I guess we can all say it...I totally abandoned this blog for 2 months! I use it as a journal for our family, so this is not cool. I've totally broken the habit and I'll have to work hard to get back at it! "Last published August 8th"...sad....
SO MUCH has been happening around here, which is the reason it's so sad that I haven't written!
In a Reader's Digest version, I'll try to get it all done. But my Reader's Digest usually turns into a National Geographic article...so bear with me :o) Luckily, I have lots of pictures to keep you entertained!
To start us out, here are some favorite pictures of Nathan at a public pool one evening. We went with my sisters and dad and had tons of fun! I had my camera out for a few minutes but then jumped in the "big kid" pool with him and the family and swam around :o)
Alright, so on August 13th we celebrated our 3rd anniversary. It's amazing how fast time flies when you're having fun! It hasn't all been a picnic, of course...I remember hearing once that "if marriage is fun and easy all the time, you're doing it wrong", and we agree! We, like every other married couple on earth, have little issues here and there. The biggest challenge we've overcome came this year: finishing my counseling for PTSD and anxiety. I am so glad to have this hurdle in the past! I still have anxiety attacks every few months, but Mitch has been so supportive, even going to counseling with me so he can learn from my counselor how to help me.
Anyway, we chose to go to the KC Country Club Plaza, a huge shopping district that was designed after the artist's visit to Barcelona, Spain. Gorgeous Spanish tile staircases, bell towers, and of course the best shopping ever! We gave ourselves little allowances and enjoyed ourselves. (Yes, we gave up picking out anniversary presents for each other long ago...we are too specific about what we'd pick out ourselves!) We enjoyed ourselves at dinner at Buca di Beppo (1/2 lb meatballs! The so-called "appetizers" alone had us stuffed before our entree was out of the kitchen!), then walked to another part of the plaza to see a movie.
We saw "Hope Springs" with Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carell. Between the two of us we are big fans of all three, so we thought it would be good. Steve Carell totally pulled off a serious role, but the movie itself, instead of being pro-family and pro-marriage, was disgusting and terribly inappropriate. They kept diving deeper and deeper into sexual things and we finally just left...about half an hour into it! They gladly refunded our money at the counter. It was a funny experience in the end, but you just can't unsee what was so inappropriate and over-informative.
It was a good lesson for us and a story I am sure we will tell our kids. I hope they can all have the experience of standing up for their beliefs, even when that means walking away from everyone else is doing.
We took a picture that night on a spanish tile staircase. Setting was gorgeous, angle was, well, not so much. Mitch deleted it before I could save it to the computer...what a stinker!
On August 14th, a couple days before we left, Nathan was playing with my mom and sisters outside, blowing bubbles and finding other fun things to do. I couldn't resist taking pictures of my own kiddo, after doing 18 shoots of other people and their families during our visit!
|Goofy little expression :o)|
|Nathan and Melissa...such horrible quality, sorry, it was getting really dark!|
|Showing us the "meeeneee"|
|Nathan and our dog...he was way too mean to her, poor dog!|
|My mom taught him to put his hands in his pockets :o)|
|Singing and clapping his hands :o)|
We left Kansas City on August 17th and flew back to Salt Lake City. It was so hard to leave my family, knowing I probably won't see my parents again until my graduation in April (WHAT!? I'm already SO excited to be DONE! But that's another post...). It was hard to leave after 3 weeks; Nathan had gotten to know my parents and sisters very well, and he was *almost* comfortable anywhere in the house with them. All the traveling and undoing of his schedule made him a bit clingy.
We spent the day in Salt Lake City. Our flight was at 6 am, and we were up at 4 am, so we wanted to get a hotel for the night and let us all get a nap, go out for dinner/shopping, and go back to sleep. Then the next day we'd make the 8 hour drive to Gillette, WY, where Mitch's parents live. Our timing was a bit off; there was a huge convention in SLC and we hadn't booked a hotel before the trip, so napping and staying in SLC wasn't an option. So, we decided to hit the SLC Zoo to wear Nathan out before we put him in the car to drive a few hours. We had SO much fun at the Zoo! Here are a few favorite pictures...man that nasty enclosure glass made me so mad! My poor camera worked hard!
|This was during the elephant show. He had a perfect view and just had no interest at all! He knows more farm animals than zoo animals, and is just gaining interest in more exotic animals.|
|haha, so skeptical of this monkey statue...he wouldn't go near the monkey sitting by the glass!|
|Eventually warmed up to it, then found a chicken to chase, which shocked us all! He wouldn't leave that poor bird alone, and had never seen one before in real life!|
|Enjoying the fun tunnel, and his Thomas the train sunglasses!|
|Eye contact with a giant iguana :o)|
|This was actually a giant rodent from Australia. Looked like a mouse bred with a kangaroo...weird.|
Nathan was so, SO tired by the end of the zoo trip, which was the goal. We were following him as he RAN through the zoo to find the train that we had bought tickets to ride, and he was SO excited! However, as SOON as I picked him up to stand in line he was OUT like a light! He is obsessed with trains and had NO idea he was riding one! He would have flipped out had he been awake, and we're so sad that he was just comatose! Every time the train blew its whistle he would stir, but that was about it. No recollection whatsoever. And now this train is under construction until 2015, so we can't even take another trip there and ride it while we're living just 4 hours away!
We ended up putting him in the car after this. He slept the whole time on the way to the car and we drove 3-4 hours to Evanston, Wyoming where we stayed the night. However, we didn't get any naps that day and Nathan was SO grouchy when he woke up. NOT the best traveling experience! Those 6 am flights are sure cheap, but we're not sure it's worth it!
After we got to Wyoming we had some fun with Mitch's parents. We were there for 3 weeks as well! I did lots of editing (I came to Gillette with about 4,000 files!) and Mitch and Nathan had fun together during the day. He was great at keeping Nathan out of my hair so I could get something done. Then when parents came home we had lots of fun together! We hung out, took a few day trips, and enjoyed a Memorial Day visit from Mitch's grandparents! Nathan was "Papa" Dooley's favorite hot tub buddy. He had little water wings that went across his chest as well and he was swimming like a fish by the end of the visit!
Here are some hot tub pictures:
|Apollo was anxious too :o)|
|Getting our water wings on|
|I just swim like a big kid, no big deal :o)|
|Fun with dad...he was taking the hot tub pretty seriously at that point (he was probably peeing, in all honesty! It's quite a temperature shock for a little boy! Good thing Papa has lots of chemicals to keep that water clean!)|
|Love my boys :o)|
|Driving his floatie :o)|
|Getting squirted by a bath toy by daddy...love it!|
|This face is also a winner :o)|
One of the day trips we took was to Devil's Tower. Mitch's little brother, Ethan, climbed it months ago, and it was so cool to see it in person, as well as seeing the climbers that looked so microscopic, knowing that Ethan had done the same thing! It was awesome!
|Going to play with his "GG Dooley"|
|On their way back from the little play area. He looks tuckered out!|
|Climbing on a big boulder with Papa!|
|Powdered donut in hand; that's my little explorer!|
|Devil's tower in the background, Nathan making his summit :o)|
|And...back to the donut :o)|
|Playing with mama's camera stuff with his pretty eyes :o)|
|Climbing the rock again with daddy|
|Taking a rest after his summit :o)|
Still with me? Gold star for you! We're almost done :o) I try to be selective about the pictures I choose, but I usually fail and post too many! If it makes you guys feel better, it's about 1/100th of the pictures I take!
A little later in Gillette we went shooting. It's a Dooley family tradition for these men, and every once in awhile I leave Nathan with someone and go with them. This day I was trying out the little .22 that I hope to one day carry!
|Cutest little gun ever!|
|My target the first time I shot this little pistol--I was quite proud of myself!|
Then it was time for more hot tubbing :o) We were in that thing almost every day!
Here are a few more from our hot tubbing adventures!
|Most of the time no one held him, he either stood on the hot tub benches or he floated around, "swimming".|
|His swimming face :o) I love it!|
|Swimming to his beloved Papa!|
|Little feet kicking behind him :o)|
|You work so hard!|
|Uncle Ethan drenched himself in bubbles and then...|
|...shook them all off :o)|
|My cute little swimmer :o)|
Another evening, Nathan, GG, and I walked to a neighborhood park. He had so much fun! GG was cracking up at the fact that he just HANGS there when he swings. He really doesn't do anything...but he always wants to swing at parks! It's so funny!
|Just hangin' out...|
|Getting a push from GG|
|climbing the jungle gym|
|I promise he has fun when he swings...the pictures just don't document it well!|
|back on the swing--again just hanging there--before we went home.|
Well, I think that's finally it!
As fun as our trips were and as much fun as we had with family, it was hard to pick up the pieces of life when we got back home. Other people had taken over our responsibilities for 6 weeks, and our house smelled so abandoned and stale! We were so happy to be back to routines...Nathan had not been sleeping well towards the end of our trip, and the night we got home he slept for 14 hours straight!!
This semester, Mitch is "off-track" (it's his off-semester; since we have 3 here, they give you one random semester off), so I'm the only one in school, and Mitch works when I'm not in classes. I'll write another blog post all about my semester; it's a tough one! Luckily I'm done in April, then Mitch can focus on school full-time without juggling me or Nathan.
Thanks for reading, those 3 of you that stayed till the end! I promise I'll be more diligent about writing these!