Category Archives: travel

2018 in review

Highlights only, y’all. We all have enough lowlights daily.

January

  • School roller skating party
    Monkey’s third time roller skating. He’s not very good at it, but he always gives it a go before spending the bulk of the time playing games in the arcade area (lol).
  • Snowpocalypse!
    While we get snow 2-3 times each winter, it’s typically in the 3″ or less range. In January of 2018, we got a whopping 7-10″! It was beautiful and lasted a few days. Perfect.
    Our front yard
    snow

February

  • Sleigh Bells at Lincoln Theater
  • Started volunteering with local group
    I make food, and Monkey and I serve it to folks at a downtown mission once a month. He loves doing it and it sparks super interesting convos with him on the drive home. We both feel good helping out in our community and are looking for more opportunities where kids can assist.

March

  • Snow
  • Beatles cover band with kids at Cat’s Cradle
    Seemed like a fab idea. Take our kids to our favorite venue and invite their besties to come, too. OMG, y’all. Kids weren’t much interested in the music, and ran completely wild for around 25 minutes before we called it and left. Sigh.

April

  • Margaret Cho
  • Superchunk at Cat’s Cradle
  • DW’s new band’s first show
  • Bulls games (2)
  • Easter with Granny and Papa
  • The MM turns 5
    Had his first real birthday party at a bounce house place with his preschool buds and other BFFs.

May

  • Preschool graduation for the MM
    My baby graduated from preschool. Wasn’t he just born?
  • Dad’s heart scare
    My dad was admitted into the hospital for a three night stay with arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat – his was in overdrive and he didn’t even know it). It was very scary while doctors tried to figure out what was up and why. He is on meds and has a heart doctor that he sees regularly, but has been basically fine since he was released. Hopefully this trend continues.
  • Out! Raleigh
    Yearly LGBTQ event that is a lot of fun for the whole family. Typically, we get beers and hang out in the bounce house area watching the kids jump.

June

  • Disney Cruise!
    So, this was a mixed bag, primarily because our kids were overtired and over stimulated and refused to use the kid’s club.

    Highlights
    : Castaway Cay, Disney’s private Carribean island. All of us swam and floated all day in the ocean, had delicious food and drinks, and had a wonderful time. We also swam with Sting Rays, which was amazing. We loved the Beauty and the Beast show we saw on the boat, the food was excellent, and the waterslide SUPER COOL!

    Lowlights
    : Kids fought A LOT, refused the kid’s club, wanted to be in the pool constantly (there were 2 very small, overcrowded pools, which was disappointing).We’ve talked about possibly doing another cruise in the future, when kids are little older, so who knows?
  • Kennedy Space Center
    Super cool, especially the Atlantis space shuttle exhibit. We saw the Endeavor in LA, but this was spectacular on a whole other level. It was hot as hell the day we went, and the kids were kind of a nightmare in the beginning, but I’m really glad we persevered because it was a great experience. I want to go back and explore more.

July

  • Raleigh SuperCon
    First comic con with the kids (well, if you don’t count Monkey’s actual first con at 7 months old). We all had a really fun, geeky time and decided we are totally going to hit all of them in our general vicinity from here on out. Mama and Mommy are happy to be back in our element, getting sketches and autographs and nerdy merch. Yay!
  • SC beach trip
    We’d decided to skip the family beach trip this year since we did the cruise, but we ended up going for a long weekend, because free beach trip.
  • Bulls game

August

  • The MM starts kindergarten, Monkey starts third grade.
    W.O.W. Both kids in regular, full-time school. The MM doesn’t care for his teacher, but is doing really well, making friends, and learning a lot. Hoping next year’s teacher will meet with his hard-won approval.
    Mommy and the MM on 1st day of Kinder
    1st day sch
  • Comiccon: Second con, this time, the kids dressed up. Monkey was Ninja Deadpool (his own invention) and the MM was Mario.

September

  • Car Seat Headrest at Cat’s Cradle
  • Uneventful Florence
    We were told to prepare prepare PREPARE because this would be bad. Ended up not being much at all for our area, thankfully.

October

  • Breeders show in Columbia
    My parents live in Columbia so it worked out for us to see one of our all-time faves, the Breeders!
    Got a signed album
    breeders
  • Bro’s wedding
    My brother remarried in a nice, intimate ceremony at the beach. I got to spend time with my fave (though problematic) aunt and see my uncle, who I’ve not seen in years. Had a wonderful time reconnecting.

November

  • Durham comiccon
    Not the greatest con, but still a fun day.
  • Election
    This year, DW and I were all the way in. She text banked for many Dem campaigns across the country, I did poll greeting for early voting, and we both did poll greeting on election day. Felt amazing and will continue the trend and get more involved . Next up: Doing all we can to get IDs for NC voters prior to next election.
  • Superchunk show at Motorco
    This was a free show on election night with a photo showing you at your voting location. So good!

December

  • Monkey turned 9 (!!!)
    Party to come in early Feb at a trampoline place (his “fake” birthday party as he calls it).
  •  Hamilton!!!!
    LOVED IT!!!!!! So much that I’ve purchased tickets for us to see it again in NYC in June.
  • Trip to NY
    This was an impromptu getaway that was supposed to be for one night, but ended up being an amazing three night Mamas extravaganza! We were invited to see a fave band play a private gig so we quickly got flights and a hotel for Sat. night and got my mom on-board to watch the kids. It snowed like crazy overnight in NC, so we got bumped and kept getting bumped until late Tuesday. We squeezed in a play (Wicked), a visit to the Met, lots of shopping (the Nintendo store, y’all!!!!), and sight-seeing. It was wonderful.

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single parenting and death

How’s that for a headline? Don’t worry – DW and I are just fine 🙂 Her grandpa died on Thursday and she had to fly to LA to be with her mom with no notice, so I’m on my own with the boys from last night (Friday) through Tues. when my mom will arrive to help me out (she has my brother’s kids for the long weekend). DW returns Tuesday PM.

Grandpa was 99 years old – his 100th was coming up this week. He was a great guy and an amazing grandfather, so of course we are sad at his passing. That said, his quality of life has been bad for several years, so it’s also a positive.

We decided to tell Monkey about it since he visited Grandpa many times and we thought since they weren’t super close, it might be a good way to start talking more about death and dying. He took it well initially and had lots of questions. Later than night, he expressed concern about my dad (“Papa is old, is he going to die?” “We only have one Grandpa left.”) and his uncle (Muncle John) and he cried and said he was sad about Grandpa.

We dropped DW off at the airport last night and came home and started getting ready for bed. My plan was to get the MM down first in his bed, then Monkey in our bed, and move the MM to our bed when I went to bed. I got Monkey involved in a Wii game and told him not to come upstairs so that I could get brother to sleep. It took FOREVER, but I finally managed it. Then I got Monkey ready for bed and we talked some more about Grandpa, but there were no tears. Took from 6:45-8:15, but both boys were offically out and I was on Mama time. It was very exciting: iPad and HGTV!

I went up around 10 and got myself ready, moved the bedrails from the MMs room to our room, moved the baby gate from the MMs room to our room, woke Monkey to go potty, then transferred the MM. I slept in the middle and it was, shall we say, very cozy, even though we have a California king size bed. All was well until the MM woke up yelling at 2:30AM (“I DON’T WANT THIS BED! I WANT THE OTHER BED!”). Monkey woke up, I told him to lay down and I walked around with the MM to get him back to sleep. He did, but the minute I tried to lay down with him, the screaming began again. I decided to try to get him down in his room and then transfer him.

Got him down fairly quickly, but when I tried to get up, he woke up and cried. I brought Monkey into the room and had him get in the (full size) bed. Realized Monkey was crying. I asked him what was wrong and he told me he’s sad about Grandpa 😦 I sat down next to him and comforted him while rocking with the MM. Got him calmed down and got back in bed, this time with the MM in the middle. Then both boys got the giggles. For like 40 minutes. I thought I was going to lose my mind, y’all. They finally dropped at 4:30AM. I had to move the baby gate from our room to the boys room and then collapsed on the 3 inches of mattress I had.

Boys woke up just before 7. Sigh. We moved to the big bed (along with the baby gate) and they played on the iPad while I snoozed for half an hour. Came downstairs, fed cats, fed kids, got ready to shower in our small bathroom downstairs with stern warnings of no fighting. Just as I was stepping into the shower, Monkey runs in and says the MM wants to get in. Sigh. Get him stripped down and in the shower. After the fastest shower on record, I get us dried and dressed. Finished getting ready and headed to the mall to hit STAR.BUCKS!!!!, the play area, the Disn.ey St.ore, Leg.o Store, and Ga.me Sto.p. They did pretty well considering the sleepless night. We have had lunch and they are now watching a movie and eating popcorn, which is how I have the time to write this novel.

Planning to order pizza for dinner, and hit the local kids museum in the morning and maybe see The Goo.d Dino.saur in the afternoon at the $2 theater. Monkey is supposed to be back to school Monday (year-round calendar here and he’s been out for three weeks), but there is a good chance of ice and snow, so I may have both of them stuck inside. Pray for me. I got lucky with work: they give you up to 5 bereavement days that don’t count against your PTO, so I’m taking Monday and Tuesday, and will work from home Wednesday and Thursday while my Mom is here.

Other random updates:

  • Monkey is having his tonsils and adenoids removed on April 20.
  • We found out yesterday that he got into the local magnet school we applied for.
  • My mom will be here for her birthday (2/16).
  • DW’s birthday is 2/22 and I have no idea what to get her. She just buys what she wants during the year. I told her to go on a shopping spree while she’s in California, but she probably won’t. What should I do?????

I’ll try to update again tomorrow with more wackiness. I figure this will be a good post to read when I’m reminiscing about my perfect babies in the future. LOL.

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Filed under grief, sleep, travel, Uncategorized

30 day challenge: day 8

A place you’ve traveled to

DW and I love to travel and have been all over the US (Florida Keys, Boston/Cape Cod, New York, Seattle, Charleston [SC], Atlanta, all over California). In 2006, we went to London for about 10 days on my company’s dime (I had to give a training course). It was my first time out of the country (at 36!!!) and it was incredible. We took a day trip to Paris (SO not enough time) and a day trip to Bath during our trip.

While in London, we went to the British Museum (which was walking distance from our hotel), Westminster Abbey and the surrounding area, National Gallery/Trafalgar Square, Tower of London, the London Eye (haha), and a Jack the Ripper walking tour. London is a cool place and we had a great time soaking up all the history. We encountered quite a bit of anti-American sentiment there, and none at all in Paris. I would have expected the opposite based on what people tell you. Well, it was the Bush era, so I don’t blame them.

We took the Chunnel to Paris for a day and did a guided tour thingy. First they put us on a bus and drove us all around Paris showing us the sites (Louvre, Notre Dame, Arc de Triumph, Champs Elysees), and then stopped at the Eiffel Tower so we could go up in it. Then they put us on a boat for a short ride around the Seine. Finally, we got back on the bus and headed out for a tour of Versailles. We were a little nervous about being in a country that speaks a different language so that’s why we did the super touristy thing. But we instantly fell in love with Paris and are DYING to get back there. Both of us stood there open-mouthed a few times just taking it all in. We enjoyed London, but Paris just took our breath away.

On another day, we took the train to Bath, which was great fun in itself. While there, we toured the Roman baths and walked all over the gorgeous little town. What a beautiful place.

When Monkey is old enough, we want to do a week in France (oh Paris, I can’t wait to explore you!) and a week in Italy (a place neither of us has been). I’ll leave you with the requisite Eiffel Tower photo:

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Filed under meme, travel

trip

The family went on a lovely weekend getaway to Cambria (central California coast). We pretty much have been going yearly for ten years or so, but it was our first time with S. We all had a great time! We stopped in to see our friends in Santa Barbara on our way up for lunch on Friday and baby had fun playing with our friends’ sweet little guy, who is 9 months older than S.

At lunch, S really got into the food! I ordered a pesto pasta and veggies dish (all organic) and he could not get enough of it. Seriously. It was the first time he’s shown such an interest in food. That trend continued during our trip, and we discovered that baby loves salmon! We have officially graduated to having dinner with baby and sharing our meal with him. I love it! We are in need of some new recipes as we have very few that we make now and some are not baby friendly, so if .you have them, please post!

In Cambria, we took baby to the beach, where he was much more interested in the seabirds than the ocean. We Ergoed him and strolled around the adorable little town. Everyone was besotted with baby. The place we stayed has really pretty gardens so we walked him all over and let him crawl around in the nice grassy area.

At night, he went down like a champ in the Pack N Play and then joined us in bed when he awoke after we went to sleep. The trip also seemed to have an added benefit – baby’s sleep schedule has shifted out!!!! He slept most of the ride up, so he didn’t go to bed on Friday until around 7:30PM. He was up for the day at 5:45AM! Sure as hell beats 4:00AM! We made sure he got good naps back at the hotel Saturday, and he stayed up until 7PM. Sunday he slept until 5:15AM. We have continued this trend back at home (today he slept until 5:30AM). Yay! I sure hope this continues and that we are able to keep moving him out come the end of daylight savings time…

On our way home, we stopped in Solvang, an adorable little Danish town known for its wine tasting. We are not wine fans, but we love the year-round Christmas store they have there!

A good time was had by all 🙂 We are thrilled that baby seems to love to travel and do new things!

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Filed under 10 months, eating, travel, vacation

travel woes – update

My parents are having a hell of a time getting here today. My mom’s flight got delayed and she missed her connection, but she is supposed to be getting on another flight and getting here around 9PM. Here’s hoping! My dad’s flight got delayed 3 times and then finally got cancelled. He is booked on another flight tomorrow morning. Please let the weather cooperate!

My dad said my niece drew a picture of her and S and wrote their names at the top. How cute is that?

Update: My mom is on her flight! So she will make it today.

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Filed under birth, family, travel