Not Just For Dogs
Sunday Stealing: The 14-Q Meme

Our Corolla!

(Ten points if you can tell me what that's from)


Skipping over Halloween for now, though I promise I'll go back... mid-week, the children and I took a mini-working vacation back down to a very, very, nice, nice hotel in Corolla, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We were just there in October for that hotel mystery shop in Kitty Hawk just down the road, and we could have done this shop back-to-back, but I needed the money from that shop to pay for this one. Ya dig? Plus, that one had to be a weekend, and this one not, so it really wouldn't have worked out too well anyway. Here's the view from our balcony; we were upgraded to an Ocean View room, which wouldn't have happened if it weren't, well, November in the middle of the week. Lucky us. (Would you guess we were only on the 3rd floor? It looks way higher than that, doesn't it? I know!)

I was totally hoping Rob would come down after work and surprise us - we even prayed about it in the van on the way there - but alas, he broke his iPhone and was none too comfortable with the idea of riding in the middle of the night without it. And he'd have had to wake up at 0200 to get to work on time, which would have been really selfish of me to ask. So I did. What, did you think I wasn't selfish? (So what? I gave him all four of his Christmas presents yesterday, because I knew they would please him to have right away. That makes up for it a little bit, doesn't it?)


Hot Tub

After I finished all the work I could do for the time being, I took the kids to the indoor pool and hot tub. They have been dying to swim, since the beach-going season ended entirely too abruptly for them this year. Knowing about the hot tub at this hotel, and their enduring love for staying in hotel rooms in general, was pretty much the sole reason I took this shop in the first place. For them.  Nothing pleases me more as a mother than seeing my children have the times of their lives. I have a dozen pictures of them in the hot tub that night, but I chose this not-particularly-good one because I think Sophia looks especially lovely in it. Red eyes and all.

{It's difficult to take a bad picture of the always-photogenic Chloë, and Jack is ridiculously cute himself. Sophia's beauty - while boundless in my eyes - is somewhat more difficult to capture on film. Maybe because she's so active, or maybe because she's less classically beautiful than the other two, but when I find a picture that makes me stop and say, "ahh, there it is," I have to share it.}

{Also, have I told this story? When Chloë was born, and they showed her to me, I was instantly taken with her. She was impossibly gorgeous from Day One, and it's been hard to be humble about that as her mother. Robby, well... and Jack, too, was so freaking cute from the get-go, I couldn't stand it. And then Sophia came, and they showed her to me, there on the OR table, and my first thought was, "Whoa! That ain't mine!" Ahaha! She was NOT a beautiful newborn. No, sir, she was not. But later that day, when they brought her to me, and she started nursing as soon as I put her to the breast, and I could take the time to truly admire what we had made... that's when I discovered how very lovely she really was.}

{And one more thing before I continue on about the trip: you see Jack's hair? Rob and I had been 'arguing' for a while about its length, which I deemed too... long, and he insisted was just right. Well, Sophia solved that problem by hacking off a huge chunk from the front. Out came the clippers, that night. Thanks, Soap!}


See what I mean? Such joy to be had here, in a little pool, in a hotel, on an island, off the coast, with my babies. Totally worth the trip.



I don't remember exactly what sea creature Sophia was pretending to be here, because she often pretends to be one animal or another. (Lately, she gallops around the living room like a horse, stopping now and then to rear back and whinny. It's both highly entertaining and thoroughly annoying, when she won't stop!) I think she was a fish out of water. She was rocking back and forth, back and forth... Nothing provokes her to do these things, other than her own vivid imagination. And don't tell Chloë this, but I think Sophia would be even more talented as an actor than she is. Not that Chloë doesn't have talent. She does; but Sophia? I think she has some sort of gift.


I was in the middle of admiring Sophia's antics on the deck when something made me turn to the left, and there s/he was: an absolutely beautiful fox. A red fox, I guess. You know I never look things up until later. I had seen her (we'll call her a vixen) out of the corner of my eye and assumed she was a cat, but when I glanced over, I knew something wasn't right about that. After the double-take, I was stunned to see that it was a fox! At first, she was looking into the hotel, more to the right, but when I moved to train the camera on her, she noticed me. I tried to quietly get the childrens' attention, so they wouldn't miss this opportunity, but I didn't want to be too loud or have them come running and make her sprint away before they saw her. It worked; all of them were able to sneak over and get a good look at this foxy lady before she spooked and tore off in the direction of the beach. It was marvelous; they're still talking about it.



You see these two dorks? After the fox left, they wanted to see the pictures of her on my camera. Flipping through them, they noticed the ones of Sophia being a fish out of water. Or a seal. Or a dolphin. I don't know. Of course, they wanted their photos taken right away, doing the same thing. We're not camera-shy here, are we?

I hadn't been able to find the top to my own bathing suit, so I didn't swim. Keeping me away from the water is a chore, and even I got bored after a couple of hours of watching my own adorababies having fun. I convinced them to take a break for dinner and some cartoons, but only after promising that we would come back before bedtime.  We visited the Front Desk to inquire about ordering in a pizza, but no one delivers there in the off-season. We'd have to go out and get one ourselves. If you've been to OBX, you'll know that nothing is nearby; everything is at least a 20-minute drive, so I wasn't thrilled, but the kids had to eat!

Somewhere between pool and pizza (and sorry, but I do not recommend pizza from The Tomato Patch in Corolla - ick! There is such a thing as lousy pizza after all!), Chloë came down with a severe headache. I think it was a migraine, because she was nauseous and crying and miserable. She gets them sometimes. Of course, I have an enormous stash of OTC meds here at home, but I had to drop by the Harris Teeter on the island to get some Tylenol anyway. Bah. (And bad Mommy: I wasn't thinking and bought regular Ty instead of children's, since they can all swallow pills now. It wasn't until we'd gotten back to the hotel and HT was closed that I read the box and re-remembered it's not for children under 12! Eek! I said a prayer and gave her one anyway, she was suffering so...)

The kiddos and I picked at the sucky pizza (they're so going to sue me, aren't they?) and watched some Nick-nick-nick-na-nick-nick-nick before the Littles started begging to go back to the pool. I was in the middle of an online chat with Rob, so they really had to tug on me to get me to go. I missed him, what can I say? Chloë wanted to stay back at the room and play on the computer (which is fine; she can only go on the sites I have programmed on her username), so I took the kids and left.

This time at the pool, I just couldn't help myself. The water looked so inviting. I rolled up my pant legs to my knees, grabbed half a dozen of the tiny pool towels to sit upon, and put my feet in the hot tub water. Ahhh...! It felt amazing. So good, in fact, that it didn't take very long before I was looking around to make sure no one could see me. I had an athletic bra on, and boy-cut unnerpannies, so after I shucked my shirt and pants and surveyed myself in the mirror-like windows, I decided that even if they could see, it wasn't so terribly obvious I was wearing my unmentionables in the pool! Sophia and Jack couldn't stop giggling and cracking wise about my wearing underwear in public, but I didn't care. I was in the water at last!

I can't stay in a hot tub too long without getting dizzy, so after about 10 minutes, I stepped out and put one of those teeny towels around me for a sarong. (Amazing! It fit with more than enough length to spare. Couldn't have said that two years ago.) Sophia wanted more room to play, so she trotted over to the pool for a swim...

... and swim, she did!!! She SWAM, people! Doggy-paddle, yes, but she went from the shallow end, diagonally across to the deep end. Five feet! There's no way she could touch there. At first, she was hesitant to go out there, but when I offered her $5 or a dozen doughnuts to do it, she went right away. (And she didn't pick the doughnuts, can you believe that? Okay, she did at first, but after she gave it some thought, she realized, "I want the $5, so I can get a doughnut AND a toy!" Smart girl.) I was ecstatic. Poor Jack kept trying to steal my attention away with silly little tricks I'd seen him do a hundred times, but I would not be moved: my baby could swim!!!

Chloë came into the pool area while I was still squealing with delight. She wanted to see, too, so Sophia happily showed off her new-found skill to her older sister. Neither Jack nor Chloë can swim, so while they were impressed, they didn't like it too much!

At 2200, about 10 minutes after Chloë joined us, it was closing time at the pool. Not a moment too soon; the chlorine fumes were giving me a headache. We went upstairs to get ready for bed, which was a huge joke, since none of them fell asleep before midnight. In fact, when I finally lay down after 0200, the girls' eyes were still open! Oy vey.

We never got the 0800 wake-up call I'd requested, which completely threw off my Thursday plans. I didn't rouse until 0930. The drapes kept the room so dark, I thought it was still the middle of the night. Chloë couldn't believe it, either. She was awake but thought the same thing! Argh. No more light-blocking drapes for me.

Sophia was soundly sleeping, so the Bigs and I snuck off to breakfast without her. We brought her back some food, but on she slept. It wasn't until after I'd showered and started packing that she finally stirred. With the promise of a muffin and apple, she was awake and eating in a flash. Doing what she was born to do: chow down!

After she ate, I rushed the kids down to the pool for a quick dip. They wanted to stay, but I'd warned them I only had time to get Sophia swimming on video before we had to leave. She really didn't feel like doing The Big Swim this time, so I had to take what I could get and dash off to finish packing. It's amazing how much crap three kids can generate in one night's hotel stay... really. You'd be surprised.  We checked out (I'm skipping all the boring shop-related tasks), hopped in the van, and sped off toward home. What should have taken two hours was completed in 3/4 of the time, but don't fret, because I never did more than 5 mph over the limit. People were passing me. Scout's honor.

Anyway, I'll keep what happened after that for another post, and leave with you with this fine cinematographic evidence of my youngest child doing her best impression of The Thorpedo:


Isn't that frickin' cute?! I had it on 'loop' for a half-hour, watching her little legs go crazy. Hee. I love it.