Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Getaway to Get Away

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.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Babes of Summer

Back at the beginning of summer Christie left her car at our house and Ian and I had to get her so she could pick it up.  Since I couldn't get my car out, we drove Ian's two-seater truck over to her house (which is literally 2 minutes from mine).  Instead of cramming in the hot cab of the truck, we rode in the back and took a picture and I called us "babes of summer."  Since then, it just caught on. 

Every week my friends and I get together at someone's house to swim - all the babes of summer.  It is the first summer we've all done this together, usually it is just Christine, Espen and I, but I'm not sure why we didn't do this before - it is so much fun.  Jenny always has delicious snacks and it is always a blast, I look forward to it every week.  So many old friends, makes me feel so lucky to have had all these ladies in my life for so long. 

Last week, we did Babes of Summer:  Bartlett Lake Edition.  I found a Groupon for a $140 party boat rental for a whole day on the lake and I had never been so I bought it.  Ian thought I was crazy but I constantly talk about going out on a boat to tan and swim but I never do it, so this time I did.  I invited all the girls and off we went to Bartlett Lake.  We had no idea how to drive a boat or even where to go (we went 30 minutes out of our way on a dirt road and had to turn around to find it) but it was an adventure! 

I have spoken of these ladies many times in this blog and here I go again.  As you know, my year has sucked.  I was looking so forward to summer to relax and get happy again, but it has been a pretty "bummer summer" for us.  Ian and I are still recovering from the year, it takes a toll on you as an individual.  You become a different person, not really sure how to interact with others or even who you are anymore.  You get really snippy and sensitive and you aren't sure why until you remember how happy you were before, when you thought you were going to be parents.  It changes you, and it has been hard adjusting.  We haven't really had time to relax, we've been painting our house and re-doing our yard, it has been just as busy a summer as our school year was.  It wasn't the summer I was looking forward to, but I'm glad we were busy because we were still so very sad.  So, every week when I got to see my ladies, it made me so happy.  Without them this summer, I don't know what I would have done, they saved me from myself this year - for sure.  When I couldn't get out of bed for me some days, I did it for them.  It was nice having our swim parties to look forward to, and this boat trip, something to keep me going. 

We made it to Bartlett Lake and got our boat, and a driving lesson.  We were seriously one of like 6 boats on the lake and it was a lovely, windy day.  We spent all day on the boat and didn't get home until around 6:30pm that night.  It was so much fun I can't even find words for it, a day I will always remember with three of my very best friends.  Instead of writing about our day, I thought I'd post pictures instead, enjoy!

(Matt and Jenny dancing to the music coming from the car, getting ready to go!)

(Deflating a raft, we had to fit four in the car, and didn't want to blow them up when we got there!)

(Apparently this is my boating look.  Pigtails for us!)

(The blondes were in the back.)

(Gorgeous drive to the lake.)

(Our first glimpse, this pic should be above the one on top.)

(Right when we got there Jenny had a bee land in her hair . . .)

(. . . and Christine almost peed from laughing too much!)

(You have to walk a long way with all of your stuff, where were those cute lake store owner boys to help us!)

(Christine was our first driver, I was too scared to back it out with the doc people watching!)

(I think his name was Kyle and he looked like a boy but talked like a girl.  He was weird and I'm pretty sure he hated us.)

(On the water!)

(My signed Rob Dyrdek hat, I finally found a use for it!)

(My on the boat look, different from my off the boat but going boating look.)

(Christine getting ready to jump in!)

(Christine bought us all BFF bracelets!)

(Jenny is always the photog!)

(Christine and her floatation device.  She loved that thing!)

(Jenny and I tied our rafts the boat, we were too scared after Christie and I floated super far away and had to swim back.)

(Jenny always provides the best snacks!)

(Such a beautiful, serene day.  Windy but calm.)

(Jenny bought all the colors of Zinca to wear on the boat and was the only one that actually put the pink on her nose.  We should have used those!)

(I caught Christie napping.)


(This is where we were on a Wednesday while everyone else was working.  It was the life!)

(The people who owned the dock had a super cute dog.  Dog on a boat!)

And Jenny took an awesome video and some great pics too:

(bon voyage!)

(Yep, I'm driving.)

(Crazy windy!)

(MTV Spring Break pic!)

(Of course there were cocktails!)

There was a moment on the boat, when I was watching the gorgeous scenery go by, that I started tearing up.  I realized that I had been so sad for so very long and that I was having so much fun with all of my friends.  Right then I knew that they had held me together all this time, that they had been their for me, they were my rocks.  I knew that I couldn't have gotten through this year without them, and I was so happy to have them there with me, having the best time together. 

At yoga a couple of weeks ago it was windy and Meg said, "Let the wind sweep everything away."  And last week she was talking about times in life when you get knocked down and how everyone gets knocked down once in awhile.  She made the point that it's not how many times you get knocked down, and that you shouldn't dwell on it, but really how many times you can get back up again.  She said, "You fall down 7 times, you get back up 8."  Life throws these hard times at you, everyone has them, but it's how you handle them, how you recover, that matters.  I also have this Nelson Mandela quote on my classroom wall and try to teach my students this, "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."  It's interesting that I listen to these words, I believe them, but I somehow can't seem to follow them.  I have tried to let the wind carry all the pain away, and I have tried to keep going even when I don't feel like it.  I do it for the people who love me, and for me because I know it will just get better from here.  You've got to have faith. 

Thank you to my three gorgeous friends that are always there for me when I need you.  Thank you for a day I will never forget, and for a summer when you saved my life.  Thank you for getting me up every day and for being there when I needed you most.  Thank you for being such amazing people and for sticking by me all this time.  Thank you for helping me get back up again.