Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fun with the Cousins

It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt!

*Ava wasn't hurt, S had a [very, very] little bloody nose. Two minutes later, he was back in service and joining the dog-pile.

Our Long Awaited Vacation

My grandparents moved up to Washington a couple of years ago and we hadn't gone up to visit yet. We attempted to on 3 different times, but something always came up. Nothing was going to stop us this time. We worked it out so I could take the first part of my econ final as usual, and then the second part I would email my answers to my professor by the deadline and give her my scantron Monday morning.

After finishing the first part for one of my finals, I came home, we packed up the van, and off we went. All 6 of us, 3 suitcases, 1 pac-n-play, 1 stroller, 1 baby bjorn, 4 carseats, 3 water bottles, 1 sippy cup, 2 backpacks (filled with toys, books, and food), and 1 diaper bag, were on our way!

Here's a quick recap of what we did:

(As written by N) "Over the break, I... went to Seattle. I went to the Space Needle, held a fish, and beat my Grandpa at Yahtzee."

All of it is true, especially the Yahtzee part! N had never heard of Yahtzee, and before the night was over, he beat Poppa 3 times. [That boy must have some Gage blood.]

Day 1: Off we went. The kids (minus Z) were really good. The 3 older ones were great on the airplane. S was a little scared at take-off and landing, but Daddy kept making faces and telling jokes to keep him distracted. Z cried for the whole flight, minus the 15 minutes prior to landing.... talk about cranky pants!

Immediately we were amazed at what fresh, clean, crisp air smelt like. It had been a LONG while since we have experienced that. Best of all, we got to use our coats... go figure, the middle of October and we got to wear coat! :)

We got our rental and headed north. We arrived to the house about 9pm, unloaded, and the boys immediately found some toys.

Day 2: I slept good. Daddy got up with Z during the night because he was crying, but I didn't hear anything. (Daddy says I did hear Z because I'm the one who woke E up, but I don't remember a thing!) The boys got to meet/play with their "girl" cousins (Gianna and Ava.) We went to lunch, then went around Whatcom Falls. [Z was still crying and being cranky!] We got back, then the 3 older went on the trail with Daddy and Poppa, while I stayed with Nonna and a sleeping Z. The girls were antsy because the boys were taking too long (they were gone for over 2 hours).

Day 3: Attempted to go to Seattle. (note the word attempted!) We were almost 1/2 way there, but Z wouldn't stop screaming. We did a little shuffle of carseats, E & I played musical chairs, offered him some milk, nothing was working. We decided to take him to urgent care because he was extremely irritated with something, and he would occasionally tug on his ears. We headed back and took him to the doctor.

Diagnosis: "He has a stuffy nose and the sniffles. Don't worry though, it can sometimes be confused as something else."

[My thoughts: Are you kidding me? Shall I remind you that we brought 4 kids, 5 and under, on a 3-hour flight flight. We're on vacation and I KNOW that I will hear crying at some point.... I hear screaming and fighting all day long, really, I'm used to it. But this out-of-control screaming that this kid is doing, isn't just me confusing an ear infection for the sniffles! We (people like E & I) don't go to the doctor over a stuffy nose. Sniffles and stuffy noses are just like "he probably has allergies or something" even if it lasts for a few weeks. Did I mention he is the youngest of 4 children?]

Yes, he has a stuffy nose, AND a very strong will for getting his way. If he had an ear infection, we could chalk his fusiness up to not feeling good, but instead, we were faced with the reality of our child wanting his way, and wanting it now! (i.e. not being restrained in a carseat for more than 2 minutes)

After the kids went to bed, we played a little card game.

Day 4: We took 2 cars to Seattle. (the screaming boy was NOT going to have his way. Sorry, but we are on VACATION, and you're crankiness will just have to wait!) E took the younger 2 (who didn't make a peep the whole way there) and the rest of us went in the van. We had lunch, went to the Children's Museum, Space Needle, and Pike's Place Fish Market. N got to hold a fish, and then we found a vendor that will selling fresh donuts. [Yumm!]

On the way back, we took a restroom break and E kept eyeing the Fish Market. I joking asked, "Are you sad you didn't get to catch a fish?" and he immediately [embarrassingly] admitted that he was.

"I wonder if you have to buy it, just in case you don't catch it?"

"Just go ask. If need be, we'll buy a fish so that you can catch it."

Look who's lucky day it was!

Z cried the last 10 minutes of the ride home, but E was still on cloud nine from his fishy adventure, that he didn't really mind.

Day 5: We had a yummy breakfast and left for the airport. After confusion of whether we would get our original flight [they had overbooked the flight by 4, and 3 of us were part of that 4. Towards the end, they would allow 4 of us, but not 5 (Z was a lap-child), which meant that one of us got to go with all the kids, and someone would have to stay. (Did I mention that we had 4 kids, 3 suitcases, 1 pac-n-play, 1 stroller, 1 baby bjorn, 4 carseats, 3 water bottles, 1 sippy cup, 2 backpacks, and 1 diaper bag? All of that, and one adult? Oh, that's funny- Talk about a sight to see!)

At the very last minute, a single guy gave up his seat because he had watched all the drama unfold (our willingness to take a 6.5 hour later flight to make it easier for the airline, but then SW wouldn't compensate all of us becase 3 of us were still "unticketed") BUT we made it home, and on time.

Hooray! We had an absolute blast. The boys had so much fun with their cousins. We loved seeing Grandpa, Grandma, Troy & Julie (and the girls too!). Everything was green (yet another distant memory) and people were nice. Seriously, it's like a whole new world. People don't drive crazy, they say hello, and love being outdoors. Oh, it was awesome. We can't wait for the next time we can go visit.

Here's some pictures for your viewing pleasure.