One Insane Summer
Well that was the whirliest of whirlwind summers. Holy moly. I swear a minute ago I was counting down the days until summer vacation started and now? Now I am knee deep in lesson plans, marking and pumping (TMI?).
How? How, I ask, is this possible? I still have so much relaxing to do and so. much. other. shit. Like my taxes and losing 30 pounds.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, self, but summer is O.V.E.R. And I am slightly depressed about it. I am not sure what made it go by so fast, but man, it flew. It might be that I am just getting older and life gets infinitely faster as you age. Or is it the kids? Having kids seems to suck the time away faster than a Hoover can suck up dust ball (that word usage is a shout out to all my British readers. That would be you Kari). It also might have flown by because we averaged about 2 moves/transitions per week during our 6 week vacation.
And boom. I just lost my audience.
“Six weeks of vacation? Seriously? And you are complaining about how it went too fast? Guuuurrrrllll puh-lease.”
Why, yes I am, thank you very much.
And now that you mention it, I sound super spoiled so I will stop complaining that my 6 week vacation is over. Instead, I will try and recap it for you the best I can.
Let’s do this a la your (my?) high school yearbook circa 1992. Back when P.E. teachers weren’t sued for making kids play dodge ball, flannel was king and voting someone as having the “Prettiest Eyes” wasn’t considered ‘unfair’ or ‘exclusive’, it was just a fact. Yup. We are gonna break down the summer superlative style. Ready?
In order to do this properly, I think you need to understand who/what is in the running. In other words, let me first outline our summer stops.
June 18-20 – Boise, ID to quickly see Brad’s parents
June 20-27 – McCormick, SC to visit my parents
June 27-28 – Downtown Charleston, SC to see my cousin get married
June 28-July 5 – Folly Beach, SC to hang out with my extended family
July 5-8 – Atlanta, Georgia to regroup before heading back out west
July 8-11 – Boise, ID to gather with Brad’s family and Aunt from MN
July 11-16 – Sunriver/Bend, OR to meet up with Brad’s brother, girlfriend and his extended family
July 17 – Hood River to scout possible “house” locales
July 18-20 – Portland, OR to stay with our good friend Jenny
July 21-22 – Rockaway Beach, OR to hang out with our good friends Jess and Daniel.
July 22-27- Seattle, WA to see Brad’s brother Cole and, girlfriend Elizabeth and to scout houses/neighborhoods
July 27-August 4 – Boise, ID to see family and do last minute runs to Target
Full disclosure: the above list was also meant to try and squeeze out a smidgen of sympathy for me. Did it work? Remember, with every transition there was a packing and unpacking of tons-o-shit. Not to mention endlessly long car/airplane rides with an energetic 3 year old and a hungry 2 month old. Seriously, what were we thinking? We are kinda idiots.
So here they are, the Summer Superlatives of 2014:
Ummm… no brainer…..it was this:
Brado bringing me a Starbucks latte while schlepping our baby around on a beach. I think yes! Nah. Just kidding. Really, it was this:
Only joking. Sorta.
In all seriousness these would both be real contenders under normal circumstances but we were privy to some pretty incredible views this summer. But I have to choose just one so I’m gonna have to give it to the view of the mountains from atop Mt. Bachelor on a pristine Oregon day. Can’t really beat that view.
Coming in close second for best view has to be Cannon Beach, OR.
Or the view from the Great Wheel in Seattle at sunset.
Or this Carolina sunset…
See what I mean? Too many spectacular views.
Worst Travel Experience:
Thankfully I can only think of 2 REALLY crappy travel days. One was when we took the ferry from Seattle over to Bainbridge Island to scope out it’s livability potential. So the idea was to take the ferry and just blindly drive around the island. With two kids in the car. Who were bored. And crabby. And generally don’t care about house hunting. What were we thinking? Total fail.
But that does not even come close to catching our plane out of Atlanta @ 7 am. Holy nightmare. I don’t even remember what happened exactly. But it was horrible and that freakin’ airport is huge. Suffice it to say we that had to return a rental car and we had 3 huge bags, 2 carry ons, 2 car seats and 2 children —one who could not really walk because his leg was broken. It was awesome. And I love me some southern hospitality but dang, if the nice people weren’t on strike that day. Consequently, Brado has officially sworn off ever flying into the Atlanta airport again. And from the sound of it, this is not like me swearing off cookies. He is serious.
Again…too many contenders here. We were blessed to be showered with so many little treats for Finely and Beau (FYI: to all relevant parties your thank you card is in the mail…eventually). But the best gift had to be these:
The boxes were full of handmade headbands for the Finnster, courtesy of our friend Elizabeth. The opening of this gift was soon followed by a photo shoot where this happened:
Most Responsible Mom:
This award goes to me on this day:
Yup, I was walking around like this for, oh, at least an hour without noticing.
I did notice that people were staring at me a lot but I just thought that I looked extra cute that day or that Finley was making adorable faces at them. Nope. I was basically suffocating my daughter.
Best Meal Without Kids:
Okay I think technically we only had one meal without kids…but it was still the BEST. And not just because the kids weren’t there. The food was good too! Excellent, in fact. When we got to Charleston we hired a babysitter and went out on the town. We ate at a place called The Macintosh. I don’t even really remember what I had but it was amazing and involved pork. And seriously, meals without children are truly the best invention ever. I didn’t have to cut other people’s food or argue over whether or not they like cheese today. Needless to say, I got a little drunk.
Which is why the very next day I experienced THE SINGLE WORST HANGOVER OF MY LIFE. Not the summer…MY LIFE! Shout out to all my younger cousins who I definitely tried to hang with that night. Unsuccessfully, I might add. And an even bigger shout out to my saint of a husband who entertained Beau for 8+ hours while I threw up recovered. Also thanks to Finely who cuddled me all morning and told me it was all gonna be okay. I’ll take “things you should not do when you are 37 and have not had a drink in 9 months” for 500 Alex.
Best Wildlife Viewing:
I use the term ‘wildlife’ loosely. We mostly saw “wildlife” that was very much being held in captivity. Like at the Charleston Aquarium.
Or the rare pale-faced, whiner tortoise:
We even managed to see some dinosaurs (that you could ride). What are the chances?
But of all the places we saw animals trapped in cages, the place where they seemed the most happy was at the Portland Zoo. Well, we were happy anyway. Beau’s favorite animal? The elephants? The polar bear? The chimpanzees? Nope. It was the bats.
What is wrong with my child?
Most Overrated Attraction:
Hands down this goes to Multnomah Falls in Oregon. Growing up I had a poster of this waterfall in my room (remember mom?). It looked beautiful. So serene and peaceful. So NOT full of tourists and 8 dollar hotdogs.
And by the way when someone asks you to take a photo of their family in front of a HUGE waterfall, you might want to try and get a little more of the waterfall in the photo.
Best Family Selfie
Best Jouches (or The Items Least Likely To Ever Be Found In My House)
Cutest Human Being:
This one has to go to Finely….
or maybe Beau Beau…
or maybe we should give it to my awesome cute husband (especially when he is holding my cutie-pie kids)
I have never met a pool I didn’t like and we went to some good ones this summer. There was the super pretty and classy pool in Sunriver, Or.
And there was the perfect-temperature pool in my parent’s neighborhood.
But the winner has to be the public pool in Bend, Oregon.
If you are a kid or a parent of a kid…this is where you want to spend your summer. If you are a kidless man about town, trying to relax and/or trying to catch up on your summer reading…this is your worst nightmare. Avoid at all costs.
Best Train Ride
We only went on one…but it was beautiful. What is not to love about a train that travels down the Oregon Coast?
Best Thumb’s Up Picture
Could it be this…
or maybe this…..
or is it this…..
One thing is for certain, the ‘thumb’s up’ is clearly Brado’s signature move.
Oooooohhhh tough one. Hands down the prettiest beach was every beach we stopped at in Oregon.
But here is the deal…the water is FREEZING. Like my-toes-went-numb-after-1-minute cold. So I feel like I have to take off serious points for that. Folly Beach in South Carolina is not nearly as pretty but it was the PERFECT temperature for some wave riding and boogie boarding.
It was also where I got to reconnect with my whole family, whom I love and miss so much, so Folly wins this time.
Cutest Little Town I Will Never Live In:
Bainbridge Island. Cute. Adorable. Pretty. And totally not for me. The ferry schedule alone is enough to send me into panic attack mode (I do not cope well with having to “catch” trains or ferries or planes or buses). And maybe it is a testament to having lived in China for the past 5 years but it was far to orderly for my tastes. Where are the crazies? The jaywalkers? The disheveled folks? I am simply not civilized enough to live somewhere so quaint.
This goes to Beau after going full speed ahead down a pretty steep hill on his scooter.
Honorable mention goes to his father who, right before said faceplant, was yelling “Go faster!”, “You got it!” Grrrrrrrrrrrr.
We spent a lot of time in toy stores this summer. Mostly trying to distract Beau for 30 minutes or so before we went off to do a more grown-up activity like shopping or drinking alcohol. So one day we told Beau he could leave the store with any ONE toy he wanted. He could choose anything (unless of course it was super expensive. In which case we would have told him that they were sold out of that thing or yelled “fire” and ran screaming out of the store). Thankfully it never came to that. After much back and forth and hemming and hawing he settled on this dolphin.
I think it cost $1.97. #winning
Ummmm…is this a trick question? This summer was many things…but relaxing was not one of them. Which is why this is the first blog post I have written in two months. Is it ironic or funny or just plain crazy that I have more time on my hands now that I am back at my full-time, 40+ hours a week job than I did when on vacation with my 2 children?
So my sincerest apologies for leaving you all in the lurch this summer. I had big plans to blog and blog and blog and shop and blog. I did one of those things fairly well but neglected the other entirely. And while I missed it and am happy to be “back”, it also felt good just to be “in the moment” with my family.
Anyway…happy back-to-work or school or blogging or real life or whatever this time of year means for you. For me, this time of year means I should start planning my next vacation. Hopefully, this time, exercising a little more common sense.