AKA June & July in NOLA. August is really flippin' hot, too, but we're getting a break what with heading Down Under for 2 weeks of winter.
To keep tabs on the goings-on since Jack's birthday, I started a running bullet-point list a while ago, so here I am to flesh it out a bit now.
Starting with popsicles. Colleen & Mike sent Jack a little sea creatures popsicle mold for his 1st, and it has proven the perfect summer gift. The kids love making a variety of fruit juice smoothies and even mixing up the appropriately matching handles to be silly. See, if you grab the shark tail handle, the popsicle you pull comes out looking like a shark; but what Paul did, and he was so proud, was switch up the whale with the shark and the fish with the scuba diver, etc. It was good fun. We perpetually have them in the freezer, as we always have fruit on hand, and there have been many an afternoon with water play and popsicles in the backyard. Jack's gotten quite good at eating them; his first attempt had him grabbing the yummy part and licking his hand. Facepalm. Sometimes he still dips it in the baby pool water - weirdo - but mostly he can actually lick a popsicle. Cute!
Mid-June, the kids and I spent 10 days in Houston. The front-end weekend was Father's Day, and Dad barbecued a brisket, yum, and then Dylan drove back home to be alone for the week, sad. The middle weekdays were full of Vacation Bible School for Paul & Ada, driveway water play, nearby playgrounds, Paul's learning and becoming fascinated by all things Titanic, a bit of TV & movies because, c'mon, we were at Nana & Pappy's, and some splashpad fun. Did I mention that Mom & Dad were not even here this whole time?! The point of our coming over was to have P&A go to the Catholic VBS and to house/dog-sit because Mom & Dad flew to Charleston to visit Peter for the week. Mid-week back in Houston, Ginny came over to keep me company so I wouldn't be on my own for quite so long, and Ryan joined us Friday. Ginny took me and the kids out for Japanese, which Paul dug right into! And after Italian on Saturday night, G&R went back home, leaving me for just 2 more nights alone. Unfortunately, Saturday night was. the. pits. Ada woke around 1am screaming, waking Jack, of course, and I found her having thrown up on her bed, poor dear! Ok, so it takes 10-15minutes to clean her up, re-make the bed, and comfort her just enough for me to leave her for the (hopefully) few minutes it would take to quiet Jack back to sleep. That took another 10-15, and then I went back to soothe Ada to sleep before I could get back in bed ... for 5 minutes before the exact. same. thing. happened again! There was a total of 4, four, cycles of Ada scream-crying, throwing up, cleaning up, shushing Jack, going back to sleep between 1 & 4am. And I was by myself. I spent most of Sunday being so, so, so thankful for my husband. Sunday was Mass and otherwise completely normal play. Monday, Mom & Dad flew back to TX and early enough for me to leave Paul & Jack with them while I took Ada into town for her passport interview and lunch with Gin at work. What a week!
Oh, that passport interview. This was at the Australian Consulate-General for her Aussie passport. Since she is a citizen of Australia, too, she is required to travel on her Australian passport, for which we had to apply in person in Houston. All the paperwork was great and easily approved, but her photo was too dark. Boo. We had to send another asap and definitely before the end of the week. Fine. We took a fantastic one in Ginny's office building and sent it before the end of the day, but it was rejected, too! Come on! Dad drove back to New Orleans with us the next day, Tuesday, and the kids and I spent Wednesday spending a fortune getting a professional photo taken of Ada for mega bucks and then w.a.l.k.i.n.g. in 85º+ to the post office to spend mega bucks there to overnight it to Houston. All this for a 3 year old's passport that she'll keep for a total of 5 years.
That brings us to Thursday. It had been lovely to be back home with the family together, and now we get to celebrate Dylan! It was his 34th on the 29th! And it was my turn to get sick. I got Ada's bug ... and I got it while we were out at a new restaurant celebrating. 4 days after she was sick, I spent the entirety of the meal in the bathroom, while Dylan put out fires with three hungry kids at the table. Happy birthday? Everyone felt so sorry for me, and I did feel pretty crummy (and so, so weak), but Paul was particularly sweet putting me to bed and cuddling. It was his turn in the middle of the night. Dylan stayed home Friday to take care of us sickies and be with Ada & Jack since I could do nothing. Saturday was awesome, and he finished the brick sidewalk out front! Before it was his turn on Sunday morning, 4 days after exposure to us contagious bug-carriers. Poor guy. He had to call in sick for himself on Monday the 3rd ... all this over a holiday weekend. He ended up being home Friday-Tuesday, but they were certainly no 5 days on vacation with the family. Oh, man. I felt so bad for him. Aaaanyway. The actual 4th of July was quite nice with lots of backyard relaxing, a little grilling, and a surprise visit from Pete & Denise from St. Paul! Pete the Pilot had a last-minute flight trip to NOLA, and Denise decided to join him; and it just worked out for them to hop the ferry to our bank, check out our house for an hour or so, and then watch the fireworks together before they had to head back for an early flight the next day. Always wonderful to reconnect with them!
I mentioned Paul and the Titanic, right? He's been obsessed. It started with a tiny picture in a historical highlights of the 20th century book, and he's asked more and more ever since. I think he now knows everything about it and certainly doesn't need to ask me anything, though he still likes to in order to go over things again. Well, he tinkered a toy Titanic out of an old TV remote and some strips of cardboard at Nanna & Pappy's, and we had to go check out the Carnival Triumph passing by on the Mississippi once we found out it's the closest ship in size to the Titanic, and it sets sail from right here! This cruise ship is 10 feet longer than the Titanic and has, notably, many more lifeboats. He would like to go on that ship one day, he says. He and Ada built the Titanic and the Carpathia with blocks. Don't know what the Carpathia is? Ask Paul.
2 weeks ago, I got busy planning Paul's last three weeks as an at-home kid before he starts school 3 days after our return from Australia. I didn't want to hear him ask, "Could we do this or this?" and not have enough days to manage it. SO! We've been busy going school-uniform shopping (he's in love!), eating out for lunches, going to different playgrounds, getting beignets, seeing a movie (I got to take him to see Cars 3!!), hitting up the Aquarium, having friends over for water play in the backyard, and my trying to generally say yes as often as possible. It's really sweet to watch his face change when he asks for something I either always or usually say no to as he processes the yes. We even bought souvenirs from the Aquarium, ha. "Can we please buy something from the gift shop?" "I think so this time." "Really?!" <skips off ahead> We're down to the last week. Just a few more days of our full-time at-home life together, and I'm mourning it a little while at the same time trying to savor and enjoy it. We've been together 5 and a half years all day, everyday, and soon he'll be with a teacher and peers. I mean, I love school, don't get me wrong! I was always good at school, and I, myself, was a teacher. I know he's gonna love it, he'll be great, and it'll be good for him, but I'm just going to miss my little boy, my buddy, going shopping with me, playing, helping, and asking every morning, "What are we doing today, Mama?" because the answer will be the same 5 days a week. I don't want to resist this change because I can't and, like I said, I think I'll like this new chapter, but I am a little sad to see it come to a close. I'll have just Ada and Jack with me during the daytime after our Australia trip! That'll be a probably shockingly new dynamic for both Ada and me. She'll get to be the head honcho for a few hours, and I'll revert back to life with just a 1 & 3 year old, if I can even remember it.
He's also been working on a summer reading journal for school:
Jack is getting so big. Literally big. He's in the 99th percentile for height! I don't usually put much weight on the percentile stuff because I just want to know they're on that graph somewhere being healthy. But hearing 99% shocked me into remembering it! He's a tall thing. I mean, I noticed he's already in all of Paul's old 18month clothes, but I didn't think much of it. Anyway, he's very, very close to walking; he's acquired the "toddler" title, I guess. He shimmies chairs where he wants to climb, bangs his head on the floor when he doesn't get what he wants, throws himself all around a bed to roughhouse, gives us puffy-fat lips in a pucker, reaches up to play the piano, and eats everything. He's a bit of a thrower, too. He can play ball well, but he also tends to throw other things; better than the biting phase! And Ada is a darling little 3 year old. She is so precious, she's thoughtful of others (except when she doesn't want the baby to take her things), she eats neatly, she's funny, as in tells actual, real, funny jokes, and she loves to do "girly" things, which I keep finding so funny! She loves twirling and long hair and pink and tells me my clothes are pretty. She randomly comes up to Dylan or me to say, "Guess who I aaaam ... Belle/Rapunzel/Elsa/Ariel." She speaks so well, and she's showing interest in my hopeful return to more German in the house, about which I'm ecstatic!, and she loves to help ... as long as Paul isn't right there trying to pull her away to something he's interested in doing.
Last but certainly not least, Dylan's got some things going on. He has accepted a position with the law firm downtown that represents the archdiocese. While he's quite pleased to be moving in that direction, since his studies have perfectly prepared him for it, he is also a bit sad to part with Tabary & Borne. They have both been so very wonderful to work with, and they've opened up to the whole family; I'm going to miss them, too! But! Moving forward. He'll be downtown again as of September 1st.
Also worth mentioning are the two dates we had on back-to-back nights! We spent a lovely evening out for Supper & Substance at the MidCity Rocknbowl, and the next night, we went to dinner, just us, at Shaya on Magazine, a lovely modern Israeli cuisine restaurant we've wanted to try for 2 years now. It did not disappoint. And both nights, we enjoyed lovely evening cruises on Junie the Scooter.