Weekend

I’m awful at this blogging thing. I think we’re gonna switch all updates over to Instagram…pictures are worth a thousand words anyway, right? And much quicker to post.

Friday we took our boy to the A&E here because we couldn’t get an appointment with a GP (which seems to surprise everyone that we talk to, but we tried EVERYTHING short of illegal bribery!), and they were absolutely fantastic with him. We got in very quickly, no waiting around, and by the time we left the office he’d had a chest X-ray which came out clear, so we knew he didn’t have bronchitis or pneumonia, and his fever was down to 100.2 (woohoo!). They put him on amoxicillin and his symptoms have been improving quite a lot, but now he has diarrhea and a rash that just keeps spreading  😦  We called the doctors and they don’t seem terribly concerned, and with only five doses left I don’t really want to start a new course of drugs, so I put in an email to Nolan’s doctor at home to get her opinion. She must be SO sick of seeing my name in her inbox by now! Whoops.

Saturday morning Nolan seemed to be doing a bit better so we drove to the edge of London at Kew Gardens and took the tube into the city. We had such a lovely time! The weather was cold but gorgeous, and our boy was so good and took two naps in the Ergo. He did have a little issue in his pants…then another little issue in his pants (thanks antibiotics)…so we maybe went shopping for him and I maybe had a strong desire for ALL OF THE BABY CLOTHES. Kyle held me to a cute little pack of grey and white onesies. Thank God, because I could feel every drop of self control seeping out of my pores. We went by Abbey Road (Kyle couldn’t get over all the people stopping in the crosswalk to take The Picture. He didn’t know that The Picture was a thing. I had to threaten to pull up the White Album to show him what The Picture was before he kinda sorta hooked on to the idea, but then he still couldn’t get over it. Anything, particularly any voluntary thing, that stops/hinders/affects traffic in any way is completely incomprehensible to my dear husband.), Sherlock Holmes’s house at 221B Baker Street where everyone was Asian (why are white people not into Sherlock Holmes? Or black people? Or Indian people? Or is it that the non-Asians among us can’t afford the $30 tour?), and went through Selfridge’s. That…that was an experience. You need a map for that place. We made it out with one $12 glass of champagne and a few weird looks from all the prammers…apparently there’s not much of a baby wearing movement around here. American crunchies would be SO out of place. I can just feel all their judgment welling up, waiting to soar across the ocean and fall on these pramming Brits.

We decided to take it easy on Sunday, found a wonderful local market, and cooked dinner for a friend here on the same project as Kyle. It was so nice to be in an apartment and not the hotel! Things are fine here at the hotel. We’ll have plenty of good stories to tell for years about how we filled the bathroom sink with mildly hot water to heat bottles as we used the toilet lid as a countertop to measure out formula, used an ice bucket as a wastebasket, boiled water in the open kettle to serve as a humidifier, washed clothes in the sink and hung them to dry in pretty much every bit of space an item could be hung, washed bottles in the bathroom sink three times a day, and how I insisted on bringing a $3 Target craft caddy to use for diapers and wipes and butt creams which was the *best decision I’ve made for this entire trip*. But it’s gonna be a long month doing life this way. It was so lovely to cook and use a fridge and see evidence that dishwashers to exist! We were also able to do a load of laundry which was awesome. Never thought I’d be so happy to do laundry, but after those messes on Saturday we were running out of clothes really quickly! The kitchen in the apartment was actually set up quite well, so Kyle and I took some notes for when we’re remodeling future kitchens in any apartments we might own. Steve was lovely company and we had a wonderful time hanging out with him and getting to know him better.

Nolan’s obviously feeling a lot better than he was before and his appetite is really increasing which makes me feel great, but he’s still not back to being fully himself, poor guy  😦  I’m about to drop kick this cold off a bridge. His hair is actually looking lighter to me, more like my color, and he’s solidly grown out of all his nine-month clothes. He’s figured out how to do the horsey-lips thing instead of just pursing his lips and spitting (although there’s still plenty of that) and he’s trying to wave bye-bye with just his hand now, instead of with his whole arm. It’s seriously adorable, watching him concentrate so hard on just opening and closing his hand rather than just wave the whole thing through the air. Even though he’s been a solid mama’s boy while he’s been sick, he’s also started hugging Kyle a LOT, which might melt Ky just a little bit.

A nice thing about Kyle working weird hours over here is that we get to see him all morning before he leaves for work around 1:30, so today we got to go for a nice long walk through a giant park here, stop into a giant toy store near the edge of town, and have a great lunch before he had to leave.

Found some Woodford Reserve on the lunch menu today, but still no sign in this country of my beloved Maker’s Mark. I will not give up hope!

England: Day 3, Wednesday

Like I said before, we slept pretty well, but are looking forward to not being jet lagged soon. Nolan was up for about 45 minutes in the middle of the night and it was a group effort to get him back to sleep, but thankfully he was tired enough to not fight us much.

We bought a big ol five liter bottle of water at the Tesco yesterday and it’s gone. Between refilling my water bottle to put electrolyte tablets in, making baby bottles, brewing a few cups of tea, and just drinking some water straight, we killed it, it’s totally gone. We drank all the waters. But I woke up so dry! This cold, that flight, and the chilly weather here (the next person who tells me that Seattle and England essentially have the same weather is begging to be throat punched) have me knocked over. Literally, my cheek started bleeding. My CHEEK. Just a random spot on my cheek, no scratch, no scrape, no nothing, just dry and sandpapery, to say nothing of my nose and lips. That’s another story. Coconut oil all over, every half hour on the dot.

Our boy seems to be feeling a little better today. We had to wake him up in order to get over to breakfast before they cut it off, and he woke up so sweetly…just grinning that gummy grin at us and wanting to look at us and touch our faces. Typically he lets people know that he loves them by trying to rip their nose off their face, but this morning he just wanted to almost float his hand over our faces. He even finished a big ol bottle before we went over to breakfast! Yay for eating like a normal healthy baby! We’ve had to suck his nose several times, which is everyone’s *favorite* thing, and his lungs are sounding a little gravelly  😦  We have an email out to his doctor to ask her advice. Thankfully he’s had no fever since Monday just before our flight. We’re keeping all his toys washed well and hand sanitizer is at the ready. This sickness needs to die!

We’ve been taking it easy and trying to just adjust a little more today. Nolan fell asleep before I could feed him his lunch bottle and proceeded to sleep for 4.5 hours before I actually woke him up. Lucky little puppy.

His favorite toys are proving to be the same as they are at home…any door that has a proclivity toward swinging a particular direction (for example, the door to the bathroom in our hotel room likes to swing open, so Nolan likes to push it shut a little at at time and watch it fall back open) and the toilet. Always the toilet. Other than that he really likes the new little stuffed animal Mimi gave him for Valentine’s Day, a sweet doggy named Yodel. He goes right for it in his stack of toys, every time.

Kyle went into work today to become acclimated. He’s been “on loan” to a different group for the past few months, so he’s not as on top of the exact material they’re working with and needed to catch up a bit. We missed him while he was gone, but he came home with loads of water and a way to make our phones work, so I guess we’ll forgive him for leaving.

We ended up at this lovely little place called Cote Brasserie for dinner. Kyle went there yesterday with a couple people from work while Nolan and I napped, and he insisted on taking us back there tonight. It was lovely! They serve filtered water (a strangely big deal around here, where the water is incredibly limey…has stuff floating in it…), knew what “gluten-free” means, and were completely on top of their service game. Once Nolan dropped his spoon as he was playing with it and a waiter walking by insisted on taking it to run it under hot water before bringing it back to us. They forced a kir royale, french onion soup (hold the bread), and boeuf bourguignon on me. Oh the pain, save me now.

We put Nolan down for bed when we got back to our room, but he thought it was a nap…so he was up an hour later. Which made it easy to Skype with the grandparents! Our chat with Mimi was cut short because Nolan was very upset that he had to just look at her and not snuggle her. That was very annoying for him. And for Mimi, actually. Afterwards we chatted with Grandpa Tom and Grandma Deb, and Nolan was so happy to see them and probably equally happy that I let him play with the laptop keyboard for a while during our chat. Just like his daddy, loves stuff with buttons  🙂

Being in England has been hard so far. It’s just not an ideal health situation to be away from home for. But somehow there’s less stress than there is at home, probably because I don’t have a load of stuff to do like I do at home. As such, in spite of the sicky-ness, I’ve been a nicer human being! I’ve been more patient and calm and understanding…these are all things I prioritize highly at home, but they’ve been so much easier since we left. The elements of life in this particular day don’t really seem to lend themselves toward that end, but who cares? We’ll take Nice Emma any day!

L’hotel Anglaise

Totally not the name of our hotel. But because I don’t necessarily know who all could read this, I’m not telling you the name of our hotel.

Initially Kyle and I agreed that we wouldn’t take this trip with our son unless we could stay in one of the apartments that the company covers. We found out in December that the apartments have something against children under the age of ten. I assumed that meant the trip was off. Kyle assumed that meant we’d have some other things to work around.

I was nervous about staying in a hotel with a baby for a month. I’m going to be here with Nolan on my own most days, and he usually has a whole house to crawl around. Space in a hotel is so limited, not to mention that the extent of our “cooking” options here have to do with a hot pot and a fridge the size of a coffee table book. I mentioned before that we (read: Kyle) spent a lot of time emailing back and forth with the reservations manager here at the hotel, Diane. She was remarkably helpful and friendly and made us (read: Kyle) feel much better about this prospect.

When we showed up yesterday Diane was so glad to meet us, talked all about her granddaughter Sophie who is just a couple months younger than Nolan, said she could hook me up with her daughter and friends for play dates, mentioned that if we need any baby gear that we didn’t bring she has doubles of everything at her house because of her grandchildren and we can borrow anything we want to, and even offered to babysit after we get settled so we can go out for dinner some night after Nolan goes to sleep. Two words: customer service. Amiright?

I’m wanting to get some photos up here, but until I can do that you’ll have to satisfy yourself with my engrossing, vivid descriptions.

{Let’s be honest, this post is primarily for my mother. (Hi, Mom!) Everyone else will wonder why in the world my brain and blog are soooooo boring, detail-oriented, and long-freaking-winded. Refer back to the end of post one of this England “series” and don’t say I didn’t warn you.}

Diane put us in the largest room in the hotel, and it’s attached to only two other rooms (one above us and one next to us). It’s in the 17th century part of the building and has an outside entrance, so there’s no long corridor for angry, sick screams to reverberate down. There’s easy access to the high street (where most of the shops and restaurants are) and would be great for stroller/buggy access if Nolan didn’t have an extreme aversion to such contraptions. Just outside there’s a pretty cobblestone courtyard with a fountain, and reception is right across the way. We get breakfast over there every morning (they have a great high chair for Nolan!).

The door of our room is glass, so lots of light comes in, and there’s a clear, distinctly British entry area with a closet, which is so nice! We have three other windows too, one of which spans the width of the room, looks directly out at the courtyard fountain, and is framed by a gorgeous arch. So much light comes in there!

We put Nolan’s pack n play in the archway, so he’s close to our (king size) bed (we’re never going home!) and away from the other windows in the room. We can have the curtains of the other windows open and just close the big window’s curtains so that he can nap (which he’s been doing for about three hours now! Yay sleep!). Also in the archway is an armchair and ottoman with a standing lamp and a table. That’s Reading Central as it stands, but with Nolan sleeping two feet away, I might need to move that all to a bag and take it and the baby monitor to the courtyard or across to reception to get any reading done. Not blogging would also help with that.

The bathroom is awfully nice and a good size. There’s a shelf that runs the length of it between the mirror and the sink/toilet, and we’ve made use of the whoooooole thing. We have the toiletries area, the bottle drying area, the bottle making area, and the “sick baby station”. On the sink to the left of the faucet we have bottles that need to be washed and on the right side we have hand soap and dish soap. Not wasting an inch!

Behind the TV we have a little alcohol stash (necessary, although currently whiskey-less) flanked by extra formula on one side and a variety of great-sounding organic British baby food on the other. Not-being-in-the-US for the win!

One desk drawer holds food for me and Kyle and the other houses my hair stuff/the hotel blow dryer (Brits obviously don’t believe in fixing your hair in the bathroom…the only plug that hotel bathrooms have is specifically for shavers. Why? No clue. I feel weird asking. And this is not hotel-specific. We’ve stayed in at least five different British hotels, and they’re all the same. The unknown is eating away at me…why only shavers? WHY???)

There’s a great little wooden luggage rack with a low shelf that now holds all of Nolan’s toys. He’s learning where to find them and it’s pretty cute!

One thing we don’t have is a good place for diaper changing, but if that’s the worst we have to complain about I think we’ll be okay! So far we just have the changing pad on a towel on the floor in between our bed and his crib. The air also got incredibly dry in here last night, so that’s a con. I’m not typically one to notice such things, and certainly not to complain about them, but I woke up and felt like I couldn’t speak if I tried. There was a fan in the closet here that we’re using to mask noise for Nolan as he sleeps, but it certainly doesn’t help with the dryness. Kyle’s going to look for a humidifier today at the store.

What’s that? The overwhelming vagueness of this post is making you want to take a gun to your head? Ohhhhhohoho you…you silly josher, you…

Like I said, mostly for my mama. So it’s written like the world’s longest text message to her. Because she doesn’t care how articulate or concise I am, she just want to know as much as possible  🙂  And seeing as how I just wrote 1100 words describing our hotel room and where I’ve stashed everything, you can obviously blame genetics for my unedited blogging style.

England, Day: Jet Lag…So I’m Not Sure What Day It Is

Nolan slept through customs, which had no line because we’d taken our sweet sweet time getting off the plane.

We’d arrived quite early in the morning local time, around 7am, and by the time we got our bags and made it to a point where we could get to our rental car, traffic was not good on the roads and Kyle refuses to drive in traffic unless he absolutely has to. Which he thinks is never. So we hunkered down and hung out for a while. Nolan slept more. I got a smoothie from the Costa at arrivals and that improved my tummy situation a bit more. The highways here are different than in the US, lots of roundabouts, so I was glad to not get in the car for a while.

We crammed all of our many bags into the car, strapped in our sick boy, drove straight to the Tesco near the town we’re staying in, and proceeded to spend two hours there.

Two hours. In a grocery store/Target sorta place.

Right.

So the formula that we buy for Nolan from here we got for $27/box on eBay. Not cheap, but surprisingly not bad compared to domestic brands, and shipping is free so that’s nice. Here? Two boxes for 13 quid (because I can’t find the British pound sign)! That’s like $18-$20ish! For TWO BOXES! We’re bringing home a mother load.

Also, the baby food here is awesome. And I’m not using that word lightly, Daddy. Awe-inspiring. Awesome.

Also, European pharmacists. Yes. Just yes.

This one fell in love with my son and had SO many helpful things to tell us to help him. (Vapor rub is not something that I grew up with and I personally generally have an issue with stuff I rub onto my body because it grosses me out (yes, I know I’m weird), and honestly it seems like my son has the same reservations, BUT his cough has improved since just yesterday. I’m so thankful! Vapor rub for the win! Oh, and it has like three ingredients, two of which I have in my medicine drawer at home. Love it.)

By the way, “over-the-counter” actually means over-the-counter here. Like, there’s a counter and the pharmacist has to hand you the unprescribed items over that counter.

This is where I bought my mom’s first souvenir. To be fair to me, she asked for it. I’m not just a compulsive souvenir shopper.

Nolan charmed our way through the grocery store (pharmacists, senior citizens, other kids, cashier, the 86-year-old sweetie who asked him why it was cute for him to have so few teeth and not so cute for her to have so few teeth…bless her heart…you name them, he charmed them), but wouldn’t eat anything. Par for the course over the last few days, but I was starting to get worried. He’d eaten so poorly since just before he got sick, he was sleeping like a newborn, and we threw him a big ol curveball by taking him on such a long flight to such a different time zone.

By the time we got to the hotel he’d taken a bunch of mini-naps but nothing substantial, he’d eaten close to nothing, and his cough was getting worse. I’m sicksicksick, but my mama bear shot up inside me and I went on a mission to at least make my boy more comfortable. We unpacked, set up a little sleep area for him and let him explore a bit while we got settled.

We fed him and he fell asleep at the end of the bottle. I laid him in his crib, he realized he wasn’t being held anymore, he became very upset and started crying, then coughing, then gagging to the point that he threw up that bottle. Not spit up…threw up. Sweet boy  😦

We cleaned up and he promptly fell asleep HARD while Kyle was holding him upright. Like…we had to catch him. Kyle convinced me to put him back in his bed, and he slept there for an hour or so while I napped too and Kyle went out for work stuff. When Nolan woke up I pulled him into bed with me and all told we slept for at least three hours. So thankful we got that! He even ate a pretty good bottle when he woke up. I got smart and have kept some of the baby cough syrup that we got from the pharmacist yesterday nearby when he’s eating in case he gets choky. That’s seemed to help a few times.

There’s a lovely little dinner place down the street from the hotel and they’re one of the incredibly limited number of places that have food available after 8pm. You can get a beer anytime, but don’t you dare ask for food at a pub after 8pm. Weird looks, man. We went down to this place, The Slug and Lettuce (yes, I’m serious), for dinner around 9. Kyle had a coupon (yes, I’m serious). Nolan ate some of the baby food we got him at the store, and he really seemed to like it! We’ve never given him prepared baby food before so I was nervous about how he would take it, but he’s done quite well so far. Happy baby, happy mama!

That is when Nolan fell asleep upright for the second time. Le sigh.

Kyle carried him back to our room and we all slept for about an hour before Nolan woke up. He was having a really hard time just having little coughs, but we took our time with all the remedies we have for this sickness of his, and he eventually calmed down enough to sleep.

We all slept quite well last night. Such an answer to prayer. We were up for about 45 minutes sometime in there, but we fed our boy and all got back to sleep fairly easily. At some point last night (can’t seem to remember when…) he actually drank water. He never drinks water, but he wanted a solid three ounces or so.

A word on cosleeping. We don’t usually do it, but sometimes our touchy sweet boy needs a little extra loving. I’m so glad that it works for some people and I’m so glad we’re not so legalistic that we are open to doing it sometimes, and I’m so glad that I have a boy who likes to be loved on! But I never sleep nearly as well when he’s right there. He needs his space and I need mine! We’ll get through this transition and get our own space back. That will be a good night!

Okay, I think I’ve overloaded you with enough recounting for today  🙂  Till I have better stories and more energy to tell them!

Baby’s First International Flight

Oh, one more thing about flight prep. A couple weeks ago I decided that we needed to have an Ergo 360. They’re brand new, nobody has them discounted [my argument falls fifteen notches in Kyle’s estimation], and coupons don’t apply to them [argument fails]. Two days pre-flight Kyle saw the light and said we could get one. YAY! Everyone’s sold out of them. PANIC AND DEVASTATION. We found *one store* that has *one* in stock, and it’s in my first color choice. HAAAAAAALLELUJAH!!

Oh and another thing. We order Nolan’s formula from this gorgeous country. Long story. Yes it’s necessary, since you asked. We knew we were coming here and believed we had enough stocked up to make it through our travel days, so we didn’t order any more. We used the very very last of his formula about an hour before we landed. THE LAST. Doesn’t get much closer than that. Unbelievable.

On we go.

We already knew we have a good flyer. He’s been on two trips with us, one cross-country, and he did so well. He’s a little charmer, makes friends with everyone he meets, loves to smile and laugh and ham it up. We got the upgraded economy tickets because we knew there would be fewer people in that cabin, in case he “struggled” (read: panicked uncontrollably), not to mention how great British Airways world traveler plus seats are. SO GREAT.

We packed fifteen extra things in his little backpack because he’s so sick. Nose aspirator, thermometer, the world’s largest supply of baby tylenol. He got by just like we expected him to! Made friends with the flight attendants, even a new friend who lives in Lake City who wants to hang out when we get home (hi Blair!), and actually slept ON HIS BACK in the baby bassinet. UNHEARD OF. I can’t even tell you. When that got old he slept on Kyle in the ergo (yes, ^ that one!) for a good few hours, which allowed me to get some sleep on my own. It actually worked out okay that he didn’t sleep for a few days before we flew to a place with an eight-hour time difference. I think he had a leg up on the change.

Which makes one of us.

We crawled up and down the aisle, we ate so much applesauce, we watched most of Gone Girl. He was almost impeccably behaved, such a champ.

Then came the descent. The last hour of that plane ride was pure misery. The pressure in my head had been building the entire flight and I felt near combustion at the end. It was clear that Nolan was not doing well with the pressure in his ears, poor baby. He couldn’t handle it, he hadn’t slept in a long time, and he was decidedly not interested in eating anything else. Oh and I got motion sickness! Total. Win. Thankfully I didn’t lose anything, but it took us a long time to get off that airplane because I simply could not stand up.

That was it. That was the point where I decided that this trip was a truly terrible idea and was filled with the dread of knowing that it was too late to turn back.

And then I realized that I’d forgotten to bring my coat. Seriously? My coat? What am I, three years old? I’d intended to wear it on the plane but it was such a nice day in Seattle and I was in a rush getting to the taxi. So it went forgotten, and I went cold.

Great. Perfect arrival in England.

Could have been worse. I could have been nauseated and warm.  🙂

Pre-England 2015

We’re off on quite an adventure. We’ve taken our nine month old out of the country for the first time (less than a year old and already a world traveler! Woohoo! His daddy could NOT be more proud.) and we’re not going to be back home for a month.

A MONTH.

For a traveler like me, that’s so. freaking. cool. For a homebody like me, that’s so. freaking…either scary or annoying. I vacillate.

We went back and forth for a bit. We’d be planning on doing just this since we were here last time, a year ago. Me, eight months pregnant. Kyle, convinced we’d never do anything fun ever again. It was great. Then we had Mr. Nolan, and this kid…I’ve worked with a lot of kids, and this kid is just more. He’s more beguiling, he’s more adorable (although that may be my bias speaking), and he’s more work.

So I got scared. Tried to convince my husband to let us stay home.

It didn’t work. I decided to have a good attitude about it. Still scared, but choosing excitement too. We ordered Nolan’s passport, bought tickets, spoke extensively (to put it mildly) with the reservations manager at the hotel we’d be staying at, debated about baby gear till our brains were fried, and got on that jet plane.

The week leading up to our trip was an experience in and of itself. Eleven days pre-flight, Kyle got some sort of stomach bug and was home for two days. Ten days pre-flight, Nolan got three vaccines. Three. In his two tiny, squishy little legs. Fun few days, but it looked like things were headed up. I started packing, making list after list after list, doing laundry load after load after load, and seeing all my lovely friends for the last time for a while. My sister came over to run a quick errand for me (invaluable) and brought us these awesome travel mugs from the coffee shop she works at. We love them SO MUCH. I’m actually using one as I write this to caffeinate myself because it’s 5:30am at home.

Three days pre-flight, my boy woke up with a runny nose, little cough, and low-grade fever. Looks like he might be cutting a tooth…no big, right?

Right…

We didn’t sleep all weekend. Four hours at a time at most. Fever went up to 101.7. Awesome.

(Preface to this next line: My immune system is like steel. I worked with kids for a loooooong time and became immune to everything. EVERYTHING.)

I woke up two days pre-flight sick as a dog. I cannot remember the last time I was this sick. Stopped up in my head, terrible and uncontrollable cough, totally dehydrated in spite of my best efforts, and so horribly tired. Because that’s just what I needed.

Kyle, on the other hand (Mr. Sick-If-He-Looks-At-a-Kleenex-the-Wrong-Way) remains in perfect health. Which is awesome, because we needed a win.

He let me and Nolan sleep in till 10am, which was amazing. (He also wrote me a sweet letter and brought me a new glassybaby that afternoon…yay Valentine’s Day!) I cooked all day long, so we’d have things stocked up in our freezer when we get home. Jet lag at any point is not my number one idea of fun. Jet lag headed back to the States is one of the longest processes I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve done it a few times. It’s not something to not be prepared for! Thankfully Nolan finally took some good naps and I got a lot done while he wasn’t needing my constant full-attention. Which was anytime he wasn’t unconscious.

My grand Valentine’s Day dinner plans were smashed like a piñata at a seven-year-old’s birthday party. Mac and cheese was two hours late, dessert became nonexistent, and we didn’t even open the champagne I’d picked up on a Valentinesy whim at the store.

Sunday brought more prep, packing, and caring for a nearly inconsolable boy, and trying to keep my head out of the fog while Kyle helped by…painting the outside of our house? I won’t go into it, that was poor communication on our part, but better moves have been made. My parents had us over to their house for a little farewell dinner with them and my sister before they bid adieu to their obsession grandson for six weeks (they leave for a long-anticipated trip to Italy two days before we return from England. My mom just can’t even right now.), and it was glorious to not have to cook clean up dinner the night before we traveled.

Monday morning brought…whatever Monday morning brought. I’d planned it all out so that all we had to do Monday was shower, dress, pack toiletries, eat the last of our food, and toss everything else in the freezer. The best-laid plans…particularly when what one needs is a week in bed, not an international flight.

My mother is a godsend. She showed up at our house unannounced that morning anticipating that she could hang out with Matthew so that Kyle and I could run around and get last minute stuff done. Matthew had been up a good chunk of the night, so he slept till we nearly had to wake him, and my mom’s self-appointed “job” was already taken by the sleeping fairies. So she made the mistake of asking what she could do to help. “Clean my kitchen?” I sheepishly asked. She grabbed the bull by the horns and my kitchen now sparkles. And will sparkle for the next month, because nobody’s there to use it. Seriously, it’s never looked that good.

We exchanged hugs and maybe a couple tears on Mom’s end, loaded into the taxi, and drove off, leaving Mom to lock up. Except she cleaned out our fridge, took out our trashes, ran our dishwasher, and I’m not even sure what all else before actually locking up. She’s amazing and I don’t know what I’d do without her.

Okay, next post covers travel. I’m not editing these so that I’ll actually post them…

Conciseness is not my best quality. You’ve been warned.