Spring Break 2015

As you read the title, please yell it in your head like a drunk frat boy in South Padre Island, aka where I spent SPRING BREAK 1997! It was not that exciting, but again, I need it to be yelled.

This was our first spring break during elementary school, which meant we really needed it. The boys and I were counting down to this week. The early mornings are brutal, we cannot get our act together. Too many days I have thrown everyone in the car, always, always with James in his PJS and have had to slow down and let Zach roll out of the car in the carpool line while I yell “Love you! Have a good day! RUN!” so he won’t be tardy. And I don’t work. Embarrassing.

We needed a reset. Initially we had no plans, which I was looking forward to/terrified of. Then our new friends invited us along on their ski trip to Breckenridge with two other families. When you have two extraverts married to each other who have two more extraverts as children, the answer to a multi-family trip is always, “yes” and “how can we make this happen?”.

So we moved heaven and earth and spent five hours in Lafayette on a lay over (awful, I am still traumatized) to get to Colorado

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Still in Lafayette….

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We spent the night at a hotel on the West side of Denver then headed to Breckenridge the next morning. The boys were thrilled to see snow and mountains. They kept yelling “snow!” and “mountains” every 30 seconds. It was super cute, up to a point, obviously.

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This is their first snow sighting in the parking lot of the hotel. You can tell how warm it was, no one needed a jacket. We had to physically remove them from this snow drift with the promise of more. When we stopped at Academy I had to yell “don’t touch the dirty snow!” about 52 times, again, promising there would be much more than the blackened chucks strewn about the parking lot.

And Breckenridge did not disappoint.

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The first thing we did was go toob sledding. And by “we” I mean the boys and Alex. I am way too chicken for that kind of thing. I am still scarred from Zach and Tyler (really Ashley) making me go down the big slide at Splashtown. I am not kidding.

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James and Alex were the biggest fans of the toobing. Zach mainly wanted to climb in another snow drift and make a snow angel.

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We met the two other families and knew immediately we would get along fine. We released our children into the basement with the other eight children and no one batted an eye. Plus there was a baby I wanted to steal (I am coming for you Jennings) and a girl that is basically me in the suburbs (hiya Ash). I would love to tell you more about them, but they maybe don’t know I have a blog and maybe don’t want to share their whole lives with the internet. Maybe.

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Here we are though, the moms at least, walking home from having a drink at the lodge before we were attacked by the Slope 8 bandits. Just kidding, though Rian thought we were serious.

Then it was time to ski! Again, for Alex, Zach and James. Not me. I did that circa 2003 and have no need to do it again. I don’t excel so there is really no point.

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There they go, my boys, up the stairs to ski school!

Not pictured is the call I got at 11:00 am, waking me from a nap, to come get James. He was “not happy” and would not put on his ski suit. None of this shocked me. But Alex got there before I did and when he talked to the instructors they asked if James could try snowboarding. I’m sorry, what? Do they make snowboards for someone sub 4 feet? Apparently they do. Oh and he also wanted to snowboard (again, what?) without his ski suit. Like we care.

So here he is snowboarding in his long underwear and Sven and Olaf shirt. Naturally.

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I could look at this photo all day, there is nothing cuter. We also have a video of him being directed down the mountain with his coach holding onto the handle on his vest. He is the most depressed snowboarder ever.

Zach, however liked skiing! He liked his suit (both suits thanks to my friend Linda) and his only complaint was that he could not go fast enough, because he kept falling, and he wanted to use poles.

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The one catch to Zach skiing…Alex tried to ruin it. I really thought Alex would have learned from his mistakes of 2003. You see, when I was learning to ski, I too went to ski school and did the bunny slopes. And I too, thought I was doing great. Then my boyfriend Alex took me to the top of the mountain to have lunch AND I HAD TO SKI DOWN. IN A BLIZZARD. OR AT LEAST A BUNCH OF SNOW. We almost didn’t make it. As a couple I mean. I was crying and yelling at him as I skied horizontally across the mountain, fell over, popped my ski off, turned around and put it back on to do it again, and again and again until I finally scooted down the mountain on my hiney. I like to call that the test of our relationship and I am still slightly shocked we have lasted this long. Just thinking about it makes me angry.

So what does this smart, smart man I have since married do to our sweet first born child? THE EXACT SAME THING. Zach had skied on the tiny hill pictured in James’s photo and Alex took him up the lift and down a green. I could have murdered him. Luckily for him, the minute I saw Zach’s teary face Alex started talking really quickly about that being a very poor choice and he should not have done that and how great Zach did. “He did so great! He did so great!” Alex chirped. There was still only murder in my heart.

However…Zach is not me and forgets things much quicker, so the next day he got right back at it and by the end was going up the lift and skiing down the green with his dad. The first day was all but forgotten. He really ended up liking and wanting to stay more days and ski.

That next day when Zach was bouncing right back, James was not. He told me he was not going back snowboarding. No way. So we hung out around Breckenridge, got coffee, walked on a frozen river and made a tiny snowman.

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James had a much better day. Especially since he got to go in the hot-tub twice. Once before his non-nap and again with his dad after non-skiing. No one loves a hot-tub like James. There was a lot of “whoo hoos!” coming from the tub.

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All in all it was a great trip. The boys loved, loved all the snow and we all wanted to stay longer. Well, I was sort of ready to get home, only because this kept happening at night. At least we had a king sized bed at the house.

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Is this too many sleeping kids photos for one blog? I don’t know my limits. I just know that they still look like their little selves when they are sleeping and I love every second of it. I will try to reign myself in going forward.

Anyway, I made us take one family photo before we left and I knew you would all like to see it.

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The family who wears sunglasses and blue, stays together.

Why do I assume I can do things?

Like take the boys, alone on a (should be) 4.5 hour road trip to my parents house? Oh, I know why. Because other moms take their children on long plane flights, road trips, etc. and handle everything with such grace. I should really know that a person who calls her child an asshole can’t handle things with grace.

By the end of the trip I had announced I was no longer taking questions (but you have to, Mommy, you have to) and had basically yelled at James, “WHAT JAMES, WHAT?? I AM RIGHT HERE! YOU CAN SEE ME!” Not my finest hour(s).
I really thought it was going to be fine. Not good, not great, but fine. I really should have known better when Liv said to me, “Oh, I guess you can do that on your own.” The Wall’s never think twice about taking the boys anywhere so that really should have been my first clue.
I had so many things to do in the car. I had the iPad charged and ready (they fought over it), I had a magnetic dress up game (they fought over it), I had individual bags filled with cars, crayons, airplanes and brand new coloring books for use with the new car trays I made them.

Yes, those are perfectly good cookie sheets, Modgepoded with colored paper. Your eyes are not deceiving you. I saw it here and remembered the night before we left that I had purchased these cookies sheet months ago (as in about six months ago) and being the craft horder that I am, came across them during my clean out.

I obviously did not have time to spray paint them like she did, but I let the boys pick their paper color, traced the sticker that came with the sheets and got to work. 

And you all know I was sooooo proud of myself for having all the stuff and whipping these up.

What is the phrase, the pride goes first before the fall? Just give me a minute to really build it up for you.

Here are my sweet boys (an hour of out town) holding their trays and looking so happy that their mommy is so crafty.

This is also before I realize that the cookie sheets, though the smallest I could find, were still way too big for a two year old. James did not like the crayons all being on his table so he threw them each onto the floor then screamed for me to get them. To balance it on his legs he had to hold it with one hand. This meant that when he tried to play with the magnetic men they would slide around causing him to scream more. To summarize for you, there was a lot of James screaming at me in the car. A lot.

I will say that Zach loved it. He totally used it a ton and it was perfect. But when Zach was using it, James had to try to use it too. Terrible; it was a terrible, terrible idea. At one point I ripped it out of James’ hands, spewing crayons everywhere, and threw it on the passenger seat floor. Again. Not my finest hour(s).

My only good idea of the trip? Stopping at this park just off the highway in Centerville. We stopped both coming and going and it really helped us all to get out and run around. It made it slightly easier get back in the car. Only slightly.

But we made it. And we are all still speaking to each other though I did need some quiet time during James’ nap. I am slowly starting to forget the drive…but it is going to take a while.

A special first

Each time we left the hotel to drive into La Jolla for food or the beach, we would take this scenic, winding road that overlooked the ocean. Both boys loved to yell, “OCEAN!” the second it came into view.

One night we were driving back from dinner and playing at the La Jolla rec center, and we pointed out that the sun was setting. Zach said he had never seen a sunset which took me a back a bit. But it made sense as his bedtime is usually before the sun goes down.  He asked if he could see it and of course we had to stop then and there.

So Alex pulled onto the side of the road so the boys could watch the sun seting into the Pacific Ocean. He also put them on the roof of the car. I felt that was going a tad far, but Zach loved it.

James was less impressed.

And he kept calling the sun, the moon. 

It was so special to me, being there for my babies’ first sunset. Not a “first” I ever would have thought about, but it was a good one.

Turns out James really was impressed as even now that we are back he will say, “Moon, ocean” which equals sunset into the ocean, if you speak James.

Don’t yell at me before breakfast

Before we went to the zoo the Tuesday we were in San Diego, I wanted to try Snooze Eatery, a breakfast spot I found searching on Pinterest. The blogger said to get there early, as it fills up. Since we were up at 5:45 every day this would not be a problem.

However, this particular day, the boys finally adjusted to the time change and slept until 7:00 a.m. so we didn’t roll in until around 8:30 or 9. And we had to wait about 20 minutes. I am not complaining, but let’s just think about that – it was 9 a.m. on a Tuesday…do people not work in San Diego? Who are these people? It was not stay at home mom’s either. I was fascinated.

It is in the north part of downtown so parking is a bit tough. Alex stopped to let the boys and I out so he could go park and we could get in line. A woman sweeping around the entrance to the parking garage he was partially blocking was not pleased with this decision. Let me just say that a car pulled into that garage he was partially blocking, while we were there. She started yelling at me, “He can’t park there!” to which I replied, “He is not, he is just dropping us off” as I am visibly struggling to get a chubby two year old and a wiggly four year old out of the car. She would not let it go. She must have yelled at me five times while I am getting the boys out of the car. Even after he had pulled out and I was now 10 feet from her, she kept yelling, “He can’t park there!” and, with my children, I did the same, “I KNOW he is leaving, can’t you see that??!!”.  Alex said at one point when he was driving off he said to himself, “Is Kinsey getting into a fight on the street?”. Basically.

I already had to get into it with other guests at the Sheraton AND a woman who was banging on the door of a restroom Zach was in. Let’s just say, aside from the awesome customer service people we encountered I was not left with a great feeling toward San Diego/La Jolla-ians.  I would like to note that I have not had to yell at anyone, not related to me, here in Houston ummmm ever, I am pretty sure.

But back to Snooze. James enjoyed the free water in small plastic cups while we were waiting. Zach tried to get on me about letting him drink it until I reminded him that I could read. And the sign said it was for drinking while waiting. Calm it on down, narc.

It is in a very cool industrial space and the people could not have been nicer. No one seemed to mind two little boys hanging on the bar.

Our waitress, Tara I believe, by far made up for the crazy sweeping lady. She was young and darling and so, so sweet to the boys. The boys had waffles, which were made into a cabin shape, I had a delicious egg sandwich on a pretzel bun. Alex had bacon and eggs. So un-adventurous, that one.

It is very close to the zoo, which was perfect for us that day. Zach really wanted to get on these bikes and had a hard time understanding they were for tying your bike up to, not riding.

So if you are headed to San Diego, make Snooze your stop before the zoo. You won’t be disappointed.

Proof of Life

The weekend before we went to San Diego I took a solo trip with some of the Vegas girls to the Guadalupe River. 
It was an awesome weekend filled with nothing but talking, toobing, eating and drinking wine and Bud Light Lime (drink it if you go to the river, you can thank me later). Alex was appalled by our lack of activity. I was so lazy I took zero photos. Luckily my friend Joanna (the front in red) was on it and packed a water proof camera for the toob. She gives an excellent rundown of the weekend on her blog, so I will spare you the full details. And she describes all of us perfectly. Of course I say that as she gave me a glowing recommendation, and you know I like people who think I am funny. 

Aren’t we beauties? Three of the five of us were wearing long sleeve rash guards (get one immediately if you don’t have one) and everyone had a terrible, wide brimmed river hat.

Saturday morning everyone had heard from their husbands and/or spoken to their children, except me.

Of course.

I finally had to ask for a proof of life photo of my children who were in Alex’s care for exactly 24 hours before the Walls took over. This is the photo I received.




Really? A Spongebob tattoo for James? As it was fading off later in the week he would say, “Oh no, tatattoooo!”

As they usually do, the Walls swooped in and took the boys out to their house for Saturday night. Liv has said that she knows I would prefer Alex have to take care of them all on his own, which is partially true. However, now I just can’t fault them. Because a) I did the exact same thing when Alex was gone and b) I will do the exact same thing with my babies. The second McKayla or Sophie leave for the weekend I will be swooping in to save my grand babies from their fathers and spend time with them without their bothersome mothers.

And look, they are already much happier than in the photo from their father. Well, James looks the same but don’t pay attention to him.

Vacation by the numbers

Numbers are not my thing, as everyone knows. I really don’t like them and find any time I have to use them highly, highly annoying. But instead of inundating you with post, after post, of our vacation photos, I thought I would simplify it and just do one long one. You are welcome. That is not to say I don’t have a few things I want to highlight in future posts, but this covers the majority of it.

Looking back I can remember all the good times about our vacation, but you guys, it was long. Especially the ride home where we were together in a steel tube from 10am to 6pm. I had to give us all M&Ms at one point so James would stop crying and I would not start.

But both boys still talk about it and Zach, especially, had a great time everywhere we went. At one point in the pool he really did say, “I am having the best time!”. Which is all we can ask for.

Cities visited: 2 (San Diego and La Jolla)
Days in adjoining hotel rooms with my children: 7
Nights James slept through the night: 1
Altercations Kinsey got in with fellow Sheraton residents: 2
Days Zach, James and Alex got in the pool, even though it was 70 degrees and overcast: 6
Days I got in the pool: 2

Attractions visited while in California: 4 (San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Zoo, Legoland and USS Midway)

Number of times James said. “Cheetah run!” after we saw the cheetah run a 100 meter dash in 5 seconds: 543
Strollers rented because we forgot ours: 3

Number of times James scowled at me from the strollers: 14

Giraffes seen roaming around the Safari Park and shouted at by James: 10
Lions we heard roaring: 1 (which was pretty cool)

Beaches visited: 4
Children who enjoyed the beach: 1 (Zach)
Parent who enjoyed the beach: 1 (Alex, duh)

People it took to put sunscreen on James: 2

 Aircraft carriers visited: 1

 Parents who wanted to leave the children here: 1 (name omitted)

Times the iPad was watched before going to bed: 6

 Number of children at Legoland without swimsuits running through the water: 2

 Number of white trash babies running through the water in a non-swim diaper: 1

Water rides ridden by Zach and Alex: 1
Water rides ridden by Kinsey and Zach: 1 (I know, I am surprised too)

Trains ridden: 1
Sunscreen needed: 1 entire tube
Four year olds who had “The BEST time!”: 1

First sunsets seen: 1
Children who sat on the roof of a car for the first time: 2

Incline of the hill Alex pushed the stroller up to reach the polar bears: 45

Wayne hats worn: 1
Gondola’s ridden: 2
Panda’s seen from the air because Alex and I were too impatient to wait in the panda viewing line: 1

 Stuffed animals purchased: 2

Family photos taken: 1

What If

I think we all have our fair share of “what ifs”. As in, what if I had not gotten that job or moved to that city? What if I had chosen a different major?

Well, I thought a lot about that on our vacation to lovely La Jolla, California last week. When I was younger my family visited San Diego and I decided I wanted to go to the University of California at San Diego. For sure. The weather is perfect here and there is a beach (you know, so great for a super pale redhead). I felt this was my place.

Of course as I got older it seemed my place would be the University of Texas at Austin.

But what if I had worked harder in school. What if I had really, really tried my hardest to get in and then somehow convinced my parents to go along with that? What would my life be like?

Well I would not have met my friend Laura in the Delta Gamma house.

I would not have moved to Houston after college, where she would introduce me to her high school friend, Alex.

So poof – no little walls.

So what if I had gone to college here in La Jolla? What would my life have turned out to be?
Here are my guesses after spending some time here.
1. My children would be named Kai and Everly.
2. I would have a girl (Everly) as well as a boy because I would not have married a man who should have been royalty, with all the males in his linage.
3. I would never straighten my hair, instead insist my (at best wavy) hair is “naturally curly”.
4. I would not own anything Tory Burch (TB is all over Houston).
5. I would be so comfortable, wearing my large capri pants, loose fitting tank tops with hoody sweat shirts (you guys, it is chilly here).
6. I would own many of those natural baby carriers and use them to carry Kai to meet my mommy friends at the beach for baby and me yoga.
7. I would know what hemp is.
8. I would like how men look in flat brim hats.
9. I would be totally in shape as you can exercise outside in the middle of July. Or December. Or whenever you want.
10. My husband would take the children to the park on the beach on Saturday morning with all the other dads.

Pretty different for sure. But after spending a week in great, cool weather I was still glad to get back to 100 degree Houston. It really is my place.