First, our friend Elisabeth came up from Los Angeles. I've not talked about it a lot, but I have gone through some serious LA withdrawals. Strange, given how I so clearly recall all the sobbing and gnashing of teeth I went through when we ended up moving there. And while I am very happy to be living in Northern California now, I still miss the friends we made in LA and the neighborhood we lived in. So it was great to have Elisabeth come up for a few days to help me distract Ethan from Husband's absence. There were hours (literally) of Guitar Hero and a trip up to the city. We watched the sea lions, gorged on chocolate at Ghirardelli's, hopped on the street car in the rain, had lunch at a sketchy restaurant in Chinatown (thankfully it was vegetarian so I was not too worried by any mystery meat that might have ended up on my plate otherwise).
After Elisabeth left on Wednesday, we headed up to the Santa Cruz mountains with friends from preschool. Now, if you know me, you know I'm not so much with the outdoors. I wasn't raised to really be one with nature. My dad used to say, "I spent a year camping. In Vietnam." So you know, that really ended that discussion. And that's okay. We rented a beach house for two weeks every summer and took walks on the beach every night--that was our outdoorsy time. And it was great. But it wasn't really throw on a backpack and hike up the side of a mountain type of experience, you know? So I've always kind of wanted to explore that part of the outdoors that I wasn't really privy to growing up. Thankfully, friends of ours are uber-outdoorsy, so I plan on riding their wake, so to speak, into the great outdoors, as much as I can this summer. As long as I can stop imaging mountain lions and bears stalking me through the forest. Because you know. That sucks. But the hiking is awesome.
look at how excited he is to hike?! And how much do you freaking love the poncho he had to borrow from our friends because mama forgot that when you go 1000s of feet up in elevation, it gets a bit chilly. He is like David freaking Cassidy, for the love.
snack time. Seriously, so much fun. Ethan loved it so much and it made me feel so happy to be surrounded by nature--except for the mountain lions that I'm sure were there stalking us.
Don't they look like they're having a serious discussion about something? Like maybe those banana chips. Or the mountain lions that I know were stalking us.
The next day, after school, we embarked on the marathon play date. We arrived at our friend's house at 1:30 and didn't head for home until after 5:30. I wish I had some pictures to post, but my mommy friend and I may have sat on our butts for those 4 hours while our children headed off for parts unknown in the house, happily playing independently for most of the time. They emerged long enough to scarf down half a watermelon. And I will neither confirm nor deny that the children were later found trying to diaper themselves and/or each other with newborn diapers. So clearly, they had a good time.
Friday, we mellowed out. I don't sleep well when the house is sans Husband. Not only is it because of the parenting 100% of the time, but because every little sound at night has me lurching out of the bed, rechecking the locks, wondering where the phone is in case I need to gather up Ethan, hide in a closet and dial 911 (um. can I borrow some xanax? Anyone?). So by Friday I am a little woozy from the lack of sleep. Ethan, however, has endless reserves of what can only be described as jet fuel spurring him on to go! go! go! all week long, even when Husband is out of town. So I'm glad for that, I guess; at least it means he's at ease, and able to sleep even when Daddy's not home.
Before picking Husband up at the airport on Saturday, Ethan and I joined friends at the ballet. We went to a local production of Alice in Wonderland and it was really great and Ethan loved it---until they did a frighteningly accurate retelling of the "off with her head" part of the story. Guards pushing Alice to the ground, holding her arms out and pushing her head down. A Marilyn-Manson'd-out executioner jumping all over the stage with a massive, axe. Oh yeah, it was good. My friend and I gave each other the hair eyeball over the kids' heads and I could tell we were both trying to calculate the amount of therapy the kids were going to need.
Fortunately whoever did the blocking on the production didn't pay much attention to what the outer edges of the rows could or couldn't see, because at the moment the executioner raised her axe, half of the deck of cards lined up right in our line of sight, so scariest Alice moment averted, thank you very much.
Ohdeargod, right??!! I swear my friend and I did NOT color coordinate them intentionally. Ethan picked his shirt out himself. I want to write up a marriage contract right now and be done with it, people. Is that wrong?
Waiting for the ballet to start. Clearly they had some reading to do about the production and cast...
After the ballet, it was a quick stop to the frozen yogurt place and then off to the airport to pick up Husband. Poor Husband was home for an hour before I made him put Ethan to bed and then stay up another 4 hours to watch the series finale of LOST with me. I'm a giver, what can I say?
Ethan doesn't quite grasp how exciting it is that mama nabbed one of those Smarte Cartes, for free! Squee! It was just sitting there in the parking lot when we arrived and I was so excited not to have to pay $1. Then Husband told me that they're always free in the international terminal. Damn it!
But he had to watch LOST the night he returned because the next day we were going to a Memorial Day barbeque with friends who had all watched the finale and we NEEDED to wax philosophical about the existential angst/fulfillment/angst/fulfillment that was the finale. (seriously, did you watch it?! Awwwwwwesome!)
In addition to the LOST conversation, there was some serious face-painting, an epic water balloon fight, an obscene amount of lamb and wine, and a paper airplane competition off the edge of the world. So, you know. A great night.
Not a bad view, huh?
I cannot even bring myself to think of all the little lambs that had to die so I could eat this. But it was insanely good.
I made "dirt" for dessert for the kids. Pudding, cool whip, a stick of butter, a slab of cream cheese, vanilla, and a bag of crushed oreos. Insane. Shove a few gummy worms in there and you are good. to. go. (Also, I made a blueberry pie for the adults that I burned to a crispy crisp, but they are good friends so they ate it and oooh'd and ahhh'd it even though it tasted slightly of the inside of my oven).
The dads got their inner geek on and engineered their own paper airplanes and flew them (read: nose-dived them) off the edge of the mountain in the back yard.
My little Paul Stanley (taking a break from being a Paul of the McCartney persuasion last night) serenading us.
"As soon as my friend's dad fills this balloon up with water, it is going to rock your world! Or I will just throw it off the side of the back porch and watch it pop on the ground. Over and over again."