Oct 25, 2015: Gutentag!

Gutentag from the Small household, which I am pleased to report is still intact after Chris’s business trip to Germany!

I didn’t want to publicly advertise that I would be on my own last week, just for safety reasons, so I didn’t mention the big excitement around here—that Chris headed out for several days of business meetings in Germany! Not that we were excited to have him gone, mind you…but it’s exciting for him to get to travel someplace he’s never been! His company is based in Basel, Switzerland, and every couple of years they have an “all hands” editorial meeting in some European location. Last time was Lisbon, Portugal, and this time was Hinterzarten, Germany.

Where, you may be asking? Hinterzarten. It’s a roughly 900-year-old resort ski town in the Black Forest. Chris says the resident population at this time of year seems to be a fairly elderly population, and the town was pretty sleepy. But he was in meetings most of the time anyway, so he didn’t mind. I believe he relished being able to take two showers a day (no drought!!!) and not having to parent anyone for six days!

I’m also told he participated in a dinner theater event where he was cast as the murder victim, so he can now officially say, “I have taken a bullet for this company!” Well, okay, that’s a bit of a stretch. Still, I would give money to see pictures of this, as I’m told he was dressed up in some sort of period garb for his role. Chris is not a flashy actor type in any way, so I would’ve quite enjoyed seeing this!

He also enjoyed getting to fly in Business Class over there–lucky dog! He texted me a picture of the dinner menu from Business Class, where they apparently dine on such delicacies as smoked salmon, filet mignon, triple mousse cake, etc. Whatever. I heated up a bowl of soup. 😉 Seriously, though, he is a very thoughtful husband. He knew I wouldn’t bother to cook for myself and would just eat cereal for dinner for six days, so he put together a vegetarian enchilada casserole for me and made a big pot of vegetable soup, which he froze in individual servings for me. See, this is why I keep him around—he does very thoughtful things!

In addition to doing thoughtful things like making me dinners, though, he does nasty things like text me pictures of his gourmet Business Class fare and pictures of his breakfast of Pret a Manger in London! We love Pret a Manger—we ate there so many times on our honeymoon! It’s just a quickie sandwich/salad/coffee place in London, but it’s tasty and not horribly expensive, and it holds dear memories for us because we started most days of our honeymoon with a stop at Pret a Manger—and our honeymoon was somewhat of a disaster, with Pret a Manger being one of the consistent high points! So anyway, when he texted me a picture of his Pret a Manger breakfast, I wanted to reach across the miles, grab his delicious Pret a Manger latte, and dump it over his head!

In case you’re wondering how it was being a single parent to two rambunctious boys, two pugs, and two kittens, the answer is fine. It was mostly during the school week, when we have a pretty set routine, so that made it relatively easy. Weekends, with their fluidity, are more challenging. The routine of the regular week is relatively easy.

Make no mistake, though—I was very ready for Chris to be home by Friday night. A certain member of the household—let’s say the only member of the household who could really talk—had already informed me that I’m a horrible mother by then, so I was ready for my backup to be home. So glad was I to welcome my backup home that I dragged the boys 40 miles during rush hour to pick him up at the airport, just so we could see him all the sooner! We did get some excitement from that, though—there was a very large limousine/van fire on the off-ramp by the airport, and we had to drive right by it. It had just happened and there were no emergency vehicles on the scene yet, so the flames were still high in the air, with black smoke billowing everywhere. Our van heated up quickly on the inside as we drove past the inferno—yikes! Theo, of course, was entranced.

Amusing bits of the week while Chris was gone: First of all, Theo was “In the Spotlight” at school, which meant that every day his class had some event related to him. One of those days was a “bring someone or something to share” day, and Theo was adamant that he wanted to bring our pug, Zoe. His teacher is a dog-lover who was fine with it, so I brought Zoe to his class one afternoon. Theo did a great job of telling his class about her, but we had one cringe-worthy moment when I was standing up in front of the class with Zoe, and Theo announced, “And pugs tend to shit a lot!” I think my face turned about twelve shades of red as I looked at his teacher, who was wide-eyed. Then it dawned on me: shit = shed. He pronounced the “e” as an “i,” and the “d” sounded a bit like a “t.” So I quickly said, “Shed! He said shed!” His teacher, trying not to laugh, said, “Yes, I got that.” I said, “It sounded like something different,” and she replied, “Yes, it very much did!”

In a somewhat similar thread, Sam had an amusing potty moment. We have been putting Sam on the potty for more than a year, hoping to introduce potty training. We have had no luck. One time he made a tiny dribble of pee in the potty, but he has never duplicated it. He is perfectly happy to sit on the potty, but he just never does anything, so we can’t compliment him, and thus I don’t think he makes the connection that potty = pee. He just thinks it’s some kind of fun throne that he sits on a couple of times a day.

But anyway, I had him in PJs one night, and he walked by the bathroom where the kittens currently live. The door was open, and Isabel was crouched in the litter box, doing her business. I turned around to grab Violet, and when I turned back, Isabel was climbing out of the litter box, and Sam had climbed in and was squatting down, assuming the same pee position as Isabel! Sheesh, a year on the potty and nothing…but one time seeing the cat go in the litter box, and he’s game to try it!

Speaking of Sam, he’s kinda famous. Down Syndrome Connection used one of my photos of Sam to create an Internet meme for Down Syndrome Awareness month, and it’s now being shared all over the place. Last time I checked, I think it had been shared by more than 150 different organizations and people in places all over the U.S. and in other countries…meaning it’s been seen by thousands of people.  I can only see some of the “shares” due to people’s privacy settings on their accounts, but it seems he’s getting a lot of love from the picture, which makes me happy—I’m glad to have him spread some awareness and put a smile on people’s faces! In case you’re curious, here’s the meme:

2015-10-23 08.47.10

Let’s see…what else can I tell you? Our kittens are adorable little menaces! I have realized that I am apparently an animal person. I always thought I was a dog person, and I am…but I adore these kittens, too! Theo asked me which I like better—dogs or cats—and I said I really couldn’t say, because I like them for different reasons. Which is totally true—the pugs are definitely people-pleaser types who just want to goof around for everyone’s amusement. They’re silly little clowns, which I love. But the kittens are equally funny, but in a totally different way—they act all tough, with their little arched backs and play fighting, but they’re total softies. And they’re like silent ninjas—they spring out of nowhere and land on you, and then give you a wide-eyed, innocent look like, “What? Are you surprised to see me?” Also, they are into everything, which is pretty amusing when you’re not busy cleaning up after them! And one of the two (Violet) is super snuggly and sweet. Isabel is definitely the more independent mischief-maker of the two, but they are both very nice kittens—and incredibly tolerant. Theo is forever chasing them around to pick them up and “hug” them, and they are surprisingly tolerant. I suspect they prefer Sam, who for the most part just ignores them and lets them do their thing—Theo’s brand of kitty love can be a bit overwhelming!

Chris got back Friday night, and on Saturday he wanted to get out for a bit but not go far. So, we visited another local pumpkin patch. It was fun—pretty low-key, really, considering how big it is! Theo enjoyed digging for worms in the composting exhibit, and Sam liked playing cornhole (which evidently is basically a beanbag toss). Both boys enjoyed the hayride and corn maze, and both boys enjoyed the incredibly bad one-man band. I give him an A for effort, but oh my goodness…carrying a tune wasn’t his strong point. But still, the boys enjoyed the live music, and we enjoyed relaxing under the trees and watching.

On Sunday, we drove to the Santa Cruz Mountains for A Day with Thomas. Oh yes, that would be the Thomas—the famous engine loved by so many little kids! Theo was never a Thomas kid, but Sam is obsessed—like so many other kids his age. Most of the things we do are for Theo, and Sam just gamely goes along because he’s an easygoing sort. So for once, we found an event that was really Sam-centered, and we decided it was a must-do. As it turned out, both boys had a good time. (We knew Theo would like it, even though he professes to hate Thomas. He likes trains and he loves anything outdoors, so we figured it would be a win even if he would never admit it!) Sam was so excited to see the engines Thomas and Percy, and he enjoyed the train ride through the redwoods and going in the bouncy house after. Theo loved the train ride through the redwoods (even if he had to subject himself to riding on Thomas, for heaven’s sake!), and he too enjoyed the bouncy house. He also really liked the magician who put on a show, and he participated in the cookie decorating, face painting, and pumpkin picking. We all had the chuckwagon lunch, which was overpriced but fun—they let you roast marshmallows for dessert, so how could we pass that up?!

On the way home, we stopped and saw Grandma Kathy, Papa, Aunt Tanya, Uncle Steve, and Nikolas, which the boys thoroughly enjoyed! And then it was home to blog for me…and to bathe the boys for Chris. Which I should go help him with, because I hear chaos coming from the upstairs bathroom! Hope you’ve all had a wonderful week! If you missed it, click here to see the pictures from our family photo session a few weeks ago. I am very happy with them! Of course, I wish my weight was better…but it’s not like the photographer is a miracle worker. And I think all three of my boys look very dashing!

Also, here are a couple of videos for your viewing pleasure. One is Sam requesting a third helping of his beloved bacon! Another is Theo playing his latest piano piece. And a third is a funny clip of the kittens—be sure to watch until the end, when the ever-graceful Violet has a moment. 🙂


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