Friday, August 27, 2010

5 Years. Already?

Five years ago today, I married my love, my Bear, my one and only.  It was a very different weather day from today.  Today was sunny and just warm enough and just beautiful.  Five years ago it was a little cool at times and a bit warm and sticky at times and gray and cloudy and it even rained a bit and, yes, I did panic there for a bit.  (I still "blame" mom for the rain... it only rained because she said we didn't need the second tent where we were going to have the ceremony.)
I can't say that it's been all sunshine and happiness.  If it was, I'd really be worried.  We've had our ups and our downs and the "I can't believe they haven't killed me yet" moments.  Overall the the ups have outweighed the downs and we've both grown and learned and lived together.  A lot of it hasn't been easy, but nothing worth it ever is.
We've seen a lot of loss and stress and anxiety and a few tragedies, including the loss of Gak's dad.  But, we've always had each other through the hard times.  Sometimes that's what caused the hard times, but more often than not, they made the hard times that much easier.
We've also seen a lot of good times, most notably the birth of our wonderful son.  The good times are that much better for having someone to share them with.  There has been a lot of good.  A lot of day-to-day good things, and some very nice things as well.  The random bright moments are that much brighter, especially when they're totally unexpected and brought about by the one you love.
So, here's to 5 great years and many, many more years to come.
I love you my Bear, you really do make me be a better person.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ozzfest Downpour

Well, yesterday was our trip to Ozzfest over in Camden, NJ.
It was an adventure, I'll give you that much.
In short, It rained, it was sunny, it poured, it was sunny, it rained and it cleared up.  The band was OK, the bands sucked, the bands were quite awesome.
I guess you'd like a little more to the story than that.  OK.  I'll give more details.
There were originally supposed to be 12 people going, but through one thing or another and the weather, only 9 people ended up showing up, one not until right before the main three acts started, but we knew he was going  to be late.  Luckily, the 8 of us heading from here were able to all pile into Jack's van so we only had to take one vehicle.
Amma showed up at our apartment around 9 and we met everyone at the parking lot around 10:30 or so.  It was just about 11 by the time we got underway after confirming that no one else was going to show.  The drive down was fairly uneventful.  We stopped at Billy's to drop off his ticket.  We make it to Camden with little trouble (although a couple of off ramps were a little exciting).  We even manage to park in the closest lot to the S Center on the side with little traffic.
It had stopped raining by the time we got there, but it was overcast.  We go in, people watch for a bit and head over to the B stage.  The first band we heard was decent enough.  There were some good riffs, but you couldn't hear or understand the lyrics and there was just too much of a "noise" component.  Unfortunately, they were the best of the B stage bands that we got to see.  At one point Jack and Stuart wander off, then Kat and Scott go another direction.  Eventually Steve and his girlfriend (who I can't remember her name to save my life, even though she's really nice) go looking for a drink and to do some people watching.  Right as they get back is when Gak and I decided we'd had enough of the garbage on the stage and went for a wander.  We eventually end up under the tent at the bar at the back of the lawn area.  Of course, it starts to rain.
Eventually Jack and Stuart find us and we decide to go inside and grab something to eat.  We decide to wait until 5:30 to see what the general plan is.
After some crowding and miscommunication, we catch up with Scott and Kat.  By now it has stopped raining and they're not going to cancel the show.  Which is good, because to have spent $20 on the ticket and another $25 on food (yeah, don't ask) I'd hate to not be able to see the headliners.  Especially since most of the B stage bands were crappy to lousy in my opinion.  So, once everything is cleared up, we head up to the lawn area to scope out some seats.  We find a good patch of lawn right by the first security pole on stage right, which is the side we need to be on in order to make a quick exit to our van at the end of the night.
Well, the last of the opening acts was playing and they weren't too bad.  Then the rain came (even though it was bright and sunny) and poured pretty hard for about 10 minutes.  Then it cleared up right as Halford was taking the stage.  He still sounds great.  We all thought it was kinda funny in an ironic way that a rainbow appeared right as he took the stage, being openly gay and all.
Anyhow, Halford really rocked it and then came Motly Crue.  They've still got it too.  They were sounding really good and put on a great show.  Of course, we didn't have anything dry to sit on (as my raincoat was now wet...) and it just wasn't all that comfortable.  I was up and down a lot for the remainder of the show.
While Halford was on stage I took a quick minute to call Amma to tuck in the boy and use the potty.  They had a great day together, which is very good.  I like when my boy and my mom get to spend time together.  (I just wish it was easier to get to see his Nana.)
After Crue was done with their set, there was a stage change and it was time for Ozzy.  Yes, he really was the highlight of the night.  He really does sound pretty good.  His voice is a bit rough in spots and he's pretty wobbly on his feet, but he's still got the presence and the attitude and the lungs to back it up.  He did some of his newer stuff, some older stuff and some Sabath stuff of course.  He was actually sounding better than the last time according to Kat and Steve.  He was also moving pretty well and actually moving up and down the stage, not just holding on to the mic stand for dear life.  He was moving much better than some of the press shots I've seen of him in recent history.  I guess he's getting used to being mostly sober and clean.  (I doubt he'll ever bee 100% clean and sober, it would probably kill him at this point.)
He did about 3 or 4 encores, which were great.  (Well, we actually left after the 3rd... but I think he was about to start up another song as we were leaving...)  This year he'd been on a quest for a new guitar player (and the new guy really rocks).  He'd found this 9-year-old boy in Japan, and has brought him along for a bit. He came out to do the 2nd encore and that boy could seriously rock!  He blew the pants off of about 95% of the guitars I heard that day, and the instrument was just about as big as he was!
So, we beat a hasty retreat and get back to the van.  We manage to get to the van, out of the parking lot and on the way home in record time.  I'm so thankful that we parked where we did and left when we did.  You could tell the rain kept a lot of people away.
But speaking of people, boy was the day prime for people watching.  And most of it was in the scary bad category.  I saw lots of ink, most of it bad.  I saw lots of flesh, most of which should never have seen the light of day (or you'd think the owners would want to work on shedding...) I saw a landmass that looked like he could have been twice the weight of my husband.  Well, maybe not, but at least me and Gak put together, and that's a lot.  There was very little eye candy for either the men or the women yesterday.  Oh well, I'm sure the rain kept most of the people away.
I did learn a few key lessons yesterday.
1. Grab the tarp out of the back of the truck, even if you don't think you'll need it.  You will.
2. Even if you just had a big breakfast, bring something to eat when you get to the parking lot and before you go into the gates, you'll be sorry both financially and caloricaly if you don't.
3. Bring a tank top even if the weather says it's only supposed to get to 80.  If nothing else, it will give you another layer in the evening or something dry to sit on.
4. Make sure to bring earplugs.  You're not getting older by doing this, you're getting wiser.  Some of the bands actually had a hope of sounding almost halfway decent if you could filter the extra "noise" created.
5. Bring as many of your best and most fun friends as possible.  This event is not for the weak of heart or stomach.  It will never be perfect, but if you've got the right people with you, it'll be a lot of fun anyhow.

Well, that just about wraps it up.  I was so thankful that I took a vacation day today.  We got home about 12:30 and 6:30 rolled around way too early.  I actually went back to bed after dropping the boys off and slept for almost 2 hours.  I fiddled around a bit and got the laundry and some errands done.  Overall, it was a good day.  It wasn't that weird being childless, as I deal with that every week day at work, but it was weird to be home and childless.  (Although, I did get some things done that I never could have with him around.)

I'm going to finish this off and go play with yarn a bit.  I've got about 4 projects that I want to be working on all at once, but only one set of hands and a very limited amount of time each day for them.

Peace to all and may your adventures be dry and the music good.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Camping Completed

Well, we're all home safe and sound.  I started this post this morning, but am wrapping it up now because I got long winded (not me!) and didn't get this done before a boy woke up and we all had to rush out the door this morning.

I do have to say though, that the Cherry Hill Park campground is wonderful.  They've got an area that's just for tents, no RVs or pop-ups allowed.  It's all very wooded and there are plenty of water taps (sinks actually!) and trash and recycling cans throughout the area and a very nice, large, clean wash house very near by.  We'll definitely have to head back there again!  (The staff is very courteous and helpful and the women at the cafe remembered us, well Boo actually, from the evening before when we stopped back in.  The whole experience with the campground was great!)

Ok, so let me tackle this chronologically.  Saturday morning I drop Gak off at work and Boo and I go do laundry.  After that we come home and eat some lunch and Boo helps me finish up the packing and the hauling of stuff to the car.  Well, most of it.  I don't take down the cold stuff as I didn't have any ice and was going to pick that up when we left to pick up Poppa.
I debated if I should keep Boo up so he'd sleep most of the ride down, or let him take a nap so I could relax a bit myself before the drive.  Well, after a while I compromise.  I put "Follow that Bird" on the DVD player and after bopping around half watching it Boo falls asleep on the sofa halfway through.  (That movie itself deserves it's own post... especially watching it as a momma now....)

I manage not to forget the cold food and even picked up ice on the way to get Gak from work.  (There were a few odds and ends that I forgot, but no trip, camping or otherwise, would be complete without that!)  Gak manages to escape right at 3 and we're on our way!
Traffic wasn't too bad until we got to the tolls on 95 to get into Maryland out of Delaware.  It's just about 5:00 at this point and Gak and I are both hungry and there's a sign for a Cracker Barrel in about 5 miles.  So, we slog through the tolls (yes, even the EZPass lanes were backed up) and stop for a stretch and some food. That was an adventure right there.  (It seems most of our trying adventures this trip involve food...)  We had a brand new waitress, which meant even though it wasn't overly crowded, she was slow.  And, to top it off, the power goes out right as we're finishing up.  Thankfully we had the right amount of cash on hand to be able to pay and not require change.  Of course, this puts us back an hour in getting to the campground, something that has me a bit anxious.  (I shouldn't have been, but... I worry...)

The rest of the ride down was pretty uneventful, arriving at the campground around 7.  I'm so thankful that our son does well on long car rides.  We check in and get to our camp site and get everything set up.  It took about a half hour total to set everything up.  (We need a new twin mattress though, or an adapter for the electric pump... I'm not sure which...)  We then pile back into the car to get some firewood (didn't have room to pick any up when we checked in), check out the store a bit and hit the wash house.  After we got back to the site it's time to put Boo to bed.  He doesn't really want to, but with a little soothing and a snuggle, he eventually just drifts off.
This is what we get to wake up to.  A very awake, happy boy who wants to crawl all over his parents.  He actually slept in a bit until almost 7!

I manage to only burn a little bit of breakfast.  My propane burner doesn't seem to have a "low" setting and I forgot I was using a non-stick pan.  Luckily bacon is pretty forgiving, and lots of butter in the pan makes some awesome toast.  (I gave up on the idea of pancakes...)

So, after this minor adventure in cooking, we clean up and head out.  Since it's Sunday and there aren't many buses running to the park, we drive over to the Metro station at College Park.  I'm just happy that the parking is free on Sundays (Saturdays too I think, but I'm not sure).
If you ask Boo what he wanted to do all vacation, you were likely to get the answer "ride trains".  So, he was quite happy to ride the Metro.

We get to Smithsonian Station with little effort and realize that the Museum of Natural History doesn't open unitl 10, and it's only 9:30.  Oops.  That and my camera batteries died on the Metro.  And I didn't pack extras.  Double oops.  So, we get an over priced water and an even more over priced pair of batteries at the refreshment stand and let Boo run around in circles for a while.

We quite enjoy the Natural History Museum and even got to see "Big Trey!".  

Boo did very well.  We stopped in at the exploration (hands on) area and he was happy to pull all the books off the shelf and wander around in circles for a while.  Once we were done in the museum itself, we had lunch there and then headed over to the American History Museum.
I'm so glad that we did.  Boo, of course, passed out within about 5 minutes of getting there and getting a dry diaper on.  That's OK, it meant Gak and I could look at things and not fight a squirmy two-year-old.  (Although, he's much better at things like this than many kiddos I've known, which I'm so very thankful for.)  They're not quite done the renovations, so a lot of things weren't out for viewing.  The new exhibit for the Stars and Strips is open however.  I remember seeing the flag when it was hanging in the main entranceway.  They would show it for 5 minutes every hour or something like that.  It was quite impressive.  Even though you can barely see it now because of the ultra low lighting, it's even more impressive.  Before, it was hanging on a wall and far away.  It seemed large, but with the way they have it displayed now (lying on a display behind glass) I got a much better impression of the true size of the flag.  No pictures are allowed (although at least one person doesn't read signs... and it wasn't me).  It really is quite a sight.
Gak of course, loved the small display they had open of the TV and movie artifacts.  It was pretty cool to see Kermit and some of the other neat things.  I hope they open a bigger exhibit in the future though, there is so much American history there.
We also went through an exhibit that was about the way America travels and how it's changed through the years.  It was pretty neat and fun.
We rounded out the day with a short (too short) visit to the Native American museum.  I've noticed that each of the museums has it's own personality, not just outside or with what they're displaying, but in the atmosphere inside.  The Natural History is loud and vibrant and exciting.  The American History museum is a little quieter but still has an atmosphere of fun and I guess you could say both pride and hope.  The Native American museum is much quieter, almost reverent.  I'd like to think it is to honor the stories that are told within those walls.  Maybe it's because it forces everyone to rethink what they know, or think they know, about the Native cultures of this continent.  Maybe it's a mutual respect between the curators telling the story and those absorbing it.  There is a kind of peace in that building that permeates everything and makes you slow down a bit, to really read and look at and experience the exhibits.  We didn't get much time there, but it was quite enjoyable.
It's a good thing that we did the museums on Sunday.  That was the only day that it actually rained.  It actually rained a bit while we were in the Natural History museum, but mostly while we were in the American History museum and was clear and sunny by the time we left.
Dinner that night was a disaster.  So was trying to build a camp fire.  I guess I was just a little too cocky in my skills and not paying attention to what I was doing.  So, I was cranky and tired and it was getting late, so we just ate at the cafe.  It was pretty good.
Monday we didn't get quite the same early start, but headed back into DC.  The main objective was to go see the Navy Memorial.  Now mind you, it got really humid after the rain and it was nice and hot too.  Also, none of the memorials we wanted to see (other than the Navy Memorial) are anywhere near the Metro station.  And to top it off, we had a cranky, out of sorts boy.  

We did make it to the Navy Memorial, which was very, very important to do.  My son is the son of a son of a son of a sailor after all.  The Navy tradition runs strongly in his veins and it would be sad to be that close and not get a chance to see it.  I didn't get pictures of the really cool fountains, but every year they get water from the 7 seas and the great lakes added to them.  The whole memorial is very beautiful and moving.
After dealing with a cranky boy and walking for a few blocks trying to figure out what we were going to do.  We decided after a cranky discussion that it might just be better to head back to the campground and get some lunch, go for a swim and just hang out for the afternoon.
I'm so glad we did.  The pool was beautiful and nice and cool.  They've got a big lap type pool and a smaller shallow family pool with a couple of water elements.  Boo didn't want anything to do with those, but was more than happy to hang out and splash in the water.  It also felt wonderful to cool off a bit.
Dinner went much better.  I was able to make a fire and Gak took Boo down to the playground (which I don't have pictures of) and he enjoyed it.  I made some pretty yummy foil packet dinners of chicken, bacon, sausage (clean out the cooler time...) and some onion and BBQ sauce.  They didn't burn and they didn't stick either.  I also made some campfire biscuits and even Boo ate one of them!  I also finally got my toasted marshmallows.  (I would have had s'mores, but the chocolate had been melted and solidified and melted again a bit too much.)
We tried to go to the outdoor movie that night, but Boo wasn't having anything to do with settling down and snuggling and Night at the Museum 2, while appropriate considering we were at the Smithsonian museums the day before, just wasn't that catchy.
The next morning we broke camp in fairly short order.  (There were some cranky moments, which were mostly my fault.)  After checking out and picking up some more ice, we were on the road.  Our first order of business was to head to the Zoo.  Of course, this meant driving in Washington, DC itself.  Yep, I drove through DC and lived to tell the tale.  I wasn't so sure about it at one point when traffic was at a complete stand still for what felt like 20 minutes.  I also made a few wrong turns, but thankfully we have a nice GPS (thanks Gak!) and it got us back on track quickly.
We got to the Zoo right around 10:00 which is when it actually opens.  We started at the kids farm area and got to see a good part of it.  It was a bit too hot and humid to really enjoy it all though.  Boo did very well.  He really liked the tiger and enjoyed the invertebrate exhibit a lot too.  (Of course, I think that was mostly because it was inside, cool and dark.)

Even Trey enjoyed the exhibits.  There was even a life sized Trey at the Zoo.  Boo sees it and happily exclaims "Big Trey!"  Apparently it was used in a movie and used to live outside the Natural History museum for a while before moving into this flower garden.  I think it looks right at home here.

The drive home was fairly uneventful.  The biggest downer was that the Games Workshop store we stopped to visit had closed.  I was so bummed.  I know Gak was looking forward to spending some time browsing, drooling and planning his armies.  We did have a nice lunch at Bob Evans though, so that was a plus.
Once we got home I stopped at the now non-Wawa at the end of the block to get some cash and the boys walked home.  I was able to abscond with both Trey and Kelly and throw them, the sleeping bags and most of the laundry into the wash.  So, now we have a clean dino and bear.
So, yes, it was a good trip.  Not a perfect trip by a long shot, but a good trip.  We all enjoyed ourselves most of the time.  It was nice to get away, but it's also nice to get home too.

I'm going to wrap up this novel here.  There are lots more pictures on Flickr.

Peace to all and may your adventures be fun and your vacations enjoyable.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

'Venture Begins!

Well, we're off on another adventure today.  Yes, August is the month of adventures in this house.  And about time too!  We've been stuck in a rut and routine for way too long (yes, even with the move).  It's all been work/daycare, home, dinner, bed, repeat.
I guess you'd like to know where we're going.  Well, I'll tell you.  We're going camping right outside of Washington, DC.  So, like I said before, we're going to have the best of both worlds.  We'll be able to be lazy and hang around camp and swim in the pool, or we'll be able to take the Metro into DC and see some museums or monuments or just wander around.  There is so much to do and it's all (well mostly) free!  Sure, there are some museums I'd love to get to, like the National Geographic museum that have an admission fee, but I'm not sure we'll get there this trip.  That's OK, it'll still be there next time.  With all the Smithsonian museums (including the Zoo!) being free, I don't have much incentive to go find others.  If we get to two museums (Natural History and American History) we'll conciser this a successful trip.
So, yes, we could easily meet up with Cybele, now that she's back from Egypt.  We could almost as easily meet up with Ben, Jenny and family (if they're home not in Vermont).  But, we're not going to.  This trip is all about the three of us.
Yes, you'll get lots of pictures when we get back and some stories.  But don't expect to see or hear anything from me until Wednesday.  Yes, the campsite has Wi-fi, but I'm not taking my laptop and I'm not typing a post on Gak's iPhone.
Well, I've got a boy who wants snuggles and some packing to get to, so I'll sign off here.
Peace to you all and may your 'ventures be fun!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bathtime Bust

Well  it's official.  Boo hates the bath.  As you can see from this picture he loves to splash and dance around with a bucket of soapy water.  As I've told you before, he really likes going in the pool and even asks for it too.  He'll even ask for a bath from time to time.
But... get him anywhere near the tub, or even think about turning on the water and forget it, the screaming starts.  Not the hysterical, frightened of the boogey man hiding in the closet, terrified scream.  No, this is the "make me do anything include eat a huge plate of veggies AND clean my room at the same time" scream.  I swear, if I were my neighbors last night, I'd have thought someone was doing bodily harm to the poor boy.
I think I've mentioned this before.  It all started back at the end of April, around the end of our first set of swim classes.  I'm sure you remember my angst with the swim classes for the second session, how he'd scream and fuss and cry through them (but loved going to Amma's Y and now loves Uncle Frank's pool too...).  Well, about that time bath time also became a royal challenge.  At first he'd scream whenever I'd put him into the tub (even though he'd be all excited about bath time up until that point).  Then, it graduated to him standing in the tub (but never, ever sitting) and splashing around while I washed him.  While not overly fond of this solution, it worked.  I got a clean boy with only a minimal ammount of fussing on anyone's part.
I was hoping the move and the end of that stress would help with the bathtime issues.  Well, the standing in the tub continued on until about a week or two ago.
Then we started with the screaming in the tub again (while standing).  Then it became a bit of fussing before getting into the tub and expressing his intense dislike while in the tub.  Then it became time to start the fussing when the "b" word was mentioned at dinner time.  Last night, I didn't even get that far.  (And trust me, he needed a bath badly between the sand, the salt, the sunscreen and the running around on Monday and the fact that I hadn't washed him since Thursday, I had a boy in need of a bath.)
What simply astonishes and frustrates me though is that earlier in the evening he went with me into my room while I changed into some shorts.  He saw his ducky there (a favorite) and happily exclaims "duckie!".  "Yes, that's your ducky for bath time."  And then "letters!" when he sees some of the foam letters we have in the tub.  Again, "yes, those are your letters for bath time" I calmly tell him.  "OK!" was his happy response.
Well, we discussed bath time at dinner, with much whimpering on his part.  I then gave him the option of bath now or in 10 minutes.  He didn't say anything but quickly found something to do.  About 20 minutes later I tell him it's bath time.  I promptly get a "No!" as he goes into his room and flops on Lee and starts crying.  I try and explain about the salt and the sand and the sunscreen and the desparate need for a bath as I get his towel out of the cloest.  Then the floodgates open.
So, hoping for a bit of a calm down, I toss his towel aside and say OK, we can wait.  Well, he doesn't calm down.  So, I tell him that since he's fussing at me anyhow, he might as well get a bath.
In the name of all that is holy, you'd have thought I was trying to murder him as I undressed him.  And it only got louder and worse.  And by the end of it I was crying too.
I've tried everything I can think of. 
Changed the water temp?  Yep, doesn't matter. 
Tried bubbles?  Yep, bubbles win, but not enough to make him want to get in the tub. 
New toys?  Yep, he's gotten a new basketball net for the tub (which he likes) and he loves his duckie and his letters, but still the screaming. 
Crayons?  Well, no not bath crayons but tablets that change the water into cool colors, that was worse. 
Showers?  Don't even think about it, it was even more of a disaster.  Don't even think about splashing water near his face, let alone having it fall on his head.  Yes, this makes washing hair even more fun than the rest of him.
Bathing with him?  Yep, couldn't get him to come near the tub. 
Less water in the tub?  Well, since I refuse to waste water he's not going to play in, yep, we're down to almost dry.
Not draining the tub with him in it?  Can't even get him into the tub without screaming... but yes, I've tried this too.  And like I've said, it's not a terified scream but the "don't make me do it" scream.
Different tub?  Yep.  We moved in May, remember.  Also, Amma tried at Jay's on Sunday with the same disaster (and no bath).
Change soap?  Yep.  I've tried both the California Baby organic stuff I've been using for well over a year now and the regular J&J baby bath.  I've even tried my shower gel.  Remember, I can't even get him into the tub without screaming.  Heck, I can't even get him near the bathroom once the water is started. 

So, I'm at the end of my rope.  I don't think there's enough left to tie a knot on to swing from.  What happened to cause this?  I haven't a clue.  If I did, I'd know what to talk about/work on to fix the issue.  As is I've got one very, very, very unhappy boy.  The unhappiness usually passes within about 5 or 10 minutes of the torture ending and the jammies on.  It's not a naked thing, he doesn't mind getting changed or dressed.
Yeah.  If anyone's got a clue or wants to come bathe my boy for me, have at it.

On another note, I had my semi-anual checkup with my primary doctor.  It took twice as long as usual today because she's got a student PA with her right now.  (Which is cool, she's young and friendly and I don't mind helping.)  She gave me the name of a different doctor to see for the whole sleep thing.  I'm going to give him a whirl.  He's in Allentown, so not quite as convenient, but not bad either.  We'll see when I can get in there.  My asthma and allergies are behaving themselves.  My blood pressure (once they could hear the bottom number...) was 110 over 70, which is about average for me.  So, I'm in good health over all, if I could only sleep.
Well, I've procrastinated long enough, back to work.

Peace to all and may bath time not be torture for all involved.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Beach Time!

Well, our two beach days of the summer are done.  And what a 'venture it has been.
Last Monday Amma got here nice and early at a little before 7.  By shortly after 7 Boo, Amma and I were on the road and heading down to Delaware.  I was sad that Gak couldn't join us, but excited to have a day away from the office and with my son (and mom) at the beach.
The drive down was fairly uneventful.  There was a bit of traffic, as always on the Blue Route right around the Schuylkill and where they're doing some construction, but nothing too horrible.  We actually made pretty good time.  The only iffy part was a few sprinkles of rain on the way down and some lingering clouds.
Once down there we stopped at McDonalds to try their new smoothies (very yummy!) and change for the beach.  The weather was gorgeous.  The sun was shining, there were a few clouds providing a little spotty shade.  The game plan was to hit the beach for a bit, get some lunch, do a little shopping and head to Jay's by mid-afternoon to meet up with people.
We get to the beach and find a great little spot.  We were able to park on the Avenue about a block and a half up!  We even find another little guy who's not quite 2.5 years old and the boys have fun playing with their assorted sand toys for an hour or so.

The water was beautiful and nice and cool.  The waves were a little rough, but not too bad at the edges.  Unfortunately, even though Boo was amazed that the water was "rolling!" he didn't want anything to do with it this year.  We went down to the edge several times and each time I set him down, he'd turn around and walk straight to our blanket without even looking back.  So, we spent most of our time playing in the sand (even though Momma really, really wanted to play in the water.)
After the beach we get our feet cleaned up and our shoes and shorts and shirts back on and go for some lunch.  Of course, we go to Grotto Pizza.  (And of course I was evil big sister and sent Jon a picture of our pizza as soon as it got to the table...)  But, my non-pizza eating son had a grilled cheese and French fries.  (I never realized how good their fries are!  I think they salt the oil, not the fries.  Boy are they yummy.)

The cutest thing was after lunch.  Boo didn't want back into the stroller, but wanted to walk.  (He'd walked from the beach to Grotto while we pushed the bags in the stroller.)  He also insisted on carrying his bag of sand toys and was quite content to wander down the sidewalk all on his own.  I think he was anxious to get back on the beach, but unfortunately, we weren't heading there.  We made a quick stop at Dolly's for some mint sticks (I got Gak some chocolate-mint ones that are yummy!).  I also stuck my head in at Endeavor Trading Company, the store that has all those wonderful batik shirts and dresses that I love, but didn't buy anything.

Our next stop was the outlet malls.  We only stopped at a couple of places because I didn't want to take a lot of time and I didn't have a big budget to spend anyhow.  I got two things at Gap (which I returned yesterday) but even though I really liked the skirt, I knew I wouldn't get much use out of it and still spent too much on it.  At the VF outlet I did manage to get 1 pair of pants and 3 shirts.  I really love the one shirt, and the other two will be nice when it cools off a bit.  And yes, the pants are 2 sizes smaller than this time last year.
Then it was off to Jay's.  Boo got to meet the original Kelly, Jay's really big dog.  They did a very good job of just staying out of each other's way.  He also got to meet Molly, Robin and Paul's little dog.  Of course he got to meet Robin and Paul and see Jay again.  Overall we had a nice visit and then headed out for dinner at Bob Evan's.  We finally left down there at around 8 and had a boy who fell asleep at about 9 on the way home.  (He'd had a short nap on the way down and about a 20 minute snooze on the way to and once we got to Bob Evan's.)  Of course, this means we got home around 11, and the next morning was a bear.  But it was sooo worth it.

Yesterday we followed a very similar plan.  The weather was nice, but a good bit more humid.  Boo still wanted nothing to do with the water.  That's OK though, we had lots of fun in the sand and I kept going back to the surf to get buckets of water and a chance to cool off.

Lunch was at Grotto again and then to the outlets.  I returned my purchases from Gap from last week and Boo got a new shirt at A Children's Place that was nicely on sale.  This time there was all kinds of family at Jay's house.  Robin and Paul are up from Georgia, so of course it meant we had to get the family together.  Her two brothers live in Maryland still, so Dave and Kathy and Jimmy, Penny and "little" Jimmy were all there.  Unfortunately Bill (Robin and Paul's son) wasn't going to come up until today and Linda and Frank couldn't come up from Tennessee.  "Little" Jimmy is 14 and not so little.  He's almost 6' tall and a very nice guy.  He and Boo had a lot of fun playing together once they warmed up to each other.

It was a great day and we got out of there an hour earlier.  This time Boo fell asleep in the car within about 5 to 10 minutes.

So, yeah, we had two wonderful beach adventure days.
Go check the rest of the pictures (and some video) out on Flickr.

Peace to all and may your 'ventures be good ones.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Drama Done?

Well, unless something totally unexpected happens, the drama with the old apartment is done.
Gak is holding a check from our landlady in his hands.
I'm not going to go into all the details, suffice to say we got less than half our deposit back and have signed away the option to pursue this issue any further.  Some will think we're stupid for doing that, for leaving potentially $1200 on the table.  Yes, that's a lot of cash.  Yes, we could really, really use it.  But, I'm not sure $1200 is worth the aggravation, lack of sleep and other issues that we would have had to go through to get it.  And in the long run, I'm not sure it would have done any good for anyone (except possibly the bank account... but probably not even that...)
Personally, I'm just glad to see this chapter closed.
I thought about posting the letter we wrote to our former landlady's lawyer, but again, it really wouldn't help anyone out, so I won't.  (Although, if you want to see it, I'll gladly email it to you.)

On a side note, as you can see off to the side, I did manage to edit and upload pictures from Monday to flickr.  Hopefully tonight or tomorrow I can write about our 'venture.

Peace to all and may your conflicts come to a close peacefully and quickly.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Beach Teaser

Ok, Ok, so it's Wednesday already and I haven't uploaded my pictures from Monday or said a peep.
*sigh*  Blame it on being brain dead last night.  (I'm really supposed to be getting a shower, getting my lunch together and out the door in the next 15 minutes, but....)
So, I thought I'd just post a teaser picture from Mom.  We had a BLAST on Monday, even if I we didn't get back until about 11:00 and I didn't get to bed until almost midnight.  Ugh.  And I'm going to do this again on Sunday?
Anyhow, Monday involved a lot of driving, some nice beach time, pizza, shopping and a great family visit.  I did bust the budget a bit, which stinks, but on the plus side, I was able to buy a pair of pants 2 sizes smaller than this time last year and found 3 nice tops to stretch my work wardrobe a bit further.
Enjoy the teaser and hopefully tonight I'll get mine downloaded off my camera and posted.  I just realized I had some from the middle of July on there that I never uploaded either. *sigh*  Digital is not faster than film for posting when busy schedules are involved.

Peace to you all and may your 'ventures be fun, the weather beautiful and the pizza be Grotto's.