Category Archives: I did something Special

Travel Escapades, Part 3

Between travel escapades part 1 and 2 lived the peanut butter and jelly part of the trip. The good stuff between the bookends. The seeing of people we love. The visiting. The time spent with family. The memories made. The laughter. The exploring of new places.

Because of the mess on the flight out, we lost a half day of time that I had planned to spend with family that Saturday. My aunt had made a special dinner, which she put away for another day when we let her know we wouldn’t be there. Normally early to bed, early to rise, I was grateful that my aunt & uncle were still up (watching football) when we finally did get there at 11:30 PM. I was also grateful that we miraculously did manage to get a decent night’s sleep. Side note about sleep and traveling with William: I’ve learned that it’s better for everyone if I just sleep in the same bed as William when we’re traveling, especially for that first night, I just go to bed when I put him to bed. If I don’t, then he wakes up repeatedly crying (different house, different bed, it makes sense) and then I spend far too much time calming him down and getting him back to sleep, only to have it repeat again in an hour. If I go to bed with him, he’ll wake up, but will reach out a hand, find me and go right back to sleep on his own with no problems.

Sunday my aunt had her family over, so William got to play with my cousin’s grandchildren, and I got to visit with the grown-ups, people that I always enjoy spending time with when we visit there. I especially enjoy the quiet moments of conversation that I have with my aunt, and it always seems like they’re too few and too short, because those conversations always seem to happen late at night when we both need to be asleep. Those late night conversations are also the reason I like to stay in her home, instead of a hotel. For some reason, one loses those vulnerable visits with family if you’re staying in a hotel. Thankfully, my aunt loves me enough to put us up.

My aunt also passed on some family heirlooms — a child’s rocking chair made by William’s g-g-g-grandfather in 1868, and a handmade quilt that we believe to have been made by William’s g-g-grandma. Getting those items home were a bit of a feat, a worthy feat, to be sure. We bought a sturdy box and bubble wrapped it, but the measurements were too big for “free” check in with Southwest. We priced out other options and ultimately decided to customize the box so it fit within Southwest’s dimensions… and, we are so very grateful that despite all the things Southwest screwed up, they did get those two items home for us without damaging them.

On Monday, we went to the Omaha Zoo, which is rated to be in the top 10 zoos of the United States. After having visited it, I can see why. While large, it is really well laid out, so a lot of ground can be covered in a minimum of time. We visited the big cats first, then meandered over and took the tram and the skyride. After which we went to the playground, where William played with the peacocks. Then we went through the gorilla exhibit, their desert dome and their aquarium. It was definitely a full day and we really enjoyed ourselves. Upon leaving, William informed me that, “I’m going to cry about leaving the zoo.” So, I guess it’s safe to say he had a great time. The Omaha Zoo offered half price tickets to us as a reciprocal program to members of the Santa Ana Zoo. So glad I read about that on the zoo’s website!

On Tuesday, we went to the Lauritzen Gardens. I love botanical gardens (remember my visit to the botanical gardens in Oklahoma City in 2004 or the ones in Hawaii?) and these were just stunning. Upon arrival, we took the tram tour, and then went and had lunch at the cafe (which closed at 2pm). The food at the cafe was amazing! After lunch, we walked back to see their miniature model train garden, which was actually one of the primary reasons for visiting there. The structural elements of the tracks are handmade, even the bridges, from twigs and branches, etc. There are six trains that run, three above and three below, as well as a cable car that goes back and forth. Sadly, it started POURING rain about 20 minutes after we started to look at it. They shut the trains down when it rains to preserve them, so we left. If I had known that it was going to rain and that we would be leaving so quickly, given that’s what we were there for, I would have made that garden our priority and gone there first.

That evening, we had dinner in Old Town Omaha at a place called Spaghetti works with my uncle Paul, his wife and their daughter. Their son wasn’t able to make it, sadly. I haven’t seen those two cousins since they were small, maybe about William’s age. It was kind of neat to see her all grown up and to see my uncle play with my son’s Hot Wheels with him across the dinner table. It was a good evening.

On Wednesday, we went to breakfast at the Cracker Barrel, and then visited the Union Pacific Railroad Museum. It was an interesting walk-through and able to get through it within an hour or so. That evening we went back to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge to let William run some steam off, and also to replicate a picture we took when he was 11 months old.

Tony came down with a cold on Tuesday, so he was feeling under the weather. We delayed our departure to my uncle’s farm on Thursday, allowing Tony a little more time to rest. I had hoped to be out there by lunch time, and felt badly that we weren’t given that she had prepared lunch for us. Instead we made it there in time for dinner, which was all homegrown — steak fillets from a steer they grew, tomatoes, potatoes and ears of corn from their garden. It was kind of startling to realize, that with a little effort and land, a family actually can be self sufficient in this day and age.

Friday, we spent visiting and playing outside. William played on their swing/slide combo in their yard, played with the litter of kittens who were exploring their home in the woodpile. He also “helped” carve some pumpkins with my cousin’s 2 girls. We went to my cousin’s house after dinner to check out her goats, calf, bunnies, dogs, cats, hens, and a pony.

Our day ended too quickly, despite extending it the best we could with a late bedtime. We were up early Saturday morning to make the drive back into Omaha to presumably catch our flight home. All the stress involved with loading the car and sadness of saying goodbyes.

Pictures can be found here: LINK

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Filed under I did something Special, I have Family, I Stimulate the Economy

Nine Years.

What a journey, what a story. Yet, oddly, it doesn’t seem like we’ve been married for nine years. Of course, when I think of all the things we’ve done together, all the things we’ve faced, worked through, laughed about, and even conquered together, there’s no way we could have fit it into anything less than nine years. I guess it’s a good thing we have so much fun together, because time just seems to fly.

(Warning, picture heavy post ahead!)

For our anniversary, we went to the mountains… back to where Tony proposed to me… back to where we got married. Remember that? LINK We did our “wedding aisle” hike, I don’t know if you remember, but there is a bit of rock climbing at the end that. Despite having done this hike a few times in the last couple years, we’ve never felt comfortable completing the rock climbing part with William. We decided to try it this time, though, with William on me in the Tula.

Tony wore William in the Tula carrier on the way up. I wore him for the rock climbing portion, since the crevices were narrow. Tony went ahead of me and made suggestions on hand and foot holds, and William encouraged me with, “You’re doing good, mommy. You’re almost there! Keep going! You got this!” When I finally did the final jump across the rocks, William said, “You did it! Yay Mommy!”

The views were resplendent as ever, and we even had a visit from a chipmunk. We took a different trail down and it was a lot steeper. Since I wear William down the mountain (going down speedily is my strength ha), let’s just say we won’t be taking that trail again… my thighs are still feeling the burn 4 days later.

Highlights included, eating at our favorite restaurant, visiting our favorite candy shop, visiting their little zoo and going on a bicycle ride that was shortened by a flat tire, thankfully not too far from our cabin.

We also celebrated Tony’s birthday while we were up there. So, happy birthday and happy anniversary to my love. Still the same man I grew to love, only he seems to be even more kind, thoughtful and hilarious to hang out with than he was when I married him. That’s a good thing.

Next year, to celebrate a decade of wedded bliss, we’re thinking of doing a road trip with the goal of seeing Mt. Rushmore. Not sure how long that will take, or what else we’ll want to see, but I figure if anything can challenge a marriage, a road trip ought to do it. Thank the heavens above that we have GPS, because my map reading skills suck!

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Going to the Beach.

The thing I’m finding about being an older parent is that I’m more patient with William than I would be if I were the younger me. In day-to-day interactions, I weigh the importance of “issues” more, and give more consideration to the big picture, instead of reacting to the immediate situation.

On the other hand, I have less patience for the lack of time that I seem to have with him. There’s just so much we want to do with him, to share with him, that I fear he’ll never experience boredom. Isn’t being bored one of the greatest things a person can do? Because they learn how to fill their time with nondescript, mundaisical (mundane/lackadaisical) things? Honestly, it’s really not an intentional thing on our parts “to fill William’s days and evenings.” It really isn’t about William at all, but more that Tony and I enjoy doing things together, and William is along for the ride.

I constantly worry about cramming so much into the evenings, and then William doesn’t get to bed until late, and then that he’s not getting the sleep that he needs. But, there’s just so much in this world to see! And much of it is so close… and it seems a shame to fail to visit the places that are in your own back yard, just because you need to sleep.

Then, last week, I was looking for something on the Internet and came across a Yelp review of a park over in Laguna Beach… it was 3 blocks from the part of the ocean that I took William to for his first time when he was 11 months old. If only I had known it was so close, I would have just gone there instead! So, of course, we needed to go check it out, and a warm Thursday evening (no crowds!!), seemed just perfect for it.

Of course, I can always (for the next couple months) use the excuse that it’s summertime, right? The season of heat, warm breezes, late nights, sprinklers cooling the evenings, mists in the morning, sleeping in. Or i can just say that we like making memories with our little boy. Because when you have joy, sleep is just maintenance.

The ocean air, the waves, the sand, the dogs, the people all there to enjoy the beauty of nature at sunset… William wanted to be tossed in the air, and walk in the water, dig the sand, and run from the waves. I really think we should fit in going to the beach more often.

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Mother and Son Date.

I made the decision to let my Disneyland pass expire this year… the end date is 2/9.  Most people agree that it’s just incredibly expensive.  There’s also the consideration that in a year or so, I think William will enjoy it more and I won’t have to rush home for his nap… so we’ll have a little more freedom with our time.  Plus, budgetwise, I do have that speeding ticket to pay to the tune of $292. Ugh.

As a last hurrah, we went last Sunday. Just me and William, as Tony let his pass lapse last year.  I decided that William would enjoy California Adventure Land more than the Disneyland side, because that’s where his buddies, Lightning and Mater live.  Also, the tractor ride!

As we left the park, I grabbed a chocolate filled croissant for myself.  I was nibbling on it on the drive home and William asked for some. The piece I gave him had the tiniest, minuscule bit of chocolate in it, and he said, “Mmmmm, that’s a little bit of chocolate right there!” And then proceeded to suck and savor that tiny bit of chocolate for about 5 minutes, leaving the croissant as a soggy mess all over his lips.  So intense!!

I raised an eyebrow at this… I have never given him chocolate before and normally avoid eating it in front of him.  So this begs the question of HOW DID HE KNOW???

 

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Filed under Entertainment can be Cheap, I did something Special, Our Kid is Cute

Happy New Year!

It’s 2014, did you hear?  It’s kind of not been real to me because we didn’t watch any ball drop on New Year’s eve, we forgot to watch the Rose Parade on New Year’s day, until it was in reruns in the afternoon.  Everything just kind of went into a tunnel for us… we’ll call it the stomach flu tunnel.

It started on the 28th of December, the day we went to LegoLand.  The times we’ve gone to Legoland with William this past year have been focused on visiting their amazing waterpark, so this time we went just to see the rest of the park.  Not surprising that it was all decked out for Christmas, even Miniature LegoLand.  So much fun!  William loved seeing LegoLand Santa and their Frosty the Snowman.  He adores Miniature Land.  He loved running on their fake grass.  We had such a great time!

 

We got home and put him to bed for the night and he woke an hour later, restless.  After ten minutes of him rolling around, I sent Tony in to see what was bothering him.  After a few minutes, William threw up all over Tony’s arm…and that’s where the stomach flu tunnel started.  William threw up 6, maybe 7 times that night.  I lost count and he became a pro at getting it into a bucket (instead of all over his bed sheets, or Tony, or the floor, or me, for instance).   The next day, he seemed to be feeling a bit better, but then on the 30th, he had a relapse with the vomiting and then the diarrhea started. On the 30th, Tony also came down with it.  I had a bit of nausea but, in all honesty, it might have just been in response to all the nasty smells in the house.

So New Year’s eve found us all on puke watch.  New Year’s day found us gingerly trying various bland foods.  It really wasn’t until yesterday, the 3rd of January, that we all started feeling somewhat normal again.

The sickness aside, it really was nice to have all that time with family.  Tony’s job, since he’s no longer working in the commodity business, alloted him more holiday time than he’s had in years.  William and I are continuing to nurse, so that meant a third Christmas filled with sweet nursing snuggles.  I was able to organize some of the areas in the house that have amassed clutter.  The clutter is kind of overwhelming, and I guess that’s kind of an ongoing project that I don’t want to give up on this year.  I learned early on when lap swimming that even the slowest stroke is faster than stopping at each end of the pool, and that’s something that I’ve tried to apply to my life… just keep swimming, even if you’re going at it slowly.

What is something you’re planning to work on this year?

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A Birthday, Mine.

This past weekend, on the 1st, we celebrated my 43rd birthday.   Tony, bless him, gave me the greatest gift any man can give a woman who is the mother of a toddler… the gift of a nap.  The gift of a nap when said toddler failed at taking his, by taking the toddler away and on a drive that then turned into a car nap for the toddler.

Not to be outdone by that gift, he also took me to our mountain cabin for a couple days.  Where we did our usual tour of our favorite breakfast place where I was serenaded with the Happy Birthday song by a fellow there singing, a surprise was that, I’ve never seen anyone there singing before, so that was a perk.

We also visited the candy store in town, where I bought my favorite candy there…  a dark chocolate caramel apple, a dark chocolate covered pretzel stick and a dark chocolate peanut butter cup.  Tony then bought us ice cream.  Never mind that there was smatterings of snow and ice in town, residuals of the storm that had moved through there earlier in the week.  Ice cream doesn’t need warm weather to taste good.

Then there was the birthday cheesecake and sparkly numbers atop it.  Well, more like birthday cheesecakes, and since it was my birthday, I sampled each and every one of them… and, being in a generous mood, I let Tony sample them, too.  They were delicious, indeed.

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Finally, there was the moment as we drove down the mountain, our time there enjoyed immensely… and we held hands, as we drove we entered what I call our magical forest.  When it snows and the trees are heavy with it, the light sparkles it turning it to frozen diamonds.  It looks like something out of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  It was there several years ago that it was where I realized that the love Tony and I had for each other was too much, and that we needed a child to hold some of the love… and wasn’t that a good idea to start a family with?  Too much love?  And this time, as we drove, our child chattered at us from his seat in the rear seat, happy and content, smiling and singing and yelling, ” Boo!  Mommy and Daddy, boo!!”

P1160426For as much as a child’s birthdays marks the years passing like mile markers on a freeway, so does my birthday mark the passing of time of my happiness in the family we’ve made.  There is no gift in the world that I want, for I have all I could have ever dreamed… and more.

I am so very, very blessed in this, my 43rd year of life.  Happy Birthday to me.

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A Boy & His Apple

On Monday, I was home from work sick, so I spent the day with William.  Well, most of the day.  My mom took him for a couple hours in the morning so I could rest, and then he took a whopping 3 hour nap in the afternoon.  So let’s just say I spent what time I could with him.

After I woke him from his nap (yes, I woke him, it was getting to be 4pm!!), we nursed and then he decided he wanted an apple before we left for his music class.  Not only did he want an apple, he wanted to take his apple out to the back yard and eat it sitting in the chair at the patio table.  He had a very specific scene in mind, apparently.

In my mind, I was concerned about time.  I still needed to change his diaper before we left, but I realized that this moment in time was indeed sweet.  He was enjoying his time with me, and I needed to stop and enjoy the time with him instead of worrying about being late.  So we sat out there and enjoyed his apple together.

The sun flickering through the patio cover, the warm breeze stirring the plants and setting the pinwheels to spin, the cats in the cat run, my cup of water on the table, the dogs from the neighbors chiming in with barks… and it was beautiful.  And precious.  And I’m glad that I took the time to pause.
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You know something?  I never regret pausing.

Video link (In the event the playback box doesn’t work)

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