Friday, September 21, 2018

Goodbye Summer

It's the last day of summer and even though the temps are still in the 90s for the next week or so, we're deep into school routines and cold season so summer is feeling long gone. It's funny how each summer is so similar in many ways, long days spent cooling off in bodies of water, freedom from routine, birthdays (lots and lots of birthdays, for us), yet each summer takes on its own special mark that makes it memorable. 

Last year we were all about those pool days and indoor playgrounds to keep the kids active and cool. This year, in true Sacramento fashion, we became river rats. We got ourselves oversized inflatables and found a few favorite spots that you could find us at on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Ez developed a love hate relationship with jet skis and boats, becoming both obsessed and scared by their loud engines. Decky is forever fearless and we learned pretty quickly that if we set him down near water he's going in. Like straight to the deep end. Nothing makes his eyes light up like water. Ok, and maybe balloons and bubbles too.  

I'm so happy we were able to continue a few traditions from last year. Namely, my birthday trip to the state fair, plenty of date nights, visits with Auntie B (four summers in a row now!), and a few Tahoe getaways. I'm also so, so grateful for the brand new experiences this summer brought us. Hello, Germany, you'll always have a piece of my heart. Shouldn't a portal where I can just walk through a door and wind up in Germany for lunch with my sisters and then be back home by dinner time exist by now? Can someone get to work on that, please?

As many memorable adventures that this summer held for us, the things that I know I'll remember most of all are not places or activities, but the people that I spent it with. Charcuterie and wine with my sisters - ALL four of them. Lazy date nights on the couch watching Netflix with Joe. Hammock time and bird watching with my boys. Quality time hanging out with the grandparents (aka, my parents, but they'll forever more be known as the grandparents 😉). Just like I cap off every season of every year, this really was the best, most family-filled summer yet, and I'd be very sorry to see it go if it weren't for the fact that it's OFFICIALLY FALL TOMORROW. And I am definitely ready for that 🍂

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Traveling Halfway Around the World

Soooo....a month and a half has gone by since I last visited this space. But, for once, I've actually got a good reason - Ez and I traveled 14,741 miles in three weeks. 14,741 miles by plane, bus, train, u bahn, s bahn, taxi, and even boat. Three time zones, three countries, two brand new passport stamps (in our brand new passports), five sisters, one wedding, and my trusty travel partners, Ez and Anna (Aunt Anna, if you will).

I should rewind a bit and mention that prior to this trip Ez and I had never traveled further than the east coast, and I think our longest vacation was a week. Top that off with the fact that Joe and Decky stayed home and we were way outside our comfort zone. They do say that life begins at the end of your comfort zone, but I'm not really sure who "they" are, and, to be honest, a lot of life also happens within your comfort zone. While I'm no expert at travel or comfort zones, I can let you in on a few things I did find outside of my comfort zone (in no particular order):
  • the best pretzels EVER
  • that I can carry a fifty pound kid for miles and miles in the sweltering heat
  • deep and meaningful conversations with all of my sisters
  • black birds that eat right out of your hands at the very top of the Alps
  • the random kindness of strangers
  • overwhelming homesickness (times a million when Ez and I both got the stomach flu)
  • reserves of patience when I thought I had none
  • brand new friends and family
  • that Ez is a party animal and a dancing machine
  • Radlers
  • castles
  • a heart attack at the price of iced tea in Switzerland
  • wasps. Lots and lots of wasps.
  • also, that lemon juice makes wasp stings all better
  • lifelong memories that I'll cherish forever.
So, lots of good stuff outside my comfort zone, and a few things I could have done without. We've been home three weeks now and it still feels like a surreal, magical, fairy tale dream. The beauty and history were amazing. The food was too. But as a homebody through and through, it was really the draw of family that made this such an unforgettable trip. Walking into a foreign country and feeling right at home was one hundred percent thanks to my sisters (and you too, Timm and Christian!) who organized so much for us and literally guided us from airport to AirBnB to train station and back to the airport (and nursed Ez and I back to health when we got sick). We got so lucky with the best guides and insider information and the best all around company. 

I intend to revisit each destination in depth (Maine, Munich, Berlin, and Boston) in their own posts, but life just got insanely busy with fall schedules, so you all know how that goes. For now I'll just leave you with some pretty pictures and my advice that if you ever find yourself outside your comfort zone enjoy it for everything it's worth. I don't personally want to live my whole life being uncomfortable, and I think there's plenty of beauty within your comfort zone as well (that's what makes it comfortable) - but I did learn and grow so much, I witnessed the beautiful marriage of my sister and brother in law, and I found some of my favorite experiences out there. And, for what it's worth, Ez has officially gotten the travel bug and asks daily when we're getting back on an airplane. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

Birthday Season

And just like that, birthday season is over. All of our birthdays are squeezed between May and July and it's always such a special, celebratory, family-filled time. On a side note, I'm happy to report that by Joe's birthday Decky FINALLY figured out the whole blowing out candles thing and he is now a pro. Since mine and Joe's birthdays are only two days apart, and it's also right around the anniversary of our first meeting, we traditionally like to do a mini-getaway to celebrate. Sometimes we sneak off without the kids, but since Ez and I will be solo-traveling while Joe and Decky stay home, we opted for extra family time this year with a lake getaway to Tahoe. We also fit in a trip to the State Fair (on the hottest day of the month) for my actual birthday, which is now officially an annual tradition - aka, we've done it twice 😏

Maybe it's because we haven't been to Disneyland in five months (yes, we're Disney spoiled), but Ez and Deck were super excited by the monorail, carousel, and fake-Dumbo rides. Ez ate his weight in watermelon and ice cream, we spent way to much money "winning" one tiny little prize, I tried wine slushies for the first time and am now wondering what the heck I've been doing with my life, and we all narrowly avoided heat stroke - all in all a fantastic day spent with my three favorite people in the whole world.

On Thursday we packed up and headed to Tahoe which is hands down one of my favorite places in the whole world. Joe and I went there for our honeymoon, and then again for our birthdays last year, so I was excited to finally bring the kids along for the ride. I'm happy to report they loved it just as much as I do and despite freezing water temperatures and little chattering teeth we had to drag them out of the water each day. I already want to plan another trip back.

To cap off a week of fun we had one more celebration with my parents and then left the kids overnight so Joe and I could have a relaxing staycation watching Jurassic World and doing yoga in the park. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect, family-filled, relaxing birthday. If this is any indication for 35, I'm definitely ready for you ❤

Monday, June 25, 2018

Happy THREE Decky!

Dear Decky,

I just don't know what to make of you turning three. On the one hand you seem like such a big boy already, part of me thinks you've been three for months now. On the other hand you're my little baby, and you always will be. Still, we've noticed a few definite changes as you head into threenager territory. Up until now you've been a very go with the flow baby. Happy to go where we go, do what we do, and entertain yourself if we're busy. Now, suddenly, you're your own little person, you've got your own agenda and needs, and you're not afraid to yank my arm off dragging me from one place to another if your needs aren't being met. NOW.

It was bound to happen, it's part of growing up, and I promise we'll take your opinion into consideration from now on, my sweet little Decks.

We've also noticed what I can only describe as growing pains. Possibly physical as you're definitely looking taller and leaner lately, but definitely emotional. A couple weeks ago I actually took you to Urgent Care because you were silently weeping throughout the day like you were in pain, and then you passed out face down on the floor and completely freaked me out. It was so unlike you. Of course, as soon as we got to Urgent Care you were running around like you owned the place, practically climbing over all the legitimately sick people in the waiting room and fighting off three nurses at a time as they tried to take your vitals, like the baby Hulk you are. Physically you were fine, but those weepy moments have come on several times a week and I wish so badly you could tell me exactly what's wrong. Since you can't tell me, my best guess is that it's a mixture of needing more attention than you've gotten lately, having more to say than you're able to express with your limited vocabulary, and being completely worn out from all the summer fun we've been having.

It's ok baby, we've all got days like that. I promise you can always come cry on my lap, no matter how old you are.

On the topic of vocabulary, we've recently had you assessed by a speech therapist and you're currently at a twelve to eighteen month level. You were happy to show off your beautifully intricate jibberish, that I will forever believe is an actual language that exists somewhere, but when it comes to learning our plain English words you just haven't shown much interest. Until she put you in the 12-18 month range. Then you were like, GAME ON, and you've suddenly been learning several new words and phrases a day. I can't tell you what a relief that's been, and I am so, SO excited to learn all the crazy, hilarious, insightful thoughts running through that beautiful mind of yours.

I promise you that although English may not be as fun to speak as your own language, you will find it far more useful.

I hope you've had as much fun turning three as we've had fun celebrating you. We were wracking our brains trying to come up with the perfect day for you, and we were having the hardest time because you love the simplest things. In the end simple is what we went for and it turned out being amazing. We made sure to splash in some water (at the river), we got you your very own mini ball pit, which you and your brother are obsessed with, we took you to the toy store where you picked out a Cars Dinoco semi truck, to go with the Cars Mack truck you got on your second birthday, and you immediately came home to play with the two of them together. You know what you like and you're loyal to those things, and I can appreciate that. We also had a barbecue with family (where you ate a pb&j) and we've got plans for some water balloons and a trip to Wacky Tacky to cap off your three day three year old celebration.

Though I hope I tell you this every day, I want to make especially sure you know today, on the day that you quite literally came crashing into our lives three years ago, that you complete our little family. You give the best kisses, the best snuggles, the best infectious giggles, the best spontaneous dance moves, and the best "are you insane?" looks. Your happy spots are burrowed under a blanket flipping through a board book, hiding in a self-made fort beneath the recliner, ransacking your brother's room, splashing in water, or sitting on my lap. You've brought infinitely more balloons, bubbles, and bouncy balls into our lives, and I'm not sure how we got along without those necessities all this time. We love you to infinity and beyond baby boy and we're so excited to see how three unfolds for you.