attempting to call out to him in a pathetic whisper as to not wake the beast next to me.

Tah dah, so on this gloomy journey we survived and both my babes found a little piece of heaven.

well at least until it was time to get out of the water...

June 18, 2013

We Failed As Parents

Disclaimer… longest post ever, inappropriate language, and my personal experience and attitude problem

Saturday June 8

The ease to which we conquered our first flight was an anomaly 

We felt relatively unscathed; matter of fact we thought we were brilliant. We upgraded our boarding passes to be two of the first 5 people to board the plane. Acquired a row of seats to ourselves in the front; no one dared to brave the middle seat between us for our two and a half hour flight to Vegas.

We were prepared, armed with enough recommended tips and tricks to gorge our, lovely hipster carry on’s, petunia pickle bottom abundance boxy backpack and wistful weekender. Pistol slept soundly and Bell, well we kept her busy with our talents and wit and holy shit our plane even arrived early.

We encountered our first hurdle at the Vegas airport; although we had opted out of checking a stroller, as we were perfectly happy with ergo wearing our newly walking twins… they were not. They wanted down immediately and were off; this is when we began to realize the hipster carry on’s were HEAVY.

With that said If I read your blog or article on tips for flying with toddlers I want to say a big FUCK YOU; yep, it is like that! I will put it out there…. preparation is futile; flying with toddlers SUCKS and I would suggest never doing it… specifically with 18 month old twins.

We attempted to eat lunch at a Mexican Restaurant in the Vegas airport, which was challenging, as the nifty invention of a high chair was non-existent. Once again we were super brilliant and upgraded our boarding passes ...A5 and A6, oh hell yes!

Oh, I mean hell no… this was the first of three flights from hell. First let me give two of three big FUCK YOU’s to Southwest airlines. As I have highlighted our brilliance on numerous occasions, on paying 40 dollars a ticket to upgrade boarding for piece of mind, never in the discourse with southwest employees about the flight to Reno being over booked did they let us in on pertinent information, but first…

As two of the first six to board the plane, and yet finding out upon boarding, the flight had people still on it from the previous flight, we scored upfront seating. Knowing we would have to share I took the window and Brennan took the middle. Once situated we noticed it was extremely hot on the plane, there was no air.

Lets recap, Bellamy refused to sleep on the first flight, was tired of sitting, and no air on the plane with outside temps being 100+… disaster. Bell freaked out, I mean full tantrum in a very small space meant mom getting hit and kicked in the face. I wanted to cry, as there was nothing I could do to redirect her, nothing in our magic bags of preparation worked.  A small break arrived when a man boarding looked at Bell and said to her “all she needs is a handsome Norwegian to look at to make her happy”, or make her think for one moment “how can I get louder”, because yep.

Rocking her she finally calmed down and relaxed as the plane lifted off the ground… and this is where Southwest Airlines failed us as patrons. As we were getting our safety lesson a flight attended approached us and told Brennan he would have to move. Wait, what, yes this is correct.

You cannot have more than 4 people seated in a row and we had 5. I am telling you, drink orders had already been taken and my husband with my son had to trade places with someone and if you can believe it, people refused to give up the aisle seat for a middle seat. Luckily the lady sitting next to us on the aisle took the middle so an asshole could sit in the aisle seat. I understand, I would hate to move but it was an emergency… which Brennan and Pistol moving, set Bell off for another 15 minutes. I held her tight to my chest and she finally passed out from heat and exhaustion.  I could not move, not to get gum to help my ears, not to get a drink… I sat clutching my daughter fearing her wrath and cried for the hour flight to Reno.

Now here it is… the moment I admit we failed as parents.

Yes, this was the thought perusing my brain as I wrangled Bell as we awaited our baggage, cursing the weight of our carry on’s, and lingered in 104 degree heat wondering where in the fuck our rental car shuttle was. Boarding the shuttle I was exhausted and emotionally void of feeling; people it was rough. It just got worse…  I will spare you the details and tribulations of our hotel in Reno and say that we got to have dinner with great people.

Sunday June 9

The following morning we said goodbye to Reno and headed an hour to Lake Tahoe to yet another hotel and to bare witness to a wedding, well at least Brennan and Pistol did. See it was raining at this outdoor wedding, in Tahoe, out of nowhere, and Bell could not be confined, so we walked along the lake looking for bugs and collecting dandelions.

Monday June 10

Once again, do you see a theme… after having an impromptu breakfast at a lone picnic table at the lake we set forth on a two and half hour drive to Chester, California to visit my brother, his wife heather and my 6 month old niece, Juliana. Chester was lovely, and my babes had the opportunity to play in Lake Almanor.

Wednesday June 12

Let me revisit the statement… we failed as parents. How the hell did we ever think it was appropriate to subject our babes to so many transitions? Leaving at 7:00am Wednesday morning to drive the 2 hours to Reno Airport my anxiety was active and I was ready to start crying. We were about to get on two planes with a total of 4.5 hours in the air with the longest stretch being the second flight with only 30 minutes to get to our connecting flight.

We arrived early to the Reno airport, which was a mistake as unlike Vegas, there were no true restaurants to get appropriate food for the babes. We attempted to feed them premade sandwiches but they refused to eat the ham or turkey, which normally is what they eat. In addition, there was no milk anywhere and they had just finished what we had brought with us.  Bell screamed through the exhausting wait at the security check point as she wanted down from siting for hours in the car.

Once again we upgraded our boarding to A7 and A8; as we awaited boarding I got a sinking feeling in my stomach. I told Brennan I wanted to rent a car and drive home. I did not care how long it would take I did not want to fly. We attempted to contact car rental agencies and were quoted prices 1000+.  The plane began to board and we decided it was a must to fly and get home as quick as possible.

As we were waiting in line, knowing we would have to get aisle seats across from each other to sit together, here is number 3... FUCK YOU to southwest airlines, a lady asks us what number we have. We say A7 and A8 and she says well I have A8 too. The lady walks over to the ticket collector lady and shares her discovery, to which her and Brennan are sent to the ticket counter as we are boarding. Once again I start to cry out of pure frustration. We paid 80 bucks for this inconvenience.

Once again, someone was looking out for me, as the gentleman who was supposed to be in front of me had let me in front of him saying “go ahead I have 3 of those and I know how hard it can be”, I thanked him as my husband ran off. As we started to board the lady returned and said her ticket was correct and his was wrong and he is still at the counter. I lost it, another over booked flight and only 30 minutes to catch our connecting flight, the same gentleman says to me, “why don’t I take the aisle across from you and when your husband gets on I will let him sit there”. I was dumbfounded by his kindness, I could not believe it and as the plane filled he kept his word and took a seat towards the back of the plane.
I sat rocking Bell, who was freaking out, until she fell asleep… crying softly.

Upon landing, due to the Reno flight being late, we had even less time to get to the gate with no time to get any of the necessities that would include milk, food, or a diaper change. Once again, I felt sick. Bell wanted down and it was not a possibility, I was feeling completely overwhelmed as we boarded. The three hour flight was thus far the longest moment in time ever.  Luckily, I had two wonderful row mates… women who shared they sat by me on purpose to help as they have been there. They helped me keep Bell occupied and minimized the embarrassment and anxiety that came with her 15 minute tantrums as she kick and hit me wanting to get down. The last hour of the flight was the most brutal. Yet, we survived.

Let me tell you, kindness of strangers, knowing your babes favorite things which in our case, we packed straws, target dollar sticker books, and IPads which were all that was helpful in my futile attempt to be prepared. Luckily, we lightened our load on the return flights as I left one of my hipster carryon’s in the hotel closet in Tahoe.
What I wish someone would have said to me is… what the fuck do you think you are doing. What do they say about hindsight, well fuck that, foresight is where it is at and this includes purchasing an RV and driving, with weeks to spare, to any future destinations.

Oh, and just in case you did not think this was ridiculous enough… shout out to my amazing husband who thought it was a good idea to leave the key to the car in the suit case. The shuttle for the airport drops us off at our car and all I want is to get home. However, I am chasing my son around the parking lot, while my daughter is screaming because I will not let her out of the ergo. My clothing is strewn about the parking garage as my husband is frantically searching for the key to the car. After 15 minutes, of forgetting where he put it, he locates the key and we are off. Yep, it is all about love, right?

With the bad and the ugly you inevitably find some good. There were some beautiful moments... simple moments for all of us to breath and acquire some personal space which mainly took place in the lovely Lake Almanor.