We had a darn good weekend! Hottie had Friday off so we kicked off our Independence Day festivities a day early. The weather was perfect and the kids were on their best behavior (until they weren’t, but that was rare), so we really maximized the outdoor family time.
On Friday, Matthew had camp and Bryson had a strange rash, so Hottie dropped Bryson and me off at the pediatrician on his way to drop Matthew off at camp. I took the running stroller with me and dressed appropriately to just run home from there, but I felt guilty about ditching Hottie on his day off when I know he loves nothing more than getting a coffee together 😉 The doctor was super efficient for walk-in hours (grass mites – who knew?) and we were done before Hottie was back. We ran a bit while we waited for him to pick us up. We ended up getting drive-thru coffee and some donut holes for Bryson and then Hottie drove us to a trailhead and we ran home from there. Our community does an amazing job with linking up all suburban trail systems, so I was able to run 5 miles back to our house without having to cross busy street without an overpass or underground tunnel. It was a beautiful run!
We picked Matthew up with Ji.mmy Joh.ns in the car waiting for him and headed to the park. The kids played, we stood and ate, and I got some super cute pictures of them in the covered bridge and along the creek. It was a great way to spend the morning before naps! Naps HAPPENED for 2+ hours so I mowed the lawn and Hottie washed our cars. We had our favorite dinner as a family (curry bison burgers which Bryson gobbled his up while Matthew ate leftover salmon from the night before) and then we went out for ice cream. Baths happened on time and Bryson was in bed by 8:20. Matthew and Hottie camped out in the backyard, leaving me to myself to make this AMAZING brussels sprout salad and this sparkler cake for the next day. I finally dyed cake batter, which I’ve never done before, and it was super cute. I did not take a single picture of my cake, but it looked just like the one below without the thin sliced strawberries on top. The layers were blue, red, and blue and I added fresh blueberries to the frosting between the bottom and middle layers, and fresh strawberries to the frosting between the middle and top layers. I’ll be making it again next year! I’ll be making the brussels sprouts salad again next week! After cooking, I sat in bed and spent some much needed alone-time while everyone slept – it was wonderful!
Saturday started EARLY… at 3:45 AM. HA! I woke to the sound of a door opening and a bunch of “Shhhh.. they’re sleeping.” It got too cold outside for the boys so they headed inside to sleep in Matthew’s bed together. CUTENESS! Bryson then woke up at 6:05 and snuggled into bed with me for his morning “Ogurt.” I gave the boys until 7:00 to wake up but no luck, so Bryson and I went for a nice 5 mile run. We arrived home about 5 minutes after the guys woke up so we all got ready together and headed for the parade. WHAT FUN THAT WAS! I was the official candy collector (of the candy that didn’t get picked by the kids = tootsie rolls) and Bryson was the official candy taster. We saw lots of politicians due to Iowa being the first state in the nation to vote in the primaries (ick) and a lot of fun trucks. Success! The candy was mostly mediocre and that reminds me I need to toss it out now that everyone’s asleep. HA!
We had lunch and then naps… well, Bryson had a nap. Matthew tried to sleep but couldn’t, so he got to help me finish prepping food for our dinner family playdate with some new friends. The cake was a hit (the twin boys kept tasting the frosting and put the cutest finger prints in the side of the cake – making it obvious that Landon is the lefty and Andrew is the righty!), we learned that children need to be taught not to hold their friends under water (I shudder when I think of all the times we’ve stepped out of the bathroom with the boys in the tub together – they don’t understand that dunking is not a good idea even if the other kid likes it), and Matthew had a really great time with one of the boys. Bryson kept to himself but came out of his shell when he got in the pool (clothes on) and hit it off with Landon who is more docile than Matthew and Andrew. HA!
We headed home to grab some things for fireworks and headed to the park by 8:30. This is when our day went from great to horrible in an instant. We got tickets for the bounce house and let both boys go in. We kept checking on them, keeping a close eye on the exit. I saw Matthew at one end so I headed back to the exit where I met up with Hottie who had just seen Bryson on the other end of the bounce house. Hottie asked where Matthew was, I said just on the other end, he looked, and… no Matthew. He was gone. I wasn’t too concerned at first – there’s no way he could have gotten far. Wrong. He was nowhere in sight. NOWHERE. Hottie took off to look for him as I loaded Bryson in the wagon and asked some moms to keep an eye out for him. As I panned the area over and over again, I started to panic. This hadn’t happened before – not like this. There was a sea of people and Matthew was not amongst any of them. When I realized that he was not in the section of the park that I was in, I looked for a city festival worker to help me. When he asked me what Matthew was wearing, I fell apart. I mean – I sobbed, started to hyperventilate, and then almost threw up. The guy called the police right away to help and I heard him put out the alert on the walkie talkie that a 4 year old boy named Matthew was missing. JESUS. He assured me that this had happened many times earlier in the day and that the kids are always found. I nodded, fighting back tears (I remember blinking back tears, trying to nod confidently, and biting my lower lip.. oh, the lower lip is my tell), but it was getting dark. This was different. He told me to come back to where we were after a bit of looking and he was off like a shot rounding people up to look for him. I decided to cross the road into the other part of the park (the bigger, scarier, too-close-to-the-road part of the park) when I heard Brian yelling for me. He had him. He had him in his arms. Matthew had slipped out of the bounce house, thought that WE were lost because we weren’t there, and decided to find us.
“I got out of the bounce house and you were lost. I went to find you because you were lost. I found another Mommy (this is what we’ve taught him to do – yay!) and said, “I can’t find my daddy, he’s lost. Do you know where he is? I need help.” She picked me up and held me until daddy came. She was nice. She had on green (correct) and was eating popcorn.”
I don’t think I’ve cried happy tears like I did last night – total relief! Seriously, at one point, I thought to myself, “he’s gone. GONE. He is GONE!” He asked if I was mad and of course I wasn’t. I then had to call off the search, thank everyone for their help, and go and meet this woman who picked up my kid and kept him safe for us until we found him. All of that was done through tears and nervous smiles. The festival guy said, “this is the 10th one today, and we’re still 100%. I know it’s scary, but it will happen again.” He was a rock – he was just the right person for me at that time. Amazingly, this all only lasted between 5 and 10 minutes. It felt like a lifetime.
With the drama behind us, we went “back to the car where we will wait for fireworks” (Hottie’s words). Hottie came prepared with a picnic blanket, camp chairs, bubble blowers, glow sticks, etc. so there was no shortage of things to do. Matthew stayed right next to one of us at all times – he had to be touching us at all times once we were back at the picnic blanket. We obliged, and quite happily. Fireworks started, they went on forever, Bryson and I packed up our stuff (he lost interest in the fireworks quickly), and we were out of there. The kids fell asleep on the way home and transferred into bed without a peep. Hottie and I sat up together, equally relieved and happy to be home with both boys safely in their beds, and watched a movie until 1:00 AM. It was… perfect!
Today, Sunday, was another beautiful day but I didn’t run. Instead, Hottie got up with Bryson 6:05 (AGAIN) and I went into Matthew’s room to sleep in with him – we got up at 8:00 (that is WAY late for me!). We tooled around the house, made breakfast hot dogs for the kids, and took a family shower before we went out for a late breakfast/brunch. Bryson fell asleep on the way home with his sunnies on his forehead and was tossed in the crib while Hottie and Matthew did some “house projects” together for a little bit (sanding and re-staining wood windows). At 1:50, I called it nap time and I crawled into bed with Matthew and slept with him until 4:15. It was …. wonderful. Hottie got more windows done while we all slept and then he made the boys’ favorite dinner, which Matthew thanked him for over and over and over again! We went out for ice cream (again) and then the boys had baths and went to bed. My first order of business was to order these disposable ID wrist bands and Road ID tags for the boys’ shoes. Done and done. And here I am, with a sleeping Hottie beside me and my laptop right where it belongs before heading off to bed myself.
Great weekend – even with the scare of our lives!