Family Road Trip has come to an end

And life starts to get back to normal.

Home Sweet Home

The final leg of our trip was an eventful one. Sue hadn’t been feeling 100% since leaving Chicago. The initial diagnosis was that she was worn down and tired. As we left Michigan she couldn’t shake it and we stopped at Rite Aid to pick up something to help her along. By the time Niagara Falls hit, she was miserable.

We ended up cancelling our stop over in Peterborough and bombed down the 401, straight home. Two things were happening by this time, Sue was sick and I was getting a little stir crazy. The only solid person on the car ride home was Eve.

IMG_1671

We ended up stopping about 4 times on the way back and really took our time. That being said, we left at 8:30am and ended up home by 4pm. We made great time.

I would say the trip was pretty successful if you ask me. We put 3149kms (1956 miles) on the car, and spent $185 on gas. That little car really does well on the highway. I couldn’t believe it when I sat down last night and calculated the milage. We couldn’t have made the trip any other way.

Now it’s time to plan our next big adventure. We’ve got a wedding in August, vacation time, the next RSA will be in New Orleans, which I am completely geeked about.

Then again, ever day with this tiny human seems to be an adventure. Watching her grow and learn continually amazes me.

The adventure…. continues

Advertisements

Family Road trip – Almost over

What a fabulous trip.

I can’t say enough about our family and friends who have gone out of their way to accommodate us during our travel. Whether it is catering to our dietary restrictions or letting us crash at their home or… Give us the key to their home because they were out of town.

Friday night was awesome! An old friend came into Chicago and picked me up at the hotel and we hit a pub called Timothy O’Toole’s. We spend a bunch of hours having dinner, drinking KBS (my new favorite beer) and talking about old times. We picked up exactly where we left off 20 years ago.

Saturday was amazing. I got together with two old friends that used to do ministry with back in the 90’s. We spent the day at one of their homes and I got to meet their family, share a meal and ended our day with all 4 of our children playing at the park.

It’s funny because one of my friends and I spoke at the end of the day and we both held the same sentiment. We both were waiting for this awkwardness to be present, but we all picked up like no time had passed at all, and in one case it had been about 20 years.

Eve had a great time playing with my friend’s children, and just having a place to run other then the hotel. I sure as hell wasn’t going to let her run in downtown Chicago.

Saturday night was the big gala and well, we didn’t get to attend. The hotel and the RSA where very strict about “No Children Allowed”. This was very uncool and meant that Eve and I weren’t able to attend. So, I did what every good father would have done. Went to Target, found food, watched Finding Dory and had some much overdue tub time (for Eve, not me :P)

Sunday was pretty low key. We got up late, got some breakfast, packed the car and headed on our way. We had a leisurely drive into Michigan where we stayed at an old friend’s place.

Today was also pretty low key, but the trip is starting to wear on us. We left Grand Haven pretty late and headed to the border. We made it to Sue’s cousin’s place at about 5pm, stretched out legs for a minute only to jump back in the car and head to Swiss Chalet for dinner.

Now, as the children are being put to bed and I bang away on my keyboard, I long for my bed and to be at home. Sue is starting to feel very run down and well… Even our even keeled, well travelled tiny human is starting to feel the 2500km drive catch up with her.

Tomorrow we make a quick stop at Sue’s sister’s place and then home.

All and all, as I said, it’s been a pretty great trip. Tomorrow is supposed to be a little soggy (lots of rain in the forecast) but we’ll see how that plays out.

Family Road Trip Adventures

What a day…

Yesterday ended terribly. Sue got back to the room and we decided to go out on the town in search of dinner. This hotel is beautiful but we can’t afford to eat or drink here let alone stay here.

So, away we went. We didn’t end up going for, 1 block over to Millers to be exact. It was a nice little pub, known for its Ribs. Once we were seated we spoke with the waitress and explained our issue with Eve. I think something was lost in translation and she didn’t understand the severity that we very much put on her allergies. Toward the end of the meal I’m sure by now you can already imagine what happened.

Eve started to have a reaction. Something she came in contact with contained something she was allergic to. Her upper lip started to swell, then her lower lip, then her cheeks. We hit the panic button, paid the bill and ran. We were both extremely scared. We went to the CVS and purchased some Benedryl, which really only suppresses and we didn’t want to give it to her, but the reaction was… well… mild in a matter of speaking. American Benedryl is also twice as potent as the Canadian version.

Back we went to the room where we took her mind (and ours somewhat) off the reaction by watching cartoons. At about 10pm the swelling started to go down. We were somewhat relieved but now extremely stressed out. No more going out to eat. Eve will live on PB&J and cheerios and apples for the remainder of the trip.

Today on the other hand has been AMAZING! We slept hard and woke up refreshed and ready to conquer the day. We had breakfast and sent Sue on her way (back to the conference) and started our adventure.

We jumped in a cab and headed over to the Shedd Aquarium. What a place! Wow! We arrived and waited in a short line and then went crazy. Eve was amazed. I love watching her as she explores, as she see something she’s never seen before. When she saw the size of some of these fish, she went glassy eyed.

IMG_1591.jpg

We walked and walked and stopped and saw Sponge Bob in 4D, which I think scared her a little bit. It was in 3D but with the added air blasts from the seat, and strobe lights and all kinds of very cool effects.

Then we stopped for a snack, went to pet the Sturgeon, and the star fish. Watched the dolphin show and saw the penguins. We arrived shortly after 9am and it was awesome, but by this point it was just after 2pm and the place was bursting at the seams. There must have been 4 or 6 schools there and you couldn’t move. At this point I pulled the shoot and it was time to go.

We jumped back in a cab and headed back to the hotel, had our lunch and well, you guessed it… NAP TIME! (or blog time). The room is dark and I’m actually getting sleepy. So, I think this is where I call it and maybe put my head down for a couple minutes and rest too.

The Adventure continues…

Family Road trip – Day 3 – We Arrive

I will continue by saying that once again, we left late 🙂 We got up nice and early this morning. Had a very quick visit with our friends, saw them off to school and work and we got onto the road at 8:30am, 30 minutes late I might add (I see a trend here)

I had been watching the weathernetwork and was expecting rain when we got into Chicago, a lot of rain too. What I wasn’t expecting is what we drove through for the first 60 to 90 minutes of our day. The rain came down in sheets. At one point you couldn’t see the guy in front of you.

We made it into Chicago and the Palmer House Hilton by 10:30am. This hotel is cute, they don’t have a loading/stopping zone. You can stop and drop off (only given seconds to do so) or you need to go and park somewhere.

I was already on edge from the drive and driving in downtown Chicago and wasn’t in the mood for this crap. We ended up trying to park but my prepaid parking didn’t allow me entrance until 11am, #parkingfail.

Sue jumped out and went into the hotel and registered for the conference, Eve and I found a cozy little stop a few blocks away and talked until 11am at which point I made my way to the hotel parking. Got the car parked and headed in.

Well, you can only imagine with 1000+ people showing up to a conference that the hotel was a zoo and trying to check in early was going to be a challenge. We got in, checked in, upgraded our room and then waited. They couldn’t give us the room yet but we were on a list.

We bumped into Sue, wandered around the building for a while, found some lunch and then Sue went back to the conference. Eve and I however, continued to goof around the hotel drawing comments by every passerby. I’ll say this, when she turns it on, she’s damn cute and hard to resist.

IMG_1588.jpg

After 2 1/2 hours I tried my celphone only to find out I had no service and it was all hoosed up. So, I went back to the front desk and sheepishly asked if a room had opened up. Eve was starting to get tired and frankly, so was I.

We got our room!! Yay!! Unloaded the car, set up the pack and play, and well… the rest is history. I laid down for a minute and then the blog bug bit me and I’ve been typing for over an hour now and Eve has been sleeping for almost 90 minutes.

Next adventure… Dinner, and where to eat.

The Adventure continues…

Family Road trip – Day 2

Up and at ’em… Another early morning, which we got on the road 30 minutes later then I wanted too.

We got the car loaded and was on the road by 8:30am. Touched base with an old friend who told us that 5pm was good but 6pm would be a better arrival time. So, we aimed for 6pm. We crossed the boarder at Sarnia, Ontario and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous. You hear all these stories about people being turned away at the border for one reason or another and I didn’t need that happening to us. A co-worker looked me last week and said “Why are you stressing about this?? You are a white, chubby, Scotsman with a tiny wife and tiny human. You won’t have an issue”

So, we got to the border, pulled up, handed our passports to the border guard. She looked down, and like every other time I’ve ever crossed (knock on wood) Where you from? Where you going? For how long? and do you have any fruits or vegetables in the car??

That was it, and off we go on our merry way.

Driving through Michigan was beautiful. It was 15oC, the grass was green and it kind of felt like fall. Man o man it was warm. Again, we had the most wicked Tailwind, and did we ever make good time. Too good actually. GPS says arrival at 3:15, that’s 3 hours too early. We made so many stops. Our last stop was at this Rest Stop with green green grass, and a little park and we rolled around and just goofed off to kill time.

The one important thing that I learned immediately crossing into the US is that McDonalds is different. The employees told us that about a year ago they started to cook with Butter. You know what that means… Yup, No food for Eve. The only thing in the entire place she could have was the McNuggets. We really failed, next stop Meijers.

We got into Grand Haven pretty quick and we headed right over to the grocery store. Meijers was awesome. I walked in, stood, looked at Sue, opened my arms and said “I Love the US” LOL, to put this into context, I was looking at what Canadians would call The Beer store but in the middle of the grocery store. So… Much… Beer… Wow…

We picked up some pasta, PB&J and headed over to my old friends house.

We had a great visit. It was way to short, but it was great. He has an amazing family and we had fun talking with everyone and goofing around.

The Adventure continues…

Family Road trip – Day 1

Well, we made it, and no one died 🙂

We got out of the house an hour later then expected on Tuesday. Actually, more then an hour now that I think about it. 9:11am… so what, things didn’t start out as planned. I was a little cranky. We decided at the last minute NOT to travel through NY state, well, just because. So we bombed down the 401 and man o man, did we fly. At one point in the morning it said we were going to arrive at our destination at 3pm. That’s only 2 hours too early.

We stopped and at an Enroute for lunch and quickly realized our parenting fail. We had our coconut milk and snacks but nothing of an nutritional value. The Enroute consisted of the Marketplace, Tim Hortons and Burger King. The fail being, our daughter couldn’t eat at any of these places. After making friends with and having Eve woo the Tim Horton’s ladies we finally found that the vegetable soup was ok for her to eat. So, that along side a fruit cup from the Marketplace was lunch. We really dragged our feet and sat there for almost an hour.

After lunch we got back on the highway. It wasn’t long after that we hit Toronto. I HATE Toronto. The drivers in this city are so entitled and for some reason feel like the speed limit is a suggestion and not a law. All of a sudden I found myself in the lane next to the fast lane doing 140km/hr and that was just flowing with the traffic. There goes my hour lunch. We made up our time and sure enough, after 1 more quick break for gas ended up in Niagara Falls at 3pm.

IMG_1573

It wasn’t all bad, because it gave us an opportunity to go and see the falls. I haven’t been down there in years and I kind of forgot how cool and massive they are.

After a quick stop at the Hard Rock to add to my collection of shot glasses we headed over to Sue’s family’s home. We had a great evening eating, catching up and playing cards.

I’ll say this about my daughter, she is a trooper. This was her first major road trip and we really didn’t know what to expect. 1300kms with a toddler could have gone very wrong, but she was rock solid the entire way. She played and sang and slept and was just a joy. I know, I know, I’ve jinxed myself now 😛

The adventure continues…

Road Trip…. Vacation??

As we get closer and closer to our departure date I get nervous and the giggles all at the same time.

The giggles stem from the fact that we are driving to Chicago. A drive that I’ve made twice in my life and both times done in a day, whereas this time we are taking 2 1/2 days. To be more specific about the the giggles, they start every time I’ve thought about this trip the song Holiday Road starts to play in my head.

If you have no idea what I am talking about click here Holiday Road

I’m excited for our trip for another reason too. I am going to be able to see 3 old friends who in one case I haven’t seen in over 20 years. Back in my younger and thinner days I traveled across the US putting on retreats for kids with an organization called NET. I did this for 2 years and made some amazing friends who I am still in touch with.

So the planning is in its final stages. The car will be “test packed” this weekend as the realization that we need a stroller has happened. The issue comes from looking at maps, planning routes, and then finding out that the map had changed from KMs to Miles. I can walk 2 kms with the tiny human, but I can’t make her walk 2 miles. HAHAHA… That’s just a touch farther 🙂

This is also the first adventure in a long time that I haven’t had Facebook fired up and going. As the 3rd week in Lent comes to a close I find myself missing it less and less but also realize why I got onto it in the first place. I got onto Facebook to keep in touch with friends. To keep in touch with my friends in the US, in Italy, the UK, and Australia. It’s amazing as you travel and meet new people how you create a bond and you want to keep in touch. I will be the first to admit, I’ve gone a touch overboard with it over the past few years but hey…

Let the adventure continue…

Terrible 2s??

Another week in the books. To pile onto that, another Lenten week in the books.

I feel like I am just getting through the withdrawal from my social media addiction. Saying that as I blog kind of makes me laugh. I’ve removed messenger and Facebook off all my devices, and I was never on twitter but from time to time use Instagram.

This week has been another week of adventure. I guess you want adventure in your life or it would really be boring, but my adventure comes in the form of a tiny human. She is really coming into her own right now and to top it all off, her last set of molars are coming in and that’s just been fun.

My daughter is typically well mannered and well behaved. I wouldn’t go as far as to say she’s easy to parent, but when you only have 1 and they get 100% of your attention, you can focus on things differently. Our focus right now is being united as parents. Being united in the way she eats, the way she plays, and the way we may have to discipline.

The tiny human has been testing us lately. All of a sudden she says… “I don’t like that” or the word of the month “No”. As I’ve said earlier in the week, we are united in trying to correct bad behaviour and speech we don’t want to hear. This is not to say we are going to shut her down, just monitor and correct.

Coming into the week I am feeling good. As I said,  I’m missing Facebook less and less and just had an amazing weekend with my family. When I started to write this blog 5 days ago I was in a different space, but now… Well, I’m pretty happy.

Eve and I spent St. Patty’s day with friends at the Heart and Crown, Saturday everyone was in a nice and playful mood and Sunday I wondered around in a daze all day due to having to work from 11pm to 7am Saturday night. We are a week away from our first big road trip and I a m super excited to see all my old friends, one that I haven’t seen in 20+ years.

I don’t have much more to say other then, life is good.

Aren’t kids fun

Not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new about my daughter and for that matter, myself.

Dealing with her being sick over this past week allowed me to find out that children’s Gravol, which typically causes drowsiness, causes my daughter to become hyper. Have you ever seen, hyper, sick, and whiney all at the same time?? It’s not pleasant.

So, tonight was something new. I got home from work, and I wasn’t feeling well. I laid on the couch while dinner was served and half way through my daughter started bringing me glasses of water. Ahhh… so sweet…

Dinner quickly came to a close and turned on some music on my iPhone. Eve quickly decided that she needed to have my phone and we played (she played) a game of keep away. Now, this got old fast and she was getting frustrated. Did I mention that I was laying on the couch and she was climbing mount daddy and jumping off, over and over and over. Then it happened. As we were playing she, out of the blue, bit me. I was shocked, and it hurt.

I jumped up and had a million reactions run through my head. I ended up raising my voice and well, she fell to pieces. As I sat there, stunned, she ran upstairs to mom and I quickly followed.

I explained what had happened and we agreed that Eve had to apologize. In walks daddy’s pig headedness. For 45 minutes we worked her like a prisoner in an interrogation room. She wasn’t budging. There was no way that she was going to say sorry. So, without going into all the intimate details, she was put into her pjs and the evening was done until she was ready to apologize.

I ended up going out but at about the 90 minute mark my cellphone rang and there was my daughter (with my wife’s help) “I’m sorry Daddy”.

We won! I feel like this is only the first of many battles but I also feel confident that Sue and I were on the same page, and didn’t give in. We held our ground, and in the end, the apology was delivered and all was right in the world.

When I got home Sue came out and said Eve would like to see me for a moment; in the dark, she walked over and gave me a hug and again, said I’m sorry, I love you. The lump in my throat was so big, I just about burst into tears. Big hugs all around and off to bed we go.

Just another adventure in parenting for the McColemanClan

Lent has begun

Another week has come and gone. I find myself sitting at my computer twitching. I’ll get back to that point in a minute.

It’s been a rough week in our home. My wife threw out her back, my daughter got a massive cold and I became Dr. Dad. Went to work a whole 3 days this week.

I guess I feel like life is moving so quickly lately and I am really struggling to keep up. The stress of having a child with special needs really does weigh on me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying anything to down play anyone else’s situation, I’m just reflecting on my own.

Someone said to a friend of mine a couple weeks ago (which made it back to me), and I’m paraphrasing… When I come by with my daughter it’s a lot of work for them because of how much cleaning they feel they need to do. I’m not sure why that has stuck with me and weighed on me so heavy, but it has. I want my daughter to grow up like a normal kid. I want her to be able to call up a friend and go to their place or go out and play and not worry that she is going to touch something that is going to send her into anaphylaxis shock.

Now, a cold… I laughed this morning as I described her cough and a friend said I sounded like a walrus. hahaha… That’s my little girl. If she hasn’t been throwing up, it’s been snot and mucus and tears and a cough that sounds like she’s been smoking for 60 years. In today’s day and age I can’t believe there is nothing you can do for tiny people but just ride it out.

As I said earlier, I find myself sitting in front of my computer twitching. As a catholic starting into the Lenten season I find myself looking for something to “Give up”. It’s quite simple really, I’ve always been taught that we are supposed to give up something that hurts, something hard, as a form of penance. This year, I’ve decided to give up Facebook. I know, I know… Facebook? If you know me, you know that I love social media. I love following my friends from around the world and seeing what my friends locally are doing too. I really didn’t think it would affect me as much as it does. I realize now that I spend an ornate amount of time online using using Facebook. My wife pointed it out at dinner the other night. She says “You are sitting there twitching and fidgeting”. Now, to try and find a new outlet for my energy.

I really enjoy blogging and I wish I did it more. My mind is always racing and I think that’s why I actually have trouble doing it. If I’m sitting alone, in the quiet, like I am right now, it really comes naturally, but the minute there is something happening around me my focus really does wander easily.

There is actually so much more that could be said and I realize that I haven’t blogged in a long time so, let’s get back into it slowly.