Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Alright, Alright Already!

Ok, sorry, I've been a bad blogger. I've just been exhausted. Utterly, utterly exhausted.

On the 24th, my sister Kelly and I took all of our kids to Utah to visit Grandma and Grandpa Walton. We flew. With 6 kids. What were we thinking? I have no idea. But we looked like a 3 ring circus, let me tell you. With Sophie (2.5 months) tucked into a front wrap, Lily (8 months) in a front carrier on Kelly, Calvin (2 years) going nuts/having meltdowns in the front of the double stroller, Evie (3 years), Ryan (4 years) and Luke (6 years) running free down the terminal, and 12 carry-ons plus 2 carseats all somehow piled on/strapped to/dangling form our 2 strollers, people were giving us justified you-should-be-committed-to-a-mental-institution looks. But actually on the flight there, despite a 7:00 AM departure time, the kids were so good! No one cried or fought, amazingly, and Sophie slept pretty much the entire time without even so much as a peep. Hallelujuah!

Our week at Grandma and Grandpa's house was wonderful! My sister Danica and her boyfriend Zack came on the 24th and stayed through the 27th, and it was so much fun having them there! They are great chefs, soooo wonderful with the kids, so funny, and Zack is a perfect gentleman. We had planned to spend a day in Moab while they were in Utah, but we all opted instead for a laid-back day of shopping for the girls and fishing for the boys. Good choice! I love Moab and all, but it took me like 3 days to recover from our flight there, even with how well-behaved the kids were. So the last thing in the world I felt like doing was strapping them into a car for a 4 hour drive, so I was pleased with the decision. The boys had a great time fishing. They went up to Tibble Fork, where my dad has been fishing since he was in college, so he knows exactly how to fish it. So it was pretty funny when they all came in the door from their trip and we asked how it went and Luke said, "Well, I caught one, and Ryan caught one, and Calvin caught one, and Zack caught one...But Grandpa didn't catch ANY!!!" I love that dad is so good at passing off the fishing pole to someone else as soon as he feels the fish bite that even the 6 yeah old had no clue that he wasn't actually the one who caught the fish. Zack was pretty funny when he told us about how dad did the same thing for him. Classic.

We also hit the dinosaur museum at Thanksgiving Point on Friday (the kids had an absolute blast, as usual) and went to visit my Grandpa Balcom who recently moved to a care facility in Provo from his home in Rawlins, Wyoming. It was great to see him. He has Alzheimers and isn't really all there anymore, but when we started singing some old songs and got out the harmonicas, he had tears rolling down his cheeks, a smile on his face, and even played a little harmonica and sang along to a few of the words. I don't think I will ever forget the way it made me feel to know that we had really touched him and really made a difference to him, and made him happy even though he doesn't recognize anyone anymore. I love my Grandpa, and I love all the wonderful memories I have with him.

On Saturday I went to the gym with Mom and Kelly and Danica, Mom had the Bean Museum come and do the bug and reptile show again, and we had a big dinner with all of the cousins plus Abbey and her roommate. It was a lot of fun to see Abbey--she looks so happy to be at BYU. College is such a fun time, and it's really great to see her loving it so much. The dinner was fun, it was really nice to catch up with the cousins. The best part, though, was Saturday night after all the kids were in bed, when me, Kelly, Danica, Zack, Mom and Dad all played Apples to Apples and Pit for hours. We had so much fun! It was like 2 solid hours of belly laughs. It was amazing. I love my family, and it was so great to spend that time together. We had so much fun.

Sunday was crazy with all of the kids at church. Ugh. I love church and all, but with dad on the stand in the bishopric, mom with her neckbrace unable to lift more than 10 lbs, and 6 kids?? No no no no no! Not fun at all! I almost lost it with Calvin, he was so naughty. But we survived! After church, Kelly and I headed over to the McCarty's house with the kids to visit for a while. The McCarty's are a family we grew up with in Midland, and they have 8 daughters ranging from Kelly's age to about 16. Margie was one of Kelly's best friends growing up and Becky was one of my best friends. We've all stayed pretty close over the years and the McCartys moved to Provo a couple of years after my parents did. 2 of the McCarty daughters were getting married this week, so everyone was in town, which meant a lot of fun! We pretty much spent the last 3 days of our trip with the McCartys. We ended up making bouquets, cleaning the kitchen, going to a bachelorette party, and Kelly and I did wedding photography for one of the weddings, so we got to see a lot of the McCarty's this week! We had a blast, though, and it was almost like old times. Except that they have 11 grandkids now, plus our 6 kids, so that made for a LOT of craziness.

We were able to squeeze in a trip to the beloved "trampoline place" before we left, plus 2 trips to Cafe Rio, one trip to Kneaders, a trip to the Teppanyaki grill, a 5 am showing of Eclipse, and a trip to Temple Square. What a trip!

So, remember how great our kids were on the way there? Now imagine the exact opposite and you pretty much have our return trip. Ugh. The craziness, I guess, started a couple of days before we actually left, so let me recap. 5 am showing of Eclispe (all 5o something midnight showing in Utah Valley were sold out, so that was the best we could do) equals tired mommies. The tired mommies do wedding portraits for a few hours. That equals even more tired mommies. Fast forward to the next day. Kelly, by the way, was training for a triathalon, so she is double tired. Anyways, then we have a wedding reception to take all the kids to that started at 7. Bad. Our kids were up sooooooooo late. Also, Ryan threw up all over the kitchen floor and himself at the reception. Great. (Thanks, Grandpa, for cleaning all of that up, by the way). Then Luke starts throwing up int he middle of the night. Double great. Then we have an insane morning trying to pack and load up the car, sneak in another visit to Grandpa Balcom, get lunch, see temple square, feed hungry children, yada yada yada.

So, we make it to the airport a little late and more than a little exhausted. Mom and Dad drove the boys and were going to meet us at the ticket counter while Kelly and I returned the rental car with the girls. It takes Kelly and me a good 15 minutes to get everything out of the car and loaded onto our strollers. During this time Sophie is sleeping, Evie is being a good girl, and what is Lily doing, you might ask? Getting ready to hurl all over herself and her stroller. Yeah. As soon as we get the last of our junk loaded onto the strollers, poor Lily lets loose. So, Kelly takes her girls to the bathroom while I go to find mom and dad with our stuff. After Lily gets stripped down and bathed in the bathroom sink, Kelly meets up with us and Kelly and I go to check in while mom and dad watch the kids. Our seats are nowhere near each other. WONDERFUL! Then, random Asian couple starts taking pictures of sad, sick, naked Lily in a stroller and pointing and laughing, and poor Kelly is in tears. Awesome start. But we buck up, have a few good laughs, and get in line for security. Cue 3 ring circus again. Except worse, because now our children are either crying, escaping, yelling, or naked. Mom and Dad are watching from afar off just shaking with laughter, and I totally don't blame them. I was laughing, too. We were an utterly ridiculous sight.

Anyways, we made it to the gate after EVERYONE else had already boarded the plane. A flight attendant asked a couple of people to move for us so that we could sit close together, or at least next to our children...In the end Luke and Ryan were together but separate form me and Kelly. But at least they were sitting next to a wonderful pediatrician named Christy who was a saint and entertained them the ENTIRE flight. She deserves a medal. Anyways, so by the time we get settled into our seats, I am pretty sure everyone around us is already really really really scared for the next 2 hours of their lives. As well they should be, because it was awful. It actually started out great. I sat with Sophie and Evie and I somehow managed to get Evie to fall asleep, which was quite a feat. So, then Kelly and I switched seats so that she could try to get Lily to go to sleep (Calvin was loud as all get out, so he wasn't helping sitting right next to her). Cue barfing. Poor Lily threw up. A lot. All over sleeping Evie. Poor, poor Evie. She was so sad. At least we had Christy the pediatrician to pass off Sophie to while I took Evie to the bathroom to get cleaned up. I did have the presence of mind to pack an extra set of clothing for each member of my family in our carry-ons, so I gave Evie Calvin's pants and Ryan's really awesome blue robot shirt. Evie was quite a sight. The rest of our flight involves Lily throwing up on two additional occasions, a lot of screaming by Sophie (her ears were hurting I'm pretty sure), a lot of screaming followed by a lot of throwing up by Calvin, and a healthy dose of misery all around. Kelly has a pretty great description here on her blog. It was purely awful. When I finally got all of our bags out to the curb to meet Michael (thanks for helping, Ken!) I was pretty much a wreck. And I was so, so, so happy to have Michael back! And I pretty much passed out for the next few days. Wow. I'm never flying alone with my three kids again. Unless I really really really really really really have to. It could have been worse, though. If it weren't for Christy the pediatrician and an extremely well-behaved Luke and Ryan, we may have actually gone crazy.

So, that's why I haven't blogged yet. I've been so, so tired. And just as I was recovering, AnnaMaire and I decided to go to a BodyPump class on Monday. Not good. I pretty much can't even use my arms at all without writhing in pain :) It was actually a fun class, it just made me realize that I never use my triceps.

So, we're back, we had fun, and we had one heck of a return trip. That about sums it up! And then today we took a nice walk as a family in the rain to the train station. It was big old fat midwestern rain, too. It was just beautiful. Sophie was mesmerized.

Here are some of the pictures from our trip.

All 6 Walton grandkids in the tub!

The kids at the bug and reptile party:

Granddaughter in matching dresses and flowers!

Kelly giving Lily a cuddle:

Sophie spent the majority of her time in this swing. Thank you, swing!

Me and Danica:

Danica and the little girls:

Dad and Lily

Zack and Sophie:

Vicki meeting Sophie:

The rest of the pictures are on a different camera, so they will have to wait till later :)


AnnaMarie Ferrell said...

Ok, I know it was tough and all...but those pictures really are worth it. I looove the one of your dad & Sophie. And Sophie slumped in her swing. Life is about mempories, and stories. And you have like the best worst flight story ever now.

Janelle Dobson said...

Good gracious! You poor thing! Flying alone with kids is the worst- I hate it and way to go out with a bang! I hope you've recovered with a nice massage from hubby and a thick slice of cheese cake!

Kendra said...

Oh.My.Goodness.That has got to be the best worst flight story. Ever. And I got to say I was seriously like "No", then something else happened "NO", then I read cue vomit, and I just exploded into "NOO" and laughing. You can tell a story! And you poor thing. The random Asian couple, seriously? Holy cow and props to you for surviving!