Savannaversary

Last week Christopher and I had our 1oth anniversary trip to Savannah. A Savannaversary, if you will.It was just the two of us but we were bringing beach accouterments and items for when AB arrived so the car was packed to the gills. Gone are the days of throwing things in a bag for a last-minute trip. I had multiple packing lists and a detailed calendar to leave with Mom who was watching Annabelle. I made sure Kelly was on-call for school pickup if necessary. I had to water the plants. I had to pick up my bedroom. Christopher says I didn’t “have” to do any of those, but I couldn’t stop myself. I want to return home to a clean house.
We didn’t get to visit Montanna for our anniversary like I had dreamed, but Savannah was beautiful and I’m so glad we went. I loved the old buildings covered in ivy, the little parks full of magnolias, gardenias and statues. We went on a trolley ride around the city and discovered a very fancy chocolate shop. They were decadent and ornate and worth the $19 we paid for 6 chocolates. We walked everywhere. We saw historical homes, went to the gourmet popcorn store, and ate at a ramen restaurant. The weather was perfect. Not too hot, not too cold. We slept late and got brunch almost every morning. We have so much going on right now (don’t we all) and it was so nice to have a few days to relax and not worry as much.
We walked on the beach and saw washed-up jellyfish. At first, I thought it was a Wubble bubble ball like the one AB got for Easter. I never claimed to be a marine biologist.

Mom and Annabelle drove in on Friday night. Within three hours she had two crying spells and a meltdown. It was right back to parent life with a bang. We spent Saturday at the beach. I love the beach. I love collecting shells and seeing the water change color. I do have one major complaint- I cannot stand saltwater on or anywhere near my mouth. It has always made me gag. Obviously, this presents a problem since the entire ocean is made of saltwater that splashes and crashes anyway it pleases. I went deep into the waves anyway because AB is a fish in all types of water and I didn’t want her to float away. Last year she started to wash away down a creek and we barely got her in time so now I’m very cautious with her in huge bodies of moving water. I got my face wet for her which is an act of true love.

Our last activity before going home was a dolphin tour. I’d never been on one but Captain Derek’s promised dolphin sightings and they delivered. It made my 1999 Lisa Frank’s multicolored dolphin-loving heart very happy.


On the way home, Mom and I were in my car and Christopher and AB were in his car. We were leaving a rest stop when Mom backed into a car driving behind us. We got out and talked to the driver who was very kind and said there wasn’t any damage, but he had to talk to his brother who owned the car. Said brother came out, walked around the car once and said it was fine. Then he looked at Mom and said, “Buy me a beer and we’ll be good.” I have NEVER seen my mother buy alcohol but she agreed faster than Usain Bolt runs in the Olympics. She bought that random dude a six-pack so we could avoid dealing with insurance. Two nights in Savannah made her a wild woman.

I’m so glad we went on this trip. It’s never too early to start planning so I’m already thinking about our 15th and 20th anniversary trips. Maybe we’ll be able to leave the state!

my best girl & my favorite sport

One of my motherhood dreams has come true: I am officially a baseball mom. I could not be more thrilled.

Annabelle is playing on the Y team and since I’ve become a broken record about our local Y’s performance I won’t go over it again, but suffice to say the team is not stellar. The kids are fine, but the “main coach” routinely comes 40 minutes late. Over half the team doesn’t show up for practices. It’s not an ideal situation but AB has a good time. Very few players have any idea what’s going on so it’s pure chaos. There’s confusion about when/where to run, who to throw the ball to, and which is second base. There are lots of blank stares and shuffling around in the dirt. A few parents are involved and it’s taking us all to have any semblance of order. We’re constantly saying “You have to keep your eyes open” and “It’s not time to steal a base but no one would notice if you did.” “Erik, throw the ball. Erik! Throw the ball! No, this way! To Summer! Third base! That’s first! Erik! THROW THE BALL.” It’s a mess and so much fun to watch. On Saturday they needed a runner so yours truly stepped up to the plate and jogged from home plate to first several times. Had I known I was going to be the MVP of the game I wouldn’t have worn flip-flops, but live and learn. I’ll be more prepared next time. I was reminded of the time several years ago when I played baseball with a AAA team at the children’s hospital summer camp. I’ve always felt that brief interaction makes me a baseball sensation.

(Pregame conversation about loose teeth.)

Last night was their first game and it was possibly the best time I’ve had all year. I love the baggy uniforms. I love hearing the parents yell instructions at their children who are frozen in place because they forgot they were playing a game. I love seeing the smallest player barely hit the ball then charge toward second base like first didn’t even exist. It’s a great time. By some miracle, the entire team was there. Several dads on our team were coaches and they lined the kids up in their batting order. That alone was a production. The numbers on the back of their shirts were not the same as the order they were told to stand in which caused a lot of confusion. A child would be told he was third in the batting order but he’d announce he was #11, not third. Wash, rinse, and repeat for the entire team. The dads then seemingly forgot about the kids while they discussed who would play which position. I don’t know if it’s common knowledge or not, but 4-7-year-olds are not known for their ability to stand in a straight line with no direction for upwards of 20 minutes. I swooped in with all my years of preschool teaching under my belt. I kept them somewhat in line and made up a ball passing game. The main coach asked me if I was going to continue coaching for the entire game but I said no. I was simply the pregame entertainment herding the cats.

Contrary to how it looks, AB did enjoy herself.
I yelled and cheered the whole game. I will continue to do so at every game, even (especially) when AB gets older and I embarrass her. For now, she waves at me from second base and holds my hand when we sit in the dugout.

we shore were happy

When Mom and Elizabeth were here we took a quick trip down to the beach. Sesame had plenty of opportunities to do one of her favorite things- go in multiple bodies of water and splash to her heart’s content. There was barely anyone at the beach and the water was so shallow I let her roam free. She missed Christopher so she drew a portrait of him in the sand, which is ironic given that he hates sand. It was so lovely to be out in nature and in new scenery.Elizabeth only comes to see me so she can appear on the blawg. My head looks huge. Her head is the size of my earring.
It wasn’t until we moved to the depths of Georgia that I realized how much I like having seagulls around. I don’t want one for a pet or to use them in home decor, but they’re such a reminder of home. I sang Feed the Birds while we fed the birds because AB is not yet embarrassed for me to do such things in public and I will ride that train as far as I can.
We took a riverboat ride through a freshwater spring/wildlife refuge. We saw all manner of alligators, turtles, fish, and birds. Much to Annabelle’s horror, we saw vultures. When we visited the Atlanta zoo in March, Christopher insulted the vulture’s eyebrows. The vulture, evidently a sensitive soul, flew squawking into the fence and terrified Annabelle. She has been scarred ever since and frequently says she hopes she doesn’t see vultures again. Keep in mind we live in a very suburban area with little to no chance of seeing a vulture. As we rode by, she covered her eyes and said, “It’s a good thing Daddy isn’t here. It’s a good thing Daddy isn’t here. Don’t talk about their eyebrows!”
We even saw a mama and baby manatee. “Come join our photography team,” said no wildlife publication to me ever.

Little cabin in the woods

We recently went to north Georgia for a long weekend.

During our year planning meeting at the beginning of the year, we penciled in a late summer mountain trip. Then You Know What happened and I didn’t think it would happen. Daniel, Erika, Ivy and Aaron’s girlfriend couldn’t come because of work and school and having to quarantine upon arriving back at home. The week the trip was scheduled, the state quarantine restrictions lifted. By the time they went home, some restrictions were back in place. You never know what exciting new development will come down the path next. Mom, the twins, Willie (our brother from another mother), and his fiance Anna were able to come.

I spent hours on Airbnb looking for the perfect place. The number of people who could come kept changing and I reserved and canceled two places before settling on the cabin. One place didn’t tell me until after I made the reservation that the electricity frequently goes out so someone needs to find the breaker box in the basement to fix it. No thank you. I have enough issues with my own breaker box without dealing with someone else’s on vacation. I settled on a cabin in the woods and it was darling. There was enough room for everyone to have their own space and a creek outback. It set at the top of a very windy and steep road we didn’t know about until we got there. It took 30 minutes to get from the cabin to the main road. Half of our group go carsick going up and down which was a prime opportunity for me to dig through the traveling pharmacy I carry in my purse. You got a bonine! You get a chewable Dramamine! You get a regular Dramamine! You got a zofran!

Annabelle was in heaven. She played in the creek and collected rocks. She spent hours outside and had dessert every day. She and Elizabeth made rafts with twigs and leaves to sail down the river.
Fifteen minutes after we left home, she realized she hadn’t brought her Memere blankie. She’s slept with it every day since she was born and brings it on every trip. I asked if she wanted me to go back for it and she said no, she’d ok without. It broke my heart a little bit that she wasn’t crying for it like she would have when she was younger. On the last two nights of the trip, she cried because our trip was going to end and we might never get to go back. She said she wished she had Memere blankie to comfort her.
We went tubing down the Chattahoochee River and hiked to a waterfall. We went to a swinging bridge and played in the water. The water was calm so I let AB swim near the middle. She swam just fine the first time, but the second time she panicked a little and started to float downstream. I didn’t realize at first she was struggling so I told her she’d be ok if she did what her swimming teacher taught her to do. Christopher had to charge in and rescue her. And with that, my hopes of winning Mother of the Year 2020 floated away.

The highlight of the trip, and possibly my entire year, was this old phone in the cabin.

IT MADE ME SO HAPPY. I have wanted this exact phone for years. Christopher refuses to get me one since we have cell phones and don’t need to pay for another phone blahblahboringadult. AB and I made endless pretend phone calls using the rotary dial. We tried to call my phone but it didn’t work so I assumed it was just for show. I cannot explain my delight and joy when we were eating supper and THE PHONE RANG. I thought it was the regular house phone but it was the old fashioned one. I could not have charged across the kitchen faster if I was being chased by a sworm of anger murder hornets. I answered the phone in such a fit of giggles I could barely get out the word “hello.” I forgot I had to hold up the mouthpiece and kept letting go. Everyone else was laughing which made me laugh even harder. The laughter stopped quickly when the man on the other end said he was calling from the police department. In that split second, I went through any actions in my life that might have warranted the police calling me on vacation. The policeman said, as he was sure I was aware, the force is struggling right now and would I be open to making a one-time donation. I explained we were at a rental property but I’m sure the owners are supportive of the police. I forgot to hold of the mouthpiece so he heard nothing and I had to repeat it. I ended the call with “Good luck on your campaign” like he was running for president. It was embarrassing but nothing could bring me down from that high. I know it’s a silly thing but it really was a lifelong dream to have a conversation on that phone.

Forget about the latest and greatest in the tech world. I know what kind of phone I want for Christmas.

unnecessarily wordy travel log

Annabelle and I just got back from a trip to see my family.

Everyone has opinions on traveling and what’s safe/not safe in this great new world, but we weighed the pros and cons and the pros won. We’re supposed to go up for Christmas but who knows what will be happening in the winter (or next week) so we jumped on the chance to go now. The Lord and Travelocity shone upon us and we were able to get reasonably priced flights. I knew some people might not be comfortable visiting which I completely understood. It was warm enough that we could visit outside or at the beach if necessary.

 

Our tiny town airport only opens security 40 minutes before the flight leaves. Christopher called to see if we needed to be there earlier these days and the man who answered said, “Eh. They can come whenever they want.” We could almost see him shrugging his shoulders through the phone. That’s the type of professionalism they have at that airport. It was by far the most sanitary flight I’ve ever been on. The seats were sprayed down between flights and everything was very clean. The plane was boarded from back row to front which is a system I’ve been promoting for years. They handed out wipes as we boarded and gave out prepackaged snacks in ziplock bags. Annabelle’s favorite part of flying is the snack and beverage service so she was disappointed.


Back when the corona craziness started I immediately thought of our annual Aunt Camp and was sure we’d lose that on top of everything else. Each year Aunt Camp gets easier for the camp counselors (Erika and I). The girls are very self-sufficient and beyond food don’t require much from us. We might add new little campers in the next few years so we’re relaxing while we can. We’ve always done a few trips to children’s museums or the zoo but this year we kept to ourselves at playgrounds and on walks. Sesame loves spending time with the cousins on both side and I love every time she creates new memories with them. 

I bought the official 2020 Aunt Camp matching dresses. Next year Erika and I will buy ourselves matching diamond bracelets.

Daniel wanted he and I to get a covid test in the middle of our visit. There were various reasons I didn’t think that was necessary but I obliged and off we went to the drive-through testing site. We arrived at 7:09 and sat in the car for FOUR HOURS before we did the test. The whole thing was very poorly organized. It was supposed to start at 8:00 but the testing didn’t start until nearly 10:30. Each time there was a tiny bit of movement, we got very excited and sat up straighter. Most of the time the cars ahead of us were only moving because the driver gave up and left. We went through all the stages of grief in that parking lot. Daniel has a very mathematical/engineering mind and kept up a steady commentary about every new development. “If we calculate the number of cars divided by the amount of time needed to complete each test we can determine the amount of time it will be until we test. Let me check twitter for updates. You know what they say in the studies about the Rt factor and protein found in red blood cells.” I knew nothing about the study but I do now. I could have contributed my personal study on why the Ulta in our town is only doing curbside pickup but he was busy listening to conference calls about hemophilia. All in all, I would not give the testing experience a good yelp review but the company was entertaining.


I’m so glad we were able to visit Grandma. I thought we might have to visit outside but since I had a negative test she was fine with us going into her house.  

I adore being with her and every time we’re together we play rummy. My humility prevents me from saying who won the game this visit. Annabelle captured this heartwarming picture featuring my double chins.

Autumn and Joanna drove down for a visit on Saturday. They’re always so sweet to make time in their schedules for me whenever I go home. The plan was to have a breakfast picnic on the beach. The first couple of hours were a big failure. I had a terrible headache, we were hungry, we couldn’t find an open beach and a variety of other issues. The beaches were only allowing in 25-50% capacity and we went to four before we found an open one. Autumn never once let the bumps stop her from having a good attitude. She brings the good times party bus wherever she goes. Joanna was a lifeguard for several years so I selflessly let her take AB into the waves. It had nothing to do with the fact that I don’t like getting saltwater on my face.

Joanna and Autumn have barely aged a day since our favorite beach picture of 10 years ago. I cannot say the same for myself.

 

Mom had hip replacement surgery while we were up. We didn’t plan on being there for the surgery but it worked out timewise. Erika and I decorated her living room. Elizabeth and I delivered coffee and frozen lemonade and watched a video of hip replacement surgery on youtube. I tried to set up a race between Mom with her walker and Grandma with her cane but the contestants were not available. It would have been hysterical. 


There were 60 people in front of us in the ticket line on the way home. I ended up having to throw away my full bottle of expensive curl cream so we could take our luggage through security instead of checking them. I did not want to do that but we would have missed the plane if we stayed in the ticket line. That move ranks as one of the top five travel mistakes of my life. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “You know what sounds like a fun time? Pulling 50lbs of luggage through the Atlanta airport while keeping track of a 6 year old who is struggling to pull her own small unicorn carry-on bag. The 6yo will accidentally leave her bag on an elevator and that’s how I’ll learn that the sensor to keep the door from closing does not work properly. I’ll add in a backpack, a water bottle, and an ice coffee I’ll make the mistake of buying before realizing it’s nearly impossible to carry said coffee while pulling one bag with each hand. I’ll then settle myself at gate A4 only to be told I’m supposed to be at gate D4 on the other side of the airport. There’s no way I can pull and carry and bribe while keeping the coffee from spilling so it has to be thrown out while 90% full. We’ll roll into gate D4 with literal minutes to spare. No one will offer to help as I carry the 50lbs to the very back of the plane, bumping into every single aisle seat along the way. No one will offer to help when I try to swing them into the overhead compartment either. All this while wearing a facemask that is restricting my breathing. All this will lead to sore muscles the next day.” Don’t do it. Ask me how I know. 


Here’s hoping our visit at Christmas doesn’t get canceled. Looking at you, ‘Rona, to not get in the way of a good time.

Denver, where the souveniers are germs and tamiflu

Seven years ago my BFF of all time and forever got married and moved to Denver. I wanted to visit her for years but it never worked out. She came out to visit me a few times and we visited in MA in the summer but I never made it out west to her. I assumed it would cost several hundred dollars but low and behold, I found tickets for $97 round trip and we whipped together a last-minute visit. I’ve booked plane tickets dozens of times but I very seldom cross to a different timezone. That’s why I didn’t realize that arriving at midnight was the price I paid for such cheap flights. The website said we’d arrive at 9:40 which I thought was very reasonable. We ended up landing at 11:40 our time which meant we were both tired and very hungry. 

We special ordered some snow from Amazon prime and they really pulled through. AB and I were THRILLED. I miss snow so much. I don’t love the bitter cold of winter but I love watching the snow fall and taking walks in the quiet.



I’ll be honest- the trip did NOT go as we planned. We had so many fun things planned but they were all derailed when sweet Kezia came down with the flu. Instead of hiking and ice skating, we were quarantined to the house for the first several days. With each day that passed, Kezi got sicker and Annabelle got more cabin fever. On Wednesday we really reached the peak of things going wrong. We ventured out to the library and coffee shop while Katie took Kezi to the doctor. While Katie was at the pharmacy, she got an SOS from a neighbor asking her to watch their son while they went to the er. I stayed back at her house with the girls. Kezi could barely reach her cup without help and kept crying for her mom. Annabelle had enough energy for seven children. She knocked over three drinks, did backflips, bounced on a ball, spilled beads, threw pipe cleaners around “like snow” and made a ruckus. We had a runaround with doctors offices trying to get Annabelle and I Tamiflu to take as a preventative. After speaking to multiple doctors and being told we could get a prescription, I went to the pharmacy to pick it up but it had not been called in. We ended up rationing Kezi’s prescription between the three of us like we were living in a war-torn country with no medicine instead of a first world country with laws about transferring prescriptions across state lines. The day would not end. Katie and I kept saying if only we could make it to bedtime we could sit on the couch and watch a show. Kezi must have caught wind our of relaxation plans because a few minutes into Wonder Woman, she suddenly got worse and Katie was on the phone with the doctor at 10:30pm. We tried so hard to Wonder Woman our way through the day. We made it by the skin of our teeth, but our hair didn’t look nearly as good as hers. 

All that being said, I am 1000% glad we went out to visit. Kezi started to feel a little better on our second to last day so we took a trip to Ikea for bedroom decor. We went to the children’s museum and the girls had a blast. We were so happy they had some good play time before we left. Finn is a doll and he’s the first baby Annabelle really paid attention to and wanted to hold. Last time we saw him he had several baby chins and now he’s turning into a little boy.

There’s no one I can laugh with like I can with Katie. Even though almost nothing went as we planned, we had some great talks and laughed until we cried and couldn’t breathe which is my absolute favorite kind of laughing. This visit was the first time I had seen her husband since they got married and he had the great fortune of seeing us in rare form. He had a very similar look to Christopher’s the first time he experienced us together. It’s a cross between confusion and impressed that two grown women can laugh so loudly/long and communicate using so few words.


Katie is such a wonderful mother and I loved seeing her in her own home. We took a grand total of one picture of ourselves during the entire trip but it’s not great. I look like a beached seal and Katie’s hair looks like a founding father’s wig. We’ve been friends for almost 30 years so I’m allowed to make comments like that. 


I hope it won’t be another seven years before we make it to Denver again, but it for sure won’t be during flu season.