My mom was in town this past week. She (and her pets) needed a place to stay while her hardwood floors were re-done AND I needed an extra set of hands. For starters, we scheduled a family picture. Not good. Normally, I schedule photos in the morning when the girls are fresh. But because we wanted pictures taken outside and it is normally 10,000 degrees this time of year - not to mention a crazy harvest schedule - we ended up scheduling our photo session juuust before bedtime . Not.A.Good.Idea.
Grace and Charlotte are NEVER cooperative during professional photo sessions but at the end of the day? Outside? It was a mess! Not to mention how exhausted Court and I were. Trying to harness two kids and then slap-a-smile-on-your-face-while-contorting-your-body-so-the-rolls-don't-muffin-top-over-your-pants-all while-not-breaking-a-sweat because it is SUMMER was not a good recipe. The proofs will be
Up and at em bright and early the next day to head to Seattle. Me, my mom and the girls all in tow. Oh! Did I mention the pets were coming with us? What's a quick trip to Seattle without the dogs? Just my mom's three dogs - who actually were good as gold - but the dogs in the car just adds to my story.
Our time in Seattle was a whirlwind. Arriving at lunch time, we decided to hit up Madison Park. Not only is it VERY kid friendly (playground, toy store, my favorite bakery, etc) it is very dog friendly. Win-win. It is also home to one of my favorite restaurants - Cactus! The only downside to Madison Park is it is small. And for those of us who drive BIG cars, this can be a problem. All parking spots require the driver to back-in which isn't rocket science but throw in a ton of pedestrians, traffic and a gigantic bike rack on an already gigantic rig and this can mean to disaster.
After circling the block a few times in search of an easy-to-get-into parking spot, I lucked out. Granted, I had to wait 20 minutes for some elderly woman to dig in her purse for her keys and then find the ignition in order to insert the keys...then she fumbled with her window...she finally left and I was able to park. We were ready to get out of the car!
Obviously, lots of traffic had built up behind me as I waited for the spot so the pressure was on. First attempt (notice I say first attempt meaning that there was more than one attempt) my angle was all wrong. Redo. Second attempt, overcorrected and now I am up on the curb. Redo. Again. On the curb. Flustered, I hold my ground and let the traffic go by. Catch my breath. Realize I am across the street from a bus stop and guess what? Here comes a line of buses. Just my luck. So I am stuck on the curb until the buses load and unload. Several attempts later, I FINALLY settle into the parking spot. After getting out of the car, I was met by claps from two young guys who had been watching the show from a park bench. So much for looking cool. I just reinforced the stereotype that women can't drive. Sorry Danica Patrick!
We hit the park, the toy store and Cactus and we hit them hard! With full tummies (and a cake in tow!) it was time to head to my sister's pad for nap time. My sister's 2 BR, 2 BA condo shrank significantly when we rolled in. Picture us - three adults, two children and four dogs all in about 1,000 square feet. Luckily, the weather was completely crappy - as in RAIN in JULY - because I think I would have completely lost my sh*t had it been 85 degrees, us all crammed in there trying to sleep with no AC!!
The kids didn't nap because I put them in the same room to sleep for the first time. Grace in the bed and Charlotte in her portable crib. Instead, they just made funny faces at each other and giggled and laughed. Better than screaming. I left them in there for an hour or so for some peace and quiet because when they woke up, it was off to dinner where Charlotte was enamored with the I-drop-crap-on-the-floor-and-you-pick-it-up game. But Charlotte, being Charlotte, changed up the game just slightly. Instead of innocently dropping her crap on the floor where I could quickly bend down and get it, she decided to play I-launch-my-crap-into-and-under-all-nearby-tables-so-people-can-glare-at-my-mommy game. Needless to say, much wine was had at dinner!
Bedtime. Charlotte passed out in a heartbeat in her crib. Thank God! I kept Grace up well past her bedtime because she and I shared a bed. Have you ever shared a bed with a toddler?!?! Don't answer that. It's awful. They toss and turn and wakeup and cling and kick. That went on for what seemed like forever but trying to estimate time in the middle of the night is always difficult. You shut your eyes for what seems like 20 seconds and five hours flies by. Literally, the second Grace fell asleep Charlotte woke up for her morning feeding which usually happens at about 4:30 am. While I gave her a bottle, I prayed that it wasn't quite so early; that once I got her down I could go back to sleep for another six hours. I checked the clock. 4:37 am!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Friday morning we did a little shopping, a little eating and then it was time to pack up and head to Bellevue for the REAL reason we were making this whirlwind trip to Seattle in the first place. An appointment with the dermatologist. At 4 pm. On a Friday. Can you say traffic?
My dermatologist is notorious for running a wee bit behind schedule and as we had arrived in Bellevue a a little early, I called the office to see if he was on or behind schedule. Good news!! I'm not on the schedule.
Luckily, the doctor and his staff know that I live three hours away and that I usually have to move mountains in order to attend my appointments. So they agreed to stay late and see me at the end of the day. Yay!! With a couple of hours to kill...we decided to - what else? - eat! Then back in the car where we hoped the girls, with their full tummies and the 10,361st viewing of Beauty and the Beast might lull them to sleep. Our plan looked like it was working perfectly (woo hoo hahhahah) so my mom decided to hang in the car with the niNos while I went to the doctor.
Most people equate the dermatologist with acne or the "B" word - Botox. I, on the other hand, equate the derm with skin cancer. After having had two melanomas and numerous pre-cancer moles removed, my bi-annual appointments usually require several follow-up appointments where I end up being sliced and diced. *Sigh* Unfortunately, this was that kind of an appointment. A four inch incision on my right breast was my parting gift but it beats the alternative, right? (Biopsy to come this week... Let's hope for clear margins! Clear margins! That's 'cancer' talk for they got it all!)
Oh well! At least I can just sit in the car and have a quiet drive home...with me, my mom, my two sleeping children, my mom's three dogs and my sister's dog, because I am dog sitting...are you laughing yet?!
As I approached the car, I can see my mom bouncing Charlotte. Not a good sign. As I got closer, I can see that Grace has just woken up and is in one of her moods. Uh oh. Mind you, we were trying to get over the pass before 8 pm for the scheduled road construction closure. Grumpy kids might slow down most mothers but not this lead foot! Onwards and upwards!! Unfortunately, I quickly realized it wouldn't be the girls slowing us down, it would be the DEAD BATTERY!! Yes, I am a car genius and didn't realize that letting Grace watch her moving in the car for an hour or so would completely drain the battery. Live and learn, eh? Thank God for AAA!!
An hour and half later, we were on the road and headed for home with a little under an hour to 'beat' the closure. At about 7:55, I told my mom it didn't look good. We had five minutes to go about 12 miles. Being stuck in a construction road closure means you basically pull off the highway for about an hour while the crews do what they need to do. Then the road re-opens and you are on your way. Not the end of the world but when traveling with children you just never know.
Lucky for us, the road wasn't closed. Finally a little luck coming our way! The kids didn't sleep the entire way - which meant two complete viewings of Beauty and the Beast and one complete viewing of Snow White - so much for that peaceful ride home, huh? Oh well. We made it and let me tell you Home Place never looked so sweet!
Ok now off to respond to my back log of emails! Never a dull moment!!