However, for all of our sakes we HAVE to get out of the house daily. The more I wear Marshall out, the more he'll nap or be content to play by himself when we're at home. Plus there is no way I could avoid having to go to the grocery store, bank, and all those other inevitable errands. Whenever I'd think "gah, this is going to be a pain in the butt to bring 2 kids along!" I'd remind myself that people with 3, 4, 5... 19 kids somehow manage thus I didn't really have any reason to complain. So, I decided to just commit and carry on the same way we had done before Miller arrived.
One piece of advice that someone with kids close in age gave me that was VERY helpful is "load the toddler in the car first, and take him out last." Usually I am wearing Miller in a sling, wrap, or Ergo which gives me two free hands to wrangle or carry Marshall if necessary.
We went to the Children's Museum almost daily.
Marshall would have a blast, and Miller did a lot of this:
Other regular trips included the Zoo, and the park.
At 3 weeks I had been planning a road trip to Pasadena to visit Jerad, but his flight coming from Georgia got delayed so it wasn't going to work out. Since I had already cleaned out the car, bought special car snacks and toys I decided we needed to go SOMEWHERE. So, I loaded them both up and made the 3.5 hour each direction trip to Ikea to pick up new bedding for the king sized bed Jerad made us.
The Ikea trip went really well. Marshall was over it by the time we got home, but was super chill for all of the driving and actual shopping.
Around 4 or 5 weeks my best friend Tina came to visit from New York and stayed with us for about a week. Which was really awesome because I somehow threw out my back while she was here and was in So Much Pain I could barely lift up Miller, and couldn't pick up Marshall at all. The tiniest movements were absolutely excruciating. It took me 20 minutes to get from the bed to the bathroom and that was WITH Jerad helping me.
As luck would have it, Jerad had to go out of town a few days after it happened. If Tina hadn't been there, I'm really not sure how I'd have managed! After she went home I finally made it to the chiropractor (not the most relaxing with 2 small children in tow:) and my sister's mother in law came over a few nights to play with Marshall. She played with him while I took a nap AND she vacuumed and picked up all the toys. It was heavenly.
While I was finishing recovering, Marshall spent a lot of time playing with the sensory table Jerad built. During the summer we had it outside and used it like a water table, then we brought it inside and I filled it with pinto beans and spoons and scoops.
He had a lot of fun working on his transfer skills (which also translated to him being a waaaaay less messy eater):
And putting tractors and trucks in it and pretending the beans were dirt:
After about 2 months Jerad and I came to the realization that it was ridiculous that I was spending my leave at home alone. I should be going *with* him on his out of town trips. So, we packed up and headed to Pasadena!
I posted a cry for help on facebook asking what the heck we should DO while Jerad was working, and a childhood friend responded that she lived in the area and we should come over for a playdate and let me know about an amazing Children's Museum in the area.
You guys... it was amazing! Its a 3.5 acre indoor/outdoor museum, and part of the affiliate program our local museum is in which meant we could get in free. It was about a 10 minute drive and I took the kids every day:
The first time I dressed Marshall up all cute not realizing that he was going to get soaked. After that I put him in a bathing suit:)
He got to run and climb and splash and play, and wear himself out and Miller once again would do a lot of this:
One day it was raining so I had to find ways to keep us entertained in the hotel room. We made forts:
And finger-painted and played in the bathtub:
And may or may not have made a trip to Ikea:) I had to take advantage of it being so close!
I had been a little leery of the logistics of spending over a week in a hotel room with two babies, but it went really well! It was SO NICE having a maid that came and cleaned everything while we were out, and not having any dogs to take care of or any other obligations. When Marshall napped there was nothing that I needed to be *doing* so I would just lay in bed with Miller and watch TV. It felt like a little vacation!
Our room had a mini kitchen with a fridge so I was able to go to Trader Joes and Whole Foods and get groceries so that I could make Marshall meals and snacks without having to go out each time. I had also been worried about the sleeping arrangements because at home Marshall sleeps in a toddler bed and usually plays for about 30 minutes in his room before he gets in bed and decides to go to sleep. He also will NOT nap/sleep anywhere besides his bed, and is a SUPER light sleeper, so I wasn't sure what was going to happen.
We had a suite so Miller slept in the bed with us, and we brought a playpen and set it up in the living room and would turn on the TV to Animal Planet with a 30 min timer (again don't judge:) when it was time for Marsh to go to bed and he'd play in there then pass out. After he fell asleep I'd go collect all the toys and books out of his "pen" and he'd sleep all night! During the day I'd wear him out so much at the Children's Museum that naps were no problem either.
The job Jerad was working on involved ripping out a parking lot, repaving it, building parking structures, then adding solar to the roofs. On the parking lot demo day I drove over to the job site because I thought Marshall would like to watch the tractors.
Yeah, he was in love:
Just when I thought he couldn't get any more excited, Jerad let him sit in the tractor and then ride in his lap. Marshall rode in the tractor for an hour and probably would have happily stayed there all day:)
On Jerad's day off we took a family trip to the Children's Museum:
Its hard to tell in the next pic, but that's a 3 story tall climbing structure and Marshall and Jerad are inside. They made it all the way to the top!
After that we went to the LA Live Steamer's Railroad and road the mini train:
And then the Griffith Park Train Museum where we checked out the trains and rode a bigger one:
We had so much fun! We were there for about 11 days before we came home. By the end I knew how to find everything that I need to survive (Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Target, Ikea, and the Children's Museum:). We came home home and were planning to go back in 2 days but I ended up getting a terrible case of Mastitis which changed our plans a little bit...