The Grand Tour

It was oh-dark-thirty Saturday morning when we took off to see half of the grandparent contingent, which is why The Boy is wearing his footie pajamas. But he's adaptable, especially as long as he's got his Thomas the Tank Engine trains with him. (We got him excited for his first post-"lap infant" flight by telling him he was flying inside Jeremy the Jet Plane, one of Thomas' friends.)

We landed and arrived at Nana's without incident. Then off to lunch with Nana, then a looooong nap for The Boy, The Husband and me. The grandparents almost never cook, so we went out to an Argentinian restaurant that's just down the way from the place where we usually eat. Now I understand what all the fuss is about Argentina's beef. Damn good stuff; I'll recommend it to Ricë the carnivore. Afterwards we just generally hung out with Nana and Peepaw.
On Sunday, we went to lunch with my brother and sister-in-law, and the niecey-nieces. The kids are five and one, but they both look older than they are because they're tall for their respective ages. (This is what happens when your mother is 6 feet tall and your father is 6'4".) Sister-in-law and I chatted a little bit after lunch, but she had to take Niece Number Two home to rest up and recover from an ear infection. So Knucklehead -- I mean, "Brother" -- and Niece Number One went to Travel Town with us.Although NN1 can be a little distractible, she was great about sticking close to The Boy and encouraging him to run with her like a mad thing. "Cousin C! Cousin C! Come here! Cousin C! Look at this!"They discovered that jumping on the metal plates between trains was almost as good as jumping on a trampoline. The shorter shadow on the left is The Boy; the taller one is NN1.

It's moments like this that I get homesick for LaLaLand, even with the traffic and the state income tax and the obscenely high cost of living. I know, I probably wouldn't spend every free minute with my family. (How the hell would I get any art done?) But it makes me feel like our little three-person family unit lives in Alaska and everyone else lives (or is buried) in Key West.

Anyhoo, after Travel Town we went back to Nana's for a Hanukkah party with two of Peepaw's kids and their respective families. It was quite the crowd: the grandparents, us three, two of Peepaw's children, their respective spouses, and the four other grandkids (most of whom were under five years old). The Boy couldn't have any latkes, since they were the regular kind made with egg. But he was happy with the corned beef, goldfish crackers, and applesauce. Lots of yelling over the kids, but all of it friendly... only one incident where the kids had to be separated (the youngest kid nearly knocked over another to snatch away a drumstick and bang on a drum). It started about 5:30pm and was over by 7:45pm. And The Boy was bathed and in bed by 8:20pm.A quick stop off for lunch the next day, near Pinkberry. It's supposed to be the thing. I tried a little of it... just tasted like overly sweet soft-serve. I guess it's the 21st century Penguin's. (Remember that place? I think they're still in business.)

The Husband had a great idea for the flight home: go get a DVD suitable for The Boy and watch it on the plane. The Boy has yet to see a movie in a theater, but he's seen most of "Cars" at home. So we watched about 3/4 of the film, unpacked our sandwiches and ate dinner (I hate that airlines don't feed you anymore!) , then watched the rest. Poor Small Person was wiped out by the time we got home, but he slept well and was up and at 'em the next day.

And here's a last bit of LaLaLand to keep you sort of warm... birds of Paradise. We used to have those growing in our backyard. It was years before I found out they're considered exotic almost everywhere in the US except LaLaLand.