Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Joshua Tree and AZ legs of the trip

When we found out we were going to Palm Desert, I really wanted to fit in a visit with Jen. She suggested Joshua Tree National Park to let the kids rock scramble. Despite going to college in LA, I never made it to Joshua Tree. I now understand why it is a huge national park because the landscape was foreign and breathtaking.

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For reference, here is what the kids looked like the last time we met up with Jen and family. Jen and Joe are so nice and laid-back that it felt like we had just seen them as we chatted and hiked through the park.

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The boys loved hanging out, climbing on rocks and trying to keep up with Jake and Jadyn.

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And of course I had to take some jumping photos.

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The rock is granite and the formations were amazing. The science is freaking cool - magma cooled below the surface and hardened. Water got in, eroded the magma into roundish shapes, then flash floods eroded ground cover until the formations were visible. It was quite a surprise to find this gem eroded into a big granite boulder.

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Jadyn was happy to be a model, and wanted her photo taken at tons of spots...

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while Jake was happy to rock scramble and not have his photo taken.

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And my kids? Went to Joshua Tree National Park and made farting noises.

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(I kid - they LOVED it.)

It was a really great side trip to see the Funny Noses and I hope we can make it back to spend more time.

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After that we hit the road to Phoenix to see my sister and family.

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And guess what? Minecraft was a huge hit with these kids also!

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It was hot in Phoenix as well, so we spent a lot of time hanging out at the house with the kids swimming at the pool. Both boys were excited to play with their dog (who loves having water squirted in his mouth).

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It was great to get a chance to catch up in person, and made me sad that geography is stupid and they live far away. I actually had a chance to reflect a lot on geography on this trip because the southwest is such a different landscape than the southeast. It made me really want to see the pacific northwest sometime soon.

We came back, unpacked, did laundry, then packed the kids back up for Camp Seafarer. Unfortunately both kids puked yesterday morning when they woke up, so they spent the first half of the day in the infirmary. They both took naps then woke up fine so they stayed at camp. We pick them up tonight.

And as much as I thought I was super brave to let my boys go to overnight camp, when I heard they were sick and in the infirmary, I just wanted to get in the car and drive 3 hours to pick them up and give them a hug. I've said it before, but the hardest part of parenting is all the little ways you have to let them go over time. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Palm Desert leg of the trip

In Palm Springs, we hung out with Jon's brother Chris and family, Jon's sister Liz and family, and Jon's dad Lloyd and wife. Every day it was 13 of us. Our rental house had two golf carts so we drove those between houses.

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We quickly learned Minecraft is The Game to play.


The four big kids got along like gang busters - they were all born within 15 months of each other. They played and played and laughed and laughed. It was fantastic to see.


Besides swimming and day drinking, we had a lot of other fun adventures, like going to the wildlife preserve.

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(This zoo also happened to have my favorite animal exhibit of all time.)


There was a traveling exhibit I would highly highly recommend. It was a big dome filled with birds and you could feed them. Before we went in, we all imagined we'd quietly hold sticks as we fed them.

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Instead what happened is birds swooped all around us, landed on whatever part of our bodies they wanted, and pecking us all over. At one point, one climbed in Jon's shorts pocket. One climbed on my shoulder and Jon said, "You're a pirate!!" and I laughed so hard I cried. (The other adults watched this horror from outside and laughed hysterically.)

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And if there is only one thing you take away from my entire blog ever, it would be the power of cognitive behavioral therapy to help treat anxiety. Alex EXCITEDLY jumped onto a camel and took a ride. A year ago, this kid would run the other direction when seeing dogs on the street.

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We also had a photo shoot of the entire family. The kids were dressed to kill.


The big event was Jon's dad's retirement and there was a party one night to celebrate.


(Jon and I should have coordinated colors better.)

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The restaurant had an outdoor putting green next to our table, which was a life saver as it entertained the kids for four hours.

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The kids did a mock newscast as part of the evening (Lloyd was in media). Nate stole the show when he repeatedly asked Lloyd who his favorite grandchild was. Over. And over and over. He's got a future interviewing people, asking hard questions, and possibly making them cry.

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It was a special trip, one I'm sure we'll remember for how well the kids got along. I know I force the kids to take photos but they'll thank me one day as they see how they've grown each year they get together.

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After the end of the trip, we got in the car with snacks to hit up a huge national park..... more on that tomorrow. I'm still dreaming of these perfect, perfect chips.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I'm baccckkkkkk

I mentioned we had a few things planned for the April track out. Last Friday we flew to Palm Springs to meet up with Jon's family to celebrate his dad's retirement. We spent 5 days with this bunch of crazies:

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(Do you know what kind of mad skillz it takes to get four 7-8 year olds and two 2 year olds to all look at the camera at the same time???)

 Then we hung out in Joshua Tree with Jen and family for a day before driving to Phoenix.

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Then we hung out in Phoenix with my sister and these crazies for 3 more days.

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I obviously have many more photos of the trip to share. For now, I'm still jet lagged and tired. We took the boys to the YMCA early this morning for their first SLEEP AWAY CAMP! 3 days 2 nights at Camp Seafarer. I am both excited and nervous for them. Mostly excited.

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Thursday, April 03, 2014

Art show!

On the last day of third quarter, Alex had a note in his folder.

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It was a tough day to be a twin mom, as Nate was upset his art work did not get selected. But we reminded Nate he won his class spelling bee and that overall, it was super awesome that someone from the Case family got selected for the honor.

Since Jon was out of town, I took the boys to the art exhibit and the reception. Alex's art is the butterfly all the way at the top. The reception was a bust as they only had oatmeal raisin cookies (boys' reaction: WHAT!) so we celebrated Alex's night with ice cream (Nate's favorite) and pound cake (Alex's favorite).


Sometimes the small things are so very, very big.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Having to man up as a parent succkkkkksss

Monday night we had some crazy errands to run (long story for later) and Jon ended up sick that day, in bed, perilously close to barfing all day. I took the boys to dinner by myself and then to Target. Nate complained the entire car ride about how he wouldn't be able to eat anything because eating hurt due to his ridiculously loose upper front tooth.

We're at the age of natural consequences. We've asked him for a week if we could pull the tooth - even letting him know the Tooth Fairy considers a 40th birthday a "holiday" so it would be $5 - and he repeatedly refused. So I said, you made the choice to live with a loose tooth and we are going to Which Wich for dinner.

Nate moaned and complained about eating a very soft grilled cheese sandwich but had no problem chowing down on some cheetos! He bit into a cheeto with his front tooth and BAM! that tooth flew right out of his head.

Blood gushed everywhere. I calmly picked the bloody tooth off the ground and put it in my pocket, grabbed some ice and extra paper towels, and proceeded to ditch wet bloody paper towels in the trash until the bleeding stopped.

It would be SUPER AWESOME if, as a parent, you could just say to certain jobs, "NO." Like you get 3 vetoes in your parenting career? No no no, if I'm going to dream big, I'd get 3 vetoes a year. All my vetoes this year would likely be around dealing with bloody teeth. Well.... maybe also Alex's tongue thing will have been a veto as well.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

40!

When Jon asked what I wanted to do for my 40th birthday, I told him I wanted to wake up hearing waves crash with this view:

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We splashed barefoot in tide pools.

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We got out for walks despite the rain, finding buried rocks exposed by the storm.

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We found our biggest fossilized shark tooth to date (from a great white shark!).

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When the rain cleared up, we were right there to be able to take advantage of the sand and the sea.

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We were gifted with a beautiful sunset.

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It was the perfect way to spend the first day in my 40s - eating brownies, drinking wine, opening presents, and enjoying my favorite place with my favorite people. 40 is pretty awesome so far.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

39!

Looks like my husband is old today, turning 39.

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His hair is starting to turn grey, little salt and pepper flakes sprinkled throughout. His smile lines around his eyes have deepened. He's starting to lose the ability to sleep in. I like it. It's a daily visual reminder that we get to grow older together, that we get all these years together.

When I say that my life is the happiest it's been, it's because I managed to find the right partner for me. So lucky every single day to call this man my best friend, my husband, my rock, my voice of reason.

Happy birthday Jon.

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