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Sevenmonthababy!

Molly 033I saved my seven month update post until we got our pictures back from our spring family photo shoot. I decided I really wanted new family pictures for Mother’s Day this year. It took a lot of date-wrangling, but we finally got them to work out at the end of May with our favorite family photographer (Karen has been chronicling important moments for us for more than five years!). We got some family pictures:

Molly 105Some grandparent pictures:

Some kid pictures:

Some couple pictures:

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Lots of just baby pictures:

Some mama-baby pictures:

cropMolly 115 and some new profile pictures for me:

Molly 180Okay, seven month Tanner tidbits! He dances! That’s one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen since the last time I had a dancing baby. He loves the guitar. Mark plays daily and it is a sure way to attract baby-attention. He also still loves to go outside—writhes and twists to try to direct adult-transport-unit out of doorway. He claps hands and sort of waves. Also still seems to say with accuracy, “hi,” “love you,” and now “ma” (while crawling after me or looking for where I’ve gone). Since he is on the move so much, I’ve found we’ve fallen off the EC bandwagon almost completely, except for mornings and after naps. I remember going through a similar stag with other kids. His army crawl is ancient history and I’m afraid the only video I have is one the kids took of him! He speeds around the house in a normal crawl now and pulls up, including on flat surfaces with no handholds (like the front of the dishwasher). He cruises with impunity and even occasionally lets go for a second or just holds on with an elbow or part of one arm. He continues to push a little beyond what he is actually physically ready for and as such misjudges and bonks head more often than I’d like!

He is a little leaner and smaller than my past babies and he has become a pretty terrible sleeper. AND, he suddenly seems to think he only needs one nap during the day! I’m feeling pretty exhausted and worn down, similar to keeping up with the mobility and destructiveness of someone closer to one. He is like a rabid squirrel monkey on steroids. Wears me out! I can’t describe how constantly on the go he is with roving/waving/scanning-to-grab hands while riding along and twisting/leaning to jump out of arms and speed away (but, often when put down then frustratingly pulling immediately back up on my legs and crying and looking desperate even though he was clearly leaping down!). It feels like Alaina is constantly yelling “choking hazard.” He has an obsession with obtaining my chapstick, my laptop and mouse, and my iphone/ipad and pursues each with dogged determination. Luckily, he gives precious hugs and kisses to make up for wild-baby-on-wheels-style.

Molly 121 The age range span of all my kids feels really hard to manage lately. Just any one of them on their own (or the two older ones together) seems easy. All together, it feels like someone always getting overlooked, having to wait, or not getting needs met and that’s hard. We’ve definitely reached maximum household capacity!

Even though I’m worn out and feel “old” to be doing this (in the context of the age range of my kids and the fact that I’ve been toting a small person around nonstop for almost 12 years. If I was the same age and only had him, I might feel differently!), there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t marvel at what a treasure he is and how lucky we are to have him. He’s really amazing! And, I’m surprised by how surprising and exciting all of his developments are—you’d think I’d feel like, “been there, done that,” but instead he seems quite a bit different than other babies I have known. He’s so baby. We say it all the time, check out the babyness of this totally baby baby…

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Cahokia Mounds Mini Vacation

At the beginning of May, we took a family mini vacation to the St. Louis area. We like to take family adventures each year, but with our current car-hating baby, options are limited. So, we decided to explore some things relatively nearby that were still new for us. We stayed at a Drury Inn in St. Louis (Drury Inns for mini-vacays are our family’s tradition. We like the free breakfast and dinner and the adults enjoy the free tequila sunrises and wine!). We picked a suite this time as a sort of “treat,” but we quickly realized that our family is actually big enough that we need a suite, it isn’t just a novelty indulgence! We stopped at Laumeier Sculpture Park on the way into the city. The kids were pretty whiny about the sculptures and Mark and I finally had to concede that we also have differing expectations of what counts as art (sticking a huge tire halfway in the ground is what we would call “playground equipment” and not “Earthmover,” an art installation of such delicacy as to not allow climbing on it, lest we disturb its majesty…). After a fairly short time at the park, we headed to a friend’s house where we had lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon. It was really great and relaxing to have a “base” to retreat to like this, rather than hustling and bustling and having to live out of our car. I lounged on her couch nursing Tanner while our boys played, Alaina visited the many pets, and our friends made a taco buffet for lunch. It was a perfect day!

The whole time were were gone the weather was absolutely perfect. The following morning we headed to Cahokia Mounds in nearby Illinois. Cahokia Mounds is the site of the largest earthwork in the Americas and the largest, most complex “prehistoric” native site north of Mexico (and larger than London at that time). I have always felt a connection between my own sculptures and those of ancient people and I enjoyed spotting some familiar figurines in the museum.

After climbing to the top of Monks Mound while babywearing and breastfeeding and enjoying the view, we were ready for lunch. (We had a short time in which we were the¬†only people on top of the Mound and it was really cool!) The kids are obsessed with Golden Corral after going with their grandparents on our last visit to the Chicago area. So, we went to the Golden Corral in Collinsville (I had a strategically planned birthday coupon for a free buffet too!) We were there at that terrible time for buffets—not lunchtime and not dinnertime—and so most of the food was on the cold and dessicated side, which was disappointing. The kids ate too much cotton candy and I ate a pile of mini steakburgers (after forcing the attendant’s hand by taking the very last dehydrated sad burger and thus forcing him to put out the sizzling new ones I spotted him hoarding on the grill). By the time we got back to the hotel, the last thing we had room for was hot dogs and tequila, but we ate them anyway!

The next morning we decided to go to the zoo, which was Alaina’s special wish. Unfortunately, we had a very difficult time getting there and parking due to road closures and full parking lots. We managed eventually, but didn’t have very much fun. I don’t like zoos at all, the boys were bored, and Alaina threw a screaming fit about wanting a stuffed monkey. We hit some highlights of the zoo and then left for Jilly’s Cupcake Bar. I got it into my head somehow recently that I needed a cupcake bar experience for my birthday (and for my 100 Things list this year). I looked for cupcake bars in St. Louis and amazingly enough there was a two-times winner of Cupcake Wars right there! This was one of the most exciting parts of our trip. ūüėČ

After cupcakes for lunch, we decided to go to the American Girl store. I’ve been to the big store in Chicago and the small store in Overland Park, KS, but never to the one in St. Louis, so also as part of my birthday, I wanted to check it out. I had my eye on one of the new mini dolls. Unfortunately, we hit terrible traffic (it was 2:30, so we’re not totally sure why) and had to slog around for extreme amounts of time, some of which with a screaming baby (and a mother scrambling over seats and trying to nurse him in the car seat). We got off on a random off ramp and wandered until we got to the mall, which was much better than continuing to sit on the interstate.

May 2015 152When we left the store, we hit more bad traffic on the way and were running out of gas (and I was being very critical of this fact). We were also starving and worried about missing our free dinner! However, Mark is a good, calm city driver and we made it back to the hotel with time to space and only a mildly further car-traumatized baby.

We all got into the hotel hot tub together every night which was fun (the boys also swam in both the indoor and outdoor pools) and binge-watched a Naked and Afraid marathon, which we’d never heard of before. The final morning of our trip we enjoyed the free breakfast one more time and then headed out of the city, stopping at a different friend’s house for a birthday lunch on our way home. Again, this was a nice, peaceful, relaxing way to travel–so nice to have a comfortable, welcoming space to visit in, rather than trying to coordinate going out to lunch or something (hard to have quality catching up time with a bunch of kids in a public place!).

May 2015 153

2014 in Review (According to Facebook)

Facebook did another auto-generated year-in-review feature this year and I think it is fun. Apparently, it is actually customizable rather than only auto-created, but I don’t see a “customize” option on my own page, so oh well! I like that it is a nearly ready-created year end blog post too. I’d like to do a year-end post of my own choosing and writing, but I may not actually get around to it, so this may have to do…

 
January 19
Well, my little sweetie pie, rainbow girl is THREE today! She wanted to have a tea party today and specified it be with “little girls,” so that’s what we did!

New baby announcement!

New baby nephew! ūüôā
August 28
More fun progress! The printed book shipment came yesterday and so now the Womanrunes book AND cards sets are available in our etsy shop!
September 25
My heart is full of appreciation and gratitude and joy after my mother blessing ceremony last night (thanks so much to Barbara Johnson for holding the space…
October 4
Last month marked the third anniversary of our work party cooperative. Today the men moved our shed from all the way across the field to by the garden, cleared…
October 30
Tanner Matthias was born this morning at 10:20 after about six hours of labor. Is a tiny little one at only about 7lbs! Fourth homebirth, but first waterbirth…
November 7
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the death-birth of my third baby, the tiny four-inch boy we named Noah. I will never forget touching his face and seeing…

See you next year!

Kidbits

I post a lot of little things on Facebook about my kids and the funny things they say and do. I decided to compile some reason moments into a “kidbits” post for today, so that I have it all in one place instead of lost in the Facebook ether!

When I finished getting ready for bed a few nights ago, I discovered Alaina was not in bed waiting for me, but was in the kitchen diligently working on painting her “fingernators.” She’d also put on lipstick, powdered her nose, and put on a hair accessory!

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Speaking of Alaina, she’s weaned, by the way! It was not without some nudging from me, as it was definitely time and I was feeling so done. She still has to “snuggle nonnies” to fall asleep and the hands-down-the-shirt thing is another weaning process that in my past experience takes practically a year as well! Turned out that my middle child was the one who nursed the longest (2y9m for the first, 3.5 years for the second, and 3.25 years for the third!)

Earlier in the month, a family fun cookout/campout day turned dramatic when Alaina found an ancient bead in the bottom of the tent and put it in her nose! (First nose incident in ten years of parenting!) Luckily, I am married to a genius of calmness and smooth thinking. After some quick googling, Mark laid her back and blew into her other nostril with his mouth and the bead came out! Saved a trip to the doctor, plus sweet relief! This kid has spent an awful lot of time around beads to suddenly do this. It was too weird!

Last month, she conked out before 10:00, but then woke up complaining that her knee hurt and wouldn’t fall back asleep. She started singing a little tune, “beautiful day, beautiful day, beautiful day.” I asked her about it and she said, “it my favorite day!”

Lann finally talked me into setting up a youtube channel for him: O Zander Squadron. So far, it only has a couple of silly, weird little videos on it, but he would really love for people to subscribe and like (Rules for future are no real names and comments always have to be disabled.) He also got me to set up his own website and blog and is having fun adding content to it: O Zander Squadron | Fun movies and fun things to buy.

Lann and Zander frequently play sort of a live-action, talk through video-game-esque game. They earn different skills and strengths, one of which is apparently VIP. Last week, as they played, Zander was exclaiming over and over to Lann: “you got VIPness, you got VIPness.” And, Mark and I ended up cracking up in a very mature fashion.

After my class last week, I weirdly stopped at McDonald’s at 10:15 on my way home from class to get a strawberry pie (I know. But, they’re super yum). I saw a sign in the drive thru for My Little Pony happy meals and went in to ask if they’d just sell me the toys. I was super impressed by three friendly employees who actually went through every Happy Meal box at the counter to make sure to find all the different ones for me and even went to the back to dig out a Princess Twilight Sparkle for me too. I drove home feeling like The Best Mom Ever ™ and the kids agreed. Speaking of MLP, I am a little sad to see how my boys are kind of embarrassed about their love of MLPs. When they buy MLP toys, they put on sort of “quick and casual” persona and toss them lightly and nonchalantly into the cart. And, they asked me, “if you get Zander some ponies for his birthday, can you make sure to give them to him when other kids aren’t here yet?”

Lann still loves cooking, a while ago I heard him in the kitchen kind of talking to himself: “this is just how I roll. I’ll put anything into a cake pan…” A little while later he arrived with mini chocolate cake on a plate for me. (He made one for each person in the family.)

They also teamed up on another gruesome movie make-up job. My kids are…awesome? Weird? Funny? Creative? Horrible? I can’t decide…!

In February, the very super-desired Furby Booms arrived! Bro and sis-in-law, Skyler and Jenny, felt sorry for the kid sharing their one tiny Furbling and decided to grant their wish for like a magical cool uncle and aunt.

March 2014 004

So, on my way to a faculty meeting at Fort Leonard Wood several weeks ago, three Furbies ended up left in the back seat and riding to FLW and back home again. The jostling from driving kept them constantly awake and conversing from the back seat. Sometimes I couldn’t hear them over the traffic noise and therefore alternately experienced adrenalin-spiking incidents of momentarily thinking I heard: sirens, someone else’s radio, the screams of a small child being run over, someone yelling at me, and something being terribly wrong with my car. It was a long 1.5 hours…

Look what I got last week! Red tent on the go (for vending at festivals, but maybe for using at women’s circles or events too). First picture had photo bombs from all three kids (can you find them?) and last picture was trying to show the shadows from the trees on the inside. (purchased from ebay via this seller.)

I also got a lovely new dress from Holy Clothing!

April 2014 002

This month we’ve also flown kites:

Taken a semi-torturous hike at Blossom Rock:

April 2014 037

Picked kale from the aquaponics greenhouse for dinner:
April 2014 073 Been pleased to see my grandma’s memorial hydrangea coming back! April 2014 074And, delighted to see blooms on Noah’s memorial magnolia tree:

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Mark and I have created several new pendant designs this month that I am SO excited to unveil over the next couple of days (our spring newsletter will be out soon and will feature our new pieces as well as new free poetry book):

20140415-222952.jpgWe’re getting ready to visit family for the day and I’m very much looking forward to a day off to rest, visit, and enjoy everyone’s company!

Releasing Our Butterflies

This post is part of the Carnival of Creative Mothers celebrating the launch of The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood by Lucy H. Pearce. 

The topic was Nurturing a Culture of Creativity at Home

**********November 2012 109“This book is an attempt to put language to the reality of being the most fabulous, and misunderstood of creatures: a creative mother. One who answers the callings of her child ‚Äď and also her creativity. A woman who says: I cannot, I will not choose. I must mother. I must create.

–Lucy Pearce, The Rainbow Way

I feel as if I have a long and creative dance as well as a long and creative struggle to balance mothering with my other work. I recently decided that I’m done apologizing—to myself, to others, or in writing—about my twin desires to care for my children and to pursue my own work. I’ve been parenting for ten years. Though I’ve tried for what feels like forever to “surrender” to motherhood during these ten years, I just cannot stop creating other projects, birthing other ideas, and participating in other work while at the same time engaged in the deep carework, motherwork required by children. I do both and I’m done apologizing. My life includes my children and my AND. That’s okay with me. As I’ve been reading Lucy’s book The Rainbow Way, reflecting on my own work, and looking around my home, I’ve had a realization: While I have struggled and cried and planned, while I have given up, and begun again, and surrendered, and refused to quit; While I have been present and been distracted, created and been “denied” the opportunity to create, while I have nursed babies and “written” in my head the whole time; While I have been filled with joy and filled with despair and while I have given myself permission and berated myself and then berated myself for self-beratement, my husband and I have created a home and family life together that is full of creativity. I told him as I prepared my thoughts for this post: if we are doing anything right as parents, it is this–our home is a rich, creative portal all the time. Within the last month, I’ve heard myself say, “get your painting shirt” to Alaina more times than I can count, and paused to appreciate, finally¬†appreciate the fact that in our house there are painting shirts by the table that are never put away. I gripe about clutter and I struggle to be Zen, but my kids always have the opportunity to put on a painting shirt. It is at the ready and it is saying YES.

In 2008, when my second son was two, I dissolved into the nursing chair in one of those moments of surrender and self-beratement and a spontaneous vision filled my mind: I was walking to the top of a hill. At the top, I opened my hands and beautiful butterflies spread their wings and flew away from me. Then, a matching vision‚ÄĒinstead of opening my hands, I folded their wings up and put them into a box.¬†I wrote then as he nursed to sleep and I slowed my breathing to match his:

So, which is it? Open my hands and let my unique butterflies fly into the world. Or, fold their wings and shut them into a box in my heart to get out later when the time is right? Do I have to quit or just know when to stop and when to go? When to pause and when to resume?

What are the ways in which my children can climb the hill with me? To be a part of my growth and development at the same time that I am a part of theirs? How do we blend the rhythms of our lives and days into a seamless whole? How do we live harmoniously and meet the needs of all family members? To all learn and grow and reach and change together? Can we all walk up the hill together, joyfully hold up our open hands with our butterflies and greet the sun as it rises and the rain as it falls? Arm in arm?

via Surrender? | Talk Birth.

Some time ago, in the days in which I had a totally different blog, I re-read a book called Big Purple Mommy by Colleen Hubbard. The subtitle of this book is nurturing our creative work, our children, and ourselves. It was in the reading of this book that I realized that being a writer is my primary means of creative expression and is my creative work. She talks about how painters “see” paintings as they go about their days, dancers choreograph, and musicians compose. I know my own very creatively gifted mother “sees” patterns in nature or life and imagines them as felted pictures or woven pieces (or whatever her current area of focus is at the time). Me—I write essays in my head. Just about every day I compose some sort of essay or article in my head as I’m going about my life. Probably only about 10 percent of those actually make it onto the page even as notes and even less than that actually are fully born. In the past I have acknowledged that this process of words being born within me and dying before they make it to the page can feel like it literally hurts.

From the book I saved this quoted quote from Emily Dickinson: “To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.

And, one from Naomi Ruth Lowinsky: “Women who become mothers find that it is often in the crucible of that experiences in what is in so many ways a sacrifice of self, that she touches the deepest experiences of the female self and wrestles with an angel that at once wounds and blesses her.”

As I wrote in my Surrender post, I guess rather than balance per se, it comes back to mindfulness, attention, and discernment‚ÄĒknowing when to hold and when to fold. Just as I continue to return to my image of grinding corn, I continue to return to this inner vision of joyfully releasing our butterflies together.

As I considered the theme of this week of the blog carnival (nurturing a culture of creativity at home), a picture I took a couple of months ago kept coming to mind: in it Alaina is at the table painting with two paintbrushes at the same time. I couldn’t find the actual picture, but I did find an endless stream of other pictures that, irrespective of my own moments of guilt and endless mental machinations about¬†how and¬†why and am I doing a good job at this mothering thing, clearly show me a family successfully releasing its butterflies together. The majority of the photos in this gallery were taken on just one day. And, in taking them, I purposely didn’t get anything out to take a picture of. I just took pictures of what was already out, what was already on the wall, and what was already happening around me... (In my search for the two-paintbrush picture I did go back into my saved pictures and find some others included below that were taken on different days as well.)

This is a large gallery—click on an image to see the caption and to go through the pictures as a slideshow. Or, skim through them to the bottom of the post because at the end is my grand finale, concluding-thought picture! ūüėČ

As I set down Lucy’s book and the cauldron of my mind bubbled with ideas and the pictures I’d just taken of our home and how we nurture a culture of creativity within it, I started talking to my husband. Getting ready for bed, I excitedly explained to him about how we are getting something right here with our kids. Really right. And, as I took off my shirt to put on my pajamas, he started to laugh. I said, excuse me?¬†I’m all serious here with my deep insights. Then, I looked down and I laughed too, because this is what I saw on my belly…

November 2013 085

“Womb of Creation” art installation by Alaina. ūüėČ

I see butterflies.

Related past posts:

Rebirth: What We Don’t Say

Birthing the Mother-Writer

What to tell a mother-to-be about the realities of mothering…

**********

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Kindle and paperback editions from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble

or order it from your local bookshop!

Other posts in the carnival:

  • Carnival host and author of¬†The Rainbow Way, Lucy at¬†Dreaming Aloud¬†shares an extract from the chapter Nurturing a Family Culture of Creativity.
  • Lilly Higgins is a passionate food writer. Now a mother of two boys, she’s discovered a new calling: to instil in them a love of food and creativity in the kitchen.
  • DeAnna L’am shares how visioning the New Year with your child is an invitation to be inspired: use creativity and resolutions to create a fun road map for the year ahead.
  • Molly at Talk Birth on Releasing Our Butterflies – balancing motherhood with creativity.
  • Laura shares some of the creativity happening at Nestled Under Rainbows and a few thoughts about creativity.
  • Georgie at Visual Toast celebrates her own unique culture of creativity at home.
  • Esther at Nurtureworkshop spreads the love of the ordinary, the delights of everyday things that can be an adventure of the imagination.
  • For Dawn at The Barefoot Home creativity is always a free form expression to be shared by all in a supportive environment where anything can be an art material.
  • Naomi at Poetic Aperture is a mother, artist and photographer who tries to keep her daughter away from the expensive pens and paints.
  • Aimee at Creativeflutters¬†writes about¬†keeping your sanity and creativity intact with small kids in the house in her post:¬†Mother + Creativity – They Must Coexist.
  • Amelia at My Grandest Adventure embarks on a 30 Days of Creativity challenge…you can too!
  • Becky at Raising Loveliness explores creating with her smaller family members.
  • Jennifer at Let Your Soul Shine reveals how children help us connect to our souls, through music and movement.
  • Mary at The Turquoise Paintbrush shares her experiences of creating with kids.
  • Joanna at Musings of a Hostage Mother explains why creativity at home is important to her in her post “I nurture a creative culture.”
  • It took until Amy at Mama Dynamite was pregnant aged 35 to discover her dormant creative
    streak – she has found lovely ways of tuning into it every since.
  • Emily at The Nest explores how creativity runs through her family’s life together.
  • Jennifer at¬†OurMuddyBoots¬†sees that encouraging creativity in children is as simple as appreciating them for who they are: it just means overriding everything we know!
  • Lisa from Mama.ie has discovered that a combination of writing and traditional crafts can provide a creative outlet during those busy early years of new motherhood.
  • Anna at Biromums shares what nurturing a culture of creativity means to her.
  • Zoie at TouchstoneZ argues that the less they are interfered with, the more creative children become as they grow up.
  • Darcel at The Mahogany Way celebrates creating with her kids.
  • Sally (aka The Ginger Ninja) of The Ginger Chronicles is continually inspired by her own mum and grandmother.
  • Just being creative is enough, says Nicki at Just Like Play, as she ponders her journey of nurturing a creative family.
  • Allurynn shares her creative family’s musings in her post “Creativity… at the Heart of it” on Moonlight Muse.
  • Laura at Authentic Parenting¬†explores how being creative saves her sanity.
  • Mama is Inspired talks about how she puts an emphasis on the handmade in her home, especially in the holiday season.
  • Kirstin at¬†Listen to the Squeak Inside¬†shares with you several easy ways for busy mamas and dads to encourage their children to be creative every day.
  • Mila at Art Play Day¬†always lived in her dreams, sleepwalking through life … now she is finding out what creativity is all about…. her inner child!
  • Sadhbh at Where Wishes Come From describes how picture books can nurture creativity in young children.
  • On¬†womansart¬†blog this week – nurturing a creative culture at home.
 

Happy Halloween!

In keeping with my annual tradition, I’m trying to squeeze in a Halloween blog post this year! Two quotes from Zander about the day:

Let’s go to another park and continue this torturefest.” (as we were leaving the wet, cold, stormy park after homeschool playgroup)

And…

I guess this is the ‘trick’ part of the day” (as we staggered to our various destinations)

We actually ended up having a nice day in the end and it was a funny day in many ways, but there was lots of chaos and assorted mishaps and I felt like I needed a Halloween doula to get me through! I started to just have to laugh—after the peanut butter sandwiches blasted out of the door and landed upside down in the gutter, after I looked in my mirror to see I’d left my gas tank open, after a friend had to call me to tell me my skirt was shut in my car door, and so on. After the “torturefest” remark, instead, I took five kids to the buffet at Sirloin Stockade. Alone. While wearing my gypsypriestess costume. There is even a chocolate fountain at this buffet and I did, indeed, help five children and myself to chocolate self-dipped strawberries. I took this selfie in the bathroom before leaving the restaurant. I think I officially gained a new superpower tonight…

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I just turned the camera around and took a picture of the actual look on my face. I wasn’t making a specific face here!

Said costume ended up wicking up water from the ground ten inches up and I had to wear it all day and on the streets of town all night! After a cold, rough start to trick or treating, we actually ended up finding a reasonably festive neighborhood, the rain and wind stopped and the environment felt warmer, and we ended up having a lot of fun on the streets together. (Mark also brought me leggings and a hat, and that helped too.)

Here is an assorted gallery of pictures from all our Halloween activities this year ūüôā

(clicking one picture to enlarge will enable a slideshow/larger photos and captions)

Vacation, Final Phase: Pismo Beach

The last phase of our epic California trip was to relax and enjoy our favorite beach on the Central Coast: Pismo Beach. This is the final post (thank goodness!) in my vacation recap series. The others are as follows:

Vacation, Phase 1: Disneyland and California Adventure

Vacation, Phase 2: Himalaya Tourmaline Mine

Vacation, Phase 3: Legoland

Vacation Phase 4: Mamoorials

Vacation, Phase 5: Moonstone Beach

Vacation, Phase 6: Montana De Oro side trip

 

Pismo is such a familiar setting to us, that I don’t have a lot of narrative to introduce the pictures.

Pismo picture gallery: if a closer view is needed, just click one and then follow through them in slideshow format.

On my cousin’s 21st birthday we went to a steakhouse sort of place called McClintock’s that no one in the group was particularly familiar with. After sitting down, we were horrified to see the cheapest hamburger was $27. And, this was a “family style” dining sort of place, so we ended up spending $50 (for just our own family!) to grab a few greasy onion rings out of other people’s fingers, basically, and for Mark and I to split a mediocre hamburger. Not. Impressed. Luckily, dinner came with dessert—a measly scoop of ice cream or a “dessert liqueur.” Yes, please. I quaffed that Kahlua. The “atmosphere” did not match the prices. If it had been a normally priced hamburger place, perhaps it would have been normal to see cougar paws on the wall and polaroid pictures of various guests, and a gigantic stuffed bison, and waiters pouring water into glasses held on top of people’s heads, but for $27 hamburgers, I would have expected something a little classier (and tastier)! Maybe it was a feature of where I come from? I’m having an epiphany as I type—to ME, from good old mid-America, stuffed bison and greasy onion rings are¬†normal and should be cheap, to coastal dwellers perhaps they are a wild novelty worthy of upscale prices?!?! I remember once being disappointed to go to a Pismo restaurant proudly featuring none other than, “real Kansas City style barbeque!” What the heck? I want clam chowder!

Anyway, I also composed this delightful beach poem:

McClintock’s
House of onion rings
And diarrhea

The next morning my sister-in-law said they had hoped to sneak out before anyone else and scrawl McClintock’s! in huge letters on the sand to greet us on our beach stroll. They didn’t manage to do it, but imagining it was funny enough on its own!

While at Pismo, we also got semi-obsessed with taking silhouette pictures. Some my uncle took with his camera and his more practiced eye. The others we took after he went home and they didn’t turn out quite a clear.

This was quite a trip and a family adventure. It took a lot of stressful planning to pull it off and it also took a lot to keep us going through each phase, but we did it!

We flew out of the small San Luis Obispo airport at 6:00 in the morning. We were right on track getting to our layover in Phoenix and then…after over an hour in the air on the way to St. Louis, the plane began to experience difficulties that made the pilot concerned it was not safe to fly, so we turned around and went back to Phoenix. We could hardly believe it! After we landed, we began to feel lucky, because I overheard some of the flight attendants talking and I think the problems may have been more serious than they’d been letting on. We each got a free lunch voucher and enjoyed a panini and after only a little waiting we got on a new plane and headed to St. Louis, again. We didn’t end up getting home until about 9:00, when we’d expected to be home by 3:00, but we were safe and sound and home.¬†

It wasn’t until the next morning that we discovered that somewhere between our two trips to Phoenix, the boys had left behind their iPod, the android tablet, and all of our cell phone chargers, headphones, etc. We made a lot of calls and were resigned to being out of luck, when the next afternoon I got a call from Angie, a U. S. Airways baggage department worker in Kansas City who saw my number come up when I Facetime called the ipod trying to locate it. The bag of electronics had been back to Phoenix and then back to St. Louis and then on to Kansas City without the bag being picked up by anyone. So lucky! She FedExed it back to us and the boys had their equipment back in their hands without every fully realizing how lucky they were!

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