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We packed up in the morning and checked out, stopping to tell them about the electrical problem.

We drove to Santa's Village. We got there around 10:30 and had to park across the street, but the lines were not too horrible. It was a _really_ sunny day; I think I got too much sun because I had a wicked migraine by the end of the time in the park, and sitting in the sun driving home did nothing to improve things.

A. did the water park this time, and the alphabet game. We had lunch at the Mess Hall. I only got a couple pictures (A. with Santa) because we didn't do the log ride (A. is opposed to them currently) or the monorail (it is getting cramped for all four of us and the line can sometimes be long).

We unpacked very quickly upon our return and got through the laundry. I had done laundry twice at T.'s request at the hotel. I could probably bring fewer clothes for A., since T. keeps wanting to do laundry anyway. My sister travels that way and has really reduced the amount of clothing she brings for the family.

No dinner out -- mostly just snacked. We were happy to be home. Both kids have school on Monday.
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Mostly a repeat of Friday. The kids did more things together: tea cups, the two boat rides, Cinderella pictures. A. spent a lot of time on the land side of Splash Battle; she got a little sun. She lost track of me and wandered over to Loopy Labs and they called me on the PA. Ooops. I had told her where I was sitting, but she apparently misunderstood. Next time, I'll point.

We hung out in the room after, then went to 99's and did a little outlet shopping to get T. some headphones.
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We went to StoryLand. R. made A. pancakes in the room; I took T. down to breakfast for waffles. I remembered to bring my own english muffins so I didn't resort to eating a bagel (this is good, because they are huge, and they are all white flour and I'm a middle aged woman who needs a little whole grain in the morning).

Our season passes having been set up at Memorial Day weekend, it was easy getting into the park and we had a nice day. It wasn't hot, but A. wanted to do water rides, so we did Splash Battle and Doctor Geyser after changing into swim suits. We got really cold, but it was fun. We had lunch in the park and left in the early afternoon so R. could get a bike ride. The kids and I hung out in the room; they didn't want to go swimming.

We went to dinner at Applebee's after R. got back. T. left his headphones at the restaurant; they are lost now.

ETA: I had a brief conversation with my friend K., but I just couldn't maintain focus on the call and do stuff at the park so we gave up. I'm a little bummed; looking forward to next week's call.
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I finally did a little research on a persistent problem I have been having with Apple Notes. Somewhat randomly, text in my To Do Note gets turned into a link to something somewhat random. I fix them ... and then they recur sometimes in the same place or near it, sometimes elsewhere in the Note. Research suggests that (a) this is a known and persistent problem with (b) long notes that (c) sometimes improves if you start a new Note and move stuff over to it and shorten it up. So I did some of that. Mostly, I ganked a bunch of text out about a possible blog post and stuck it in a me-only post so if I ever want to think about it again I might be able to find it. It was probably never going to get turned into a real post anyway; it was a little too rambly and complex.

I packed my stuff for our long weekend in North Conway, NH. I had already helped T. pack, and packed A. I had to finish, tho, because we left today. I also packed up food and other stuff.

In the middle of packing, the play therapist arrived. Oops! I totally forgot about that. Oh well. We were home and after an initial round of complaints from A., she settled in.

The complaining was because she had come home from school wanting to watch The Little Mermaid II. I couldn't find it on iTunes and so we got the discs from the library. She didn't want to interrupt watching it to hang out with the play therapist, but they had fun once they settled in.

We were leaving for NH after R. came home from work, so I got a snack and a little food into A. We never had a proper dinner however and R. just had a bowl of cereal when he got home. We didn't want to stop at the Common Man on the way up (would have taken too long) and T. had eaten dinner already. We did finally decide we were too hungry and stopped at a McDonald's in Ossippee.

Checkin to the Residence Inn was largely uneventful, altho the light by one of the beds was not working and tripping a breaker after heating up. I told R. not to report it lest they determine the room was not occupiable (it was the last available two bedroom, and I didn't want a downgrade). We decided to tell them on the way out, and leave the light unplugged in the mean time.
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We drove home from Hershey. We stopped in Easton to go to Crayola Experience, which R.'s brother-in-law J. had suggested. The kids had fun. It is sort of a highly-branded, inexpensive, craft oriented children's museum. If you could convince your kids to NOT always want ice cream or the more expensive things in the shop, it'd be a kind of cool place to take a preschooler. There are water tables, coloring places, modeling clay stations, painting, little climbing structures, etc. My kids are a little old for it, but had a good time.

We had lunch at the McDonald's in Easton. I tried the "signature" recipe with beef, pico and guac. I had to send the first one back to get it without cheese and ranch (I told them -- but it doesn't show up right on the ticket and I don't know if the young man at the register did it wrong or if they haven't figured out how to accommodate on this item or what). It was tasty. The pico makes a nice replacement for the usual onion etc., and I love guac.

Once we got to Massachusetts, the thunderstorms hit in earnest, so we stopped for dinner in Auburn to try to wait out some of the worst of the storms + Worcester rush hour traffic. When we got home, unpacking went super fast. T. was incredibly helpful and didn't do anything to interrupt getting through that task. We got some of the laundry done; the sheets and towels can wait for tomorrow.

ETA: T. pulled a canine out in the van on the trip home. I wrapped it up in a piece of paper and stored it in the little display case when we got home. Not too many more of those to go for him. He warned us it was about to happen and then he told me when it had, so he could hand me the tooth for safekeeping. What a difference a few years make.

It was a really fun trip. Getting to see family was especially nice. I had been sure we would hang out with my sister and her family (this was a Cape Cod replacement and we've done this trip before) but I was less sure of the NJ side trip and as long as that wasn't scheduled I'd been reluctant to make plans with R.'s aunt in Harrisburg. Nevertheless, it all worked out.
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On Monday, we started out riding Comet. Then A. and I rode Trailblazer. We met up with T. and R. accidentally and the kids rode Wild Mouse together. I bought a photo pass for the day (probably should have bought the 3 day pass on the first day but whatever), and got the one with both kids. T. rode it a second time and I got that photo. A. and I stood in line for a while for Laff Trakks. After that, we were supposed to meet everyone else at the Aqua Theater to see a Seals and Sea Lions show but A. was not going for it. We went to Subway and had an instant replay of the previous day's lunch (with only one cookie this time instead of two). She wanted caramel corn on her way out of the park and was pacing herself. We rode Coal Cracker and got that photo. Then we went to Chocolate World and did the 4D show with my sister's family and bought some souvenirs.

No swimming because everyone but us went to the water park. K. and B. went swimming later anyway, but A. wasn't really interested in doing anything but playing Roblox at that point. We had Chinese takeout for dinner; I made the kids burgers and T. ate his but A. had filled up on caramel corn.

R. did some laundry while waiting for the food to arrive and while I was feeding the kids dinner.
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On Sunday, we were going to go to Laff Trakks during the first hour, but they only open Founders Way and the Hollow and Laff Trakks is way deep in Midway. Oh well. We rode the Comet several times and had a ton of fun. Then we lined up for Laff Trakks and rode it a couple times. After that, we split up (all 8 of us went on Laff Trakks, altho T. and R. went on Skyrush while the rest of us did Comet -- even my sister rode once!).

My sister's family and I had lunch at Subway and La Famiglia. They got a pizza and some subs. I got A. a cheese sub and bacon, and I had a veggie delite. She didn't eat her roll so I wound up having it later in the cabin with pb & j because a 6 inch veggie delite with no cheese is a little light on calories even if you have mayo.

Since R.'s family went to the water park, we did not go swimming.

A.'s food obsession of the day was a cookie s'more. Those things are enormous. She didn't even eat a fifth of it, but I did manage to get the rest back to the cabin fridge for later.

I bought A. and my nieces the $19 game voucher booklet. A. played many different midway type games. Obviously, these are mostly unwinnable (except the ones that give crap prizes that you then trade up for slightly better crap prizes). But I mostly was focused on having her play, lose, say thank you and walk away with the knowledge that she'd get to play LOTS of different games during the day. I did NOT want to reinforce an already terrible cycle she's in with arcades and her sitter where she throws temper tantrums if she can't stay long enough to accumulate tickets for a crap prize that I could have bought on Amazon for a lot less money. I am reasonably certain that this is actually a huge emotional regulation task I've taken on, but given the problems some adults have with gambling addiction, I think it is worth it. Probably.

A. and I went to Chocolate World when we were feeling the sun and did the tour. There was a really long line, but it was okay.

R.'s aunt came up from Harrisburg to visit. She had come up in 2014 as well. It's always a pleasure to see her. She got a divinity degree a while back, and officiated at our wedding, which was really sweet.

R. (my sister) did taco night. This turned out to work really well, since we'd debugged the food issues ahead of time. Three of the kids had quesadillas. R. (husband) had some of the costco rotisserie chicken. I brought cilantro, fresh tomatoes and a can of Bush's black beans (low sodium). My sister had guacamole and two kinds of salsa. And we had a ton of fresh romaine. So the person with gluten issues had a salad. My husband got to avoid allium. I easily avoided milk products (there is some whey in the taco seasoning my sister uses so I had the chicken and beans). There were even gluten free corn chips -- I had brought flour tortillas so that was no go for the gluten free person. Since tacos are assembled one at a time, it was easy enough for people to get what they wanted and avoid what they shouldn't be eating. No one went hungry. Burgers would have been trickier for gluten free, but we probably would have just put together a salad and chicken plate for my husband's aunt and it would have been fine. Again, last minute on family visit planning but it worked out great.
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Because we were staying at an associated camping facility, we got one hour early entry. I had not bought tickets, because I had been very uncertain about the family visit timing. In the event, I just bought three day tickets and figured if we needed a fourth day we'd just buy it later.

We did the kids' rides first with my sister's family, while R. and T. went on Skyrush and Comet. Then we wandered around and did some more stuff like Trailblazer, which had been closed for refurbishment in 2014. I love that ride. It isn't a kiddie coaster but more like a junior coaster.

A. wanted to buy lots of food things so after we did the shortest of the Triple Tower (new for 2017), I gave in and bought her Dippin Dots. While she was eating them, I went into Gourmet Grille, which was poor planning from a food allergy perspective. I bought the carrots, celery and hummus, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So I had lunch and A. sort of ate a little lunch. We also bought some popcorn. We left in the early afternoon because it was crowded, our feet hurt and we had done enough rides for the day.

When my sister's family came back, A. and I joined my nieces and their father in the pool while my sister did some laundry next to the pool and chatted with us. They were very tired and had gotten a lot of sun, so I said let's do burger nite at my cabin. We had planned two nights cooking and one night takeout; this was my night to cook. It turned out really well, even tho we didn't have a grill and cooked the burgers (bubba burgers -- costco burgers are slightly better, but bubba burgers are great) in a pan.

I didn't buy T. and R. a photo pass. I probably should have. Oh well.
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Friday New Jersey McDonald's applebees arrive after dark

On Friday, we drove to New Jersey. We stopped at a McDonald's in Connecticut for lunch. I think we've stopped at that same McDonald's on a few previous trips -- it's in a mall in Southbury, IIRC. Then we drove to New Jersey, where we visited R.'s sister, brother-in-law, niece (who just graduated. Congratulations!), nephew (who just finished 8th grade, also Congratulations!) and mother. The kids swam in the pool. We all hung out and chatted and had a pleasant time. Because we are on very different dinner schedules (we eat early at 5 and they eat very late), we left to go to Applebee's in Union before continuing on to Hershey Campingresort. We haven't been to Hershey for 3 years. Once again, we met my sister and her family. It's a much shorter driver for her. We did this in lieu of a trip to Cape Cod this year, because of other planned travel and not wanting to have a completely overwhelming summer.

We got in after dark, but my sister had already checked us into our cabin, so we just unloaded, made beds and slept in them.
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We packed up in the morning and went to StoryLand. We got the other three plastic card passes, since there were few people in the park. We did a few rides -- both coasters, the kids did turtles. A. really wanted Dippin' Dots again (she'd had those and an ice cream sundae the day before, followed by more ice cream after dinner. Jeez.), and the little stand wasn't open so she kept begging to go to Pixie Kitchen to get them there. So we did. Since there were no lines anywhere, I asked for the allergy binder and read it. Turns out there are dairy free dippin' dots (who knew? The ices, basically). I didn't get them. I did, however, check the fried dough, and got that. I should have shared it with R., but he wanted to get his own. And then I followed up my bad judgment with a burger for lunch. I tried to get it without the fries and failed. I did manage to not eat all the fries.

We left around noon. The drive home -- and this is so typical -- was a lot busier than the drive up. We got home before 5 p.m., and without having had dinner, but we had enough food (in us from that excessive lunch, and in the fridge) that we didn't go out but instead ate at home. We got unpacked and did some laundry and went to bed early.
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Today we went to Storyland. As is often the case, there was a long line for getting the plastic card for the season pass. R. and the kids went on RoarOSaurus while I stood in the long line because I wanted to buy the digital season picture pass and I had to have the plastic card version of the season pass in order to do that. It took over an hour, but I still think it was worth it, and the kids got to ride the coaster several times.

It was a really nice day, sunny and pleasant enough to ride the Bamboo Chutes and Dr. Geyser's raft ride. We didn't mind getting wet and we dried off fairly quickly.

After we went back to the hotel, R. went for a 2 hour bike ride. I took the kids down to the hotel pool, and ran a load of laundry while they swam. (I did have A. sit in a chair poolside while I left the pool to go advance the laundry from the washing machine to the dryer, and T. came with me.)

We had dinner at the 99s. We sat on the patio, and by then, it had cooled down enough that I was happy I put my jeans on instead of wearing shorts and I wished I'd brought a jacket. A. didn't care -- she was more concerned about the qualify of the wifi on the porch.

It was my birthday. J. called to sing me Happy Birthday, which I love love love love love.

A. wished me a Happy Birthday as soon as she woke up. That was very cute.
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We drove to Santa's Village today. The kids both did the Elfabet game; this might be one of the last years they still enjoy doing that, altho you never know. We work really hard not to tell the kids when they are too old to do something; I'm a big believer in extracting every little bit of enjoyment out of the developmental process and honestly, I'm still kind of pissed at being told I was too old to watch Mr. Rogers when I was about A.'s age so this is basically me rebelling.

We got dinner at Applebee's, again, we've done that so many times even the waitress remembered us from last Columbus Day, I think. After that, we went outlet shopping at stores that start with the letter 'C' -- I felt like I was in an episode of Sesame Street. A. wanted some Shopkins stuff at Claire's, and T. bought a new phone case (looks like a movie theatre popcorn, which is pretty awesome). Then we went to the Crocs store, where I bought Wonder Woman crocs, among more practical choices, and the kids went slightly nuts for Jibbitz (the little things that can be pressed into the holes of classic crocs to decorate them).
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On Friday, we picked up the kids just before school let out and drove north. T. was not in a good mood; I don't really understand why.

We had dinner at the Common Man in Concord. We've done that on the drive to North Conway enough times that we've gotten through the unfamiliarity issues the kids have. And the food and service are consistently good and the bathrooms clean.

We checked into the Residence Inn, which is under renovation. There was some confusion between me and another family with the last name which was supposed to be in a family suite but was given our room instead. Fortunately, they will be the ones who have to move Saturday, not us, and there was an available alternative for us.

The balance of the evening was uneventful.
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After we had breakfast, I walked A. around the block. We chatted. She liked the Boeing Creek park adventure. We packed up and left, stopping at two post offices before finding one still in business so we could get a poster tube for the Real Estate poster for the flight home. We also stopped for gas, then returned the rental car. I had the garden plate at Manchu Wok. A. did not eat the grilled cheese I got her at Africa Lounge (I ate the chips on the plane). T. ate most of his chicken tenders -- R. helped him but A. did not like them either. Plane left on time / slightly early. Arrived somewhat early, but then blew through that waiting for the gate to be available. Lots of flights piled up. But we got our luggage last and trailed out and so missed the worst of the traffic. Had a drink and pb&j when I got home. The less you pack, the less you have to unpack -- who knew?!?! No trouble playing game on the plane. FlyFi was great, sponsored by Amazon for TrueBlue members, did a little research to figure out "delicate mad hands" and "her smoke rose up forever" (a poem to someone in Bedlam and Babylon, respectively).

I miss Seattle and all my family and friends there, but I'm glad to be home. This was the right length of trip, and it was very nice having a spare day or two on either side to prepare/recover. We're thinking about returning August 2018, but are not sure if it will work out or not.
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Hung out at D.'s house, who was as always a lot of fun to talk to. Interesting travel plans. Beautiful home. Returned to house. R. came over. Went to Lost Lake Cafe (K. recommendation). R.'s boss is actually a facebook friend so she is not the person to worry about whether anything she is doing is going to be a problem -- she'll hear first! Later C. came over, who was a neighbor and walking partner and has more recently helped out with plumbing issues at the condo. Then L. and M. (funny stories about making mistakes at a kosher BBQ in Brooklyn) and R.. C. left last. Should definitely throw more parties next time. My friends are all really nice to each other and generally get along well in a social context.
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No morning visit. I scheduled an Uber ride to 601 Union (second Uber ride ever -- tipped the same for both rides, first driver was blase -- second driver looked a little shocked. I'm thinking this truly is a No Tipping Culture). I had a brief chat with L. then we went to the Palomino. He will be sending me more research notes. He seems nice -- UW '89 graduate. Talked up ESG investment strategies, which you know, I used to be all excited about until everyone rained on my parade / ideals. Now, of course, millenials are all over the ESG strategy so It Is Hip. Or something. I'll try not to resent this.

I walked home. I stopped at QFC to pick up steaks, A1 sauce, baked fries (after chatting with J. about what to feed everyone), a red bell pepper, mushrooms and a bag of tortilla chips.

The P./C. family came over to hang out. We had a lovely time and a very good dinner of steaks and assorted sides (fries, salad, etc.).
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K. came to visit. She is just back from Austria, 9 hours jet lagged. I learned a lot about her childhood in California. She brought beads and a butterfly hair clip craft kit for A., also a pink straw hat.

I scheduled an Uber ride (first Uber ever for me) to UBS. S., B. and I had a nice chat, then a nice lunch at Wild Ginger. B. has a daughter and there is some drama. S. says it doesn't help that she is 6'5". I said, "That would be 5'17"." I took the Link to Cap Hill then walked home.

I had dinner at Ray's Cafe: R., me, T., A., Big B., J., R. and M, S. and R. but not B., H. and P. C. and P. (sisters) canceled day of. C. family canceled day before. K. couldn't make it. D. couldn't make it. We had a very enjoyable 3 hours.

Scheduled visit to T. (father), M. (cousin -- to see her non-profit in Everett), and J. (I get to see the beautiful house!) on Thursday. R. has not kept up with M. and B. (their neighbors, my former coworkers), so they were talking about F. as a baby and I got to say, "That would be A!" Best opportunity and successful line delivery ever. (In retrospect, Monday was apparently my day for this category of story.) Turns out H. knows B., also, from an editing class at the UW. I did not know that. Small world!
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Breakfast out of the kitchen. Snacks out of the kitchen. There's an electric tea kettle, which is nice. Had a hard time sleeping, kind of worried about R. (not my husband or my sister) because still thinking it might have been a stroke. Little bit of a mystery, but things are going great. It's hard to get an MRI done on Easter Sunday. T. and I visited her for a half hour or so and forgot a charger. She's definitely seeming better; now confusion is pretty within range for not enough sleep. Cousins canceled probably both Sunday and Monday. But a different cousin (who won't make it to dinner tomorrow) came over around 10:30. R. went for walk. Feeling like lunch time at 9:30 or so so split an apple fritter from Whole Foods (vegan) with R.

Cousin brought flowers and chocolates for the children. We had a lovely conversation, tacos for lunch and hung out. I made him a manhattan with the good cherries. Bummed I didn't get to meet his girlfriend/partner; maybe next time.
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We got up at 5 a.m. The car service arrived a little before 6 a.m. There was no traffic to speak of going to Logan. Alaska was in a part of Logan we haven't been in (recently). We checked one bag for $25. We gate checked to the carousel a second bag upon request for more checked bags (no charge). Boarding was uneventful. First row premium but not a full bulkhead. Trays came out of arm rests reducing further the effective width of the seat pan, but tolerable. Leg room was great. Service was good. Bought the fruit and cheese snack/meal for T. and R. had some of it too. Bought 2 containers of M&Ms for A. I had a woodford and ginger ale (no charge for the liquor in premium). R. had the woodford with something else later. Bag retrieval was blisteringly fast, altho we did spend some time in the Sub Pop shop and went to the bathroom (twice, I think). National rental pickup was uneventful -- got a Rogue which made me happy. Had that at the Cape and prefer it to the Impala. T. got a tablet and watched Sing and Rogue One for $10; streaming movies were a different set of movies that didn't include those. No free wifi option officially, but if you turned on free chat, it was enough wifi to play Farm Ville 2 Country Escape which is sort of weird how that worked out -- I couldn't even pick up email, but I could play my game using some but not all connected options (the main market didn't work, but the current game board did work). I brought the G Ro bag, the Sak I bought for the UBS conference (a bigger purse than I would normally carry, most of the way to a messenger bag), the Lewis and Clark extremely thin packable backpack. A. had her scooter bag (Z-Flyte from Amazon) and the lesportsac small world duffle (it got checked at the gate). T. had his Olaf scooter and a string backpack (Red Sox, IIRC). R. brought his big red bag, and his Scooba backpack, so he was still old schooling it. Got in early. Went to Kidd Valley by Green Lake, then Whole Foods, then back to Cap Hill to check in to the rental house by Stevens Elementary. R. and L. visited -- first time meeting L. He's nice. Walked with both. Walked back with R. She had a medical issue later in the day which was a bit of an adventure all around. I was only involved via texting.
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We landed very early in the morning, after a very short flight -- 4.5 hours, the shortest transcon I've ever been on. Tailwinds! We had Mint again, and A. and I went right to sleep as soon as we were allowed to move the seats down. No wakeups on her part; she slept through. T. and R. ate some things and then slept also. Had the nice drink again; I really like that.

Our driver was late picking us up because we were so early. This time, we had expedited baggage -- not sure why that didn't happen on the flight out. Maybe we were supposed to say something? They have the automated kiosks for the bag tickets, so I don't know how that works. I didn't know to ask on the way out. It was cool -- our bags really were basically the first ones out on the carousel. We didn't rush, but the driver wasn't there and it was cold and windy. I called (should have checked my email; I could have called the driver directly). R. put the kids in the shelter while I looked around for the driver's plate, since he was dropping someone else off a couple islands over. He was nice -- quiet, but nice. No traffic to speak of at 6 ish on a Sunday morning.

T. wanted to go to track. I told him to wake me up at 8 and I'd tell him if I felt safe to drive; I can be very punchy and disoriented early in the morning and I was still on west coast time. I declined at 8 and went back to sleep. Both kids were awake at that point, but when I woke up again at 10:30 the house was silent. A. was snoring in bed. T. was asleep on the couch.

The horse people texted to find out if we were coming; I said no way on A., but probably T. would be there. But when he woke up, he was crying and I had to cancel. His mood was very uneven and he was sniffling a lot. I got some laundry going, unpacked, and took T. out to a late lunch/early dinner at Not Your Average Joe's. I cleaned out the fridge and made salad and cole slaw. I had those for dinner.

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