So we took off for our annual family vacation down to Orlando, FL. Not sure how much longer than is going to last, but more on that later. The trip started out very well actually, when it could have been a heart attack inducing stress attack. And no, I'm not talking about another 'Airport Olympics' like we had in Denver...maybe I'll write about that just to keep you guys filled in. Actually, it was work related. A few months back, we were referred for a side job with a client doing an independent programming job. We took it thinking it would be pretty straight forward. To make a long story short, our (BTR) schedule became pretty jam packed during the couple of months I was supposed to be programming on this. So I was just falling more and more behind. We were supposed to have a BETA (rough draft) of the program by 12/10. I knew that was coming and going without me even starting, so that wasn't a good sign. I was sick to my stomach thinking that I was going to have to go on vacation and go four or five days without sleep as I 'vacationed' with the family during the day, then worked the 'night shift' after they were in bed trying to make a scratch in the surface of the BETA. Luckily, about two weeks before I was scheduled to leave for FL, we emailed the client 'explaining' that our schedule kept us from starting but based on our conversations with him he had flexible release dates and a mid January BETA was still within our grasp. Note that people not doing the programming made these estimates :S I was still sick with stress about a mid January release. To wrap up and kick this vacation off right, the client said he had pursued other options and we were no longer contracted. A bit embarrassing but nonetheless, I felt like a 5 ton weight was lifted off my shoulders and once again I was looking forward to vacation. Florida here we come!
This was going to be Josh's first flight that he would 'understand' what was going on. He was talking about 'flying in monster big airplane' (saying it only the way he can – making faces as he emphatically 'snarls' monster) for weeks before the trip. The morning finally arrived, and first words out of his mouth as I let him out of his cage were 'Were flying to Florida (end in high pitch), in monster airplane (end in high pitch), yep! (emphasize with a nod and a smirk)' That goofy bastard ;) We got all loaded up and headed to the Rochester International Airport. We were flying to Detroit, then Florida. Josh thought flying in the airplane was the best. The take off, the engines, of course we were right over the wings – isn't everyone??, the little choo-choos with the luggage, the clouds, everything. You don't know how many phrases stating the obvious came out of his mouth...and of course every one ending in 'Daddy' – couldn't he talk with Mommy for a few minutes? ;) It got even better when I broke out the portable DVD player with Polar Express on it, telling him he had his own little movie theatre. He was in Heaven. Flying, playing with buttons, opening and closing his own window, watching Polar on his own movie theatre...life doesn't get any better for a 2 ½ year old. Audrey did pretty well too. Never 'really' crying the whole trip. We landed in Detroit, and as we drove passed all the airplanes being boarded/un-boarded, Josh let out about 100 anxiety filled screams...'Look that that huuuugggge airplane!...Daddy'...'Look at that monster (snarl) huuuuuugge airplane!..Daddy'...over and over again. The first 35-40 were pretty funny, but it did get a little old by 70 or 80. We made our lay over without incident and took off for Florida...almost there. Again, besides the constant barrage of questions, comments, and demands by Josh, the trip went very smooth. Praying the trip home goes as well. The only hiccup we had was that first we waited about 35 minutes for a rental car shuttle, then once we got that and shuttled over to the pickup location, there was a two hour line there. Don't ever rent from Enterprise!
We finally made it to our condo by 8:30pm after twelve hours of travel :S Both kids were asleep and unfed. We woke them up to feed and bathe them and put Josh in the guest bedroom and Audrey in a pack-n-play in the master bathroom and settled in for a long sleep. Well...screw the long sleep. Now as most of you know, Audrey loves to snuggle and nurse with Mommy all night long. I think Audrey caught wind of the 'Orange Lake Idol' contest to be held at the end of the week. Each time she let out a little 'howl' she thought she should take advantage of the great bathroom tile acoustics and practice her acapella and she just couldn't stop screaming...er singing. Mom had to nurse her several times every couple of hours to keep her from waking up the entire house. That was fun and all, but after the 5:00am feeding, I was thinking I'd get a couple hours sleep before everyone woke up. That is until about 5:30 our time when the grounds crews start holding the Indy 500 with John Deere 'Gators' just outside our Condo. I think the rule is that they have to drive backwards for the first fifty laps as the 'beep beep beep' of reverse goes zooming by our window and we see the headlights flash in our room like a UFO landing. This stress relieving 'vacation sleep' happened every night. More on that in a bit.
We decided to take this vacation as 'slow' as we could. We weren't going to any attractions. Basically every day would be get up, eat, take a walk, go swimming, eat, nap, eat, go to the mall and play, take a walk, bath time, bed time. It was very relaxing last year with Joshua and for the most part it was very pleasant with Joshua and Audrey. Joshua loved swimming. He has gotten pretty good with his life jacket and demands that we back up as he does 'ladder jumps' into the pool alone, submerging underwater with every jump. That goofy kid loves to do belly flops. Don't ask me why, but he gets to top of ladder, then just starts falling forward for his 'jump'. His body stiff as a board until he hits face/stomach first in the pool. He thinks it's hilarious...so does everyone else watching. Audrey is a little more laid back. Of course she demands (by screaming and crying) to be with Mommy and wants nothing to do with Daddy, but as long as she was in Mommy's arms she was happy and enjoying just hanging out by the pool ledge (zero depth) climbing in and out showing off her newfound abilities of crawling and climbing. Everyone thought she was the cutest and with the hat we bought her, she lived up to the hype ;)
At the Mall every night, Josh could hardly contain himself. After every nap, he'd wake up...'Daddy, I had a good schweep (sleep), I'm not grumpy. I'm ready to go to Florida Mall' I tell you that kid gets an idea in his head and he never forgets it. Naps magically (actually not that magically) make grumpy people happy, so whenever we see someone that looks a little 'shady', Josh is quick to explain, 'He looks gruuuummmmmpy! He needs a loooongg nap!' The reason he loved the mall so much is that they had a Playmobile store there with all the toys sitting out to play with. We went there every night last year as well, and he played but he didn't really 'get it'. This year, he went nuts. They had a big airplane that he couldn't let go of. He'd play with that thing for thirty minutes straight. Telling everyone to put their seat belts on and to 'get ready for take off...We're going to Florida!' Then he'd land it and check to make sure no one got hurt and do it all over again..and again...and again. I'd always hold my breath when another kid would come in hoping that they didn't want to play with the plane otherwise an all out brawl might ensue ;) Actually Josh was quick to share after having a little 'discussion with Mommy and Daddy'.
We also went to a camp fire a couple nights. Josh had a blast watching the guy play guitar and sing songs. Josh even got his requests played...Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman (butchered by the performer), and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. He constantly makes Mommy and Daddy sing him these songs over and over. He is really getting into the spirit of Christmas :) I just hope I can give him the fond memories that my Mom and Dad gave me. Christmas memories are some of the most vivid and joyful memories I have of my youth as my Mom and 'Santa' had me hook line and sinker. I want Josh to have that fun as well, so I keep hyping him up any way I can. I'm so excited to see his face as he goes to the Christmas tree Christmas morning.
We did have a few incidents of course. The first one was Audrey getting 'roughed up' by Josh. Ann and I were in master bedroom and Josh and Audrey were in the master bathroom as we were cleaning up. Josh closed the door and unknown to us, locked it. Ann and I weren't really concerned with them in bathroom as everything was picked up and there was nothing really for Audrey to get into, and we were going to be in there in a minute during our 'clean up'. Well, then we heard a 'thud' and Audrey starts balling. We rush to the door to find it locked and start yelling at Josh to open it. I think Ann's voice was a bit more frantic than Josh had ever heard and it scared him a bit as he delayed in getting the door open. After what seemed forever, he finally opened it, we grabbed Audrey by the shower door and she had fallen and bumped her lip and had a little blood coming out. So, while Ann dealt with Audrey, I was going to deal with Josh. Both Ann and I told him no locking the doors and he sheepishly agreed. He and I were sitting on the couch and he was getting 'happy go lucky' again, and I wasn't ready for him to be in the clear so I gave him a glare and he 'let it slip out'. 'Sorry Daddy for slamming Audrey's fingers'. Until then I assumed Audrey fell on her own...'Is that what happened? You slammed her fingers?'..'Yes, Audrey slammed her fingers in the door and fell and got an owie'. Well, I explained to Joshua that Audrey didn't do anything and Joshua was the one that did it and if he did it again, he'd get a spanking. No sooner did I finish that word, did Josh start emphatically stuttering his 'one time' speech...'One time...one time in bed...before, one time in bed Mommy spanked my butt and I was being bad' the whole time saying it in that 'Joshua way' with a sincere snarl on his face, nodding his head as if dishing up the most incredible secret of all time. I ensured him that Daddy spanked a lot harder than Mommy and if he ever slammed Audrey's hands again, he'd get a huge spanking. After our little man to man talk, Ann came out to have her talk, I told her, 'Josh and I already talked'. 'What did you talk about?' Josh was quick to answer, 'Daddy gives me huuuuugge monster spanking if Audrey slams her fingers again and I will cryyyyyy-yyyyyy! And have a big owie and need a band aid on my butt' Ann was fighting back the laughter, and then explained it in a bit different way skipping out on the spanking but made it clear that Josh was to never lock doors without Mommy and Daddy and never slam Audrey's fingers.
So that was Audrey's incident, bit scary but over quick. Josh's incident was even more scary and lasted a little bit longer. It coincided with some more of our 'vacation sleep' that we were growing to love...right. Thursday morning around 2am local, Ann and I couldn't sleep due to some machinery whirring, buzzing, beeping, and just flat out being obnoxious just outside our window. Ann had already tried to complain to management about the daily Indy 500 competitions, but every time she was transferred off into oblivion and never actually talked to someone. Well, this was the final straw. After 5 nights of no sleep, Ann was going to 'let them have it'. I pretty much knew what the result was going to be, but Ann was on a mission. She had already called security and management and came back into the room to report that they were on their way. Twenty minutes later, they showed up and listen to the noise with Ann and just as predicted, apologized, but said it was just machinery running and couldn't really do anything about it. So it was about 2:30am as we were letting them out the door and I was just about to ask what all was said as I took a 'back seat' in this battle when 'it' happened. We were right outside Josh's door when we heard him gasping for air in bed. We burst through the door and he was 'barking like a seal' - hence the bark, bark title ;) It went on for about twenty-five seconds of him gasping for air while barking. It was truly scary for us and probably terrifying for Josh. After he was upright for a bit, he got it under control and we gave him a couple sips of juice and he swallowed them with a grimace. We think it might be 'the croup' but we are not sure yet. Hopefully it goes away. We called Blue Cross Blue Shield that night and they talked us through stuff thinking that it wasn't the croup, but I've never heard anything like this from Josh. Although the next day, he only had a couple 'single' coughs that just sounded 'flemmy', so we are keeping our fingers crossed for the flight which is the next day. It is Thursday evening right now.
So that was our family vacation. We are heading over to the hay ride / bonfire tonight. We have yet to take any pictures, so maybe we'll try tonight because it is pretty pathetic we don't have any pictures, especially with how adorable Audrey looks in her new hat. We'll try. As for the flight home, I'm crossing my fingers that the croup doesn't creep up and that Audrey does well again. Barring any 'incidents' on the flight home, I'll spare you from reading up on that and I promise to try to get some pictures tonight!
Happy holidays from Florida!
Well, we just got back from our last night of vacation. We went to a lu'au and Audrey had a blast. We have some video of her 'dancing' while chowing down some dinner. She had us and the surrounding tables in stitches. Then we went on a 'hay ride'...I'll leave that to Ann to blog, but lets just say between the scalding hot chocolate splashing all over me and the ride being so bumpy that I feel like I have 'saddle burns', I didn't exactly enjoy the ride. So we are home, kids are in bed for the night (at least until Audrey starts 'singing') and we are packing up to head home hoping for a smooth trip. I heard there is some snow in the Twin Cities and our flight 'might' be in jeopardy, but I'll take that as long as we get a white Christmas. If we don't have snow on the ground, this will be the first Christmas in my life without snow!