Monday, May 17, 2010

Happy Camper

Last month Harley announced he wanted to take Anderson on our stake’s father/son campout. All I could see was the nightmare that would be Anderson sleeping in a tent. On a pile of blankets. In the cold. In the woods. Filthy. Anderson had never slept uncaged in his life. We didn’t have plans to let him sleep uncaged anytime soon. The few times we’ve been forced to sleep with him in a bed (mind you, he started out these few, unfortunate nights caged) were pure misery for everyone. Harley reminded me he was going on the campout with or without Anderson since he had to play dad for some father-less young men in the ward. He pointed out I could have a weekend as a single parent or a weekend simply… single.

Bam! All I could see was me being insanely productive. Alone. In a clean apartment. All weekend.

I became a major supporter of this campout. I still thought Anderson was too young, but I willingly packed their bags, kissed them goodbye and told Harley, “Yeah, um, good luck with this.” (I also may have mentioned something about if Harley lost Anderson in the woods to not bother coming home to me.)

DSC_0001-1Anderson had the perfect outfit. Thank you Sara!

 

So a’camping they went. Harley, Anderson and two boys from Nepal who speak about as much English as Anderson. Fortunately two of Anderson’s buddies, Dean and Owen, came with their dads too. Dean and Owen are three years old. Anderson was the youngest camper by a year. But Harley says he was tough as nails. Anderson loved it. Even when it poured rain. Anderson’s favorite parts included throwing dirt, collecting sticks, playing baseball and eating an unlimited amount of chips and candy. Harley says Anderson didn’t quite understand the whole going to bed on a palette of blankets bit (he preferred to jump on the blankets) until he saw his friends doing it. Anderson eventually followed their lead and settled down but didn’t go to sleep until after he sang his full repertoire of songs to the entire tent for an hour. He drifted off around midnight.

HPIM4231Brimal, Bar-Shan, Owen, Dean, Anderson

HPIM42323 adults and 5 kids slept in that tent

 

Meantime, I camped out home alone and loved it. What a treat it was to eat meals in peace in the company of a good TV show. How I enjoyed sleeping in Saturday morning. Best of all, I loved, Loved, LOVED the apartment staying clean. Dishes went right in the dishwasher. Toys stayed in the toy chest. The whole place remained picked up. Heaven. It was extra nice to have the apartment all to myself knowing we had houseguests coming Saturday and Sunday nights. Sunday we hosted ten people, in our tiny apartment, for dinner. Maybe I need to point out our table seats four.

I started my weekend with a two page To Do list. I accomplished maybe 10% of it. Turns out the campers weren’t gone that long. They left around 6PM Friday and were back by 1PM Saturday. Here’s what I got done:

    • Prepped, wrapped, carded and packaged three baby gifts  (Now it’s just a matter of shipping them…)
    • Caught up on thank you notes
    • Organized the fridge
    • Paid 2 bills
    • Fixed my manicure
    • Burned 5 CDs
    • Talked to 2 of my sisters, including brand new mom, Allison!
    • Read some blogs (I wish I could say I caught up. I am so behind. It stresses me out to open Google Reader and see so much in bold.)
    • Made plans for next week’s trip to Utah
    • Spent 30+ minutes on the phone with babiesrus.com. (Guess what gift is proving rather difficult to return?)
    • Prepared my Gospel Essentials lesson
    • Placed an order on Amazon
    • Talked to my friend Haley
    • Indulged in an episode (or two) of 30 Rock, FlashForward and Parenthood
    • Completed assignments and made preparations for the upcoming Diva May Day Getaway

 

I’ve decided I love camping. Especially when I don’t go.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Best Buds

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Thanks to Cheryl & Ryan’s vacations in Costa Rica and Mexico, followed by our vacation in Florida and Cheryl & Ryan’s 3-day stay in DC in between, Anderson and Lincoln have spent A LOT of time together in the last two months.

Some times were rough. Other times were pure cousin joy.

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DSC_0008-3Anderson & Lincoln at Maryland Day 2010

While Lincoln stayed with us, we taught him the sign for “more” and the “So Big!” trick. While Anderson stayed with Cheryl & Ryan, they taught him how to do sit-ups and push-ups. If you know me and you know Cheryl, that sounds about right.

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DSC_0052-42-year-old toddler, 9-month-old baby, 7-month-old fetus. That’s a lot of kid. People at Maryland Day definitely noticed us.

These two are now pretty much the best of buds. Lincoln is visiting us (with his parents) again this weekend. In 10 days, Anderson is going to Charlottesville to stay with Lincoln for a week. Cheryl and I are swapping kids as much as we can before they move to Pittsburgh in June. We will miss them and our little buddy Lincoln so much!

DSC_0131 DSC_0115-1Such a beautiful family, right?

Speaking of Anderson’s buddies, his girlfriend, Sophie, visited from LA last weekend. Sophie brought her mom who happens to be my high school BFF Sara. Anderson and Sophie were smitten with each other.

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Anderson’s life is full of wonderful people. (Mine too.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hooray for Hollywood

Until last week Harley and I had never vacationed alone together. That sounds contradictory, but allow me to explain. We’ve vacationed with family. We’ve mega-travelled, and on occasion, vacationed with friends. We’ve taken dozens of trips, usually to visit said family and friends. I’ve vacationed without Harley. But together, we always trip or vacation group-style. Trip=lots of sight seeing, rushing around and tired feet. Vacation=no agenda. Vacation alone together=no family to see and no friends to visit. Nothing to do but relax and be with each other. Perhaps most importantly, vacation=no kiddo. Sounds like a honeymoon right? We didn’t have a real honeymoon. We went to St. George and stayed at my grandparents’ condo. (**Side note to all engaged heads: go on a real honeymoon! For the next 10 years you’ll be in school/having babies, so seize your chance now.) At the time our honeymoon didn’t bother me one bit (and I am grateful to my grandparents for their generosity in hooking up unemployed, mid-semester newlyweds). Post-honeymoon it has bothered me. Really bothered me. Six and a half years later, I was growing increasingly bitter about it. We’ve tried to vacation, but it never works out. Pre-Anderson we attempted a babymoon, but – shocker - it ended up being a trip. Apparently, while we struggle at vacationing, we are really good at tripping. We’ve always made the same excuses: time, money, child care. Six weeks ago, I decided it was time to vacation NOW! Harley had a little time off, I landed us great off-season deals and Cheryl owed me. Excuses gone, gone and gone. I wasn’t thrilled about vacationing in my 3rd trimester, but I felt it was now or not for a looooong time. So we did it! We spent six sunny days and five restful nights at a decent-ish hotel on the beach in Hollywood, Florida. Hellooooooo Hollywood! Hollywood was great for our marriage. Hollywood was great for my sanity. Hollywood. Was. Fabulous.

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Our “Schedule”

Because I am a “To Do”er I’ll tell you what we “did” every day.

Sleep in. Or at least attempt to sleep in. Why can’t I sleep past 9:30AM (at best) anymore???

Enjoy a continental breakfast, complete with ocean view, morning TV news and a ridiculously wide selection of Danish pastries.

DSC_0172View from hotel.

Beach, beach, beach. This included but was not limited to reading, napping, talking and playing in the water.

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Back to hotel for lunch. This meant eating a bagel we swiped from breakfast.

Lounge at pool. Sometimes we shook things up and hit the pool in the morning and the beach in the afternoon. Wild, I know.

Back to hotel to clean up. Walk to a restaurant for dinner. Relish in delicious meals and uninterrupted conversation while watching the sun set over the ocean.

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Cuddle up in bed with treats and Harley’s laptop, then indulge in our favorite TV shows. We heart hulu. We almost caught up with all our staple programs.

Rinse, repeat.

On day 3 Harley suggested we take a taxi into Miami to visit a museum. I reminded him the nation’s greatest museums are in our backyard and they’re free. Why would we pay to go to a museum in Miami (you know, since Miami is known for museums…)? Plus an activity like that is trippy. See? We struggle vacationing. We’re learning. And I think we’re converting.

FlOrIdA fAvOrItEs

*Spending unlimited, uninterrupted quality time with him.

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*Palm Trees. My new favorite tree.

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*Swimming pregnant. Have you tried it? You must. You are weightless! Or at least you feel that way. I loved it.

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*Temple session the night before we left. Not technically part of our vacation but an endowment session at the DC temple was a great way to start our time together.

*Eating fabulous meals in peace.

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DSC_0141I had the BEST salad here! Wish I had a picture of it. Grilled chicken, feta cheese, strawberries, candied pecans with red wine vinaigrette dressing. Yum! It was worth the 4 mile roundtrip walk to get it.

DSC_0088 Biggest burger I’ve ever attempted (and failed) to eat in my life. If it’s touted on Oprah, you know it has to be good. It was good. Just too much good.

DSC_0087 The fries on the other hand didn’t last long enough. Piping hot, crispy on the outside, pure potatoey on the inside. Best fries I’ve had. Ever.

*Being 7 months pregnant on vacation. Guess what? Not so bad! I thought I’d feel huge, uncomfortable and wish I was unpregnant. I did feel all those things, but it wasn’t nearly as extreme as I thought it would be. I relaxed a lot and even felt comfortable (gasp!) with my body and embraced my round shape.

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Florida 2010

*Lovely orange and pink flowers everywhere.

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*Reading two books. (This does not include “The Baby Name Wizard” we poured over.) This is huge for me! I read, and enjoyed, “Waiting for Birdy.” I read, and loved, “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.” Harley read, and loved, “The Hunger Games” (which I’m reading now). He read, and appreciated, “Mormon Scientist.” He slogged through because he had to for research, “Future Bioethics.”

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*Knowing our kid was in the best hands with Cheryl, Ryan & Lincoln. Anderson did great. He even got a little pool time himself. Cheryl, you are so good with him. Thank you!

IMG_5682 Best buds hanging by the pool in Charlottesville, VA.

DSC_0005We saw a DOLPHIN! post card the first day and knew we had to send it to Anderson. My parents used to send us postcards and I loved it. Anderson carried this postcard around (and slept with it) for four days. Then it ripped. We taped it and he’s carrying it around again. I think it was a hit.

*Pina Coladas. Harley’s a little obsessed.

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FlOrIdA fAiLs

*Getting sunburned the first day. What? ME!? Why???? Oh yeah, because it was 100% cloudy the first day. We couldn’t find the sun. It was windy. Our skin never felt warm. So, like idiots, we thought we were safe, didn’t apply anything, then proceeded to fall asleep poolside. How many times has this exact circumstance burned (literally) me in the past? How many times has my mother warned “you can get burned on a cloudy day…” When will I learn?! SO stupid.

The story gets better. Harley insisted we carry on luggage to avoid paying $50 to check our bags. I insisted there was no way all our liquids would fit in 3 oz. containers in a 1 qt. bag. I was most worried about sun block since I had every responsible intention of going through an entire bottle. We fought. He promised we could buy sun block there. I worried a CVS wouldn’t be within walking distance. We fought more. He won. I spent two messy hours sitting on the bathroom floor squirting, squeezing and funneling all our liquids -- except sun block because I trusted him we’d find it down there -- into tiny bottles. I did it! I fit it all! We carried on! We found sun block in the hotel gift shop right away! Then we didn’t use it and we fried. I’m sure we’ll laugh about it someday. For the record, we plastered ourselves at least twice a day the rest of our stay and used every last drop in that gift shop tube. Harley’s daily goal: “not get molested by the sun.”

DSC_0001I was so proud of those silly little bottles.

DSC_0009Pre The Burning. I’m now using my chest in this picture to teach Anderson the color WHITE.

DSC_0085Post The Burning. This pic is not great and doesn’t show my burned side but look at poor Harley’s neck!

*Being 7 months pregnant on vacation. Guess what? Not so great! I would have given anything to stretch out on my stomach or lie flat on my back in the sun.

DSC_0112Oh dear beach chairs. My belly thanks you!

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7 months pregnant 7 months sympathetic

DSC_0049Sun burned and bellied.

*Naming our baby. We tried. Oh how we tried. It didn’t happen.

Now we’re home. Honeymoon=over. Skin=peeling. Reunion with Anderson=awesome. Vacation bitterness=gone. Pretty darn happy=yep. DSC_0053