Travel Traumas

New Year, New You… Not Happening

Posted on Jan 6, 2018 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, It's the Navy Life, My Kid Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute, Travel Traumas

New Year, New You… Not Happening 0

Happy New Year, Friends! How is 2018 going for you so far? Getting fit? Eating healthy? Meditating daily?

IMG_2983.jpg

New Year New You, courtesy of Balboa Island

Good for you! I have spent the first days of 2018 stuffing my face with muffins and watching old episodes of Downton Abbey. Meanwhile there is a massive pile of boxes sitting in my family room, a not-so-subtle reminder that I still have to put away all the Christmas decorations. While most people seem to relish the New Year as an opportunity to reset and strive to be a better version of themselves, I just want it to be March already. You know, when nobody cares about that stuff anymore.

I rang in the New Year with my parents and a bottle of Nyquil. (I was in California for a quick trip with the kids while Damon stayed back East.) On New Year’s Day, instead of kickstarting a healthy diet, I munched on day-old donuts and In-N-Out. (So good, by the way.)

On the second day of the New Year, I endured a 15-hour travel day with my darling children. After a several hour delay in Dallas, including deplaning our first aircraft due to a mechanical problem, we landed home at 2:00am and waited an hour for luggage that – oops! – never actually made it on the plane. We got home at 3:30AM. Elisabeth talked at me for about 14.5 out of those 15 hours.

IMG_3097

PJs, iPads, and M&Ms at DFW

On the third day of the New Year I went to Trader Joe’s with the rest of Hampton Roads in preparation of BOMB CYCLONE 2018. Then I slept because, again, I traveled 15 hours the day before with both my kids. Oh, and I probably have an upper respiratory virus. Whatever.

On the fourth day of the New Year it SNOWED. Gosh, I love being a Virginia resident when it snows. People lose their damn minds. Every. Freaking. Year. For all you folks making vegetable soups from scratch and working out in your home gyms – New Year! New You! – you won’t shame me into being healthy! If I’m stuck in my house with my entire family for days on end, I’m going to consume massive quantities of cookies and wine (and Robitussin PM). I don’t care if it’s only the fourth day of January. I will embrace a better version of myself when temperatures reach above 25 degrees.

DSC_0016

DSC_0020

On the fifth day of the New Year, I stayed in my pajamas till 3pm. Oh, I also put away two baskets of clean laundry that have been in my bedroom since before Christmas. I hesitate to add that because, well, I don’t want to seem like a braggart.

On the sixth day of the New Year – today – I plopped my kids in front of a movie at 9:00am. Ice Age. Appropriate, right? After all, it is 12 degrees outside. I started Season 4 of Downtown on Tuesday and as of now I’m seven episodes deep. As the New Year is a time for goal-setting, my goal is to finish the season by Monday. And to not leave my house. So far I am succeeding mightily. Don’t let anyone tell you I’m not a high achiever! Damon and I also started watching The Crown. I may have completely abandoned any health and wellness objectives, but when it comes to British television viewing, I am kicking butt.

2018: KILLING it.

In all seriousness, despite exhausting travel, sickness, and snow, I am very happy to welcome a new year. I was going to write a 2017 year-in-review post but in all honesty, 2017 was not my favorite year. (Two words: Adult. Braces.) We moved to a place that I just don’t love and have yet to fully adjust to, and much of last year was spent preparing for, and then recovering from, major surgery. Of course, 2017 wasn’t all bad (I finally saw Hamilton!) but I am ready to put it behind me and welcome a year that is certain to bring lots of excitement and change. (New jobs! Family weddings! Taylor Swift concert!) Resolutions or not, it’s going to be a good year. And now, some highlights from 2017:

IMG_3675.jpg

Damon and Elisabeth went on a father-daughter ski trip. As you can see, there wasn’t a ton of snow. But they had fun!

IMG_3998.jpg

Damon and I spent a week in Newport, RI. It was technically work, but it was a nice getaway nonetheless.

IMG_4133

Damon promoted to Commander.

IMG_4725

I took the kids to California for Easter, and this happened.

IMG_5475

A lovely Mother’s Day with my babies.

IMG_5500

A whirlwind trip to NYC to see Hamilton. It lives up to the hype, in case you’re wondering.

IMG_6042

James turned 3! (Photo Cred: Cara)

IMG_6291

My baby brother got engaged to this beautiful lady!

IMG_7532

Outer Banks Vacation

IMG_8850

Disneyland!

IMG_9427

Elisabeth started kindergarten. Full Day. Praise be.

IMG_9455

First day of preschool – 3s. He was THE MOST EXCITED.

IMG_9497

 

IMG_9889

For my first big outing post-surgery, I traveled to Chicago for my 10-year college reunion. (Eek!) Reunited with good friends…

IMG_9887.jpg

…And saw Hamilton, again.

IMG_0461.jpg

Halloween

IMG_0918

First baby tooth, gone. Not gonna lie, this was a sad moment for me.

IMG_0958

Six!

IMG_1204

We got to spend Thanksgiving with lots of family, including the kids’ great-grandparents. Always special.

IMG_1421

Post-Thanksgiving visit with our Pennsylvania family.

IMG_1949

Awkward Santa Photos

IMG_2921

Quick trip to California to meet my best friend’s new baby. Totally in love with this sweet (and very tiny!) baby girl. Pretty good way to end 2017.

Read More

A Look Back at 2015

Posted on Jan 1, 2016 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, It's the Navy Life, My Kid Stole My Cool, The Kids Are Actually Cute, Travel Traumas

A Look Back at 2015 1

Hello, Friends. This blog has not seen much action this year.  Mainly, because of this rascal: I’d love to write more, and hopefully will in the upcoming months. In the meantime, this post is my attempt to recap everything I would have blogged about this past year had I had the mental capacity to do so. Here it is, 2015 in one blog post: January: The stressful end of 2014 – unending remodel, constantly sick kids, overworked husband, extreme lack of sleep, etc. – continued on into January, but things slowly turned up. The remodel wrapped up, we sort-of sleep-trained James (though it didn’t quite take), we began to settle into a routine. Now that James is a walking, running, climbing little boy, it’s hard to imagine that just a year ago he was still a baby, but it’s true, and this month saw him teething and cruising (or, the beginning of the end for me.) February: Snow, snow, snow. School closures, school closures, school closures. I don’t know if Elisabeth saw the inside of her classroom that month. Instead, she watched a lot of Frozen. I’m a good parent.  I also had an unfortunate incident in a Trader Joe’s parking lot involving my Toyota Highlander, a pole, and a personal injury lawyer’s BMW. Can we talk for a second about how it’s like a requirement that every Trader Joe’s has the worst parking lot in the city? Seriously. Every. Single. One. Anyway, moral of the story is don’t go to a Trader Joe’s on a holiday the day before a massive snowstorm.     Oh, we did have an exceptionally beautifully warm and sunny day in the early month that happened to coincide with our wildly successful housewarming party. Win! March: March was a good month. Mainly because I stopped nursing James. If you read my blog last year, you may remember I basically ate birdseed for the majority of his infancy due to his allergic colitis. Well, that sucked, and he and I were both hungry all the time. So I began eating cheese again and he...

Read More

The Day I Went Dog Sledding

Posted on Aug 17, 2015 in Travel Traumas

The Day I Went Dog Sledding 0

Normally if you were to ask me if I’d like to vacation in Alaska, I’d tell you, “Hellz no.” I think of Alaska and I think of: Cold. Snow. Bears. Salmon. Sarah Palin.  I don’t think: Vacation! But then if you were tell me that Alaska is actually stunningly beautiful and you can enjoy it from a swanky cruise ship and your parents are going so you won’t even have to really take care of your kids, I’d say, “Let’s leave immediately.” So that actually happened. Damon, the kids, and I had an opportunity to go on an Alaskan cruise with my parents and we obviously took it. While Alaska was never one of my must-sees, it has been on Damon’s bucket list for years. He envisioned bear sightings, salmon fishing, kayaking through fjords… Meanwhile I envisioned enjoying the scenic views while sipping the cruise line’s unlimited free wine. It was a win-win. (In reality, we were traveling with two small children so none of the above happened.) On our first night on the ship, my dad announced he had a surprise for Damon and me. A surprise? My interest was piqued.  What kind of surprise could he possibly have planned on a cruise ship? “I’ve booked you two on the helicopter ride/dog sledding excursion when we’re in Juneau. Mom and I will babysit!” Um… Say what? Damon was excited. I was terrified. And confused.  I’m not a huge fan of heights. Or animals, for that matter. So going up in a winged death-mobile to hang out with hundreds of dogs on a glacier is not really my thing. “Are you excited?” my dad asked. “DAD! DO YOU EVEN KNOW ME?” “Your husband will enjoy it.” “BUT WHAT ABOUT YOUR DAUGHTER?” “You used to be adventurous,” he said. “I have children now. Children who need their mother not to die in a catastrophic dog sledding accident.” My dad just laughed at me. “It’ll be good for you,” he said. A massage would be good for me. An uninterrupted nap would be good for me.  A treacherous expedition* to the...

Read More

Disneyland During Spring Break: I Went So You Don’t Have To

Posted on May 8, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool, Travel Traumas

Disneyland During Spring Break: I Went So You Don’t Have To 4

Spring break season is over. As Elisabeth is not yet school-aged, I don’t think in terms of break schedules.  So when Damon visited last March and we decided to take Elisabeth to Disneyland, we didn’t consider that half the state of California (and the entire U.S.) would be on spring break and visiting Disneyland with us. While we lived in Japan, Damon routinely brought up the idea of visiting Tokyo Disney.  I routinely shot down that idea.  It was too crowded, too expensive, and Elisabeth was too young to enjoy or remember it.  I am a cold, heartless woman, I know. But things were different now.*  Despite my efforts at shielding Elisabeth from the more annoying of Disney characters, she is enamored of Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  She’s old enough to have fun on rides.  Though she would not remember the trip, she’d enjoy it in the moment.  Plus, this was going to be our last time together as a family of three.  Why not do something special?  Disneyland is magical! It’s the Happiest Place on Earth! What could be more special than that? Well, unless you think “special” entails pushing your way through hoards of tourists and waiting in endless lines while trying to keep your impatient child (or children) entertained, DON’T go to Disneyland during spring break.  Just don’t. Because this is what your visit will be like: -Take 30 minutes to find parking. -Wait 20 minutes for a shuttle to the park, or walk the 20 minutes to the entrance. -Wait another 30 minutes in line for exorbitantly priced tickets. (Note to military spouses – Disneyland does not offer military discounts for single day passes. You have to waste three days of your life there if you want a discount.) -Decide to take your daughter out of line and let her run around the courtyard that separates Disneyland and California Adventure. Marvel at her excitement at recognizing the characters that decorate the flagpoles.  “Hot dog!” she will squeal with glee, because for some inexplicable reason she will think Goofy’s name is “Hot Dog.”  Wonder why you...

Read More

New Zealand, Part 1: Bananagate.

Posted on Mar 11, 2014 in Pregnancy Stole My Cool, Travel Traumas

New Zealand, Part 1: Bananagate. 4

New Zealand.  I have to blog about my trip to New Zealand, even though it was two months ago.  My memory seems to be diminishing with each passing day of this pregnancy, so it’s imperative I document this trip now.  You know, so when I make our travel scrapbook 10 years from now I’ll actually have a record of where we went and what we did. You guys, New Zealand is stunning.  Gorgeous beyond belief.  I knew NZ was one of those places Damon and I had to visit while we were living in Japan, but I wasn’t all that sure why.  Because it’s pretty?  Because Lord of the Rings was filmed there?  I mean, a lot of places are pretty, and I don’t really care about Lord of the Rings.  But still, for no particular reason other than vague praise from fellow travelers, NZ was on our travel bucket-list.  And thank goodness it was. Perhaps we didn’t really know what to expect from our trip because it’s probably hard for most people – including myself – to articulate how incredible this place is.  Damon, Elisabeth, and I flew into Christchurch and spent 11 days traveling the South Island by car, spending one or two nights in a town before moving on to our next destination.  Even with 11 days, we only traversed the southern half of the South Island, but every day brought a different experience.  By no means am I a nature girl, yet I was rendered speechless by each beach, lake, mountain, glacier, waterfall, what-have-you we saw.  It was all magnificent. We’d be driving along, admiring one landscape – say,  rolling green hills dotted with sheep – turn a corner and be struck by a completely different, but equally stunning view, perhaps a glassy lake in the most brilliant turquoise color you’ve ever seen, or snow-capped mountains against a perfectly blue sky.  Even when it rained (which it did, a lot) it was still crazy beautiful.     We took our trip in early January, summer in NZ and therefore the tourism high season, yet there...

Read More

Sayonara, Japan

Posted on Feb 27, 2014 in It's the Navy Life, Travel Traumas

Sayonara, Japan 6

A little over a week ago, Elisabeth and I boarded a flight from Narita to LAX.  This was our third NRT –> LAX, but likely our last.  At least for a long while.  Elisabeth and I are officially CONUS residents again, living in California for the next several months until Damon joins us and we move to Washington, DC. I don’t believe I’ve entirely updated this blog on our current situation, so here’s the short version: I’m pregnant (duh).  Damon is currently in Nevada participating in a major training exercise for the next several weeks.  When he returns to Japan, he will be doing work-ups for deployment.  If you don’t know what any of that means, that’s okay, I don’t really either.  Basically, he’ll be really, really busy and gone a lot.  And ultimately, he’ll deploy again.  All before the baby is set to arrive. Given his timeline and my due date, we decided the best decision for me was to move back with my family in California to have the baby and wait out the deployment.  So here I am. It was strange leaving Japan – and the Atsugi community – so many months before I had previously planned.  There were so many things on my bucket list left undone, and time I had counted on with friends that I had to sacrifice.  But ultimately, I was ready to move; I desperately needed an In-N-Out burger.  I lived overseas for 22 months, which hardly sounds like any time at all.  But since graduating college in 2007, that is actually the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere.  Crazy, right? If I’m being honest, I didn’t love Japan.  That’s not to say I disliked it – not at all!  It’s just that I never felt 100% comfortable in the culture.  Part of that is my own fault.  Before moving, I assumed I would fully immerse myself in the Japanese culture, and frankly, I didn’t.  When we moved, Elisabeth was five months old.  I struggled – more than I thought I would – with balancing parenting a baby (and then toddler) and...

Read More
Page 1 of 3123