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I Think I Deserve a Medal

2 Jul

This past week, I survived the longest trip I’ve even attempted with the kiddos…  We had a 13 hour trip (a red-eye nonetheless) to Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean, with a 21 hour return trip.

TWENTY ONE HOURS, PEOPLE.

Seriously, isn’t there a medal for that? That included a SEVEN HOUR LAYOVER in Miami.  SEVEN HOURS!

I got my kids to sleep on a two hour layover in LAX at 10pm at night.

 

LAX

My husband had said, “there is no way you’ll get them to sleep in an airport.”

He then walked away to go to the restroom, and upon his return, he saw both kiddos snuggled up to their pillow pets with eye masks on and ear plugs.  I swear I could have puffed out my chest and pumped my fists in victory.

I also got them VIP access to the cockpit.  Perhaps the flight crew took pity on me, but this was super cool.

driving a plane

driving a plane 2

But in all seriousness, the trip was AMAZING.  No, AMAZEBALLS.

We gathered all 14 of the extended members of my family at Turks and Caicos to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my parents.

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FIFTY YEARS!  Wow, as much as I may joke that I deserve a medal for surviving a long trip with my kiddos, seriously, isn’t there a medal for making it to your 50th wedding anniversary?!  My parents have set a wonderful example of loving unconditionally and how to raise a family with love, warmth, high expectations and values.  It was an honor for me to bring my little family together with the rest of our clan to celebrate this amazing accomplishment.

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The Beaches resort in Turks and Caicos was first class with amazing customer service.  They had a private beach with reefs within a short swim, and white sandy beaches and turquoise waters that are the perfect temperature.  It is my happy place.  I could have totally gone AWOL and stayed forever.

The resort also had a water park that was fun for all 6 of the grandchildren and all of the adults.  I can’t tell you how entertaining it was to watch my mom do water slides and my dad do the lazy river!

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for teaching me how to love and how to raise a family, and for this amazing vacation!  We will never forget it, and are still glowing from the experience!

 

 

The Peacock Phenomena

22 May

Last week, I met up with my BFF from high school for a girl’s trip in Phoenix.

Why Phoenix, you ask? Well, we were mainly going off of airplane rates for both of us, and Phoenix was an affordable rate for both of us. I insisted I would not go to Phoenix any later than May, which turned out to be smart thinking.

Turns out Phoenix is having a heat wave. Temperatures reached 106 degrees while we were there. Phew, that is hot!!! Reno generally breaks 100 degrees a few days in the summer, so I’m not used to temperatures that hot.

But still, we were without kids, and without responsibilities for three days, which truly is heaven. We spent lazy time at the hotel pool, liesurely shopping, and hiking in the mornings. We also went out to eat sushi three times in three days. YUM.

On Friday night, we went out to the bars in Scottsdale. Scottsdale seems to have a freaky ratio of 8:1 for men to women. Lots of men, and not many women. I tell you, if you’re single, Scottsdale would be a great place to move (and much warmer than the alternative of Alaska, which also has a crazy ratio of men to women).

Anyway, it didn’t take long for us to observe something we had never seen in a bar. Suddenly, a man in a crowd would break out into a dance — waving his arms in the air, the running man, or even one man that did a spread-eagle cheerleader jump. They do this to get the attention of women. I guess when the ratio of men to women is so out of wack, the men have realized that they need to stand out in order to be noticed. It looks like some strange mating ritual. In fact, I actually saw one man doing an impression of a bird (though it looked a lot like a chicken dance).

What is even stranger is that it works. We sat back and watched women flock to the men putting on these strange peacock shows.

There were also men with keychain flashlights and glow sticks. They would wave them in the air, and women would flock to them like moths to a flame.

It was a highly interesting thing to watch. I had a brief conversation with one man who appeared to be in his 30s that was doing a peacock show, and he mentioned to me that he went to the bars every night from Tuesday through Saturday. My immediate response was, “you must not have a job.” But oh, no, he did. Just a male version of a bar fly.

There was another guy who had his own version of a peacock dance, where he went around insisting that the girls in the bar would smile. He’d come up and touch their faces and insist that they smile before he’d let them pass. We watched him do this over and over and over again.

But truly, the best thing about watching all the single people mill around and do their little mating rituals is knowing that I have a handsome man waiting for me at home. Every time I go to a bar, I’m reminded how thankful I am that I am now married and not having to put up with such rituals.

It was a fun trip, and I’m still in denial that it is over and I’m back to the grind. However, it did make for a sweet reunion with the family.

Disneyland Bound

6 Jan

I’m taking Little Miss to Disneyland one week from tomorrow.  She has NO idea.  Sometime in the next week, I have to figure out a way to let her in on this early birthday present, and my main goal is to COMPLETELY BLOW HER MIND.

I’ve been trying to bait her for this experience.

“If there was one place in the world you’d like to go, where would it be?” I asked.

“Albuquerque to see Grandma.”

OK, well that is a good answer, and I’m not going to debate that.

I’ve also told her that she’s not having a big party this year because she is getting a SUPER HUGE PRESENT.

It’s just going to be us two traveling.  JB isn’t interested in Disneyland, and I don’t want to take a 2 year old there…  It would be so much harder to deal with nap times and tantrums, and height limits with only one adult to manage the two kids.  Little Miss is tall enough for almost all of the rides, and we’re going to hit the big kid rides one after another.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to tell her about an hour before we need to leave the house.  That way, I announce it, we pack her bags, and zoom, off to the airport!  I’ll definitely videotape the reveal, as I had no idea, but there are countless videos on YouTube of parents surprising their kids with Disney trips.  Who knew?!

I went to DisneyWorld for my college Spring Break when I was a senior.  I remember saying after that trip that I didn’t see many happy kids there, and that I didn’t plan to take my kids to Disney resorts.

But now that I’m a Mom, and I know how much this would blow her mind, and I am pretty sure (fingers crossed) that she is mature enough to handle 2 days at DisneyLand without a meltdown, I’ve changed my mind.  For Little Man’s sake, let’s hope this goes well, and that I don’t swear off future trips to the happiest place on earth.

Is This Thing On?

1 Sep

Well yes, I am still alive! I’m just surfacing from a lovely 10 day vacation to Albuquerque, NM visiting the parents and my BFF and her family.

It felt like a whirlwind trip, but Mom and I had a list of activities we wanted to do, and all were checked off the list. Albuquerque has some amazing child friendly activities, we did something new and fun each day.

We hit the zoo, rode a train, fed the ducks at Tingley Beach, visited Explora!, explored the Bio Park, went to Cliff’s Amusement Park, did bumper boats and laser tag at Hinkel Family Fun Center… Every morning, we’d have some super fun outing, and then we’d come back to a lovely lunch made by my Mom, and my favorite, an afternoon nap.

Here are some pics of my kiddos at Explora!

After napping briefly, I’d usually venture to the YMCA to swim, which proved challenging every day due to the monsoon season bringing afternoon thunder storms. My kids had their first significant exposure to thunder, and it was fun seeing their eyes get big, and have Little Man exclaim, “BIG Thunder.”

My BFF took me out on the town in Downtown ABQ for my birthday, where we saw a highly entertaining burlesque show and then hit a few clubs. I got two birthday dinners out of my Mom, as well as a raspberry tart and a carrot cake. Needless to say, I’m working off those calories this week!

JB joined us towards the end of the trip, and we had a family outing to Cliffs, where Little Miss experienced her first “real” rides, as well as a lovely kiddo water park. That night after dinner, he took me to a movie, and let me choose, so we saw The Help. Great movie, but probably not the best for your hubby… I heard many deep sighs during the movie as he expressed his martyrhood for going to a bonifide chick flick.

And of course, we got some delicious New Mexican food. Here is a pic of Little Miss falling in love with sopapillas again…

On the last day of our visit, we went to the foothills, where we usually go trail running. I had to walk this trip, which had me longing for a good trail run. I’m going to run again. Just must be patient.

I was so thankful to have JB join the kids and I on the return flights home, especially during our 2.5 hour layover in Phoenix. It’s nice to have a teammate when you’re chasing a toddler around for that long!

6 Month Belly Shot

22 Apr

OK, I’ve been slacking on belly shots and posting in general.  I hit 6 months on Easter Sunday, but never managed to document The Belly for 6 months…  Anyway, on our camping trip to Bodega Bay (beach of NorCal) this past weekend, my brother took this picture documenting the shirt he gave me last time I was pregnant.  Doesn’t show the belly all that well, but makes for a few funny pictures!

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knocked-up

We got off to a rough start camping…  Starting with what we refer to the Bad Tax Situation (reference only my in-laws will get), as we were supposed to leave Thursday morning for camping, but got a “friendly” email from the IRS stating our tax return was rejected due to my birthday being incorrect.  After a long an unproductive call to the social security administration and 1.5 hours spent waiting at their office, it was determined that 5 years ago someone typed in my birthday wrong when I changed my name to my married name.  Evidently it took 5 years for the IRS to synch with the SSA to catch it, preventing our taxes from being filed on time.  I can’t tell you how LIVID I was that we had to delay our vacation because of their mistake.

Anyway, we swung by the post office to mail our taxes with the corrected documentation, and were off to Bodega Bay.  We arrived at 9:30 at night, where it was pretty flipping cold and windy.  In fact, the wind on Friday was so impressive (and admittedly miserable in our tent trailer — my brother in his hard side was happy as a clam) that we called up a friend that lived 45 minutes away to pursue “Plan B”, which included visiting Petaluma.

Of course, while we were packing up the camper, the weather turned GORGEOUS, but Plan B was already set in motion.  Saturday morning, Little Miss and I biked along the beach, and then JB and I both went for runs on the beach (I discovered I CAN still jog at 6 months prego — woo!  The pace is slow, but jogging nonetheless), cleaned up, and abandoned the gorgeous beach weather to head inland. JB mandated that I change out of the above pictured shirt before seeing his friend, and we were on our way.

I must say, though, that I absolutely LOVE Petaluma.  It is one of my favorite cities to visit, as it is just as charming as can be.  We walked around downtown, Little Miss made friends with our friends’ 4 year old daughter, and JB got to visit with a friend he has known since kindergarten.  Oh, and they have some of the best gelato I’ve ever tasted in Petaluma.

All in all, a very good weekend, despite Uncle Sam’s efforts to stifle it.  Oh, and try explaining to a 3 year old why the camping trip is delayed…

Me:  I have to go see some people so that we can pay Uncle Sam.

Little Miss:  Who is Uncle Sam?

Me:  A not so nice man who wants our money.

Little Miss: Where are you going?

Me:  To the Waiting Place (a reference to Dr. Seuss that I found perfect to describe the Social Security Administration)

Photos from our New Mexico Trip

7 Dec

Vacation Round Up

3 Dec

So I’m back from spending 11 days in Albuquerque visiting family and friends. Pics to come later, but for now, here is the round up, in no particular order…

  • Little Miss was a perfect angel on all of our flights.  Has she gotten to the age where travel is easier, or was I just extremely lucky?
  • Managed to work out every day, including doing a Turkey Trek 5K on Thanksgiving with my BFF Amber, runs with my Mom’s dog, and swims with my brother and hubby
  • Watched more movies than I’ve watched in the past year, including The Holidays, Baby Mama, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
  • Ate way too much of Mom’s well prepared food.  Her reputation as Martha Stewart continues
  • Went to the Albuquerque zoo, aquarium, Explora, botanical gardens, and River of Lights display.  Man, do they have a ton more cool things to do with kids than we have in Reno!
  • Went on a sunset hike with the hubby
  • Slept in almost every day.  Mmmmmmmmmmm….
  • Attended my nephews’ baptism, followed by a yummy New Mexican food lunch
  • Attended my BFF’s son’s birthday party
  • Took Little Miss to Amber’s house for a horseback ride.  She was SO thrilled!

That’s all I can think of right now.  Must get back to the pile of emails waiting for me.  Will post the pictures soon!