Rowan turned two this month, and we had a birthday breakfast picnic with our family + a few of his little friends. And I did it! I finally did it! I threw a low-key party without stressing (except once for five minutes), no crafting, and zero let-down expectations.
The only theme I did was everything in dark blue (his favorite color). So I used picnic blanket plaids in blue and had lots and lots of blue balloons around his birthday present -- a teepee! (I figured this was the last year before he was fully talking and submitting birthday theme requests, so I took it and ran! One last, easy, cutesy party before dinosaurs invade my life!)
When we were dating, I'd make Zack a compilation of all of our videos for that calendar year. Now that my biggest life milestones revolve around being a mom, they revolve around our little son. These videos are one of my most favorite things to do!
Aaaand we're BACK! I hope none of you are tired of me talking about our trip already. If you are, then I'm not sure why you are looking at my blog right now. Get outa here!... JK I love you, please be my friend. You guys, the mom-brain and travel-haze is so real, because I've been home for about a week and am already forgetting details about things that happened. God help meh! I'm so glad I'm writing this down! If you missed part one about our Oxford visit + how we packed, then check that out first.
So on the 5th day of our trip... "my true love gave to meeee... FIVE GOLDEN--"
Sorry. Staying on track...
DAY 5: When we were planning this section of the trip, we definitely made a calendar error. We wanted to just take a train to Glasgow and stay there for a day, but then we realized we were one day short and would have to stay on the railway alllll the way to Fort William with only a short stop-off in Glasgow.
Well, our traveling craze just earned us another badge. We officially survived our first family-style international traveling experience with an almost 2 year old. Back in March, we took a cross-country trip to Portland and drove down to the Redwoods in California. After that experience, I had moments of doubt that we would ever be able to travel internationally or with multiple children one day. But then... as we thought back on our planning mistakes with the Oregon trip and realized Rowan's free, under-two travel window was expiring (along with my last month before returning to teach)... we knew we had to squeeze in a trip. CARPE DIEM, PEOPLE!
Today I sit here baffled by the fact that I'm about to have a two year old. Around this time two years ago, I was having not just one but THREE amazing baby showers from the end of August to the beginning of September. Mainly that was due to having giant families... but still! Yesterday I stumbled across these gorgeous pictures taken by the endlessly talented Morgan Trinker -- photographer, expert home-remodeler, and (as you can see) President of Flawless Parties.
One reason I started this blog was to reflect back on things MY parents did for me -- as I navigate parenting myself. So in honor of Father's Day here is the video footage from the father-daughter dance at my wedding with my dad. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's three years ago after dealing with symptoms for the past five years, but it doesn't stop him from being so strong and fun! (Rowan, check out your Granddad's moves!)
So you are trying to simply walk out of the door and make it to the car with your kid. It's just a morning outing and somehow you're holding TWO different bags and a juice cup as you stuff a stray extra diaper in the backpack shaped like a (insert: fox, owl, ladybug, giraffe, monkey, etc.) with your non-phone/juice holding hand and grab your keys - whoops! dropped the phone!... [insert crazy-face emoji here]... If that description sounded very normal to you, then the title of this post probably sounds hilarious. It's hard to imagine EVER packing all you could need for an entire trip with a kiddo in one or two bags, but I'm here to testify... you can!
Obviously no destination is created equal, but this is how we tried to pack as smart and light *BUT AS PREPARED* as possible for our Oregon roadtrip.
This March, I turned the big 3-0! Yes, it's true. But instead of a party, all I asked for was an exciting trip... Then I remembered we have a 1 year old. So we carefully evaluated just how big and how exciting... And although he's plenty old enough for grandparent overnight babysitting, being without Rowan an entire week was really going to bring down my level of carefree galavanting (i.e. I might've had panic attacks.) We decided to use our Skymiles for free tickets and keep it in the States, and we planned a trip to drive down to see the Redwoods from Portland.
A week ago, we took Rowan to Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve on his first official hike. I suppose I'm still trying to play catch up on my 2015 goal of "doing things in Birmingham we never have," and Ruffner was on that list.
It was a perfect 55 degree February day, and the trails are extremely accessible. No need to stop in deserted rural areas asking the folks at the gas station where a trailhead is as you scour your iPhone maps and get half-hearted advice... "The what? Oh, yeah just turn left and head up the road a ways." GREAT. THANKS.
We parked and checked out the facilities at the Visitor Center, and then set out on the Quarry Trail. This was just over a mile and then it branched off to the Overlook trail, which is less than a half a mile more.
If Rowan hadn't been lulled to sleep in the backpack carrier, then it would've been a very relaxing, easy trek. Unfortunately he was flopping all around while snoozing pretty hard, so Zack had to carry him like a sack of potatoes for a good portion as we tried to wake him up. It wasn't even nap time! Sheesh! That's just how peaceful it was.
It's that time of year again! The changing of the calendar can either bring on the feelings of "oh, please, it's just another day" or "I'm going to completely revamp my entire liiiife!" I'd say I definitely lean towards the second extreme, but only because I love an excuse to reevaluate and think of new goals. (I'm futuristic and an achiever for any of you who know about that... So it only makes sense that I'd be really into NYE ponderings.)
This day last year, I made some very specific goals... some of which --even though I thought they were realistic-- were not the easiest to complete.
1. DINNER! Learn more go-to meals - Yeah this one didn't turn out so hot. Does it count if I discovered that Trader Joe's has incredible flatbreads??? No? Okay, didn't think so. Positives? I got better at grocery shopping and couponing, and I think the fact that I eat tons of salads gets me extra life points.