Category Archives: Let’s Get Out of Here

Happy 2014

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We are hitting the slopes!!!  I hope you all are bringing in the new year in style, too.

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Amy Chua Saved My Vacation

Let me start by saying that two moms taking six kids skiing is hardly a vacation, but add three “never ever” snowboarders to the mix and there is potential for a real disaster.  Why did I do it?  I can explain it best with the mantra I adopted during the trip that continues to resonate in my head…. “We are a skiing family”.

I love to ski.  It very well be one of my favorite things to do.  The first time I skied I was in 7th grade and I went with my church youth group.  I went once a year from then until I became pregnant with Big Guy.  Two years ago we took our then 4 and 5 year old boys skiing.  Little Guy’s ski instructor was so impressed by his willingness and balance to go straight down the bunny slope, they offered him a position on the kids ski team.  Being from Oklahoma, we had to politely decline.  They did ski school, we were accompanied by their grandparents, my mother-in-law did most of the cooking.  It was easy.  This time, the boys were 6 and 7, I did half of the cooking all of the carrying for my family and my boys could not understand why they did not turn into Shaun White as soon as the snowboards were attached to their feet.

Spring Break “The Amazing Race”

People have children for a lot of different reasons.  I jest that I had mine for travel companions.  I learned early on, after years of taking youth groups on trips, that the one thing better than seeing or doing something for the first time is being with someone when they see or do something for the first time.  I will never forget taking high school kids to see the mountains for the first time, having a snowball fight at Rocky Mountain National Park on the 4th of July, or spending the whole day with no agenda but to swim in the ocean.  One very memorable trip was to Washington D.C.  I met several of the kids, for the first time, at the airport.  I had only been at the church for three days and I had not planned the trip or even been to D.C. since I was in Junior High.  So, instead of panicking, I made a game of getting around.  I told the kids that part of our experience was learning to navigate a big city.  By the end of the week we had all mastered the city bus system, the subway and transferring flights.  It was perfect and I was able to focus on getting to know the kids rather than serve as travel guide.

Fall Foliage–An App Will Have to do

It has been a long standing tradition for us to head to the mountains just in time to watch the trees turn.  We head to New Mexico, so it is usually the first or second week of October. The beauty is amazing.  It feels like we are vacationing in a postcard.  This year, we are taking a different fall vacation.  I am looking forward to it, but I will miss the foliage, mountain air and the S’Mores.

So, to try to enjoy the fall foliage from a distance I found a great App.  You will have to check it out!  Leaf Peepr.

I Found My People

IMG_0774 I mentioned a month or so ago that I went to San Diego with my Aunt.  We went to a conference and then stayed a couple of extra days with my mom’s cousin and his wife.  This particular branch of my family moved to California before I was born.  I have only met them a handful of times and the last time I remember seeing them was at a family reunion in 1992.

I cannot tell you how great it was to get to know them as an adult.  It was like we had spent holidays together for years.  They told me things about my grandparents, my great aunt and uncle, my mother and her brothers.  And of course there are always Aunt Char stories (*well, sh*t, Char would say.  I just realized I never posted about my birthday surprise trip when we went to visit her in May.  That will come.)  Most of the stories they told me I had never heard.

IMG_4987 My Uncle Gary reminded me so much of my grandfather it was creepy.  Even more so since they are not blood related.  (My grandfathers brother was his step-dad).  The day we arrived at their house their daughter, Sonia, drove in from L.A.  (As a girl from Oklahoma, I have always wanted to say that.)  Again, I had not seen her since the family reunion when I was in the 8th grade, so I did not know what to expect.  Aunt Charlene talks about her nieces often, but she never mentioned that Sonia is a graphic designer who loves make pottery and eat good food.  She even blogs and has an Etsy shop.  She really is my long lost creative type twin.  Please excuse the creepy stalker feel, but it was really exciting. The only difference is she lives in L.A. and makes money with her creative ventures but, really, who is keeping score?

When Sonia arrived, we headed down to the beach.  This always makes girls from Oklahoma giddy.  Gary taught me to boogie board.  If my pale body that hadn’t exercised all summer due to the extreme heat dome that sat over Oklahoma for two months, was not a dead give away that I was not from California, my boogie boarding skills sure were.  Seriously, I looked like a toddler learning to walk.  But I was determined, so I kept after it.  Gary was trying to get me to listen to the waves and pick the right one.  Finally, he said, stand here and do what I do.  He jumped on his board and went sailing toward the beach.  I just belly flopped onto my board and went about six inches.  As soon as I stood up, I saw it, the wave he described.  It had the right sound, the right foam and I jumped on.  Two seconds later I was on a wave heading to shore only I was several feet up and the wave broke right over my great uncle.  I bailed and tried not to kill my host on the first day.  He was fine but I looked like a mess as I tried to discreetly get the sand out of my swimsuit.  This was about the time I noticed the surfers laughing at me.

Don’t worry friends.  I didn’t give up.  We continued until I was so beaten by the waves I could barely haul my poor little body up on the shore.  The next day I woke up and felt like I had been run over by a truck.  It was almost noon before I connected my pain to the boogie board.  I am so glad I could educate those Californians on what it is like to be from Oklahoma.

While we were at the beach, I took a picture of this cute little family with children near our boys age.  They were building a sand castle.  Big Guy as asked for years to go to the beach and build a sand castle.  I emailed a picture to Law Man so he could show the boys.  That night, I get word that it took dad quite some time to console the boys that the black shapes they were seeing in the background of the picture were surfers, not sharks.  Lesson learned…do not send a picture with surfers in the background to children in Oklahoma the week after Shark Week.  I think I postponed the beach requests for a while anyway.

The infamous “shark” picture.

We spent the next 36 hours eating at local restaurants, drinking local beer and took a great trolley ride around the city.  The most interesting part was to hear the stories Gary and Cathy told about their time in California and how things had changed and evolved. It was priceless time.  I so wish my mother could have been with us.

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 I got to educate them on my obsession with taking pictures of food.  🙂

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I *heart* BLICK….and I finally got to go visit one and I did not buy a single thing.

Aunt Cathy is a knitter…..*swoon*!


I was giddy over their four Rosemary Bushes….and bragged about the Crape Myrtles I have that are as tall as our two story house.

I had been in search of “my people” the whole time I was in California and with my Aunt, Uncle and Sonia…..I found them.