Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Friendship Love Letters

As per usual this time of year, my mind can't help but be turned to thoughts and memories of things that I am most grateful for. It's sort of a sappy ritual, especially when it includes a gathering of people at a dinner table piled-high with high-calorie food, taking turns pulling out from underneath a year's worth of nonsense the most important things that truly make them grateful. And in my case, to keep the cheesy tradition alive, I'm so grateful for my family.
Of course.
But I mean it. And to dig a little deeper, I'm grateful for one specific time when it was just Jude and us. Don't get me wrong, we are all over-the-moon to have Scout in our lives, like, ridiculously so. But that summer that Jude was one-and-a-half and both Adam and I had the most uncomplicated jobs ever and we were the non-busiest I think we've ever been, not-to-mention having had an adorably chubby son in tote, and a beautiful city that really felt like our own at our finger-tips, I hold some of my fondest memories. The kind of memories that actually take you out of your body for a second and you're not sure how much time has lapsed when you finally snap back into reality. 
And I'm so gratitude that at that time in our lives our best friend Phil shot a video of us and all our favorite places, and went above-and-beyond to capture the love and warmth and joy we were experiencing at that time of being first-time parents gushing over our beautiful, little family. 
Phil and his wife, Jessica, are some of our greatest friends and not only did we have a blast shooting the video, but they always gave us their time and love as really honest friends. No matter what we were doing--dessert date night, going to the Saturday market, bbqing, fruit-picking, YouTube video watching, binge-eating--we always had the best time. And right before they moved away from us, looking back now, I see now how they really, inadvertently, sent us off with a video that culminated our mutual love of family, Portland and the many things we used to do together as friends. 
And I know I've posted this video before, but it means so much more to me even now than it did then, looking back on all we've all been through and done these last two years.
We love you Phil and Jessica! Thanks again! (and the offer to move in with us still stands. SLEEPOVER!)

Also, it's way better to view if you click the link below the video. Which also takes you to Phil's Vimeo site where you can view all of his stellar videos. 

Instagram In Love from Phillip Goodwin on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Disney Land (Part I)

Last month we spent a week in California at Disney Land and California Adventure for a family reunion with Adam's family! It's been many, many years in the works and this was such a blast of a gathering for all of us Stevens', especially since it was my first time at the parks. (My summers were spent in the Adirondacks and knee deep "mowing" the lawn with these --ask me how many scars I have on my ankles. Ask me). 
Living in the relative middle of the country now definitely has its perks when it comes to flying from one coast to the next. It was usually a 12-hour day flying to go see whichever of our families we didn't live immediately next to and now it's a solid 6 hours tops. And it's beautiful. The kids were darling little champs--mostly sleeping the whole time--and I also realized that from now on when we're gifted with the opportunity to upgrade we will be without question offered a mini-van and NOT a Mazda-6. 
It's cool. 
I found that driving a brand new Dodge Caravan, with its sexy-smooth leather and automatic doors, actually tempted me to throw my next $20k into becoming even more of a 1980's-mom jeans-happy-family cliche. 
What made me feel that way in the first place?--Matching Disney t-shirts. 
But I digress...

Jude took a little bit to get used to the masses of people, loud rides and larger-than-life characters, but once he sunk his teeth into some chocolate and nearly choked me to death more than once in little-man terror, he got relatively used to it. 

Look at this kid! Talmadge wasn't even afraid at all to go on Splash Mountain. His aunt, on the other hand, was screaming like a little girl and asking to be let out next to the dancing rabbits. 
He then put her to further shame by going on Tower of Terror and LOVING it. 

mmm..that's a good looking group.

Scout definitely enjoys being outside and was such a good little girl sleeping in the stroller and joining me to meet up with Mother Goose every two hours. (explained below) 

And THIS is when all of their wildest dreams came true. 

Is sleeping babes not the best site ever??

Can I just say, aside from the most delicious corn dogs ever (I don't even like hot dogs), hot beignets, Ghirardelli milkshakes, or the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, my absolute favorite part of the whole parks experience was the Child Care Center. Every time I needed to nurse Scout I would walk in and be greeted by wonderful elderly ladies dressed as Mother Goose guiding me into an adorable room with wooden rocking chairs to feed my precious babe. It was a beautiful, beautiful experience. And I spent more time there than I should have.
It was magical. 

Jude wasn't so sure about the parade at first, but once he realized that the floats weren't actually coming after him and were just rounding the corner very slowly, he was cool with it all. 

And that's Part I! We were exhausted after just one full day at Disney Land and took a day in between to hang out at the house and swim. 
My idea of the perfect vacation is a careful balance of play and doing absolutely nothing but lying on a couch with re-runs and takeout. 
And I was perfectly careful. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Newcomers

Well, we're here in Austin!
My mom drove down with me and the kids at the end of September, and we had such a great time. My mom is the kind of lady that will 100% judge me for ordering a large diet coke, but will totally support me for letting my son create a flowing river of pee on the pavement of a deli parking lot. We get along just fine. 
It took us 4 full days of driving and a nice, sweet visit with our dear family in Missouri, and the kids were total champs. And let me just say, having driven from one coast to the next and also from north to south, this country is pretty freakin' spectacular. 

Adam and I have certainly been adjusting to our roles completely reversing once again, with him now working out of the home exclusively and me being home all day, every day, but I must admit--it's pretty fantastic. I've never been very enthusiastic about the whole career-mom thing because, personally, I'm just not that energetic. Or organized. Or optimistic. 
Hats off to all you full-time moms with full-time careers that are pulling it off because you are magical, mystical, majestic creatures that deserve an award. Or a metal. Or at least a cuddle from someone. I volunteer my services. 
So, aside from this weekend, every weekend since moving in has been busy with either having family in town or us being out of town, and we decided to take advantage and explore downtown Austin Friday night as an adorably clueless family of four. What we discovered is Austin is a rockin' town. I mean, we ate at a bar last night and the food was fantastic and there were also other families there with young children. Everyone was well-behaved, restaurants played live music, and the streets were dazzling with hanging string lights. 

This week we also took a trip to the Thinkery childrens museum and have otherwise been hanging out at home and enjoying the cooler weather.
Fall really is the best. 

And having daddy outside of the home makes for some pretty sweet and enthusiastic nightly reunions. "DA-DA!!!!!!"

Thanks for the warm welcome, Austin. I think we're going to be really great friends. 

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