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Thanksgiving Re-Cap

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

I’m not going to go into every little detail about our Thanksgiving trip up to King City/Lockwood because I don’t think you really care what the kids ate for lunch or what pajamas they wore at night.

Soooo, we left San Diego around 8pm to embark on our 6 hour drive.  The reason we left so late was so the kids would sleep the whole way and we wouldn’t have to make a ton of potty stops for them.  Not even 10 minutes into our trip and we start hearing, “Momma, I go peepee.”  Great, we just discovered the problem with having potty trained kids on a long road trip.  This was going to be a fun drive.  We were able to find a place to pull over and then quickly get back on the road.  The kids seemed to fall asleep pretty quickly after that.  Yay!  Now, Pat will tell you how the drive took about 6 1/2 hours, but I disagree.  I only remember it taking about 3.  He will either blame that on the fact that I fell asleep too, or on my bad memory.  I’m going to go with the sleep.  We get to Grandma Jane’s house in King City about 2:30am and when the kids woke up they were super excited to see where we were.

The great thing about being in King City is that we get to sleep in!!!  Seriously.  We have both been running on the bare minimum of sleep since right before the kids were born.  The fact that we get a chance to sleep in every so often is awesome!  When we finally rolled out of bed the kids were eating pumpkin pancakes and playing with Grandma.  There I go with details.  Ok, as Pat will tell you, I have a pretty crummy memory, so I honestly have no idea what we did that day.  I think that was the day I dragged Pat to go see Breaking Dawn.  I guess I better explain myself.  Yes, I like the movies.  The books were shit, but I enjoy the movies and you can never have too many shirtless wolves.  They are also great movies to make fun of while you are watching them because the acting is just sooooo bad.  So, anyways, Pat will tell you he went kicking and screaming and I had to bribe him with all the candy we snuck in, but I think deep down he wanted to see Jacob without his shirt on too.

The next day Pat and his mom went and played golf and I took the kids over to my mom’s school so she could say hi to the kids.  I didn’t realize that there would be a catered lunch waiting for us in the teachers lounge.  Yummy!!!  After that we headed back to Grandma Jane’s house.  Later that afternoon Jane had a little gathering of friends so we got to be social and have some good food.  Pat’s friend Jeremy was there and I got to see my friend Mandy.  The kids were a big hit, as usual.  Later that night Pat went over to Jeremy’s house and played cards all night.  This is a little tradition they do every time they are in town at the same time.

On Wednesday we headed out to my parents house in Lockwood.  The kids pretty much just hung out and played in the tree house with grandma and grandpa.  That evening things got a little interesting.  See, every Thanksgiving my dad and I make the pumpkin pies.  I will brag a little here and say they are like eating a little slice of heaven with a cloud on top.  Getting the pies to that point can be a little tricky.  My dad is in charge of the crust and I do the filling.  It seems like every year things go terribly wrong in the crust department and it always ends up on the floor in what’s know as a crust tantrum.  I know where Jack gets it from.  This year was no different, but in the end we always make it work and the end result is divine.  I’m sure my dad would jump in if he were here and say how the kids helped and threw off his measurements or maybe it was because Ella was the one reading the cookbook.  Pat’s dad and Dorothy showed up after they pie episode so the next morning when the kids woke up they had a house full of grandparents!!

Thanksgiving:  Well, the kids played outside, My mom cooked, the grandpas BBQ’d the bird, Grandma Jane showed up, Lunchbox ate cat shit, we ate a kickass dinner, ate heavenly pie, bathed the kids, and went to bed.  That about covers it.

Friday morning started off with me working.  I had a photoshoot for two adorable toddlers.  It was so much fun because after the shoot, the twins got to come out and play with some new friends.  It was the sweetest thing ever.  They showed their new friends how to feed the sheep and gave them the tour of the treehouse.  They were all holding hands.  Seriously, the sweetest thing EVER!  The new friends taught the twins all about driving the power wheels my parents had.

That night Pat and I got to escape the house and head to The Waystation.  Let me back up a little bit here.  Lockwood is one of those “towns” that is in the middle of nowhere with about 400 people.  There is a tiny store no bigger that a shoebox, a K-8 school, and a post office that is smaller than the shoebox store.  It also has the Waystation.  It is a bar, restaurant, pool hall, and general hangout place for all the local drunks.  So why were we there?  Aside from it being the only place to get a drink, I got to meet up with a bunch of friends I’ve known since kindergarten!  Growing up, these guys were among my best friends.  There were only about 12 of us who when all the way from Kindergarten through 8th grade together.  and half of them were able to make it that night.  We had a bunch of drinks and played some pool.  Going back to the whole Waystation thing, this is the type of place that has $1 Shock Tops on tap during the happy hour and $2.50 after happy hour.  There is a reason everyone goes there to drink.  I guess we also were there on karaoke night.  There was only one person who could actually sing.  We wanted to take up donations from people to pay the others not to sing because they were just so bad.  Oh, and one guy was singing Nirvana, while sitting on the floor drinking a beer.  Classy place.  The truth is, we had such a fun night.  It was really great catching up with everyone.  This will be a regular thing the next time we are all in town at the same time.

Saturday morning came way too soon and started off with another photo shoot.  After that we just hung out at the house and then packed up the car.  We headed into Paso for dinner with my parents and a side trip to the candy store for the kids.  My dad payed them each a nickle, or “ni-no” as Ella says it, for each nail they picked up.  They got to take their ni-nos to the candy store and each buy a small bag of jelly beans.  After that we headed home after making a million potty stops.

Here are the rest of the pics from the trip

Update time

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Yikes!  It’s been awhile.  Soooo, our little (mis)adventure continues as the kiddos keep growing.  It’s hard to believe they will be 3 next month!!!  Seriously, where does the time go?

Let’s see, since our Death Valley trip we have done a lot… sort of.  Our latest trip was our yearly trip to Sedona to spend a long weekend at Grandma Jane’s time share.  As usual, we had a great time!  The kiddos went on their first jeep tour and seemed to have a pretty good time.  They weren’t too sure about it at first, but I think they warmed up to it.  The adults thought is was an awesome ride!  We have done a jeep tour before, but we had other people in the jeep with us.  This time it was nice because it was only us and we were able to stop when we saw interesting stuff or ask the driver a ton of questions.  Other than the jeep ride, we pretty much just spent a lot of time at the pool with the kids and Pat and I were able to sneak out a couple times and go on a “date.”

The kids also had their first long train ride recently.  I took them up to my parents house to go pick blackberries.  Since my car was having issues, I figured why not take the train?  It was actually pretty fun for the first 4 or 5 hours.  We colored a lot and watched movies and played with moon dough and took a lot of trips down to the cafe.  The last couple hours are another story.  There were no naps and it was getting to be bedtime so they started getting a little cranky.  A few timeouts later and we made it to SLO!  The kids had a great time picking blackberries and helping grandma in the kitchen making her famous apple cake.  To get back to San Diego, we hitched a ride with my parents so my mom could spend her birthday with us.  Well, that tured into a major misadventure.  Ella, Grandma, Grandpa, and myself all came down with a horrible stomach flu.  It was probably the worst flu I have ever had.  Poor Pat!  He was stuck taking care of all of us sickies and keeping Jack entertained.  He gets the husband/father of the year award for that.

The kids keep getting bigger and bigger and now we are doing the whole potty training thing.  I will do a whole post on that in a few day.

Everything else is going well too.  I have a bunch of photo shoots coming up and my Etsy shop is doing really well right now.  Pat is on travel a lot more than we would both like, but it is what it is.

Coming up we have the kids birthday and another train ride in store.  Hopefully I can keep them entertained for longer this time.

Death Valley – 2011

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

For as long as I can remember, every spring break since I was about 2 years old has been spent in Death Valley.  Sure, there have been years when I had to miss due to Mexico trips or school, but for the most part, I have gone every year for as long as I can remember.  This year was really exciting for me because it was the first year the twins got to go!

As excited as I was about the kids going camping for the first time, it was a little sad because Pat had to work and wasn’t able to come with us.  Instead of Pat, I had a replacement spouse for the trip.  My best friend from childhood, Coral, rode shotgun in my car and kept the kids company on the super long drive.  She was awesome and it was just like old times when she would go with our family to Death Valley, except this time we were in the front seats and not the back seats.  I think I’m going to break this down by day.  It will be easier for me to actually remember everything that way.

Day before:

Ok, so since Pat was on travel the week before we left I decided to head up to Lockwood a few days before the trip and leave from there so I wasn’t driving to the desert alone.  On Saturday (The day before we left), Jane, my MIL, and Coral, my BFF, headed to Lockwood so we could go to the Dutch Oven Event that was put on to raise money for the Nacitone Regional Interpretive Center.  There were a ton of cooks there all using dutch ovens to prepare amazing dishes.  The chuck wagon that my dad has been working on was also there and it looked great!  During this outdoors event, it just happened to be pouring down rain.  The kids thought it was the greatest thing ever (until they got to the desert).  I don’t think there was a single puddle there that they didn’t splash in.  By the time we headed back to my parents house, both kids were soaking wet with huge smiles on their faces.

When we go back to the house we just hung out with the kids and finished packing and loading the cars.  The plan was that we were all going to go to bed early since we had planned on leaving at 7 the next morning.  I’m not one for plans, so of course Coral and I stayed up late talking and catching up.

Day 1 – Not only am I not one for plans, but neither are my parents.  The whole 7am thing turned into 8am.  We met up with Teresa, James, and Mariah at McDonald’s and then John and Jane showed up there too.  After breakfast we officially hit the road.  The kids did pretty good since they slept the first part of the drive.  We made a stop in Tehachapi at Denny’s for lunch.  The kids liked seeing the big windmills as we went over the hill.  After that we headed into Ridgecrest were we had to stop and get last minute supplies that we forgot (my pillow).  After Ridgecrest we had a short stop in Trona, yuck, to wait for the rest of the group since I drive at a normal speed and not like a slow old lady.  As we headed to Death Valley we had to stop and let the kiddos find a cache and to get a group shot in front of the Death Valley sign.  When we finally got over the hill and into DV, the real fun began

Normally we do back country camping.  Basically we just drive down a road until we find a good place to set up camp.  This year we stayed at the actual campground instead.  We wanted to have access to water and the store and the main road because of the kids.  Soooo, we finally get the the campground and start setting up.  The kids totally loved playing in the dirt and running around screaming while we tried setting up.  I got a new 10 person tent, so Coral and I had to figure out how to set this monstrosity up.  It was actually pretty easy.  Once it was up, it was obvious this thing was more like a castle than a little tent.  When the kids realized they got to sleep on an air mattress, they broke it in by jumping all over it.  Once it was broken in to their satisfaction, it was bed time.

Day 2 – If you have ever gone anywhere with my dad, you know how he is on a hike.  He has a general idea of what he wants to see, and that is all.  So, we went on a little hike to find a rock.  No, I am not kidding.  It was a rock with some petroglyphs on it and it was literally in a Vast area full of almost identical rocks.  Somehow, we managed to find this rock and a couple others that were just like it.  I think we ended up walking for just over a mile and the kids did great!  Ella kept picking up rocks and putting them in her pocket.  When she ran out of room, she started putting them in Jackson’s pockets and my pockets.  It was really cute.  On a side note, when I got home and started doing laundry, I kept finding rocks in the washer.  After the rock hike, my dad and some of the other people went off and did another more intense hike.  Since I had the kiddos, we headed to the store and got some ice cream then washed up back at camp in a sink that was on the backside of the bathroom.

Day 3 – There are certain things that are pretty predictable about a desert trip, especially if there are new people going.  One of those things is a drive to Inyo Mine.  Now, Inyo is probably one of the coolest places ever!  You can take a short, but steep hike up a hill to the actual mine and unlike other mine shafts, this one is not covered.  As long as you have a good flashlight you can go in and explore.  There are places you have to be very careful because there are air shafts that go straight down.  We have even seen people there with climbing equipment that were exploring the other levels.  How cool would that be?

Did I hike up to the mine shaft?  Nope.  I have seen it about a million times and I didn’t want the kids up there.  Instead I stayed below with the grandmas and Coral.  I took a ton of photos and showed the kids all the cool old buildings.  Ella really liked the one that I call the sunburst building.  We had lunch and played with trucks and shovels while we waited for the others to come down.  Once they got down, my dad informed us they were going to go up the road and look for more Indian crap.  Soooo, we headed back to camp.  Once we got back to camp we had to find a way to stay cool.  It was about 100 degrees and we didn’t have any shade.  We found a little area under a tree but the kids wanted no part of it.  Instead, Ella went and made dirt angles and Jack played with his trucks out in the sun.  They got a little red.  I think we had a camp fire that night, but I don’t really remember.

Day 4 – So, this was our “cool off” day.  It started off super early with everyone except Coral, the kids, and myself doing the Golden Canyon Hike.  Since we didn’t want to sit in the camp site and wait for them, we took off and went to the Salt Creek boardwalk to see the pupfish.  The kids had a blast running up and down the boardwalk.  I was glad they didn’t try bringing a fish back.  It started to get super hot so what do you do?  You go to the store and get ice cream and beer, of course.  After we finished up it was time for me to pick up the hikers.  Since it was ridiculously hot, we headed to Scotty’s Castle which is at 3000 feet elevation.  It was nice and cool up there.  Everyone did the tours except myself, the kids, and Grandma Jane.  We hung out on the lawn and let the kids throw leaves in the little stream and watch them float away.  They had soooooooo much fun!  They loved dropping the leaves in and running downstream to wait for them.  We were there for awhile because the weather was nice.

We got back to camp and decided it was shower day!  The store has a pool and shower that are open to the public if you buy a ticket, but if you go during the down time, no one is there checking tickets.  Ella screamed through the shower so that everyone in the pool could hear her!  She was not a happy camper.  After we were nice and clean we went to the saloon and had pizza and beer.  Yum!

Day 5 – Again, predictability played apart in the days activities.  I actually got to choose what we did, so I picked Rhyolite and Titus canyon.  Yes, we do this every year, but there is always something new to discover here for me.  Usually I find something new to take a picture of, but this year it was fun watching the kids run around the ghost town and play in the old buildings.  While we were here we ended up doing a little mini session photo shoot.  Part of Rhyolite is the Bottle House.  It is a house made out of a gazillion bottles, but in 2005 they did  some restoration work on it and now it has pretty much lost it’s appeal.  I hate when they take and old building that has character and paint it with new paint.  At least the kids liked it.  After we left, we headed into Beatty, NV to get some gas and lunch, then headed to Titus Canyon.

Titus is a one way canyon that actually involves some 4-wheel drive.  It takes a couple of hours, but it’s totally worth it.  About halfway through the canyon there is an old mining town called Leadfield.  We went exploring and the kids discovered how to bang rocks on the metal pipes to make super loud “music.”  After our explorations, we headed down the road.  The narrows were just amazing and the kids kept looking up saying, “Wow.”  Once we got out of the canyon we got tired of waiting for the other people so we took off and did our own thing.  At first we headed to the store and got more ice cream of course then we headed back to camp but it was way too hot!  We went over to the little picnic area by the store and it was nice and “cool.”  We stayed there for awhile and the kids worked on their Jr. Ranger books so they could earn their badges.  After we got tired of sitting there we went and did the Artist’s Palette drive and went out to Devil’s Golf Course so I could take some photos with the nice evening light.  After that we raced down to Badwater to catch the sunset.  Now the kids can say they have been at the lowest point in North America.  I got some cool photos then headed back to camp for dinner since I had two very hungry and very tired kiddos. 

Day 6 – This was our pack up and head home day.  Our castle was pretty easy to take down once we got it all cleaned out.  Somehow, my car ended up much fuller this time around or maybe I just didn’t pack it right.  Once we got everything loaded up, we went over to the visitor center and the kids got their Jr. Ranger badges.  After that we headed home!  It was a pretty uneventful trip until we hit Tehachapi.  There was an accident on the other side of the freeway and there was a helicopter sitting on the freeway.  Jack thought it was just the coolest thing ever.  After that we made it home and the unpacking began.

That was pretty much our whole trip.  I really hope next year Pat can go with us.  This summer we want to take a camping trip on our own.

Rather than include all the photos on the post, here are links to the galleries:

Dutch Oven Cook Photos

Death Valley Photos

The Kiddos Go To Disneyland

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. It’s been crazy around here with work and the kids. Also, there just hasn’t been anything exciting to share lately. The kids are doing great, but there’s not much new to report. They eat, they poop (and then rip their diapers off), they run around, and they don’t talk (I’m sure once they start we’ll regret ever asking them to start, but come on already guys). Well, last weekend we finally had something worth writing about: Ella and Jack’s first trip to Disneyland.

Back in June, Shae and I pawned the kids off on Shae’s parents and took an overnight trip up to Disneyland. It was definitely great to get a break from the kids for a couple of days and have some fun, but we also kind of wished they had been there too. Well, as luck would have it, our tickets were good for three days so we still had one day left to use with the twins. We decided that July 30th was the day our kids would get to meet Mickey (more on that later). We even lucked out and picked a weekend that Erica would be visiting San Diego that weekend, so we had someone to go with us and help us take care of the kids.

As we started to get close to the day of our trip, we started getting excited, especially Shae. That, of course, led to lots of Internet surfing to get advice on dealing with toddlers at Disneyland. There were all kinds of tips, but the “best” one was to get some luggage tags and attach them to the kids with names, parents, and phone numbers. So the morning of the trip each kid got a huge, orange luggage tag hooked to their belt loops to wear around all day. Of course, the first thing they did was chew on them. Good thing Shae got the chewable tags (they should really market them that way).

Once the kids were tagged, we loaded everyone up in the car (Erica rode between the car seats), and headed to Disneyland. Our drive was pretty uneventful, and we got parked and unloaded without incident. Our first “ride” was the tram from the parking garage to the park entrance. As would be the case on pretty much every ride, neither kid was very comfortable on the tram; Jack cried, and Ella was just kind of uneasy. After a few minutes of riding, we got to the entrance, rented our strollers, and introduced the kids to Disneyland.

First thing on the agenda once we got to Disneyland was to get Jack and Ella all pimped out in Disney gear. Erica got them some Mickey and Minnie shirts, and I picked up some “1st Visit” buttons from City Hall. Once the kiddos were properly dressed, it was time to get them on some rides. We decided their first ride should be Pirates of the Caribbean (and by “decided” I mean that was the first ride we came to that we thought would be OK for them), so we got everyone loaded up on a boat and began the fun. Everyone did OK for a while, but after a couple of minutes Jack was not sure about the dark. By the time we got to the canon shots, Jack was really not a fan of Pirates. He did OK, but was definitely scared. Ella did better, but she wasn’t exactly excited either. Oh well, at least I had a good time.

Since the kids put up with Pirates, we decided we should take them over to Fantasyland and take them on some rides they might enjoy a little more (after the adults took a couple of rides on Big Thunder Mountain of course, can’t let the kids have all the fun). The first ride we came across over in Fantasyland with a short line was the Snow White ride, so even though we thought Jack might be scared again we jumped right in line. Both kids actually did very well on the ride, and I think Ella even had a little fun.

We figured after two “scary” rides, the kids deserved something nice and calm. The carousel seemed like a perfect fit. Everything was going fine on the carousel up until the thing started to move. Ella and Jack both did OK at first, but once the horses started going up and down they were not happy. Ella calmed down pretty quick, but Jack could not wait for the ride to end. He was very brave and didn’t start crying/screaming, but he didn’t jump back in line to ride again.

Since the kids didn’t seem to be enjoying the rides, we decided it was a good time to head over to Toon Town to meet Mickey. Before heading over to visit Mickey we made a stop at Goofy’s house. The kids had a great time playing around at the house. They ran around in the front yard, played the piano, and Jack played with the cabinets inside for at least 10 minutes. It was great to watch them just have fun and play. As much fun as they were having, eventually it was time to go visit Mickey. I remember going to Disneyland and seeing Mickey and Minnie walking around. Now, you have to go over to their houses if you want to see them. After walking all over Mickey’s house and waiting in two separate staging areas, it was finally time for Ella and Jackson to meet the mouse.

I think things would have been a lot different (read: better) if we weren’t the first family in our little grouping, but of course we were. The way things are setup, you go through two staging areas, and then finally into the room where Mickey is. As you walk in, they line you up on the side and it’s very clear where you’re supposed to pose and stand to take a picture. Well, at least that’s the case if you aren’t first in your group. We walked into the room to see Mickey standing on one side, a photographer on the other, and a cast member instructing everyone else to line up. We had no idea what we were supposed to do, so Erica grabbed her camera and stood by the photographer while Shae and I took the kids and headed toward Mickey. You’d think that watching Mickey’s Playhouse every day would have prepared the kiddos for their meeting, but you’d be wrong. As we approached, both kids started screaming. Jack threw himself as far away from the mouse as he could get while still holding on to Shae, while Ella ripped free from me and ran screaming toward Erica. I couldn’t wait to see the picture, and I was not disappointed. I think my favorite part is Mickey’s huge grin and Shae yelling for Ella.

After deciding they weren’t big fans of rides or Mickey, the kids decided to get back to something they are good at: napping. About five minutes after we got them back in their strollers, both kids were passed out. Jack even fell asleep with his hand in his snack cup. While the little ones slept, Erica and I went over to the Haunted House. As we were standing in line, we saw a boy of about eight being carried by his mom and looking terrified. Up ahead, his sister was running off on her own and her dad had to pull her back by her ponytail. Erica and I joked that we were looking at the future of my kids: Jack terrified and clinging to mom and Ella off running ahead of dad. Of course, no sooner did we say something that I heard the dad call the boy “Jack”. A while later as we were getting off the ride we saw the family again. This time it was bright enough that we could read the name on the back of the boys ears-hat. Sure enough, it said “Jackson”. I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure I looked into my future.

When Erica and I got back to Shae and the kiddos, Jack and Ella were just waking up so it seemed like a good time to go get them some mouse ears. We picked out the classic hats (pink for Ella, obviously) and Shae got their names embroidered while Erica and I watched the kiddos. Don’t worry, the kids looked very cute in their ears. Like there was any doubt.

We made another trip back to Toon Town to play on Donald’s boat (which the kids loved), grabbed some ice cream, and then it was time to call it a day. The kids did great, but they were pooped. It took about 10 minutes in the car before they were both out. They slept the entire way home and we had to force them to stay awake long enough to eat dinner when we got home.

That’s about it for our first trip to Disneyland. The kids were really good and the trip was a lot of fun. My favorite part of the trip was watching the kids have fun playing at Goofy and Donald’s houses. It was great watching them have so much fun. I’d have to say their meeting with Mickey was a close second. The kids get in free until they’re three, so I’m sure we’ll have another trip or two in the next year or so.

Christmas in Texas

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

After Christmas in La Mesa, it was time to pack our bags and head to Texas for another fun and exciting Christmas.  On the 26th my dad got up early with us so he could drop us off at the airport.  The drop off spot was actually pretty empty and we were able to check our bags pretty quick.  Things were looking pretty good.  If you have ever flown out of the San Diego Airport, you know you have to walk upstairs to go through all the security stuff.  One of the things you never really think about until you have to push a stroller around, is where the elevators are.  We were able to locate the elevator pretty quickly and head upstairs.  That is where our good luck ended.  As soon as we get out of the elevator, we see the line for security.  The line was all the way across the covered pedestrian bridge and almost to the parking lot!  Now, keep in mind, the bridge is part of the outside, so we had to stand in the freezing cold weather with two tired, cranky babies.  Not fun.  Despite being super long, we were able to get into the warm part somewhat quickly.  As soon as we were inside, it felt like we were in line at Disneyland, but without the fun ride at the end.  When we finally got up to the place where the TSA agents check our licences and boarding passes, the guy who was checking our line was also checking the first class line, so it took FOREVER!  After we got through, we had to deal with the actual security part.  Normally this is pretty easy, you take off your shoes, and put all your crap in the grey bins, walk through, and then collect your crap.  It’s not that easy when you are traveling with two toddlers.  Since I had a bunch of milk and food and stuff like that, I had to go in the “special” line after we walked through the detectors.  They had to check every single item with a special light.  For as long as this took, Pat took longer.  Apparently he “had too many electronics” in his bag so they took the bag, emptied it, and checked everything.  I think it was the baby monitor that made it “too many.”  OK, so about an hour after we got to the airport, we were finally headed to our gate.  Thank God our gate was the first one, because when we got there, they were boarding the last section!  When we got on the plane, you could almost see the dread in everyone’s eyes as we walked on with our two cranky toddlers.  We found our seats and had to do some shuffling because we weren’t allowed to have the both babies in the same row.  It was time for take off!

The kiddos were actually pretty good for the first half of the 3 hour flight.  For the most part, they just slept on our chests and everyone was as happy as could be.  Things started going down hill after the drink cart came by.  I don’t know if the cart hit Ella or if it was the noise, but whatever it was, she woke up.  In an effort to get Ella some milk, I jarred Jack enough to wake him up too.  Queue the crying and whining.  I had enough snacks and milk to keep them somewhat satisfied and they calmed down.  I was also fortunate enough to have an empty seat next to me so I could put Jack down for a little bit and give my arms a break.  We took turns putting Jack and Ella in the empty seat and it worked out pretty well.  When we were landing You could tell that Jack’s ears were starting to hurt and he started crying.  We made it out of the air and onto the ground and the kiddos were pretty happy again.  Tom picked us up at the airport and we headed to Brian and Dorothy’s house in Houston.

When we got to the house, our first priority was getting the kiddos fed!  They made sure we knew how hungry they were.  After a yummy lunch we let them meet their great aunts and uncles and their great grandma.  After all the oohing and ahhing, we let the kiddos play for a few minutes and then it was nap time for them.  Around the time they went down for their nap, their cousin Liam was waking up from his nap.  Liam is just 12 days younger than our munchkins and looks just like Jack!  We were kind of bummed that their nap schedules were so different, but it all worked out.  Eventually our kids woke up and their other cousins, Oskar and Maya showed up.  Oskar is 18 months old and Maya Just turned two.  They all had a great time playing together.  We decided to walk over to the neighborhood park for a little bit to let them burn off some extra energy.  they all had a great time playing on the swings, slides, and rocking things.  After we got back, we opened all our presents.  We got some great stuff and the babies got a bunch of new toys!  After the excitement of opening all our new stuff, we fed the kiddos and put them down for the night.  We had an awesome dinner shortly after and spend the rest of the evening hanging out with family.

The rest of the week was pretty mellow.  There were more walks to the park and more playing with babies.  It was so much fun watching all the cousins play together.  It is amazing how different they all are, and how much they look alike.

Our week finally came to an end and it was time to pack up and head home.  As much as we love visiting with our family, we both wanted to get home and free Lunchbox from the kennel.  We headed to the airport nice and early in anticipation of another security hell.  Well, we were through the security line and to the gate in just 20 minutes.  This time they didn’t have to analyze every little thing in our bags and we just walked on through.  You know what’s not fun?  Being at the airport an hour early with two tired, hungry toddlers.  We ended up finding an empty gate and just let them run around a little bit.  We were finally able to board the plane.  Once again, we had to do some seat switching so we weren’t all in the same row.  There were actually quit a few babies on this flight.  Ours were by far the loudest!  Once we got in the air Jack fell asleep pretty fast, while Ella was just screaming!  She finally fell asleep and it was all good for about an hour.  When they woke up, all hell broke loose.  Jack was sitting in my lap and he didn’t want to be there.  He was so squirmy and loud!  Yup, we were those people.  Jack kept hitting and scratching me and kicking the girl sitting next to me.  Pat was holding Ella and she was even louder!  I guess she kept pinching Pat and squirming around.  The flight seemed to take FOREVER!  As soon as we finally landed, the people around us jumped up as fast as they could.

Chris and Patty picked us up at the airport and we headed home!  While we were gone, a Christmas miracle occurred, our house seemed to clean itself!  Thanks parents!!!  Pat picked up Lunchbox and it was nice to finally be home.

Sedona

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

A few weekends back marked our first trip to Sedona with the little ones, and we had a great time in the desert with my mom.  It’s been crazy around here (between work and babies) so I haven’t had much time to sit down and write up a recap, but I’ve got a couple of minutes so here goes.

Wednesday:
It always sounds like a great idea to start our long drives after I get off work. Driving while the babies are asleep is nice, but finishing up a seven-hour drive at 3a.m. is not a lot of fun. Traffic was light, but Shae and I were both completely exhausted by the time we got to Sedona and checked in. The babies, of course, were well rested at 3a.m. and were ready to play as soon as we put them in their Pack-N-Plays.  Fun times.

Thursday:
Just like our last trip (up to the parents’ for the 4th of July), we spent most of our first day trying to get some sleep and recover from the drive.  It finally occurred to me that by the time we’re done resting up from our late night drives we’re ready to go about the same time we would be rolling into town if we just left in the morning.  Anyway, after some rest we still managed to get in some fun on our first day.

We headed on over to Safeway to pick up some food for the weekend.  About three minutes after we walked in, a woman came running into the store yelling “Security! SECURITY!!! I Need Security! There’s a fight in the parking lot!” After I got over the shock of someone running into a Safeway expecting to find a security guard (the closest she got was the guy who picks up the carts from the parking lot), I did the only logical thing: I ran out into the parking lot to see what was going on.  I didn’t get to see the real excitement, but apparently two women in their 60’s had gotten into a tussle. One of the women was standing in the parking lot telling anyone who would listen how horrible the other lady was. I don’t know what actually happened, but I like to think one lady yelled at the other for driving too fast in the parking lot and chaos ensued.  As we were leaving the store with our goodies, lady #1 was retelling her side of the story to a local cop.  Quite the exciting trip to the Sedona Safeway.  Our trip was off to a good start.

Friday:
Somehow, we actually managed to get up and out of our room early enough to go on a hike Friday morning. After consulting the book of hikes, my mom and Shae decided on a nice, easy morning stroll. We drove a few miles to the trail head, threw the babies into their hiking backpacks, and started off on our adventure.  The hike was supposed to be a short little 0.6 mile walk (0.3 each way), but of course we somehow turned it into a 1.5 mile trip. Apparently, we were just supposed to go to a random fork in the trail and turn around but we didn’t get the memo so we kept on going for a while. Our hike was much better. The extra mile or so turned what might have been a boring little stroll into a great trek down to a creek. Definitely worth the extra walking. The kids didn’t seem to mind, especially since they both fell asleep about 10 steps into the trip back to the car.  They live a tough life.

After we got back to the room, we took a short break and then headed over to the pool.  There are two pools at the resort: the adults pool and the kids pool. Obviously, we had never spent any time at the kiddie pool (they seem to think I’m old enough to hang out with the adults) so this was our first experience there.  Jack had a great time in the water (again). He was happy to splash and squeal and generally just have fun. Ella, on the other hand, just kind of floated around and relaxed. She wasn’t unhappy, but she didn’t seem to be having a lot of fun either. That is, until she found a boy. A 4-year-old (or so) boy who was at the pool swam up to Ella and she got SUPER excited.  She started bouncing in her floaty and squealing and having a great time. He kind of pulled her around the pool for a while and she had the biggest smile on her face. I’ve said it before, but my daughter is already boy crazy. I am terrified of what she’s going to be like as a teenager. That is going to be awesome. I can’t wait.

Once we got the babies home, fed, and asleep, Shae and I took advantage of our babysitter and went out to dinner.  As always, it was great to be able to get out for a few hours alone. After dinner, we got in a nice nap and then decided to hit up the Sedona movie scene. I can’t do the whole experience justice, so here are the highlights:

  • Just after we parked, a couple parked next to us in a little, tiny Scion. Nothing unusual about that, except this couple was very…ummm…huge.  The guy had a shirt on that said, “I’m Not Big, You’re Small”. I would have to disagree with his shirt.
  • The Scion couple got out of their car carrying an empty popcorn bucket and two huge soda cups. This seemed odd to us, but then we noticed almost everyone was carrying buckets and cups.  Apparently the theater in Sedona has a program that allows you to bring in your bucket and cup and get cheap(er) refills. Nice.
  • We saw a woman actually wearing a Bumpit. If you don’t know what a Bumpit is, you should watch the commercial. Hers was so awesome you could actually see the Bumpit in her hair.
  • The 13-year-old kid across the aisle from us was wearing sunglasses. In a movie theater. At 10:30 at night. I guess he was trying to look cool. It didn’t work.  It takes a lot more than sunglasses to look cool when you’re watching Harry Potter with your mom.

Saturday:
Since we were on vacation, we ended up eating out with the babies a lot more often than we normally do.  On Saturday we finally had our first experience with a restaurant that did not welcome the kiddos. We had eaten at the Cowboy Club before, and it’s a pretty loud place where the babies should have fit right in. We walked in and said we need a table for three with two high chairs, and immediately the hostess ran over to the manager who came right over and said it would be 30-45 minutes in such a way that it was clear he would rather we didn’t wait. Very weird, but oh well.  The place across the street had no problem finding a table for us so I guess we have a new place to eat. I know it can be annoying to have babies in a restaurant, but Jack and Ella are still young enough that they don’t cause much trouble. I guess I have one less place in Sedona to pick from when figuring out where to eat. Should make our decisions easier.

When we were all stuffed, we headed back towards our resort but at the last second decided to take a trip up Schnebly Hill Road. Schnebly Hill road is a beautiful drive that ends up with a gorgeous view of the Sedona area.  The road is sort-of off road (very bumpy, but doesn’t require 4WD), so my mom had never made the drive before. It was definitely worth it, and I’m sure we’ll make the drive a few times in the years to come.

Sunday:
Well, now I know why we drive at night.  I’ll drive until 5a.m. next time, just as long as I don’t have a repeat of our drive home from Sedona.  The babies spent almost all of the drive screaming their heads off.  Shae sat in the back with them and fed them, played with them, talked to them, whatever she could think of.  Nothing worked. They just kept screaming. We changed Jack’s poopy diaper twice. Nope, more screaming. Not even a giant mango limeade from Sonic could salvage the drive (On a side note, why the hell wouldn’t Sonic have mango limeade on their menu? It’s awesome, why hide it? I want one right now. I’ll be back). It sucked, but eventually we made it home with a little bit of our sanity in tact.

The 4th

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Last weekend marked our first 4th of July with Jack and Ella.  As much as I hate travelling on holiday weekends, I somehow got sucked into heading up to King City/Lockwood at the last minute.  There was a lot of driving, but the babies were big hits, and it was pretty fun.  Here’s a recap:

Wednesday
After the longest 3-day work-week I can imagine, I got to top it off with a 380-mile drive after work on Wednesday (with the stylish top-carrier strapped to the roof, of course). The traffic was pretty light considering the upcoming holiday, but a brush fire on the Grapevine slowed us down a lot and the trip ended up taking over seven hours. The fire was about five miles from Smokey Bear Rd., and I couldn’t help but think that maybe Smokey should stop telling us to prevent forest fires and take care of his own backyard. Oh well, what can you do? Eventually we got to Lockwood, dealt with upset babies (Ella did not like being moved into the Pack-N-Play in the middle of the night), and got a couple of hours of sleep.

Thursday
Thursday was pretty quiet. We spent most of the day recovering from Wednesday’s drive and trying to get some sleep. Shae had a (paying) photo shoot in the morning, so she left the kids with me and went to take some pics. Luckily, I was able to pawn the kiddos off on Grandma Grace and Kat (Grace’s 17-year-old cousin who was visiting Lockwood and hitched a ride back to SD with us) and get in a nice, long nap. Outside of Shae sneaking in her own three hour nap later, not much else happened on Thursday.

Friday
Friday, however, was not quite as lazy. We decided to take the babies and Mr. Box down to Cayucos to go to the beach. Shae, myself, the babies, the Box, Shae’s parents, my mom, and Kat piled into two vehicles and headed down to play in the sand. It was a beautiful day down in Cayucos, and everyone had an awesome time…especially Lunchbox. In fact, I think I should turn things over to LB to recap his day.

Oh, my God! The beach was awesome! The humans told me that I would be able to run free, but of course once we got there they pointed to some stupid sign with a dog on a leash and said I was on lockdown. What a crock! Oh well, I was so happy to be able to get to go with everyone that I didn’t really care I had to walk the humans all day. Eventually we got the human babies (and all their crap…seriously, I have a leash and a collar, why do the babies need so much stuff?) out of the car and headed over to the beach. Daddy had a lot of trouble pushing the giant stroller through the sand, and he was taking forever to get close to the water. It wouldn’t have been that bad, but the sand was HOT. I mean really hot. My feet were burning up, and eventually Mom had to take me up to the cooler sand because someone finally noticed me “suggesting” we hurry (as in move quickly, not pee).

This seems like a good time to make sure everyone reading this understands how awesome sand is (the cool stuff, not that super hot crap…that SUCKS). I hadn’t been to the beach before and couldn’t believe it was full of soft dirt perfect for digging. How come the humans hid this from me for so long? We live in frickin’ San Diego! I’ve said it before, but my human parents are lame.

Anyway, my grandmas picked out the best spot on the beach, and then the humans set up blankets and towels for the babies and ate some food (I didn’t get any of course, although I asked very nicely). While they were eating, I noticed a lot of other dogs running around the beach without leashes. One dog was actually carrying his own leash in his mouth (Mom and Dad told me that’s not what the sign meant when it said dogs had to be on a leash, but the other dog didn’t seem to care). I pointed all of this out to my human parents, but they just ignored me (as usual). Once Dad was done eating, he and Grandma Jane took me on a walk down the beach. That’s when the fun really started.

Dad took me over to the ocean and let me play in the water. I just want to let everyone know you shouldn’t drink the ocean water. It’s gross, just trust me on this one. After a few minutes of playing in the water, I guess Dad and Grandma decided we were far enough from other people because I got let off my leash. AWESOME! The first thing I did was run up and say “hi” to a jogger. She didn’t mind, but Dad wasn’t too happy so I decided to behave before I got put back on my leash. To any dogs out there: stop reading right now and get to a beach. I got to play in the water (it’s fun to chase…way better than a lake where the water barely moves), chase after birds, run all over the cool, soft, wet sand, and even play with another dog for a little bit. I could barely contain myself. Eventually it was time to head back, so I had to go back on leash (but not before Mommy came over and got some pics of me playing). Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Back at “camp” (AKA three blankets and an umbrella), I decided if I couldn’t play in the water I’d do the next best thing: dig a giant hole. I got in trouble for kicking sand all over the babies, so I had to go away from camp and dig. Beach sand might just be the best digging sand ever. I dug, and dug (Kat helped me a little), and eventually had the perfect hole. Then, just for fun, I peed in it. Back to digging. A few minutes later I had a perfect hole again and it was time to take a break. The beach was exhausting, and I was pooped (not literally, and not in my hole…that would be gross). I can’t wait to go back to a beach, I hope the humans read this and take me sometime soon. Like tomorrow.

–Lunchbox

Wow…I guess LB had a lot to say about the beach. We’ll have to take him to one of the SD dog beaches sometime soon since he was so good at Cayucos.  The babies seemed to have fun (well, they got lots of sand all over so I’m assuming they had fun), and didn’t get burned (more than I can say for Shae, myself, and my mom). I’m not a huge beach guy, but it was a lot of fun.

Saturday (the 4th)
After our day at the beach, it was time for the babies to have their first 4th of July. It took us a while, but eventually we got packed up and moved the party into King City. After unpacking at my mom’s house, we headed over to San Lorenzo Park for Heritage Days (basically, the annual 4th of July car show/festival). The babies were dressed in some very patriotic outfits, and they got lots of attention. We did some visiting, had some Swiss sausage, and then went home so the munchkins could get some naps.

Saturday evening, we headed out to Vicki and Ed’s for some dinner (more Swiss sausage). Jack and Ella were quite the hit, especially Ella. She was sitting in the middle of the room “singing” and swinging her arms like the conductor of an orchestra. The ladies thought she was the cutest thing ever, while the guys sat in the other room and chatted. Jack was cute too, but Ella was the attention hog on Saturday. At one point, she crawled over to Shae and actually begged for some of Shae’s dessert. Seriously, she begged just like a dog (complete with puppy dog eyes). I was appalled when Shae actually gave her a taste of her dessert. We don’t reward LB for begging for food, why does Ella get a treat (Jack got some too, but I didn’t catch that one).

Sunday
Sunday was another quiet day. Shae wanted to get a picture of Ella in some leg warmers for some photography/prop contest and got it in her head that the train tracks were the perfect place for the shot. My mom stood guard over LB and Jack, while I tried to keep Ella in one spot and limit the amount of railroad-track-rocks that made it into her mouth (I did better at keeping her in one spot than keeping rocks out of her mouth).

The rest of the day was pretty quiet. The babies took a couple of really good naps, and I actually completely forgot about them for a few hours. That was kind of nice. A few people stopped by to see the kids, but mostly it was a very laid back day.

After Ella and Jackson were down for the night, Shae and I snuck out to catch a movie. Just a slight rant here, but why do people think it’s OK to bring babies to R-rated movies (or any movie for that matter)? If I wanted to hear a baby cry, I could have stayed home and startled Jack. I really don’t understand why they allow parents to bring babies into theaters, but I really wish it would stop. Any theater that comes out with a policy that no babies/toddlers are allowed into movie showings (except for the “Mommy Movie” showings, and maybe the G-rated flicks) will have 100% of my movie business (assuming they actually play the movies I want to see). Either that, or make it more expensive to take a kid to a movie than to hire a baby-sitter. That would probably fix the problem too. OK, done with that rant.

Monday
Another travel day. After getting everything packed up, we loaded up the car (with extra cargo since we were giving Kat a ride back to SD), wedged Shae in between the babies, and hit the road. I somehow forgot we were driving on a Monday instead of a Sunday and timed our departure completely wrong (causing us to end up in LA at 4:00…great timing), but we got lucky and hit minimal traffic (all things considered). When got home, we discovered the house hadn’t cleaned itself up like we had hoped, but we were just happy to be back so we weren’t too hard on it.

That’s about it for our weekend. We’re still working on getting all of our pictures uploaded, but here’s some pics of our day at the beach. We’ll throw some more on this post in the next couple of days, and you can always check out our photo page.

Traveling Fool

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

Well, Shae and I made it back from our trip up to King City/Lockwood. Overall it was a pretty good trip. Shae’s dad’s retirement party was lots of fun. Good food, a few beers, and lots of funny game warden stories. My dad and Dorothy made a trip down for the party so Jack and Ella had lots of grandparents to play with. As a bonus, it was my mom’s birthday on Sunday so it was nice to be able to spend some time with her on her b-day. Like I said, it was a good trip and a fun weekend.

I could probably recap the party and grandparent visits more, but I’d rather bitch about my travels. Since Shae drove up with the little ones a week before I headed North, I caught a flight up to Monterey to meet up with them. There aren’t a lot of flights from San Diego to Monterey so I had little choice but to hitch a ride on a tiny plane from SD to LAX and then another puddle jumper up to Monterey. I’ve had the pleasure of flying in the tiny American Eagle planes in the past so I wasn’t exactly expecting first class accomidations or anything. In fact, my first flight was cramped but nothing too bad. The SkyMall magazine was in rare form this trip. From a replica Capt. Kirk seat to $70 dog nail trimmers there was tons of great stuff. It was once I got to LAX that my trip soured.

When we landed at LAX, our flight attendant read off the gates of connecting American Eagle flights and I was happy to learn that my flight to Monterey was only three gates down from the gate I was arriving at. I would soon learn that was because the crappy terminal we landed at consisted of about six gates. There must have been a whole thirty people waiting at the terminal. Talk about life in the big city. Anyway, after hanging out at the hub of LAX for a bit (and typing up a blog on my phone), I realized I should probably make a quick stop at the restroom before boarding my next flight. After about 30 seconds of exploring the entire terminal, I finally found the one men’s bathroom in the terminal and of course it was closed. Seriously, if you only have one freakin’ restroom in a terminal maybe you should clean it sometime other than the middle of the day. Perhaps try cleaning one of the 50 other terminals that have been graced with multiple crappers during the day and hit up the solo terminal when the place is empty (well…emptier…at full capacity the puddle jumper terminal is pretty close to empty). Just an idea.

About an hour or so after my arrival at LAX it was time to board my next flight. Once again, I folded myself into my tiny seat and got ready to get airborne. Here’s the part about my entire airplane experience that really got to me. My flight was pretty full, but it wasn’t packed (I saw about 10 empty seats when I glanced around). However, as we were waiting to leave the gate a representative from the airline got on board and told us that the plane was too heavy and one passenger would have to get off (“This plane will not leave this gate until someone gets of.”). I understand that the airlines are hurting and need to sell every ticket possible, but if the plane can’t fly with a full load of passengers then why the hell don’t they take out a row or two and give everyone more leg room?!? How does it make sense to make seats smaller to get more on the plane if you can’t even fly if the plane is full? If it was one or two empty seats I would think maybe the luggage was heavier than normal but there were at least 10 open seats, and I’ve heard from several other people that this has happened on their flights too. It cost American a $200 travel voucher to get a passenger to wait an hour for another flight, which is more than double what the full-fare LAX-Monterey ticket costs. That’s some good business there.

Anyway, once the plane got airborne the flight was actually pretty nice (even if I could really have used the extra leg room that removing a row or two would have provided…go read the rant in the previous paragraph again while I calm down…OK, I’m good now). The flight from LAX to Monterey goes right up the coast for a while and then over some coastal hills that were beautiful. We landed right on time (although I would like to know how a “50 minute” flight can take off 20 minutes late and land on time…shouldn’t they just schedule it as a 30 minute flight and list the real departure time?), and was met at the airport by Shae, her dad, and the twins. After a week apart, it was actually pretty great to see Jack and Ella again.

A few other random notes on my travel experience:

  • As usual, I checked in online and printed out my boarding passes. The difference this time, however, was that American placed ads for hotels and tourist attractions on the boarding pass screen. I was able to find a “Print without attractions” link so the ads weren’t on my actual boarding passes, but still…wow. The airlines have resorted to selling advertisements on boarding passes now. I wonder what’s next.
  • This is not the first time I’ve been on a plane since they started selling peanuts and almonds, but it’s the first time I actually caught the price. $3.00 for almonds? What the hell?!? Beer/liquor bottles are $6.00, but a little bag of nuts cost 3 bucks. Out in the “real” world a can of Heineken or whatever costs what, a buck-fifty? That would put the markup at around 400% which is a lot, but nothing near charging $3 for a $0.25 bag of nuts (1200%). Does anyone actually pay three dollars for the almonds? I’d like to meet that person and ask them how long they had to starve themselves before they were willing to pay that much money for half of a snack.
  • I got to the San Diego airport around 10:30 (for an 11:30 flight), and got off the plane in Monterey at 2:50. So it took me almost 4.5 hours to get from SD to Monterey, of which all of about 60 minutes was spent in the air. Factor in the hour to drive back down to King City and it actually took the same amount of time to fly as it would have to just drive (pre-baby). Of course, if I’d driven I wouldn’t have gotten to learn about the replica Capt. Kirk chair and the $70 dog nail clippers. Thanks SkyMall.

Well, that’s about it for my travelling rant. The drive home was much better than our last trip. Shae was able to squeeze in between the car seats so we didn’t have to stop for 30 minutes every time Jack and Ella had to eat, and we actually made pretty decent time. The trip still took longer than it used to before Shae and babies, but it wasn’t the 10 hour ordeal of our last drive from King City to SD. Overall it was a pretty nice weekend and it’s good to have Shae and the babies home, even if I do miss being able to sleep. Shae took something like 350 photos (seriously, for once I’m not exagerating) so hopefully we’ll have some new pics over in our gallery sometime soon.

One last thing: if you haven’t checked out Shae’s “Daily Photo” blog (not really daily, but I’m giving up on that battle), she’s actually been updating it lately and has some cool photos (and edits).

A Weekend In Arizona

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Last weekend Shae and I hit the road and headed to Sedona to spend the weekend with my mom. We figured the best time to head over to Arizona would be July. Nice and cool in the desert in July. Actually, it wasn’t even that hot over there last weekend. The thermometer in my car only read ‘—‘ (meaning over the ~110 degree max that my car will register) once or twice on the trip, and it was in the mid 90’s or so in Sedona. Downright frigid! I wish I had packed a coat.

The trip out of San Diego was pretty uneventful, but it got exciting in Yuma. You know what they had in Yuma? Gas prices that started with a 3 — $3.99 (for regular, it cost me $4.22 for premium). I really hate that I was surprised to see gas under $4. That was pretty much the highlight of driving in Arizona. Phoenix/Glendale were not quite as friendly. Some big car fire forced the closure of the freeway we were on. I understand this stuff happens from time to time, and normally it would be a big deal. What made it a pain in the ass was that they forced everyone off the freeway, closed all the on-ramps, and didn’t provide any signs to let drivers know where we were supposed to go. In California, we have these brand new technological marvels called detour signs. Hopefully someone in Arizona will cross the border and steal our idea. Seriously, how the hell can you close a freeway for over an hour (the accident was over an hour old by the time we got there) and not put up any signs notifying drivers how they’re supposed to get back on the freeway.

Luckily my car’s navigation system was made in a state that knows about these new “detours” so we were able to find our way back to the road. Good thing too, because if we hadn’t we never would have gone by “Surprise Stadium”. Until about four months ago I don’t think I would have appreciated the name of the stadium as much as I do now. You know what the surprise is (at least as far as I can tell)? There are two stadiums. I had a surprise like that once. I’m naming them Ella and Jackson.

Apparently they have way too much money to spend on construction over in our neighbor to the East because every freeway we touched was under construction of some sort. However, nothing comes close to the work being done in and around Sedona. Someone has decided that traffic lights are too easy to understand so they’re getting rid of the lights and putting in roundabouts. I think it has something to do with the environmental impact of idling at lights or something like that. I’m sure the roundabouts are a huge step forward, but my only experience with roundabouts in a semi-high traffic area was at a big shopping center in Fresno (ahh…beautiful Fresno). Every time Shae and I went to see a movie I witnessed at least one near-accident on the roundabouts and to this day I have no idea how I avoided ever being hit in those damn things. I’m sure there won’t be any problems with the 10,000 of the things they’re putting in Sedona though.

Once we actually got off the freeways of Arizona our trip was great. As I mentioned earlier, the weather was much cooler than we expected and we had a great time. Some time at the pool, several good meals (thanks Mom!), an interesting trolley ride (driven by a cowboy pun-master), and a massage for me and the pregnant wifey. A very relaxing time, and a nice break before the impending chaos that’ll be arriving all too soon (I’m looking at you twins).

Speaking of massages, let’s get to the age-old question of massages: guy or girl? I personally don’t care as long as I get a good massage. I mean, is it really any more awkward to get rubbed down by a guy than a woman? Someone’s rubbing oil all over and pretending the sheet over your dangle actually covers your stuff up. I don’t think breasts make that any less uncomfortable than a set of franks and beans. I ended up getting the messy rub-down from a masseuse named Mark (one guess if that’s a guy or a girl) and Shae got a special maternity massage from Alicia (again, I leave it up to you to guess the sex). We both were extremely happy with our massages and were nice and relaxed for the rest of the night.

The ride home wasn’t nearly as eventful as our previous trip. There was no roadwork, no traffic, and we didn’t get stripped searched at any of the Border Patrol checkpoints. The guy asking us if we had any fruit took a longer look in our car than any of the Border Patrol guys. So, to recap, almost 1000 miles of driving with a pregnant wife, 1 oily rubdown by a man, and an overall nice weekend.