Sunday, March 1, 2015

7 days, 7 nights, 5 kids, 2 moms, 1600+ miles : road trip to AZ

My sister, Melina, and I took a road trip to Arizona to visit our grandparents a few weeks back. It was super awesome (and also awful and hard) and we're so glad we did it (but are not eager to do it again.) She has 3 kids (5,3, 9 months) plus my 2 kids (3.5, 1) and we felt outnumbered nearly all the time and slightly cray cray most of the time too. But! It was fun! And also we are such a great team (and I love my sister so damn much and we always have easy laughs even if she packs weird food for kids and makes me annoyed sometimes.) She is overly efficient and planned and puts up with my laid back ill-preparedness (which I'd argue is actually more prepared than normal people but she always scoffs at me so she obviously doesn't think so.) I drove the whole time while she was super-mom-mary-poppins back and forth from the front to the back as she took care of all the kids. We had moments of pure bliss when kids were calm and happy or watching a show, we had a ton of times where one or more were crying, and we had TWO 2-hour stretches where all five children were asleep. ALL FIVE. EZ continued his streak of being car sick & threw up four different times, but is very proficient with his own personal puke bucket and it was breezy. Lucy gets MVP for the trip for being the sweetest and calmest, Sully cried the most in the car because he was over his carseat almost all the time, and the three big kids played well together (except when they were fighting.)

We arrived in Tucson, AZ after two days of travel and were greeted with such happiness from my Grandma & Grandpa. Grandpa Boerup is old and forgetful and doesn't know who we are anymore, but he was very sweet with the kids & loved watching them play around the house. Grandma Boerup is amazing and everything I hope I can be when I get old. Smart, pretty, resilient, and always loves holding a baby. We weren't going to sleep at their house to avoid the chaos of 5 kids, but it may be our last time sleeping there for who knows how long so we just packed us all in there somehow and made it work. Dinnertime was the WORST because kids suck the life out of meal times (UGH) but we had a lot of really nice moments. And after bedtime we were able to chat with our Grandma about her long life (she'll be 90 this year!) and how strong and wonderful and exhausting it is to have lived so long. She's had so much joy and yet so much loss.
Our mom packed some homemade play-doh for the kids to use while we were there and Grandma got right down to business helping them make nests and eggs for over an hour. We were so grateful we could go since they haven't had a house full of kids for a long time, and she kept commenting how nice it was to have us there. We almost always had a baby strapped to us or our hands full of kids, but we also were able to make some dinners for them & spend some time with other family as well. 
Oh, this was funny. So the pool isn't heated and was obviously cold (it was February!) but the kids slowly started dipping their feet in, then their pants came off, then their underwear, and so we finally put their swimsuits on & their floaties just in case. Well good thing we did because Ryder pushed EZ in and then Melina pushed Ryder in and there was some extreme wailing!! Haha. It wasn't scary because they were just fine, but it was really funny. And a little traumatizing (but isn't that childhood?) So many grandkids have fallen in that pool and I'm glad we have our own story to tell our kids. Melina said "I've never seen EZ swim so fast!"
The drive was long, but also pretty. We hit some snow on our way back and instead of staying a day in Vegas to play, we just came home because the weather was bad. I will say, I bet it was exhausting watching us. Two moms who had their hands full almost all the time was tiring living it, but sometimes we'd laugh thinking about what it looked like from the outside.

For example, continental breakfast with 5 kids under the age of 5. HA! Sit kids down, one baby on one hip, one baby in high chair. Get dry fruit loops in three separate bowls to get kids started, go start cooking waffle while filling three cups of apple juice, then get banana and yogurt, tell kids to sit back down, get one giant plate of eggs and some sausage, waffle is beeping, go get waffle & syrup, clean up spilled apple juice, get three plates of waffle/egg/sausage ready for the three kids while also tiny bites for the 1 year old, keep baby off floor but need hands to cut waffles for kids, try to force kids to eat food, clean up spilled plate, comfort kid who is crying, give baby more food to eat, take one kid to bathroom, force another bite of food, threaten them that they will get no more food if they don't eat now, sh's them from being noisy, clean up another spilled cup... etc etc. Just on and on. And within all that, try to make them behave like respectable humans and also eat something yourselves. Ha! It doesn't really seem like a big deal while doing it, but thinking about it or watching the faces of those around us made it funny to think about the dance we had to continually do.
Also, so much stuff. Always so much stuff.

We love our grandparents & family and were so thankful to visit Arizona. Next time we go might be for memorials, so we're really happy we made it happen.

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