Monday, November 25, 2013

summer sun kisses

summer just seemed to fly this year.  i loved it, though.  and like any whirlwind romance, there were very special moments that are burned into my memory and heart that i will always remember.  they include, but are not limited to:

meeting friends for picnics in the park.  i should say parks, because we went to quite a few different parks for our little play dates.  some were with friends who also have kids, and others were with my kidless friends, but i think were still good for marty because he got to see faces other than mine, and we got to enjoy being outside.  there is just nothing better than laying on a blanket outside with my baby!

we went out to my mom's house quite a bit.  she had thursdays and fridays off of work, so we'd go out at least one of those days to play with grandma.  sometimes there were other family members out there, too.  this particular time granny and gramps were there, and some quality bonding took place.

we went to the roy aquatic center a handful of times, and it was heavenly!  i think that we only met chelsa and my mom there once, and every other time it was just me and marty.  we saw some friendly faces a few times, but overall it was just the two of us.  at first i thought that might be awkward, but i talk to marty as much as i talk to any adult or friend so it was just as fun (more so, probably) as going with someone else.  it may have been awkward for people watching me talk my baby's ear off, but who cares about them?

richard's band played some good gigs this summer, and one of them was at south ogden days on this humongous stage.  it was very loud, and very fun.

grandma and grandpa come to pretty much every event that marty will be at, and i have no complaints about that.  he'll never question whether he's loved, that's for sure.

auntie rachel joined us for that gig, too.  she took some video and photos for the band, but i think she mostly just wanted to hang with marty, too.  he's very popular.

the summer of 2013 was also the summer of the government sequestration.  this meant that richard was "furloughed" (forced to take unpaid leave) for 6 fridays in a row.  it was originally supposed to be 22, then they cut it to 11, and finally 6.  at first we were very upset and stressed out about it, but then furlough friday turned into our favorite day of the week because it meant some quality family time.  the only trick was making sure that we didn't spend money that richard wasn't making.  thanks to our local splash pads, that trick didn't turn out to be as tricky as we thought it would be.

we got to celebrate the blessing of the newest little parker, and catch up with some of our favorite friends.  it's funny (and sad) how you don't really appreciate the friends you have until they move to nebraska.  luckily they're back already.  but we still haven't seen them since this day.  we're winners, and obviously really good friends to have.

i really don't think that i've been swimming as much as i did this summer since i was in high school.  it was wonderful.  we even got to sneak into the ogden country club, thanks to chelsa's bf austin (whose dad is the manager there).  we soaked up some sun, and then we scarfed some fries.  when i say "we," i mean me.

i also got to spend a little quality time with the original man in my life when we celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary.  we each took a day to plan a fun surprise.  mine was a day at the spa, which was a surprise to no one.

and richard pulled off an actual (and fabulous) surprise when he took me to see the utah symphony at deer valley.  they were playing the music of the rolling stones that night, and it was a blast!

it was so fun to do something that neither of us had ever done before.  we sang, and danced, and cuddled when it got cold.  and we both missed marty when we saw how many people had taken their kids with them.  but it was so nice to have quality one-on-one time with the guy who still spins my head and gives me butterflies.

he's my very best friend, and he's scratching all of my itches.

another best friend came to town on her way to a wedding, and i was so happy to have marty boy meet my katie kate.  the best college roomie a girl could ask for, the best email pen-pal in the world (we still write each other weekly!), and one of the best friends i've ever had in my life.  hopefully one day our kids will be making sweet music videos together like we have (and will continue to do).  

it was a fun surprise for the third amigo, one mrs. crayk, to join us for lunch, too!  i can't believe it's been almost ten years!

i got to meet the new man in katie's life, too.  i'd heard so much about kyle, and had basically made up my mind about him already, but meeting in person sealed the deal.  he's a keeper.

one of richard's favorite highlights from the summer was playing paul bunyan.

one of our friends knows how to cut down trees, and he offered to help richard cut down a big tree in our neighbor's yard that was threatening our foundation and roof.  he enlisted spencer, and the rest is history.

it was a busy summer full of swimming, play dates, family visits, home projects, big trips, no air-conditioning, and trying to find balance with all of the things we usually do during the summer, but learning how to do them with a baby.  not all of it was easy, but i can easily say that this was one of the very best summers of my life.  maybe even the best.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

farmer's market flop

we have been fans of the ogden farmers market for years.  i love going downtown on saturday mornings to get fresh produce and see what more creative minds and talented hands than my own have crafted.  we are hooked on local spice blends, and it just isn't summer until i've had my first mint limeade.  

richard has been saying for the past few years that we should make something to sell at the market, and i shot him down every single time...until i quit my job.  at the thought of making a little extra money, i jumped aboard his crazy train, and we started to brainstorm.  we decided to go with a craft that richard made me when we were dating (he gave it to me the first time he ever told me that he loved me.  swoon), which is a flower made out of a drum stick and guitar picks.  i also tried my hand at making a craft i'd seen on pinterest.  i signed us up for the whole season, and we had fun working on our projects.  we invested in a couple of tables and a shade tent, and our hopes started to slowly get higher and higher.  then july 13th rolled around, and it was time to hit the ground running.

my mom and dad came to support us.  or so they said.  i'm pretty sure it was so they could steal our baby.  richard's dad actually showed up out of nowhere, too!  he was on his way back down to st. george from visiting his brother in idaho, and it was a very pleasant surprise to see his smiling face!

marty boy was a good sport, and he was happy to play with grandma and grandpas.  we really appreciated them coming to help us out.  richard was playing his guitar almost the entire time (5 hours), and i was manning the booth.  not that it needed a lot of manning.  i think we sold three things.  basically, it was a joke.

we talked about it all throughout the next week...was our location bad?  was it our presentation?  were the prices too high?  we'd gotten so many compliments on "how cool" both of our products were, so we were a little confused, and a lot bummed out.  we decided we'd try again the next week.  we sold one thing.  we walked around to do a little bit of research, and we noticed that ALL of the food vendors were crazy busy, but not very many of the craft vendors were.  unless they were selling baby bows/headbands.  we lowered our prices, made bigger signs (even one that looked like a homeless panhandling sign that said "furloughed.  buy something."), and were much more outgoing with people who stopped to talk to us.  we sold two things.

basically, we decided that sitting in the heat for 5 hours to sell 2 things was a waste of our time.  we'd rather be playing with marty, or getting other things done.  richard is pretty set on trying our hand at food vending next year, but i'm back on the fence.  and although it was a huge failure for us, i still love the ogden farmers market!  the people in charge were super nice and gave us a complete refund.  and i still love going down and wandering around my fellow o-townies.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

it was like...magic

the last real day of our trip was the 4th of july, and we spent it in our nation's capitol.  and it was amazing.  starting off with the fact that we didn't have to fight traffic.  for the first time since we left utah.  it was like the opposite of being home on the 4th.  we even found parking relatively quick and easy.  as we drove into town, i was getting a little excited and a lot camera happy - i snapped about a hundred of these not-so-great pictures before we found our parking garage.

after we parked, we found our way above ground, and we were right in the middle of all the action.  literally.  the parade was just about to start, but they let us cross the street (and in our minds, participate in the parade) where we hit our first landmark:  the smithsonian.

first stop was julia child's kitchen.  i was very, very excited.

i'd read somewhere that the "puffy shirt" from seinfeld was on display at the smithsonian, but i was wrong.  sort of.  the pop culture items are on rotation, which means that they spend a little time there before being sent off to another museum to be displayed, and then another, and another, etc.  basically, i got richard's hopes way, way up , and he had to settle for this harry potter robe.  he was disappointed, and i felt super bad, but we still had an entire day ahead of us, so we didn't spend too much time pouting.

this was the view of the parade route in front of the smithsonian.  the raegan building across the street is the one our car was parked under.

we did a little watching as we walked, stopping every once in awhile to see (and let marty see) all of the action.  he obviously didn't get it, but there was a lot of new stimulation, and he was pretty interested.

he was super excited when we decided not to walk all the way over to the white house, but rather take a picture with it way back in the distance.  at the time it seemed like a good idea, but last night we watched a movie on netflix where the white house gets attacked, and we decided that not making that little extra walk (which seemed huge at the time, in the heat) is about our only regret from the whole trip.  IT WAS THE WHITE HOUSE, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.

we passed the federal reserve.  it was as exciting as the look on richard's face.

and then we saw the stop on the top of our list:  the lincoln memorial.  we were drenched with sweat because it was 900 degrees with 1,000% humidity, but we were thrilled.  honestly.

this is what you get when you ask complete strangers to take your picture.  at least we got our camera back, i guess.  not our legs, though.

from this spot, you can't really tell that the washington monument is covered in scaffolding.  it wasn't a very pretty sight up close, but still really cool.  and it was so fun to spend some time on the mall.

the bridge we didn't walk across (or take public transportation to cross) in order to go to arlington cemetery.  another regret.  but at the time...

on top of the heat and humidity, this freaking moby wrap helped to hike my body temperature up to something hellish.  it also added buckets to the amount of sweat dripped by me and marty, but that is a genuine smile on my face.  i promise!

it was a lovely surprise that when we got to the world war II memorial that people were dipping their feet in the water.  not wading, because that is against the rules, and clearly disrespectful.

so we joined in.

see, i'm not lying.  and yes, if they'd all been jumping off of a cliff we may very well have joined in.

but it just felt soooo good.

we cooled off for a few minutes, and the second we pulled our feet out of the water we were sweating again.  so we stopped for a nice cold treat on our way to our next stop:  the holocaust museum.

i should have just cowboy-ed up and nursed marty "boob-out."  i mean, yes, there was air conditioning in the building, but covering him with a blanket in that heat to feed him was as close to child abuse as anything i can think of.  next child around, i'll be much braver.  maybe.

it was after this picture that we were told that photography is not allowed in the holocaust musuem.  it was absolutely incredible, though.  our visit was cut short a bit when marty decided he couldn't stand to wear a wet diaper for one more second, but i was so glad we got to spend time there.  it was very educational, eye-opening, and heart breaking.  we walked through a train car that carried prisoners to auschwitz. we saw a ton of propoganda fliers that were distributed by the nazi party to create fear and hatred toward jews, minorities, and the mentally ill.  there were barracks and "beds" from the concentration camps.  we got to see video and photographs of the nazi party, prisoners, survivors, and everyone you could imagine that lived through this period in europe.  at the end, we walked on a path through a room that was surrounded with shoes on both sides.  thousands of shoes that had been abandoned by the prisoners who were killed in the gas chambers at one particular camp.  it brought tears to my eyes, and i held marty a little closer and tighter.  it makes me sick, and so sad, to think that this actually happened.  

we walked around the mall a little longer, until we just couldn't anymore.  then we headed back to our car, but stopped in a food court to get something to eat before going to our hotel.

finally eating after starving to the point of insanity.

the hotel parking situation was a bit of a disaster, and i could tell it was stressing richard out.  i tried to just keep my mouth shut and help as much as i could - no complaining, because i wanted him to be in the best mood possible when i gently told him that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to be in our nation's capitol on the 4th of july, and we were definitely going back out in the heat and the crowds to see the fireworks.  he sincerely could have been happy trying to see some fireworks from our hotel window, but he girted up his loins and made my holiday dreams come true.  this time, we used public transit.

after the sun started going down, it cooled off a lot.  to where it was only, like, 200 degrees with 500% humidity.  but it was beautiful out, and people kept telling us how cute marty was, and we were filled with the spirit of independence day.

we walked around the mall a bit more, took some photos with the capitol building in the background, and then we found a little patch of grass that we called our own for the next half an hour.

i think marty was thrilled to not be carried or carted anywhere for more than 5 seconds.

and then the magic started happening.

we were a little worried that the fireworks might scare him, but they didn't.  he was totally in awe, and i'm sure he didn't blink for the first 3 minutes of the show.  his jaw was dropped pretty much the whole time, too.

as much as i love fireworks (or anything, really), it was so much more special watching him enjoy them.

marty didn't look away from the fireworks for a second.  not even when richard was trying to cool him off.

after the show was over, the lines to get down to the trains were a joke, so we just joined the masses and started migrating in the general direction of our hotel.  it was funny, until i started to think about what would happen if the zombie apocalypse were to begin at that very moment, and then i started to feel a little bit of panic.

we eventually made it to a train, though, and we packed ourselves in with the other sticky, sweaty patriots.

as tired as we were...exhausted, actually, richard had a hankering for some pizza.  so he found a place that was still open and made almost an hour round-trip, on foot, to pick it up.  marty and i stayed at the hotel and crashed.

the next morning (the last morning of our trip) was the cherry on top of an incredible travel experience.  i woke up to feed marty, and then i laid back down to see if he'd fall back to sleep, since i felt like i'd been hit by a truck (and looked and smelled like it because we were too tired to even shower the night before!).  and he did.  i got to lay in a big, comfy bed, snuggled up with my two boys, and drift in and out of sleep dreaming about our first doozy of a family vacation.

the plane ride home wasn't quite as enjoyable as the morning had been.  mostly because marty had a blow-out, in the middle of some turbulance.  i wasn't going to sit there with poop on my kid, and my pants, so i hiked back to the bathroom, where the flight attendant gave me nasty looks and repeatedly told me that the "fasten seatbelt sign" was still on.  i felt like rubbing his dirty clothes right in her face.  

marty boy made up for the accident by rewarding me with lots of loves.  and no, i did not have an extra outfit in the diaper bag (for the first time in his life!).  so he flew pretty much the whole way back to utah practically naked.  which he loved.

my dad picked us up from the airport, and then we had to drop him off to my mom on our way home.  we were all just about ready to be done with that travel day.

but not "done" enough to have forgotten where we'd just been for the past two weeks (almost), and what we'd seen and experienced as a family.  i love traveling.  we both do.  and as worried as i'd been about making this trip with a baby, we love traveling even more with him.  way more.