Oct 31, 2007

Back on the Prairie

Ho hum, the monotony of home and schedules is back. Almost. Soon the boys will remember again about bed time and naps as we re-tune their clocks. Three 16 month old babies, an RV, and the lonesome highway was great fun!!! The poor dears did splendidly strapped to their car seats for long hours and climbing over each other in a 28 ft vehicle. Yeah, I know, the babies won't remember it. That doesn't matter and don't buy into that nonsense. Because experiencing the world is healthy for babies, good for their development, and maybe there's no memory, but we exercise our family bond and refresh our spirits. I miss being joined at the hip with my boys and Jerry for two weeks in tight quarters. Jerry and I always said we like to be independent and do our own thing, but together :).

We made the biggest mistake of the trip the first night. We drove all day, into the night, the babies were behaving royally good. But we forgot to consider where everybody will sleep and Jerry and I wanted a little freedom in the RV after the boys went to bed. So after a few nights of fussing, crying, waking up, & refusing to sleep, we figured out the best arrangement. The "master bedroom", the one at the back end with a door, went to the boys. All three slept across the bed. One parent slept with them. The other parent slept over the cab. As far as naps, they came on demand. The great part of the RV is no crappy road food to make you feel unclean. We prepared our own food and to keep babies happy, every couple of hours filled the pocket in their bibs with wheat bread, bananas, or cheerios, their three favorite foods. Love the "nana" song and dance. BTW, I finally found the secret to almost no-spill snacking for babies who aren't strapped into chairs. We have Bjorn's pocket bibs, and we simply insert food into the pockets and baby feeds himself. Catches spills AND converts to a spill proof snack container.

I think my babies grew up on this trip. Sira and Bereket are like molar city now, seemingly overnight; I don't see any more room in their mouths and now the canines are showing their white stubs. Tsega still only has 5 teeth! Guess his resources went to the hair. Speaking of T, we got real-life toddler tantrums flaring up from my man which also seemed to start on the trip. The good ones where you scream bloody murder and lie flat on the floor because mama or papa did something he didn't like. Like pull (and pull and pull and twist, and plead--this baby is strong!) the cord from his grip or the broom that he keeps whacking everybody's heads with accidentally. There was even one over-tired expression of what looked like pure anger at me and a not so nice display of it with his fists--wow, I didn't see that coming so soon; that's OK baby, the trip was hard on a baby's biology, we'll get through troubling times together. Seemed the whole trip Tsega had some sort of baton in his grip waving around as he waddled from one thing to the next and he never tires of investigating absolutely everything.

Bereket and Sira are my builders and stackers and lap lovers. Especially papa's lap lately. My goodness, they couldn't let Jerry leave their sight for a second on this trip and he had one clinging to him at all times. I'm still hoping to become everybody's favorite parent eventually, but so far only Tsega thinks I'm #1. I don't get it at all, humph! My favorite baby is the one in my lap.

They all got the chance to practice climbing up and down steps (and falling) and are now good at sensing edges and climbing down off the step, couch or bed rather than the accidental roll off (oops, how I hate that thud sound).

The best part of the trip was watching my sons interact with my family, seeing them blossom socially and venturing through every new place with explorer curiosity, and feeling the intense love my mother has for her grand kids. And we surprised my grandma with the visit (maybe not a good idea to shock a 90 year old lady) and for the first time, and sadly probably the last time, she got to see my boys in the flesh. We were the hit of her retirement home and grandma was Queen Bee.

We drove through Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. We saw one bald eagle and loads of antelope. We spent time in beautiful Northern California first (my heart lies amongst the manzanita) with my brother than headed to South Cal to see my folks. Oh, how I miss the sensations of a redwood forest. We drove down the eastern part of California, skirting Yosemite, a portion of the state I've never seen before. My favorite state to drive through is Utah; something about those red rocks, rivers, canyons, and junipers. We had great food at this groovy fish place in Redlands, Calif (of course good ol South Cal serves amazing Mexican rice and beans to go with--California knows food) and the owner apparently spends time in Ethiopia and raises money for charity work involving Ethiopian children. Look at all the beautiful children's faces on the wall behind us (that's my mom, hi mom!).

What a crazy place is Southern Cal. Seems what stood out most to me was utter unsustainability and massive arteries of traffic pulsating, throbbing, twisting through the landscape. Oil oil oil. And there we were burning it big time in our RV on the LA freeways surrounded by Jaguars, Mercedes, and BMWs.

We left Calif the day the winds came and the fires started. The scariest part of the trip was driving through the Mojave dessert in high speed winds. My parents little cabin in the mountains burned down. May the poor thing rest in peace. I remember sensing the danger at the beginning of the trip as we drove through Northern Calif and down into Southern. We saw acres and acres of recently burned forests, heaps of dead trees, hills of dry brush and grasses, we know about the bark beetle epidemic, I thought, what a vulnerable landscape. Vulnerable indeed. Despite it all, I really do think California is the best state in the country, but I don't think I could live there again. And nothing beats living in the redwoods of Northern Calif as I did for years, but as the song goes, leave before you get too soft. Even so, I miss it.


Becky said...

Beautiful! Your boys are amazing and I love to read about your family. Where do you get those nifty bibs you talk about?

ellenhopes said...

I love your blog and missed you while you guys took a 'break'. The boys are growing up...cute as ever!!!

Stacy said...

oh my goodness, they did grow up while you were gone! Thanks for such a great post, you made me miss California (and I've never been there).

Jen and Dan said...

I agree Cindy, about not buying into the nonsense... my Mom and I traveled everywhere and it started when I was very little. I believe wonderful imprints were made on me at a very young age that will last forever because of my travels.

I am so sorry to hear about your parents cabin. The destruction of the fires sounds so devastating. To see that type of destruction in person really has a different, more sobering affect than seeing it on TV. (I think of my trip back to NOLA a year after Katrina... devastating!)

Love the blog and it is so great to see the boys again! I can't get over how fast they are growing!

LISA said...

Hey Cindy! Glad you all made it home safe! Sounds like a wild trip! Even though the boys won't remember it, you will have tales to tell! Missed your blog while you were gone.Ready to meet you all at the next KC get together!