Archive | June, 2012

Eastbound

15 Jun

The last load of laundry is in the dryer.  The dust has been blown off of my shorts.  The list of  to do’s is slowly growing.  I should be crossing off some of those “do’s” but here I am telling you that we are headed home for a 10 day vacation in hot, humid, glorious Virginia.  We can’t wait to hug the necks of our family and friends we haven’t seen in awhile.  We can’t wait to drive on busy roads and feel the blast of air conditioning.  This time there’s even a new baby to snuggle.  Oh my, jiggity JIG!

I’m terrible at surprises so instead of sneaking a new book in her backpack for the plane we just read it over breakfast.

It’s still going in the backpack, every teacher knows the powerful benefits of rereading. *wink*

It’s just us girls traveling this time.  I know Ryan is going to miss us, but he’s not the only one.

“Miss them?  More like miss the dropped food.” Hank

Someone is feeling too big for her britches with her new backpack and her very own plane seat.

We’ll have the full report when we return – which hopefully will not involve airport sprinting and/or airplane tantrums…

Snuggle bunny always needs extra cuddling.  She’s a nervous flyer.

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Father Knows Best

12 Jun

During our February trip to Paris we made a quick stop over in London. It was grey and cold, busy and gritty and totally wonderful. I need to go back.

London awesome-ness.

I’m not a big shopper while traveling. I would rather dine, sightsee, and experience — of course it’s always fun to have momentos, but it’s not my top priority. However as soon as it was certain we would be heading to London my heart was aflutter with the need to bring back a tiny, porcelin tea set for Abigail. We had such a limited time, less than 48 hours, but I knew it would become a family treasure with a story.

Tower of London.  “Tea set or off with your head!” 

Ryan is even less of a shopper than I am so upon hearing my desire to find the tea set he grumbled about it. The concierge recommended we try Hamley’s, a huge toy store much like FAO Schwarz. On the map it seemed that our hop on/hop off tour bus would pass right by it. Here’s the condensed version of what happened: Ryan did a lot of grumbling, I did a lot of getting upset and talking about the must-have tiny tea set. It was not our finest moment. Our friend, Jimmy, mediated with a very wise, “Ryan, if Sarah isn’t happy you aren’t going to be happy” mini lecture and we all stepped off the bus onto Regent Street. Two tea sets later, one for Abigail and one for baby to be Charlotte, we were strolling through Picadilly Circus while I held onto my Hamley’s bag victorious!

Dressed up guy in front of Hamley’s!  Happy kid to the right.

This isn’t a story about London or tea sets though. It’s really a story about Ryan. It was a couple of weeks after we returned home that Abigail made tea time a regular part of our evenings, but it was always with Daddy. He mentioned in passing one night after Abigail went to sleep that he was really happy we got it. “You’re really good at making things special,” he said, “She loves it.”

But the truth is. Ryan is really good at making things special, making Abigail feel special. As much as I would love to sit down for tea with Abigail, and we do occasionally, I’m happy to let it be theirs.

Ryan has always been a hands on dad. I never wanted to be the bossy wife correcting him if he did something differently than me. So what if he uses a few more wipes for every diaper change than I do or only lets her have 3 play dohs out at a time. It doesn’t matter if he wants to break her string cheese up into bites when I give it to her in strips. I don’t think she needs powdered sugar on top of french toast when she’s going to dip it in syrup but he loves to make it like his mom did. He does “Baby Drip Dry” after a bath and I let Abigail take off down the hallway, her hooded towel a billowing cape. Tomaytoes, tomahtoes.

I think Ryan looks to me sometimes for how to deal with certain things that come up; how to say no to a snack too close to dinner or how to read stories a little softer and a little calmer at bedtime. But I’m not sure he knows how much I look up to him.  As a mom who’s home all day amidst laundry and paperwork and kitchen duty it’s easy to lose perspective.

It’s the little things he does that help remind me of what really matters. The excited “hey you!” he says to her each afternoon when he walks through door. The undivided attention he gives her when they play often talking about important things, like strong foundations for block castles. The way he lets her stand on the kitchen counter, one hand at her back while she smells every spice we own, giving enthusiastic praise each time she identifies thyme or curry or cinnamon. The way he’s not too busy to let her have a few more minutes to collect pine cones or to run around the golf course.  His patience for chasing after her as she runs to the waves over and over again. I just love him and her, but what I never expected to love so much was the relationship between him and her.

The tea pot has a chip in it now. I won’t lie, I was a little devastated so I took it away. I put it on top of the refrigerator hoping she would forget about it for a while. The other day she told Ryan, “Tea Party, Daddy!” “Is that okay?” he asked me. “It has a chip in it. I don’t want it to get messed up.” I said. “That’s okay,” he said with his mega smile, “It’s just like Chip!” Unbeknownst to him teaching me another lesson: relax and enjoy.

She’s a lucky girl. And so am I. Happy Early Father’s Day, Ryan. XO

The Pits

9 Jun

It was Wednesday morning when I set out a bowl of cherries for us to have alongside the hard-boiled egg Abigail had requested for breakfast. I don’t think you can look at a bowl of cherries and not think about life being one and I couldn’t help but be in agreement that morning. I was off for a mid-day pedicure with a girlfriend and the following day I was celebrating my 31st birthday.

That bowl of fruit did make life seem extra pleasant with its cheery cherriness staring up at me. The next two days seemed determined to prove themselves in the name of cherries everywhere. Life was deliciously good.

A couple days later we went to the aquarium to check out the new exhibit. All winter long we’d listened to construction behind the boarded up space and wondered what it would be like when it was finally ready. The new exhibit, The Sea and Me, was designed with kids in mind and had a play and discover feel. It was totally awesome and Abigail agreed. We spent the most time in the part of the exhibit that had a model fishing boat where you could use a pole to catch something and then deliver it to be sold at the fish market.

Time rolled by and we seriously had to go; dinnertime was right around the corner. I gave Abigail several warnings that we were going to have to leave, but reassured her we would come back another time. She didn’t make eye contact confident that if she ignored me it wouldn’t be true and we could stay. So I tried cleaning up the space hoping she would get the hint. As fast as I put the fish on “ice” she was whipping them onto the counter to be weighed. I knew things were about to end in a very bad way.

Hi.  I’m Abigail.  I do what I want.

“Abigail, it’s time to go. We need to eat dinner. Mommy has her exercise class tonight. Let’s come back this weekend and show Daddy this fun fish market.” Breathe, breathe. This isn’t going to be pretty.

I tried to take her hand, she shrugged it off. “I’m going to have to pick you up if you won’t walk out by yourself.” Ignored.

So I swooped in and picked her up. Immediately she began screaming and writhing, slippery as a fish. What is it about tantruming toddlers that make you feel like the most uncoordinated person alive?

Several times she managed to wriggle loose, each time sprinting back to the “FISH! FISH!”

Finally, we made it to the lobby door and once again she sprang from my arms and the whole wrestling match started again.  Usually getting a seabird pamphlet at the entrance will appease her — not that day.  She took that thing and flung it, hysterical. Oh dear. We just needed to get out of there and fast.

Scooping her up once again we headed to the car, but not before she tried running back again. The car seemed light years away with Abigail fighting me every step.

Things didn’t improve when we got to the car. All of a sudden the seabird pamphlet we left behind was the key to her life’s happiness.

“SEABIRD CARD, SEABIRD CARD!” she wailed standing rigidly on the floor of the van.  “Abigail, we didn’t get a seabird card because you threw it on the floor.” And repeat.

She screamed the whole way home and into the house.  It was so much screaming that Ryan bounded down the stairs and asked, “What happened?”

“She loved the new exhibit at the aquarium.”

(Abigail did calm down eventually with the help of our gourmet PB&J dinner.)

Yes, sometimes life is a bowl of cherries. And sometimes it’s the pits.

How are things today? Just peachy.

Maybe I should be worried, peaches have even bigger pits.  Instead I’m choosing to see each pit as what it really is — opportunity for growth.

Bend/Redmond: A Love Story

2 Jun

Disclaimer:  If you are my mother, you will love the obnoxious amount of pictures.  If not, I apologize in advance.

We’d been looking forward to our Bend/Redmond getaway since Reisha had suggested that we join them a few months ago. I counted down the weeks until Memorial Day weekend like a kid rips off links from a paper chain announcing Christmas. We talked plans over wagon rides, BBQ’s, and Bravo TV until finally the weekend came.

Not packing a minute too soon and almost a minute too late we loaded up the van with the whole family, including Hank-a-rooni, and headed “Over the river and through the woods” to the high desert of central Oregon.

It took about a nanosecond for me to fall in love with the place. Seriously perfect.

“You’re a desert person, huh?” Ryan said to me.

“I think I just might be. 300 days of sunshine!”

After Ryan stopped laughing, “Newport do that to you?” Probably.

We ate at Diego’s Spirited Kitchen for dinner while Scott, Reisha, and Kaylyn headed to a concert. We went back the next day for lunch because one can never have too much tableside-prepared guacamole and pork carnitas tacos. (Reisha, Scott, and Kaylyn went back again after we left on Tuesday to complete a trifecta of fine Mexican meals.)

We hiked around Smith Rock Park, alternatingly carrying the girls in their packs, letting them walk, and laughing as the guys had to tough it out back up the trail. I didn’t even think about cougars or the introduction of rattlesnakes to the mix. The sky was blue, the mood and elevation at an all time high.

Rattlesnakes, schmattlesnakes…might have freaked out a little at this point.  It was okay.  We had a doctor with us.

We made the mistake of thinking we could check out some of the scenery along the Cascade Lakes Highway, but it turns out we would have needed a snowmobile. Whoops. The views of Mt. Bachelor were amazing regardless and every good trip needs a travel story involving flying sea bands, anxiety over a potential car sick toddler, and a round of Baby Beluga.

Truth be told. We’ve had a lot thrown at us in the past couple of weeks and it was good to leave — to do something where there was nothing to think about except what kind of beer was the best at Deschutes or which pool would be the best for swimming.

Ryan, beyond proud.  Girl loves a growler…uh oh.

And as much as I love going home to see our family, I must admit I loved this, too. There weren’t time zones to cross and TSA approved ziplocs to worry about. The company was easy and enjoyable: shared excitment over locating illusive Amstel Lights, sweet sounds of toddler friends enjoying almost sleep overs, cooking thrown together meals prepared with meager condo supplies.

So it was good, really good — a breath of fresh air, if you will.

I can’t say the same for the air in the Market of Choice grocery store that Abigail chose as a great place for throwing up on the way home.

And our covered wagon, er, minivan, rolled on home to fevers and coughing and snot – and most importantly sweet dreams where the memories from a fantastic trip played on.

Yeah, I’d marry the place, but I’m already taken.