Thursday morning I got myself and the kids up at 3:45 a.m. and schlepped us all to the airport to go to Minnesota. Somehow a miracle occured and I was physically able to drag the following in to the airport: Myself, Andrew strapped on to my front, Becca walking, a stroller heaped with Andrew's infant car seat, Becca's high back booster, a purse, a giant carry-on diaper bag, a small princess backpack, three winter coats and a rolling suitcase. Don't try this at home. Trust me. If anyone so much as looked at me sideways, everything would fall apart. The stroller would tip over, the bag would be open and fall over, dumping everything out, Becca would have to go potty right then. And, I think I said this 346,268 times,"Don't put your mouth on anything! Stop licking that!" It was precarious, getting through security. But we made it. The hardest part was over.
The flight was fine. The flying part isn't the problem, especially because I spend what would normally be our airfare cost on new books, toys, crafts and snacks. I spare no expense when it comes to being trapped in a small space with two kids. And, naturally, Becca carries her antibacterial wipe as we get on the plane and we both spend a few minutes wiping every surface of our row before we settle in.
My mantra for the weekend was "Don't get sick until we get home. Don't get sick until we get home. We just have to make it through this weekend."
We were supposed to stay with our friends Carrie and Mark and their kids. But, as I was standing in line at the rental car counter, Carrie told me that her school-age daughter had a fever. I really appreciated her telling me about that ahead of time and honestly. We had really been looking forward to staying with them, but my brain got stuck in a loop that said this: "H1N1, H1N1, H1N1...."
....and I backed out. I really was disappointed that we couldn't stay with them, but I know my kids. And someone would end up in the ER. I also know myself. And I know I would have been too anxiety-ridden to handle it. And, unfortunately for them, her daughter does have what they think is H1N1 and STILL has a fever. I really hope it gets back to normal for them soon. Because it sounded not very fun over there.
This brings us to the part where I was trying to figure out a hotel, and driving to Aunt Linda and Uncle Phil's to use their computer. Here an iPhone would have come in really handy! I was desperately trying to get the kids fed and unloaded at the hotel before nap time. It was cold and raining. Carrie very graciously brought us soup and lent us her pack-n-play and other baby items. She also helped me check in. We never could have made it without her!
This story could go on and on. But, basically I spent a day or two dragging luggage and kids around until we worked out a new plan. Thankfully, many people rearranged their plans for us (Bonnie, Ralph, David, Tara--thank you!) and we were able to get settled at Bonnie's for the rest of the weekend. Whew!
Tara, David, Susan, Me
And....then I spent a few days just not sleeping. Andrew screamed for hours at night. I don't know why. One night found me and Andrew up playing at 2 a.m. and me and Becca up talking at 4 a.m. The kids woke up every day between 4:15 and 5:30 a.m. It was hideous. I was like a mom to a newborn again. One night Becca had a fever. One night Andrew had a fever. One morning Becca barfed a little in her bed and I thought we were in for it. But somehow, somehow another miracle occurred and the fevers went away and there were no more barfing incidents and we made it. We made it! Thank the baby Jesus.
The whole reason we went to Minnesota was to go to my Nana's 100th birthday party. There was tons of preparation going on over at Phil and Linda's house. They expected a huge crowd for the party. I really wanted to help, and did attempt to, but the kids did their thing and made it nearly impossible. Now, this was all happening in Minneapolis at the house where my mom and her siblings grew up. Nana now lives in Rochester with my Aunt Julie.
On the morning of the party, Julie called to say that Nana wouldn't be able to make the drive up for the party. She had a UTI and was oxygen-deprived and confused and not doing well. Much fluttering ensued. Should we cancel the giant party? We decided to continue on with the party. The momentum was rolling. There was no way we could contact everyone. Plus, it was also a family reunion of sorts. People coming in from everywhere. People I hadn't seen in 20 years. People who would enjoy seeing each other. So, the party went on.
My mom and her cousins in their traditional "on the stairs" photo
We lit 100 candles for Nana and sang happy birthday to her. It was beautiful. Of course, I came dragging in the door late, just as the singing was starting. I tossed the children on the floor and grabbed the video camera. Someone had Aunt Julie on skype so she could see what was going on. It was sad that Nana wasn't there. But, it was also happy that so many people love her and showed up to wish her a happy birthday!
The kids held up during the party. We stayed as long as we possibly could, and for the first time, I had to miss the singing and piano playing that always finishes off our family gatherings, because this happened:
Andrew at the party
Note to Andrew: this is what happens when you DO NOT SLEEP at night! Later on, Susan, my cousin Hannah, my mom and David and Tara stopped by. We drank some high-quality Bonnie and Ralph wine (the kind I can't afford, but wish I could! Maybe if I bought fewer airplane toys!?) and stayed up too late.
The following day, we packed up the car and the kids' stuff and went down to Rochester to see Nana, Aunt Julie and Uncle Dave. We had to pull over three times while Hannah barfed. Thank the baby Jesus she was in my mom's rental car and not mine. I was just trying to remain calm, saying "We won't get sick until we get home. We won't get sick until we get home."
Four Generations--from 1 to 100.
Once we arrived at Julie's, she took us over to see the goats and chickens that she takes care of a at a nearby farm. The kids were in heaven. It was great! Nana looked like herself, but a little weaker and definitely confused. As soon as we told her she could have some chocolate, I saw a bright glimmer of the old Nana in her eyes. Then, quick naps, packed the car up and drove back up to Minneapolis.
Julie and her babies
Got up at 4 a.m. and did the whole schlepping, "don't lick that, come back here, stop that", antibacterial wipes, stroller-falling over, desperate mad rush back home before naptime-thing. Then, ran out to choir until late last night.Finally, today we are just home. Nowhere to be. And I would like to submit a request to Andrew that he stop waking up and crying/screaming all night. I would also like to submit a request to my brain to ignore the amount of fast food consumed in the last four days. I will not be doing much today. Naps in three hours. I hope.