I was trying to think back to what has happened lately to get this update on here... It's been three weeks? But, yes, we've had quite a summer. After coming back from our previous trip to Ohio to see family and for my sister-in-law's services, Pat's sister, Kristie, came for a visit to Chicago with her family. I'll get some good photos up in another post soon. It was a lot of fun, as you will see. Four babies four years old and younger running around!
They left on a Monday, then on that Thursday, August 11th, I got a phone call that my dad had had a massive stroke. He underwent emergency brain surgery. We headed straight down with Elliot saying, "Grandpa sick? Grandma sad. Feel better. Hugs and kisses," the whole drive. We've started a blog for his progress as well-- www.caringbridge.org/visit/markulrich if anyone who sees this is interested. Dad is lucky mom knew the signs and got him help. He is making good progress, considering, but there will be months/years? of therapy and rehab.
We were lucky, as well, that both Pat and I were on break and could stay when the other siblings had to get back to first-days-of-school, jobs, etc. I stayed for 9 days, with Pat taking a few days inbetween to go up to Twinsburg to see Grandpa Papczun, then coming back to the hospital for a day or so until we headed back to Chicago for one night.
We had planned a trip to Michigan with Renee and decided that we would still try to go, as there was some flexibility with dates and we still needed a little together time before the rat-race of work and school started today. We spent Sat afternoon, Sun, and part of today in MI, enjoying the beach, relaxing, and just doing nothing on a schedule. On our drive home, Pat looked up a state park that had sand dunes and we stopped for just another hour or so of wading/swimming in the lake before hitting the road home for good for Pat to make it to class tonight.
We got some good beach shots, but overall, we did poorly with photos on this trip. The town of Saugatuck is so cute-- lots of art galleries, restaurants, boats, very quaint. We spent more time at the little playground than anywhere, but that was what it was all about-- spending time as a family and regrouping. We took this little ferry across the water and the lady next to us was nice enough to offer her iPhone+an email to myself with the photo when I complained of not having my camera again! We commented how nice it might be to do this every August-- it's only 2.5 hours and is really lovely.
He couldn't wait to get his shoes off here...
Pat had some trying mornings with Elliot on the trip to NE Ohio, and we had more mornings like that in the last few days. Tantrums, fits, plenty of spanking... we're all navigating it together. We keep saying we should have been tighter earlier on. I do think, though, that it's a mixture of a lot of things-- Elliot being jostled for 12 days, spending time in places like hospital waiting rooms until after bedtime, the terrible twos, let's blame some on teeth, and go from there. He'll melt down after being a huge brat, pushing it and pushing it, and then just sob on our shoulders, mouth open, limp, so pitifully in need for some comfort. He did this about 6 months ago as well, with some almost-diarrhea-stuff, and that's happening now too (it's been a long time since his poop leaked all over, and we had that happen on one of our road trip stops...). Growth spurt? My mom commented, "Oh, that is so Brad."
The other thing he's doing to push boundaries in a weird way is to mislabel something, and then stick with it. For example, he knows his colors and has a book with a bundle of colorful balloons. It asks, "What color are the other balloons?" He has named them a hundred times before, but now, he'll say a red balloon is blue, I'll say, "No, what color is the balloon?" ... "Are you sure?"... and he'll insist it's the wrong color with a sly grin on his face, until I correct him or he decides to do it right. He did this with the letter "E" the other day. Mistook it (for real, I think) for "F," then when I corrected him, kept insisting it was F, F, F, with that grin, with me going, "E, E, E..." I don't think he ever gave in on that session.
Needless to say, with all of this happening, my attempt at potty training (that was going pretty well) was completely ditched. We'll try again this week.
Elliot is obsessed with Renee's camera-- she's very patient...