22 November 2010

10 years

As much as I don’t love to admit it, Jeff is right a lot of the time. He has a good, common sense, realistic perspective that usually makes more sense than whatever direction my emotions are tugging me at the moment. Or the next moment, which is usually an entirely different direction all together. When the idea of going away for our anniversary came up, we were both on board from the beginning. We realized that this could be our “perfect storm” to get away. Close to all the family, not pregnant, not nursing, vacation days to spare, and everyone is well adjusted and sleeping through the night. Then, I started having cold feet about leaving the children. Jeff said it would be worth it. He promised me the kids would be fine, and we would have the time of our lives. Of course, he was right.

Reasons why I’m glad Jeff was right:

1. We had an entire week of uninterrupted conversations, and even enough time together that we could simply enjoy shared silence. Who knew that could be such a treasure?

2. We both love big cities. We love places we can go and NOT drive. We love to walk and make use of whatever public transportation cities have to offer. We’ve ridden trains, buses, trolleys, and monorails in cities all over the world, and we love seeing how each city has a unique take on moving its people.

3. I mentioned walking. We walked and walked and walked. Miles and miles, hand in hand (not four hands in between us), over bad sidewalks at times even, but we didn’t notice because we had NO stroller. We love walking and exploring.

One of our discoveries while walking.

4. We visited the local market at least once each day, bought raspberries, watched them throw fish, ate delicious deli sandwiches, and enjoyed street musicians. I love street musicians. Good or bad, you gotta hand it to ‘em. That takes guts.

6. We wandered into thrift and antique stores and browsed all we wanted. We even found some amazing polyester ties to add to Jeff’s collection. We couldn’t believe our luck!

7. We visited museums and stayed as long (or as short) as we wanted. One we stayed for only 30 minutes, but our favorite (the Museum of flight) we stayed for several hours. We even walked through a retired Air Force One.

8. We went to a comedy show one evening and didn’t even need to find a sitter.

9. We didn’t stop our day for nap time, or to eat at places that serve chicken nuggets. We didn’t pack snacks, and we didn’t carry sippy cups. We ate wherever and whenever we wanted. Good food partnered by conversations with complete sentences. How do you beat that?

520 ft up

10. We lay in our hotel bed, watched movies, TV shows, ate yummy things, and went to bed late. And then, we slept in.

11. What should have been a 30 minute trip to find the temple, took us 2 hours. And we loved it.

12. We found a trail along the waterfront and ran on it. Together. Twice. In all the years we’ve enjoyed running (more years for Jeff than for me), we’ve never, ever run together. We had two very nice 10K runs that we agree are two of our favorite memories of the week. (Cue the fantasies of when our kids are old enough to leave behind, and we get to do this regularly.)

13. We were mistaken for honeymooners. That was fun, considering it’s been 10 years. And at the same time, our tour guide sang a lovely rendition of “Popcorn Popping” when he found out we were from Utah.

14. We ate breakfast in a “hole in the wall” diner. Generally, I think it’s a waste to eat out for breakfast because I’m quite happy eating simple things for breakfast, and breakfast food for lunch or dinner (a staple in our house). But, we have a very specific memory of our time in San Francisco that included a breakfast diner we all fell in love with. So, we reminisced with food, and were not disappointed.

15. We watched glass blowers. We never would have dared go past the front doors of that shop with the children.

16. We found a candy shop. We kind of like candy. We felt like two kids in a candy shop. Oh wait… We picked two of every candy that looked good and sampled them all as we walked along the pier. Fun.

I wasn’t going to blog about our trip because as we think back on it, that time feels almost sacred. That time together was so priceless. Then, after talking with our home teachers (who we adore), one of them was telling us about how he can’t get his wife to leave his children to take the 10 day trip to Rome he just won from his work. WHAT?!? Okay, I get it. It’s definitely hard to leave the children. And sometimes it felt like it would almost have been easier to take them. But, honestly, it was worth every bit of planning, coordinating, packing, and changing schedules. So, if you’re debating about taking a little time out for you and your spouse, do it. Make it happen. Because Jeff is right. It’s so worth it.

P.S. Thank you, family, for taking time out of YOUR busy schedules to make it possible. Let’s talk about our number ONE blessing: it’s YOU.

The biggest thing lacking in our trip with no kids: no pictures of kids. They are much cuter than we are, as I'm sure you've already discovered.

01 November 2010

Halloween, of course

I love Halloween more and more each year. Thank goodness for children who keep the innocence of Halloween in tact.

Oh, so many Halloween outings this year! Jane was the only one who wore the same costume each time. Alice gets the award for variety. Jack gets the award for being the only bloodless Dracula in town.

The annual pumpkin picking event.

They just HAD to try doing a wheelbarrow together, of course. I love fall. Shorts and sandals, topped off with a sweater all in one. Love it.

Jane may appear to be helping hollow out the pumpkins, but don't be deceived. This is the closest she came... holding up what I scooped out. A bit slimy for this child!

Jeff and Jack did the scooping, while Alice and I did the dishes. Jane's a good cheerleader. Did I mention our dishwasher leaking, floor warping, and mold issue? No? Lucky you.

This is The Place does a "Little Haunts" over UEA that was brilliant. My kids could have walked around that pioneer village and listened to that Story Witch for hours. Oh wait, we did. Alice was Jane's black cat, and Jack was Batman. I only had my phone, plus the lighting was weird, but I loved Alice's grin. I couldn't resist.

If it's her idea, she loves the camera!

For story time at the library, Alice was Dorothy, so I just kept her in her dress all day. Why not? I'll tell you why not...

Not long before leaving for Grandma Hillman's Halloween party, I caught Alice doing this...

... to the candy dish.

She's got a sweet tooth. I'll claim that one. This resulted in a very sticky, spit-y Dorothy costume.

So, she was a witch, just like her sister. And apparently Grandpa!

The kids counted down all month to the NIGHT they got to dress up and go to the ward's Trunk or Treat. They were giddy with anticipation. They even tried taking off on Jane's broomstick, but didn't get very far.

We put Alice in the warmest thing we had, Tigger. The only time she's been fat in her life. Notice Jane opening her mouth at the same time as Alice. We all know that helps babies open up wider, right?

Alice enjoyed the evening's bounty.

Our neighbors put on a haunted house that Jack thought was awesome, and I have to admit, it was fun. Jane wanted to go through at first, but she ended up in my arms and screamed like crazy when the masked kid came around the corner. It was a scream like I've never screamed. The kind they should bottle up for the movies. Then, after assuring the mother of the home that she was okay, while at the same time preparing my thoughts of what to tell the therapist we'd surely have to take her to, Jane announced she wanted to go through again. She said she'd be brave this time. And she was. Then she wanted to go again, but I had to draw the line somewhere.

We actually did go door to door on our street and to a few select neighbors a few streets over on Saturday night. We were worried the whole neighborhood trick-or-treating was a thing of the past, but were glad to see others out, even in the rain.

Did you have many trick-or-treaters at your house? Did you go door-to-door? The mall? The grocery store?