Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cali: Days 1 and 2

So I was worried about Karissa flying. My ears are really sensitive when we fly and they usually pop a lot and sometimes even cause pain. I was praying hers would not bother her the way mine bother me. We got to the airport, through security (why do they tell you that you need to "declare" formula and baby food in your carry on bags if they aren't even going to care...I had to yell to even get the lady's attention and she barely acknowledged it when I told her), and to our gate right as they were part way through boarding. My plan was to put an overnight diaper on Karissa just before the flight so that the chances of me having to change her on the plane decreased, but since we were running late, I didn't have time. For those that have never had to change a baby on an airplane - be thankful.  The plane is moving and you have to try to hold your baby with one hand and change her with the other hand, meanwhile Karissa was screaming because she was scared (I can't blame her, she probably felt like she was about to roll off the table).  I had planned on Dave helping, but the bathroom of course is too small and for him to stand at the door would block the other bathroom that people were using.  What a pain!  The flight actually went well. Karissa didn't seem to have any problems with her ears and was pretty happy most of the flight. She did get a little squirmy at times, but I would just pull out a different toy and she was fine. The only times she cried was when I could tell she was tired and I tried to make her take a nap, so I gave up on trying. She did fall asleep twice for a few minutes each time, so not much, but oh well. When we landed a few people said how good she was.

After we landed, we had to find baggage claim and the rental car shuttles. I was always afraid of LAX and JFK and other really big airports. LAX really is huge, but we didn't have any problems finding where we needed to go, it was just difficult getting through the huge crowds of people with all of our stuff.

At the rental car place, we found out they didn't have any "midsize" vehicles left (it totally reminded me of the "Seinfeld" episode with Jerry renting a car: "You don't have a problem taking the reservation, just keeping the reservation...") so they offered us a minivan. It meant more money spent on gas, but it was kind of nice to have even more room for all of the driving we did during the week.

Finally, it was off to our resort. Let me tell you, TV and all other media are not exaggerating about LA traffic. Anytime we went anywhere, there was a ton of traffic even though almost all of the roads we were on were 8 or more lanes. It took us about an hour to get to Oxnard (the next town over was Ventura Beach). We got checked in and unpacked some stuff. Our apt. was very nice and we were only about 1/2 block to the beach. We checked out the beach and discovered swings and a slide on the beach so Karissa loved that. Then the only other thing we did was go for groceries and then crashed for the night.

On Tuesday, Dave's mom was joining us. We had to go to the airport to pick her up and one of the things I was interested in doing was the LA Zoo, so we figured we'd do that as we were in LA to get Dave's mom. We were late to get his mom because of course we had to sit in more bumper to bumper traffic and I was a nervous wreck because Dave would try to change lanes and people out there don't use signals or give you notice, they just jump from lane to lane without looking or anything. Thankfully, I wasn't driving. We got his mom and headed to the zoo. The zoo was really nice. It was big and had a lot, but not overwhelmingly huge. I haven't been to the Philly Zoo in years, but it kinda reminded me of that only WAY cheaper and free parking. :) Karissa loved to sit up in her stroller to check out the animals. She found many of them funny and would giggle at them. However, the last animal that I expected to be standing in front of for several minutes was the bighorn sheep. Karissa found them hilarious when they would jump from one "mountain" to the other. She would laugh and laugh. Eventually, the other sheep had to come get a better look at her because of all the noise she was making. It was so cute!

We also discovered there was a gorgeous park a few blocks away from our resort with lots of palm trees.  We walked down there and Karissa enjoyed the swings, a dolphin toy (dolphins are my fave) and a sea turtle (Dave's fave...except I cut off the turtle's head...oops).

I was really looking forward to this vacation, but I didn't think California was all that...I kinda thought "It'll be cool to see once, but that'll probably be it." But so far, I was very impressed with the place!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cali Vacation: Before we left

Hey everyone! I am separating our vacation blog into several smaller ones...less time for me to get it typed out and less overwhelming for the readers...if we have any. :)

Before I get to our actual vacation, I need to vent. I debated about not even doing a blog about the vacation. I was actually VERY close to not blogging about it and not saying anything on Facebook about it. It seems like this year EVERYBODY is giving us a hard time about our vacations. We really didn't go on much more this year than any other year so I don't know if it is because everybody says when you have kids all of the traveling stops and we are proving them wrong or what. Let me back up to before Dave and I were married: we agreed before we walked down the aisle that vacations were very important to us. They didn't have to be super fancy or expensive, but getting away from the stresses of everyday life and work and reconnecting as a couple (and family in the future) were very important. In today's world with the divorce rate so high, we want to protect our marriage as much as possible and we knew a vacation away from stress and time to just spend together was very important. So not too long after we had been married, we had the opportunity to purchase a time share. We went into the presentation thinking it would be a rip off, but Dave crunched the numbers (if you know him, you know how good he is at that)and found that if we really did want to vacation as much as we said, it would save us money in the long run.

So at the end of each year, Dave has to put in for his vacation for the next year. In a way, this is a pain, but it also helps us plan what we want to do and start saving for it. (i.e. this Cali vacation was booked and paid for in February). We also put our tax return into a higher interest savings account and that is our vacation money. Now, for this year, which people have been giving us a hard time about:

Hilton Head, SC: This cost us the place for the week (we stay for a whole week for less than what most people spend on a hotel for one night) and half of gas to get down there since we rode together. We invited my family and they offered to buy the food for the week since we were letting them join us. We did go out to lunch one day, but that's it.
Ohio: This was just a long weekend using Dave's days off so he didn't use much vacation time. We stayed with family so no lodging or food costs. This only cost us gas and activities that we did.
King's Fest: We camp to save money and cook all of our meals.
TLC: Dave used vacation time for this, yes, but this was a chance we had to take some teens to a really good conference. One teen got saved, so I'd say this trip was worth it, but it wasn't a "vacation."
Upstate New York/PA: Again we stayed with family so had no lodging or food costs.
California: This trip was probably a bit more expensive only because we decided to do more exploring. Our lodging again was less than one night in a hotel for the week and we bought groceries and cooked most of our meals. The only reason this was a bit more was because California is really big so we spent more in gas to explore different places, but who knows if and when we'd get out there again. We also flew, but Dave found super cheap rates to fly out there.

So hopefully people will understand and stop their "Again???" when we are leaving for another vacation. And if they don't, well, I've decided they can think what they want, we wouldn't trade the family time we have together exploring more of the country for anything and I'm going to enjoy it and cherish it regardless of peoples' reactions.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I need a break!!!!!!

So, I love our family and all that we do together. I love every activity that is on my calendar. However, I think I need a break. I have only been getting about 4 hours of sleep at night because my brain just can't shut off from thinking about all that I didn't get done that day, all that needs to get done the next day, the next week, etc. We are leaving Karissa again tonight. :( We're off to another game....hopefully they play and its not postponed, but I also hope we aren't freezing because we're soaked. Tomorrow is our niece's first birthday and a teen event. Sunday is church and we have a teen Bible study and we leave Monday for our vacation to Cali. I'm not sure when in there I am going to pack. I started a little last night, but it's hard because when Karissa is awake she wants to get into everything, but when she's asleep I can't get into her room to get things that I'm thinking of.

I'm also very nervous about flying with her. At first, I was worried about her ears because mine are very sensitive to the pressure changes and usually hurt so I'm worried hers will be too. Now I've moved past that and am just worried about keeping her entertained for the flight. We couldn't really afford to book her a seat so we figured she'd be on our laps, but we booked the flights several months ago so I wasn't thinking about how old she'd be. She's mobile now and doesn't like to sit still. If she'd be in her car seat, she might be okay, but on our laps she's going to want down or to grab our drinks or just move around more than we'll have room for. I guess we'll see.

So needless to say, I haven't weighed in. I don't even want to see the scale. I haven't had time to do any sort of exercise and forget eating healthy. I've totally fallen off the wagon. I need to get back on, but I'm so overwhelmed by everything else that I have to do, I don't know where to squeeze in a 30 min. run. That really stinks because I was really enjoying it. I'll have to figure something out, but it won't be until after next week (although I'm hoping maybe to get a few beach side runs in next week!).

So hopefully my rambling makes sense. If not, remember I'm working on 4 hours of sleep a night for the past couple of weeks!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Yankees Playoff Game

As Megan said, we have been very busy lately. One of the most fun things we've done was go to the Yankees playoff game 2 of the division series against the Twins. I won't go into all the details of the game but it was a great game. On the way up to the game we missed an exit and what is normally a 3 hr trip turned into an almost 6 hr trip. That made us late for the game. We really didn't miss anything though because we saw the pitches on tv's while we were walking to our seats. The Yankees gave up a run in the 6th inning and then the Yankees scored in the bottom of the 6th to tie. The Twins took the lead back with 2 runs in the 8th inning. Then in the bottom of the 9th inning Mark Teixeira got his first hit of the series and A-Rod followed that up with a monster home run to tie the game. The stadium was going nuts. It was so awesome. Then after Yankees' pitcher David Robertson got out of a bases loaded and nobody out jam in the 11th inning, Mark Teixeira hit a walk off HR near where we were sitting in the bottom of the 11th to win the game. The place really went nuts then. It took us forever to get out of the parking garage and we didn't get home until 3:30am. It was worth it though. We are going to the ALCS game 1 also against the Angels this Friday and then leave on vacation to California Monday and plan on seeing the Yanks play the Angels in Anaheim also if it works out. Here are some pictures of the game. The last 3 pictures are the big screen after Teixeira's walk off HR, the Yankees celebrating the win, and Teixeira getting a pie in the face from AJ Burnett.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Long time!!!

Sorry everybody! We've been busy, busy, busy. So busy, this past week Karissa and I even missed our library time because I forgot with everything else that was going on. We have so much to update you on.

Karissa's birthday party is in the process of being planned. I think I decided a "theme" even though I wasn't originally going to do a theme. I found one that fits perfectly. Keep your eyes open for invitations and more info.

Friday Dave and I went to a Yankees playoff game. We knew it would be too loud and too late for Karissa so we were going to have someone watch her. It turns out my sister and her son were coming to visit. I knew if she didn't watch Karissa, she might not see her much. So Karissa spent her first night away from home and away from us. :( We would like to go away for our 5 year anniversary, so we need to start somewhere. Thankfully, Dylan (our nephew), kept her entertained since she has seemed to be going through some separation anxiety lately. And I did okay too....until Saturday morning. I was ready to get her then and couldn't get to my parents' fast enough. She did really well, but has been a little clingy. Can't blame her there. :)

So, I'll let Dave blog about the game because he probably remembers more details that I do, but it was GREAT!!!!! It was even more exciting and thrilling than being at the Home Run Derby (pics are separate for that post)and the last game we went to at the old Yankee Stadium.