Aug 24, 2021

A Tale of Two Seniors

8/24/2021 — cori


Our first senior is Gavin. He is in his final year at North Dakota State University. We've been so lucky to get to visit him in Fargo at least once a year, sometimes even twice. We've really come to enjoy Fargo and all it offers. Gavin takes us to all the best restaurants and hikes along the Red River. 

On one of our walks we passed this beautiful mural. I just love when cities let artists bring the sides of boring old buildings to life with art. This was at the end of a beautiful street lined with historic homes from the early 1900s. The whole walk was so lovely. 

We took advantage of the gorgeous weather and were outside as much as possible. We played tennis the evening we arrived. Funny story about our arrival. We were supposed to be there day before actually.

But when we got to the airport, this is what greeted us. It is a line of people snaked outside the terminal. This is odd, we thought. We marched inside like this line had nothing to do with us. We were off to our sneaky little security terminal that hardly anyone knows about. But when we got over to it, there was a lady saying the line was 'back there.' We kept following the line only to end up back outside where we started. It's hard to describe our shock. The security line wound all around the top level of the airport and when it ran out of space, pushed the rest of the people outside. And nobody knew why. This has NEVER happened before. Chuck finally went in and asked anyone with a badge what was going on. Come to find out, the underground train that is used to transport passengers to terminals A, B & C was not working. So everyone who had a flight out of terminal A, had to take the bridge to Terminal A which is where our 'secret' security line is. People leaving out of the other terminals were bused there and went thru a different security line. It was a MAD HOUSE!!!  We stood in line for an hour and realized we were never going to make our flight. We hadn't even made it inside the airport yet. So while I secured our place in line, Chuck went back in to see if they were holding flights. Nope. No flights would be held, was the answer. What to do?!

We decided to split up yet again. This time Chuck stayed in the security line and I went to the ticket counter line. We had like 30 minutes before our flight took off and we had an important decision to make - risk missing our flight and having to pay for new tickets, or ask if they can exchange these tickets for new ones on a different day since the chaos is clearly no allowing us to make our flight on time. I got to the ticket counter eventually and explained our situation. They let me move our non-refundable tickets to the next day without any fees because of all the crazy. This meant that since they didn't have a plane coming back on Sunday, we got to stay until Monday, giving us an extra day with Gavin, much to our excitement. By the time the guy was printing me out our new tickets, Chuck made it to about 100 yards from the security area. There was no way we could make it to security, sprint through the rest of the airport and make it to our flight before the doors closed. Thankfully, everything worked out and we got to spend the rest of our day back home.

We even got to change our reservations to a super nice hotel right in downtown Fargo within walking distance of Gavin's apartment.

I just love attention to detail like this! We've yet to see a show at this iconic theater though.

I just love the refrigerator in Gavin's apartment. It's the perfect place to write his two favorite formulas. And who doesn't love magnet letters?!

Meanwhile....back home, my high school senior is fending for herself. The original plan was only to be gone one night and her friend would come and stay the night with her. Chloe is highly independent and very good at staying on her own. So we never usually worry about her. Even though our flight plans changed, her friend and her were easily able to adjust their plans. 

The day we left, Chloe worked a 6 hour shift as did her friend. They met up at the house after work and both were exhausted. Except Chloe felt extra exhausted. And hot. And achy. She took some ibuprofen and felt a tad bit better. But by the next morning when her fever spiked to 101, she knew she was sick. Her friend left immediately (only to end up with the same thing 3 days later). 

So there we are having a blast in Fargo while Chloe is lying in bed with a high fever, moaning in pain over her sore throat, achy body, and migraine and having to take care of herself and Ninja.To say I felt awful is an understatement! That's one of my main jobs as a mom - to nurse the kids when they're sick and carry that burden with them. No one likes to be sick alone. 

We stayed in touch via text both days. Most of the time she didn't want to be bothered and slept the majority of the day - that's all she could do. Thankfully, Ninja kept her company and slept with her. She did such a hard thing all by herself. 

Sadly, we still don't know what virus she had. She had been exposed to covid at school 3 times (based on the contact tracing done by the school who alerted us). And it appears something was going around at her work as well (we still don't know what that was either). It had all the signs of a sinus infection but also the signs of the delta variant of covid which is highly transmissible. She took a covid text the Thursday before we left and it was negative. We took another today and have yet to get the results (I'll update the post later when we finally know). That's the thing about living in the era of covid now, you have to eliminate that possibility first.  

But we're so happy to have 2 seniors, both culminating their final years of learning in high school and college. What exciting times! Plus, they graduate 1 week apart next May! The end of an known era and the excitement of new beginnings!

Jul 17, 2021

San Diego Vacation - Take Two

7/17/2021 — cori

Last year, "The Year Of Covid," curtailed any and all travel plans. The whole year pretty much passed in a blur. We barely went any where and did practically nothing. We were supposed to go on this vacation last year, but alas, it was not meant to be. So we went this year instead - eleven years after the first time we visited. I'm going to be doing lots of flash backs here because it's so uncanny how time changes us all. The first time we went the kids didn't eat as much, have as many opinions, have cell phones, and were all able to sleep in one bed together. Not so this time. Not so! Each time was perfect for who we were and are and a perfect reflection of our family at each phase of life.

In 2010 we visited most of the same beaches, but did it more as parents with kids instead of a family of friends. 

Here, the kids bought their own boogie board. Chloe was actually the first one in the freezing cold water encouraging the rest of us to join her. 

Back then, Chloe was a little bit scared of the thunderous waves. But they all had fun together...a trait that continued on this trip as well.

Chuck and I were 37 and tired alot, having the demands that come with a young family. We loved every minute of it, especially those years between 2009-2011, we lovingly refer to those as our "golden years of parenting" cuz our kids were so much fun to hang around. We'd yet to experience teenagers and learn that it gets even better!

Now we're in our late forties and so much more comfortable in our own skin. We still love hanging out with our kids, but more as friends these days. Our experience in San Diego was completely different this time because we had to take into account their wants and likes and dislikes. Last time, I just made the plan and we all did it and liked it. This time we spent what felt like hours ironing out how the day should flow, where to eat, which beach to go to, should we walk or drive. Everyone has opinions!

Back then we kept it simple and didn't go too far out into the ocean.

This time, the more dangerous, the better! They waded as far out as possible. At one point a life guard had to come and tell them to move to a different location because the rip tides were really dangerous where they were. In Carlsbad, the waves were the best! We learned that was where the boogie board was born. I LOVED boogie boarding. It was so exciting. It took me a little longer to get in the water than it did for the kids, but I was right there with them most of the time. I made the mistake of putting my back to the waves and getting whiplashed over and over again.

Chuck usually plays so hard, he crashes whenever he comes in contact with a bed. Here, he was ready to go out for dinner, but couldn't hold his eyes open. I love that he plays his heart out!

This is how we did it back in the old days. The kids would all share one bed. 

But this trip, we even splurged on two rooms at one hotel. Not the one pictured. This picture is of the hotel in Vegas. Chuck, Chloe and I shared a bed in this one. That was fun. Speaking of Vegas - it was insane. That is all I have to say about that. The kids liked it though.

This was our hotel in Vegas. It was beautiful, but it was also massive and filled with the entire population of the rest of the world. After all Covid restrictions were lifted, everyone seemed to flock here in droves. I took this picture at 6:30 in the morning. I'm sure some people were just going to bed around that time. In retrospect, it probably wasn't the best move to plan our arriving in Las Veags on July 4th. 

On the bright side though, we did have a spectacular view on the roof to watch the fireworks. 

A perfect view of the strip.

Like the crazy people we are, we thought it would be fun to drive down the strip at night to see all the bright lights. We were fools. It took us an hour to drive 1 mile. No joke. 

Chloe in 2010 - 6 years old.

Chloe in 2021 - 17 years old.

Bennett in 2010 - 8 years old.

Bennett in 2021 - 19 years old.

Gavin in 2010 - 11 years old.

Gavin in 2021 - 22 years old.

We road-tripped it back then.

And we did the same thing this go around.

We watched more gorgeous sunsets.

Multiple times. The kids couldn't understand if I saw a sunset last night, why I needed to see another one again the next night. But I stood my ground and saw my sunsets. 

What's not to love about La Jolla?! My FAVORITE!

We proved that we can be 48 and cool still! I don't think we embarrassed the kids too much!

An important side note is our love of ice cream on vacation. I think we had it almost every day. Sometimes it was in place of a meal. But there was one place that stole our hearts - Shoobie's in Carlsbad. So we went there twice. It was Nitrogen ice cream. We picked the type of milk (or non-dairy alternative) and toppings and they added nitrogen to the liquid ingredients and mixed the concoction together in front of our very own eyes and we loved every minute of it. 

We enjoyed many a hot tub at all our various hotels over the course of our 9 day trip.

We also had the unfortunate luck of witnessing an almost dead seal on the beach. That is why Chloe is having a cow. She noticed that it wasn't dead, had a huge bite taken out of it, and was flopping around kind of pathetically. She was not pleased to be witness to this cycle of life event.

We also had some HILARIOUS conversations regarding Bennett's need to workout. He let it be known that he still planned on working out while we were on vacation because it is "bulking season." Although, he didn't want to wake up early to do said workout. He wanted to try to plan it around our schedule (which there was none). This is a conversation we were having in a hotel lobby one night and it was so hilarious. I recorded a large chunk of it where Bennett is trying to explain what "bulking season" is and why he must continue even while on vacation. He couldn't seem to understand that vacation is just that...a break from our "norms." For the record, he never once worked out but was very peeved that he wasn't looking as strong because of it. And he did indulge in all our ice cream and In And Out Burger outings as well. Needless to say, we were laughing so hard, it was therapeutic. And "bulking season" became a big buzzword during our entire trip.

It wasn't all sunshine and palm trees though, lest you think we had the perfect vacation. Oh no! Far from it. We actually ended up driving through the Mojave desert. This was never the plan, but happened none-the-less. A 5 hour drive turned into an 8 1/2 hour drive. So, this is why we got to see so many Joshua Trees. I never want to see them again. This trip caused me to reevaluate my appreciation of the desert lifestyle. My new opinion is - I don't like it. The end. We also had a horrible experience at our first was a dump! Bugs in the windows and on the bed. Horrible restaurant food. But we made the most of it. I emptied a can of lysol on to all surfaces. And then someone was reminded of how this experience was just like an episode of Schitt's Creek - which it was exactly! So we watched it that night to help lighten the mood and commiserate with the actors on that show.

Last time we went to Legoland. It was awesome! The kids were the perfect age!

This time we went to Sea Life Aquariam at Legoland. Gavin reminded us that last time we went, there was no such thing as a selfie. Instead, we bought all the kids disposable cameras to use so we could see the trip through their eyes.



The Fam - 2010

The Fam - 2021. I love them both.

Jun 29, 2021

Sticky Note Affirmations

6/29/2021 — cori

 This is Chloe's bathroom. We like to leave love notes for each other.

This is the door to her bathroom.

This is my side of the sink. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude by all the love coming off those sticky notes from all my people.

This is Chuck's side of the sink. At first glance, one might see an inequity of sticky notes. But, how many dads have their very own poster board of their perfect likeness smothered in affirming sticky notes taped to the bathroom door? That's what I thought. So maybe the inequity isn't as drastic as it appears. I wouldn't feel too sorry for him. He's feeling the love. Afterall, just look at that smile.
One thing I know for sure, I treasure these little pieces of paper more than any one knows. Affirmations go a long way!


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