Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving Week

I was determined that this trip we'd get out of the house and see some of the local sites. This has never happened before and I didn't want to sit around and twiddle my thumbs for a week.

We spent one morning going up Sandia Peak on the tram. I was very glad we went first thing in the morning as by the time we came back down there was a long line for tickets. Mal was a little nervous on the ride up, and again did not enjoy his ears popping as we ascended. There was a little snow up on the peak, which the kids loved. You would think they'd never seen snow before. And I suppose it has been a while. While it was windier and colder up on the mountain, we chose a good day to go as it was in the 60s in the valley, so it really wasn't all that cold up on the peak. The boys spent a good hour or so throwing snow. We walked around a bit and found a spot that was slick. Gareth joined some other kids in sliding down the slick patch. Mal stuck to the less slippery areas with me. I enjoyed the beautiful views. When Gareth felt his hands were sufficiently frozen we headed back down. As soon as we were on the tram to go back down he regretted that we hadn't stayed longer. So we've promised him a trip up there again the next time we visit.

Thanksgiving was typical. There were 19 people around my in-law's table because some friends and the fiance's in-laws joined us. I was very peopled out by the end of the evening, so went to bed while the other siblings played Open Arena.

Friday was prep day for the wedding. I got up and looked over my application essays again, then attached the applications to my grad school application and submitted it. Now I'm just waiting on one letter of recommendation. I've got excellent grades, excellent GRE scores, I'm assuming good letters of recommendation. But there are only 12 spots in the program, so not getting in is definitely a possibility. Just have to wait and see.

While everyone else headed to the gym to decorate, we took our kids and Ryan's 11 year old sister to Explora. Since we have a Pacific Science Center membership we were able to get in free through the ASTC Passport program. The kids loved it.

A sand topography map display. As you shift the sand, the topography map shifts to match the features you create.

Riding the high wire bike. Gareth is not tall enough to do so yet.

Checking out displays in the sound area

Mal controlling one of the water spouts at the fountain
We spent a couple hours there and Gareth was not happy when it was time to go. But I was hungry, and Gareth had forgotten to eat breakfast, so lunch was needed. Ryan's sister spent the rest of the afternoon playing Minecraft on my computer while Gareth played video games on the N64 that had been pulled out of storage.

Saturday we got all dressed up for pictures. I got Mal's outfit on our local Buy Nothing group. I'll be returning it to the neighbor who lent it when we get back. And I borrowed my dress from a friend, so all I had to buy was the shrug and a necklace.

Not the best pictures ever, but the best I've got at the moment. Everyone thought the boys were adorable. Gareth wore some khakis, a navy blue button-down shirt, and a sweater my sister knit for him that looks gorgeous on him. Sarah looked beautiful in her Eowyn-inspired dress. After pictures we headed home, took naps or whatever, and then got dressed again for the reception. Mal was very excited for the party - particularly for popcorn and cake. He was quite sure it was a birthday party and was somewhat disappointed that none of the presents were for him. His dinner, unsurprisingly, consisted of croutons, popcorn, pretzels, marshmallows, and cake. The rest of us ate pasta, salad, and rolls as well. The boys did well, despite being up way past bedtime. They snagged a couple of balloons from the newlyweds' decked out car before we brought them home and got them into bed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


We're currently in Albuquerque for Thanksgiving and Ryan's sister's wedding. It's been a rather tiring trip thus far, in all honesty. We were up early to get to the airport for our flight. Usually I plan to get to the airport about an hour before my flight when it's just me. So I figured planning to get there 1.5 hours early would be plenty with the kids in tow. Next time we'll plan to get there at least 2 hours early because we got to our gate toward the tail end of boarding.

Mal did surprisingly well during take off. He has a cold, so I was very nervous. And he'd told me emphatically a few days before that he didn't want to go up in the clouds. But he seemed fine and was settling in, excited about the plane and the window and munching on apples. About ten minutes into the flight he let out a shriek and started flailing. This happened repeatedly for the next several minutes until he made clear he wanted me to put my hand on his ear to "close" it. He held my hand to his ear and buried his face in my lap, intermittently screeching and squirming when the pain intensified until he cried himself to sleep. He slept clenching my hand to his ear for the rest of the flight.

We had a nice long layover in Salt Lake, allowing us to get some lunch and hang out at our gate. Mal did much better on the second flight, though I have no idea why. He managed to entertain himself without me having to pull out any of the new items I bought to bribe him into good behavior. Upon arriving in Albuquerque we quickly grabbed our bags and headed to the rental car place and drove to my in-laws.

The first night here Ryan came and found me and asked if I'd noticed Gareth twitching his head. I checked it out, and sure enough his head was twitching involuntarily back toward his shoulder, sometimes rapidly. He's had a couple of tics for a while - blinking his eyes and clearing his throat. But his doctor thought the blinking was gone at our last visit. Then around the time school started this year his throat clearing shifted to a vocalization, almost like he was trying not to clear his throat. And a month or so later he started making an odd face every few seconds. I haven't noticed that one for a while. But now he's doing the head twitch and the blinking is definitely present as well. So I called his doctor the day after we got here and set up an appointment for when we get back to figure out what's going on.

Malcolm started refusing to eat anything except fruit and cookies as soon as we arrived. This has led to many tears and much screaming on his part, and frustration/annoyance on my part. Today I finally asked Ryan to go out and buy a whole bunch of yogurt because it's something he'll almost always eat and has lots of protein and will help get him through the day a little easier. I already know he'll reject everything at Thanksgiving dinner (except pie), so I guess it'll be a yogurt Thanksgiving for him.

And that's kind of how things are going thus far, in addition to the typical upsets between Gareth and Mal causing various emotional meltdowns. Gareth got the wind knocked out of him while playing on a swing and Mal got a small cut on his hand when it hit a recliner while playing. There's constantly something going wrong with one of them. At least Ryan and I get to go out a few times because we have plenty of willing babysitters around. But after today I'm tempted to put a moratorium on long trips far away from home until Mal is old enough to stop throwing tantrums.