Saturday, February 27, 2010

2nd Annual Trip to Texas - Day 14

The final day of our vacation!

Wesley and Andrew watch as Daddy loads up the truck. Leave enough room for Grandma! Cousin Bali helps Jared build a wall out of cardboard bricks. They would knock it down before it was finished. Aunt Sue meets Wes and Drew at the door. Daddy finally got everything, and everyone, loaded into the truck and we were bound for Tallahassee! We stopped at the same Burger King somewhere in Mississippi for lunch. Andrew found that running a coffee cup lid along the fence makes a neat noise.
Jared was so excited about being out of the truck! He was thrilled when he saw the area to just run. Then, terrible Mommy insisted that he needed to sit with the family during lunch before running around. He was not happy about this decision. He made it slightly unpleasant for the guests at Burger King. However, he eventually settled down and ate a little bit. Once we were done, we all proceeded outside and happy Jared returned! Back in the truck, we were treated to a one-note song by Andrew. Grandma accompanies Andrew with her megaphone. It was standing room only for the trip home. Wesley plays with Grandma. We are getting closer to the house! Andrew plays with a pinwheel. Instead of another pit-stop, we dug in and kept driving. Mommy pulled a final trick out of her emergency bag...more glowing rings! We stopped near the house to pick up some milk. Notice that we added another luggage bag to the top for our Mardi Gras loot. Daddy is ready to be out of the truck. Six days of driving was enough to do him in. Mommy is happy to be home. We were all very happy to be home! It was a wonderful trip! We saw family, reconnected with old friends and created everlasting memories as a family. We had an emergency DVD player. We only used it for about 2 hours out of the entire 40 hours of driving. These two hours were on the last legs of the trip and the entertainers were exhausted. The boys were actually not very interested in the DVD player and much preferred the music.

We look forward to our trip next year when Mardi Gras is actually on Daddy's birthday!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

2nd Annual Trip to Texas - Day 13

We spent the night at Miss Heather's house, then it was back on the road. The weather was getting bad with heavy rain and lightning, so we stopped at a McDonald's for lunch.

Daddy had been driving through some pretty bad weather. So, he needed to have some fun and relax as well. He climbed right into the play place. I think he exceeded the height limit but that didn't stop him! "Don't tap on the glass! You might scare the animals!"
Jared eating his burger. We hope this isn't one that he found in the ball pit.
Everyone had to check out the network of tubes.
On this day, Jared was down to only one stitch. We think he is playing with them at night. Luckily, it is the middle stitch and the wound did not re-open. We called the pediatrician and he said that if it is still closed, we should be ok. He has an appointment with the pediatrician when we get home to remove the last stitch... if it hangs in there until then.
Jared and Wesley watch as Daddy tries to get unstuck.
Best part of a Happy Meal? The toy.
As night fell around us, Mommy broke out the emergency bag. The boys were treated to a glow-stick sword and all of the other light up toys we had already played with during our trip. This was our first time in the car at night so these were perfect to keep the boys intrigued.
We must have looked like a rave party to passing motorists.
Wesley works on a box of Cheez-Its.
Another Dollar Tree treat to pacify the gang. This is just what Daddy needed after a long trip in the pouring down rain. Like Wes really needs something to amplify his voice?!?The boys were absolutely wonderful on the trip. The keys to our successful car riders were:
1) Separation so they each had their own space.
2) New toys to keep their attention when they would get restless.
3) Mommy or Grandma sitting in the back with the boys to play the role of "Entertainer" or "Dancing Monkey!"
4) Familiar music with which the boys could listen, sing and interact.
5) Stops every 2.5 or 3 hours.
While there were a few moments when the boys would express that they were unhappy with the length of their confinement in their seats, the majority of the moments were calm and peaceful. The following video is a couple minutes of our "Car Rave." The boys are playing with their light-up toys and then you can see how Andrew interacts by "jumping up and down" and "kickin' up his legs" to the song.
On this night, we arrived safely back in Houma, LA where we reconnected with Grandma. Tomorrow, we are packing up and heading home!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

2nd Annual Trip to Texas - Day 12

After our late-night trip to the ER, we were concerned that Jared would be in bad shape when waking up today. He "lost" a stitch during the night, probably just by playing with it. There were still two holding his chin closed, and it looked alright, so we pressed on.

In fact, Jared was his usual self in the morning. He found a diaper box to sit in while he looked out the back door.
We packed up the truck, said our good-byes, and hit the highway for Tomball. Mommy was able to get a photo of Jared's chin while he napped. We would often find him touching his fingers to his chin, playing with the stitches.
Jared seemed unaffected by last nights adventure. On the ride home, Mommy's 'Dollar Tree' bag of goodies still had some interesting discoveries. On this leg of the trip, we broke out the light up spinner things. The boys loved them.
Andrew was memorized.
And Wesley was hypnotized.
While we were sad to say good bye to Nana and Pop-pi, we are all glad to be on our way home. We have three days of driving ahead of us but it will not be too long before we are all in our own beds. Stop #1 on the way home is at Ms. Heather's house in Texas. When we arrived at Ms. Heather's she had a wonderful dinner ready for us and then she headed out to take Cecilia to soccer practice and trusted us with Declan. We had fun taking care of all of the boys and when it was bath time, we made room for one more in the tub. The boys had a great time and we got a glimpse into life with quads.

After all the kids were in bed, Heather started making dessert for us. She got us so excited about the cake, we all waited up until it was done. It was well worth the wait (even if it was midnight). Mommy and Ms. Heather stayed up talking late again. Mommy sure misses her dear friend Heather. It is great that we are able to visit her once a year but it is not like the daily lunches they use to have a few years ago. However, there are just some friendships that withstand time and distance.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2nd Annual Trip to Texas - Day 11

Day 11 of our vacation, and this would be the last full day we spend at Nana's before starting our journey home tomorrow morning. Yep, the boys also have a special name picked out for Grandma Peggy. From this point forward, she will always be known to us as Nana!

I've often said that in our house, you will never eat alone. As soon as the boys see you trying to eat something, they flock around you looking for a bite. They don't actually ask for a bite, but say "Om, om, om" which means put something in their mouth. Nana shared her breakfast with the boys. Andrew spent the morning wearing Nana's shoes.Andrew and Wesley chill in a rocking chair while watching Nick Jr.
Nana gave Mommy a foot massager. The boys took it for a test ride. Those toddler piggies really needed a massage.
Wesley puts his hand to his ear whenever he "hears" something. Is that Pop-pi coming home?
A group picture of all the boys. Gotta loves Daddy's face in this pic. Wait, where is it?
Later that morning we headed back to the West Bear Creek General Store.
Every item was tested for quality assurance.
Jared was starting to think that his name was "Don't touch" however, this section was one that he could touch. He enjoyed stacking and re stacking the dishes. They were not breakable so it was an approved activity!
Miss Donna gets a good-bye hug from Andrew.
Daddy and Jared pose under the reindeer that didn't make Santa's sleigh team.
We tried to take a family group photo and imagine Mommy's surprise to see a picture in while almost everyone in the picture has a pleasant look on their face. Almost 6 smiles!
Another first for Team Darnell! The boys jump around in the back of Grandpa's pickup.
Wesley got carried away, figuratively and literally.
Jared enjoys a few more bounces in the pickup bed.
We headed to Isaack's for dinner with friends and family. We are guessing that when this was built, other restaurants at the time didn't have air conditioning.
By this time on the trip, Jared was getting tired of all the new activities. When we entered the resturaunt, he was not a very happy camper. However, a few minutes of playing with Aunt Debbie and he was back to his cheery self.
Grandma, Andrew, and Grandpa.
Back at the house, the boys open gifts from Uncle Ricky and Aunt Debbie.
Everyone had fun playing with the superhero cars.
Wesley is checking out Uncle Ricky's boo-boo.
Aunt Debbie having fun with Wesley and Jared.
Aunt Debbie giving Jared a horsey ride.
Pretty soon everyone found a lap and we all gave horsey rides.
The boys absolutely loved playing with Aunt Debbie. The following is a little video of the Aunt Debbie tickling their funny bones. There was a lot of laughter in the house on this night. The horsey rides went on for the longest time. When Wes and Drew finally found horses of their own, they were insistent on the ride occurring just like Jared's horsey. Daddy was giving Wes a ride and he did not grab his arms the same way. Wes stopped and showed Daddy how to shake his arms. Too funny!
Another unsuccessful attempt at getting a group picture of all of the boys! This picture was taken just moments before the entire night took a unpleasant and unexpected turn.
The boys were minutes from heading to their beds when Jared stood up in the rocking chair and faced the back of the chair. The rocking chair tipped over and he caught his chin on the corner of another chair. We weren't able to get a bandage on it and took him to the ER. With children this small who are about to get stitches, they use a "papoose board" to help restrain a flailing toddler. As if that was not torture enough, Mommy and Daddy had to assist in the restraining. Mommy had to hold Jared's chest and Daddy held his head while the doctor applied three stitches to Jared's chin. This is a picture of the restraint.
Daddy gives a weary thumbs-up as he consoles Jared.
We were all exhausted at the end of this night. At least the hospital is only a minute from Nana's house and it was a small ER. As such, we were in and out in about an hour. Jared was so tired that he went right to sleep when we arrived home.