Wuz Up Cuz

Lost of firsts going on in these parts:

  • First set of teeth
  • First official crawl
  • First official crawl to the nearest air vent
  • First official crawl to the nearest air vent followed by a loud NO by mama
  • First official smile at loud NO by mama
  • First official crawl back to air vent after loud NO by mama
  • First official sound of the ‘It’s so RELAXING having a baby. What’s the big deal’ balloon popping.
  • First official head side-tilt towards Grandma & Grandpa which they insist is because she feels sorry for them.
  • First official throw up
  • First official gag from mama at said throw up
But mostly, there was our first official family vacation.
A vacation for whom, exactly? I’m still not sure on that point, BUT it was a nice getaway to see friends and family in a new setting.
If you haven’t read our air travel adventures at The Mobile-Homemaker, please do. I think the main thing I took away from that experience was to really expect the absolute worst. Throw up, Diaper Explosions, Screaming. And then when it doesn’t happen, you’re trip has already exceeded your expectations.
Our initial trip itinerary was to rent a beach house with friends who’ve all had babies within a year of each other. This way we don’t have to make lame apologies or excuses to non-baby friends. We’re all in the same boat and get it.
But first we made a pit stop at my cousin’s house in the Jacksonville, FL area.

Here’s the trip layout:
  1. Fly to Jacksonville
  2. Stay with cousins a few days
  3. Drive to Folly Beach
  4. Make a pit stop in Savannah, GA on the way
  5. Stay at beach house for a week
  6. Drive back to Jacksonville
  7. Fly home
Not gonna lie.
I was nervous about all the travelling. It’s about four hours from Jacksonville to Folly Beach and even though Ruth is a rock star on road trips, I didn’t know how all of the action leading up to her time in the car seat would pan out.

So, we arrived at my cousin’s house on a Friday afternoon. She texted me to say she was picking up her daughter from school and to let ourselves in.  We were literally within minutes of arriving at this point. R was driving and I was telling him his next turn. We both are looking either way for a street sign and when we turned our heads back to the road, a cop was standing there waving us into a drive.
I’m not the best with cops. It usually ends with me asking if they hit their quota and them am surprised when I never get out of a ticket. This time I decided to keep my mouth shut.
He came over. R rolled down the window. I rolled my eyes and shut my mouth.
Hey there. I stopped you because you were going 11 over….
…The regular speed limit. And this is a school zone.
[Insert typical excuse here: Rental Car, Don’t know the Area, Didn’t see School Zone sign]
Well, normally it would cost $450, but I’ll just give you a ticket for Unlawful Speeding.
Okay, Thank you.
Guess what time it was: 2:08pm.
Guess what time the school zone was over: 2:10pm
Double Ugh.
The detailed instructions on where to find a beer was going to come in handy. Thank you, Cousin B

We arrived $150 lighter and marveled at their screened in porch that is the same size as The Shack., waited for our hosts to join us, then changed into our swimsuit for a dip in the pool.
Another first for Ruthie.
She loved it. And I mean loved it. We tried putting her in a little baby carrier pool thing, but she wanted to be held directly in the water so she could kick and flit freely like a little mermaid.
Our time there was short-lived, so I had to squeeze in as much bonding time as possible. To do this, within minutes of seeing my cousin, I grabbed my upset stomach and yelled for the nearest bathroom. The two other bathrooms were being used, so as I ran like a chicken with my head cutoff, she hollered ‘Go Straight, Turn Right, Light a Match’ like I was a rat in a maze.
But that’s how I roll: Hi B. Haven’t seen you since Christmas before Ruth, now give me a match. Strike that, give me a book of matches.
Whatever. She didn’t care.
It went uphill from there, thankfully. Candyland games, steak dinners, lounging on the couch with a glass of red wine and watching Betty White’s hidden video show, listening to R and B’s husband (B) sitting in the dark laughing at cartoons.

And listening to monsters growl from little boy B’s pockets. Here’s how a typical conversation with him went.

What’s up little boy B.
Oh my gosh! What was that?!!
[pulling open a pocket] That was Wolfman. He’s loud.
Do you always carry Wolfman in your pocket?
No. I let him out at night to play. Rawrawrarrrrr!!!
What was THAT?
Just the creature from the black lagoon.
Whaaat? How many do you have in there, I’m scared!
There’s five. They keep me up at night. It’s tiring.
Tell me about it, kid. I’ve got the same problems.

It varied from time to time, depending on the different monster in his pocket at that moment, but it all amounted to him being exhausted from taking care of them.

Until one time I heard Rawrawrrarrrrr!!!

Oh my gosh, was that Dracula!?
No one. It was my stomach growling.

Ruth’s stomach was growling too, so I used every one of B’s mixers to make some veggie slop.

No literally. Every utensil.

Hey, I just got up close and personal with your bathroom, B… can I now dirty everything within hands reach in your kitchen and then bail out on dishes after you only insist on doing them yourself one time. 

I did offer. Promise.

The saddest part of the visit was leaving. Little girl B told us several times that it would be okay if we just stayed there forever. I asked her to double check that one with her mom.  And a couple hours into our drive to Charleston, I noticed that we missed a call. It was little girl B. She wanted to tell us she missed Ruth.
Too sweet.
Up (kinda) next: Two City Tours. One of them was calm and collected. The other was Jersey Shore on crack.
Even Ruth thought so.

What have I been up to?

Nothing much, honestly. Reading on gardening and picking out seeds, harboring a second bout with back pain that is slowly getting better, and riding the waves of enjoyment and loss as we watched our rabbits (finally) have a small litter and then lose them.

But other than that, nothing much.

So let’s go over the last part of December, which was jam packed with warmth; from friends, family, and indeed the sun.

R had a rough couple of months; working long hours and generally stressing out. So we booked a quick trip to Florida to rest up.

I found a little place that got good reviews and was decidedly within our budget. Ever since sleeping in a hut steps from the ocean with no a/c or hot water, I can’t bring myself to spend money on a room. The hut (click here) had to be my favorite beach side experience.

This cutie of a building was juxtaposed right next to some towering ones which I’m sure charged double ours, and I smiled at our good luck. Plus, we had a tiny bar & grill located on the first floor. Isn’t that all you need?

I apparently couldn’t spend money on a taxi either, because I forced R to bus it from the airport. $3.50 vs $50? Um, we’re hanging with the locals, R. Somehow we made it the entire way without spending a dime, as the driver felt sorry for both us and a couple from Amsterdam for not knowing what we were doing.

We were only there for a couple days, so each morning we rushed downstairs to fall back asleep under the rising sun.

And then we’d wake up to take long walks along the deserted beach. Note to self: only travel during the week. What uncrowded bliss!

After our jaunt, we’d plop back down onto our chairs for a pina colada, or other rest-inducing drink.

I’d look over occasionally and find R testing out his US Army survival manual that he chose to bring along, by trying to light stuff on fire through his glasses.

I would periodically sit on the hammocks to remind myself to never stay where there is a bar & grill so nearby again.

Or we’d go body surfing for a couple hours. I was the judge this time around.

We’d see guys running around with a football, and R would have gaze longingly at them. He stood nearby like how all young kids do when they want to play, but don’t want to ask. Politely, with hands behind the back.

Alas, he was never asked.

After our beachside retreat ended, I called up my cousin that lives in the area. She picked us up and promptly took us to a 5-star quality dinner… in their backyard! I have never, never had such thick and well-prepared steak before, in restaurants or at home. It was delightful, and B served us up some official drinks along the way.

I mean, has anyone ever used that measuring cup before? I didn’t even know what it was.. maybe to hold whole eggs for an English dinner?

No, it actually has a use, and by golly she used it. I was impressed.

After they put their son to bed, we headed outside to the hot tub for loud laughs and fun conversation, and even an occasional push into the pool.

And yes, they provided us with robes! Where are we?? This is a long cry from the hut, my friends.

Thus ended a great few day escape for the two of us. If I could put that trip into a bottle, I would. It’d sell, I’m sure of it.


What is my obsession with feet in photos? There’s no logical thought process since I don’t even take care of them, so why should I photograph them?

But I do.

And now you have to suffer.

Some of these I’ve blogged about (and have linked back to those posts) and others I haven’t, but wish I had.

Hot summer weekend trip in Iowa. Cool, sweet water.

Just prior to having a semi-heart attack on the Brew to Brew: 50 mile relay race from Boulevard Brewery in KC to FreeState brewery in Lawrence. The worst part was knowing that after your team drove past cheering you on, they immediately rolled up the window to say how sorry you looked. I know this, because we did it to every other person on our team. But I’m sure they didn’t do it to me. Right. RIGHT?

Hiking the Grand Canyon. What a glorious day, despite R almost dying.

Garage sale shopping with my mom. This was a terrifying flash forward of our lives when she literally parked in someone’s front lawn. Not on purpose.

What you don’t see above these feet is a girl dry heaving on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua. Apparently I don’t like heights?

After wearing heels for too long, asking R if I could borrow his shoes for a few minutes. No I wasn’t wearing socks either.

[collective groan / shrieks of horror]

Dancing the Thriller…in sneakers. If I saw a zombie coming towards me in white tennies, I’d either poke him in the eyes (and hope he doesn’t block me with the finger shark fin) or run my butt off. He might’ve died running, you know.

Do you see the steep stairs in this Irish castle ruin? And the rain water? You do the math.

Visiting our cousins in the Sunshine State. This is also a good reminder: Kids, always remember to put sunblock on your feet. Do not, I repeat, do not stop at your ankles.

Costume / Dance Parties. Oh, penny loafers.

Camping / Hiking – and facing my fear of the granddaddy spider of 2001.

And last but certainly not least… running through fields. I was apparently really excited to get to something…. probably food.

As I was looking around, I found even more feetsies photos. Oh yes, there will be a part two. Who sighed? I heard that.

Rain Schmain

I will never again be afraid of rainy forecasts. Just like my St. Louis birthday trip, last weekend promised an onslaught of droplets sure to ruin everyone’s Memorial Day plans. R and I shrugged our shoulders and didn’t worry about it.

Thank goodness too, because in the end, everything worked out wonderfully. We stayed with our cousins B-squared and their two children. They live on a canal that goes straight into Tampa Bay. Plus, they’re really relaxing hosts, so it instantly felt like a vacation. All the more reason to schedule another vacation back. It was great.

The first day, we drove out to St. Pete’s beach and frowned at the clouds overhead. Don’t even think about it, clouds. And you know, they listened to me. After a 30 second rainfall, they were done. That was it. Over. The rest of the day was sunny mid-80s.

I grabbed a drinkie-poo and we found a place to lay-out, already feeling rested.

We sun-bathed, played around, talked, ate, and swam. R & I had an ice cream eating contest with the sun. The sun won.

Both evenings we lounged around their house, zapped of energy. We literally did nothing all day and yet we were both exhausted. Well, maybe part of our energy was spent on making friends with the little ones. This may have been the first time that kids gravitated towards me rather than R. I jokingly refer to R as “Jesus”, because kids are just drawn to him. These two wanted nothing to do with him, though, and at one point the oldest child (not even three yet) saw R sitting on the couch and muttered loudly “Guess I can’t watch my movie now.” We laughed so hard. It wasn’t until we were on the way to the airport that R got some giggles out of them.

I was saying ‘Cheese’, by the way. That’s not my normal smile.
The next day, they took us out on their boat. R enjoyed being the Jr Skipper and helping out B.

We stopped at a couple places, one of which is a little island appropriately named “Beer Can Island” where boats anchor around the beach. Almost like a mini Party Cove.

I had to get a photo of the o07 boat.

We even got to see dolphins! If anyone knows my love of marine life, you know how excited I was. Good times.