I’m off to MI, but guest bloggers are standing by

Tomorrow morning is day 1 of our two-week vacation to Michigan. For the most part we’ll be staying with my parents in Oscoda which is very near the Au Sable River and Lake Huron (yes, we’ll be doing plenty of swimming), but we’re also taking a few days to go to Mackinac Island Mackinac Island(pronounced Mack-ih-naw) where we’ll stay at Mission Point Resort. (Those of you who’ve seen the movie “Somewhere in Time” with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour may remember that the movie took place primarily at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.) I spent a week every summer on the Island from sixth to twelfth grade as part of the Mackinac Downtown Mackinac IslandIsland Scout Service Camp (yes, I was a Girl Scout through high school), and have so many fond memories of that place. I took Jody there several years ago and now I hope to share the experience with my children as well. We plan to leave the touristy parts of the island behind for the most part and instead go off on bikes (since no cars are allowed there – only bikes and horses) and explore some of the more hidden, but beautiful and scenic areas. I hope to have the opportunity to take a lot of pictures. If I was independently wealthy, I swear we’d spend a few weeks there every summer in one of the amazing Victorian houses. I’m so looking forward to the trip. :)

OK, calm down Amy. Whew! Got a little carried away there for a moment and could almost hear the clip-clop of the horses’ hooves and smell the sweet aroma of fudge in the air.

Ahem. Anyway, although I personally will be blogging very little while I am gone (if you really want to know what’s going on while I’m away, follow me on Twitter), there will still be plenty of great content to read here at Crunchy Domestic Goddess. I have 17 guest bloggers with posts on topics like CSAs, eating healthy on a budget, parenting, , birth, feminism, photography tips, gardening, ‘poo-free hair, breastfeeding, organic food on the road, and MORE lined up to fill the void. Seriously, there are some great posts headed your way by a variety of very talented bloggers. I’m so happy to feature them here and I thank you in advance for extending the same courtesy and respect to them in your comments that you do to me. I hope you may even find some new blogs to read as a result of this (just as long as you don’t stop reading mine /cue nervous laughter/).

And now, after spending two hours today with the kids “killing time” in Target after discovering an unexpected flat tire this afternoon (I’m so thankful it happened today and not tomorrow and that we have 4 new tires on our car now), I need to kick it in gear and pack like mad. Next time you hear from me, I’ll be in Michigan. Ciao!

On our way

It turned out that I did not have the opportunity to do any blogging on our trip. Last night was my first real chance, but a shitty (and I mean SHITTY) WiFi connection at the Days Inn in Hays, KS, and an insomniac child (Ava) prevented that.

We’re on the last leg of our way home today and supposed to run into a winter storm warning for pretty much the entire way. Please keep us in your thoughts that this last day of traveling goes as well as the rest of our trip has. Other than some overtiredness, the kids have done amazingly well with all of the driving, visiting, etc., and we’ve had a good time.

Best wrap this up and upload it while I still have a connection. More posts will be forthcoming once we are back home sweet home.

UPDATE 1:43 p.m.: We decided rather than risk it, we will spend another night in Kansas. We drove about 120 miles today to get to Colby, KS, where there’s an indoor swimming pool, hot tub and good WiFi at the Days Inn. We’ll stay here for the night then venture out again in the morning after the snow, ice and fog have passed.

Packin’ up and movin’ out

Since you all might be sick of looking at “penis” at the top of my blog, I figured I’d get a post up before Christmas – just cuz I’m nice like that. ;)

I got all of my Christmas cards in the mail (finally!) today. Hooray!

And Jody and I met with Ava’s Waldorf preschool teacher tonight for parent-teacher conferences. Who knew we’d already be in for that with a 3-year-old. The conference went very well. It was great to hear more about Ava from someone else’s perspective and how she well she’s acclimated to preschool. I may blog more about the conference another time (when I have more time to spare).

We’re packing up and heading out tomorrow morning (or afternoon based on how quickly we get our crap together) for a road trip to southern Kansas to celebrate Christmas with Jody’s side of the family. We’re only driving half-way there tomorrow, then the rest on Sunday since the thought of trying to do 9 hours of driving in one day with two small children is not my idea of a good time. ;) I think breaking up the trip will go much better for all of us.

We haven’t yet turned Julian’s rear-facing car seat around (even though he’s a year old now), because he’s stayed relatively content with riding that way and it’s much safer that way (12 mos. and 20 lbs. is actually the minimum requirement for rear-facing). However, I think we are making the switch tomorrow which will hopefully keep him riding happily longer and will also allow Jody or me (the passenger seat) to recline and move back the seat a bit more, which will hopefully keep me/Jody riding happily longer as well. ;) I’d love to keep him rear-facing longer just because it is so much safer, but with all of this driving ahead of us, for my and Jody’s comfort (neither of us like riding with our legs all scrunched up and our seat-back straight up) and for the sanity of all, I think this is a good time to make the change.

I’ll likely be blogging during the trip as Jody will have two (count them – one, two) laptops (from work) with him. (Woot!) They may not be lengthy posts, but I might upload some pictures and whatnot. Then again, I might have some great wisdom to share. Ya just never know. ;) Speaking of pictures, Jody bought a new P&S camera yesterday. It seems to be a vast improvement over our old one, though I can’t even remember at the moment what kind it is. Anyway, it’s going on the trip with us.

I must get myself to bed in the very near future so I can get up and pack our bags in the morning. Oh, and finish laundry too.

Wishing you all a safe and happy long holiday weekend. :)

Weekend wrap-up : Nutcracker and an early Christmas (and BSM)

A weekend wrap-up with a Best Shot Monday thrown in for good measure :)

Dressed up for The Nutcracker - 12/15/07

On Saturday, the fam and I drove down to Denver so that Ava and I could go see The Nutcracker Ballet (thanks to the tickets I won from Mile High Mamas).

It turns out that when they recommend that you arrive two hours before the performance, they weren’t kidding around. Traffic was a bit crazy and, since we’d never been there before, we didn’t know exactly where Jody should drop us off, etc. We got into Denver an hour before the show was to start, but by the time we figured out where we needed to go and I got to the ticket window to turn in my voucher for actual tickets, it was only 30 minutes ’til show time. Unfortunately, that meant that the really good seats were already taken. The seats they had available were for the second balcony and were honestly still quite good, but had we been earlier we could’ve had great seats. C’est la vie, live and learn, and all that jazz. ;)

Of course we hadn’t yet eaten lunch and with little time to spare, we dashed over to the nearest coffee shop and ordered a couple sandwiches which we scarfed down in record time, before a hurried walk back to the opera house. Ava and I said goodbye to Jody and Julian and headed in to get to our seats just minutes before 2 o’clock. The show ended up starting about 5 or 10 minutes late, so we had time to sit there and catch our breath before the curtain rose.

Another problem with arriving at the last minute is by the time we got to our seats they were completely out of booster seats, so Ava sat on my lap for the show. It was actually kind of sweet that it worked out that way (other than the time she tooted on my leg – doh!) since she and I were able to whisper back and forth in each other’s ears throughout the performance. She, asking me questions or making observations – during the Christmas party at the beginning: “I wish I could be down there,” – when Clara was dancing with the nutcracker doll: “I wish I could be Clara” – and me explaining parts along the way. It was also nice to have my baby girl sit in my lap for that long. It’s been a long time since we’ve had that kind of closeness for such a long period of time.

Ava enjoyed the first act tremendously, but grew a little bit restless towards the end of the second act. Overall, she did really well though and said she loved it and wants our whole family to go back next year to see it. :) She told her grandma and Aunt Carrie that her favorite part was “when they went up on their tippy-toes like this” and she did her best ballerina impression. My favorites parts were not of the show itself, but of when we went to the restroom during intermission and saw so many little girls trying to walk on their tip-toes while saying, “I’m a ballerina.” And when Ava whispered, “Mommy, I love you” to me as we watched the first act. :)

After the boys picked us up, we all went out for a tasty Italian dinner, then headed home. Jody and I got the kids ready for bed, then wrapped presents. Even though it was a bit hectic getting to the Nutcracker, it turned out to be a fun and memorable day.

Ava, Amy, Jody and Julian in our new aprons - 12/16/07On Sunday we decided to do an early Christmas celebration, which really boiled down to opening presents. Since we will be out of town for Christmas this year (we’re driving the Kansas-Oklahoma border to spend the holiday with Jody’s family), we thought it’d be nice to let the kids open most of their presents from us, and all of their presents from Grandma and Grandpa in MI, Sunday morning so we’d have the full day to just hang out and play. We’re taking a few smaller gifts with us on the trip for them to open there, and will have the bigger items from Santa (doll house and train table) ready for them when we get home. (I’ll need to blog about how we got started on saying gifts were from Santa another time because this is a first for us this year and not something I was really planning on doing. But like I said, that’s a story for another time.)

Anyway, we had a nice lazy day. We opened some presents, ate a late big breakfast, opened some more presents (Check us out above in the groovy new aprons my mom made us! Ah, the family that bakes together. By the way, I’m counting that as my Best Shot Monday pic.), and ate a late lunch. Julian had a nice nap and Ava and I stayed in our pajamas until nearly 4 o’clock. The kids played and enjoyed their new toys. Jody and Ava did a jigsaw puzzle together. Aunt Carrie came by for a visit in the evening. It was a good, leisurely day and a nice end to our weekend.

We have a busy week ahead of us – packing for our trip (we leave on Saturday), a preschool tea, parent-teacher conferences, a possible dinner with my sister AKA Aunt Carrie, baking, painting a bird house for Ava’s teacher’s present, getting my holiday cards ready to be sent (late, I’m sure, since they won’t even be here until later in the week). It’s going to be good practice for me to just breathe, slow down and, like the Tees for Change shirt I love says, “choose happiness.”

If you didn’t catch it, my Best Shot is the picture of the 4 of us above. See more best shots over at Picture This (click the button):
little bsm button

RMNP and vacation pics

NaBloPoMo – Day 30

Yesterday, the fam and I all ventured into Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). It was pretty dang cold, but there was a lot of beauty to behold. It’s amazing how different the park looks in the winter as opposed to in the summer when we usually visit.

Julian fell asleep in the car, but the rest of us enjoyed seeing a couple large herds of elk. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many in one spot before. There had to be a few hundred. They were slowly making their way across the road as they migrated down to a lower elevation.

Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park - 11/29/07 More elk in RMNP

And Ava, Grandma, Grandpa and I took a little walk by a stream and Sprague Lake.

Ava, grandma and grandpa near Sprague Lake - 11/29/07 Ava on the bridge - 11/29/07 Sprague Lake

We saw this tree – frozen in time – on our walk.

Frozen pine tree

After RMNP, we had dinner out, then stopped at Safeway where Julian was looking so cute in the shopping cart with his lil hat on, I had to take his picture.

Julian in the cart - 11/29/07

The kids have been enjoying getting into things here at the resort. And when I say getting into things, I mean literally climbing into things. (Well, he had a little help getting into the sink.)

Kids in the ottoman - 11/29/07 Boy in the sink - 11/29/07 Fun in the sink - 11/29/07

We have one more day to enjoy here, then it’s back home for us. We might visit the Stanley Hotel today and do a little shopping in town. Right now I’m missing out on a rousing game of Candyland in the other room, so I’m outta here. ;)

The weather outside was frightful…

NaBloPoMo – Day 29

After packing everything but the kitchen sink (and I still forgot some things), and having an uneventful (no puking) drive, we made it into Estes Park yesterday. The wind was gusting all day and night and the temperature, with the windchill, felt like -4 degrees – proving to me that I could never live in the mountains during the winter.

The good news is that the cold temps kept us inside and gave way to some good family bonding.

With three other adults in the house to watch the kids, I figured I might sneak away into the bedroom to read “Pushed,” a book I have on loan from the library, but haven’t had time to read much yet. I read for about 5 minutes before Ava came in to ask, “How are you doing all by yourself in here?” I explained that sometimes people like to be alone, but she was not to be deterred. She was concerned that I was lonely and wanted to read with me. So we moved onto the bed and read our books together. It didn’t take long for Julian to come wandering in, requesting to join us on the bed and pretty soon it was the whole family together in bed, reading books.

Ava and mommy reading up in Estes Park - 11/29/074 in the bed - Estes Park 11/28/07

Later, Ava made cookies with Grandma. And Julian was happy to partake in one.

Ava rolling out cookie dough - 11/28/07Julian eating a cookie - 11/28/07

We didn’t have the best night’s sleep last night and Jody is now coming down with the cough that Ava’s had for over 2 weeks now, but we are still enjoying ourselves (it’s so beautiful here) and have plans to stay until Saturday now instead of Friday, unless of course we continue to be unable to get some good sleep. Today we are planning a drive into Rocky Mountain National Park and perhaps dinner out at a restaurant.

That’s all for now.