Tag Archives: traveling with a baby

A Little Mommycation!

3 May

A month ago I got to go on a little trip to Asheville, NC.

IMG_20170408_223427_508Yay don’t we look happy! I was actually a bit disgruntled until this picture because we hadn’t come up with a good plan of what we wanted to do and had pretty much aimlessly wandered around downtown Asheville to no avail. Thank god for the beautiful scenery.

This trip was a little present for surviving two whole weekends home alone with the kids while my husband traveled — once for work, and once for fun. I felt like SuperWife saying, “Yeah, no problem, go hiking with your friends out of cell phone range while I take care of the 4 year old and 2 month old!”

When W was three months old, I was barely able to make it outside to the front porch. It amazes me the difference in my ability to cope with a baby now versus then (though Rex’s personality is way more chill than W was as a baby). For example, we didn’t take Walter to a restaurant for dinner until he was six months old (and we were exhausted and overwhelmed by the experience). Rex, however, by three months old, had been in six different states.

Both weekends alone with the kids presented different challenges. The first weekend Dave was available by text and phone, but all grandparents were out of town, and I was also dog-sitting my mom’s sweet pups Tashi. Just to make life more fun, the dogs were throwing up around the house, the cat got a bladder infection, Tashi got a couple hot spots that needed frequent attention, and Rex had one of his worst night’s sleep ever. There might have been some crying around 3am one night, and it wasn’t the 2 month old.

The second weekend all grandparents were in town, and we hung out with them, but Dave couldn’t be reached 98% of the time. This is very unusual for us as we have seen each other almost every single day since we met (literally), and we also talk a lot anyway. I had an upsetting dinner Friday night, so I spent almost the entire weekend getting depressed and unable to talk it out with my husband. And then Sunday morning I started reading a really psychologically crazy book The Hike for our book club, making me further nosedive. It took me until Wednesday to get out of my funk.

Hence, a little trip for mommy.

IMG_20170409_113322_732 - CopyHoly crap the chicken and waffles are good at King Daddy’s. We both got the sweet potato habanero sauce on our chicken. Perfecto!

IMG_20170409_100446269Walter loved the crayon bucket.

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We returned to a “favorite” — Juicy Lucy’s — for dinner Saturday night. It was yum but the boys were tired (although cute as always).

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We really are mountain-loving people.

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Soothes the soul to see all this land.

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I wanted to go hiking before we came home. The views were fantastic, but I probably won’t be back to Chimney Rock again. I love climbing mountains, but this was a staircase bolted onto the side of a mountain. And you drive halfway up the mountain on harrowing roads just to get to the bottom of the staircase (which you pay a ton to “climb”). My fear of heights did not enjoy this very much. My legs and brain were jelly so the baby and I didn’t climb the last two staircases to the very top. But my other boys did!

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A boy and his American flag. He’s the most patriotic kid I know.

 

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I am Woman, Hear Me Roar: the most extreme road trip I’ve ever been on

24 Feb

I don’t know which makes me feel more accomplished as a person: giving birth twice without any drugs, or road-tripping up to Cleveland, OH for a long weekend with my husband, 4 year old, and 6 week old in an RV.

We left Wednesday night around 9pm. I tried to sleep, as the boys, our most precious cargo, were both asleep, but somehow the back of an RV in the dark feels like a plane about to take off. And I don’t really like planes that much, so every time I was about to drift away, I would suddenly wake up fearful we were going to crash into something or drive off the road.

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One of Dave’s best friends, a former Marine like himself, was getting married. We’ve been friends with the couple for a long time, so we knew we wanted to all attend, especially since Dave was asked to be a groomsman and W was asked to be the ring bearer. And there was no way I wanted to leave young Rex with grandparents for the weekend. After Rex’s birth I became unsure if I would attend, and this uncertainty stayed with me until I got into the RV to leave. I was even texting Jason, who was staying at our house with the animals, thirty minutes into the trip that I was insane and I should have stayed at home.

But I didn’t.

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I won’t lie, it was rough. It was a long trip for an already tired woman, but honestly I did it for Dave. He wanted his boys there, and his wife, to be with him as he celebrated this grand event with some of his dearest friends. There were other Marines there with their wives and kids whom we get together with every couple of years. We are scattered across the United States, but these people are very important to us, so we all make the effort to see each other when we can.

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Wednesday night we stopped at an RV park in Knoxville, TN. We figured the only way we could sanely make the 10+ hour drive was to not have to do it all in one day. We didn’t buy plane tickets because of the expense, for one, and also because we could never be sure who would go, given that Rex’s birth was so close to the wedding.

The first night was a bit of a disaster. We got in around midnight and tried as quick as we could to set up the RV for sleeping. Walter woke up and asked questions as we moved stuff around, and I got Rex fed. Then we all settled down for the night’s sleep (or what was left of it)… and the heat in the RV didn’t work properly. It was also 34° outside. The furnace would turn on briefly, get nowhere near the temperature we set the thermostat to, then turn off for good. If we wanted it back on, we’d have to restart the heat ourselves by getting out of bed and flipping the switch.

Walter seemed cuddled in his comforter (thank goodness I had brought a million blankets), but I was super worried about the baby. My face and hair were freezing to the touch. I bundled the baby up (which made me worry about him sleeping with loose blankets and a hat on in bed), and I climbed in with Walter in his twin — I abandoned Dave in the double bed because it was too cold on his side near all the windows. Eventually we just turned the RV on and ran the heater. I was having visions of all of us dying from exhaust fumes when I finally passed out around 3am. Soon enough I woke again because the inside was too hot, and I immediately ripped the blankets off the baby, worried about him overheating, and turned the engine off, worried that we were going to run out of gas. Falling back asleep, this cold/warm cycle continued until we all, rather tiredly, woke up later in the morning.

img_20170216_091557_648The boys were completely unfazed, of course.

img_20170216_091251_283First time in an RV park. Made me think of this romance novel I once read where they traveled around the country in an RV.

img_20170216_101413Keep both hands on the wheel, little man.

Thursday we drove the rest of the way, and I have to say, I love traveling in an RV. Dave has lots of experience driving large military vehicles, so during the day he seemed very at ease, plus the front seats are more like recliners than regular car seats. Walter got to watch TV, sleep, or draw on his clipboard. Rex slept for the most part. We had food, cold drinks, and a toilet at our convenience, and a comfy and easy place to nurse Rex when we stopped. And best of all, I got to buckle myself in to the couch and rest and read books when I wasn’t tending to other things. That’s the way to do it if you’re going to spend that much time traveling!

img_20170216_142006You know you’re redneck enough for an RV when your food prep area is the same as your diaper changing area.

Around 7pm we pulled into the hotel parking lot in Cleveland, unloaded our stuff, and parked by the trees. We quickly took showers to wash off the drive and headed into the chilly night to meet up with our friends for dinner.

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After a wonderful meal with the group, I actually asked Dave if we could hurry and go, which is very unlike me. I’m usually literally the last to leave any type of party, but I was about to fall asleep on my feet. Another night passed uneventfully. I had been very worried about all four of us sleeping together in the same space, but Rex only woke me during the night when he wanted to nurse. Walter, thankfully, is as deep a sleeper as his daddy!

Friday was reception-prep and rehearsal day. We were late to the reception venue to help everyone and drove the RV there (what else could we do?), and unfortunately a Pyrex dish fell during a turn-around-pothole-miscalculation and shattered all over the tile floor. Consequently we learned where the RV vacuum was and how to use it.

Later that evening we piled into our friend’s van, rather awkwardly but gratefully, to get to the church. I sat there nursing while the big boys practiced their roles. Because of my annual Christmas card mailings, I was approached by the best man’s wife, Dina. She said our card was on her fridge, and she loved the book list I put on the back. It was nice to make another friend, and we chatted during the rehearsal and sat together during dinner as well. She was a very lovely Jordanian woman who is a performance aviation engineer for GE. I find it very interesting to learn about the different, highly specific engineering jobs out there.

img_20170218_095822_584Walter knows how to dress sharp.

Saturday was the big day. It turns out that David had many hours of obligations as a groomsman, so for most of the day I was on my own. This brought out a few tears as I was exhausted and hadn’t made this big a trip so quickly postpartum to be on my own. It was made worse when Walter, after having come to sit with me mid-ceremony when his ring-bearing duties were over, saw Daddy walking down the aisle with a bridesmaid and asked, “Mommy, did Daddy just marry that other woman!?!” I kinda laughed and said “No, honey, he’s only married to me” and Walter replied, “But that was David.”

img_20170218_123409175_hdr#handsomemen #idontliketoshare

img_20170218_175051767We had several hours to kill in between the ceremony and reception while Daddy took pictures around town with the newlyweds. We played in the RV since we had checked out of the hotel earlier that day. Plans were to leave that night and repeat the driving procedure we had followed on the way up.

img_20170218_175129152#cutebaby #cutebabyjeans

img_20170220_095637After watching the first dance, finally in the same room together, Dave bee-lined for us. We ate a delicious dinner — one of the best wedding menus we’ve had — drank some tasty beer, took photos in the photo booth, danced (me with the baby at the breast, Dave holding an almost sleeping Walter, who had run around the dance floor with the other kids all night), and left early around 9:30pm. I didn’t want to go, but we knew we had to get out of there if we wanted to get to Cincinnati at a decent time.

img_20170219_032826631We rolled in around 2am and the blackout shades in the brand new hotel room proved to be very effective. We all slept until 9:30am, ate our last breakfast in the RV, and drove home. We even got to enjoy an extra hour and a half of driving time due to Sunday night road construction. Thank you, Georgia.

img_20170217_121004Thank goodness he loves his car seat. He probably thought we were going to leave him in there permanently.

48 hours of travel, 48 hours of partying. Totally worth it.

Vacation in Florida part II: Bring it on

3 Jul

For several nights we had 8 adults, 5 children under the age of three, and one dog in a pretty spectacular beach house. And it was wonderful.

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Beach parade!

The C’s arrived with their adorable six month old before Dave even got there. We took Little C out to the beach for the first time, and since he had just been on his first plane ride too, he was a fairly excited little boy (read: didn’t sleep well that night because he was taking it all in!).

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They’re going to be best buds.

I was so excited for Dave to get there that I woke up when he got in at 3am just to go greet him at the door.

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Beach family portrait!

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We took Duggy to the beach the first day before we knew he wasn’t allowed. He loved it so much and ran around like the happiest puppy in the world. It was probably a good idea he couldn’t go again cause he ate a bunch of sand and seemed to not feel well for a few days after.

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We had the Marines come visit us too! Kyle could only come Saturday night, but we were thankful to see him! He had been at a tough security training course all week, and Dave had to lure him our way with promises of a steak dinner.

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We rented bikes and kid trailers/seats, which was awesome because neither Dave nor I had ridden in at least a decade. It was euphoric and fun, and I can’t wait to continue riding at home. Good thing the Atlanta Beltline will be in our neighborhood in a couple years. Dave drove the bike with the trailer, and Walt would say “Faster Daddy!” every time he stopped pedaling!

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There was an ill-fated evening where we tried to go out to eat. The restaurants on the island hadn’t had power for three hours, so all the good ones were still closed. The one we finally picked because we were starving was overpriced and not that good — especially the margaritas. Little C expressed his displeasure by dumping his mom’s marg all over her and her white shorts!

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We found a good view — and got to walk on a bridge, much to Walter’s delight — along the way!

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More friends arrived later that week! Katye flew solo with her 4mo, and I picked them up at the airport in Sarasota. I love that the exit sign out of the airport has an arrow pointing towards “Beaches”! Her husband and another Marine and his family joined us too. It was an eclectic group of friends, the conversation around the dinner table never got boring, but we all meshed really well I thought. What a joy.

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One of my favorite parts of the trip were our sunset walks along the beach.

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Stormy skies. I love summer storms.

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The ocean might lull us to sleep, but it did not disappoint!

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We finally made it to dinner at The Beach House the last night we were there. Dave ordered a bucket to celebrate! The drinks there were insanely good, as was the food… and the company!!!

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Our beautiful friends who helped make it a one-of-a-kind vacation.

Longboat Key

12 Aug

It has been a welcome whirlwind of vacations this past month. And now back to reality. But a different kind of reality. Walter started preschool for the first time this week, and he loved, loved, loved it! And mama loves having this time for herself too! Last week,  however, we got to enjoy the beach all week long. A whole, glorious week of eating, napping, and playing in the sun.

Walter didn’t always enjoy car rides. When he was an itty bitty thing, he would scream like he was being tortured every second he was in the car. It made it hard to leave the house. Switch to 2014 Walter, and he doesn’t make an 8 1/2 hour drive worse than an 8 1/2 hour drive already is.

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We’ll keep his seat turned around as long as he’ll let us.

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One day that will be an iPad.

We’re extremely lucky that’s Dave’s parents have a [super nice] beach house and that they want us to use it. I invited my parents to join us; my mom drove down the same day we did, and my dad flew in the next day. Having my mom there really helped it feel like a vacation since she would get up with Walter in the mornings and change his diaper and other awesome things like that.

IMG_20140803_115231929Walt and his Nini

Jan and Frank gave us several restaurant recommendations, and we tried as many as we could. The first night we went to the Dry Dock Grill. It had a beautiful view and the best fish tacos and black beans I’ve ever had. If you have a boat, you can pull right up to the restaurant to park.

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The beach started out unbearably hot, and I was afraid we had gone too far south to have any fun. The sand was scorching, the sun melting, and the ocean felt like a steamy bath. We only stayed out there a couple minutes before I wanted to go back in. But the next day it was cooler, and the day after that cloudy, and we could really enjoy ourselves.

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Beach babes.

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He knows how to relax like a champion.

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And play in the sand.

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David started digging to Australia, and Walt liked that.

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He loved being buried after we filled the hole back in so we didn’t kill any beach walkers or sea turtles.

The second night we went to Owen’s Fish Camp in Sarasota, where the bourbon pecan pie was gone in seconds (oh yeah, the fish was good too). And dad found a new best friend. The atmosphere was very fun.

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There is nothing like a vacation where you are also puzzling. Jan got this one for me for Christmas several years ago, and it ended up being really fun to put together. I have a new favorite brand now. I admit, I am a puzzle snob, because if the quality isn’t good, it’s not very fun putting pieces together if you’re not sure they actually go together. So I usually go Ravensburger or Suns Out (which can be spotty). But Pomegranate Puzzles have very fun pictures, and my mom even spilled a bottle of water over most of the pieces, and they didn’t fall apart. Now that’s sturdy.

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My parents had dinner one night with my dad’s business friend who lives in Sarasota, and he and his wife kindly set it up for us to visit the Ritz Carlton on Lido Key on their membership. For many years, due to a family friend who worked for the Ritz, we were able, when I was growing up, to spend several Florida vacations at various Ritz locations (and once in Barcelona too). Not only is it extremely nice there, but it made me nostalgic for my teenage summers spent with my friend Kate on the beach. It reminded me just how nice I had it and continue to have it!

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It was a salt water pool, which tastes weird if you’re used to chlorine.

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Walt feels at home wherever he is.

We’ve had Walter in pools before, but it was at the Ritz that Walt, Dave, and I had our first real fun time in a pool. I had just ordered Walt some water wings, and it was fun to get Walt used to swimming by himself. Walt didn’t really like being let go in the ocean, but he had a blast floating around the pool, and we even dunked him a few times. He took to the water like a fish. We swam a lot after that since the beach house also has a pool!

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Kicking and all!

We had a great time, and I was sad to have to come back home. We did manage to avoid an extra hour’s worth of traffic on 75 by taking a detour on what looked like the road in the movie Jurassic Park.

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Our smart phones knew where to take us but Garmin wasn’t sure we were even on roads.

After Bartow, Nashville, my birthday, and Longboat Key, it’s been an eventful month!

Old Hickory Lake

29 Jul

Two weekends ago we got to go on one of those really fantastic vacations that takes you by surprise. It is so easy, based on what everyone else is doing on social media, to assume that you have to travel to far and exotic locations to be somewhere amazing. The United States has some pretty spectacular views, and some of them are even within easy driving distance of Atlanta. For instance, my family loves visiting Ponte Vedra Beach near Jacksonville, FL. But this time we met up with some friends outside of Nashville. And the lake house we rented from this guy on VRBO was sensational.

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I wasn’t even looking forward to going on vacation to Nashville. Even though I had never been, I thought, what could be so great about it?

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And then we arrived to this view. Walter loved quacking at all the ducks.

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There is something magical about staying this close to a body of water. The world doesn’t seem quite so weary as it does living in the middle of a major city.

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Walter wasted no time relaxing.

We try to meet up with Dave’s Marine friends, who were also his groomsmen, and their spouses every year. Everyone lives in a different state, so Nashville was a relatively central location for us all to get to.

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The guys spent the first day fishing off the dock.

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When I got tired of watching them fish, we went into town to get some frozen yogurt and grab some pizza for dinner. Now that a couple families have kids, it worked out really great to rent out a house instead of four hotel rooms, so once the kids went to bed we could still hang out. Sawyer is almost one, and he adored Walter. Walter was actually terrified of Sawyer, except for one afternoon when he felt like playing. Doesn’t bode well for getting along with younger siblings!

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The second day we rented a pontoon, and it was awesome to get out on the lake.

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Pre-boat ride. I swear Walt is checking to make sure Sawyer isn’t up to no good.

Walter’s first boat ride.

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It was hot out there, and he fell asleep pretty quick.

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Even though Daddy won tubing.

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And Sawyer took us for a ride.
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One of three fish caught that weekend.

That evening we ate at a really good Mexican restaurant, then everyone who wasn’t a mommy went to play The Escape Game. You get locked in a room for an hour with a million clues, and if you solve them all and get out of the room, you win. It sounded like a lot of fun. There’s apparently one in Atlanta, but there’s a zombie in the room with you. No thank you.

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I ended up going to bed super early that night because we stayed up late every night chatting with our friends, and we were also sharing a room with a two-year-old who didn’t realize we were on vacation, and he kept getting up before 6am. He is usually a late sleeper, unless we need to sleep in!

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At least he’s cute early in the morning.

I love our friends. They’re a ridiculous bunch, and some of the best people I know. I wish we all lived closer to each other, but I’m glad we make the effort meet up anyway.

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Before everyone went home, Cassie made us go to the Pancake Pantry in Nashville for lunch. We waited 1 1/2 hours for possibly the best pancakes I’ve ever had. I’m glad we got to go into the city, at least for a little bit. It was an adorable town, and with my new love of the TV show Nashville, I’m absolutely ready to move there.

A reunion 90 years in the making

7 Jul

I am more proud of myself for flying alone with an almost two-year-old (when did airplane seats get so small??) than I am of graduating college. Twice. Some of you may know my previous debilitating fear of flying and would agree with me that it was probably harder for me to get on the plane without dying of panic than it was to go to class every day for six years. Walter had no problem, of course, and spent the entire hour opening and closing the plane window, despite my pleas to leave it open because it makes me feel better.

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Not phased and ready to get on that plane.

The poor lady sitting next to us was sandwiched between us and another woman transporting a rather large Jack Russell Terrier. She informed me that a lesser woman would have had to take some Valium to get through that flight in one piece. I didn’t disagree with her. She also told me that she was a pharmacist, and it is completely safe to give small children Benadryl to tranquilize them for flying. I almost asked her if she had anything good for me.

The reason for our flight was to make it easier on myself and David (and I suppose Walter too) to get down to Bartow, Florida and back in one short three day weekend. Dave’s very sweet Granny turned 90 today, and the whole family traveled from near and far to reunite and celebrate this weekend. To be honest, I was not looking forward to so much traveling, but the weekend far exceeded my expectations and I spent lots of great time getting to know David’s family better. We received open invitations from everyone to come visit, and it made me wish David had more vacation time so we could go see family more often. I think we will find the time to visit either way.

Dave ran the Peachtree Friday morning, and we drove down to Bartow after lunch. Walter took the car ride in stride like a true champion. I was impressed with his ability to entertain himself and not cry the entire time like he used to do when he was younger. He only napped for 30 minutes a couple hours into the ride, and I thought for sure we were in for the worst. But he kept his good humor the whole way.

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He loves his giraffe friend!

I love driving through southern Georgia. It is so beautiful and peaceful. Though cops like to give out tickets down there, knowing everyone on the highway is in between home and vacation, and they were certainly out in full force for the holidays. We drove about three over the speed limit just in case.

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But we finally got to stop at the Lane Peach Farm on the way, which I’ve been wanting to do for the past two years. We browsed the store, saw them pack peaches in the factory, and bought half a bushel, which I can’t wait to eat.

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 We arrived a little after 8:30pm, already Walt’s bedtime, and were greeted by numerous family members before we could even go inside. Walt was a bit shy at first, but he warmed up quickly and wasn’t shy the rest of the weekend. He enlisted family to help him reach the light switches, which he is currently obsessed with. He loved Granny’s house. Lots of chairs to climb, light switches to play with, and rooms and hallways to explore. After a bite of dinner, everyone headed out for fireworks. We were going to go straight to the hotel, but Jan rode with us and knew right where to stop to see them over the lake perfectly. Only in Florida with all the one story buildings is that possible. I thought Walter would be terrified, but maybe since “lights” is his favorite word and we kept pointing at the lights, he liked them. When we got to the hotel, he was so wound up that I think I fell asleep before he did.

The next day was easy-going and we napped in the morning, trying to catch up on Walt’s lack of sleep, and ate lunch at Zaxby’s. I ordered a salad and Walt demanded that I share some of it with him. What two-year-old loves lettuce?

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I love the moss on Florida trees. This was on the driveway to Zaxby’s. Certainly don’t see anything pretty like that at a fast food restaurant in Atlanta. Bartow is such a small, quaint town, I immediately imagined myself living there.

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Relaxing, playing with Mama’s purse, and putting on chapstick. I love this boy.

Granny’s party started at five o’clock and of course it was storming, so all our plans for taking awesome family photos outside was reduced to taking awesome family photos in the back of the church hall. But I had fun with it anyway since I love Photoshop.

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Look at this group! Not many folks missing from it.
What a blessing to have such a wonderful family.

The party continued at Granny’s house with an array of desserts, drinks, even more family, and more fireworks. Walt’s older cousin set them off (you could tell he was having fun at it), and we all stood around Granny’s back yard. Watching Walt’s delighted face and hearing his laughter was even more fun than watching the fireworks. Eventually, we finally took a tired little boy back to the hotel. He was such a trooper and a true party boy. He didn’t have a melt-down once until 7pm Sunday, when I attempted to put him to bed early after we got home. He was crying so hard I wasn’t sure he’d be able to fall asleep, but I calmed him down and he went to bed in five minutes. I fell asleep only a few minutes after him, waking when David got home to give him a hug and a kiss and go back to bed.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend, and a beautiful celebration of the family that Granny made. Happy birthday, Granny!

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Granny and her older brother Tom.

Photographic evidence of why wintery Utah was one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been

16 Feb

The cat was so happy we were back home that she didn’t get off my lap for 24 hours.

We left Atlanta snow, arrived for what I would call a Utah blizzard (1.5+ feet), and came home in time for more Atlanta snow. Let’s just say I appreciated the sunny 60° weather today.

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Our first up close glimpse of the Rockies. Walter was a terror on the plane ride there. Not really sure why. I was exhausted when we finally reached the condo.

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I’d never been to this part of the country before. It was stunning,
and having the mountains everywhere took my breath away
(and not due to lack of oxygen either).

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First day there. Lots and lots of snow. Everyone went skiing, so Mimi and I bundled the babies up and went outside. It was warmer than I thought it would be outside, so Walt complained about the snow and the fact that he was too warm in all his layers.

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Cousins are your first best friends!

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Dave sent me a picture from the top of the mountain, and of some people he didn’t know.

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Bundle up: it’s time to play in the snow with daddy too!

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Day two: still snowing.
Walt’s laughing at mommy and daddy attempting to sled down the road.

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Seriously, this sled was pretty much the only thing that made him smile outside. I was sad it didn’t fit into one of our 8 gajillion bags of snow gear for the ride home.

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He’s not really sure why people play in the snow, but he’s still cute about it.

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Daddy helping Walt build a snowman. Walt is sitting next to mommy’s creation: mound of snow. I had fun making it, I really did.

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It’s just pretty everywhere there. And they know how to keep the roads drivable too!

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View of the slopes at Park City before David attempted to teach me to ski (funny how small they look from the parking lot). Let’s just say the 3 year olds we saw on the slopes were more fearless than me. Maybe one day I’ll be a skier. At least I had fun snow tubing!

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We went on a sleigh ride one night at dusk. The view was gorgeous despite the smell of riding behind horses. Side note: Can you imagine living in that house?

It’s fun to go on vacations where you experience something new.
I’m ready to move out West now.

Utah

27 Jan

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In two weeks we will be in Utah.

I don’t usually go on cold weather vacations, but Dave’s family are skiers.

I just recently had to buy snow boots for Walt, because, well, we live in Atlanta. Not much use for them here. The lady at the store where I finally found some in his size said, “Yeah, um, stores are about to start selling spring clothes.” As if I was supposed to know that it was near impossible to find winter gear mid-winter.

Dave is intent on skiing with Walter strapped to his back. Somehow all my screaming has not dissuaded him of this idea.

I am looking forward to another trip with the family and showing Walt yet another aspect of this fantastic earth we live on. It should be beautiful. I’m just hoping we can convince him to keep on his hat and mittens so he doesn’t freeze his cute little self. Dave keeps telling me that it’s not going to be the arctic tundra I’m imagining, but I just don’t believe him.

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Our California trip part 1, or How the Johnstons brought the flu to LA

3 Jun

I have to admit that I am really impressed with my child. I don’t think every nine month old could travel cross country with such elegance and awesomeness. I was worried about the plane flight, the time difference, and sharing a room with the baby. Turns out I didn’t need to worry about any of that. He rarely ever cried, slept like a champ in his random hotel crib, didn’t wake us up in the middle of the night (unless you count 4am the first morning as the middle of the night. Which I would have if we all hadn’t gone to bed at 9pm California time), and never complained about pressure changes or cramped spaces on the flights.

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I had been sick the few days before we were supposed to leave. So sick, in fact, that I didn’t think I was going to be able to go on this long-anticipated trip. In all fairness to the other passengers stuck on board with me and to my body, I probably should have stayed at home in bed. But my brother-in-law only graduates from medical school once! And I really didn’t want David to go to Los Angeles without me and the baby. And if I was at home sick, I wanted him to take care of me, which wasn’t going to happen. I had even talked my mother into coming over and staying with me and Walt until I felt better.

So it took me until ten minutes before David was supposed to leave to decide that I was going too. The baby was still napping and neither of us were packed. Luckily my in-laws arrived – to pick David up – and instead of freaking out they helped us get ready. I sure am glad these people love me! We left 35 minutes later than expected, stuffed 7 people in a car meant for 6 (even though everyone had a seat belt on), put on the automated food machine for the cat, and ran out the door. We made it onto the plane right before they closed the doors!

I tried not to cough or breathe on anyone too much. There were tissues everywhere in my pockets and bags, and descending on the plane with that sinus pressure was the worst thing I have ever experienced on a plane. And I have had some bad plane rides before. My head has never hurt like that before, and I thought it was going to explode. Literally. But it didn’t. Thank goodness.

We had to double back to the car rental shop for a larger car seat, and by the time we got to the hotel my father-in-law needed a beer before we even checked in! I would have joined him except I try not to drink until after I’ve put the baby to bed for the night since he still nurses. Which ended up being a godsend on the plane because nursing calmed him down or let him nap whenever he got fussy.

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We stayed at this wonderful hotel right next to the Santa Monica pier that had delicious king sized beds and a housekeeping staff that was nice enough to drop off a fresh box of tissues every day without us even having to ask.

Dinner the first night was early – California time, at least – and at this place with a wonderful outdoor patio. We don’t get to do that very often in Atlanta due to the heat, bugs, rain, and humidity. I enjoyed myself even though I couldn’t hear anything or breathe through my nose. It’s hard to take cold medicine when you’re nursing. So much to worry about concerning milk supply and what the baby will get when he eats. But I stuffed myself with garlic rolls and red wine anyway! And I even had a bite of tiramisu for dessert!

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Walt was a trooper and lasted until the car ride home. Then we quickly washed the plane ride off him and tucked him into bed before falling asleep ourselves. Hello, California!

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Reasons I’m excited about California

25 May

In less than a week we leave for California. What was I thinking signing us up for that? Oh right, I’ve been craving adventure in foreign lands.

1. We have a nine month old who likes to crawl. The flight is 5 hours. That’s some good math right there.

2. He sleeps well but according to his schedule he’ll be going to bed at 4pm and waking up at 3am Pacific time.

3. He loves his food but I have yet to figure out how we’re going to feed him across the country without a freezer full of pureed cubes. The only other time we’ve tried canned food he didn’t like it. David says if he gets hungry enough he’ll eat it.

4. I will miss our cloth diapers as we spend money on disposables, those wonderful things filled with chemicals and diaper rash that never leave landfills.

5. Toys? What toys? You have to pay for checked luggage these days (even though California is far enough away it should be considered an international flight).

6. I haven’t shared a room with my angel since he was 2 months old and neither of us slept through the night. I plan on bringing ear plugs.

However, we’re going to have a blast. Even if I come home penniless with a tired, starving child, it’ll be one for the memory books.

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