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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Last weekend was long and yet short. Friday night we left SeaTac on an 11:45pm flight bound for Milwaukee. As you know, people watching is one of my favorite pastimes particularly at the airport. The one who took the cake this trip? A plump 70-ish year old woman in a skin-tight, one shoulder strap, leopard print mini-dress in wedge sandals so tall she could hardly shuffle in them. Oh man, I loved her; she was great.

Unfortunately, for once, I would’ve actually preferred a longer flight since it was our ‘night.’ We got about three hours of not awesome sleep before touching down in Milwaukee at 5:30 local time (3:30am our time). We picked up our rental car and drove half-way to Madison. We pulled off the highway at what appeared to be the quintessential country diner and proceeded to (like truckers at a truck stop – who did heavily populate the diner parking lot) nap in the car for two hours before going inside to breakfast. I was pumped to be in Wisconsin – the land of delicious cheese – so I made my selection carefully. Ordering a home-made croissant sandwich with ham and cheese, I practically salivated in anticipation….for my slice of melted American!!! What?! A little disappointing, I’ll admit. Thankfully, I did get to try some yummy cheeses at the Madison farmer’s market.

We arrived in Madison to see our friends (Eric and Mebbie) and meet beautiful, 5 week old, Goddaughter Emma. She’s adorable – just this little petite peanut of a thing! She’s so tiny (especially after spending my days with now 6 month old, 18 pound, 27 inch-long movin’ and shakin’ Kayliana). We had such a good visit with them. Eric and I were roommates in college the year that we were Peer Ministers for the Newman Center. We’ve done a good job through the years staying in touch and having brief visits whenever those two jetsetters made a quick pass through Seattle. I’m very happy that now, with my Godmother duties, we will always stay close!

We went to the Capitol Square for the farmers’ market and by default participated in one of the near-constant anti-Wisconsin Governor Walker protests. I opted not to carry a sign or sign any petitions as I have a vague understanding of what all the hype is about.

We had a lovely time all in all, though it was TOO short and I definitely feel like we spent much of the weekend getting lost in Madison (a nice way to see the area though as we were constantly taking the scenic route). It was graduation weekend for the (other!) UW so streets were fairly bumpin’ plus there was a good amount of construction and road closures further complicating our travel.

It was also hard leaving Kayli for the first time. It didn’t help that when we drove up to mom and dad’s on Friday night, I put her to bed and she immediately began screaming her head off. Thankfully, Mike was able to settle her down or it would’ve been impossible to leave. We bid the boys farewell (who were literally jumping on the beds…and bouncing off the walls…good luck, mom and dad!) and drove back down to our house to drop off our car. Then dad would deposit us at the airport. Unbeknownst to some of us (due to some major miscommunication), Mike had assumed that we would be taking my parents’ van, so when moving car seats and kid stuff, he’d had the forethought to bring our luggage and put it in their trunk. It wasn’t until dad and I arrived in the NONvan that we all realized what had gone down. So, we started the trip with a quick turn-around (after getting gas), driving back UP to my parents to retrieve luggage before we could head DOWN to the airport. Oye. It was Friday the 13th afterall. OK, so if that was the biggest snaffoo with our travels, great! We still made it to the airport in plenty of time.

However, our flight home was a little more…interesting. Our flight out of Milwaukee was slightly delayed departing as there was a medical emergency on the next airplane and the fire truck and ambulance were parked under our wing. (How rude!). And then, once we were finally underway, we flew for about an hour when it became clear (by the flight attendants rushing up and down the aisle and the lack of beverage service) that something was up (and not just our plane). WE had a medical emergency on board. I don’t know the particulars but there was about a 150 year old woman needing medical attention near the front of the plane. Thankfully, there was a doctor on board who worked on her (and went through two tanks of oxygen) before it was determined that she needed more help than he could provide. I felt the plane starting to go down (as in descending not as in, “We’re goin’ down!!!”…that would’ve REALLY added to the excitement). The pilot came on and announced that we’d be making a “quick stop” in Billings, Montana to get the passenger the additional medical care that she needed. This “quick stop” took about an hour and a half what with trying to figure out how to get her into the wheelchair and then on to the gurney and then we had to get refreshed oxygen tanks and then they needed to refuel the plane and I’m pretty sure seeing as Billings is a wee small airport, we had to wait for the farmers to come in from the fields to do all of these tasks. I called Dad to let him know that our 10:10pm airport pick-up was now looking closer to 12-12:30am. Both parentals, when I’d checked in with them throughout the weekend, had sounded, hmmm, what shall we say? Slightly exhausted and more than ready to return our cranktastic offspring to us. I’m fairly certain that might be “busy” the next time we need extended childcare.

Finally, finally, we made it home after our pleasant short-yet-long weekend. Mike got a cold, Matthew got a haircut, Zach had a fit, Kayli cried a bit, and I got to read uninterrupted on our delayed flight! Yup, that about sums it up.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I don’t even have the words to explain how busy-yet-not we’ve been. I feel like our calendar is jam-packed and yet I spend days on end just ‘chilling’ at home: homeschooling Zachary, trying to get Kayliana on a routine nap schedule and trying to keep her outta jams. So, while I feel like I’m at home a lot, there’s just never enough time to get on top of things. (In addition to the standard stuff: my half marathon is just six weeks away so my training runs are getting longer; works been pretty bumpin’ for Mike; the boys have TBall practices and games every week; we are supposed to update all of our Engaged Encounter presentations; the yard is in DIRE need of some work, etc., etc.).

Kayliana has begun doing an inchworm-army crawl- face-plant scootch thing that has already proven tricky. She’s found herself under the coffee table, pinned up against a chair and one foot dangling near the railing above the stairs. So, needless-to-say furniture has been rearranged (to block all precarious cliffs) as has my life. Woah, shocking, right? A baby! Cramping your style? Shakin’ up your schedule? Causing extra work?!! Who knew?!

Besides the regular chaos, we spent this last weekend in sheer bliss. My dear friend Katherine (we met teaching nearly ten years ago) and her pixie-gorgeous-girl Grace (20 months old) came from California for a visit. Katherine and I are on a good run now of seeing each other in May (our joint birthday month). In 2008 she came here (Zachary was 2, Matthew 4). In 2009, after visiting family in Chicago she and I went to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (she was preggo and her hubby Dan was in Iraq at the time). Last year, I visited them in Monterey (and hung out briefly with Clint Eastwood in Carmel). Rainy Seattle is no match for Carmel-by-the-Sea, but she and cutie pants Grace were still willing to see us all and meet Kayli. We spent the weekend mostly just hanging out, getting caught up, and playing with the kiddos. We had a dance party, went to the zoo, went on a run, ate delicious food and drank delicious wine…you know, the usual quiet weekend stuff.

I must say that the boys were ridiculously cute with Grace. In the car, on the way to the airport, Zachary asked me what Grace looks like. I went on and on about how she’s this little sweet pixie of a girl; kind of like Tinkerbell but WAY cuter. After saying this, Zach could not keep the grin off his face. I told him that he better be careful ‘cuz Grace is AWFULLY cute and what if someday he wants to marry her instead of Kayliana’s bff Veronica..?! Zach shook his head and said, “No, Mom. You KNOW that that would make Rebecca [Veronica’s mom] totally WAY mad.” True. Besides, Grace is already betrothed to a little buddy named Peter. Who knew that the 21st century would be all about the arranged marriages?!

Sadly, I deposited Katherine and Grace at the airport on Sunday evening with the promise of having a future destination birthday meet-up. Hawaii, perhaps? (We can dream, right?)

This upcoming weekend, Mike and I – always the jet-setters  – fly off to another destination: Madison, Wisconsin. We get to leave the kiddos (all three!!) with the parentals and leave on a red eye Friday night, returning home Sunday evening. We are so looking forward to spending quality (yet brief!) time with Eric and Mebbie – good friends from college – and their newborn daughter Emma (our Goddaughter as of Sunday at the Baptism). I’m so excited to see them, to meet her and to get to Godparent for the first time!

As usual, I’m not too pumped about the flying part (eh, doesn’t bother me that much unless there’s turbulence, then I keep a puke bag handy), but I’m TOTALLY thrilled to be in the airport – my number one favorite place to people-watch. I can’t wait!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

One thing that’s awesome about being a parent is getting to break rules – like even your own rules. (For example: one rule I break as a RULE – as in without fail, I don’t let myself down; I BREAK this rule – is treats in the morning, for breakfast. As a kid, if you ask your parental unit if you can have candy before breakfast they will scoff in your face and look at you with regret like, “hmmm, maybe I did drop you on your head when you were a baby.” Well, now, I start EVERY single morning, with my coffee and a piece of dark chocolate. It’s like I’m laughing in the face of rules. Ha! Take that RULES. I’m such a rebel!). Another fun aspect of parenting is doing the things that you said, “I will never….” (Like, I’ll never the answer question “why?” with “because I said so.” Dude. I’ve TOTALLY pulled that line out). And really, deep down, when you say, “I’ll never…” you kinda know that there’s a REALLY good chance you’re just setting yourself up for some future failure/rule breakage.

So, I have always said that “I will never have a kids’ birthday party at a big crazy birthday party-type place.” I’m eating those words. I totally caved. I blame parental guilt. For some reason, we only have birthday parties approximately every four (or more) years for our children, so since this was the 5th for Zachary, it was high time we celebrate in style. The ONLY thing he wanted for his birthday party was getting to have it at one of those big ‘ol cheesy family fun centers ‘o chaos. So, I gave in. Zach, Matthew and several of their boy buddies partied there on Saturday. It was noisy, it was bumpin’, it was chaotic and they had so much fun.

We had started the day with excitement: first ever TBall team pictures (then back home for an hour), first ever TBall game.(then back home for an hour) and then came the birthday party. Needless-to-say, the kids CRASHED Saturday night from all-funned-out-exhaustion.

I’m happy that it all went well but I was even happier when it was over. I can honestly say, I will NEVER ever have a kids’ birthday party at a big place ever again (…for at least the next four-five years.)

[P.S. Check out the enormous spit-bubble-of-joy on Kayliana’s chin!]