Well, here we are at the end of summer - and what a summer it has been. One of the hardest of my life. I thought I would be having a baby shower, making our middle bedroom into a nursery and laying in the sun super pregnant all summer, but that's just not how it turned out. It has been a whirlwind couple of months and now that the first day of school is looming, I am reflecting on what a strange trip it has been, getting up to this point. A crazy year, a crazy summer - no relaxing. Where did this year go, it is like a blur.
So, we decided to get away for a week, a getaway to get away from our house that we spent so much time painting, a getaway to get away from all the heartbreak, all the negativity and all of the craziness - a time to leave it all behind. We booked our favorite hotel, Coronado Inn on Coronado Island, and took off on a lovely 5 day trip just the two of us - to find ourselves, to be together, to be in love and to get away from the past.
(We ate sliced cheese and apples on the way up, Ian thought to bring a knife and cutting board!)
(A funny Bashas outside of Anthem, they had baskets with wheels! Such a great idea!)
Our hotel is on the harbor side of Coronado Island so it is within walking distance of our favorite grocery store and a bunch of restaurants. Our first night we went out for a couple of drinks with Will and Jaqui (Will is Matt's cousin from OR) and then turned in early (after watching our summer series - Six Feet Under). (On a side note - with such a rough year and bummer summer, we chose to watch a very strange, morbid and depressing series. It didn't help with feeling down all the time, I think it was a mistake, even though the show is very good - just not a good choice for us this summer, too much death.) The next day we headed to the beach in Encinitas where we met Christine (who was on her way back from visiting a high school friend in L.A.), our friend Kimberly and Will and Jaqui again. It was so much fun getting everyone together and laying on the beach. They all played in the ocean, except Kimberly and I (we were too scared), and Will and Jacqui built a fort when it got too hot (it was too cute!). A super fun day with lots of good friends. (Thanks Kimberly for the great pics, I stole them!)
We were so tired when we got back to our room that we decided to just stay in instead of going out. I ate something the night before that was not gluten free (even though the Coronado Brewery told me it was) so we opted to cook ourselves. Thank goodness our market is ultra fancy, and right across the street, so we got some gluten free mac and cheese (it tastes JUST like Kraft) and cooked it up on our hot plate we brought (Ian packed the whole kitchen!).
(We are such home bodies and we seriously love that hotel room, we got the exact same one we got before, so it was fun cooking and eating in the room!)
The next day we headed to the San Diego Zoo and spent 6 hours there! We saw gorillas, chimps, hippos, polar bears, koalas and pandas - it was amazing. Ian really loved it!
(The zoo has some plants there that are prehistoric and that exist nowhere else in the world. Not these though, these are just pretty flowers.)
(We opted for a Greek Salad with potato chips - it's hard traveling and being gluten free!)
(The baby hippo was being taught how to swim, the mom just pushed him around the whole time! See his cute little feet in the pic above!)
(The baby and mom came RIGHT by our faces! I screamed!)
(He loves me!)
(Don't worry, it's not real.)
(A VERY sleep lioness.)
(In Australia at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary my dad and I actually got to hold one of these. The SD Zoo has the second largest collection aside from Australia.)
(On the top deck of the tour bus towards the end of the day.)
That night we headed to Will and Jaqui's cute apartment to have some drinks. We ended up leaving fairly early because we wanted to wake up early to walk the beach and on our way home we saw a crazy accident. I didn't realize there was a red light in front of me so I stopped suddenly and the car behind me (blaring music) swerved from in back of us, into the lane to the left and slammed into the Jeep that was stopped at the light in that lane. Then, the driver just took off, right through the red light. Ian got part of his plate so we stopped to see if the Jeep's driver was ok and give him our info, and the plate number, and a bunch of other people came out of their houses to see what happened ("I was in the kitchen, washing a dish, when I heard it and came out" - gotta love Dane Cook!). The driver was alright, just shaken up and I couldn't believe the car just took off. The guy that lived on the corner said accidents happen there all the time because the lights are hard to see, but it was so scary because it could have been us. It should have been us, the crazy driver was following us for a bit, and at the last minute he swerved. We were driving my mom's little Toyota and, unlike the Jeep, her car would have been wrecked and we probably would have been really hurt. It was strange though, I felt like it should have been us but at the last minute, someone was watching out for us.
I don't know if I mentioned this before, but I have been wondering lately why I am alive after my allergic reaction in October. I don't wish I wasn't or anything (don't worry mom), but I've been seriously pondering why I was saved just to experience such a loss, an incredibly tough year and super sad summer - why was I still here for all of that? I thought, when I was pregnant, that I was saved to be a mom (I found out I was pregnant a month later) but after all that has happened, it's strange to think about why I was kept around. I could have stopped breathing and died, but I didn't - why? At this moment, seeing this accident, I wondered the same thing. But this time, not focusing on the bad, but focusing on the good. This time, we were spared for a reason - to be parents, to work it all out, to have a more positive year (because we have amazing family and friends) - someone still wants us around and I experienced it that night. There was a reason it wasn't us in that accident and for the first time in a long time, I truly felt what that meant. Something good is coming to us and that's why we are still around. I actually believe it this time.
After we got back to our hotel room we watched an eery episode of Six Feet Under. It is the one where the kids in the show sing a song to the baby (their brother's baby) that their mom used to sing to them when they were little - the song is about a "lonely little petunia in an onion patch." The song was actually later recorded by Imogen Heap just for the show's soundtrack and it is a really creepy rendition. There is a flashback in the episode where someone dead comes back dressed as a petunia sitting with a bunch of onions and it is really haunting. That episode, coupled with the accident just an hour before, made me think about my life. That's exactly how I've felt lately, "a lonely little petunia in an onion patch." Alone, scared, sad, depressed, mad and wondering why all of these awful things have been happening in my life - these onions. I have kept up hope, I have seen the good, I have learned compassion, I have been grateful, I have continued to love, I have tried and tried to see the good, the light and the peace - but I've still been that lonely little petunia surrounded by onions. I still felt just like that, even after all this time. It really touched me and I decided it's all uphill from here. I know I've said this many times and I think I've said it to convince myself, over and over again, but that night I really FELT it. I felt happiness and hope again for the first time in a long time, with my husband and with our life together. I was no longer that lonely petunia and my life was no longer going to be full of onions - things were looking up and the clouds were parting. I was finally feeling . . . free.
The next day we were back on the beach on Coronado Island, our favorite place to be. I laid in the sun while Ian built a sand sculpture less than a foot behind me (this time it was Jabba the Hut). We spent a couple of hours there, and then rented bikes and rode around the island, fantasizing about what it would be like to live there and looking at all of the amazing houses. For dinner that night we went out to a Mexican place and weren't very impressed, although the owner was really knowledgeable about gluten free options.
(Yep, he brought his own large shovel. People thought we were nuts.)
(That's his big giant hole behind me. Seriously.)
(Two nerds talking Star Wars.)
(We wanted to leave to ride bikes so he couldn't finish, not as scary as he wanted it.)
(But, I liked it!)
(We rented cruisers at Kruiser King, so fun!)
Every morning we were on the island, aside from the first, we woke up early to walk on the beach. It was kind of silly going on vacation just to go to bed early and wake up early - but I had a sand dollar goal in mind and had to find as many as I could. I came home with WAY too many shells and now have no idea what to do with all of them - but I love them! (Silver Strand beach was the BEST for shell collecting, but it's $10 cash to get in if you're interested.)
(Found so many live ones, threw them back of course.)
(I have a problem.)
(One of the sand dollars we found had a barnacle on it. We thought it was dead when we picked it up because it had been sitting in the sun on the beach; but even with a 5 hour car ride later and 24 hours sitting outside our house - it was still alive! We put it in our salt water tank with Spike but it died the next day. RIP Barney the barnacle.)
So, we came back appreciating life, appreciating each other, learning more about each other, rekindling our love, getting to relax and just enjoy being together. It was a getaway to get away and it worked, it left us feeling more like ourselves than we have in a long time. We will miss our little bungalow on Coronado Island, but whenever I feel stressed at work this school year, I will remember all the fun we had together and will look forward to doing it again next year (or maybe sooner!).
Appreciate those in your life and come together in times of sorrow, lean on each other. Make sure you tell the ones you love what you are feeling so they can be there for you, let them take care of you in moments when you are down. Don't be a lonely little petunia, you don't have to be.
A small dedication to my husband: Thank you for being patient, kind, loving, genuine and always looking out for me. I know that it has been rough, but good things are coming our way. Thank you for being so wonderful and for working so hard to make our house safe and healthy for us, you are amazing and I love and appreciate you. I will always love and appreciate you, even if I forget to show it sometimes.