Life with Twins

Posts tagged ‘restaurants’

Recharging, Unwinding and…..5 Days Until my Birthday

NOW:  Just a now.  Sorry.

I played hooky today!!!  YAY!!!  And I only told Tim (and now you guys….shhh!).  I ran a couple errands this morning.  Very simple – pick up dog perscription and get money from the bank.  Then I hung out at Panera for a few hours.  I had a Cinnamon Crunch bagel with Maple Walnut Cream cheese (only half the container, thank you very much), with a Cafe Mocha made with skim milk.  That was for breakfast.  Later, for a snack, a yummy orange scone and some coffee.  While there I enjoyed my Nook…..it came pre-loaded with Dracula and I had never read it and so I’ve been hooked, but haven’t had much time to read.

Then, I used the spa gift certificate Tim had given me LAST Christmas.  My massage was heavenly.  The worst thing about it was that it was too short (the shortest hour of my life).  But I feel like a new person.  I move and don’t hurt or feel stiff……I forgot that was possible!  I wish I could do this more often.  I’d be a lot less stressed….I don’t think I realized how much stress I actually had in my muscles until now.  I am so torn between not wanting to go home and have the stress return as soon as I’m back “on”…..and wanting to go home because I think I could be more patient than normal with the twins right now.

Now, I’m back at Panera and just wanted to type a few words.  I had a You Pick Two – with a steak and blue salad and a cup of Garden Vegetable with Pesto soup.  And more coffee.  🙂

I’m going back to the vampire world now!  Real vampires.  Not ones with souls who fall in love and drink animal blood because they have a conscience.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  This is now.

Winter Rut

NOW:  I’m really in a bad winter rut.  Not emotionally.  Physically.  And it’s discouraging because I feel like in the last 5 weeks or so, I’ve undone everything I worked for.  Between January 2011 through Mid-December, I was really really good about exercising.  Over the summer I even started running and ran a few 5K’s.  I felt great.  And along with the exercising I was watching what I ate….not obsessively, but just paying attention to my hunger cues and adding more veggies and healthier options.

I knew things would go downhill at the holidays.  With going out shopping came going out to dinner.  We still were sort of trying to find better options but we were still busy enough that we weren’t cooking at home as often and maybe not paying as much attention.  Now, I’m not talking about going to a fast-food place and getting fatty or fried foods!  Even if we ran to Applebee’s we didn’t get a big cheeseburger with fries along with an appetizer or something.  We didn’t pick off of the Weight Watchers menu either, but we tried to get grilled chicken or steak with veggies.   And we almost always cut our meal in half and take half home. 

Things really fell apart the week AFTER Christmas.  I was off and had no intention of getting up at 5:30 in the morning to exercise.  That was my first mistake I guess.  It was more important for me to get that sleep.  Which actually ended up working out ok because with Will being SO sick (broncialitis/pneumonia), he was waking me up VERY often in the night and I felt exhausted anyway.

Ok, so the New Year came and my first day back was January 3rd, but I still felt honestly just exhausted.  I didn’t catch up on sleep at all the week before and I was definitely feeling run down.  So, again, I chose sleep over exercise.  All week.  Again.  I felt refreshed.  And not guilty.  Not good.  Because justifying it can be a big mistake.  I know that from past experiences.

The week of the 9th was better.  We got up Monday, Tuesday, took a break Wednesday, got up Thursday.  Friday…..not so much…..Will had been waking me up like every half-hour during the night and then the dog woke me up once because he threw up.  When my alarm went off, I cried.  Tim said this was an extenuating circumstance and I should get the extra hour of sleep.  So I did.

Starting Sunday, Tim was sick.  Like puking sick.  So…..I was very busy.  I was on my own with the kids and then I also needed to take care of him. He didn’t need much, just an occasional glass of water or some crackers.  I did have to make dinner, which he had been planning on doing, and then he didn’t eat even though he requested Lipton soup.  The kids loved it though!  I wasn’t sure how that would work out…..they’ve had it before but only by taking little sips off of our spoons.  But I gave them more noodles/less broth and they did VERY well!  I was impressed.  So that was good.

Monday I had off, Tim was still sick, I didn’t even consider exercising.  Again, setting a bad precedent for the week.  Tuesday morning, my alarm was all set.  But my resolve wasn’t.  And this is where my problem lies.  I haven’t exercised all week.  Tim had an excuse, he’s still pretty weak.  He finally ate just yesterday.  Here’s my main problem – my motivation seems to be gone.  And it feels like it’s been gone for a while.  I love(d) exercising.  I love feeling great.  I love getting up in the morning and feeling like I accomplished something.  I love when my pants don’t feel tight (which they do right now).  So what is MY PROBLEM!!!!!   I’m so mad at myself, but apparently not mad enough to do something about it.  Even today, I said to myself, meh, it’s already Thursday, why bother getting up to exercise now.  WHAT!?  Ridiculous.  And I know it’s ridiculous.  But I’m still not doing anything about it.

I also have a terrible terrible habit of eating if I can get away with it.  For some reason, when I get home from work and I’m starting to make dinner, I almost always get very shaky.  Like low-blood-sugar or something.  What I should do, is have a nice, high-protein snack as soon as I get home and that will hold me off until dinner.  But I don’t.  I wait until I’m shaky, light-headed, hot/cold, and irritable.  Then I have 3 handfuls of cashews (probably 3 servings right there), a couple pieces of chocolate, and maybe even some tomatoes or something if I’m making salads.  So not only am I ingesting all of these calories after eating good all day, plus I didn’t exercise, plus it’s only like an hour before dinner. 

I just don’t understand how I know it’s bad and wrong  and I feel physically awful especially in the area of pants being tight.  And yet I don’t feel guilty enough to fix it.  Maybe writing down these confessions will help.  Maybe you guys should all comment (yay, please comment!) about how I need to get my lazy self back to exercising and not gorging on cashews every evening before Tim gets home.

Not only that, but I know part of my decrease in motivation comes from the fact that I worked so hard for 11 months and now it’s all undone so what’s even the point?  Why work hard again for another 11 months when I can just buy bigger pants?  Laziness is so much easier. 

Every once in a while, I do get that fleeting thought in the back of my mind…..maybe if I tried even harder it wouldn’t take 11 months?  Maybe.  This is now.

THEN: Did I mention the breast-feeding?  No?  I’ve got to work it in someplace.  So, I had planned on breastfeeding the twins.  Can’t do that when they’re on feeding tubes in the NICU.  No, not so much.  But that’s ok.  I can just pump and they can put whatever I get into their feeding tubes.  Although getting less than an ounce after almost a half-hour of pumping is rather discouraging.  Especially when there’s two mouths to feed.  Luckily for me, I was able to stay in the hospital those few extra days.  The lactation nurses came to see me whenever I needed.  I just had to get used to the idea of 2-3 women playing with my boobs every time I needed a little assistance.  I felt it was worth it.  And I suppose an ounce is really not that bad when your kids are only eating a couple ounces at a time anyway.  But it was always on my mind that obviously, eventually, soon, they would need to eat more.  In the meantime they were being supplemented with formula.  I was told multiple times not to feel guilty and that every little teensy tiny bit helped.  And that pumping was bound to get you less milk anyway.  And that having a C-section was bound to get you less.  And that having a delivery at 31 weeks was bound to get you less because your body wasn’t supposed to be ready to give milk for another 7-9 weeks.  And all of these things made sense logically so it’s good that I’m normally a very logical person.

 But I still felt guilty.  And I still felt like since I was just sitting in my hospital room anyway maybe I should just leave the pump attached all day long or something.

 They also said don’t worry about getting up in the night; I needed my rest.  Screw that, my babies needed to eat!  They weren’t sleeping through the night without having to eat, so I couldn’t sleep through the night without making them some food.  They were eating every two hours.  I was pumping every two hours.  Sometimes by the time I got it all set up, pumped for a half-hour or so, and then cleaned up the machine so it would be ready for next time I felt that it probably would be easier just to leave everything attached all day.  Like a cow.  It was not easy.  Emotionally or physically.  I felt drained.  I felt like a failure.  I knew that eventually I would make more but it was hard to convince myself of that when all I had were mere drops to feed my children.  Like really, drops, like when they would pour it from the tube I pumped it into to and try to get it into the feeding tube, there probably was nothing left because it all just got stuck on the side of the container.  I was told to take a picture of them and look at it while I was pumping to stir up some emotion.  That actually did help a lot, especially when I was first home.  They told me to massage my breasts a little before pumping.  That helped too.  A little.  My determination got me through I think.  It is not easy to breastfeed, pump, whatever – I tell everyone that.  But in my opinion, it’s worth it for the vitamins and antibodies that I believe I was providing to my babies.  And since this experience, I have had A LOT of new-mom friends come to me for advice.  I’m no lactation consultant (those people crazy (in a good way)), but I do think that if you can do it, (because not everyone can), you should do it.  Or at least try for a little while because every little teensy tiny bit helps.  That was then.

Morning Routine (no-twin-Tuesday)

I’ve done it.  I’ve accomplished something marvelous.  It might only be temporary, due to any unforeseen circumstances but the fact that it is currently happening is nothing short of miraculous.

Tim is getting up early with me and exercising.  And likes it.

I have been trying to do this for a long time.  Even when we would have an event planned in the evening and we would know we weren’t going to exercise he would refuse to get up early. 

But we’ve been slacking off as of late and I decided it was time to try something new.  Not only were we skipping days, but we were so tired by the end of the day that we weren’t putting a lot of effort in when we did exercise.

So, last weekend I broached the subject again.  I said we’d have more time at night to just relax.  One of the reasons I didn’t like exercising after the kids were in bed was because that only left about 2 hours before we went to bed.  So, we’d get ready, we’d exercise, we’d shower, and we’d have maybe a half-hour before I was falling asleep on the couch.  Plus, I was just plain exhausted after working all day, dealing with twins while trying to start dinner, and then playing after dinner. 

So he agreed to try.  YAY YAY YAY!!!  Last week we got up every morning.  Well, he was on death’s door Thursday and Friday so he skipped, but whatever.  And this week we are still going strong!  We even got up Saturday morning before swim class. 

I feel like I have more energy in the morning, both as I’m exercising and then after.  I feel like it adds more time to our day….which it really does because we’re getting up an hour earlier.  Plus, I don’t feel so guilty making evening plans because I still get my workout in.  I also think it is helping me control my eating again because I can’t tell myself that I’ll just work it off later.  Nope, too late, you already exercised for the day.  I also read an article about morning workouts that said you need to give yourself at least 3 weeks to readjust to your new schedule.  So as of right now, that’s the plan.

Last week I don’t feel like I was any more tired than usual because of this new routine, but this week I’m feeling it a little more.  But that’s more due to our busy weekend. 

We stayed up late Saturday because we went out to dinner and then spontaneously decided to catch a showing at 11 PM of The Rocky Horror Picture Show……complete with props!!!!   I was so excited!  It was a lot of fun, but it has sure taken it’s toll on me as far as being tired.  Friends of ours and Tim and I decided to visit a restaurant called Tantalus.  AMAZING!!  The only bad thing was that the menu was enormous….and everything sounded so good!  It was hard to decide.  We started with a seafood appetizer and I had a glass of red wine.  Then, I tried a cup of their Apple Pumpkin Goat Cheese Soup.  I wished I had ordered the bowl instead because it was SO yummy!  Then, another glass of wine.  For dinner, I had a pasta dish called The Tuxedo.  It was linguini, and linguini infused with squid ink.  Then it was mixed with a spicy red tomato sauce, chunks of tomatoes, kalamata olives, pine nuts, and anchovies.  I’m not normally an anchovy person, but I sure was with this dish!  To end the meal, I tried their hot apple cider “kicked up” with a shot of Van Gogh Caramel Vodka.  It was heavenly. 

After dinner we were walking across the brick street to a small bar to finish watching the Sabres Game.  On the way we passed by the local Theater…..which was showing Rocky Horror that night.  We went in and inquired about props, found out they were allowed, and left the boys at the bar while we ran to Tops for supplies!  When we got back we rounded them up (not too hard to do because the Sabres game was done) and invaded the theater.  I have ALWAYS wanted to do this movie in the theater with the props and my experience was not disappointing.  It was SO SO SO much fun.  And as my friend said……it was one of those spontaneous things we used to do more often before I had kids.  Which was not meant in a bad way at all, and was very true! 

I spoke to Tim about it afterwards.  We don’t get a lot of nights out where we can be spontaneous.  Usually we get a babysitter for a specific event, we go to the event, we go home.  This was such a nice night because aside from dinner, we had no agenda.  We could have done basically whatever we wanted.  And we did.  What a treat!

Then Sunday we carved pumpkins, and yesterday we went out trick-or-treating. 

So, as I’m writing this, I am exhausted.  The last few days were exhausting.  Work was exhausting.  Kids are exhausting.  I’m ready to get a good night’s sleep (and it’s only 4:00) and start fresh…….with my morning workout!!!!!!!

Marina Mania

NOW: My father-in-law decided he’d like to go to the marina next time we had an outing together.  On Friday, that’s where we went.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I had heard that it was looking nicer lately, and that there was ice cream.  But I didn’t think I had ever been there and wasn’t sure how much the twins would enjoy it.

I was also a little nervous because if we let them walk around, one false slip and they’d be in Lake Erie.

They ended up being in the stroller most of the time, which they still enjoyed.

It was a little early for people to be taking off on boats, but there were a few.

The Naval Park is also right there, so they got to see some BIG boats.  Children under 5 were free to go “explore” the boats and the museum, but we thought they were a little too young.  Maybe in a couple years.

When we did get them out of the stroller it was to play at the little man-made beach.  There were beach toys and everything.  It was like a huge sandbox.  🙂

So they had a lot of fun, but we only stayed there for a short time.  Then, I had to use some water out of my water bottle to rinse their hands because they were all sandy.  I shouldn’t have bothered……

They both got pretty soaked.  They hardly ever play in the sprinkler at home.  Apparently this one is different. 

We had started in the middle of the marina, so we decided to head back the way we came and then keep walking along the lake by the harbor.

Papa told us that when Tim was little he used to walk along these rocks.  I’m glad he agreed the twins were a little too young.  They were pretty smooth, but the twins have a hard enough time walking on flat land.  Even if we walked on the sidewalk and held their hands while they were up there, I would not have been comfortable with that!  Plus, Will sometimes likes to wiggle out of hand-holding.  Here’s my fear of them falling in the Lake!  They were content with touching the rocks as we pushed them along.  Then we walked along the docks.

Maybe someday we’ll know someone with a boat and be able to go out on it.  That would be fun.  But I wouldn’t want to buy a boat myself – not in Buffalo!  There’s too short of a nice-weather season.  The kids did have fun.  They were very serious throughout the trip – they’ve never really seen boats before and I think they were just taking it all in. 

Ariel got a bit silly near the end of our adventure.

She doesn’t usually care to have her picture taken and will usually turn away from the camera.  I was taking pictures and she told me she would smile.  Instead, she stuck her tongue out.  🙂  Silly girlie.

After we finished walking around, we met up with Aunt Sarah for lunch.  She works downtown near the marina.  The kids ate first and had a little picnic on the grass with some veggies and chicken I had brought with us.  The seagulls ended up with most of it because the twins didn’t really eat much. 

Then Papa got some soft serve ice cream.  It was supposed to be for the twins and I to share.  In the meantime I went with Aunt Sarah to go get a hot dog.  Upon returning with my hot dog…..I realized there was hardly any ice cream left for me!  The little piggies!  They didn’t eat their lunch, but instead ate MY ice cream!  I couldn’t believe it. 

We’d see Aunt Sarah later too; she was coming over to babysit so that Tim and I could go to dinner!  YAY!  We were supposed to go see the final Harry Potter movie, but our friend Steve couldn’t go.  We’ve seen all the HP movies with him.  He waited for us while we were in Sesame Place, so we needed to wait for him.  His wife, Mariah, just had foot surgery, and his babysitters got pnemonia.  So, Tim and I went to dinner alone, ran a few errands, and we’ll (hopefully!) all go see HP next weekend. 

We had two gift cards from the Melting Pot, as well as a coupon for a free chocolate fondue!  So our bill came to $2.32.  Nice.  The food was SO yummy and it was nice to get out of the house together.   We walked around the mall a bit and then had to go buy some gifts for upcoming birthdays and wedding showers.  We ended up at Wegmans just to buy some bottled water……and figured we might as well go grocery shopping while we were there!  We only forgot a couple of things without our list.  🙂 

Saturday we went to an all-day wedding at Lake Erie State Park.  It was really nice, but very very hot.  So we mainly sat under the tents and chatted with our friends.  Very relaxing.  This is now.

THEN:  When you’re pregnant, you have to go for a series of bloodwork tests to check up on you.  One of those is a gestational diabetes test.

I had heard horror stories about this.

It wasn’t THAT bad.

I had to make an appointment for the bloodtest.  Then, an hour before, I was supposed to eat 4 peanut butter cups (there were other candy choices, but this was mine!).  Sounds pretty good to me.  Then, go give the bloodwork.

Well, for the first one I ate the panut butter cups and then Tim and I went to Valu to spend the hour before I had to go back.  We walked around and shopped for some outdoor stuff we needed.  No on had told me that I was supposed to be sitting still for this hour and that walking around could mess up the results. 

I went back, gave the blood for the test, and was told my doctor would call with the results in a week or so.  OK, no problem.  Next time I went to the doctor, he had the results.  The number was slightly high, meaning I had to re-take the test, this time once every four hours.  The doctor didn’t think there was anything wrong because it was only a little bit high, but figured we might as well retest just to be sure.  He seemed pretty confident that there would not be a problem.

The next time, I couldn’t do the candy.  I had to drink this super-sugary pop-like substance right at the bloodwork clinic.  Then I had to sit for an hour.  At the bloodwork clinic.  Then, they’d call me back for my first blood sample.  Another hour, another blood sample.  And then two more.  So I sat there for over 4 hours.  And gave 4 blood samples.  With 4 needles!  UGH.  At least I got to catch up on some reading. 

Tim had dropped me off in the morning.  It was a fasting test – so the only thing really in my stomach was that gross drink.  I wasn’t sure I would be able to drive myself home after not eating and giving all that blood and being poked by all those needles.  I had arranged for my dad to pick me up and we went out for a quick lunch.  Because by then I was starving. 

Starting 3 days later, I kept calling the doctor for the results.  He had seemed confident, but I was a little nervous.  If I had gestational diabetes, I wanted to know so that I could figure out what kinds of dietary changes I needed to be making.  Plus, my dad has Type 2 Diabetes and I was carrying twins – both factors making my risks higher.  The results weren’t in.  Weren’t in.  Weren’t in.  Finally, the nurses told me that if there was an issue, they would call me, I didn’t have to keep calling.  So, once the results were in they’d give me a call if something was wrong.  I guess I could deal with that.  I didn’t end up getting any phone calls.  This was around the end of July.  My next doctor’s appointment was at the end of August.  So, I just kept doing what I was doing.  Although by now, I was really running out of room in my stomach and was eating much smaller meals, just more often.  That was then.

Lots More to Do! – Day 3

NOW: Our second day in the park was awesome!  It was so much more relaxing knowing where we were going, what we wanted to see, what the kids liked and didn’t like so far.  It was hard that first day getting our bearings straight.  Not because it was big, just because it was unfamiliar and we weren’t sure what to expect from the kids.

Instead of taking them down to a breakfast they might not eat, with highchairs that might not be available, we decided to just have them eat Cheerios in the room.  Tim went down to get breakfast for us and also brought up an orange for the kids and I to share, as well as yogurt for them. 

We wanted to make sure to get to the park a little earlier today.  First of all, because we thought it might be a little busier on a Friday, and plus, we wanted to check out the Count’s Splash Castle, which gets busier later in the day.  As we entered the park, we took some pictures with the cool character topiaries.

We waited at the gate for about 20 minutes – which Will was not too happy about, but it was ok.  We got a locker again and then headed to the back of the park.

We ventured into the water surrounding the castle without too much hope.  Too much splashing.  But maybe they’d like it!  Not so much.  I was really disappointed because I wanted to play!  It looked like a lot of fun, but they just didn’t think so. not with all the water squirting and splashing and dripping.  I was tempted to leave Tim with the kids for a little bit and go play, but I didn’t.  🙂

We went back to Twiddlebug Land instead.  Around 11 we “dragged” them out because we wanted to get dressed to see the Elmo Rocks show and then have lunch.  We were trying to stick to somewhat of a plan today because we wanted to make sure they got a nap so we didn’t have a repeat of yesterday.  Elmo Rocks was an ok show.  Some parts dragged a little and the kids got antsy. 

We headed to Sesame Cafe for lunch because it was inside and offered a Roast Turkey Sandwich that Tim and I were interested in.  It was really tasty!  We got the kids a grilled cicken kids meal to share – along with french fries (Count’s French Fry Count; That’s 3, 3 meals with french fries, ah, ah, ah).  Their chicken was kinda dry – we figured it was because no one else was choosing that and it had been sitting for a while.  Oh well, they ate french fries and blueberries and strawberries.   The kids’ meals were a little crazily-priced though.  Adult meals were around $11, kids were $10! 

After lunch we went back to the car for a nap.  From yesterday’s experience we figured they wouldn’t nap at all (or very well) while in the park.  They were definitely acting tired so we thought maybe we’ll just turn on the car and they’ll fall asleep without even having to leave our awesome parking spot.  We had gotten preferred parking again because we figured if we did have to leave and come back at least we’d be in the closer lot.

Well, we did have to drive around a bit for them to fall asleep.  But once they did, we headed back to the Sesame Place parking lot, got another really good spot, and just left the car running while we sat and read books and they slept.  They got almost a 45-minute nap which was perfect to re-energize them for the rest of the day. 

As part of our package, we had already pre-purchased a 6×8 photo from 1-2-3 Smile With Me, so we headed there after changing into our Sesame Street-themed clothes.  🙂 

We got some really cute pictures with Big Bird and Elmo, and settled on a family picture with Elmo as our 6×8.

Then we asked the kids if they wanted to ride the horsies.  Their first ride!  They said yes, but as you can see from this picture, Will was not too thrilled once he actually got on.  I ended up taking him off and we watched Daddy and Ariel ride.  Ariel wasn’t too sure, but she wasn’t crying either.

We headed over to play Ernie’s Duck Pond, where they each picked 3 ducks and won a prize.  They definitely liked that!

We saw more ‘guys’ in the main area, and so we went to visit again, this time so Daddy could get video.  🙂

Then, it was time for Dinner with Elmo!  We had also pre-booked this as part of our package online.  We’ve done plenty of character dining at Disney and even as adults, really enjoy the interactions with the characters in this type of setting. 

They were so ridiculously excited.  It was so great.  Cookie Monster, The Count, and Abby all came to the table.  Big Bird was seated on a stool in the middle of the room so you could go visit him.  Elmo was seated on a stool off to the side. 

This was our 4th “Disney Does It Better” moment.  Why didn’t Elmo come to the tables?  That would be like sticking Mickey Mouse in the corner at Chef Mickey’s.  I could understand Big Bird sitting still – it was a little hard for him to manuveur.  But Elmo?  We couldn’t figure it out.  

Anyway, we had a blast.  The kids didn’t eat, of course, but that’s to be expected.  We were there for the characters, not for the dinner, if we’re being honest.  Ariel did eat quite a bit of my Tilapia, but that was about it.  They also had chocolate chip cookies and some soft-serve ice cream for dessert.  Well-balanced meal right there.  😉  We also found a little Zoe to buy!  We’d been looking all over for her…..our last character to add to our collection!

After dinner we took them to Ernie’s Bed Bounce, which we thought they’d like because it was like a giant bounce house.  They had to go in alone, though, and they didn’t really like being that far away from us.

After getting out, we asked them if they wanted to go on Big Bird’s Balloon Race with Mommy and Daddy but they said no, so we headed off to see the Abby’s Treasure Hunt show.  It was super-cute, and they really enjoyed it.  Will was on Daddy’s lap, and he was so wiggly and excited Daddy didn’t get any pictures of the show.  But that’s ok.

Then, we headed back to the shops to buy more souveniers but didn’t give them to the kids yet.  We got them a big Big Bird and Snuffy, and each a beach towel with all the ‘guy’s on it.  We also got T-shirts for ourselves, a magnet, and a keychain.  The 30% off for having the season pass was awesome!  We definitely came in under our proposed souvenir budget.

Then, we went back near the front of the park for pictures of “Sesame Street” and more guys while we waited for the nighttime parade.

We waited in line to see the Count and Zoe again while Daddy held our spots for the parade.

Then…………..we PARTIED!!!!  With all the guys! 

We left the park a little after 9:30.  After stopping at the lost and found to see if anyone had turned in the water shoe Will had kicked off at some point after dinner.  Nope.  Well, he’s not sitting in the front of the stroller anymore.  🙂

We got back to the hotel, and got things packed for the next day (we were leaving 😦 ).  Tim and I had already decided we’d at least stay for lunch in the park the next day.  Then, because they had loved the parade so much, we figured, hey, what’s a couple more hours?  So, we’ll be staying for the afternoon parade and then driving home.

After our showers, and the kids’ baths, it only took them minutes to fall asleep (around 11pm).  Thank goodness!  They slept until about 7 the next morning.  This is now.

No Sleep + Little Nap = Day 2

NOW:  After getting the kids and ourselves ready on Thursday morning, after getting very little sleep the night before, we headed down to the free continental breakfast.  First issue:  No highchairs available at the moment.  There were only 3 to be seen and all were taken.

Mommy’s lap it is.

We did eventually get a highchair for Ariel, but then she was all mad because Will was still on my lap.  Another highchair for him opened up soon after.   So that was good, at least I could eat.  Because they sure didn’t.  There was a pretty good selection; waffles, sausage, egg with cheese, bagels, toast, cereals, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, apples, juice, milk, coffee. 

We took them back up to the room to grab our stuff and I tried to get them to eat some Cheerios (which I brought with us…..gotta be prepared).  They kept dumping them on the floor, so I guess they were just too excited to eat.  Tim ran back downstairs to get ice for our water bottles and in the meantime Will went over to the pack-n-play and asked “nap? nap?”.  Um, no.  Not quite yet.

Then we were on our way!  We decided to put them in swimsuits (and us) because we figured we’d hit the water stuff first.  I suntan-lotioned them up before leaving the hotel to make it easier.  They were equipped with swim diapers and water shoes (which I bought especially for this trip because I had read somewhere that it was a good idea – it wasn’t – it was THE BEST IDEA EVER!) 

We drove about 20 minutes to get to Sesame Place from our hotel.  It would have been shorter, but mapquest apparently didn’t know that you can’t make left turns or U-turns ANYWHERE.  We chose preferred parking ($18) over regular ($15) because it was a little closer and worth the 3 extra bucks.  We got there a little after 10 am – it’s kinda weird that it doesn’t open until 10 because it caters to little kids and little kids are always up early. 

This was our first “Disney Does It Better” moment because most of the parks at Disney are open at 8 or 9 am – at least at the time of year when we usually go.

Our second “Disney Does It Better” moment was entering the park.  At Disney you put your ticket in a machine, it slides through, you scan your fingerprint, you’re done.  Here…..you gave your ticket to the attendant…..they scanned it in the machine…….you put your finger in for the print…….they gave you back your ticket……it seemed to take forever.

But oh well.

After renting a locker ($20, but you got $5 back after you turned in the key at the end) for the new camera and my purse, we headed over to Twiddlebug Land.  There were two larger waterslides, one with a double-inner tube and one with a large float for up to 6 people.  The twins were pretty interested, but we decided to take it a little slower first.  We headed over the the teeny tiny wave pool.  There were spouts of water coming up, and other splashy things. 

We all had a lot of fun.  Ariel fell once, face down, in the water, and got a little scared for a while.  So I had to carry her for a bit, but then she calmed down and kept telling me “deep deep” because she wanted to go back in the deep water (2 feet).

We decided to take a break from the water for a little bit and try out the slides.  They were pretty big.  Will climbed way up, and went down once:

Then he came back around and Ariel was still trying to get up.

By this time, some bigger kids were running and trying to push their way up.  Each of the twins got a little jostled and decided they didn’t want to do it anymore, so I had to help them back down.  Another mother and I said something to those bigger kids – like hello, you should wait in line, and not bump into little kids.  But my kids still didn’t want to go back up. 

Then we headed over to Big Bird’s Lazy River.  The kids needed life jackets and then I put Will on my lap and Ariel was on Tim’s.  They kinda liked this.  Except when they got splashed by any water that was squirting out or spraying down.  So we had to work to avoid these.  Because of this, we decided against going on the other raft/tube rides.  They like to splash, but don’t really like being splashed, if that makes any sense.

By then, it was past noon!  We didn’t realize we had been in the water over two hours!  On the way to the bathrooms we spotted…….ZOE!  The twins usually call her Abby though.  They call all the girl-monsters Abby for some reason.  I held their hands very tightly while we waited in line for our turn.  Then, I just let go and they ran right for her!  I also had her sign the autograph books I had made for them.

After our little chance-meeting, we got the twins dried off and dressed.  It was so great that there were changing stations in EVERY bathroom – even the men’s!  So Tim took one kid and I took the other.  Saved us so much time. 

 We headed over to Captain Ernie’s Bistro for lunch.  I wanted a Chicken Ceasar Wrap and Tim settled on the same.  It was really good!  We opted for a side of fruit, and also got a cup of blueberries and strawberries for the kids.  Tim and I had previously decided that we had to try and eat relatively well on this trip.  We weren’t “exercising” except for pushing the stoller around and walking and we didn’t want to come back having gained a ton of weight just because we had burgers instead of chicken.  We had brought the kids’ leftover pasta from dinner the night before for their lunch.  The twins were getting mighty crabby at this point.  They were way tired.  So we figured we’d just walk around a bit after lunch to see if they’d take a little nap in the stroller.  We also stopped at Mister Hooper’s Emporium to buy them each their first souvenier – a stuffed Telly for Will and a Bert for Ariel.  We thought maybe if they held onto them, they’d be more likely to snuggle up and fall asleep.

We also refilled their juice cups.  I had given them water first but they basically refused to drink it.  I always try to mix their juice half with water, and I figured it was so hot I didn’t really care what they drank as long as they were hydrated.  They just kept insisiting on juice. 

We walked around a bit and then got settled into a spot for the afternoon parade (2pm). 

Here we are, all waiting for the parade.  We had to try our best to keep Will entertained so that he wouldn’t kick his sleeping sister, who was in front of him in the stoller.  But he did pretty well – it was hot – he was sitting still – he had no idea why we were waiting.  But once he found out….I don’t think I’ve ever seen him SO FRIKKIN’ EXCITED!!!  My eyes were welling up with tears.  THIS is why we had come here.  For THIS reaction and this experience.

He kept yelling out the character’s names as he saw them, and screaming “coming coming!”  He was dancing and partying like crazy.  Ariel was still sleeping but that was ok, she woke up near the end. 

And this is our third “Disney Does It Better” moment.  If you’ve ever seen a Disney parade, you realize it repeats as it goes along.  This is for the sake of everyone along the parade route – no matter where you are you see virtually the same “show”.  At Sesame the parade stopped towards the beginning and the show went on and by the time it got to us the show was pretty much over.  The characters were still dancing and singing and stuff, but we decided we had to be up front if we watched the parade again.

We left the parade pretty happy though.  Except for Ariel.  Even with her little nap she was still kinda miserable.  Earlier she had been rubbing her eyes on her arms and got suntan lotion in them.  Her eyes were still all red and puffy even after I rinsed them out with water multiple times and washed her hands.  I thought her nap would have helped, but she kept complaining her eyes were still bothering her. 

Elmo’s World Live!  was starting in a half-hour, so we headed over to get in line.  Ariel was still whiny through basically the whole show, but she did seem to enjoy it.  We figured if anything could help, it would be seeing Elmo.  Will loved it!  He was dancing and laughing and calling to Elmo and Mr. Noodle. 

We were walking back up the main area and spotted Grover! 

Then Count von Count

Bert and Ernie

And Cookie Monster

And this was all with Will still not having a nap,and  Ariel moaning and groaning while in the stroller because she was still so tired.  But every time she got out to hug a character, we could tell she really was enjoying herself, despite her red-rimmed eyes. 

We asked the twins if they wanted to go have dinner, or find more guys.  “GUYS GUYS!” they both shouted.  Tim and I weren’t too sure – it was already almost 6, but we decided to go with what they wanted.  We headed to the back of the park where 1-2-3 Smile With Me was located.  Here, you can see Abby or Big Bird, and Elmo pretty much any time of the day. 

By this time, Will had caught on to the autograph book and was pointing excitedly back and forth to the book and the guy.  He was also saying “thank you” as the guy signed.  What nice manners! 

There was really nobody back there at this time of day, so they got a lot of one-on-one time with these characters.  We went through the “line” twice – once to see Abby and Elmo, and when Abby and Big Bird switched, so we went through to see Big Bird and Elmo. 

We piled into the car at this point to drive a short way to T.G.I. Fridays for dinner.  Before we even left the Sesame parking lot, the twins were asleep.  We decided to just get our food to-go and eat in the car.  Depending on what kind of mood they woke up in, maybe we’d go back to Sesame Place and they could just eat dinner there. 

They slept while we ordered and waited.  Then, just as we started eating, they woke up.  Will was screaming.  Ariel was fine because she realized we had french fries (The Count’s French Fry Count; that’s 2, 2 meals with french fries, ah, ah, ah).

We figured Will must still be tired so we headed back to the hotel.  Well, that was apparently the wrong move.  They were wired from their 45-minute nap.  We should have just gone back to the park.  They ran around the hotel room while Tim and I took showers and got stuff ready for the next day.  We gave them baths and then put them in the pack-n-plays.  Not wanting to make the same mistake as last night, we left one light on so they could see we were still there, but got into bed ourselves, too. 

We had to turn the light off after about 15 minutes of them throwing their toys out of the crib, giggling like maniacs, and asking us to pick them up again.  Better than the screaming from last night.  Even after the light was out they continued to play.  They finally laid down and fell asleep around 10pm.  This is when Tim said we should have just gone back to the park.  But oh well……..they probably would have been acting like that until midnight then. 

They slept all the way through until 7:30 without incident.  Better than the night before.  🙂  This is now.

A 7-hour Drive is Actually More Like 11 (Day 1)

Disclaimer #1: For the recap of our trip, I will probably not be doing my normal Now and Then format.  I am already behind on my updates and want to concentrate on telling you about our vacation.

Disclaimer #2 – Tomorrow is supposed to be No-Twin Tuesday.  For same reason as above, it will not be….but the No-Twin Tuesday will return next week.

Thanks for reading!  And for understanding!

NOW: Oh boy.  Ok, it could have been worse.  A lot worse.  There were no major meltdowns from either 2-year-old stuck in the car for the 7-hour drive to Sesame Place.  Well, not even Sesame Place, just the hotel.  However, they were just whiny enough to add approximately 4 hours onto the trip.  Not too bad, really!  Mommy made sure to start her day with an iced coffee.

The first of many.  Although I do feel very sorry for people living past Syracuse.  No Tim Hortons!  The agony of it all!  I had to make-do with Starbucks.  *sigh*

Around the hour-and-a-half mark, Will started whining. 

This was obviously expected.  Luckily, on the 90 through NY there are several pull-off service stations.  Mommy got another iced coffee from Tim Hortons, and twins got Timbits.  As a mini-snack and a bribe (for later).  We let them walk around the service station for a bit to stretch their legs, and then got back in the car.  Another hour later, we stopped again and had a snack at another service station.  I guess sitting in a booth is somehow vastly different from sitting in the car.

And looking at the cars out of this window was so much better than looking at the ones out the car window.  🙂  We led them out, barely able to contain them.  They were so so so excited already.  What an adventure!

Daddy did a great job of keeping them entertained when necessary from the passenger seat.  From propping up bears to look out the front window……..

…….or understanding that when Will yelled “ARE YOU??”, he was wanting to play hide-and-seek.

It really worked out well that Tim was the passenger because I often get carsick if I have to turn around.  The twins both fell asleep about 45 minutes before Syracuse.  Luckily, they woke up just as we spotted an Applebee’s off the highway……there weren’t too many more restaurants after that.

We knew right away what to order for Ariel….shrimp and french fries off of the kids menu.  We got chicken tenders and fries for Will.  They don’t often have french fries, but are obsessed with them.  Unfortunately we didn’t realize the shrimp was fried.  Ariel didn’t touch it.  She and Will did share the chicken and the french fries though.  (The Count’s French Fry Count: That’s 1, 1 meal with french fries, ah, ah, ah). 

We got back on the road and only stopped at one more rest station.  There were none in the rest of NY, although it wasn’t a toll road anymore.  The toll to go across NY? 6 bucks.  The toll down to Philly through PA?  80 cents…….another 80 cents…….then 11 dollars more.  What the heck!  And there were only 2 rest stations (the kind where you don’t have to exit and then get back on).  So, Mommy got Starbucks, babies got diapers changed (we were not dealing with potties on the car ride), and we got back in the car.

As we were approaching Philadelphia, babies started whining again.  Rightly so; it was way past dinner time by now.  Almost 7:00, when we usually eat at 5:30.  Daddy tried to calm them down with the stash of Timbits but they weren’t really interested.  We didn’t really know a good place to exit in Philly and there were no restaurant signs, and trees blocking the neighborhoods, so we didn’t want to risk it.  We decided to keep going until we got to our exit and then if we saw something before the hotel, we’d stop there first. 

We ended up getting to the hotel, getting our stuff inside (thank you Daddy), and asking the front desk for suggestions.  The twins were so excited to be out of the car and someplace new that they almost kinda forgot about being hungry and were just running around the hotel room like maniacs.

They figured out right away where the bathroom was.  And knew the pack-n-plays were their cribs.  I put their stuffed animals from their cribs at home inside right away so they were familiar.  When Tim was done bringing up the luggage we left again to drive to dinner.  We decided on Olive Garden.  It was all about familiarity for the kids at that point because we knew they were “starving”.  So pasta and pizza seemed like a good choice.  It was another 15 minute ride….made all the much longer because you could not make a left turn to save your life in the town.  How ANNOYING!  All the way there Will kept saying “almost almost almost dinner almost almost”.  But not in a whiny way, just a reassuring way.  What a trooper. 

We ate and headed back to the hotel.  They ran around for a bit (don’t know how they had the energy 3 hours past bedtime) while I got things ready for our first day at Sesame Place so that I wouldn’t have to waste time in the morning.  Tim and I decided we’d put them to bed, then take showers while they fell asleep and then we’d go on the computer or read by flashlight for a little bit before going to sleep ourselves.

Ariel started screaming bloody murder as soon as she was in the pack-n-play and the lights were off.  We had obviously expected SOME sort of reaction to sleeping in a strange place, but this was a little much.  Tim tried to calm her down while I ran into the shower.  When I got out, he went in, and I tried to soothe her.  I sang “Twinkle Twinkle” and the Sesame Street Theme Song over and over and over and over and over and over again until she finally laid down and I could hear her even breathing.  By then, Tim was pretty much asleep.  I laid down also…..but was kept awake another hour or so by Will constantly shifting to become comfortable.  He finally settled down around midnight.  Around 5:30 AM Ariel woke up screaming and I reassured her that we were all still there.  Prior to that, I had been woken up half a dozen times by her whimpering.  That, and the fact that I had to go to the bathroom but didn’t dare get up and risk making any kind of noise.  Later, I found out that Tim had had the same issure during the night.  At 7, Will woke up and started saying “dister, dister” to Ariel, which of course, set her off again.  That was the end of that.  We had hoped to sleep until 8, but oh well.  This is now.