Friday, May 23, 2014

Low Expectations

The deafening blog silence is attributable to a short but exhausting trip I took to Dallas last weekend & a few manic days of attempting to finish reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn before the book club met.  I will now fill the blog silence with a cacophony of all that has transpired in the past week.

Last Friday was a day I'd been looking forward to for quite some time.  Reagan recently received an invite to her first birthday party at Skatetown, & last Friday was the big day; one of us was overly enthusiastic about strapping on a pair of roller skates & whizzing around the rink to the best of the eighties.

Upon arrival, I eagerly shed my shoes & laced up my skates (taking note of the fact that most of the other parents were not doing the same), but despite having four degrees from institutions of higher learning between us, Trey & I couldn't figure Reagan's skates out.  Those of you who've spent more time at children's skating parties than I are likely looking at this picture below & thinking, She's supposed to wear her shoes with the skates, morons.

The mystery was eventually solved.  When I had to hand over my shoes in exchange for my skates while Reagan's shoes were not requested in exchange for hers, that was a major clue, I realized in hindsight.  

She knew we were doing something wrong.

Before I stepped on the rink last Friday, it had been years since I'd skated, & my goal was simply to look cool take a few spins around the rink & not fall.  I am happy to report that not only did I meet my meager goal, but everything came back to me with ease - - I was twelve years old again, & as I turned sharp corners on two wheels, my body was poised in anticipation of hearing the opening notes of "Ice Ice Baby," always a great song to skate to as you check out your limbo competition.  

Reagan skated a little, but was distracted by the small cars & one small helicopter lining the rink.  

The skating is just the tip of the iceberg of merriment.

My sister & Maisie spent a week at my parents' house.  The week included a sleepover at Nana & Papa's for Reagan, Henry, & me as well as a photo shoot in the wildflowers (yes, the same wildflowers where I had so much recent success photographing my kids).

I snapped this the morning after the sleepover.  Not pictured are Jessica & my mom; they are in the bed watching Frozen while the three grandkids lounge on the floor.  

The return trip to the wildflowers was not my idea, but I changed my kids out of their pajamas & went along so we could attempt some nice pictures with not two, but three kids this time.  I am over photos at the moment, as you might imagine if you read my last post.  I guess you could call the shoot a success in that everyone left in the same pants they were wearing when we arrived & not once did anyone utter, Do you smell that?

So here we go . . . 

My dad took this "behind the making of the photos" picture.  Note that I said I changed my kids out of their pajamas; the pajama shedding ended there.

And some with Nana:

Some solo shots of my kids (both were far, far from cooperative):

So that's that.  

As the week came to a close & the time for my mother to return Jessica & Maisie to Dallas drew near, I decided it was a good idea for the kids & me to accompany them.  Just typing that sentence makes me tired.    

Like the photo shoot in the wildflowers, I had zero expectations of the trip.  I used to travel to cities like Dallas with a few vague goals in mind.  You know important things like find a new bedroom rug or buy some new black wedges.  After I made my first trip to Dallas with Reagan when she was about three months old, I realized there was no point in setting myself up for disappointment & abandoned any shopping goals when traveling with kids.  After I made my first trip to Dallas with both kids in the sweltering heat last August, which you can read about here, it was obvious that with two kids, travel goals are reduced to things like make sure they eat & check that both children are in the car with you before you leave the mall.  If you happen to grab a shirt off a rack while you're maneuvering the stroller & quelling your children's cries, well, that's just gravy.

The first hurdle of the trip was cramming three adults, three children, an endless pile of bags, & three child safety seats into my mom's Tahoe.  I had decided the kids & I needed new scenery, & now that I am not teaching & we basically have no schedule, I thought the trip was a good idea . . . but not such a good idea that I was willing to drive there & back.

I took this group selfie right after we'd loaded everyone & everything up & were about to hit the road around noon Saturday.  You can't see the young babes because they're in their rear-facing car seats, but I will tell you that they were ecstatic about spending five hours in the car, riding backwards, while their mothers, their Nana, & Reagan sang along to The Sound of Music.

Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start . . . 

We stopped & ate at a Cracker Barrel in ______________.  It was in Texas.  I wasn't driving, & I don't recall the city.  I drank some good, hot coffee there, & that's the detail that matters.    

When we arrived in the DFW area, we immediately went to a TJMaxx near Jessa & Heath's house, which, upon unloading the kids & putting them in strollers/buggies, we discovered was not the best idea given that they'd been in a car all day & were tired & uninterested in their caretakers finding discounted designer purses.  We made a few quick sweeps of the Maxx, bought nothing, loaded everyone back up, & headed to Jessa & Heath's where, thankfully, Heath had prepared enchiladas, sparing us the ordeal of having to haul all the babes to a crowded restaurant on a Saturday night. 

Saturday night we all got a little sleep.  I don't think my mom slept much at all; I slept about as much as I do on any given night at home, which is not enough, but I can usually make do with coffee.  I should tell you that nighttime is kind of a circus at our house since Reagan's diabetes diagnosis, & I was nervous about taking the circus on the road without Trey, who plays an integral part in the balancing act we've been performing since January of this year.  The short version of the story (which I rarely opt to tell, as you know) is that we only go so many hours without checking Reagan's blood sugar number, & that includes during the night.  

Reagan ready to hit the town Sunday morning:

Henry still lounging in his pajamas Sunday morning:

Once everyone was bathed & dressed & the last diaper had been packed in a bag, we headed for a brunch buffet.  I cannot recall the name of the restaurant but they had good coffee & a warming plate full of cream-cheese-filled, berry-topped crepes on the buffet that made every hardship of the trip worth it.  

Post-brunch photo op:

After brunch, we wandered around one of the many posh outdoor shopping areas Dallas boasts.  At some point I checked Reagan's number, & she was running low, so I gave her some raisins.  For several hours we were waving all manner of carbs in Reagan's face attempting to keep her number up.  For some reason, despite my giving her minimal insulin at brunch, she was running low, & while it's usually easy to get her to rise, that wasn't the case for a few hours Sunday afternoon.  I got her up to a nice 96, only to check a little later to see she'd fallen back to 76.  This almost never happens; when she's not where she needs to be, she trends high rather than low unless I've made a glaring insulin error, but that wasn't the case Sunday.  We were forcing gelato down her throat, & still no significant rise.  If I haven't said it lately, it needs to be said that diabetes will drive you insane; I am four months in & while my admittedly limited math skills have improved significantly, my grip on sanity is slippery many days.   

In the midst of all the carb eating, I found two nice tops at Chico's.  Sanity restored, if only temporarily.  I am certain that had I purposefully set out to find nice tops while in Dallas, I'd have found nothing.  When you set the bar low, something as insignificant as a new shirt can make the weekend. 

This is what Henry thought of my new tops:    

We did a little more shopping before hitting the road Monday.  This is Reagan surveying what Gap has to offer in the way of hats this season:

I made a nice haul in Gap.  I was exhausted, hadn't showered, was wearing no make-up, & had a dirty diaper staring me down, but a $15 Gap sweater on clearance parted the clouds.  I also found another shirt & a scarf on sale - - all while maneuvering Henry in Jessica's overly large jogging stroller that was not made with indoor shopping in mind.    

Kudos is owed my mother, who does not enjoy driving but drove every mile of the trip while I attempted to read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in order to finish the looooong book before the book club met Tuesday evening.  For the first time in two years of membership, I didn't finish the book before we met; I was two chapters shy.  I have since read those chapters, & I highly recommend the book.  It's a book best read at a leisurely pace, unless of course you have a book club deadline, in which case you'll have to chase your kids around the house while you read it on your iPhone.  

I returned home with the kids late Monday night to discover that Trey has canceled our cable. - - I'm going to channel Zack Morris & take a time-out here to tell you that I struggle with the word canceled.  Is it canceled, or cancelled?  I admit I sometimes avoid using it because I am unsure of which spelling is correct, & am further confounded by the fact that apparently, either spelling is acceptable.  I function much better with hard & fast grammar rules. - - Regardless, while I was out of state, Trey was engaged in one of his epic battles with Comcast, & Trey is trying to convince me that Comcast lost.

I am fine with the television situation at the moment.  I don't sit down during the day & certainly don't watch anything on TV, & when I finally make it to bed at night I want to read or write.  I am having some issues with the sudden disappearance of my DVR (which left a sad, thick layer of dust in its wake).  As Trey has repeatedly told me, I can watch Jack Bauer on the Internet, & I get all my news on the Internet . . . blah, blah, blah.  It's my prediction that summer will pass with no cable showdown, however, I am going to wake up one hot August morning & roll over in bed in search of my boyfriend, Mr. Kirk Herbstreit, & when I can't find him, the cable gauntlet will be thrown down in grand fashion.  I do not have low expectations when it comes to my relationship with Kirk.  Stay tuned. 


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