Sunday, September 1, 2013

It's not the it's not vacation

  DISCLAIMER:  This was supposed to post a month and a half ago.....but evidently because of our back woods slow internet it never posted :(  Better late than never I guess....  

  I have been nagging (ehhh I mean discussing) with Steve for the past....oh 5 years....that I want to go on the beach.....out of the U.S.  Since I have been getting nowhere I have knocked my demands down to a vacation on a beach.  Jealousy rears its ugly head and it seems that these dreams of vacation always show up after someone I know takes a trip to California, Florida, Mexico, name the seems like someone we know is ALWAYS going someplace warm, sunny, and with a beach! Now, anyone who knows me, understands that poor Steve is really feeling the heat about this vacation matter HOWEVER in my defense we went on our honeymoon to Colorado 6 years ago with the intention of going to either the Caribbean or Hawaii within the next couple years.  Since then, our vacations have consisted of two trips to St. Louis and a trip to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl. 

   Flash forward to last week.  My birthday was last Friday and we decided that we would take Snyder and go to St. Louis to the zoo and Grant's Farm and spend the night in a hotel just to get out of town and have a little fun.  Although I was excited about it, part of me was instead dreaming of that Beach Vacation that once again we SHOULD be taking!!!  I started trying to find places to stay and wasn't having any luck finding a "Great Wolf Lodge" type hotel and then tried to find a "fun" place to take Snyder to eat dinner and didn't have any luck there either.  By the time Steve came home from work that night I was in quite the funk.  Enter more complaining about not going to the beach!

     Later that week we found out that Steve's Grandma fell and broke her hip.  We were planning on having a family dinner for my birthday on Friday night, but since his grandma would be having surgery that day, dinner would have to be postponed.  Since we would have the whole weekend, we decided to change our plans and head to KC for the weekend.  We booked a room at the Sleep Inn in Liberty (think MINI Great Wolf Lodge for younger kids) and also made a reservation at the T-Rex cafe.  This little trip was beginning to look a little better but I reminded Steve several times in the car ride to KC that we were not going to the beach so it WAS NOT a vacation.

     Steve was suppose to get home from work at 2:30....when he wasn't home at 3:45 I gave in and put Snyder down for a nap.  We finally got on the road about 6.  We would certainly be getting a late jump on things.  We finally made it to the hotel and got settled in about 10.  Snyder was a perfect angel in the car.  The last few trips to Kansas had been a little rough.  We'd been listening to lots of screaming in the carseat.  The Mickey Mouse Club House on the DVD player may have had something to do with it :) 

     Saturday Morning we got up and went to the zoo.  It was a hot sweaty morning but we sure had fun.  Snyder LOVED the polar bears, the monkeys, and loved the goats at the petting zoo.  He got to ride the train for the first time, as well as the carousel.  He even brought home his very own Nakita, the polar bear.


     After the zoo, we went back to the hotel and rested for a bit and then met some good friends for swimming at the pool.  Their daughter, E, is almost two and I hope the kids will enjoy playing together as they get older.  E wanted to make sure Snyder was watching as she went down the slide at the pool, and Snyder enjoyed watching every move E made.  After swimming, we got changed and headed for T-Rex cafe.  The kids LOVED it!  I was a little worried that it would be too much for Snyder but he loved walking around looking at the giant dinosaurs.  He also LOVED watching the fish in the aquarium.....which gave us the idea as to what to do the next day :)  I loved being able to catch up with my good friend, Brandi, and getting to see our kids interact together.

     On the way back to the hotel that night, we discussed what to do the next day.  The plan had been to go to Deanna Rose Farmstead, but after being out in the sun all day, we decided that maybe we would rather do something inside.  After seeing Snyder look at the fish, I mentioned going to the Sea Life Aquarium.  The plan was to get up and head to the aquarium as soon as Snyder woke up. 

     Well....that little boy certainly is his parents son.  That little stinker slept in until after nine.  So, by the time we got up and around and got everything packed up, we didn't get to crown center until after 11.  We decided we would go eat (we missed breakfast at the hotel because we slept so late) first and then head to Sea Life.  I wanted to take Snyder to Fritz's.  Since we had gotten there early it wasn't too crowed.  He enjoyed looking around and watching all of the kids. Then the trains started coming!  To say the kid loved watching the trains travel around the top of the restaurant would be an understatement.  I'm pretty sure he would have sat and watched the trains deliever food all afternoon.  By the time we left, he would actually start looking around for the trains as soon as he heard the whistle.  He would follow them all around the restaurant with his eyes, kick his feet, and just get so excited.  It was fun to watch :)

Watching the trains :)

     After we left Fritz's we went to the Curious George exhibit.  Most of it was geared for older kids but he did enjoy climbing on George....and it made for a good photo opt!

     Then we went across the street to Sea Life.  It was very cool to see all the different types of fish and was nice to do something inside where it was cool.  There was a table where Snyder got to feel different sea creatures.  There was a tunnel that you walked through that the fish swam all around you and a "bubble" that you could crawl inside.  I had Steve take Snyder inside the bubble for one last picture and when Snyder looked through the "bubble" and saw mommy, he got SOOO excited!!!  We also noticed Snyder getting very sleepy while we were there.  Then we realized why.....dimly lit rooms, water rushing from the aquariums, and soft music playing....hmmm....sounds just like his room at nap time :)  This was a great transition into our long car ride home.  We had another great ride with a well behaved little boy :)


     The whole weekend I was just so insanely happy.  There was no stress of we have to get this, this, and this done.  There was no worries about getting the house picked up and dinner cooked.  We didn't worry about getting up or to bed at a certain time.  We followed Snyder's cues and when he was tired we took breaks and let him sleep (and us) as late as he wanted.  I had so much fun with my little family just being together.  Even though we've had this little guy around for 7 months, we have been so busy moving, and moving again, and trying to sell our house that we have had very little time to just enjoy being together.  It was just such a great weekend being together and exploring a city that we lived in for 7 years but had never explored in this year.

     When I got home and started looking at pictures, I began thinking about our weekend.  Every single picture we were all smiling ear to ear.  Thats when it hit me.  Our weekend may have not been spent at an all-inclusive resort or along white sandy beaches but it was spent together with the people I love enjoying each other.  That's when I realized that it doesn't matter where or how long the vacation is.....that's not what it's all about.  It's just about enjoying doing something together.  That was something we hadn't gotten to do much over the last several months. And in all honestly, we probably aren't ready for a big week long beach vacation.  A weekend trip to KC was just what we needed. 

     I can write all of this because:
          1.  I'm pretty sure Steve won't read this blog.
          2.  I KNOW that even if he does, he won't read this novel of a post.
So even though I probably will start asking.....who am I kidding....begging for a beach vacation again someday, for now I am content with just going someplace together with my boys to relax and spend time together every once in a while.  It may not be the beach....but I'm okay with that :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Less and More...

     I've been feeling "the need" to start a blog. Everyone does it right?! So I should have one too... What has been my hang up? A title....yes I couldn't come up with a cool, creative, trendy title so I couldn't start a blog. That may be the first indication as to how this blog will go since I've been trying to come up with a title for oh....say....3-4 months. May not be seeing many blog posts from me if that is how this is going to go! haha I'll give it a shot, but please don't have to high of expectations of me!
     So the title....After months and months of stewing over what this all important blog should be called I have finally settled on a line from one of Steve and I's favorite bands, songs. My brother and sister-in-law have gotten us into Red Dirt Country and one of our favorite bands is the Randy Rogers Band. When Snyder was in the "I'm not going to go to sleep at night and am going to make you walk for hours with me" stage, he would want nothing to do with me. He would only want Daddy. I would feed him and try to rock him to sleep....because that is "what you are suppose to do" and he would get madder than a hornet. Enter Daddy. He would turn Randy on the CD player very softly and they would take laps around the basement. They would walk for hours singing to Randy. I'm not going to lie. That is one of my favorite early memories of this little boy....getting to see Daddy and son cuddling at night....AND he would calm down as soon as he would hear the lack of screaming was an added bonus! Still, almost 7 months later, there is a Randy CD found close to every CD player we own, including the car that can be turned on incase of a melt down. On the 6 hour drive to Sabetha, Mommy and Daddy have to crank up Randy, and belt it out at least a couple times to get little man to calm down.
     So one of our favorite songs is "They Call It The Hill Country, I Call It Home". This pretty much sums up the last year or so of our lives. A little over a year ago we lived in a small "look alike" house in the city. A little over a year ago we both had decent jobs in Kansas City and friends who we loved spending time with. A little over a year ago we had a 100 pound golden retriever whose life pretty much revolved around that tiny "look alkie" house and the fenced in back yard. A little over a year ago we found out we were pregnant after about 4 years of waiting. A little over a year ago we started sending out resumes to the engineering firms and schools in the Rolla area. We were tired of the life in the "leveled and paved" city and it was time to move home to the hill country....or so we thought. After sending out the resumes we waited.....and waited.....and waited. NOTHING! Finally in September Steve was offered a job with an engineering firm in Rolla and we started packing boxes! We moved in the middle of October and I was due with Snyder the end of November....That gave us just 6 weeks to get settled in and welcome our baby boy Grandma and Grandpa's basement! Finally about 5 months later we finished re-doing our house and moved in. I think we are finally starting to feel settled and settling into a routine. Doc, Snyder, and I hang out all day and when Daddy comes home after work, we all eat dinner and then spend family time together. Then it's bathtime for Snyder and Mommy and Daddy fall into bed shortly after Snyder goes down!
     So what have I learned from all of that we can somewhat look back on the last year and say "we've made it!" I've learned that we have given up so much and have so much less:
           -Less space (we downsized houses....mostly in storage space)
           -Less money (Steve took a pretty hefty pay cut to move and I'm staying home)
           -Less friends (we left so many amazing people in KC)
           -Less time (we have given up a lot of time this spring getting this house ready and running around the country like crazy people.....not sure this will ever slow down :))
     But we have so much more in so many ways. I am so grateful to be able to stay home with Snyder and be here to see all of his firsts. We are surrounded by family and know that Snyder will grow up among cousins. We are getting to rekindle friendships with some of Steve's childhood friends who have also moved their families back to the small town. We have less worry about Snyder playing in the street and getting hit by a car or taken by someone. We actually have time together as a family! I cant describe how wonderful it is to have time together to spend just doing everyday things. Even though the hussle and bustle of the city was one of the things I loved most about being there, the slow pace of the small town is so wonderful to have back in our lives. I love that everywhere we go, there is someone who is excited to meet Snyder or comment on how excited they are to have us back in town. Even though we have less space on the inside we have hills, creeks, valleys, expansive playgrounds, and so much room to explore (and I feel safe exploring those spaces).
     I was one of those typical small town kids who said they were going to leave the small town and never look back. Well I went to the city, and while I loved my time there, it made me realize that the small town life was where my heart would always be. While I will always be a Kansas girl in my heart, the hill country is really starting to grow on me. Knowing that this is where Snyder will grow up and call home makes it extra special as well. In 18 years or so when he is packing up and moving to the big city to go to college somewhere, I'm sure I will shed a tear or two, but I have a feeling he will always carry a piece of this place we call home with him wherever he goes (just like his Mommy does that little small town on the Kansas Prairie that led her to this small place in the Ozark hill country)!