Friday, June 27, 2008

DC is all kinds of awesome- Part I

First of all, I haven't changed a poopy diaper in 8 days. No that does not mean that Ryan is potty trained, it just means I was gone for 7 days and Ethan was the lucky one to get this morning's. You smell it, you change it. Lucky me!!! So, DC was so fun and tiring...but mostly just really cool (not weather cool because it was HOT and HUMID). This post will probably ramble on for days, and Michelle McCoy already thinks my posts are long so sorry in advance.

Ethan and I have not traveled like this since our honeymoon back in 99. Most of our vacations have been relatively short, and usually by car. Ethan had never been past Colorado and considers everything past there "East Coast" LOL. I have been to Florida overnight, but other than that, not a lot of traveling over there either. So, the fact that we traveled by plane, car, metro, train, taxi and bus is kinda cool. The fact that we didn't lose eachother on the metro during rush hour is pretty astounding.

We flew into BWI on Thursday evening, after leaving Oakland at 9:30. We brought our GPS and I cannot say enough good things about having it. Ofcourse I printed out Yahoo directions for everything, but Ethan likes to hear the lady telling him where to go instead of me. FINE. I also like that its not my fault if we happen to get lost. I tend to think the voice is a bit snippy sometimes and I swear she has an attitude, but whatever. It totally works. We decided to find somewhere to eat and hang out because we were exhausted. Our hotel was near the airport in Lithicum, or something like that. I must say that Maryland loves their Wendys. We were able to find at Wendys and a liquor store at every turn...not so much what we were looking for. After driving around for a while we decided to eat at Wendys.

Friday we headed over to Pasadena, MD where my friend lives. That is where I found out you cannot by liquor at the grocery store, hence the amount of liquor stores. I also found out no one in Maryland cares about their butts because they don't have toilet seat covers anywhere... Is it a CA thing? Her parents moved to Missouri in 1993 and they said its the same over there too. I just thought we all cared about toilet seat cleanliness and it wasn't a regional thing. This is also the day I found out there were no wedding flowers. GASP. Go ahead, have a freak out.

The bride had decided to go with an on-line wholesaler. She had planned to use hydrangeas from her own yard and they are spectacular, so she was ordering white roses and some other fillers for the center pieces. She even did a test run about a month ago and everything showed up on time and good quality. They were supposed to ship Thursday over night for a Friday arrival. She checked UPS and the order never shipped. Cannot track an order that was never shipped. The company's phone goes straight to voicemail. Are you getting the picture? Oh yes, they are out of business, but not before they took her money. Luckily it was put on a credit card and she reported it on Friday and the credit card people were so nice and when they heard it was wedding flowers they were all over it. I think they enjoy going after the bad guys :) Miraculously, the bride didn't panic. We decided to use more hydrangeas cuz we had them at our disposal, then sent everyone out to Costco and local grocery stores to buy flowers. I think the flowers looked better than if we had received the order. Her aunt made all the center pieces, bouquets and corsages. She was totally Marthat Stewart. We spent most of Friday getting the house/yard ready because they were getting married there.

As for location, you could not have paid for anything better. They are off the Chesapeak Bay (i think) and its absolutely gorgeous to have your backyard be the water--actually i think its the front yard. They have a great deck and two sailboats at their dock. I know, must be rough. Saturday was the wedding and the weather was fantastic. Not as hot as it was supposed to be, and there was a breeze. Her hairdresser came to do our hair and mine was so cute. Elegant and classy, nothing too weird or too fancy for a garden wedding. And my ended up being fine, but it needed to be a bit more fitted at the top. Nothing major. I was able to wear the suck it in garment without pain but in the photos I look about 300lbs and my face looks gigantic. I'm gonna blame it on water weight from the heat...does that sound good? Honestly, I am not pregnant but I kinda look it. Oh well. The point of me bringing up the dress was that it matched the hydrangeas perfectly. Could not have asked for a better color. Well, I would have looked better in navy, but we won't go into that :) I made a toast where I blubbered from almost my first word. I know, nice. My super fantastic husband got it on video...let's hope it doesn't show up on YouTube. I was just happy for her, happy we have been friends for so long (since we were 4). I was a bit embarassed that I didn't even cry at my own wedding. Whatever.

Sunday was a Maryland style crab feed back at their house. Since she could only put about 50 for the sit down dinner at the reception they had another "party" for the rest of their friends. I don't eat fish...but hey, I'm always up for a party. We drove to downtown Baltimore in the morning to one of the harbors and to see a maritime museum, then back to party. We left around 5:00 thinking it would be a good idea to get into DC before it got dark. Again, the GPS was awesome except for it took is directly to Union Station, but we couldn't find where to return our car. There was nothing obvious. We drove around for a while, then I called the Budget at Union Station. No one answered.....never. I called the Budget at BWI where I rented the one answered and they are supposedly open 24/7. WTF? Now its getting dark and we still have to get on the metro and get to our hotel. Finally I call the 800# for Budget and the only help I get is its near "H" street, by the trains. Not helpful. Flynn, I so almost called you. Finally on one of our many turns through the circle in front of Union Station Ethan sees a rental car return sign. The sign was itty bitty. No joke. Basically you drive into a parking garage and some random guy takes your car. I think he was in an Alamo uniform. Then he sent us on some weird chase to the Budget office in the building. Honestly, more of a chore than it should have been. We made our way to the Metro and ended up in Dupont Circle. Then Ethan asked me, where is the hotel? I was told by my friend it was a few blocks, no big deal. I didn't exactly map it what I'm saying is, I had no idea. I felt like a total idiot. After all my planning, I forgot to ask which direction to walk. Ethan called the hotel and we were only 2 blocks away. No big deal. Then we had a great dinner at Dupont Grill, which was in our hotel. This was a big deal for us because we aren't used to staying in nice places that have restaurants...not $75 dinner restaurants for sure. We're lucky to have a Dennys next door. So, it was nice to walk downstairs, have dinner looking out onto the streets of Dupont Circle...then notice everything was wet. Apparently it had rained while we were checking in...then the thunder and lightning started. Oh my...we were hoping it wasn't going to rain the next few days or we were screwed. But we enjoyed a lovely meal, finally having some time for just the two of us.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

One down, one to go...

Vacation number 1 is over and we survived. Vacation #2 starts tomorrow...which is actually good because we are exhuasted from #1. First I have to say that Ethan is awesome. Really. Ryan was pretty darn good for our first real trip away from home and I think it had a lot to do with the attention he gets from daddy (and his grandpa, and step grandma, and her kids, and his aunt and uncle and 3 cousins...but its mostly daddy). He took Ryan swimming everday while I sat in the shade and red the second installment of my vampire book. Seriously people, no joke, these books are extremely entertaining. I finished the first book in 3 days and its about 500 pages. Then I finished the second book today which was about 4 days total and bought the third book today to take on my trip. Then he carried him the entire way down and up in Moaning Caverns (245 stairs). Plus, there were enumerable times where he had to jet under the railings to grab our escaped child. He was inches from touching the "do not touch" stuff and almost ran right into a stalagtite/mite that was transplanted from a cave in China. But he had fun.

Our major issue was sleep, ofcourse. We managed to find the pak n play way in the back of the storage in the garage. When we put him to bed the first night we couldn't believe it when his head and feet were protruding from the mesh netting on both sides. Remember when we brought him home from the hospital and he used to sleep in that? There was a 30 min crying fit because he didn't want to stay where we were. He kept saying "wanna go in mommy car, Ryan's house." It was sad, but also nice to know he likes his house/room/crib. Because I'm super mommy (sometimes) I packed a new toy for him which stopped the tantrum in its tracks. Yay mom! 3 new magnetic bath boats....yipee.

We had 2 condos to split between 8 people and 4 kids. They were both 2 bedrooms w/ 2 bathrooms and a murphy bed. We ended up with my sister in law and her husband, and their 3 kids. Full house. Noisy house. Because the kids all had to go to bed around 8:00, that left the adults kind of stuck. The murphy bed was in the living room so we couldn't hang out there. The bedroom downstairs was smaller and didnt have a TV. We took the bedroom upstairs with the king bed figuring Ryan would end up with us at some point, and the pak n play fit in there better. I also thought my sister in law who is due in 3 weeks might not want to be up and down the stairs...and hey, we were only staying 2 nights, they were gonna stay a week. So, they got the condo to themelves when we left and could do whatever they wanted.

It was pretty obvious Ryan wasn't going to let us leave after we put him to bed so we got ourselves ready for bed. I think it was 8:30....and told him everyone was going to sleep. We pushed the blankets at the end of our bed to make a hill so he couldn't see us and we watched a movie on a portable dvd player with headphones. Oh, if there were only pics! I'm sure we looked ridiculous but hey, it worked. Ryan lasted in the pak n play til about 12:30, then 2:30 the second night. Better than I expected, but we were so tired in the mornings. Ryan spent most of the night kicking Ethan, and whenever he woke up he was usually up for 1-2 hrs before falling back asleep which meant I was up telling him to GO TO SLEEP.

All and all it was a good trip and I'm glad we went, eventhough I had major anxiety about it. I have turned into such a control freak and a worry wort. I hate that I have to be so scheduled, but at the same time, when you have a child that didn't sleep longer than 2 hrs at a time for a year and you find a schedule that works you hold onto it FOR DEAR LIFE. It really has saved us so when we veer from the schedule I get all twitchy and worried and nervous and...but I am learning to calm down and that we can fix it if it gets messed up. It might take a day or two, or a week, but it can be fixed. We left around 8:00pm so Ryan would sleep on the way home and got home around 9:30. He went right back to sleep in his crib. He did wake up around 1:00, nothing a little water wouldn't fix and he slept til 6:30. He's been waking up once or twice at night, then sleeping til 6:30 which is very late for him. So, we just need a bit of tweeking to fix the wake ups. Ofcourse I can't do that now because I'm leaving in 9 hrs. It will wait til I get back...just like potty training :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Let's buy another house!

As I mentioned before, its always a good idea to start house hunting right before you take 2 vacations in a row. Doesn't everyone plan it like that? Why pack when you can go look at houses you probably won't like--in the heat. Someone forgot to mention all these empty houses didn't have the AC on, on a 96 degree day. Why oh why do I overlook things like this? Well, it was still better than driving out of town to Sears to buy a Lands End bathing suit. Our local Sears does not carry Lands End (ofcourse) and that is the only brand I have found that has under wire support for the girls and lets be honest, that is a necessity. What is making this trip sound even more fun is that I will probably have to take Ryan with me. Joy. Pure joy. So, we either go today or tomorrow, or there will be no swimming for me this weekend. And lets be honest, I won't be going in the two days I have when we get back before DC. Its now or never baby!

Anyway, back to the houses. The market is not as soft here as Ethan told me. Or another way to say it is "yes, there are 3 car garage options in our price range--we just don't want to live in THOSE neighborhoods." I believe that we have become house snobs recently due to living in new construction and planned communities. Don't get me wrong, I've had issues with some HOAs, but on the other hand, the neighborhoods like very nice and well kept. Fortunately for us, the neighborhood we live in now is not a strict HOA, and I define that as we haven't had a ticket or notice the entire time we've lived here. That tells me we can be ourselves and not worry about it. Just mow your lawn and don't leave your trashcans out all week.

The problem tends to be the "must have" list. Ethan decided a 3 car was a must, I think its more of a "wish." If the backyard is big enough for some type of shed, then that would work for me. I understand there are a lot of things that don't belong in the garage (highchair, about 10 diaper boxes full of Ryan's clothes, christmas decorations, a bouncy seat, a jumperoo, etc) but he would not let me get rid of that because of the "maybe baby #2" so there they sit. And, he told me if we had a 3 car garage we would only park 2 in there anyway. Since we do actually have 3 cars, it means one is still out. So, I am more of the idea that we don't rule out 2 car garages in a few of the neighborhoods that we like and then decide. If we can store non-essential garage items somewhere else, then we should be ok. Or we could sell the convertible :)

I was basically able to rule out some areas we didn't want to live in. Then I walked through the houses being amazed at the gross state of almost every carpet. YUCK. And lets not forget most of them are missing key appliances since the owners like to take them before the bank kicks them out. One was even missing a toilet. Our realtor keeps telling me I need to love the house, it has to have a "wow" factor for me, I"m just not sure that will ever happen. Our previos house hunting...well, really wasn't hunting.

Our first house we bought across the street and one over from the house we were renting. We did not look at any other house. I loved the neighborhood (built in 1950, lots of retired people on the block, quiet, hard wood floors, newly updated and a gigantic backyard). I saw the sign go up, noticed they were doing a lot of work over there, found out a contractor bought it and was gonna flip it. I took a tour and told Ethan to make it happen. I wanted it. Plus, they were adding another bathroom, turing a rec room that was added onto the back into a master suite. I lovedi t (except for the original kitchen cabinets). It was a 3 bed, 2 bath, 1500 sq/ft on almost a 1/4 acre. We had grand plans to put a pool in, fix up the backyard. We did a really cute brick walkway from the curb to the front door. I painted for goodness sakes. And then Ethan got a job offer for San Diego and you just can't pass that up. Bye bye house that we only lived in for a year :(

We rented in Rancho Del Oro for a while and the HOA was ridiculous. After a year we started looking. We went to some open houses, not wanting to get a realtor because the one that sold our first house for us SUCKED. He is the reason Ethan ended up getting his license in the first place. Every weekend we looked and decided we had to raise our price a little because we did not want to live in Escondido with a chain link fence. Sorry.

Then we noticed some new houses being built. They were affordable, so we jumped in. At this time we didn't have a child, weren't really planning on a child, so we didn't think about school district or anything like that. If you went to our house one way it looked like a very nice area. If you came from the other direction, scary. You know, drive by the check cashing place and the Popeyes. We had a great park nearby and nice neighbors. It was a 4 bed/2 bath, 1800 sq/ft. The nice thing was that it was new so you could pick stuff. The bad thing was that we couldn't afford any upgrades :( Looking back now, the layout of the house was great and I like that the other bedrooms were separate from the master.

Now we are renting again, and I didn't love anything I saw. I couldn't imagine myself living in hardly any of them. No WOW factor. I like our rental more than anything I saw, and I can't figure out if that is because of neighborhood or not. It would be very hard to leave here. Even though its man made, we have a lake with a great 1 mile track to walk around. We have 2 parks in walking distance. The landscaping is always kept up. There is a pool/spa, tot lot, and tennis courts behind a gated area. Ryan and I spend a lot of time at the parks, and I love that I feel like I'm exercising when I"m walking around the lake. Its a nice view, plus we go to the dock and look for fish a lot. Ethan takes him swimming on Saturday mornings in the summer. It would be hard not to have these things. I guess what I'm trying to do is convince him that location is more important than if you're reading...

Actually its time to head to one of the parks right now before the heat of the day kicks in.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Someone should DO something

I guess that someone should be me. I have a long "to do" list...and I hate "to do" lists. I like making them for other people, but don't like to participate in the actual "doing"...know what I mean? Some things that need to get done:

1) Download pics - yes, i finally took pics of my cute clearance bag from Target, and the plastic melted masterpiece of last week, and the pearl necklaces i have to show the bride in case she wants me to wear one

2) Pick up my dyed shoes that were supposed to be ready know they probably forgot about them--how dare I buy them early--so I'm sure they are drying as we speak. The shoes are kind of a necessity to do the hem of the dress and mom is in a little bit of a panic. She wants it done so i have time to take it to be pressed at the cleaners....oh crap, add that to the list.

3) Find some "suck it in" underwear because the Walmart garment hurts my ribs....i'm not sure i can wear it all day. i only wore it for an hour and it hurt so bad, then it continued to cause pain after it was off. not good.

4) Meet the realtor today and look at houses, because its a good idea to throw yourself into house hunting mode right before you take 2 vacations in a row

5) Get extra keys made so the people that are taking care of Ryan and the dogs can enter without using the garage door opener (which someone always forgets somewhere)

6) Pack for this weekend at the condo. Our first family vacation, not counting visiting here when we lived in SD. The list to pack is huge, and its only 3 days, 2 nights. I also checked the weather for our location. I thought we were going up in the mountains and that it would be cooler than, high 90s. YES! Everyone vacations where its hotter than where they live, right?

7) Complete the "Ryan's schedule/routine" document that is now already 4 pages typed for when we are gone in DC. I know its anal, but it makes me feel better. The more time I put into it the more I feel they won't need it. It also has our itinerary, etc so its not totally about Ryan...just 95%.

8) Update the will and get copies of Ryan's medical card/authorize medical treatment while we are gone.

9) Laundry!

10) Stop reading the teen fiction book I just got at Amazon because I am addicted...who would have thought vampire romance was my kind of book?

So, these are all totally do-able. Things are a bit messy since we leave Saturday for the condo, come back late Monday night, then leave Thursday for DC. I'm sure 2 days is enough to get Ryan back on schedule after sleeping in the same room as us and probably not taking a nap for 2 days...not to mention re-packing. OH MY...

Thursday, June 5, 2008


DO NOT hit enter after putting in your title...that posts directly. DUH. I am awesome. Another thing, do not use the broiler when you are storing plastic paraphenalia in your oven. Oh yes, pictures are on the way. I have created a melted plastic masterpiece that I am sure will be in a museum one day. After airing out the house to make sure we didn't poison ourselves with toxic fumes (thank you to Ethan for telling me "THATS POISON"...makes a mom feel great!), I called my sister and had this conversation:

Me: Hey what are you doing
Sis: Just finished dinner and I'm watching TV, why
Me: Oh, I was making dinner
Sis: What are you making, i made pasta
Me: I was broiling pork chops
Sis: with applesauce? (yes too much Brady Bunch at our house)
Me: No. Yuck. Anyway, I was broiling pork chops and I left some stuff in the oven
Sis: Oh
Me: And one of those things happens to be your cake pan with the plastic lid
Sis: No big deal, mom bought it. I didn't pay for it.
Me: Really, mom gave me some too. You can have mine if you want but I think I'll be able to save the pan if I can peel off the melted plastic. It was sitting on top of my favorite plastic pie server which I use to transport cookies, scones, etc.
Sis: Thanks for the notification

And now I am compelled to tell you about the scones that were left in the melted pie server. YOU MUST GO TO COST PLUS AND BUY SCONE MIX. All you do is add water. Totally my kind of baking. They are fantastic. I prefer the blueberry, chocolate or raspberry. The apricot was yucky. And I'm going to miss my pie server that never had a pie in it. Its basically a round plastic thing with an attached lid. It has stored and tranported many a cake, but never a pie.

And before you ask, because you should already know, I have to store things in the oven because of my dog Shelby. We cannot leave any food item on the counter when we are gone so the oven and microwave are usually stuffed with something. This particular night I was in a rush and didn't think about opening the oven before I turned on the broiler. Some of you with a more sophisticated oven would say "dont' you have to open the oven door?" BUT NO, not at this house, where the broiler is at the bottom of the oven--where most ovens have a drawer where you store cookie sheets--that is where my broiler is. We like to cook on the floor. This has got to be the cheapest oven on the market. It is not self cleaning, there is no light or beep to tell you when the oven is pre-heated. And as I mentioned, we get to broil on the floor. I expected much better from a house this size and that was not a cheap house when it was built. I guess some apartment ovens are like this...but I'm pretty sure I never broiled--EVER--in college so I wouldn't know. I ate things like brozen corn dogs and ramen and mac n cheese and spaghetti. No broiling required.

Ok, so now that I have used the word AND a gazillion times, it is time to do something else. There will be an ever exciting post coming up about our real estate issues. We decided to get a realtor because Ethan does not have the time to represent us so we have started the process and WOW. There are just too many decisions. I want to crawl under a rock. We are not first time homebuyers (this will be #3) and we have lived in 5 houses together, so we should know what we want. At least we thought we knew what we wanted. But with a child we have to think more about neighborhood and schools and parks get it.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Hurry hurry

I'm in a hurry because Ryan is in the bath (late again) and this time there is a time limit. This kid can streeeeeeeeeeeeeetch bath time out. And, I think Ethan gets bored sitting in there. And, there seem to be a lot of threats like "if you get me wet again." :)

The guest room did get done in time, and we had a nice visit with my friend and her fiance. I'm pretty sure this will not be his vacation destination in the future. It was the first time he had been to her "home town" and I don't think he was impressed. We had a nice night, except for the heavy metal band that came to play mid-way through dinner. Honestly, at a mexican restaurant. Ridiculous. They had the nerve to ask if we were "staying for the show" then asked for the $5 cover. Uh, NO thanks. And, if Ryan ever wears skinny jeans I will throw up (actually I would throw up if I ever wear skinny jeans). Needless to say we finished our drinks outside which was less noisy, but full of teenagers. I don't like teenagers, and I hope Ryan never acts like one...which is ofcourse A LOT to ask. I guess there isn't a question as to why I only taught highschool for two years.

Ryan had his official last day of speech. We decided to go ahead and transition him out early and as his parting act he decided to steal his teacher's ambulance. After 6 months of therapy once a week and never taking anything he decides the last day is a good time to be Mr. Sticky Fingers. I have been so careful not to mix toys and to make sure she doesn't leave anything behind. Then about an hour later he says "yook mommy ms. yisa's ambulance." Then he ran around all day calling it "Ryan's ambulance." I told him he had to give it back, but when I e-mailed her she said he could keep it. He was the only kid out of 22 in her group that could say ambulance :) We are so proud of him (not for the stealing part) not just for advancing so quickly, but for doing it with a good attitude. I know he is only 2.5, but I could tell that he was trying to do what was asked of him. Years from now when Ryan is working on his quadratic equations and speaking several foreign languages we'll say "remember when he had a severe expressive speech delay." I'm also kinda proud of myself for picking myself up out of the "my poor baby has a speech delay" and really rolling with it. I learned a lot and have passed on a ton of information. I have referred several people to our local program (one evaluation actually caught a hearing loss) and found a similar program in San Diego County for another friend. I think in a few years you might hear that I am headed back to school for my MS in Speech Pathology. It could happen...