weekend trip report

Daddy J had to leave town for business for several days, which, though infrequent, is always a bummer for me. I get lonely and stressed when I’m solo parenting for any length of time. SO! I whipped up a weekend getaway with my mother and the big boys. Her birthday is today, so it was good timing. We usually go somewhere every summer with Grandma MJ, but this summer she took the big boys to Yosemite and we didn’t get around to our Mama, Grandma, and boys trip.

Until now.

Poking around for places within driving distance, I came up Lexington, Kentucky. I’ve been to Louisville, but never Lexington. At 4.5 hours, it was sort of far away for a one night trip, but we pushed on. There was this Harvest Festival that we were really excited about. It involved re-enacters. Yay!

We went to Shaker Village in Harrodsburg, just outside Lexington. It’s a historic Shaker Village with buildings that date from the early 1800’s. Our suite was SO much better than I expected. Super roomy and comfy. Rockinrolla slept on the fold-out couch and housekeeping brought an inflatable mattress for Brad, so we were all set.



I had planned on getting there noonish, but we didn’t actually get out of the house until close to 9:00, which I thought would put us there around 1:00. The festival ran from 10:00 til 5:00, so I figured that would be fine. What I failed to realized, though, was that Lexington is in the Eastern time zone. With food stops and check-in, we actually set foot in the Harvest Fest close to 2:30. I wish we’d had more time, but whaddayagonnado.

The boys are now 14 and 15, so there were perfectly happy to branch off with some money in their pockets and go exploring. They reported that they loved the live music and holding the baby lambs in the barn. (awwww…)

I listened to this talented trio (Dad with 12 and 15 year old daughters) while I ate my fresh parmesan pasta with squash for lunch (yum):

My mother set off to pick some apples (sadly, the season didn’t cooperate for the apple crop) and I wandered into the Shaker Meeting House, where these ladies were leading a song and dance.

I sat down for about thirty seconds, and couldn’t stand it any more. Had to get up and dance. I will fail when I try to describe it, but I’ll try anyway: the dances I participated in had concentric rings of men and women who turned in opposing ways, and then another with a line of men facing a line of women. We did very simple steps (like, step, step, STOMP, step back) and various representative moves with our hands while singing repetitive songs. You hold your hands out in front, palms up, to receive the spirit.

It was one of the most joyful things I’ve ever done. I couldn’t stop smiling, I felt so full of happiness just being there. I wept and had to keep biting my lip and wiping tears away so I wouldn’t totally fall apart. It wasn’t so much that I was embarrassed, I just didn’t want to start sobbing and have to leave the dance. I thought, Holy shit! I’m a Shaker! and then, Damn, I bet there aren’t any Shakers around where we live.

Mostly I thought, I feel God’s presence here.

I thanked the ladies after the dance with a big smile and tear-smeared cheeks, and then floated out of the Meeting House.

Mom and I did a wine tasting for a local winery. (Yes, they had wine, beer, and hard cider at this event!)

The wine was actually great, but not as great as the winery owner’s daughter. She had painted three pumpkins and had a sign out: Hold a pumpkin for One Cent. Hold it twice for a dollar! I ponied up a buck to hold a pumpkin and get my picture with her.

We all got to see the sheep herding dog Cal, which was a huge highlight for me.


(Side note: The dog handler totally says “That’ll do, that’ll do,” just like in Babe.)

There were all kids of fun, gentle little kid activities at the festival involving pumpkins and hay bales and baby animals and face paint.



The boys wandered off to listen to music and do whatever teenage boys do at Shaker festivals, and Mom and I explored.




After the festival closed down, we had a little time before our 6:30 dinner reservations. The boys watched vulgar cartoons in the suite and I swung from a tree swing and did some reading outside. Mom read too, I think. Dinner was at the Shaker Village. We asked to eat outside under a tent instead of in the crowded building, which was a good call. The food was expensive and fair-to-middlin, but whatever. The scenery was great and we didn’t have to drive anywhere.





We considered driving into Harrodsburg for a movie or bowling, but opted to stay on site. We scoped out the common room, played a top game (skittles, I think), and a few rounds of Connect Four, then turned in.

Our goal for the next morning was Keeneland Race Track; they exercise the horses there from 6-10 am, and you can eat breakfast in the trainers kitchen. This is when I realized what a small town girl I am: I did NOT anticipate the Race Track being the size of a town. There were multiple grandstands, all sorts of buildings everywhere, and roads leading all over the place. It was incredibly confusing for a girl with a poor sense of direction. We saw the track where we thought the horses were exercising, but there was just one horse and it was obstinately refusing to run in front of us. We saw the trainer’s kitchen and drove there since we were all ravenous, and learned we’d miss seeing the horses exercising. That was a bummer. At least we got breakfast.

But! We scooted on over to the Kentucky Horse Park. That was a good call. There were two spots available for the trail ride, so I bought tickets for Brad and Rockinrolla to do that and Mom and I went into the park itself.

The Parade of Breeds show sounded interesting.

And yes, it was indeed fabulous. The stadium area was really small, and we got to be right up front. These young women in costume rode various beautiful horses around while the commentator explained what made each breed special. The sun was sparkling, the horses were gorgeous.




And again with the weeping.

I pulled out my sunglasses because I didn’t want to have to explain to my mom why I was crying. I didn’t want to spoil it with words. I felt again, God is here, and also, Wardie would have loved this.

And then realized,

Wardie DOES love this.

I felt him right there with me, part of God and part of me, laughing with pure delight at the talented, beautiful horses and their riders. I thought,

THIS is the way to keep him close; doing joyful, childlike stuff with people we love will help me feel his joy.

It was such a gift to feel him close again.

There was more to see at the horse park, but we were ready to get back home.

We had our cranky moments, our minor disappointments, but it was everything I wanted in a weekend trip.

So grateful for every minute of it.

Next year, a Rainbow three-year-old is coming along.

unboxing

So, I sort of knew this, but it still seems weird:

Rainbow is now bigger than Ward ever was.

Whew.

He’s now a few days shy of 31 months old, and Wardie was 33 months when he had his accident. But Rainbow’s a really big 31 month old. I pulled out the ridiculously huge toddler clothes of Wardie’s that I’d put in the top of the closet back in February 2009. It seemed like the day would never come when our teeny little dreamed-of infant would ever fit into these big boy jeans and jackets and turtlenecks, but now it seems I’ve almost waited too long.

With laundry piling up ominously (groan…) I needed to put Rainbow in long pants for school this morning, and was totally out of clean ones. I remembered that box of Wardie clothes, the one that I’ve always thought of digging into when Rainbow got much, MUCH older. And, yeah, they fit perfectly, and are sort-of-almost-too small. Like, the moss colored jeans I put on him today are just long enough and are have no room to spare around the waist. This will probably be their only wearing.

And it’s weird, a little bit heart-lurchy, but also oddly relieving. I feel like Rainbow hitting 34 months will be a big emotional milestone for me, but it’s also a milestone that he’s just bigger that Ward got to be. I’m probably doing a poor job describing it, and I know I’m almost certainly doomed to be a fretful mother for my entire life, but there is a certain deep exhalation that I’m counting on having when Rainbow lives longer than his brother.

Whew.

As far as the debinking goes, I think I made some major headway last night. I had clipped off the tips of two of his binkies a couple of days ago and offered them to him at bedtime. Of course he tossed them and insisted on the “fresh” binky. I wasn’t up for a battle, so I let him have the unclipped one.

BUT: at about 4 am, he woke up and had lost his binky. I searched for that thing and it was nowhere to be found, so I presented the two clipped ones. A FRESH binky! he begged. I want a FRESH binky… *sniff* And I mentally steeled myself for a miserable and sleepless early morning.

AND YET: he gave up pretty quickly and used one of the snipped binkies for the rest of the night. It couldn’t have been that satisfying, but he slept with it and had it in his mouth when he woke up this morning. I’m thinking that Gradual Binky Depletion may be the answer here. Shearing off slivers every day seems like the least dramatic option, if he’s willing to use a binky that’s been cut at all, don’t you think? And yes, it doesn’t seem like the silicone is going to rip into chunks with a straight cut across the pacifier tip. It seems to be made of pretty tough stuff.

big news for Henry’s family

Cousin Katie reports that the people involved in her son Henry’s death have been arrested on drug trafficking charges.

It’s a big day. I’m so glad that these people have to face up to the dangerous, deadly actions they’ve taken (i.e. dealing drugs), and also hopeful that these arrests will help bring a measure of peace to Henry’s grieving family.

😀

choo choo

So there’s this train museum that turned out to be really awesome. At first, I thought it was a weird, dusty, primed-for-a-horror-movie space, but no. One had to get past the weird collections and just accept that some people collect, like, a lot of stuff that might otherwise be discarded.


And build doll-houses of famous structures.

And create elfin railways around sheds of rusty farm equipment, weedy jungles, and wavy-bricked, yard-arted patios. That, too.

It was totally great, and we will totally be back, if only for the deliriously addictive way that Rainbow gripped my hands as we went around the doll railroad track.

It’s pretty much the best feeling ever.

ch-ch-ch-changes

We’re changing preschools.

I’ve been waking up at night and fretting about whether it’s the right call, worrying that I will upset his happy little life for my own preferences, wondering if I’ll regret it.

But I’m pretty sure I won’t. His current preschool has been great; very nurturing and loving and stimulating. There is no drama here. I just found a place that suits a little better, driving convenience-wise, and there are a few other things I prefer a bit about it. He’s just now reached the age to move into a new age-bracket class, so I’m doing it. We are LOCKED IN. It’s happening, fo shizzle, in a week or two.

(grips roiling stomach)

Here is his school photo, taken at his current (soon to be former) preschool, where they magically got him to hold still, smile, and pose like a forty-year old:

At two-and-a-half, he just dazzles me. He acts perfectly two-ish (e.g. today I took him for a playdate to the bouncy inflatable place, got thoroughly exhausted chasing him around on all the equipment, and was totally ready for a nap, when he pulled a big H to the NO on me and proceeded to dump out all the toy bins and drawers he could get his hands on, in between flailing on the floor in nap-deprived misery) but he acts perfect, for a two-year old.

He’s funny and handsome and strapping, cuddly and squirmy, and again and again I get that weirdly comforting swoon when I play with him that tells me LORD but I’d do anything in my power for this child.

Rainbow at 30 months

is fabulous.

He’s still a picky discriminating eater. He has his faves and that’s about it, although his preschool teacher reports that he eats things like carrots and corn and meatballs and turkey for him. I’ve yet to see it. For me, he’ll eat French toast, monkey cheese (mac’n cheese), grilled cheese sandwiches (especially those cut into shapes), raisins, bananas, watermelon, yogurt with wheat germ and strawberry puree spread, graham crackers, string cheese, and… ummm…

He’ll taste veggies for us at the dinner table, which is good. He’ll eat a teeny bite of green bean or broccoli in order to earn some more grilled cheese, so I count that as progress. Also, this child is healthy as a horse, so I’m not so worried about his diet. A varied palate will come.

He has now mastered the getting into stuff aspect of two-ishness. His latest trick is to hide himself in the toilet closet in my bathroom. I’ll track him down there and find him standing at the closed toilet with an array of forbidden items on the toilet lid: cuticle cream, essential oil, shampoo, shave gel. He’ll look up, irritated: Go ‘way, Mama. Shut de door.

Suuuuure, buddy, I’ll just slip away and leave you to your work.

I found him the other day with Nair wiped on his chest in a Zorro stripe and the nozzles off of two cans of hairspray, aggressively trying to open a bottle of nail polish.

So, there’s that, but he’s also so damn cute while he’s at it that it sort of balances out.

The sleep thing might be on the upswing. Maybe. I made a huge effort last night to entertain and coddle him during evening hours. We got a cookie after preschool at the coffee shop, played and ran all over the house, had an on-time family dinner, took a nice bath, had a prolonged bedtime routine.

He did the flip-out trick again as I left – going from fully cozy and sleepy-content to raving DON’T LEAVE ME!! lunatic – and Daddy J stepped in as I was trying to shut the door on him and calmly insist that he go to bed BECAUSE CUDDLE TIME IS OVER UNTIL THE SUN COMES UP I MEAN IT.

Daddy gave him one more song and left him crying, but within one little minute he gave up and got quiet. I checked on him after we watched an episode of the Tudors (oh, that wicked, tormented Henry the Eighth!) and he was totally snuggled in bed with Puppy and Binky, sleeping deeply. And slept til 6:45 this morning.

On one hand, it makes me sad for him to learn to settle himself, because I want him to want me, you know? It feels like a sad, albeit positive and necessary, little milestone.

He’s growing up.

It’s good.

submission

Rainbow’s New Thing is to wake up and call for us, then insist that we lay down with him until he is 100% asleep. It’s sort of sweet and snuggly, but also a bummer at 4:30 in the morning when you really just want to stay in your own bed.

He’s done it more of the last few days than not. It’s like he’s afraid to sleep alone. I feel for him: I acutely remember becoming aware of the unfairness of the whole thing as a little kid. It dawned on me that my parents got to sleep together every night, but I had to sleep all alone. I did sleep with my dog (a Shih Tzu) and if Rainbow were older and Scarlett were fully housebroken, I’d totally go with that. Doggies are super comforting to little kids at night, and no doubt the doggies love sleeping in a human bed. But at this point, I’m pretty sure Rainbow wouldn’t snuggle calmly with the wiener dog. Also, she’d pee on the floor. So that’s out.

This morning I lay down with him for a good half an hour, feeling very virtuous and patient and SURE he was fully asleep. The room was so calm and serene as I left him breathing deeply and slowly. Then when I started to push his door shut, he realized he’d been left. AND FREAKED OUT. Just weepily insisting I lay down with him. Growing more frantic. Grabbing my hand and BEGGING. I tried rocking him in lieu of laying down with him, wanting to stick to my guns when I told him that Mama was all done sleeping in his bed. But, no. Just, no. Full-on freak out, big wet tears, and a final result of two parents and two year old up at 5:00 am.

Again.

I think the take-home lesson here is what the pediatrician has said multiple times: Whatever gets the most people the most sleep most nights wins.

Yeah. I think I’ll just sleep with him from waking time on the next time this happens. Like, tonight. And worry about getting him used to sleeping on his own sometime in the future.

Because we’ve GOT to get more sleep than this.

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