Sunday, June 22, 2014

E's First Camping Trip

About a month ago our friend Meredith, from the ward, emailed me letting me know that they had booked a campsite for two camping trips they were planning this summer and wondered if we wanted to go. This is a family that Matthew and I have been wanting to get to know better, but every time one of us is available the other couple hasn't been. I was so glad to find out that we were going to be able to swing going on both camp trips.

We contemplated doing both nights of camping on this first trip, but Matthew had work until 7 or 8pm and E and I were going to be just getting back from our Western tour, so we thought one night would just about do it.

Saturday morning we loaded the car up and headed towards Keuka Lake State Park. Matthew wanted to bring the bikes just in case we had the opportunity to take a ride so he also installed the bike racks on the car which took a little longer than we anticipated, so we left a little later than we planned. On top of that E decided she was sorta kinda hungry so we had to stop and feed her even though the drive was only 90 minutes. She has still been a little off on her feedings since coming home, so it has been slightly frustrating the past few days because sometimes I can't tell if she is hungry or tired.

When we got to the park Mere, Curtis and their two kids R and M were down at the playground by the lake. We decided we would join them right after setting up our tent. When we got to the campsite Matthew started to unload and set up the tent while I took care of E. I went to pull her out of the car seat and as is her new norm, she had blown out of her diaper. (We truly don't know what we are doing wrong in the diaper department. We've tried several different brands, changing her often, making sure the flaps are out, everything, but it continues to happen. We have even tried changing her positions when we hear her start to grunt, but she seems to be able to blast through the diaper no matter what we do. She is just very powerful!)

As I was changing E and Matthew was finishing with the tent, Curtis drove up and said that he was sent to grab swimsuits and lunch stuff. When everything was gathered we jumped into the car and followed Curtis back to the lake. It was a beautiful day; it was hot and sunny, a perfect day to swim. We found out the lake was around 70 degrees so we knew from past experience that it would be a bit too cold for E, but Mere, Curtis, Matthew and I took turns watching the kids and taking a dunk.

Matthew and I were a little under prepared for the lake water because we forgot our water shoes and the rocks weren't so kind (I actually cut my foot), but it was still fun once we got to where we were buoyant enough not to touch the bottom. Another mistake we made was that we slathered E in sunblock, but failed to do the same to ourselves. I didn't burn too badly and it was already starting to turn into a tan by the time I woke up this morning, but Matthew got pretty red, especially on his head.

After swimming we headed back to the campsite to get a fire started so we could cook dogs and roast some corn for dinner. When we realized we didn't have quite enough wood, Mere headed to town to get some. While she was gone Curtis and R decided to fill up some water balloons. When she came back they tried throwing one at her, but it didn't break! With the rest of the balloons we did a balloon toss and then got started on dinner.

Matthew and I were in charge of dessert and we love S'mores but we recently saw a post on Facebook that convinced us it was worth trying to roast chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and fruit inside a waffle cone. The first try was a bit of a fail since we burnt the cone, but we learned fast and it was a yummy twist on S'mores.

After dinner, Mere and Curtis offered to hang out with E while Matthew and I went on a short bike ride. It was close to getting dark and I haven't been on a bike since the end of last summer so I didn't want to go far, but it was a wonderful ride. First we rode out of the park back to a viewpoint we passed on our way to the campsite. It was a beautiful view of the lake. After taking a few photos we decided to follow the main road that was inside the park. The road ran right by the edge of the lake and it was a great view especially as the sun was setting. We had to turn around after only a little distance because the road was closed off, but I was okay with that because the entire ride back to the campsite was uphill. At one point I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make it so I sent Matthew ahead to go grab the car while I kept slowly plugging along. In my head the distance back to the campsite was much longer than reality. When Matthew realized how close I was he stopped and encouraged me to keep going. It was hard and I'm sore today, but it was good to get back on the bike.

We were planning to play games after the kids were put to bed, but Mere and Curtis actually fell asleep and after about 45 minutes or so, I convinced Matthew we should just clean up. He cleaned up the campsite while I put E down for the night. Matthew and I were so excited for E to use the sleeping bag that his sister Liz gave to us. It was still a little big for E, but a stuff a blanket down in the bottom, wrapped her up in her Snuggle Me and placed her in her carseat. She slept all night! Right before I put her in the car set. I was putting her clothes from the day in a bag and when I turned around there was a giant Daddy Longlegs Spider on the side of her face. I pretty much freaked out on the inside, but I didn't want to scare E so a quickly grab the onsie she had been wearing and smashed the spider. After getting her to sleep I went out to help Matthew. He was already finished and just loading a few things into the van so I sat by the fire.

When Matthew was done he headed to the restroom to brush his teeth and change into PJs. While he was gone Curtis woke up and joined me by the fire. He apologized for falling asleep, but I told him there was no need to feel bad, it had been an eventful day (especially with 2 kids). When Matthew came back we sat and talked for a little while and then I headed to bed while he and Curtis stayed up admiring the stars awhile longer.

We got a fairly early start in the morning because we wanted to make it back home in time to go to church at 1pm, but we didn't leave before having a yummy pancake breakfast. Mere said it was the first time they were trying it over a campfire and I have to say they turned out marvelous. Curtis even attempted to show us his awesome pancake flipping skills (it was better than I could have done). We had a great time and we can't wait to go with them again in August.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

E's Western Tour the Trilogy: Seattle

Early Friday morning E and I flew from Las Vegas to Seattle. Seattle was actually where this tour all began. Last year when we still lived in Seattle my co-worker Caitlin got engaged to a prior patient of mine Jimmy. We had all become such great friends that I couldn't miss the opportunity to see them get married. While making plans Matthew and I decided to see what the cost would be if I also went to SLC and Las Vegas since any ticket to/from Rochester is expensive. We were pleasantly surprised at the price and so the Trilogy was booked!

Our good friend Sally, who let us stay with her last summer before we left for Rochester, again opened her house to me and E. I decided to get a rental car while in Seattle since there were so many friends I wanted to see, not to mention the wedding was 2 hours from Bellevue.

Sally and E

When we arrived in Seattle, E and I took a shuttle to the rental car facility at the airport and loaded up our stuff. I was happy to see they weren't giving me a Dodge Charger, but had to laugh a little inside when I found out it was a Kia Soul because Matthew and I are always talking about how we think the cubed/squarish cars look silly. It did get me around town and with good fuel efficiency so I can't complain too much!

After picking up the car we drove straight to Sally's house. On the drive up I got such a happy feeling being there. I felt like I belonged there. After dropping off our stuff and saying a quick hello to Sally, we headed to my old job to say hi to friends (Sally was spending the afternoon with her daughter and granddaughter). It was so much fun surprising everyone and I am so glad I stopped by because a few people weren't going to make it to the wedding because of Father's Day. We hung out for an hour or two and then grabbed a bite to eat.

Nam was freaking out and Ruth was looking for giggles

E and Georgie

L: Christie and E. R: Jaime is a dream weaver

E and Darshita

Some of my favorite nursing staff

Gina and E

We decided it would be fun to surprise Steph, J and H with a visit, but the real surprise was on us because Steph had to pick up a couple of boys that she drives around last minute and had to leave as we were getting there. My plan was to just head back to Sally's house and come by later, but Steph said it would be fine to hang around until she got back.

E and H playing together

J and H

Steph and E

While she was gone I fed E and Jack got home from work. It wasn't too much later that Steph got home and they invited me to stay for dinner.

Saturday E and I had a bit of a lazy day. I had laundry to do and we had been going none stop on our tour and just needed a little down time.

I wrapped her up so she could take a nap and I came back 2 minutes later and she had wiggled her way out.

E was helping with the laundry and it wore her out!

That night Steph and Jack graciously offered their home for a get together with some friends. We had pizza and enjoyed catching up with Kelli, Megan and Saegen.

Seagen, Megan and E

L: Megan and E. R: Kelli and E

Sunday we went to church at our "old" ward, which had the boundaries changed right before we left, so not all of our old friends attend there anymore, but the majority of them do. E and I weren't able to stay for the entire block because we had to drive to the wedding, but it was great to see and talk with so many of our friends. The people in this area really touched and blessed my life. They rallied around me during difficult times and have been true friends through and through.

I was only able to get a couple of pics. There were so many others, but you know how it is a church.

After a quick diaper (and outfit) change E and I headed toward Tacoma to meet up with my old co-worker and friend Kim so we could carpool the rest of the way to the wedding. Kim and I talked about work, her knew home, her husband's new job, Mathew's school, E and how I like being a mom and so many more things. I had been excited to finally meet her husband Adam, but last minute he had to work and was unable to come to the wedding. I told her that everyone at our old job was teasing about the fact that none of us have ever met her "husband" Adam and that we were beginning to think he wasn't real. She was a good sport about it.

It was a pretty gloomy day out with scattered showers, which is rough when it comes to wanting to have your wedding outside, but on the flip side, they say it is good luck for it to rain on your wedding day! And of course the wedding was beautiful anyway. They used the reception hall for the ceremony and it had a great rustic charm, which I expected from Caitlin and Jimmy (unfortunately I didn't get any pictures during the ceremony because E was hungry and I was nursing her).

After the ceremony they had everyone go outside for some appetizers while they set up quickly for the reception. Luckily there was a break in the storm and the food was amazing (they had chicken wings that fell right off the bone). When the tables were all set up they invited us in to mingle and chat while we waited for the new Mr. and Mrs. to be announced. We thought we had a little more time so we stepped back outside to get a few pictures and Caitlin and Jimmy had to herd us back in, but not before we got a quick pic with them!

The rest of the evening was filled with yummy food, laughter, dancing, toasts, cake cutting and throwing as well as bouquet tossing (E even joined in). E was hungry by the time we got back to Kim's place so we gabbed some more while I fed her. As I was leaving, I saw a car pulling around the corner and realized that it was the elusive Adam. I pulled over and texted Kim letting her know I had spotted her "husband."

Nam smelling his Coke

E loves cuddling with Jaime...

and Caitlin

And Ashley was comfortable enough to fall asleep on!

Nam tried to feed her, but I told him it doesn't work that way

They look so sweet

And then Jimmy reminded us of who he really is

and I didn't expect Caitlin to back down

but of course it was all out of love!

Jaime, Jacques, Christie and E

First Dance

E wasn't gonna miss out of the bouquet toss

Monday morning E and I headed over to Matthew and my favorite bakery in Bellevue...Fiji and GA Bakery. There are two reasons why it is our favorite: 1-it was right across the street from our apartment and 2-they have great pastries!

We spent the late morning and early afternoon hanging out with Sally until her students started coming. I also started to pack for our trip back home. That evening I met with a few more friends at the park for dinner.

L: E and Heather R: Andrea and E

E, Me, Jen and A

Rachel and E

Me, E, Jack, Steph, J and H

L: Andrea, Me and E R: E and Katie (who happens to also be a distant relative on Matthew's side)

Lynn, Me, E, Bonnie, Denise and Garth

Two plane rides and of course one massive blowout later, E and I arrived home. It was so great to see all our friends and family on this trilogy tour and we can't wait to see everyone again.