Life Is Just So Daily

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Big CHANGES around here...

Wow. It's been a while since I've blogged...and it's been over a month since we've had a big change around here.....

My husband's taking a year off from his job...his career....a year off. A year at home. He resigned from his position and he is going to be spending a year at home, here with us.

Let the adventures begin!

Really....the growing pains....the getting used to each other being here all day every day...we've gotten that pretty well under control. I can't say that we've worked out any kind of routine yet. To be perfectly honest, I kind of miss the old morning routine: Get up with Gage, get him set up in the tub, get Sister up, nurse her while Gage gets ready for school, out the door to take him to school, come back home and start in the kitchen {coffee going while she plays in her high chair, then sip coffee with the tv on while I feed her baby food, then do dishes before she gets fussy and wants down from the chair}. I kind of miss that whole routine.

Now, there's not really a morning routine, and there still could be... What's wonderful now: sometimes Damon gets up with the kids and I get to sleeeeeep and I wake up, and it's 8:30-something, and I feel like a whole new woman! Most days, I get up early with the kiddos and Hubby gets out of bed to drive Gage to school, and we don't even have to get Eliette out in the mornings.

We've both started these next 12 months with an excitement for home improvement projects and the best of intentions. What seems to be happening so far: I want to do what I want to do, and what I want to do is all of the stuff I haven't been able to do with a baby on my hip or pulling on my pant leg. Damon wants to do what he wants to do, and what he wants to do is all of the stuff he never had the time or energy to do before because he was working and traveling all of the time.

BUT---he has been so sweet to build me the shelves and desk that I wanted, and put the baby cabinet locks on the kitchen cabinets because our daughter is into EVERYTHING, and a few other projects that were important to me. Now, he's working on staining the fence (when it's not too wet or windy), and sanding & staining an outdoor table... Just different little stuff....

We have to get into a groove. We have to work out a routine, which is surprisingly challenging, given the fact that you have two adults here with one infant for the majority of the time, while Brother is away at school.
We've already determined that we just have to clearly communicate with each other and not just assume that the other will be available to watch the baby, or be home for this/that/or the other.

So....there are so many facets to this change for us.

Financially: certainly things are not the same as they were, as income has decreased and we are taking on more expensive health care coverage. But Hubby's got it figured out, and says that I do not need to go back to work full time to make this work. Ummmm, okay. I still work PRN, so it's nice to have that option.

How it is affecting our marriage: (could be summed up as 'the good, the bad, & the ugly.') Let's face it: change is hard! Alone time? What's that? I think that as I type this, we've really come through the most challenging part of getting used to each other being home all the time, and communicating more. It is nice to have more time to just pack the baby up and go to Home Depot or Lowes to get what we need for a project.... That's nice. Hubby has also come to realize that there is A LOT OF HOUSEWORK that goes into keeping this place from becoming completely filthy! I think he's grown to appreciate my hard work all this time a bit more. That's a plus! The bad/ugly: when you are in a tiff, there's a lot more opportunity to say ugly things, and it's harder to just avoid each other to cool off! Hey, we can't always, and won't always agree on everything, right? The good news: ample opportunities to make up, and make the other person's day better.

How it is affecting our parenting: Oh my goodness! This is the best part so far. We get more one-on-one time with each child. Both of us. Seriously, this is the best part of all of this so far. I will say, I wish I had more one-on-one time with Gage, but we're working on it. I've seriously had to sort through some of my own expectations and priorities to realize that I've got to get a little more into Pokemon and the things that are cool to him---instead of hoping/trying/praying to get him into what is a bit more interesting to me. It's something I'm going to continue to work on. In this whole life change for us, I have been able to see the most positive changes in this area so far. Gage's playing select ball this Spring. So time consuming. We're able to swing all of that more easily than a lot of other families. That's a blessing.

So----this is our big change. Damon's taking a year off from his career, and focusing on the family and home life for now. It's CRAZY-DIFFERENT. There is a plan that goes beyond this year, but that's not necessarily the focus now. As this year at home nears its end, the focus will shift to planning for the future and mapping out all of the next steps....but for now, this is the plan. I tend to worry about the here and now, and Damon reassures me that the here & now is going to be just fine, but it's the big picture that we're changing.

I could freak out.
I've actually already freaked out.

What I found completely reassuring: when word got out in his industry, our phone was ringing off the hook and he had multiple job offers right away. I believed him when he said that we would be okay, but of course, with a change like this---doubt creeps in. The fear of failure creeps in. Fear of regret creeps in. Fear of judgement creeps in. All of those things creep in, or at times, come flooding in {to be perfectly honest,} if only for a brief time.

I've been like a pendulum swinging between "Oh-my-goodness-I'm-so-freaked-out" and "what-a-blessing-this-is!" I reserve the right to keep swinging, but I hope that when we look back over this year, we are nothing but grateful and truly appreciate it as a blessing. Damon reminds me that even though we had a good thing going, the plan is for something better.

So that's it.
Our biggest news.
New adventures underway.


Saturday, April 05, 2014


Damon and I had the good fortune to go to Vegas recently. It was a planned trip that was then in jeopardy of being cancelled...and then it was back on, but oh, maybe not, and then a what-the-hell? Let's go to Vegas.

Long story short: My husband was supposed to be going there on business. He bought me a ticket to go along, and he'd do business during the day, and live it up with me when he was free from that. Then, he was suddenly not going for business (more on that later) and we couldn't get a refund on Mama's first class seat. What the hell? Let's go to Vegas!

Damon booked us a room at the Bellagio. Our view was AMAZING!
That's a view while looking out the big window in our room. Loved it!
The fountains, when they aren't on, as viewed from above:

Other pics of the hotel:

The Bellagio has the world's largest chocolate fountain (according to the internet, anyway) and it is so neat!

It's located in the Jean Philippe Patisserie within the Bellagio. Other amazing edible creations on display:

Let's see....some of the shows we took in:
La Reve (not that I have any pics of that...)
Carrot Top (actually quite funny!)
Penn & Teller

I don't have any pics from the Le Reve show, but oh my goodness, it was so much fun to watch! We actually saw that show for free, and got the royal treatment. Seriously, we just happened to be at the right place at the right time. One evening, we decided to walk over to the Wynn hotel and casino and just look around. The atrium area there is beautiful! (Pics in a minute....) While we were walking through, a supervisor-looking-gentleman came out of the poker room and gave us free tickets to the show that were not going to be used otherwise, and the only catch was that we had to go right then because the show was starting in just a few minutes. Ummm....okay, sure. We get there as the doors are closing, and an usher was showing us to our seats. But, she says that since Damon is so tall, we'd be more comfortable in this VIP section which wasn't sold out. Ummm....okay, sure! That's when we were introduced to Lauren/Laura who would be our little en suite concierge and take care of our needs. Ummmm.....okay, sure! It was AWESOME. Drinks and snacks and a free show? Yes, please. The show had dancing, acrobats, diving, synchronized swimmers...It was like too much to even visually take it all in. You could watch stuff like this several times and notice new and different details every time. It was great. It was just great!
Here are some photos from the internet for the show, so you'll get a sense of what it was like:

Loved the show. Loved it!

What other highlights from the trip? Well, just going to all of the ornate casinos there and taking things in---just amazing the scale of things and the details. It's also amazing to me how they can take one city block and route the pedestrians in such a way that it's like 4 miles. Some serious walking, folks.

Pics inside the atrium at the Wynn:

We went to New York, New York. Rode the roller coaster. When I originally agreed to do it, I just saw the little taxi looking track suspended from the ceiling indoors. 'How big of a deal can this be' I thought. The track quickly leads you outside and it's a big freaking roller coaster! Whatever. It was too late. I was strapped in. I rode it like a boss. (Okay, I'm sure I screamed and squealed a bit.)

The thing to note about being inside of the New York themed hotel and the Paris hotel: it was like being on the set of Sesame Street. More so in the New York hotel, but just the scale of things in there and the whole "you're inside, but you're supposed to be outside" kind of thing going on. I expected to see Elmo and his friends round the corner....


The Venetian is Damon's favorite place to stay in Vegas. Since he had never stayed at the Bellagio before, we booked our room there for this trip. He says that the rooms at the Venetian are larger. Not that he has any complaints about the Bellagio.
Pics from the Venetian:

No, we didn't do a gondola ride. I can't remember the price, but I want to say it was around $85 dollars, and it just wasn't something I was burning to do. Get on a boat with a stranger singing to us, paddling around in a make-believe world with tourist on-lookers? No thanks.

Another highlight of the trip: The Stratosphere.
We went all the way up to the top, where I rode THIS ride: (this is just a pic of the ride, but not with me on it...just to show you what the ride is....)
And here I am on the ride, in the gray sweatshirt....
 Blowing kisses to my husband:

It was crazy and fun, and it then it hit me... If this thing falls, and I die, there will be so very little of me to scrape up and send home. On top of that, if or when my family comes to the place where I fell to my death, it won't even be in the GOOD part of the strip. {Yes, I'm a curious one. I know.}
But hey---I did it. I survived. I was THRILLED.

Being the big nerd that I am, I was super excited to go to Madame Tussaud's House of Wax. What a big freaking disappointment, and waste of money. Seriously a colossal waste of time and money. I'm convinced that the only people who like that place are drunk or kids....and the kids wouldn't know who the majority of those people are!  

I'll admit that some of the pics look good, but they photograph better than it is in real life. In reality, it's all a big waste of time and money---not that it takes any great deal of time to walk through there. Damon and I got to the end after about 10 minutes, and we were asking, "Is this the end? That's all?" What a joke.

The food in Vegas was amazing. We ate the buffets at The Wynn & The Bellagio. In fact, one morning, Nigel Lythgoe was eating breakfast behind us. Damon and I were daring each other to go over to him and just break out in an on-the-spot-So-You-Think-You-Can-Dance audition. Obviously, I'd already ridden a green bullet off the edge of the Stratosphere, so it was Damon's turn. The big chicken wouldn't do it. And our moment passed....

Other food in Vegas: ate a place called Sugar. Yum. Ate twice at a restaurant in the Venetian. Sadly, I can't remember the name of it now, but it was our favorite... Ate at The Peppermill which was a trip! My favorite thing there was there super-sugar-shaker, filled with colorful {happy} sugar. Loved it so much, that we joked about me slipping it into my purse before we left.... Well, not only is theft wrong, but the last place I wanted to visit in Vegas was their city lock up! To my great surprise, I could buy a shaker of my very own and a bag of their happy sugar on my way out. Yaaaaaay!

Damon and I rented a car one day and headed out to see the Hoover Dam. So neat. So glad we went.  Some instagrams from our road trip:

Hoover Dam pics...

And yes, I dropped a penny down just to see what would happen...and after a bit, you just lose sight of the penny. {I would like to take this opportunity to point out that literally throwing a penny away, never to be seen by me again, just to watch it fall was a better use of my money than the wax museum. I'm just sayin'....}

While we had the car, we ventured out to this place: El Dorado Canyon. We wanted to go there for the mine tour, but it was already over for the day when we got there. Can I just tell you---this place was creepy weird.

All kinds of buildings filled with old items...bird cages hanging from ceilings and filled with bones...old cars with bullet holes in the windows.... Just very weird. Interesting, but weird. In the main building, the family lives there. I used their restroom, and I instantly started thinking about the beginning of that Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie! They have a small museum-like room there where they display all kinds of stuff, including pics from movies that were shot there. That part was neat. 'Oh, Kevin Costner's been here? Well, hello then!' I don't know if I'll ever go back for the mine tour though....

What else about Vegas? It was such a great trip! I truly didn't expect to like it. I'd only been exposed to Las Vegas by way of tv and movies. I expected nothing but drunkenness and nakedness. Apparently if that's the type of Vegas trip you want to have, you can....but that is not the Vegas trip we had. We enjoyed great food, great shows, and went to lovely stores.... I tried to convince Hubby that Eliette needs this Hermes scarf, because CLEARLY it's educational. A girl's got to learn her ABCs, know what I'm sayin'!?
Hubby didn't go for it, and she didn't in fact get the scarf, but I tried.... I went to bat on her behalf, and that's really all that matters there....

In Vegas, just walking around is fun. Looking at the various casinos and people watching is entertaining...
Ahhhhhh, good times.

As I'm still nursing Eliette, Damon made arrangements for us to have a separate fridge in our room for milk storage. Well, let me tell you----we were there for 6 days. Six days was about 2-3 days too long for Vegas. I think the key is to keep your trip short and sweet, and that will leave you wanting to head back for more! By the end of this trip, I had sooooooo much milk stored.

....and I couldn't possibly take it all home. It wouldn't all fit in my cooler packs. I couldn't bring myself to pour it out. One of the saddest scenes for a breastfeeder:
Yes, he's pouring it out! Ugh! So sad!!!!

We checked out of the hotel....grabbed lunch, and headed to the airport. I will say that I LOVE how in Vegas, the airport is only an 8-10 minute ride from the strip. That's so convenient.

We flew over the Grand Canyon on the way home...
That was nice...

This yahoo took his shoes off and it was gross. It's stuff like this that reaffirms my husband's belief that other people are just nasty germ-spreaders.

Once we landed, it seemed like we'd never get home! Baby Girl was asleep already (as if that stopped me from waking her with that "I'm gonna nurse the shit out of you" mentality. Forgive me for being so frank). Gage was waiting up for us, and it is just sooooo wonderful to get those hugs after a long separation. It's like my body and arms get to re-memorize how he fits into my embrace. Oh, I just missed him! And you can tell from his face in this Daddy hug, he was so happy that we were home.
Also to note, if I'm remembering correctly, I don't remember a single "What did you bring me" that evening....

It was a great trip. I'm so glad that we went. So glad.
...and now, I can't wait to go back!!!

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