So, the trip. It turns out that a full week of 24/7 kid care was a leeeetle bit hard for me. I am ashamed to admit that. But by the end of those 7 days I wasn't really the nicest mom in the world. It took a lot of effort to hold myself together. Part of the problem was that I overlapped our trip (me + kids) with my husband's business trip, so that when we arrived home there were no reinforcements waiting. Thank god the kids were exhausted enough to sleep very late that first morning at home.
We went to Washington, D.C., because it is halfway between the cities where my brother and his wife live and my sister lives. Coincidentally, one of my closest friends happened to be traveling there that same week. (I'm sorry I didn't have the strength--or child care--to coordinate any bloggy get-togethers.) And I thought -- D.C.! Tons to do! Public transportation!
Yes, true; tons to do. If your kids are into museums. By day 3 mine most certainly were not. And yes, public transportation. A half-mile from the hotel, so that before you are 20 minutes into your day out both kids are whining because whichever one's not in the stroller insists that he/she neeeeeeds to be in the stroller and by the way don't you have any snacks? (I always did, because that is my A#1 tip for traveling with children. Just keep feeding them.)
Since a certain someone has a history of vanishing from my grasp I brought a leash. Oh yes. My husband was horrified but I pointed out that he would be much more horrified if I came home with one less child than I started out with. It was a critical piece of equipment and I'm so glad I had it. Of course, Jo wanted to be the one to hold the handle which pretty well defeated the purpose, but we soldiered on.
Highlight: Left with two kids. Came home with same two!
Lowlight: Jo asking me "Why are you sad and mad?" (see camera, below).
Highlight: Letting the kids take a long, loud, messy, splashy bath in the hotel bathroom.
Lowlight: Going into a "family" bathroom at an airport, discovering it had been most recently used as a smokers' lounge.
Highlight: Jo wanted to take pictures of fossils and skeletons to show Daddy.
Lowlight: Lens now jammed on brand-new camera (she dropped it). Hence no photos accompanying this post.
Highlight: Snuggling in a king-sized bed with the kids.
Lowlight: Sharing a mattress with The Windmill and The Slurper--the noise of the thumb-sucking would absolutely wake the dead.
Highlight: Homewood Suites, you rock. Spacious, nicely furnished, complimentary huge breakfast and dinner, friendly staff ... who looked the other way when I had three extra people sleeping my room (sister, brother, sister-in-law).
Lowlight: Caving in and allowing the kids to have root beer with dinner one night. One, having downed about 8 ounces in 6 minutes, turned instantly manic, bouncing in the booth, darting over to the window, and crawling under the table. The other one turned insomniac and couldn't fall asleep until 10:30 p.m. (there went my sanity-saving "alone time" for that night).
Highlight: No work, cooking, cleaning, or other household responsibilities.
Lowlight: Every single poopy diaper was my job.
Sightseeing highlight (kids): A panda scratching its butt; the "pee cup" in the Skylab Orbital Workshop; poisonous frogs.
Sightseeing highlight (mom): A mini college reunion with 5 close friends (including the ex), one spouse (his), and 6 little kids, who, with an assist from the TV, entertained themselves well enough that the adults actually had time to talk and catch up.
Overall? Not sure I'd do that again. But getting to see family and old friends meant a lot, and even the concentrated kid time was almost always fun. I kind of like those two kids. I'm glad I brought both of them back with me after all.