Beach Boys

On Sunday, we caravanned down to Manhattan Beach to visit Uncle Paul and Aunt Steph. In preparation for the muppets first beach vacation, Mother Nature decided to play along and the weather was a picture-perfect, sunshiny, 70 degree day.

G.G. had not yet seen Uncle Paul’s new digs either. Paul has spent the past five years living in the ultimate bachelor pad. Four blocks from the beach, bachelor Paul lived in the downstairs “apartment” of a four-bedroom townhouse. In reality, this “apartment” was the townhouse’s mother-in-law unit with an external lock put on its door.

While the 900 sq. ft. room would have been quite spacious as a guest area, it made for some tight  permanent living quarters. The bedroom consisted of…a bed – the queen size mattress filled the entire space. His closet consisted of a divot in the wall the height of his waist. (Even 4’10” Steph had to squeeze into the closet.) The bathroom door did not fully open, as the sink was in the way, so one had to scoot around the plumbing for any desired cleansing. True to form for a bachelor pad, a black leather couch graced the living room. In front of the stereotypical settee was the state of the art, all encompassing entertainment system. A lone tiny plastic plant languished in the corner.

But now that Paul is marrying his better half, the two of them now reside in a gorgeous (full-sized) home with panoramic Pacific views. There is still no living greenery in their home, but the palm trees bordering the Strand more than make up for that particular omission.

Manhattan Beach is not known for its stellar parking situation. So we played a Rubik’s Cube game of fitting the whole family into the Pilot. Ultimately, the stroller was banished and the third row got its inaugural passenger. GrammaJ kicked off her shoes and climbed over the muppets row, gracefully tumbling into her seat. GrampaStavo planted himself in between the boys where he could commence cooing over his grandsons. (We are not sure who babbled more during this trip – Grampa or the muppets.) G.G. rode shotgun.

After the circus-like attempts to get the whole gang together in one vehicle and an Abbott and Costello themed performance on directional navigation, we turned down a narrow alley (allegedly a street in MB) and parked in front of his garage. The six of us piled out of the SUV in clown car style only to revise the seating arrangements shortly thereafter so we could walk the Strand. (We drove to the beach because the stroller was left behind; muppets had to be carried.)

The muppets were giggling away in their carseats when Steph decided to climb in. One moment she was standing beside us, the next she had ducked beneath the carseat – crawling through the minuscule leg space – reappearing between the muppets. This inspired GrampaStavo to attempt to hurl himself from the back of the car into the third row. He was luckily thwarted in this endeavor, and sent with Paul and GrammaJ to walk instead. GrampaStavo is a lot larger than the pocket-size carseat crawler Steph.

Speaking size, both muppets are now officially chunky. Without the stroller, our family took turns acting as human strollers – carrying the boys along the beach. Caden was in his element, enjoying every moment of the ocean air. The rest of us admired the multi-million dollar homes adorning the beach front, making fun of some of the more eccentric architectural choices.

On Monday it was gloomy again. Even Mother Nature was sad we weren’t still at the beach. I bet the muppets will absolutely love Maui too…


Weary Travelers

Friday was the start of a long holiday weekend. It was pouring rain. The drive to SoCal took five and a half hours. Tuesday, once everyone had returned to school or work, was absolutely gorgeous. It took nine hours to get home.

We’re finally home. I’d planned to update you, all my faithful readers, on our trip last night. But our return became a full day’s adventure.

7:15 a.m.: The muppets and I bid adieu to weeping grandparents.

7:30 a.m.: The three of us visited briefly with an old friend, her little munchkin and munchkin-to-be, and enjoyed some nice warm bottles of milk.

9:00 a.m.: We arrived at G.G.’s house to dine on a delicious breakfast of pears and bask in the glow of some last minute doting.

11:00 a.m.: Time to hit the road – the wheels on the car go round and round.

1:00 p.m.: The wheels on the car are not going round and round. Logan begins to express displeasure for this particular journey. The muppets are tired, but not sleeping.

1:30 p.m.: We’re moving forward, but sadly without need for use of the gas pedal. Logan decides this is a problem best solved with food, so I promise them we’ll break for a snack. A green highway sign overhead shares that the next exit is one mile down the road.

2:00 p.m.: We finally approach the exit. I will the traffic ahead to make good use of the accelerator while preparing bottles for the boys. Both muppets protest a return to their carseats.

2:30 p.m.: Arrival in Santa Barbara. (I usually pass the “Big Yellow House” an hour and a half into this journey.)

3:30 p.m.: Caden begins to whine. Logan agrees with Caden. Numerous kamikaze bugs commit hari kari on the windshield.

4:00 p.m.: Pismo Beach looks like an inviting rest stop. I choose a grassy knoll at a Hilton Garden Inn overlooking the Pacific Ocean and set up a family picnic. In a setting fitting a Hollywood movie, we dine on peas under palm trees as we gaze out over the sparkling blue water shimmering in the distance. Logan rolls around in the sunshine, while Caden tries to disassemble his carseat.

5:00 p.m.: Halfway home! (This is the time we thought we’d arrive.)

6:00 p.m.: GrampaStavo starts to panic that we’re not home yet. Caden is wailing in the backseat.

8:00 p.m.: Never such a welcoming house have our eyes ever seen before. The muppets are sound asleep as we pull into our driveway. With sleep filled eyes, Caden curls up into Daddy’s arms.

“I missed you!” Jon cooed over the muppets as he doused them with kisses. I began to unload the car while Jon prepared milk and oatmeal. Caden began to cry again. By the time I got back into the house, we were experiencing our first full-blown tantrum.

Caden was screaming and squealing in his ExerSaucer as he jumped up and down. “I. AM. HUNGRY! I. AM. TIRED! I. AM. NEVER. EVER. NEVER. GETTING IN THAT CARSEAT AGAIN. MY DAY SUCKED!!! MY TEETH HURT!!!” Crocodile tears streamed from his bloodshot red eyes, down his chubby little chipmunk cheeks. His bottom lip jutted out in a full pout.

He didn’t even make through the appetizer course of milk before he passed out in Jon’s arms.

After we put the two of them to bed, where they immediately flipped onto their tummies and embraced the familiarity and comfort of their own beds, I returned downstairs to share the stories of our adventure. I stared at the computer screen, mesmerized by the blinking cursor.

Well, I’ll just leave them anticipating the next installment, I thought. I was sound asleep by 9:00 p.m., dreaming dreams that my butt was no longer molded to the precise shape of my car seat.

Traveling with Twins

Our Thanksgiving celebration was a day trip. We did not spend the night. We drove up for the feast in the morning and returned home the same evening.

It took us three hours to get up and out of the house. For the eight hour day (plus car ride), we brought:

  • 1 double stroller
  • 2 car seats
  • 4 jingly toys that dangle from the car seats (2 per muppet)
  • 1 Pump with bags, bottles and batteries
  • 2 sweat outfits: fleece pants, long-sleeve onesie, jacket
  • 2 cutesy outfits: jeans and a long-sleeve polo shirt and overalls with a long-sleeve shirt
  • 2 sleeper outfits: fuzzy footie pjs
  • 4 pairs of socks for the non-footie outfits – the extra set for when one sock gets kicked off and vanishes into a baby black hole
  • 2 pluggies and binkie bungies
  • 4 milk bottles with all pieces and a cap
  • 6 bags of frozen milk (I like to think we picked ones with Thanksgiving feast flavors)
  • 14 diapers and full box of wipes in case of (expected) explosions
  • 1 diaper bag with changing pad
  • 4 blankets: two receiving blankets for the car ride up and two warm fuzzy blankets to combat the cold.
  • 1 Pack N Play with fresh sheet so the boys have a place to refuse to nap
  • 2 warm hats that have adorable Mickey ears
  • 2 stylized turkey bibs since the boys can’t actually eat the turkey
  • 4 regular bibs for after the turkey’s can’t take any more arf
  • 4 burp rags (for obvious reasons)
  • 3 rattle toys for the muppets to stare at disinterestedly
  • 1 obnoxious music toy with flashing lights and sounds for the muppets to squeal at with delight
  • 1 bottle of Little Tummies gas meds for our futile attempts to stem the tooting
  • 2 lovey stuffed animal blankets for cuddling
  • 2 adult outfit changes of clothing – needed for comfort on the drive home, but far more likely for changing into after getting puked on
  • 1 phone charger to maintain contact with the outside world should we get stuck in traffic and have to call for backup
  • 3 magazines and books to read aloud (we chose napping instead)
  • 1 camera to capture the holiday memories
  • 1 purse (or wallet in Jon’s case) with personal identification should we collapse under this load of stuff
  • 2 muppets
  • 1 mom
  • 1 dad

And on top of all that, we even remembered to bring our contribution to Thanksgiving dinner.