I’ve been out of touch, with everything, for a while now. Life has been crazy, good, but crazy. At first it felt like a much needed break from the monotony of the everyday schedule, but now, I feel like I’m some kind of Mole Woman trying to climb out from under the dirt and rejoin society. Have you ever forgotten to call someone back, a couple of days passed, then a week, then two weeks. It started out as completely unintentional due to the busy-ness of everyday life, but then you found yourself intentionally not calling back because your lame excuse was simply, well, life. Then you topped it with the embarrassment that it has been so long and you can’t seem to bring yourself to pick up the phone. That’s what my life feels like right now. My friend Writing called weeks ago and left me a voicemail, and I didn’t call her right back, I didn’t even attempt with going to sit at my computer which is where I would at least be able to dial her number. Then another week passed, and I would just walk right by my office and think, I need to call my friend Writing back, I need to call her, but I don’t even know what to say, I don’t know where to begin, I’ve been ignoring her for weeks, for no reason, no reason at all. Uuuuuuugggggghhhhh!!!! Ok, here goes. I shall channel Adele and see if I can reach her. Hellooooo? Can you hear me?
A Much Needed Visit to See Family
First Stop, California…
It started on Easter, taking my boys to California to visit Grammy and Papa and all of their Aunts and Uncles and Cousins. We did all the traditional Easter festivities; coloring eggs, eating, Easter Mass, eating, hunting for eggs, eating, catching up with family, aaaaannnndddd eating! Every corner of my parents home is filled with smells of home cooked food, the waft of whatever deliciousness my mom has had simmering for 24 hours, and there is never a kids snack, or a cocktail or glass of wine that is more than an arms reach away, which is why I will never understand how my mom stays so damn thin! Their house overflows with the chaos of adults and grandkids coming in and out at all times, with hysterical laughter and tantrums always in ear shot. On the weekends, you will find my dad coming back from picking up doughnuts on his way home from church and making his second or third trip to the grocery store for things my mom needs, then sneaking past whatever is on the stove to add a dash of salt and pepper and more seasoning (aka, whatever is sitting next to the stove with the cap off). He does this while he hums, like the constant kind of hum that your refrigerator makes and you forget it’s still there until suddenly you notice it again and can’t NOT notice it, then he walks around turning off all the lights that everyone has left on, and then someone walks up behind him and turns the lights back on. My mom makes a face at my dad and we all laugh and then we pour a drink. The kids are jumping in the pool no matter what the temperature. Someone is yelling, someone is laughing, someone is doing dishes or cleaning up toys or picking up the trail of clothes that leads out to the pool.
Once in a blue moon there are a few quiet moments and I’ll catch my mom lying down on the couch looking as if she’s in a blissful sleep, so I tip toe, and then I hear, “It’s ok, I’m not sleeping, I was just resting my eyes”. I honestly don’t think my mom has taken a legitimate nap since 1974. My childhood home will always feel like home, from the smell to the look to the feel to the taste, it has my history of laughs, and tears, and fights, and lessons learned, and memories made, and brothers torment and sister drama and parents love wrapped up in every square inch of it.
After the Easter weekend, my sisters and mom and I took ALL 12 kids to Palm Springs to sun it up and have a mini vacation. The wind was blowing almost as loud and crazy as we were. We went to the pool everyday and ate our weight in chips and salsa and chicken tenders and fries and drank gallons of watered down margaritas and lemonade and vodkas, and bought the kids $7 a piece Dip ’n Dots at 10 o’clock in the morning (those things are a racket! steer clear, I’m warning you). Then every 20 minutes we would furiously look around for a child that we hadn’t seen in a while, whom was always eventually found afloat on a tube in the pee filled water of the lazy river. I told my mom that next year we should hire a cook, a waiter, a bartender, a maid, and a life guard and just stay at her house and pretend we are gone! Ha! We had an absolute BLAST together and I missed them the moment we left to come home.
Next Stop, Arizona
We came home for three nights and two days and got in as much time with hubby/dad as we could before I packed us up again for a 12 hour road trip to Arizona to visit Grandma Loli, Goompa, and Auntie Jenna (and her boyfriend Brian). We packed the car from top to bottom with all our shit, along with my friend Susie and her two boys. Susie’s parents live in Arizona as well, right on the way to my in-laws, which was perfect because I get car sick if I read in the car so I have a tendency to get a little antsy on road trips, “are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet?” I was so excited to have a friend to help keep me entertained! DVD players attached to the back of the seats. check. ipads. check. snacks. check. drinks. check. more snacks and drinks. check. stuffed animals, pillows, lacrosse sticks. check. coloring books, crayons, reading books, and other things that take up space that they will not use for 12 hours because they are playing on electronic devices and eating snacks the whole time. check. VODKA AND OJ for our over night hotel stay. check, check and double check! The kids were awesome, we broke up the trip into two days so we could stay at a hotel and let the kids blow off some steam at the pool and we could make cocktails in coffee cups with hotel ice. We snuck over to the hotel next door in the morning to steal their “free breakfast” since our hotel did not provide anything complimentary except for the ice for our cocktails, and with bellies full of mini muffins and fruit loops and a purse full of bagels “for the road” we set off on the last leg of our trip.
My in-laws just finished building their new home a little over a year ago, and when we arrived and walked in, it had that ‘new car smell’. It’s beautiful, and modern, with big windows, and tile floors, and surrounded by a desert landscape that was, dare I say, lush. It was an oasis. While unfamiliar, it felt familiar, and comfortable, and zen.
We rode golf carts around the neighborhood, explored the nature of the desert, went to the Butterfly Pavilion, giggled, took naps, swam, flew kites and had water fights (Crew decided to be naked) and played kickball on the grass tennis courts, went in the infrared sauna, did yoga, watched movies, took vitamins, and drank wine! And I got to walk past pics like this in their hallways…my hubs was such a cute little boy.
I am one of the lucky one’s who, by chance or the grace of God, married into a family that is the yang to my family’s yin. I have the privilege of experiencing two sides of the family dynamic spectrum, and I get to reside and float between them; it feeds my entire soul and it’s beautiful. And I revel in my boys being given the gift of experiencing the love of both sides of our families as well.
Also while visiting, the boys (and Russ and I) received an incredible gift from Grandma Loli that she has been working on for quite some time and it finally came to fruition…
Introducing The Kingdom of Hither and Ther~, written by Lori Helgeson and dedicated to Charlie and Crew Helgeson. This was a gift in every sense of the word, a story written to resonate with both young and old alike, it is about how we choose to journey through this life, how we choose to live authentically and what a beautiful “Kingdom” we can create for ourselves by being true.
“The Reward that is offered in the Kingdon to All is the Kingdom’s most Precious Jewel, Be Who You Are, Trust What You Feel, This is the Golden Rule. In Hither and There Each Day is a Blessing An Offering to create something New, A Calling to Become something more than what was as the Unknown comes Shining through.”
It is so beautifully written and my boys faces are memorized by the words and illustration. I lose myself in the story and the message every time I read it. Thank you Grandma Loli for putting this out in the world.
Viva la Mexico!
After arriving home from Arizona, I had one day to regroup, repack, and the hubs and I headed to Mexico with our awesome friends! Nothing like a week in Puerto Vallarta with 8 couples, eating, drinking, and getting our tan on, to officially unplug me from reality.
Admittedly there were brief moments of fear of both getting bit by a mosquito carrying the Zika virus, and being kidnapped by Mexican cartel, but neither of those things happened, so with perfect weather, off the charts accommodations, and time with amazing friends (sans kids), it made for a kick ass adult vacation! Random fun fact…We also met Dennis Haysbert on the plane out there , he’s the actor who played Pedro Cerrano in Major League (now he’s the Allstate guy). Russ geeked out for a hot second…and I reeeeaaaalllly wanted to quote “Is very bad to steal Jobu’s rum. Is very bad”. But I held it in.
Home Sweet Home
After going through the hell hole that is LAX customs, then touching down in Salt Lake City, we finally arrived home at midnight on a Sunday and had to get the kids to school the next morning. Ugh, that friggin hurt! The next few days consisted of me wandering aimlessly around the house, the grocery store, and quite possibly loitering in front of the liquor store due to being ‘on the wagon’ in an attempt to dry myself out. I stared at the 100th load of laundry circling around in the washer while drinking my 8th cup of coffee each day, shooting evil, jealous looks at my bed pillows and duvet because how dare they just be able to lay there on my bed, all inviting and cozy, taunting me for a nap I have no time to take. And adjusting to the bipolar weather that is mountain living in the Spring is enough to make one a tad nuts. It snows, it melts, a few flowers bloom, it snows again, it melts again, there is mud, it’s 75 degrees one day and 45 degrees the next.
Just as we settled back into the normalcy of life and our withdrawals of not drinking beer at 10am and laying in the sun all day finally dissipated, Russ’ neck issue, a severely bulged disc that he had been suffering through/living with for two months, finally gave way to the worst it had been, he slipped a disc in his neck and he was completely laid up for over a week. A trip to the emergency room left him bleak without hope of help and relief. Whether you are the person going through excruciating physical pain or the person trying to sympathize but all the while feeling helpless, this is the time where you realize just how much you take your physical health for granted. With his second cortisone shot under his belt he is now on the road to recovery and life is regaining some sense of flow again. But I continued to procrastinate opening my computer by preoccupying myself with my label maker. It’s kind of like a computer (i tell myself) and it makes things look so organized, how could I not?
Back in the Saddle (and OFF the wagon, thank god)
So, here I am, back on the horse. Writing answered my call, like the loyal friend that she is, and forgave me for ignoring her for so long. So, we are reunited and it feels sooo good! The struggle to keep her a priority in my life when things get crazy is a real one for me, but I’ll keep at it. And with that said, Crew peed his bed, my phone has been on the fritz for two weeks, I think I have a tear in my rotator cuff, and Charlie threatened to move out and find a new family last night when I told him it was time to brush his teeth.
It’s 1pm on a Thursday, the sky is blue, Spring is in full swing, I got in some yoga outside, and I just drank a Carona, and once that settles I may even go for a jog (ooooorrrrr drink just one more beer while I organize the laundry room…oooooh more fun with my label maker!!).