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I’m Going Going, Back Back, to Cali Cali

8 Sep

In the middle of August, we went on a much needed vacation to San Diego with three other grown ups and 19 month old twins (my BFF’s kids).  I spent most of the summer with thoughts ranging between – “this is crazy, we’re not going to have any fun” and “bring it.”  I’m an anxious traveler to begin with.  I’m not so worried about plane crashes as I am about the logistics – long lines at security, delayed flights, lost luggage.  Add a baby and all her junk to the equation, and I was waking up in the middle of the night with thoughts of – “but what if she gets sick right before we leave, or worse, when we’re there?”  I’m happy to report that no one was patted down by the TSA (the Ergo was awesome for traveling, and TSA was very helpful), the flights went off without a hitch, we were able to change the kids on our very short layover, and no luggage got lost or destroyed in the process.  Picking up the rental car was a bit of a cluster (apologies to Juan at Dollar in San Diego for rolling my eyes after I heard him give someone directions to his favorite restaurant for the 9th time while my back almost broke in line for an hour.  But I’m not sorry we didn’t buy your stupid insurance).  We made it to fish tacos and beer on the Pacific Ocean a mere 12 (15?  I don’t get time changes) hours after we left our house.

We rented a cool house three blocks from Pacific Beach, and the owner had 3 pack and plays and 3 booster seats for us to secure the monkeys in.  The tub situation was not ideal, as evidenced by the one time we tried to bathe all three of them together.  I had my camera ready to capture 3 smiling, soapy kids playing together.  What I got was 3 kids who were lucky they didn’t beak their necks.  They were all over the place, trying to climb out and stand up, all the adults were soaked, and I’m not really sure how clean any of them actually got.  We did separate (or no) baths after that!

We could have spent two weeks in San Diego, if we had unlimited money.  There’s just so much to see and do.  We did something every day – its kind of hard not to when you’re surrounded by fun stuff.  The nicest part about going away with friends and kids is that we all got some grown up time – each couple got a date night, the girls had dinner out, and the boys toured Petco Park one day.  The kids enjoyed playing together, the adults enjoyed drinking together.  Everyone was happy!

Here are some of the highlights!

Enjoying La Jolla!  We ate at on a great roof deck and listened to fabulous music.  I had a burrito with french fries in it!  (It made me very sick later, but it was great at the time!)

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The zoo!  I’m a big zoo fan, and was bummed that the line to see the panda was ridiculous and we had to skip it.  But we bought Emilia a shirt with a panda and will probably lie and tell her she saw it if she asks.

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Making faces at Daddy outside.  Did I mention that our place had a sun deck and an awesome outdoor firepit?  Plus a fish tank Emilia was petrified of, and a pool table we never used.  Image

Temecula.  The kids were less impressed than we were, but enjoyed the free crackers.  This is like a wine vending machine – how cool is that?  We tied some great wines, ate some meat and cheese, and had a great day.  ImageImage

The beach at the Hotel del Coronado (where we went while the boys were touring Petco), and Pacific Beach, where we stayed.  All the kids loved the beach, especially eating the sand.  I bought them all matching beach towels, and pictured a cute little photo shoot that Pottery Barn could use in their ads, but you try to get 3 kids under two to sit still on the beach long enough to drink a beer, I mean, take a picture.ImageImage

Disney Land!  This was the best day of our trip.  We got up early and hit the road, hitting no traffic, and were there right after the park opened.  It was crowded, but not unbearable.  We kept jumping on rides with no lines, and they were great for the kids.  All of the kids loved it – they were mesmerized by the colors, especially on Its a Small World, singing along and everything.  They all behaved, we didn’t drop anyone off a boat (only lost one shoe), and we got to go on some grown up rides as well (Single Rider line = Best Invention Ever).  We had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe before heading home, exhausted, broke, and happy.  ImageImage

The plane ride home.  We had a great trip, but were happy to go fetch bad doggie and sleep in our own beds!Image

Hi.

24 Jul

Wow.  Its been a long time.  Too long, I know.  Every so often, I’d think – I should write a blog post.  And then I’d think – Where would I start?  I have too much catching up to do!  How would I begin?  I’m still thinking the same thing, but figured I should give it a whirl.

So, what have I been up to since December?  How about some bulleted highlights?

  • Emilia is awesome.  Just awesome.  She’s such a good baby.  I have no idea how we got so lucky.  I mean, she has her baby moments, but she’s, you know, a baby, so that’s cool.  She goes places with us, or she stays with a sitter.  She sleeps through the night.  She gives big, wet, open-mouthed kisses.  She’s a total Daddy’s girl.  I could go on and on about her and how much I love her.  People say to J and I – You can tell how much she’s loved.  And, while its nice, I don’t even comprehend the alternative.  How can you not love this little face?  Or whatever little face you’re responsible for, that you created and wanted more than anything?  The amount we love her is just a no brainer to me.

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  • Our first “baby” is growing up as well.  Did I tell you about the time he ran around CVS on a Sunday morning?  Yeah, that was fun.  He took an obedience class with J last winter and did very well.  In June, we got him the invisible fence, and its been great.  He has freedom (and uses some of that freedom to dig up my plants, but whatever) and he can burn off some energy.  He’s really great with the baby.  He tolerates her crawling on him, eats the food that she leaves behind, and loves to lick her.

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  • J is also great.  He loves his job, and adores being a dad.  We have a good (though tiring!) routine that helps get everyone out the door in a reasonable amount of time.  He loves staying with the baby so I can go out, and he does everything I do (except cut her nails).  Its not always easy finding time to hang out together without anyone looking for our attention, but we try!

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  • Work is…work.  I don’t particularly want to stay home, but I don’t really want to work either.  This winter was very hard with illnesses.  In the past 6 months, Emilia has had: RSV, pneumonia, 2 ear infections and more colds and stomach bugs than I can count.  I have had: sinus infection, something that may or may not have been pneumonia, pink eye, and a blood clot in my leg.  J had a stomach bug that sent him to Urgent Care for IV fluids, and Baxter, not to be outdone, needed a trip to the vet when he ran through some briars (the last two happened on our romantic (ha!) VT getaway weekend).  While my boss is very understanding, not everyone else is, and I have tremendous guilt when I send my kid to school coughing and snotty just so I don’t use a sick day, in case I need it later.  Luckily, I love her day care, and fully trust them.  Its just a hard balance.
  • J & I both lost grandmas this year, and while neither were unexpected, its never easy.  We’re happy that Emilia got to know both of them, even if it was for just a short time.
  • I am constantly trying to maintain a balance with everything: Me time vs Family time.  Cleaning the house vs relaxing.  Playing with Emilia vs working out.  I’m trying to accept the fact that my house will be messy and it doesn’t matter, that working out on the weekends is good enough, that its all okay.  And I know it is, but sometimes I want to have it all.  Most of the time I just want to have a maid.  And a cook.  And maybe a live in nanny.
  • We are going on vacation soon, to San Diego.  Remember we went 6 years ago?  (I’ve been blogging for that long?!)  This time it will be much different: 5 adults, 3 kids under two.  We have an awesome townhouse rented, and lots of ideas but no real plans.  I think it will be exhausting but fun.  Regardless, there will be wine and there will not be work, so, yay!
  • Shortly after vacation is Emilia’s first birthday. We are having a big, theme party, because we like parties, and I love themes, and not because Pinterest made me do it.  Seriously, it will be like our normal fall party, but with more pink, more family, and a cake.  (PS – its not really okay to ask parents of an infant when they are having another one.  I’m astounded we are all in one piece after this year, and we have an angel baby.  No rocking the boat, people!)

I’m sure a million other things have happened since December, but I can’t think of them, so I’ll leave you with some random pictures.  Till next time (which may or may not be in 7 more months!)

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Get Away, Get Up, and Get Away

5 Nov

J & I have been on a lot of great vacations – just the two of us eating and drinking on the beach, a family trip to Vegas, trips with friends, etc.  But last week, we somehow combined a lot of awesome stuff into one trip, and had one of the best vacations we’ve ever been on.

My best friend’s older brother planned a wedding in Marco Island, FL, and we were invited.  We planned on going from Saturday to Wednesday, along with my two best friends and other family members.  Then we thought – why go back to work for two days?  Let’s go to Orlando!  We’ve been dying to go to Harry Potter at Universal Islands of Adventure, so we planned on making the 3-1/2 hour drive to Orlando on Wednesday.  Then we discovered that plane tickets were only $29 – even better!  And then, in a lovely twist of fate, I learned that OAR was playing in Fort Lauderdale on the day we arrived, and thought – Road Trip!  And so we had planned the perfect vacation.

Here’s how it all shook out:

Friday night/Saturday morning – J went to a concert in Boston with his sister and didn’t get home until 2:30 (making him awake for 24 hours).  I also didn’t sleep much, and we had to be up at 3:30 for the flight.  J loves to sleep on planes.  He looks forward to it.  He only moved twice – to switch seats on our layover, and to eat some cookies (actually, I’m not sure he was awake at that point, but he ate the cookies and woke up again briefly when I tried to take them from him).  The stewardess even asked if he was still alive!

Saturday – checked into condo on Marco Island, food shopped, etc.  We met the wedding crew for a quick happy hour drink, and then set off for the 2 hour ride to Pompano Beach.  It was the longest, most boring ride ever – nothing to look at, flat, straight, boring road.  No alligators, despite the name Alligator Alley.  And I had to drive because the car reservation was in my name (the guy at Dollar put the fear of God into me about anyone else driving, I was convinced we’d end up on Cops if J even drove around the corner).

We checked into our gross hotel, and had a quick dinner at a beer pub (Brother Tuckers – biggest quesadilla ever).   Then we headed off to the concert.  It was at the Pompano Beach Ampitheater, which was a great venue.  It was General Admission, we got a great seat, the beers were cheap.  OAR rocked, as always.  I was especially happy that they played “Irish Rose” as an encore.  Check it out if you can, it’s a beautiful song.  (I took some videos, but you can hear me singing in all of them, so I’ll spare you that torture).

Sunday – drove back to Marco after breakfast, hung at pool, got ready for the wedding, which was beautiful.  My best friend wasn’t able to make the trip to Florida, because she’s busy keeping a couple of babies where they belong for the next few months.  She wrote a speech that she asked me to give at the wedding, which I was happy to do.  She’s a great speech writer, there were lots of tears, and the bride & groom loved it.  There was lots of drinking of dancing (not sure why the bartender thought she should make the drinks bigger as the night went on?).  I got sick at night, with my tee-shirt on inside out & backwards.  J made a sandwich & took a picture of me.  What a good husband.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – eat, beach, eat, pool, happy hour, dinner out.  J got all you can eat ribs one night, not his finest moment.  Went to Naples for a nicer dinner Tuesday.  Beautiful weather, rough water, a little windy.  Still, what’s not to like about eating & drinking on the beach and by the pool?

Wednesday afternoon – flew to Orlando.  Cool dinner at a tapas place (Cafe Tu Tu Tango), where we waited a while to order so they gave us a free glass of sangria (to go with the bottle we already ordered!)  And, cheesecake on a stick!

Thursday – We were at Universal Islands of Adventure at 9:30am.  I practically ran to Harry Potter.  It was just so cool – Hogsmeade was beautiful, the butterbeer was delicious, Moaning Myrtle even wailed at you in the loo (that’s British for bathroom!)  The Forbidden Journey ride was the coolest ride I’ve ever been on (we went twice!)  We had lunch at the Three Broomsticks (Pasties!) and then we did the rest of the park.  We went on pretty much every ride, including all the water rides, so we were like drowned rats.  We had nachos & margaritas for dinner, and passed out at the hotel before heading to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights (sucked, way too crowded with drunk teenagers.  1.5 hour wait for haunted houses).

Friday – Universal Studios all day.  All the rides, roller coasters twice (I’m not a total baby!)  I had to have one more butterbeer, so we went back to Islands of Adventure to see the Harry Potter part all lit up.


Saturday – home to an October Nor’Easter.  Yay?

Overall, it was an awesome trip.  J & I needed a vacation together, and this was the perfect way to get in some quality time.  I missed my best friend a lot, but was glad I got to share Marco Island with J, and hope that soon we’ll be there with her family.  Of course, now that we’re back to the grind, it feels like we never went away, but it was well worth it!

More Sunday Ramblings

15 May

I was going to do a whole post about our family Vegas vacation, but I’m not really feeling it.   I’ll just give you some pictures and a quick recap instead:

Red Rocks = awesome

Weather = dry heat

Love = weird, but good.  (not recommended after pitchers of margaritas)

Lemonade with vodka & rosemary = new favorite drink

The family got along well, no tears, no fighting, so I’d say it was a successful trip.  The next vacation is scheduled for 2026.

In other news, we painted & tiled the laundry room.  I had a before and after post planned, but I lost all the before pictures, and I haven’t taken any after pictures yet.  It looks good, trust me.

We’ve also been purging & collecting junk for a yard sale in June.  Its all good junk, I just don’t want it in my house.  Please come buy it.  Today we purged the boiler room/man cave.  I bought lots of plastic bins & labels for the 40,000 allen wrenches we seem to have collected.  It makes me happy.

I’m fairly certain it’s never going to stop raining.  If it doesn’t stop raining, we can’t clean out the shed and do a body count of the dead mice, and therefore, I’ll never be able to go in the shed alone.

The Bruins are in the conference finals, and we had people over to watch the game last night.  They lost,  so that will be the last time we have people over to watch the Bruins in the playoffs.

My new rule is that I can only drink on days I work out.  So I’ll soon have a great body and be an alcoholic.  Go me.

Road Trip!

10 Apr

Last weekend, J & I, along with seven friends, headed up to NH for a weekend away.  Well, the main reason we went was to see my favorite band, OAR, who were playing a concert at Mt Sunapee.  To sweeten the pot for my non-OAR-obsessed friends, we threw in skiing, frying and drinking, all in a pretty cool house that slept 9.

J & I set off for the three-hour drive around noon on Friday.  We both took the day off of work, and wanted to get an early start.  I don’t really “do” car rides more than two hours, so we stopped twice – once for lunch, once at the NH Liquor Store.  Well, in all fairness, we stopped three times, but the third was for a speeding ticket, so we don’t need to talk about that.

The house was great – it was on a giant lake, with a view of the mountain, 5 bedrooms, a wood stove, a deck, and this guy, who we named Benny:

Officially, Benny is a footrest, but he was used for many things all weekend.  He was greeting the rest of the crew above, but I used him a lot for his intended purpose, and was more than happy about it.

We cooked up some pasta & drank some wine Friday night, played a little Just Dance on the Wii, and did  not burn the house down.  Score!  Saturday afternoon was the concert.  It was held in the parking lot of the mountain, where J & a friend skied earlier, even though we had 8 lift tickets (long story).  We got in to the tent, and went through the long process to get beers, just as OAR was starting.  We tried to get up as close to the front as possible, and this is what we got:

The drinkers were corralled in the back of the tent, while everyone up front was closer to the band, but dry.  Surprisingly, the dry group was having more fun than the drinkers.  The drinking section was distracting, with everyone chit chatting and not worshipping Marc Roberge as they should (isn’t he cute?)

Despite the seclusion and the multiple trips to the bathroom (damn Bud Lights), the show was great.  OAR is an awesome live band, and they did not disappoint.  There was crowd surfing, a guy dressed as a hot dog, and beach ball tossing (all up front, of course).

Beer service ended at 6:15, and after one last trip to the bathroom, we made our way to the promised land up front.  Just in time for the last song.  Luckily, the last song was the best song, a seventeen minute version of That Was a Crazy Game of Poker, which we had rehearsed in the house all weekend.  They came back for an encore of Night Shift, and rocked that as well.  Here’s the obligatory self-portrait (one of many):

From the concert, we bar hopped through Newbury (two bars, two beers each, three pizzas to go).  I met some youngins from my alma mater, who got kicked out of the bar for kicking a pint glass across the floor.  Way to represent!  This sign was in one of the bars (Bubbas!) and I found it appropriate.  It’s a little fuzzy, as was I, but it says: Warning: Drinking may cause memory loss…or worse yet…memory loss.  (Maybe it was only funny after 6 beers) .

After we returned to the house & scarfed down the pizza, the frying began.  The winner of the night was the fried Twinkie.  I don’t know what this was, but it was fried and therefore good:

Of course, we played LCR, we sang along with the iPod, we talked about bodily functions, we ate.  You know, the usual.  The next day we ate more, packed up the car and headed home, this time without incident (although we did have a failed stop at the college bookstore/coffee shop.  Why are they always closed when I need them?)  Overall, a great road trip!

Randoms

6 Feb

I joined a gym.  I’m afraid to take a class.  I’m more afraid I’ll run someone down in the parking lot while trying to find a spot.

I think it should be a law that Usher always be shirtless, preferably while flexing his abs.

My driveway is like an ice luge.  I had to ring the doorbell and have J help me get out the other day.  I hit an average of 4 snowbanks each time I attempt to back in.

I’m getting pretty good at Just Dance 2.  But I get wii arm.

J refuses to use my new MacBook.  He keeps insisting “I’m a PC!”

I spent my Saturday night running errands, eating popcorn and watching MTV.  I need a life.

The Kings Speech was fantastic, made me want to marry Colin Firth, watch Love Actually again, and become British royalty even more.

We’re taking a family vacation to Vegas in May.  I’m not sure we’ll be speaking by then, let alone by the time we come home.

Hello, my friends, hello.

27 Dec

I know, I know.  Its been way too long.  I have no valid excuses.  I just haven’t been writing.  I’ve thought of it, often.  I made up excuses.  The bottom line is, I didn’t write.

But here I am, back like a bad boyfriend.  I’ll be better, I swear.  But I need you.  Help me help you.  Comment your hearts out.  Stoke my little ego, and I’ll come back, I promise.  No, really this time.

What have I been up to, you ask?  I’d love to tell you I was busy finding myself, doing major home renovations, or even achieving world peace.  No such luck.  It was more along the lines of: failing at P90X, going on some trips, hanging with friends and J, and suffering through rides on the commuter rail.

Even though I’ve been MIA for months, I’m going to leave you now to be with my wine, my husband, and Intervention.  But I’m going to give  you some pictures to keep you happy.  I’m uploading them via my new MacBook Pro, the newest item in my line of love/hate relationships.

(Oh, do you like the new look?  I did it months ago, but never actually posted anything with it.  Worth the wait?)

We went to Baltimore.  I ate him.

This is my parents’ hall closet.  I fear I am adopted.

We went to St. Lucia.

(The village behind us is where Geoffrey from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is from!)

J beat me in a race in November.  I was not happy.

(and that is a turkey tied around my neck.  what?)

We had a classy Christmas cocktail party.  What’s more classy than Barrack with a condom full of blue cheese?

 

In other news, I need a life.  🙂