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Mini vacay

So, it was overall a great summer weekend.

Saturday was unexpectedly blazing hot. Wasn’t expecting that! Since we were headed to the godmother’s house (she was taking Sofia and away to a casino/resort), I figured it would be fun to visit a Lake by her house. We spent a few hours there and the kids *loved* it. Will immediately asked when we would return and if we could “live there.”

Imagine my surprise (as I sat on my chair on the beach in a bathing suit – an occurrence limited to pools and lakes where I can be assured that no one will recognize me) when I realized there was a local news reporter with camera right next to me!! I was like “Oh, *helltotheno*, please point that camera away from me!!!!” Sheesh!!

As this was the godmother’s actual birthday, after our day in the sun, we headed over and food, cake, etc. The boys and Steve stayed until about 7 and then we continued to visit with her cousin, a Creative Writing professor at a local San Francisco University. It was quite nice as her and I always have lots to talk about. The boys were acting great and everyone commented on how good they were being.

So the godmother and her cousin slept in godmother’s room while Sofia and I slept on couches in the living room (as we always do). Apparently, her puppy (in its crate in the hall) was kept awake by our presence which resulted in godmother getting zero sleep. She tends towards drama and neuroses to begin with, so this lack of sleep exacerbated things. She was cranky and nitpicky most of the morning, but I tried to just go with the flow and help as much as possible.

Godmother continually fretted about what Sofia as the resort is a casino and how would she access the restaurants if she’s not allowed on the floor, etc. I repeatedly assured her it wouldn’t be a problem, that I’ve been to Vegas and kids are everywhere – as long as they’re not actually gambling, it’s fine. This did zero to calm her, so I finally called the casino and confirmed what I had said – that of course kids can walk through the casino to restaurants, just can’t be on the floor, next to someone gambling. Duh. No brainer. Done.

When I packed the car, Godmother went out of her way to tell me “Please don’t pack it high or I won’t be able to see…” I was biting my tongue left and right. I wanted to say “Oh, but I was hoping to pack the bags up so high to obstruct your view and compromise the safety of my child and myself, of course! You’re such a buzzkill!”

The day before we left, godmother had called and instructed me not to “pack a bunch of stuff” as we may have to leave the bags in the lobby as our room wouldn’t be ready, yada yada yada…I assured her the bags could be checked by the bellhop and quite frankly, when someone tells me not to pack a bunch of stuff, it only makes me want bring the biggest suitcase I have. I’m kind of evil that way. Can’t imagine where Sofia gets her oppositional behavior from????

She fretted more about the bags and I assured her the bell hop will take them and most likely we’d get a room sooner than 4 p.m. She was adamant we would not. And of course, we got a room right away.

Once we were checked in and unpacked, Sofia and I immediately escaped to the serenity of the pool and spent the bulk of our time there. Sofia worked that pool like nobody’s business. She made friends with everyone, had everyone’s life stories (and they ours) and had the bartender mixing her special lemonade drinks, giving her cookies. cutting up fruit for her, etc. It was such a sight to see. That girl is FEARLESS.

This being an Indian reservation casino/resort, I didn’t have huge expectations. This hotel was really nice, really nice!!!! Huge, gorgeous room. I was a little nervous about 4 of us sharing a room, but it was fine. Flat screen tv, huge walk in shower, Jacuzzi tub. Pleasantly surprised!

We ate lots of buffet food (which at first is fun but gets old pretty quick) and I had a few poolside margaritas – probably my favorite thing in the world. I got a nice tan, was able to relax a bit and got a nice dose of Vitamin D.

Sofia didn’t understand why she was not able to partake in what appeared to be the largest Arcade she had ever seen…Godmother insisted on dragging me to a machine to gamble (I insisted I had zero interest,). It was a slot and I explained to her that I prefer the poker machines. She gave me a little money to gamble for about 45 minutes and I went straight to the poker machines. I won $28 two times, but put all but $7 back. That was the extent of my gambling…Godmother won $800 and Godmother’s sister won $1000. Not bad.

It was actually quite nice and I’d love to go again – but Godmother needs to relax and let people just do their thing. She is constantly ragging on her sister or Sofia, I actually felt sorry for her sister a few times. I’ve known Godmother for over 30 years but never seen her so controlling and neurotic as the past year and a half. I am told this often comes with age and general lack of patience or tolerance. I think in her case that is all true, but the bulk of it comes from having never married and being independent for so many years. I have similar challenges with this, having married late in life. Never getting married, never living long term with someone else, never having kids – her very existence is self centered, as it should be. It’s just who she is. Hard to take over an extended period of time, that’s all.

I love her to death but even as a young girl, I remember her having skewed expectations of people. She could never understand my acceptance of my father’s behavior and lack of expectation of him to ever change. People are who they are, ya know? I feel the same way now as I did then – I’m not going to waste my time and energy trying to bend people to my will or freaking out about it. I have plenty of more tangible stuff to freak out about as it is.

Anyway – I have a nice tan. I had some cocktails. I had a little mini-escape, so that’s all good in my book.

Here’s some photos –

Will at the lake

Hotel Room

Are We at the Pool Yet

Chillaxin in the hot tub

It’s 3:00 somewhere!

BFF with the bartender

Hot tub and pool, all to ourselves!!! Sweet

Back to the Godmother’s

Kisses from Bella

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I’m back!! Several days, numerous hours in the pool, countless bottles of chardonnay and one sunburn/tan later, I can safely say that I had the best vacation I’ve had in a long, long time. My friend and I and the girls stayed at a posh resort where you couldn’t help but feel peaceful and relaxed. And they have free s’mores every night!

There is nothing better than bonding with a good girlfriend, poolside, glass of chardonnay in hand. Or staying up until 3:30 a.m., your body aching for sleep, but having so much fun talking that you don’t even want to go to sleep (again, chardonnay in hand). Days of this is hard on the body, but great for the soul.

At one point, my friend actually fell asleep with chardonnay in hand. I removed it without even waking her up. That’s talent, oh yes it is.

Sofia and I getting ready to board the plane. Is it just me, but does it seem a little anxiety inducing to have to sit next to the waiting pilots. I’m a little too neurotic and prefer a bit of mystery in my air travel.

Miss Thing posing by the luscious pools…

BFF’s forever!

Exhausted girls, just the way we like ’em!

Here’s a pic of the kids on the 4th. Our friends had a private fireworks show on their 43 acre ranch. Like, real fireworks. Illegal fireworks. The kids were mesmerized, as you can imagine. It was perfection.

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Playing Catch Up

I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack.

So, once again, I’ve been MIA. It seems to be the new norm around here. Work has been busy, busy and drama filled. Life has been busy. Lots going on.

We did make it to Disneyland and it was a magnificent whirlwind, but great fun (will definitely have a Disney dedicated post coming). I’m still recuperating, 2 weeks later! I basically missed almost an entire night’s sleep in the midst of the fun extravaganza and never made it up, so I’m working on a huge deficit. Oh and I had the pleasure of hearing that Osama bin Laden had been killed…while I was in the middle of Disneyland…watching fireworks…on my birthday. Let’s just say it was a bit surreal.

Loser mom that I am, I completely spaced on an orientation meeting for Sofia’s new Catholic school. We’ll just blame it on the sleep deprivation. They were really nice about it, but I was so disappointed with myself. All the information was in “the packet,” but still. I really wanted to be there. The “packet” is full of more information than my pea brain can process right now. Uniforms and scrip, fashion shows and immunizations and jog a thons, parking lot/drop off options and diagrams, personnel directories, girl scout sign ups, you name it. Careful what you wish for, right? I wanted involvement and…I GOT IT. I actually am excited about her attending the new school, I think the environment will be great for her.

Money wise, this has been a tough month. Obviously, the trip to Disney was an expenditure. Not a large one, thanks to our annual passes and the unbelievable graciousness and generosity of my friend Lori for hosting my menagerie, but an expenditure nonetheless. In all of my adult life, I have never had to live without disposable income. Like, ever. Not going to lie, it freaking sucks. I’m not good at it, but I’m getting better. I buy only what we need (a novel concept for me) and go out of my way to use coupons or drive to a certain gas station. I’m working at least 45-46 hours per week outside the home (regular job plus side work) and it’s helping us to get by. For now.

I have been trying to figure out what to do with Sofia for the summer (can’t afford summer camp, just can’t). Her aftercare has a summer program, but it’s quite pricey. I found out that they will subsidize part of the cost, so I applied for a subsidy. Today, I received a notice that she’s enrolled, so I’m not sure what to make of that. It’s 4 weeks, so not all summer, but certainly better than nothing.

I’m worried about the fall and the boys being able to attend pre-K for 3 days a week while Sofia attends private school. Something may have to give and it may mean the boys’ preschool. I hate to do it, but I may not have a choice. I’ll do everything I can to make sure they go, but I know that if they don’t, it won’t be the end of the world.

That’s all I can think of right now in terms of catching up. One day soon, I’ll be back to some semblance of proper blog posts. If there’s anyone still out there, thanks for hanging in there.

A few of the Disney moments…

Yes, my boys insist on wearing socks with their Crocs. I just want everyone to know that I have informed them that this is not the ideal look, but they want the socks and I’m picking my battles on this one.

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So, the camping trip.

The best part of it was probably coming home and feeling (after 3 days watching my boys covered head to toe in dirt) that my house was felt clean in comparison.

Some high points:

-Going with such a large group. The communal aspect made it so much fun. It was like a weekend long playgroup and I’m so glad we went.

-The kids at the creek, playing happily in the water for hours.

-The boys playing with all their friends on a massive dirt hill, sliding down on their butts, laughing and having the times of their lives.

Dirt Hill

-The kids riding their bikes and scooters with a kazillion other children in the park, tearing down hills with abandon and no fear of cars.

-Sharing wine and food with some great people. I am going to miss this group terribly when we move.

-Building a tent with a man who hasn’t camped since he was a child. (high point because we completed it). It was a 10 person tent that was quickly dubbed “The Taj Mahal”

-Eating eggs and bacon cooked on a camp stove. Yummy.

-Feeling exhilarated from hiking and being active constantly.

-Watching Sofia with the little toddlers, leading them around like the pied piper. She was way nicer with them than she ever was with her little brothers.

-Watching Sofia charm the pants off all of the adults. As high maintenance as she can be at times, I will never worry about her socially. She is fearless, a force and I am so happy about that.

Some of the low points:

-Building a tent with a man who hasn’t built a tent since he was a child. I’m no expert camper, but used to go with an ex who was great at all that stuff. He would just direct me and I’d follow. Steve has a hard time with things like this and was getting frustrated, so there were some tense moments.

-Watching the family next to us with their perfect camp. Expert campers, they had quite an operation going there. Their very presence right next to me just irritated the shit out of me, I’m not even going to lie. And they had one older child and 3 year old twins also. I felt like our campsite was a hot mess, with toys, crayons and all sorts of things lying about – kind of like home.

-Having to carry David kicking and screaming on a hike to the creek. He refused to walk, so had to be carried. I thought I was going to pass out from being hot and overwhelmed. When I did pass him on to Steve, he shrieked the entire time. Mind you, we were with a group of about 12 adults and 15 kids. They all got a big does of David’s big temper.

-Having the boys fight constantly over who would ride the tricycle. (I only brought one, though one of them would want to ride the scooter. I thought wrong).

Woopsie!

-Sleeping on an air mattress. Not a lot of sleep was had, although the kids slept fine – once they went down.

-Having Sofia have a LEVEL 10 meltdown because I had packed her bike in the car. She proceeded to ignore my threats and attempt to get the bike out of the car. I attempted to put her in time out, but she is too big for that now. She just breaks away and bolts. We had an explosive power struggle, witnessed by everyone in campsites near us.

The cherry on the cake? At one point, she threw her flip flop at me. That.Was when I lost it. I tore off after her, tripped over a tent stake and landed flat on my face. Well, not exactly, my arms and wrists broke my fall and let me tell you, I’m feeling it today. I was so mad, I was shaking. For the first time ever, I uttered the words “Wait ‘til we get home.” I felt like I had gone back and time and was reliving my childhood (home full of explosive scenes like this) but I was running on sheer adrenaline at this point. I didn’t plan on doing anything to her when we got home, but I was so fuming mad, not to mention embaressed, I could not help but lash out a little bit.

-Breaking down the camp. Too much work.

-Not being able to drink to excess. That was always one of the funnest parts of camping for me, back when I was single. With little kids? Not so much.

Overall, the jury is still out as to whether I think it was a success. The kids had a blast, there’s no question about that. They did not want to come home.

For me, it was just a massive amount of work (and dirt). Not even our 5 day Disneyland trips have taken this much out of me. The planning and packing and unpacking and repacking and camp set up and camp break down. Oy. I think that now that we’ve done this with kids, we will be able to go again with a little more ease, but still. Hotels are so much easier. And have room service.

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We’re Gonna Rock the Redwoods

In all my whining about my week, I neglected to mention the biggest news of the week.

Sometimes I do that. I think that everyone just knows every minute detail of my life.

The primary reason for the heightened stress level of this week is because we are going camping this weekend. All 5 of us. In addition to all the regular stuff going on during the week, and the not so regular, I’ve been trying to plan and pack.

We are going with the boys’ playgroup. There will be (at last count) 8 families and approximately 18 children ages 6 and under. Oh yes.

I haven’t been camping since about 2000, long before I had children and before I met my husband.

I have spent the past 2 weeks preparing for this camping trip. Never in my adult life have I spent more time and money planning one weekend away. I have plastic bins full of everything anyone could ever imagine needing for camping. Plus the tent, air mattresses, tarp, camp stove, lantern, bug repellant, Citronella candle, etc. We are also bringing the kids’ bikes, scooters, tee ball, soccer balls, horseshoes, hula hoops, trucks, sand toys, bubbles…I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

I used to camp here as a child, with my father’s folk music festival friends. Hippies everywhere, people smoking pot openly, playing music, etc. They are still some of my favorite memories of childhood. Of course, I had no idea they were smoking pot, I only know that in retrospect.

I have read on Yelp that this is an extremely family oriented campground. Basically, people were saying “If you’re looking for rest and relaxation, this is not the place to come..” Sounds like the perfect place for us!

Never will this be more true than this weekend when our group rocks the woods. Judging by how head-to-toe dirty my boys get by an hour in our yard and how much they love getting that dirty, I think they are going to be pigs in shit. (they do have showers, yey. This is either going to be one of the best family vacations we’ve ever had or a complete disaster.

See you on the other side.

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So, I am struggling with some guilt.

I shouldn’t be, but I am.

Every single day, my children question why I have to go to work. It tears my heart out, every day, but someone has to pay for the Healthnet.

I have 3 furlough days this week. They were forced upon us (classified employees) by management via a long, unnecessary and wasteful beaurocratic process. I am not mad at management for “forcing” them upon us. I am angry with the union who represents me always getting in the way of things. But I digress.

We have these furlough days and I have lots of plans for my time off. I am going to take the kids to their first dental appointment (I know how to show them a good time!). I am hosting playgroup for the boys and on Friday, I am hosting a potluck at the park for Sofia’s preschool friends, who are all going off in different directions, starting kindergarten next week. I feel good about all of this.

But yet…

Yet, I am feeling incredibly guilty for basically taking off for most of the weekend to do something for me and ONLY me. I am going to Bloggy Boot Camp in San Francisco.

Created and put on by the wonderful women at SITSgirls, this bootcamp is a day of networking, education and socializing. Have I mentioned I do not know one person (in real life) who is going to this? Going to such a huge event where I know NO ONE is way outside my comfort zone, but I am still looking forward to it.

I’m staying overnight at a fabulous hotel in the city and possibly even going to an afterparty at a local nightclub. Now, granted, I used to prowl the nightclubs of San Francisco quite regularly, but I think it goes without saying that it’s been a while.

So, even though the day offers so much information on taking my blog to the next level (something I have been wanting to do) and getting to hobnob with some amazing women, I am having a lot of anxiety about leaving the kids overnight. David is sick and I’m just praying that his asthma does not make an appearance between now and Saturday.

It’s not like I’ve never been away from them overnight, they just seem to have such separation anxiety since I started working FT again, that it’s particularly hard.

I’m sure after a few glasses of wine, I’ll get over it, but still. It is only overnight. I need this time away desperately, I’m not going to lie.

Off to figure out what the eff I’m going to wear to this shindig.

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So, it’s been a good week so far. I lost 3 lbs on Weight Watchers (from the daily miles of walking in Disneyland, no doubt) AND I reached my 6 month benchmark with the new job, which means I am now permanent AND get a raise.

Can’t complain!! (Well, I could complain about how hellish bedtime has been for the past 2 evenings, but I digress…)

Here is a photo retrospective of the Disney trip…

After a 7 hour drive that included ZERO sleeping, we’ve arrived!

Heading over to the park!

David being his pathologically clingy self (this was a common scene throughout the trip)

Fireworks

…and the kids reaction to fireworks…NOT a big hit!

Teacups. Always a big hit.

Sofia with Mickey!!

The Fam

Hanging by the pool, my favorite part of the trip, especially soaking my feet in the hot tub. Good times.

Sleepy Boy

The kids with Pooh

I think Daddy likes this ride more than the boys do, if that’s possible…

Day 2 Pixar Parade

The Kids with Mickey

Will goofing around

Sofia & her friend Sabrina on Small World

Sofia with Minnie

David looking very unsure about Minnie

Sofia waiting for World of Color

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