Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Child laughter

Do you ever wish you could see life through the eyes of a toddler? Where life is pure and simple bliss, and the splash of water was something amazing - simply amazing... I live vicariously through this incredible child. He helps the world seem simple and wonderful. I love you, little r.

Monday, May 23, 2011

a little perspective

I'm finding myself in need of a little perspective latel. Caught up in the details of the move overseas, I'm letting myself fall into the stress and allowing it to consume me far more than it should. Excited, yes very, but when is the last time you tried to move overseas with your husband, toddler, a dog, and two cats, and leave your career behind? There is so much more to this than I ever anticipated, and I am most definitely allowing it to be all-consuming.

So, this is where a little perspective is useful. My client this morning told me that one of her closest friends is living in Joplin, Missouri, which is close to Fort Leonard Wood where her husband is stationed. It's hard not to be drawn into the news lately regarding all of the horrible tornadoes that have been hitting the Midwest. Joplin was decimated in the tornado

that hit there on Sunday evening. My client's friend lost everything. My client was describing the scene she witnessed in her friend's pictures including a crib standing alone in a pile of rubble. It seems almost impossible to understand how I could be

feeling any stress while knowing that someone is dealing with a young family that has just lost literally everything. My heart goes out to all the people in that have had to endure the unpredictable affects of the tornadoes from this weekend and also those that hit several weeks ago. I can only imagine how hard it must be for them to deal with the loss of their homes and just the simple routine of life. Even more so for those that lost loved ones in these horrible events.

So, here I take in a little perspective to keep my stress in check. Our family is on the cusp of an incredible adventure and stress is no longer welcome here. I say, "who cares" if something is randomly left behind? Perspective will get us through. No stress, no stress, no stress...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Beep Beep

Just look at that concentration! He called it the "beep beep" and could literally ride in it all day long if we'd let him. I find it amazing and so much fun when he expresses how he sees things, or rather, when he imitates us!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

beep beep jeep jeep

So, our trip out to the high desert provided fodder for several stories. Little r was at the heart of most of them, but we did manage to drum up a few never-forget moments all on our own. Guess you could say, "we still got it" or at least the baby hasn't completely stolen the show. This story surrounds one of my favorite things - a Jeep Wrangler. This isn't just any Jeep Wrangler though, this is my mother's Jeep. For a woman that spent her whole life wishing she had one, she was certain to do it right. The desert is a perfect place to have a Jeep, and I owned one for almost 10 years, so they hold a place near and dear to my heart. My mother's Jeep is special though - I have never seen someone own a Jeep like she does.

We have been blessed to drive the infamous Jeep on previous visits, but none of those experiences pale in comparison to the fun we had with it on our last vacation. It has been beaten hard by the desert, the dogs, and the desert sun. The seats are cracked, finger prints are left behind in the dust when you grab the dash, and the pet mouse makes an appearance on occasion. Yes, I said pet mouse.

Big R and I planned an exciting evening in Viva Las Vegas - true to form, we spent it like a tourist, something I had never done before really, despite having lived there for many years. Mama watched the crazy bear and we ventured into town in the trusty Jeep. Plans had been made to stay in a new hotel - a new hotel with no parking garage. In all my years in Las Vegas, I had never known a hotel to be short on parking. No worries, we can just valet...

As we pull up to the valet entrance we bust into uncontrollable laughter. The car in front of us is a beautiful Porsche that was shiny even in the shade. We quickly glanced around Mama's Jeep, checked on the mouse that has a snuggly nest in the glove compartment, and rolled right up to the sexy Porsche. Talk about pure comedy. It was classic.

The valet was far too anxious to take the keys and give us a tag. He gives me that "look" and quickly says, "don't worry, I have a Jeep". My response? "Oh honey, I guarantee your Jeep is no where near as awesome as this one..."

Awesome it was, as it was carefully parked in a valet garage during our stay. We headed home after checkout the next day and all was well until we hit dirt - dirt road that is... Nothing is odd about smelling fumes from Jeep, right? What's wrong is that we thought so carefully about our trip to Las Vegas that we failed to pack even a pair of tennis shoes. As the fumes get heavier, we got quieter. No clue what Big R was thinking, but my head was somewhere along the lines of "holy crap, we are going to die out here." I kept picturing us covered from head to toe in dust as we gasped for water and drug our feet in the sand. A little mellow dramatic, I assure you, but not entirely impossible. We prayed to the Jeep gods to get us home safely, and held our breaths so hard we nearly passed out. We pulled up to the house and immediately jumped out of the Jeep. Without hesitation, I lifted the hood and we both literally gasped when we saw the engine. The oil cap was missing - full on missing. This is insane, people! The entire engine was covered in hot oil and smoldering...

I sunk my head low and sauntered into the house to tell the stepdad that the Jeep was kaput, oh, and that we almost didn't make it back ALIVE! He responded with a simple, "that's nice" and kept on doing what he was doing. Said, "these roads shake things loose all the time, I'm sure that oil cap jiggled off on your way home." And, "oh, when you go back out this weekend, keep an eye out for it." HA. Seriously. This is true desert living... I love my parents.

Somehow I managed to not take a single picture of this blessed vehicle on our vacation. Mama, if you have one, you have to send it my way to complete the memory...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lions and Tigers and Snakes, Oh my!

We just returned from a vacation out west where we visited my mama and stepdad in their newly established retirement abode. I'm working on accepting the fact that they are retired. Suppose my parents will always seem young to me. That aside, my mama and stepdad did it up well in true western style. They literally have a place in the middle of nowhere, but you would never believe how incredibly beautiful "nowhere" can be.

I mean, you've got to be kidding me - is this gorgeous or what?! I also have to mention that I feel there is some sort of sick joke I'm playing on my stepdad. The poor soul debated with me all through high school and college about protecting the environment and hugging trees and that sort of thing. He actually vouched to never recycle another can after I left for college, and I kept thinking I must have failed miserably at convincing him of the importance of conservation and recycling. Well, he and my mama planted themselves into a self-sufficient universe where he was forced to use nature and the technological advances man has created to live in the middle of nowhere. Upon their amazing property now sits a multi-bedroom home that is fed water from a pump powered by none other than the mighty sun, and they power their home with a combination of solar and wind. It is a wonderful victory for this tree-hugging naturalist. Mostly I'm just proud and very impressed.

Back to the trip... We took close to 400 pictures on this trip, partly because my husband cannot avoid the urge to take a million pictures of beauty, but also because we have the cutest kid on the planet and he was one continuous photo opportunity. Yes, we had an amazing vacation.

When we arrived after our two 3+ hour flights, a layover, and a 1.5 drive through the desert (I'm so sorry mama that Germany is only going to make that a much longer trip!), Big R could think of doing nothing else than hiking to the top of the closest mountain (I call it a mountain because although it was clearly just a hill, the peak is probably over 6,000 feet - that, my friends, is a mountain in most of the continental U.S.). He wanted to see the view from the top and get a picture of the house, barn, and rest of the property from a point in the sky. Little did he anticipate though that he would be facing snake season. Yes, snakes. Big R's biggest phobia. I have to admit, I'm not exactly a fan of rattlesnakes, but my fear is no comparison. We took the fancy 'mule' to the base of the mountain, and we weren't walking two minutes with our trusty walking sticks and he screamed like a school girl. Right under his feet was a snake - just a gopher, but I think his face turned white. Being warned of the possibility and facing the fear in person are two very different things. Needless to say, we hiked that mountain at a snail's pace, using our trusty hiking poles as snake diverters. I wish we'd had it on video because I'm certain it was pure comedy. We did make it to the top though, and we have the pictures to prove it!

Here is a pause about half way up.

Here we are all proud. I think we were happier to have reached the top without a snake bite than we were to enjoy the view. That disolved quickly and you can see why here:

More stories to come...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

We tend to keep things simple in our household when it comes to holidays. Big R is more inclined to celebrate loving me for no reason by surprising me with something sparkly than go "big" for a holiday. He's the type that gives me my Christmas gifts in October and smiles from ear to ear when I open it. Mother's Day is a funny holiday though. It's so much less about giving than it is about appreciating. My big love is preparing for a nasty trial and has been having a love affair with evidence. He got me a huge bouquet of beautiful flowers, went to the grocery store because he knows how much I loathe that task, and gave me a million promises to do something amazing for me as soon as he's done chasing the bad guys in court. I just adore my my sexy lawyer husband. Despite not getting to see much of the hubby today, I was able to enjoy Mother's Day by being a mother and enjoying the entire day with my little bear. I also spent much of the day reflecting on being a mom and wondering how that roll will change and redefine itself over the next few years while we are in Germany.
Being a mom is something I always knew I would enjoy. I think it is because my mother was so amazing that I was excited to be that amazing to someone else. It's a challenge that no one can prepare you for, but it's also so much more wonderful than anyone could define. Being a mother is something you feel in your whole being. It is truly something you have to experience to understand.
When it first became clear that I might not be working for the next few years, I was terrified. I knew nothing but my career before I went to law school and met Big R. Being dependent on someone does not exactly fit into my comfort zone. Now that I have had time to settle into the idea it is starting to grow on me a little more. Some thinking outside the box about ways to diversify my career and experience Europe without the "9 to 5" grind to weigh me down. But mostly, I'm getting increasingly more excited to spend more time with my little bear. Yes, it will definitely be fun to see what the next few years will bring.
Happy Mother's Day to my mom, my mother-in-law, my stepmom and all my good friends that are mother's today. I hope your Mother's Day was amazing in every way and that you took some time to reflect on how amazing it is to be a mom and just how incredible you all are!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Coolest invention ever!

We just got back from our family trip out West. Part of the whole moving to Germany for three years preparations includes getting in some trips to visit important family and friends before we leave. The east coast to west coast trip logs some hefty hours on a plane, and these hours are extraodinarily fun when enjoyed in the company of a toddler. Before embarking on our voyage, I did some research into the best means to travel with a car seat. Little r is too big for the whole "infant on your lap" routine, but he's far too small to sit in a plane seat by himself. Translation: must carry toddler, luggage, AND car seat through the airport. As the good 'ol RIC airport doesn't have any direct flights to Las Vegas, this also meant we needed the means for transporting all this cargo through the terminal during our layovers.

My research led me to the coolest invention EVER.

It's called the Traveling Toddler Car Seat, and it's merely a strap designed to latch a car seat to your roller bag carry on luggage. I bought it on Amazon for about $20 including tax, S&H, and it was worth every penny. I was skeptical at first, but the customer reviews were raving, so I figured it was worth the money just to see if it was "all that". Although it took a couple tries to get it right, in the end it was really a life saver for us. Dealing with a car seat in the airport is a battle in itself, so this little invention made the traveling easy. Little r thought it was pretty cool, too.