this saturday past, we experienced a chain of failures. we didn't go to the little gym because oliver was manifesting periodic fevers with his new cold. he started coming down with it last thursday, around the time of his xmas pageant, where he stood silently and motionless on stage. second year in a row to come away from the pageant with a fever.
in lieu of the little gym, we decided to head over to north park mall to exhcange a too large sweater we had purchased for violet from hanna andersson. i think you see where this is going. the garage where i usually park was spilling over the brim and i headed down the little mall road to try the parking garage, but that means you have to try to turn left at this one ridiculous intersection, which is enough to upset one on a normal day. but, when an suv decided to cut around me as i waited for a break in traffic, i lost my shit and hauled ass out of there.
oh, but before that, a car backed into my driver's side door and left a big scuff mark while we were in the world market parking lot. and then, they drove away. i've got their license plate number, but can't decide whether or not to pursue it. like, if they had gotten out of the car i probably would just said never mind, but feel free to give me $50 for my trouble. but now, i want them to know they are retarded for thinking they could back their license plate up to my window and think i wouldn't write it down.
we decided, fuck it, we'll go to the arboretum. our membership is about to expire and there was supposed to be 15 flavors of xmas presiding over there. the kids both fell asleep about ten seconds into the commute, so we stopped for coffee and bagels and sat in the parking lot for a bit. then we continued heading on over to the arboretum, found a spot, and got the stroller set up. at this point, i realized it was a bit breezy and chilly and we had not dressed for the occasion, which you think would've occurred to me prior to this point. so, we got back in the car and went home for lunch.
we didn't go back out again until evening was approaching we had decided to brave the sub-freezing evening temps (low of 31 degrees!) and drive way the hell up to mckinney, or whichever far-flung suburb it was, to see not dinosaurs... not xmas lights... but, dinosaurs AND xmas lights.
we immediately had misgivings upon pulling into what was labeled the "overflow lot" for the event. we had to walk down the middle of the tiny neighborhood road in the middle of traffic and then up another road and then across a small field with the stroller only to find a line snaking its way from the front door of the heard museum and into the cold darkness. could they not put some xmas lights and perhaps a jam box playing xmas music out there?
we considered bailing and just admitting total defeat for the entirety of the day, but the line sort of seemed to be moving at an almost acceptable pace and we had driven something like 30-40 minutes to get that far. it took at least half an hour to reach the door, so we were up to about 7pm at this point... one hour prior to oliver's usual bedtime. he had been strangely quiet the whole time, perhaps because he was confused by all the bundling. or by the fact that he was half ill.
we got in and purchased tickets and i peed in a thankfully empty restroom. oliver was sitting in a chair looking totally miserable and said he didn't want to go outside and we were like, c'mon... just step out the door and see what you think. and we finally got out there and went down the ramps to the ground below and started down the very bumpy dinosaur trail with the stroller. half the lights had managed to go out and we were told the dinosaurs were deactivated due to the cold and i later decided that was probably for the best. we saw the first dinosaur and then the log cabin where father xmas and mother nature were taking up company with those wanting photos. it was too much hassle to do that, so we decided to continue on. or, so we thought. the line was at a dead stand still and we eventually figured out you did not have the option of walking the entire trail. the hay ride was mandatory. for the one billion people crammed in there. brian was carrying oliver at this point and we were wondering how on earth one takes a stroller with a baby in it on a hay ride.
not long after, i decided violet might have perished because her head had not budged for the entire time we had been there and brian started saying, "poke her!" and i poked kind of hard because i was cold and it was dark and i judged the distance badly and i didn't see her move. so i poked another time or two and it turned out she was still alive, so i snapped the lid to the stroller shut quickly. but it was too late and she started wailing, so brian took her back up the incredibly bumpy trail past the one billion people standing on the trail and not moving out of the way for the screaming baby and i was left holding oliver because he would cry immediately when his shoes would impact soil.
so, we moved slowly up in line while i sang xmas carols in his ear to make him feel more festive and i pointed out the stars in the trees and the large candy cane lights marking our eventual arrival at the hay ride. we climbed in, sang jingle bells and rudolph, managed to see a couple of the dinosaurs out in the dark, wearing their santa hats. oliver remained silent and sad-looking.
he started crying when i set him down for two seconds so that i could disembark. then, i carried him up the hill and all the ramps to the building. all thirty five pounds of him.
violet had ceased crying once in the building, but began again as we hightailed it out of there and she continued to scream most of the way home.
it was one of those occasions where you think you're going to be the best mom on the planet and it ends up with you being the worst mom on the planet and you imagine yourself recounting the story and someone tsk-ing because obviously no one in their right mind takes two small children out into the freezing darkness, especially when one is periodically ill and missing his bedtime.
sunday, we made a triumphant return to the arboretum and were delighted to find that instead of throngs of ornery children clumping up all over the good stuff, everyone was down at the mall, congesting the parking lots. we practically had the place to ourselves! no one was queued up for photos with santa. frosty and the elf were just walking along casually without any kids near them. rudolph only had one set of children asking for a photo. the play houses were only mildly active and oliver was able to get right in to pet donner, the reindeer.
the weather was gorgeous.
we decided that was the day to finally rent a wagon for oliver. he rode in it for about three minutes and then wanted to walk. of course, at some point, violet woke up. she rode quietly for a bit before making it known she wanted out of the stroller. so then, it was oliver walking, me carrying violet, and brian pushing the stroller and pulling the wagon.
this is oliver pretending to be a monster. it has nothing to do with anything.
it all felt manageable, but we were still left with that worn out feeling you can only get when you try to take two children around with you. we treated ourselves to freebird burritos. they call the half monster burritos "hybird burritos" now. when i first heard this, i was irritated enough to email the company and ask them to explain themselves, but i never did. brian asked what the hell at the counter and the employee said all the worker bees agreed.
monday was the first day of oliver's two week break from school. this meant he was available to take a road trip with me and violet to a wedding down somewhere in east texas (i still have no idea where we were). my sister's best friend since middle school, ellen (the one whose ex-husband turned out to be gay), was marrying our mutual good friend since i was in the 8th grade, jeromy. there story is super sweet and spans 25 years, but i won't hold you up with the details now.
i met my sister at the tanger outlet parking lot and went through the hullaballoo of transferring car seats. violet threatened to scream the remaining two hours of our trip until my niece let her play with an ipod. neither of the kids napped, which made me nervous.
we eventually arrived way out in the middle of nowhere at a little place called elmwood gardens. ellen's father had been born in the house out there. the property was eventually sold to her uncle who then sold it to the current proprietors who moved in some other old houses for a b&b and also built a building for weddings and receptions. well, how do you like that.
the wedding was very sweet and i threatened to cry as i watched ellen walk down the aisle on the arm of her elderly, cane-enabled father. i threatened to cry again as i heard jeromy's voice breaking during his vows. however, i was holding an incredibly wiggly toddler on my lap who was coming very close to stabbing me in the eyes and face with a retractible ballpoint pen, so that kind of killed the sentimentality.
we moved next door for a texas-style reception... light eating, cake, a couple of dances, and you're out the door. we saw some good friends and then loaded back up into my sister's vehicle.
*courtesy of AlexM Photography, who did a REALLY good job.
she entered tanger outlet mall into the return address on the GPS and chose what it called the quickest route. from what little i know of it, i hate GPS. it took us down countless, tiny country lanes. one two-lane highway ended up going through a small neighborhood and culminated in a tiny, 90-degree turn. we made a senseless loop around a highway. and then, it told us it would no longer be providing step-by-step directions and to just watch the arrow. at this point, we realized we were driving over the highway and past our destination. we looped back and took what we thought might be the exit, despite me pointing out the ROAD CLOSED sign. we ended up on a "road" of gigantic, car-swallowing potholes. i warned my sister to turn back or suffer the consequences, but she continued (especially since we had no idea what other way to get over there) and then we were finally in the parking lot. violet screamed the remaining 45 minutes back to the condo and oliver went back to sleep (he had passed out before we had even pulled away from the wedding, so his effective bedtime was around 5pm).
i was exhausted.
we went to violet's crooked head appointment yesterday and were told she should only have two more weeks to go. i can notice a difference just since last week and her head has grown 3mm in that amount of time. dang. after that, it was off to pick up photos and walk down to the world market and then over to finally return that sweater, which took at least an hour with oliver being in tow. it didn't help that he wanted apple juice from an overflowing starbucks or that santa was doing a puppet show along the way.
today, i am hanging from a thin thread. violet has officially caught oliver's cold and i could no longer admit i was healthy as of last night. i spent the entire night on the couch with violet while she woke a million times from coughing or general discomfort. she screamed for some of it as her nose was too stopped up to nurse. i was very mean to oliver earlier and eventually sent him to his room so i could calm down. he took a nap. just like that. took a nap. he's up now and i can't decide if i have the energy to take two small children down to the whole foods on my own. never mind i still need to wrap presents (hey, nap time would've been a good time to do that) and pack for the drive to my parents' tonight.
i hung three stockings last night. just in time to take them back down. we still don't have a fourth. i'll be using a green, knee-high sock for mine this year.
i just apologized to oliver for being mean. he said, "okay. away in a manger no crib for a bed..."