A Mom Breakout! Seattle 2012

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The love of my life was going to be gone two whole weeks in June thanks to his training with the Missouri National Guard. Our baby girl was only going to be 5 and 6 weeks old, and I was going to have to go it alone with three kiddos? AHHH!

Jeremy and I had talked a lot about how we could squeeze in a trip for me and the baby to go visit my best friend, Crystal, in WA. Originally we were all trying to get her here for the birth of our daughter, Cecelia.  But what if she missed it and I went into labor really late? That would be awful! The more we talked, the more perfect this window looked to all of us.

Thankfully, my MIL had vacation that she really needed to use. The timing was just right, so I booked my flight in May and got all the arrangements made. Then off I went to Seattle! It was a Mommy Breakout! It was also the first time I have ever left my kids for an extended period of time with anyone besides my hubby.

Ever.

YIKES!

I can’t tell you how nervous and scared I was to leave them. I literally cried the night before I left thinking of how much I would miss them and praying they would not be sad that both Jeremy and I were gone. (Post-partum hormones are what I blame it on now.) I was so concerned that they would feel abandoned…I know…stop laughing at me.

The big day came and I got a whopping three hours of sleep. YAY! But I was too excited to sleep anyway. I kissed my boys and hopped in my friend Joe’s car and off we went to the airport…at 3:00 am. Joe’s a great friend.

The first leg of my flight went great. Cecelia was such a perfect little baby. She slept and ate and smiled at me in between. When we got to Denver though, I was feeling super rushed. I was hungry and needed to go to the bathroom, but my layover was very short. While I was at the Customer Service Desk getting tags for the stroller and car seat, Southwest announced multiple times that the flight was way overbooked and they needed volunteers to bump on to a flight that didn’t leave for 7 more hours! The reward? $300 in voucher cash for SW, PLUS a refund voucher for the flight you’d be missing. Um, done and done!

Sweet smiles on our long layover in Denver

Cecelia and I enjoyed a very relaxing day at the Denver Airport for the next 6 hours. We played, laughed and talked, we took naps and had a lovely lunch and the best part? We walked away with $586.00 in SW vouchers! WAHOO! I felt like I’d won the lottery.

The rest of the flights were great and I even got to sit next to a child psychologist! That was probably the highlight of my flying experience. She didn’t tell me until the end of the flight (which was good because I would have been self conscious the entire time if she told me at the beginning). She went on and on about how she could tell that Cecelia felt very loved. It was so neat to learn about how babies express security and stress. She was a neat lady.

Once I got to Seattle I was relaxed and ready for some quality time with my best friend. Crystal met me at baggage claim and we squealed and hugged as soon as we saw each other. ‘Cause that’s what girls do!

She picked Cecelia up and much to my surprise, Cece cried! It was not a good start, but I still think Cece was just tired from a very long day. We laughed and said we would work on that and then made our way to the car. Crystal helped me get all loaded up and then presented me with dark chocolate covered almonds AND one of my beloved fizzy waters!  She’s my best friend AND the hostess with the mostest.

We stayed up very late that night talking and laughing. In fact, considering I had three hours of sleep the night before, it maybe wasn’t the best decision to stay up that late! I was certainly dragging the next morning. But Crystal had fresh oatmeal all ready to go! In fact, every morning I was there she made me coffee and oatmeal. Isn’t she the best? (I was not that nice to her when she was here visiting me.)

Friday was a fun little day for us. We took her son, Brayden, to school (yes, he was still in school!) and then went to the gym. Every week during the school year, a bunch of Crystal’s friends (and mine too!) do a work out together in the gym at the Lakewood YMCA. I had been hearing about it for months, so I was excited to finally come and join them! Although, it was pointless. Let’s just say that trying to work out when you are 5 weeks postpartum, not such a great idea. Jumping jacks after natural child birth? Um…no, no, no, and no.

I was still pretty foggy after that experience, (and embarrassed from my lousy workout!) so my best friend stopped at Starbucks just for me. The cappuccino did the trick. The rest of the day was pretty laid back. Then that evening, we went to one of our favorite restaurants, Marzanos, with my friends Shari and Amber (we call her Abby).

Here we are, all together at Crystal’s house afterwords. I love you girls!

We had so much fun eating yummy food and catching up. We coo’d over Cecelia, tasted each others dinners and laughed at ourselves a lot that night. Afterwards, we went back to Crystal’s house for cupcakes and Kimberly joined us. This made us complete!  I can’t remember the place we got the cupcakes from…but I DO know they were on Cupcake Wars (they lost). We tried five different cupcakes: Coconut, Georgia Peach, Coffee, Vanilla and Peanut Butter/Chocolate.  I say the Coffee one was the best. It tasted like coffee cake, not really like coffee. The frosting was salted caramel…mmmmmmm with a chocolate covered coffee bean on top.

Anyway, Saturday morning I was lame and didn’t go to Brayden’s baseball game. I was exhausted and it was raining and cold. Boo! But my friends are very gracious. They came back and picked me up later in the morning and we all went to the Puyallup Farmer’s Market. It was one of my favorite places to go when we lived there. I forgot how much I missed the market and just what life is like living in WA. It’s so fun to have the market at your disposal. I miss it so! All the flowers and the beautiful produce…sigh. I bought a giant bouquet of flowers, an adorable dress for Cece and some dip from my dip guy. I also stopped at the Renovo church booth! It was great to see everyone from our old church working the market.

Sunday was church at Renovo, our church home while we lived in WA. Catching up with everyone was a blast and lot’s of hugs went all around. I became very retrospective while I was there; it was special to think on the ways God used Renovo in our lives for those 4 years.  Sunday evening we celebrated little Raegan Holland by going to her ballet recital in downtown Olympia! It was a very, ahem, “cultural” experience. The best part was that our old “LMNOP” was all together again (well, mostly). Kim and Joe (Abby calls them the McPhollands, we call them the H&M’s) McPhearson-Holland family were preparing to move to Kansas where Joe will be doing a one-year stint in Major school of some sort with the Army. This was literally one day before the movers came to pack and pick up their household goods. It was the last time we would all be in one place all together (minus a few of us). It hit me all at once that we might never all be together again. I know this is long, but I have to say that our times with this small group were some of the best Jeremy and I ever knew. We had more fun together, talked and learned and grew spiritually, emotionally and physically (we ate well when we got together) in those years of Bible study, fellowship and prayer.

It deeply moved my heart to just look at all of us and our kids loving and laughing, running and playing and even fighting together. It made me so sad to think it was truly ending. I know our friendships will go on, but it won’t be the same. 😦

Anyway, this is a really long post so I’ll wrap it up. There is so much more that happened and so many fun things that touched my heart. It was a great chance to get away! I don’t think I knew how much I needed it until I got home, which was late Tuesday night (I got to bed around 1 am?). This trip reminded me how important it is to take time for myself. I cherished the chance to be alone with Cecelia but especially to be with Crystal. I love you friend! Thanks for hosting me so sweetly and for all the fun we had together. I miss you!

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Maui Wowie!

Note: I changed my mind on what to post about first. I figured vacation is always a good place to go back to…even if it is just in my head. 😀

To all the people who told us that Maui is better than Oahu…thank you. We loved and adored it! It was refreshing, revitalizing and so beautiful. I think I will have the scenes from our day at Napili Beach in my head for all time.

Sunset in Maui down by Whaler's Village on Ka'anapali Beach

Maui was perfect for us because it had the laid-back feel that I crave (I like to just “be” when I’m on vacation) and the fun and busy little beach town feel that Jeremy craves (he likes to do stuff and go places).

My feet at Napili Beach

We got a good deal on a condo in Lahaina. In fact, we were 2 blocks up from Front Street at a little place called Aina Nalu. The location was fun for us because we walked to dinner every night, then walked up and down Front street afterwards just enjoying the scenes.

Aina Nalu

Because the boys were with us, we were back to our room pretty early each night. Chase was down at 7 and Cooper shortly thereafter if not at the same time. The time change was ROUGH and it was only 3 hours behind us. For our family and friends in St. Louis though, it was 5 hours behind! My mom called once while we were there and told me she had wanted to call me when she got to work that morning at 7, but realized it was 2 am in Hawaii and thought better of it! We had a hard time adjusting to the time change but I think all the snorkeling and just swimming and playing we did made us tired too. The latest we stayed up was 11 pm, and that was the last night we were there. The first 4 nights, we were in bed before 9 pm! But even that was refreshing since the kiddos were up around 6 am each day.

We did a mix of things in Maui. We went to Kaanapali Beach, Black Rock (which is on Kaanapali), Napili Beach and Launiupoko Beach off Hwy 30. Napili was my favorite, but they were all so unique and so pretty. We went to Upcountry on the Haleakala Volcano and visited the Kula Botanical Gardens, the Ali’i Lavender farm/garden and the Surfing Goat Dairy Farm! We ate local one night at Da Kitchen, we went to the Hula Grill’s Barefoot Bar, the Lahaina Pizza Co (old BJ’s), Bubba Gump’s, Cilantro and our favorite dessert place was the Ono Gelato in Lahaina.

Looking back, we both said we wish we would have spent even more time at the beaches of Maui. It was our favorite part and we hope to go back! The thing we really wanted to do but knew the kids couldn’t handle, the road to Hana. We hope to go back one day because can you ever get enough Maui? I think not!

Napili Beach
Sexy man!
My favorite pic of Chase on Napili Beach
Jer and I at the "Scenic Lookout" along Hwy 30 on your way to the airport
My favorite pic of Cooper, a.k.a. the new snorkel master
Our Undersea Adventure!
Everyone looks better on vacation....

Maui is different with kiddos, but we richly enjoyed the family time and reconnect time it gave to us. Cooper was a snorkel king and Chase…well, he was Chase. More on that point later. Jeremy and I cherished the opportunity to reconnect without house chores or life administrative stuff getting in the way too soon. It was perfect!

We took over 400 pics of our vacation!  I have all the pics up on my Shutterfly share site if you want to peruse them. You can click that link to check it out!

P.S. Vacation is always better with friends by the way! We had dinner with our friends the Zangenbergers and we had a blissfilled day at Ka’anapli (Black Rock) with our BF’s the Metcalfes! We liked vacationing with friends so much that we decided WE NEED to plan a vacation all together in two years! YAY!

Nevcalfes!