Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Oh Hey, Yeah...

The J-Bird got glasses. They're technically just for reading, writing, drawing, watching TV, using the iPad, playing video games, or anything else that involves focusing. That means he wears them quite a bit, as he enjoys all those things. He can take them off when he goes out to play. He chose these frames because they look the most like the ones Superman wears as Clark Kent. That'd be m'boy.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Our Great Big Adventure

 When James and I were first married, we lived in the Sacramento, CA area. That's not a great place for asthmatics like me, and the air pollution became life threatening for me (constant asthma attacks, tons of medication, weekly appointments with a specialist, etc...), so we moved here, where I have no problems and actually don't even need to take medication anymore, after eight and a half years of clean breathing. Hallelu, says I (and James, who likes me pretty well and prefers me living).

Anyway. When we lived in California, I was involved with a theater company, and we attended a really nice church, and in the general course of living there for a few years, I made a bunch of friends, and I've really missed them a lot. I haven't been back since we moved, which makes seeing any of those friends rawther difficult. One of my dearest friends from the Sacratomato area was getting married this weekend, and I really, really wanted to go. Really. Like...I wanted to put my children in the car and drive twelve hours down to Sacramento and go to her wedding.

So I did.

In the planning phase, I breezily threw it together and said, "It'll all be fine", as though I'd done this a million times, instead of never. I contacted some friends to see about staying with them, and they graciously agreed to open their home to me and the maniacs (James did not accompany us on our mission). I put together a budget for gas, planned what to pack in the cooler for the car, what the kids would wear, everything.

The week before, as we were participating in Vacation Bible School at our church and Bailey and I were throwing the surprise party for Amy, I started to think of all the many reasons why this idea was completely bananas, and how I would probably be murdered at a rest stop or die in a fiery crash in the mountains. I vacillated between middle-of-the-night panic and tough-guy resignation.

And then, I just decided to pull up my Wonder Woman Underoos and get on with it.

Soooooo....on Thursday, we came home from VBS, and I went to sleep. Bailey watched the kids for me all afternoon, and that night, around 9:30pm, we got in the car and set off on our big adventure.

 The moon was my companion. Along with some books on CD from the library and a LOT of coffee.

 I watched the sun come up over the mountains as I finished driving through them. The kids were sleeping, so when that coffee started making its presence known, I had to just stop by the side of the road. Made for some pretty photo stops though :)

We arrived at Ron and Kathleen Flint's house almost exactly 12 hours after leaving our own. I was exhilarated. I was exhausted. It was 9:30am. We spent the day going low and slow, playing with their little doggy and catching up on old times, and then we got ready for Buffee's wedding.

 I first met Buffee in 2003, when I vocal directed her in a production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". She has a truly lovely voice, and she's fantastic on stage. She's also just one of those people, you know? They draw you to them, because they have beautiful souls, and because they really, genuinely love. That's Buffee. This weekend, she married a really sweet man, named Daryl. It was great to be part of their night.

 The man sitting next to the J-bird is one of the people I drove to California specifically to see. That's Ray, and he's fantastic. Hi, Ray!

 The J-bird and Miss V took to Ron and Kathleen immediately. They were all fast friends right away, and it was pretty special to watch.

 The J-bird was pretty tired, so he hung out with the iPad for the first part of the dancing.

 Not Miss V. Once she wore Kathleen out, she found a partner her own size.

 I coaxed him out eventually though!

 And then, he really cut loose...

 Miss V was fascinated with Buffee's dress. She kept telling her, "Your dress matches MY dress!"

 Then they spun out for a while.

 It was pretty great.

 We danced until we could dance no more, and then we went back to the Flints' to catch some sleep.

 Both kids had started sniffling by this point, whether from allergies, exhaustion, or some random bug, I did not know, but we decided to go fairly low and slow the next day. We bummed around at the Flints' house, which seemed to suit everyone alright. Miss V pretended to be afraid of Nahla, the dog, who found that act hilarious, and I got a chance to chit-chat with Kathleen and her daughter, Kaitlin, who I've known since she was a little girl.

 And Kenneth came over as well! Hi Kenneth!

 We had some lunch, and then we went swimming in the Flints' back yard pool, which fulfilled every dream my children had for California.

That evening, we drove into Folsom to see some friends from our old church. The kids and I drove by the house James and I used to live in (weird. Looked totally different), and then we met the Vetters for ice cream and had a blast.

 Their little girl, L is just a few months older than the J-bird. They were insta-friends, and it was adorable. After they ate their ice cream, they decided to have a dance party, so we let them. We don't drive to California that often. I say a dance party is in order.

 L even did a somersault. Mishelle and I did that tacit mom nod thing that says, "If the husbands had seen that, we'd be explaining ourselves for allowing such a thing, but...meh. Looked like fun."

 I can't tell you how happy this made me. I would post a photo of Wade and Mishelle. I actually took a really cute one. Mishelle made me promise not to though. So I WON'T. Take my word for it that they are a very cute couple. James and I attended their wedding many years ago, and it was wonderful. Oh, weddings...

We went back to the Flints' after this, and I tried to get the J-bird to sleep (he didn't), while Miss V coughed in my face all night. It was exciting.

The next morning, we packed up and got ready to roll back home, this time in the blessed light of day. We said our goodbyes to Kathleen, Kaitlin and Nahla (cannot ever thank them enough for their hospitality), and got settled back into the car for our long haul.

 It took a little longer to get home than it did to get there, because the roads were little more crowded, and we had to stop for meals, but we made it in about 13 hours. The kids were AMAZING, and I'm not joking. In spite of the coughing and sniffing (which, I'll be honest, is torturous to listen to for that long, no matter how sorry I felt for them. And yes, they feel much better today), they did not fight with each other or throw fits or cry or throw shoes or do any of the awful things you might expect of a six year old and three year old strapped in the back of a car for that long. Man, I felt like throwing MY shoes by the end. They had books and movies and headphones and snacks and drinks, and we stopped a few times, and we all tried not to snap at each other, and we apologized when we did, and it was as fun as it could reasonably be. Honestly, it wasn't too bad. And when we pulled into our driveway last night, I felt like Wonder Woman. Exhausted, exhilarated, slightly psycho, possibly-hallucinating-a-little-bit-from-tiredness, WONDER WOMAN. I did something I wasn't sure I could do. WE did something I wasn't sure WE could do.