Mr. T laughed on Tuesday, once for J and once for me. But we can’t get him to do it anymore! He definitely has the biggest smiles of any of our kids though. His entire face smiles and he opens his mouth so big it’s hilarious. His coos need less coaxing and he is the sleeping champ. Who could ask for anything more?
We spent the weekend in Smithers at J’s family reunion. It’s halfway up BC so we did a two-day roadtrip there and back:
They ar watching Pocoyo on my iPod. And yes, they are wearing matching outfits. I’m cheesy like that.
Despite the rain each day, we had a good time connecting with “long-lost” cousins and getting to know their kids.The girls were in play heaven. There was a trampoline and sandpit at the farm, endless field to run, tether ball, bubbles, crafts, ATV rides, chairlift up the ski hill, cute town, pony ride, mountains of food, campfires and smores, and piles and piles of cousins to play with. If I didn’t check in with E I probably wouldn’t have seen her all day long. C needs a little more support and would come find me every so often for a hug or a chat or some help. Smithers is a cute little town in the mountains to which I’d never been. J’s been there a few times since he has family up there. It was a great weekend and because there were so many willing arms, we got a break from Mr. T too (who really isn’t much trouble to begin with) and had quite a relaxing weekend. Tons of food of course and tons of rain, but we were in a camper (the variety of RVs was amazing…). The farm has a big outdoor shelter which was used for meals, a fire pit plus several propane fires, a few porta-potties, and countless aunts, uncles and cousins to chat with.
This week we went to a Vancouver Canadians baseball game with Mr. T:
What a beautiful night to be out! We left in the 9th inning (Vancouver was kicking butt) and headed to Kits to catch the fireworks. Then last night we saw Sarah McLachlan with the VSO and took Mr. T again – what a cultured boy already! Good thing he loves to nurse and sleep. Not one person made a negative comment about having a baby at that concert. In fact, everyone was just oohing and ahing. Several couples commented that they missed their own baby at home with a babysitter. A few pregnant ladies commented on how they would, after seeing us, feel comfortable taking their babies out. And I ran into some old colleagues for a few minutes. Oh yeah, did I mention that the concert was fantastic?
I’ll try to get around to posting pictures soon as well as some more regular blogging. I have lots of draft posts and interesting ideas, just need time to do it!
Then again, E & C start school in September. E’s in kindergarten (yikes!) and C’s in preschool. Amazing!
Here’s a common sight in Smithers. Enjoy!
The last month or so has been a lot of fun. Here’s a peek at what I’m up to and a some pics for you to enjoy too!
On My Nightstand: Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. If you’ve never read a Neil Gaiman book, you must go do it right now. I recommend Neverwhere. That’s where I started. And I truly never want to be without a Neil Gaiman book close by again. He also writes graphic novels (Coraline) and children’s books (although those are a bit too out there for my girls so far.) I just finished a “space opera” called Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross. It was one of those books about the robotic future that seemed kind of close to home and kind of unbelievable at the same time. It also made me laugh out loud. A lot. Like on the plane to Mexico. And on the beach in Mexico. And in my room in Mexico. I did a lot of laughing in Mexico, but nobody knew why I was laughing.
Want To Read: Lord of the Rings again. We watched the movies again over Christmas (hooray for Blu-ray) and it made me miss the books. But they’re a bit heavy for my liking right now. I’m also really into cheap or free books right now. We go the library a lot and I just pick something from the feature shelf or buy something from the sale table. Seriously, 25c for a book? That’s just awesome. Thinking about the Kindle too. J’s cousin had one on the beach in Mexico and I have to say it’s was pretty slick.
Movie I’ve Seen (in or out of the theater): Tangled 3D with the girls was awesome! What a cute movie. And the two movies on the plane weren’t bad: Life as We Know It with Josh Duhamel and Katherine Heigl was better than I expected (even though it was predictable) and Going the Distance with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long (and a great portrayal of a mom by Christina Applegate) was cute. And one day in my hotel room while I was futzing around before heading to the beach I ended up watching Inspector Mom 2 – totally cheesy but I couldn’t get over Danica McKeller – Wonder Years, anyone?
In My Kitchen:Before we left for Mexico I went on a let’s-eat-everything-in-our-house phase. So we bought very few groceries and tried to eat what was in the freezer and cupboards. So it made for some interesting meals and combinations. But I did make a “super epic rainbow cake” for E’s fifth birthday (thanks to Whisk Kid for the recipe!) and it was a total hit. I also made some delicious fried fish (kids love it), steaks (hubby loves it), and mini lemon bundt cakes (I love it).
In My Ears: Hasn’t changed much lately. I listen to the radio and whatever’s in my iTunes library. I have a lot of old music and I listen to a lot of kids music. Harry Connick Jr. is permanently in my car because the kids love it (ask lil C to sing the Oompa Loompa song for you…) . I did some karaoke in Mexico and got a couple of good cheers too!
Places we went: Huatulco, Mexico. Getting there was alright. Being there was awesome. Coming home was a nightmare. Our flight was delayed 3 hours (meaning we spent 6 in the airport waiting area), then made an “emergency” fuel stop in Abbotsford (10 minutes from Vancouver -were we running on fumes?) which turned into a 2 hour in-plane wait for a new crew (with no food or water offered). Pregnant lady was hungry!
Looking forward to going: nowhere! Baby is due in early June and there are no travel plans between now and then. These days I look forward to going to the bathroom and to bed. And to the fridge 🙂
What I’m Looking Forward to this Month: Valentine’s Day and a night away at a marriage retreat with J. Love you, man!
NOW then. Your turn! What are YOU into this month? Fill up the comment space or borrow this for inspiration on your own blog.
Happy Chinese New Year! This is the year of the rabbit. Is it ok to make New Year’s resolutions now? Considering that I actually never followed through on my previous 2 years of resolutions, it seems counter-productive to me but here goes.
Well, since I’m pregnant, I will both be gaining lots and losing lots by virtue of baby growing inside and then coming out. Done.
We don’t really eat unhealthy to begin with, but since dark chocolate is good for you, I can eat more of that. Plus I’ll hopefully be nursing. I tend to eat really well when I’m nursing. Done.
Never started. Done. Don’t even have a picture remotely resembling anything like this. Except maybe a campfire.
Be more organized
I’m going to have a kindergartner (starting in September), a preschooler, and a newborn. I’ll either be organized or be dead. Done.
See above. Done.
See above. The average toddler takes 176 steps a minute. She’s not a toddler anymore but still has legs. And we start walking to kindergarten in September. Done.
Take more pictures
I actually have a problem where we take too many. So really I need to take less. And edit and print more. Oh wait. My last Snapfish order was 700 pictures. Plus I’ll have a newborn. So…Done.
Spend more time outside
Did I mention the walking to kindergarten? Done.
I read pretty much every day for myself (novels as well as blogs and magazines). Oh wait. I have kids. They like mama to read to them. A lot. Done.
Spend more time with family
Again, having a newborn means we’ll probably be at home a lot more. And there’s a family reunion of J’s extended family this summer that we might go to. Done.
I’m going to stop now, I’m wearing myself out with how resolute I am so far! No, in all seriousness, we don’t really make resolutions. We rely on God to lead us further up and further into life and faith. Hopefully we learn from the last year and enjoy life more this year.
So, Kung Hei Fat Choy to you! And may God be with you too.
Dear loved ones,
Warm wishes to you all from sunny Cloverdale. We hope that this letter finds you all safe and warm and enjoying some Christmas cheer. We have already had a huge dump of snow but it all melted within a few days, except for the misshapen remnants of our snowmen. The girls enjoyed the white stuff with John while they could and even Maggie got outside and played with them for awhile.
Our biggest change this year was moving from our little townhouse in South Surrey to a “real” house in Cloverdale. It is a big change in size, neighbourhood, and yardwork but we’ve settled in and feel quite at home here. The main reason for moving was to have a bit more room and we chose Cloverdale so that we could walk to school, which Emma will be starting next year. The next biggest change is that we are expecting our third baby next year. With the Lord’s blessing, the girls will welcome a little brother or sister in June and John and Maggie will be officially outnumbered.
Emma is in her second year of preschool and Gym & Swim, both of which she really looks forward to each week. As always, she is incredibly inquisitive about everything – instead of bedtime stories whispered in the dark, she loves to hear about the “systems” of the body and how things are made. She is currently enamoured of Barbie and Ken, especially after seeing Toy Story 3D in the theatre. Her Pooh Bear is looking like a well-loved piece of tattered fabric and she likes to sleep with all of her stuffed animals in her bed.
Caelyn got her first haircut this year which may have actually caused her to lose weight. She is still as petite as ever, barely topping 25 pounds. However, she has just entered the defiance of toddlerhood which sometimes makes up for her size. She is still the snuggler of the family and has turned into quite a little jokester. She sings (loudly) all the time and like her sister has become a real chatterbox. She is in a 1 hour pre-preschool at the Y called Toddler Time and has decided she wants to become a Josie (teacher) when she grows up.
Maggie continues to sing with the Laudate choir in Langley and volunteers at church in the nursery as well as for Vacation Bible School but has retired from the Communal Lunch Committee. She has spent the first 3 months of her pregnancy sleeping as much as possible, which leaves little time for scrapbooking. However, she finally got all her digital photographs organized, edited, and backed up. Next step – photobooks! Maggie also loves to experiment in the kitchen and has made some excellent food lately (as well as a few not-so-excellent experiments). Because she tends to make things just once or twice, John is often left wondering if he is ever going to get to have it again…
John is now the Sales Manager at ITB and a big change in workload came with the title change. He still tries to get home on time as much as possible, and takes as much time off as he is able to make up for some late hours. He played soccer for the Celtics again this year (and lost) and is also playing volleyball again this fall (and is losing). John retired from all of his church responsibilities as his terms all ended at the same time. We’re working at starting a new Bible Study with some friends from church and have been enjoying Focus on the Family’s “The Truth Project” together.
In January we had a fun ski trip in Whistler with John’s family (Hooray for no bed bugs this time!) February brought the Olympics and even though we weren’t really into it, we got excited once the torch relay ran down our street. We had to get up at 5:30 on a freezing morning to watch the relay pass in the dark, but it got us into the Olympic spirit; we even went to a hockey game. The end of February saw us in Victoria for a Weekend to Remember marriage conference at the Empress Hotel – we highly recommend the conference, and celebrating Canada’s gold medal hockey win was a bonus!
May brought us the biggest trip we’ve ever taken together; a 28-day road trip across Canada driving a prisoner transport from Surrey to be delivered in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The trip involved 10 provinces, 8 legislative buildings, over two dozen cities, many hotels and restaurants, a few family visits, never-ending rocks and trees and water, two ferries, and Canada’s longest bridge. And about a thousand pictures…
Two weeks after we got home we moved into our new house and we still have pictures to hang. We enjoyed the Northwest Washington Fair where we took the girls to an outdoor Casting Crowns concert (which is now their favourite band). We did go back to Whistler in the summer for John’s parents 35th anniversary, and then camping at Cultus Lake with some friends. John and Maggie took a much needed couple-only trip to Bellingham and Fairhaven for our anniversary in September, and then took the girls to Kelowna for some beautifully sunny days and a Mission Hill Winery tour in early November. In the beginning of December we went to San Diego for some sun and fun at LegoLand and SeaWorld before nestling in for a cozy Christmas in our new house. We even got a real tree this year – it’s incredibly big and full. It’s also incredibly crooked. It looks like it grew out of the side of a mountain. So hopefully it doesn’t fall over as we had to prop the stand up with 2×4’s to make it appear straight.
We have felt the unending love of our Lord and Saviour this year as we have been showered with blessings, but He also been brought us through some personal struggles. Life, they say, is what happens when you are busy making other plans. Sometimes we complain that we have to put life on hold or sacrifice ourselves to do something or serve someone else. But that’s assuming that our lives are our own. Sometimes it takes a struggle to realize that life is indeed what happens everyday, all the time, regardless of your plans. There is no “getting back to normal”. There is always just a new normal, which may not be what you were expecting, but is always what the Lord has planned for you.
May you be transformed by the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and may you experience peace, comfort, and much joy this Christmas. We wish you much love for 2011!
Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world – stronger than hate, stronger than evil, stronger than death – and that the blessed life which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love? Then you can keep Christmas. – Henry Van Dyke
Two days ago I was full of that horrible sinking feeling. The feeling that I had done something very, very wrong. The feeling that I had been totally careless. The feeling of complete foolishness. And it was all because of my digital camera.
It seems like a dream, but it was only 6 weeks ago that we got back from that amazing 28 day trip across our far and wide country. We took pictures and videos every day from the girls here and there to architecture, landscape, animals, historical sites, hotel rooms, restaurants and many other interesting (at least to us) things and people. 28 days worth of photos – probably something like 1200 or more.
Each evening (for the first three weeks anyway) I would plug in the camera to J’s laptop and download the pics. Then I would immediately upload them to Shutterfly. Once we got to Quebec, I stopped uploading them to Shutterfly (not enough time, too tire) and after Halifax, I didn’t even download them off the camera.
When we got home, I immediately dumped the camera card, full of the Maritimes, onto our Mac. Since we have a 16GB card, I took all the other photos from J’s laptop and put them on the card, intending to move them to the Mac too – about 1100 photos. But the Mac was full. Well, almost full. Too much trash, too many movies we don’t watch, too much junk in general. So I planned to clean it all up and make room for the photos. I really just wanted them safe on the harddrive, safe on the backup disc, and safe on Shutterfly. Then probably burned to disc too, just to make sure. But we had to move and the Mac was full and well, it didn’t get done. I always made sure to be careful with the camera – no delete all, no formatting card, don’t let the kids have it.
And two days ago I finally got some time to work on importing the photos. So I picked up the camera and starting looking through the recent pics (a HUGE spider on my deck – more on that later) and THE TRIP PHOTOS WERE NOT THERE.
HOW ON EARTH IS THAT POSSIBLE?
I could only find photos from June 14, the day we moved in, and later. WHERE DID THEY ALL GO?
And so that horrible sinking feeling set it. Somebody deleted them. Careless children. Negligent husband. Terrible mother. Guilt, guilt, guilt.
I immediately searched the Mac, Shutterfly and the external hard drives to see if I had already dealt with them or saved them and just forgotten.
I called J at work – are they still on the laptop? He didn’t think so. I was heading to his work that afternoon, so I looked myself, even in the recycle bin.
Well, I guess it’s time for a reality check. We have photos from the beginning until Ottawa uploaded on Shutterfly, and PEI till the end on the Mac. So we’re missing Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Over a week of photos. In some of the most interesting places. And Auntie Jen and Theodore Tugboat, and the Frontenac, and Fredericton… I wanted to cry. I wanted to vomit. I was so upset, frustrated and mad. And to top it off, you have to pay to get your photos off Shutterfly (more on that later…)
So then I decided that I should try a disc recovery program on the camera card – I had bought a very expensive one back in the fall when I though we had lost ALL of our photos (that was another horrible time in my digital life…) So the plan was to download what is on the card and then do a recovery of the card to see if anything turns up. So yesterday I plugged the camera into the Mac and iPhoto starts up and…
There are all our photos. All 1100+ of them.
Joy and elation set in. So does sheepishness. Oh yeah. I put them into a separate folder so the camera couldn’t access them and they would be safe.
And that, my friends, is why we triple-back up and in the very near future will be paying for online storage.
Anyone have any recommendations for good online storage solutions? Not too expensive but a small monthly fee is ok and we need lots of room.
We’re going home tomorrow. WE’RE GOING HOME TOMORROW! WE’RE GOING HOME TOMORROW! WE’RE GOING HOME TOMORROW!
Emphatic enough for you? Today was like yesterday, breakfast at Cora’s (oh how we wish Cora’s was out west!) while J was on delivery, little stroll back to our house and a nap and packing. When J came back we headed out to Aqua for dinner and had lobster poutine.
You read it right. Lobster poutine.
Two of M’s most favourite things (besides chocolate and coffee) in one glorious dish. It was the perfect way to end. The girls ate their edamame with gusto and J enjoyed some scallopini. But we agreed – lobster poutine is awesome.
Then we went back to finish packing and get to sleep – we’re up at 5 to catch a 7:30 plane and GO HOME!
And when we get home we will unpack… and then pack it all up again because we’ll be moving less than two weeks from now.
We need a holiday from our holiday…
This is such a great town. But did we see it today? No, not really We slept in of course! Then we walked (in the whipping wind) down a few blocks (and a steep hill) to Cora’s for breakfast.
Oh delicious breakfast, we have been dreaming of you since Day 1! Chocolate brioche smothered in fresh fruit anda bowl full of latte. Divine! (This would be funnier if you’ve watched Scrubs and imagined Molly singing…)
Then J took the PT for a wash and a meeting (not delivery though) and the girls headed back to out little house. On the way we went to Gingersnap, a modern kid store with toys and clothes. The girls had a blast playing and the proprieter is incredibly friendly. We had bought some things in this store last time we were here in the fall. Then we headed back to the house for a nap.
oh sweet sleep how we love you!
J’s meeting was well and when he got back he unloaded the last few items floating around. Then we got ready for dinner. The deliveree of the PT invited us to his house for a home cooked meal and happily he has a three-year old. So we arrived in Topsail (sounds like a Thomas the Tank Engine name) and enjoyed beautiful sunshine on the bay for they have a view of the ocean.
Oh wait, most of the villages and towns and people have ocean front property here. One is either on the coast, of which they have a lot, or up on a cliff or hill overlooking the coast.
But it was a beautiful view nonetheless, with the evening sun sparkling on the water and beaming into the kitchen. This was no quirky old fishing village house. This is a newer and well renovated house with rooms everywhere. The family was absolutely lovely and the three-year took to the girls (and they to him) with nary a fight. This little boy had rooms full of playthings and the girls were in play heaven once again. The wife is expecting in a few weeks but nevertheless made us one of the most delicious supper we have ever had. Family recipe seafood chowder, delicious roast with delicious potatoes and delicious beans, wine, and chocolate lava cake for dessert, the best chocolate-lava-cake-with-a-hint-of-mint-and-vanilla-ice-cream that there ever was.
We were absolutely stuffed. Horror of horrors, M actually left TWO BITES OF CHOCOLATE LAVE CAKE ON HER PLATE. She was that full. Oh how badly she wanted to finish it but there really wasn’t any more room. None! That has never happened before.
When we finally left and tumbled into bed it was quite late. That would be our last ride in the PT except for J’s delivery tomorrow.
Farewell, good and shiny friend! You have served us well and safely. Be off to your new home and be good to your sherriffs. Take care of your inmates and enjoy your long range travels in this land of rocks and trees and trees and rocks and rocks and trees and trees and rocks and plenty of water.
The ferry ride was gentle and soothing and even with the loudspeaker wake up call the girls didn’t wake up. J felt a bit sick when he awoke but we decided to have breakfast on board. It was a delicious buffet with more choices and especially more fruit (to little C’s delight) than a hotel continental. The weather outside Port-aux-Basques harbour was nasty and we circled the mouth of it for an hour before making it to port. It afforded us a more relaxed breakfast than we’ve had in a while and time for some play and even a nap for mom (who has a hard time falling asleep).
When we got off the boat and onto The Rock, we started driving. It’s a full day of driving to make it to St. John’s and we only stopped for a coffee and bathroom break or meal. The scenery is similar to coastal BC and northern Ontario. When you see the craggy rocks and evergreen forests and bays and lakes you feel as if you’ve come full circle somehow. Also, the weather is cold, rainy, foggy, windy, and probably even more miserable than Vancouver. The wind whips bitterly and chills you in an instant. You want nothing more than to be back in the warmth and safety of PT, snugly the master of your little domain.
The girls slept most of the day, making up for the night before. We listened to the rest of The Silver Chair and started The Last Battle before we got to St. John’s, only we couldn’t finish it. A little more listening for the flight home…
We stopped for lunch in Corner Brook at Jungle Jim’s. It was a filling and tasty meal and the girls had a hoot with their tiki mask menus. Dinner came late at night, around 9pm, when we finally found a place and one that was open. It was a diner that had not much food left but had delicious soup which warmed us up. Then it was the final hour to St. John’s and our home for three days, a one bedroom apartment on the second walk-up level of a blue clapboard house in town. Adorably quirky buildings seem to be the houses we like to stay in (think of D & G’s and Auntie J & F’s) except this one belongs to neither friend nor family, will not have meals or snacks whipped up (unless M gets so inclined…), and doesn’t have the benefit of any playmates for E or C. But it is our cute little home nonetheless. Given the miserable state of the weather, you can be sure we’re not planning on spending two days wandering around the city by foot, so a home for us to relax in between the rain and the exploring is welcome.
And so off to our little beds at last!
- Melodies: Narnia: Silver Chair & The Last Battle, Def Leppard
- Miles: 560 (900 km)
- Meals: MV Atlantic Vision buffet, Jungle Jim’s, some diner in the dark
- Meltdowns: none. All day sleeping in the PT does the mood good!
We had to be sure to be at the North Sydney ferry on time (9:00 pm) but wanted to drive across Confederation Bridge so we left Charlottetown and PEI before lunch. Good-bye, gentle place! The bridge is a feat on engineering and plays tricks on the eyes. With the water and clouds constantly moving the bridge seems unnatural, unreal. It doesn’t really belong there. In an age of CG movies, the bridge looks contrived and animated on the real and visceral sea. It’s the longest bridge over water that freezes and is 8 miles/13 km. The drive was pretty neat – the girls marvelled at the ocean being all around us. On the New Brunswick side of the bridge is a little information and interpretive centre at Cape Jouriman.
We almost turned away for the $2 parking fee (we can be cheap like that) but it looked interesting so we went in. And we’re glad we did! A neat little centre with an exhibit about local birds and the erosion of the land by the sea. There was a gift shop, some nature trails, a bridge observation tower, and a restaurant. The lady cooking in the restaurant was almost done for the day but had a few things left. So we picked out our lasagna, quiche, salad, and seafood chowder (pretty much all you can eat for $10 each but the kids were free) and had our fill. And it was delicious! The best chowder we’d had so far and excellent homemade lasagna and quiche. Dessert was waffles with homemade rhubarb or blueberry compote. Yummy!
Then we drove to the ferry. It was another one of these long driving days. We had to skip going to church in Charlottetown in order to make it to the terminal, but we had downloaded a sermon by Rev. Wieske and one by Rev. DeJonge. After listening to the sermon by Rev. Wieske on judgement and hell and evangelism, Daddy asked E if she had any questions. She wanted a bit more explanation of God’s judgement so J explained about how hell is where God is not and so people who don’t repent and believe in Jesus get exactly what they want, an eternity without God in hell. Then he explained how it is still our job to tell people about it since we know about God and Jesus and heaven and hell. And she said:
So then we can ask them if they want to go to hell or not. Or if they want to go to heaven or not.
Child-like faith. So pure.
We stopped for dinner at a farmer’s market which had groceries, local produce, potatoes, seeds, ice cream and gelato, and homemade fudge. More yum! Then we booked it to the terminal. We parked behind some rigs and made our way onto the ferry.
Now we weren’t expecting much, having never been on an overnight ferry before, perhaps something like a BC ferry with some sleeping berths. Not so! The ferry boasts a huge lounge called Colours, aptly named for the brightly coloured upholstery on the seat. This is no ferry lounge, it is more like a bar or restaurant lounge, and huge. We could pick out the repeat ferry-goes, for they had their blankets and pillows with them in the lounge, staked out on the comfiest benches and quietest corners. Understandable since the sleeping cabins cost a pretty penny! We knew that we couldn’t have coped with the girls out in the open though. The lounge has a bar and it was a party-like atmosphere with happy people swilling drinks and chatting away. The ferry also has a huge restaurant which offers buffet meals depending on sailing time – we would be having breakfast in the morning. There was also a small children’s play room with a TV – heaven for the girls of course!
The sleeping cabins are as good as any hotel room except more compact. We had four single bunks and they even brought a crib for little C. A private head, two cupboards and a desk completed our little room. We put the girls in jammies and headed out to explore the ship, even a quick walk on the windy deck. Then it was off to the bunks for books and snuggles before settling down for the night. The gentle rocking will either get us all to sleep or cause seasickness… we’ll see. We’ve been blessed with no car sickness the whole trip, though J is prone to seasickness. We’ll wake up on The Rock!
- Melodies: Narnia: Prince Caspian and The Silver Chair, Storynory’s Noah and Samson, sermons from Rev. Wieske & Rev. DeJonge
- Miles: 340 (550 km) plus 845 (525 km) on the ferry
- Meals: hotel continental, homemade fare at Cape Jouriman, fried chicken & leftover snacks at the farmer market
- Meltdowns: not too many, plenty of sleep in the car