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Just try to make it through

A report on my trip. I'm not even going to try and be clever and witty and keep your attention. When I'm done with my summary, maybe you'll understand. And if I'm accidentally clever, witty, or captivating, then---thank you, thank you very much.

I only took Avee with me to Utah. Benja stayed with his aunt and two cousins where I missed out on such winning phrases as "Aw, NUT!" and only got the tail end of random blurting out of "hahahaha! Tricked you!" His 6 year old cousin tried to teach him that there actually had to be a trick involved for that to mean anything, but Benja would hear nothing of it.

Traveling from Dallas on Southwest is a joke. I LOVE Southwest. I will forever be their faithful customer for the years and years of excellent and consistent service I have gotten. But, because of the ridiculous Wright Amendment, flying out of Dallas is not easy. We were traveling all day.

I had a 4 hour layover in St. Louis and so Avee and I jumped on the metrolink and went downtown to visit my old coworkers. Avee took a nap on my friend's office floor. That was cool. I rode the metrolink everyday for 6 months when I first moved to St. Louis. I remember having a conversation with an inebriated man one morning at about 7:40 am. That was in the early years when I went to work early. It progressed over three years from "early" to "on-time" to "showing up". Anyway, the guy was going on about my legs and something about a file cabinet and something about "slamming". I later learned that "slamming" meant he thought I was hot. I thought he was talking about slamming my legs in a file cabinet. Despite the fact that I didn't understand his lingo, I perceived he was being crass toward me and I calmly said, "Hey, I'm a lady, don't talk to me like that." I cannot BELIEVE that was my experience. The 31 year old, not-so-slamming, mother practically wet my pants if someone even glanced in my direction. I have turned into a big ol' chicken.

I got to spend Friday with some good friends. I rented a bike for the ride (sorry I lied in my last post guys, it was too sweet of a bike to pass up the opportunity) and put Avee to sleep in a hotel bathroom. She slept perfectly.

Saturday was the day of the ride and it was quite cold and rainy. I wasn't sure that gravity would be on my side with the rain factored in, so I was a little nervous. But I did it. It was 8 and a half miles and there weren't really any hills, except at the end. I really wasn't in shape for it, but I'm glad I did it. At one point I found myself riding alongside one of my cousins that I hadn't seen yet. We started chatting....well, I'll be honest, he chatted and I gasped, wheezed, and sputtered out a few words here and there. He was sweet and endured this kind of "conversation" for a few minutes and then made up some excuse about "friends up ahead". It's okay, I know he loves me. Off of bikes. Fully oxygenated. But, I'm sure it's love.

It was emotionally more difficult than I anticipated. I couldn't help but think how much Josie would love to be involved in such an effort. And then just sad that it has become the big deal it has, because of her death. 8 cyclists were killed in Utah this year--being hit by motorists. I think that is twice as many as last year.

So, highlights of the trip altogether.

Wait, does highlight mean only the good stuff? Umm, let's see then---a brief summarization of memorable parts of the trip.

On the day we flew to SLC I inadvertantly dressed Avee in an exactly identical outfit to mine. Believe me, it didn't get past anyone except the blind TSA worker in Salt Lake. Avee and I enjoyed a slushy thingy from Starbucks (I'm sophisticated, I ordered a Venti soy slushy thingy). As a result, the area around her mouth kind of got red. So this is what the dude at security said as we were walking through (after taking off our perfectly innocent shoes that only became bombs when we removed them). "Oh, look at you guys, you are twins, with the red hair, green shirts and blue jeans, all you need is to get red spots all around your mouth and you'll be identical." Perhaps he failed to notice my considerable difference in SIZE! Holy moly, if you're gonna point out the skin imperfections, why stop there? I have to say, at that point I laughed. On the return trip, when my $13 mascara and $20 foundation and $4 but very sexy lip gloss were confiscated, I wasn't laughing. I was late, sweaty, tired, and sick of taking off my shoes. I wanted to punch the smug little make-up stealer in the goatee. People that age shouldn't have goatees anyway.

All day Saturday Avee ran a fever of a little over 100 degrees. That meant everyone was ugly, stupid, and trying to steal her voicebox from her throat.

Sunday I went to breakfast with two friends. Just after the orders were taken but before our food came, Avee climbed out of her high chair, onto my lap, with the incessant whimpering that had begun an hour or so before and yakked the 17.3 ounces of water and three fruit loops she had consumed in the last 18 hours. In her defense, the fruit loops added a pleasant scent so we were able to keep down our last 18 hours worth of consumption. She got it ALL over me, not an ounce anywhere else. I went out to the car, changed Avee, who had suddenly become very pleasant and delightful, and then went to the bathroom and changed myself, who was suddenly not so pleasant and delightful. But then I had some yummy strawberry crepes and all is well that ends well. Is that gross? A mother's gotta do what a mother's gotta do. The interesting thing about this is, I have been a mother for nearly 3 and a half years---which is not long in human years, but is VERY long in el vomitar years---and I have NEVER been thrown up on. Once I was holding Benja ALL day as he was quite sick. J walked in the door, Benja tottered over to him and immediately threw up all over him. Another time Benja woke up in his crib crying very hard. I ran in to comfort him, thinking it was a bad dream. He stood at his crib and I resisted picking him up, as I didn't want to "spoil" him. He didn't calm down, and J walked in to check on us. I stepped away, for some unknown reason---J instictively stepped closer and I encouraged, "pick him up". Now, I am a firm believer in not asking J to do things I can do for myself. Unless it involves chocolate ice cream, cold water, a good movie, and a comfy couch. So, it was unusual for me to tell him to pick up Ben, when I was right there. He picked him up just in time to be covered by the flavor of the day. I actually took pictures of that, and I know where they are--but I'l spare you.

So, Avee broke the trend. As per usual.

Sunday I got to visit with my friend Camille and play a little catch up. That was very fun.

Sunday night I stayed up talking to my best good cousin until after midnight. We thought we were so cool lasting that long. I got to go to bed with the image of her almost 2 year old sitting upright in her crib, still asleep, trying fairly successfully to stay upright. I think that kind of stuff is always funny.

We flew out at 7:15. It was just prior to that that I got my makeup stolen.

I planned a layover in KC and my sister and mom came and met me. It was really nice to get to see them. My sister is 7 months pregnant and just looks like a cute pregnant lady. And my mom, well, she's not pregnant, but she's cute. We zipped over to a Marriot and had a lunch about which my pregnant and very hungry sister said she'd "be embarrassed to serve such small portions". I thought that was funny. I almost ate a waiter's wrist once when I was pregnant with Benja and the bread took to long in coming to the table.

Some man came into the restuarant five minutes after it closed, sat himself, got disgusted that no one knew he was there, even though they were closed and hadn't been seated by an employee---went to the kitchen and started yelling, "HELLO!? HELLO!?" When he got someone to wait on him, he spoke rudely and condescendingly and said things like, "Aren't you going to bring me _______ now!?" Then of course his coffee was "ice cold" and that warranted another loud visit to the kitchen door. When he was brought a hot cup of coffee he said, "Are you going to bring me a pot or what!?" I wanted to go over and say, "Hi, I'm Angela, I've always wondered where the earth's axis was---surprising and unpleasant, but still glad to have met you".

On the flight from KC to Dallas I sat next to THE kindest man ever. He played with Avee for like 15 minutes and it was almost like he enjoyed it as much as her. He read to her, asked her questions, sang to her. He of course reminded me that she'd be a sophomore at KU before I knew it, so cherish it. I actually always appreciate hearing that stuff because I know it's true and it's easy to forget when you are in the throes of it. Or throws of it. He only played with her for 15 minutes because she slept the rest of the time.

Oh yeah, another highlight of the trip for me was when I was standing in the aisle of the plane, waiting to get off. This was in...I think St. Louis. My eyes were right about the level of Avee's ears and I noticed a little earwax. So I picked at it. She turned her head away, so I picked at her other ear. She growled at me and stuck fingers in both ears and shook her head to completely deter me. After we deplaned I went into the bathroom to change her diaper. A lady who had been on the plane behind me came up and told me that Avee's ears probably needed to pop because she saw her putting her fingers in her ears and shaking her head, and maybe I hadn't noticed because I had so much else going on. Like, standing there, holding her, walking....
I know people have good intentions, but seriously now.

My heart was aching to see my Benja by about Saturday. I'm just no good without that little guy. He was very happy to see me, but more happy to see Avee. They rammed bellies and pushed each other a few times like a couple of cavemen football players.

The actual traveling wiped me out. The visiting with good friends was rejuvenating. Avee being sick the entire time and Benja being away from my ever-loving arms was exhausting.

Avee started a croupy cough and breathing yesterday. She got croup last December and even though I thought she had swallowed a Coqui in the night and made my nursing student sister come over at 7 am and fish it out---it wasn't that bad and we rode it out and she was fine. So I was pretty unconcerned when the seal bark showed up this time around. Only, she slept until noon today and when she woke up was breathing so rapidly I found myself getting exhausted just watching. I remembered my cousin's 18 month old getting pneumonia and her right lung partially collapsing and it being very similar to what Avee was doing. So I took her to the doctor. After about 20 seconds with a nurse, she bolted and got the doctor and 4 nurses came with him. The quickly got her set up with a breathing treatment and gave her a shot in the thigh. She fought them tooth and nail, I cried, and Benja offered helpfully, "I don't sink she likes that fmoke in her face" and later, "What do you think we could do to feel Avee bettoh mom?"

Her oxygen levels didn't improve and her heart rate didn't go down so the doctor got worried and said I needed to take her to the ER. I was, for some reason, not clear on the seriousness of being sent to the ER by the dr and started asking questions. He picked up Benja, and escorted me to my car and buckled Benja in. This is the same doctor who escorted us out the "super secret special back way" a few weeks ago. He is a good man.

So, at the ER admittance desk, they were nonplussed by my little wheezer because the computers were down. A nurse walked by and said, "You need to get that baby back to triage" and the receptionist said, "But our computers are down". Avee was escorted back almost immediately. And those admitting clerks got glared at by more than just me and Avee. Two breathing treatments and about 40 minutes later she was under control. She and I slept on the hospital bed in the ER because they wanted to monitor her for a couple of hours. After our trip to Utah and an afternoon sleeping in the ER, she didn't think there was any place for Benja in the family. She was annoyed that he thought he was entitled to any mothering.

I'm exhausted. And thirsty.

You ARE slammin.'

I'd be slamming a few things around if they took my make-up. It's so ridiculous. A) Do you really think a mom traveling with an identical twin 1/4 her size is really trying to mix up a lipgloss bomb? and B) Someone already tried the liquid mix thing. They're not going to do it now, so how 'bout start doing PREEMPTIVE things instead of belated CYA things?

One of my kids gets sick every time we travel. I'm starting to believe it's connected. :)

Glad you biked, glad you're back, glad Avery is on the mend (sorry she barfed on you). Hang in there!

I'm so sorry Avee has pneumonia... Elijah got over it a couple weeks ago. Ugh. We did the chest x-ray, antibiotic IV, breathing treatment game too. We'll be praying for you (all) to get better.

Amen on CYM's B). Duh. Why is it that we make totally stupid rules about things they'll probably never do again? "IT IS NOW ILLEGAL TO FLY PLANES INTO BUILDINGS. IT WAS OK BEFORE, BUT YOU'VE JUST PUSHED US TOO FAR THIS TIME."

I'm so sorry about Avery getting sick - how scary! What a lot to go through. :( Poor little thing (and poor mom).

I'm also sorry that you didn't have your sweet tricycle for the ride. I'm still getting one someday. I don't care how much it embarrasses my kids.

"ANDREW! ARE YOU GOING TO BRING MY LEMONADE OR DO I HAVE TO SQUEEZE IT FROM MY HAT!!!"

One of my sisters had a similar problem with TSA. When she offered to eat some of her foundation, he responded that that is exactly what a terrorist would be willing to do. She is still waiting for it to come in the mail.

Thanks for writing about your trip. Besides the illness, it sounds like a lot of fun.

I hope Avee feels better soon!

Poor Avee! Poor Mama! Having your kid be really sick is one of the worst things there is.

i just had a strikingly similar experience with my little red-haired 3 year old this week, except for the trip to SLC. :) i chronicled it on my blog. weird, we both live in texas and our kids both got pneumonia at the same time! :) love the blog!

You are so clever, witty, and absolutely captivating.
No really, that's like the best recap ever. I almost wanted to be there with you, and hand you a tissue when you picked at Avee's ears.

Poor Avee :( how scary was that? aren’t' you glad you took her to the doctor right then?. Fashionista got pneumonia when she was 2 months old, a very very unhappy experience, so I totally feel for you. Hope she feels much bettoh.
So stop it with the sickiness ok?, enough.

When you are a mom, everything becomes nothing: vomit right before or during a meal, horribly explosive diapers, pee...you name it, it's just part of the job. It's hilarious when people with no kids try to tell you have to raise yours...HA HA in their face!.

When I traveled to Mexico in August I took no makeup, none, no lotions, not even contact lens solution. After 12 hours of travel I needed my stuff really bad...waaaa. Sorry your stuff got taken away, did the TSA employee needed it? They usually do.

Welcome back, that’s a good picture, you look ready to ride.

I'm so sorry about Avery's pneumonia. I can't imagine how exhausted you have to be at this point. Travelling with a kid is exhausting enough. Being away from a kid is exhausting enough. Having a sick kid is exhausting enough. Combining all those things is just too much. Are you guys home from the hospital now? Is Avery feeling any better? I hope things calm down for you soon.

It was GREAT to see you guys. I just keep thinking about how I crouched down next to Avery to talk to her and she responded by crouching down next to me. It makes me smile every time I think of that beautiful little girl with such a huge personality.

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