Saturday, August 27, 2011

How the rest of us do Grandy Camp

So the question on everyone's mind is, "Janine, what did you do while Jack was away?!"  Well, let's see.  I made big plans... and then remembered it was my busiest work week of the year, and I that have an extremely curious 16 month old who constantly rearranges my cupboards and shelves.  So, while I did get a lot done, I don't find "keeping up with work emails" and "replacing the pots and pans several times a day" worth mentioning.  But it still was a very good week in other respects.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let's go back to the beginning, when we dropped Jack off at Grandy Camp.

Jon and I wanted to fit one more Pennsylvania trip in before the baby made its arrival.  When we found out Poppie's work was having their company picnic at Knoebels one Sunday in August, we knew that was the weekend to go!  But when we saw the upcoming forecast, we almost changed our minds.  We're still busy trying to do things around the house, and Jon just had two weeks of travel in a row.  It didn't seem worth it to make the long drive just for 48 hours of clouds and rain.  But we'd already made plans to leave Jack with Marmie and Poppa, and I had already scheduled a hair appointment.  And I desperately needed to renew my driver's license since I had forgotten it expired a few months ago.  So we went.  And I'm glad we did, because it was a most pleasant weekend.

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Saturday was cool and cloudy, but no rain.  It was so peaceful and serene in the mountains, just one of the reasons I love to come home for visits.  It was also a very productive day - new driver's license, new hair cut, Jack got new school sneakers, the boys took a nap on the way to my parents' and then I had the wonderful opportunity of going through all the boxes of my stuff that I conveniently had left behind at their house for the past 5 years.  Yes, now that Marmie and Poppa are retired they are going through major purge mode.  Almost like "nesting."  Or "empty nesting" rather.  They cleaned out their rooms, closets and attics and made piles for each of the kids to go through.  And that was my chore the other Saturday.  But the experience itself was so interesting I believe I'll save it for another post.

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Reliving our dating years at Knoebels!

Knoebels was slated for the next day.  According to the weather app on my phone, there was a 90% chance of rain every hour that day.  So Nonnie and Poppie prayed for clear skies and a dry path through the storm.  And that is exactly what happened.  Despite my phone continuing to call for storms the entire time we were there, after an initial downpour during lunch under the pavilion, it didn't rain the rest of the day.  I literally watched the storm on the radar, raging on either side of us (if you don't have the Weatherbug app I highly recommend it).  And as any seasoned amusement park attendee knows, the best days to go are the ones in which it's supposed to rain, but never does.  It was cool, mild and there were no crowds.  Definitely one of my favorite Knoebels days, and I wasn't even allowed to ride a rollercoaster!

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I guess I've officially reached the point where I don't have to do the thrill rides to have fun anymore.  I just get a kick out of watching my kids have a good time. And did they ever!

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Even Jude got to participate.

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And the nice thing about having kids is you have a reasonable excuse to ride those old rides that you haven't been on in years.  Yes, Jon was really excited to get back in touch with his former childhood.

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And Poppa too of course.

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And this guy ... so brave!

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We're trying to teach him the "thumbs up' sign here.

I loved watching him have fun!

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I think the guy on the left did too.

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Knoebels isn't just about the rides.  Or even the food, although I did enjoy my fair share of THAT.  There's some great entertainment too.  Sadly we missed the kids' show at the castle (where they dress up and act out what the creepy narrator is telling them to do).  I was slightly put-out, because I knew my nephew Alex does not disappoint when it comes to play-acting and figured Jack would enjoy it too.  But Nonnie saved the day and she, Alex and Jack had their own little show ... until a voice booming over the speaker asked them to stop and please return the costumes to the chest.

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So we spent our Sunday at Knoebels, kept extending our time of departure, and then finally gave into the tired whines and sore feet. 

It was time to say goodbye to Jack.  I wasn't sure if he would understand what was going on.  I tried explaining to him earlier that weekend/day that he would be going to Marmie and Poppa's all by himself!  So when we transferred his carseat to their car he crawled right in, gave me a wave and said "I go in the blue car!"  It was too easy.  I definitely had a harder time saying goodbye.  And the ride back to Maryland felt so strange with only one child in the back.  I would say "quiet" but that was not the case, at least for the first hour.  Jude did enough talking to make up for his brothers absence.  Jon and I were trying to enjoy a nice quiet ride through the mountains at dusk ... and our reverie was constantly interrupted by "uh-oh, blah blah blah" or "nuh nuh go", "ahhh ma ma ma ma."  Finally, one hour and a handful of binkies later, he succombed to sleep and the hubs and I had a lovely, peaceful rest-of-the-trip home. 



We left Jack's Grandy Camp experience open-ended.  Marmie and Poppa were willing to drive him home at a moment's notice if needed.  But as I mentioned before, Jack had a great time and was a model camper.  I'm sure his grandparents would have kept him longer if his silly mother would have stopped calling and checking on him several times a day. 
Jon was traveling for work that week, so it was just Jude and I at home.  And to answer everyone's question:  Yes, it was quieter in the house.  But not that quiet, at least not with Chatty Charles around.  And while the den stayed much more neat and organized than usual, the rest of the house was a disaster area.  And I just let it go.  That's the beauty of having a week to yourself (and your 16 month old).  I didn't do dishes unless I felt like it.  I didn't put much effort into cooking since Jude was more than happy to live off crackers and raisins.  And I was under no pressure to shower, do hair, make-up or even change my clothes.  Ah, staycation!

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I really missed Jack.  But it was a good, healthy miss.  And I only cried once.  I told Jude it was time for a nap so he went to Jack's room, picked out three books, threw them up on Jack's bed and then made every effort to swing his chubby little leg up there as well.  And so we read our three pre-nap books in Jack's bed and I choked through all the words because I was missing him so much.  But other than that one incident I did quite well. And I'm so proud of my boy for spending 5 nights by himself at his grandparents without major mishap.

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My big "helper."

Oddly enough, other than work and some fun nursery projects, the only other thing Jude and I did was run errands.  It sounds strange but I rarely venture out during the day when it's just me and the two little dudes.  It's just too much work.  But since I only had one this particular week, well I was feeling adventurous.  Post office, farmer's market, fabric store and hey, let's just grab lunch at Chipotle while we're out.  It was a fun treat, and a good reminder of just how easy the bygone days of parenting only one child were.  If only I had known then what I know now ...

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The sky is falling! ... actually he's pointing out an airplane.

And I completely enjoyed my one-on-one time with Mister Jude.  He's a special little guy and really coming into his personality at this stage.  I think I forgot how much I love this age (15-16 months).  He's learning so much at this point and communicating more and more.  He's also becoming more independent.  He's walking further and further from me, heading off to the end of the yard all by himself, trailing down the beach solo, running out the front door and straight for the road because he knows it will make Mommy yell and flail her arms ...

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Jude wants to know why this thing didn't come with a footrest.

The poor things is also working on his canines.  It's the last four teeth we have left, and they've been killing us both for the past two weeks.  During Grandy Camp Jude was up in the night, up early in the morning, had nasty poop diapers 5 times a day and was suffering from the worst diaper rash I've seen on one of my kids yet.  Which meant diaper changes were a miserable experience for the both of us, plenty of tears on all sides.  Thankfully, although his teeth still haven't broken through yet, night wakings have diminished and the diaper rash is almost gone.  Jude has been my most challenging teether, I'm eager to put this phase behind us!

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Yes, there is a bug on his forehead ... if only I had time to Photoshop it out.

While Jack was gone I rediscovered my love for walks.  And Jude was an eager companion.  I'm still trying to figure out our neighborhood and the best (and least hilly) places to walk.  Not only has it been a hot summer but it's no small chore pushing a 70-something pound double stroller around with a pregnant belly.  The heat and effort took all the fun out of one of my favorite activities.  But since I'm nearing the end of this pregnancy, and I'm fully aware of the benefits of walking at this stage, I'm re-motivated to get out and enjoy the end of summer (and look at all the pretty houses in our new neighborhood).  And I was more than happy to explore with Jude in the jogging stroller.  I love this thing and unfortunately it doesn't get used enough anymore with two kids around!  Jude had so much fun he's made grabbing his shoes and heading for the door a daily habit.

It was a precious time with my youngest, soon-to-be-middle child.  But now the other men in our life are home and we're happy to have them back.  We don't have much time left as a family of four and we're making the most of these final weeks of not being outnumbered!

1 comment:

JSS said...

The Knoebels photos are great! Jack's smiles are priceless. Nonnie and her awesome antics get me every time!!

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