Monthly Archive for May, 2009

Chips & Salsa with a side of Nap

On the first night of The Great Road Trip of May 2009, after taking a dip in the hot springs, we decided to go grab a bite to eat. We asked the concierge about some of the restaurants in the area, and she gave us some suggestions.

One of the Mexican Restaurants on the list came highly recommended, so we opted to go there. We’d all had a long day. We weren’t used to all the driving, and the smell of the hot springs was taking its toll on some of us (okay, me…), and Claire hadn’t had a nap.

Naps are few and far between these days, but when she really needs one, she takes one. Unfortunately, today, she’d needed one but hadn’t had the chance, what with all the excitement.

We get to the car, and we get her strapped in her car seat. As we pull out of the parking lot and down the street, she gets quiet. We go a few blocks, and she’s asleep. By the time we got to the restaurant, she was completely out.

“What should we do?” my hubby asks me. “Keep driving? Go in?”

“Eh, let’s just go in. You’re hungry. I’m hungry. She’s got to be hungry, and if we do this right, she’ll be okay when she wakes up.”

He turns off the car, and gets her car seat buckles undone. He carefully gets her out of the car seat, and we head into the restaurant.

She’s still not awake, her sleepy head resting on his shoulder.

The host shows us to a booth. It’s one of those C-shaped, half-circle booths, and Daddy gently lays Claire down on one side. He and I scootch around and sit on the other side.

She is out.
Completely out.

The waiter stops by and takes our drink orders. It feels good to sit in the booth, sipping our drinks. We figure out what we want to order, and we chat. It’s like we’re on a date. We’re not interrupted. We can finish a thought. We don’t have to pay a babysitter, because our child is right there…asleep on the bench.

We order food for her, because if she doesn’t wake up, we can just get it to go and have it at the hotel. And, if she does wake up, she’ll be hungry.

The food arrives, and she’s still asleep.

We have the most leisurely meal we’ve had in a long time. We laugh and talk, and we can’t believe she’s still sleeping. The restaurant isn’t overly quiet, and it’s not too loud.

This is awesome!

It wasn’t until we were halfway through our meal that my hubby realized that we were in the perfect booth for the occasion. On the wall behind us was the painting of a sleeping maiden. She’s being serenaded by her sweetheart, and her eyes are closed. In one corner of the booth was a figurine of a little boy…who was asleep. In the opposite corner, was the statue of a little girl, also sleeping.

We were in the sleeping booth!

The irony of the situation made us laugh even harder, and she still didn’t wake up!

When we were finished with our meal, I boxed Claire’s food up for later. The milk the waiter had brought to the table for Claire was already in a travel cup, so we were good to go. My hubby picked up Claire and we said our goodbyes to the sleeping booth. Claire didn’t wake up until we were back at the hotel!

Needless to say, she was very confused as to where the milk and quesadillas had come from. We tried to explain to her that she’d slept through the whole thing, but she didn’t believe it.

We could hardly believe it either, and we’d seen it with our own eyes!  🙂

Stinky never felt so good

Well, it’s about time I get to some stories of The Great Road Trip of May 2009!  It doesn’t seem like we’ve been back for almost two weeks, but that’s the sign of a great trip: when the vivid memories linger so long they carry you through the reality of your vacationless life for long after the suitcases are unpacked.

As you may remember, I was totally unplugged on this vacation, yet I came back fully recharged.  How ironic.  That being said, it was hard to leave Twitter and the Internet behind.  I texted a couple people, but by the time we got to the Grand Canyon (I’ll talk about that in a future installment!), my service was spotty at best, so that gave me the final push over the edge that I needed.

That first day, we were going to drive to Pagosa Springs, which is in southern Colorado.  It was going to be quite a hike, but not unbearable. The funniest part about the start of our trip was when we got out onto the main street that goes by our house, a street we’ve taken a million times, Claire screamed from the backseat, “Look!  I can see the sea!”  We explained that we couldn’t see it yet, and it was a destination on our list, but we had miles to go before we saw the sea.

Our destination for the first night of our trip was a Hot Springs Spa.

Have you ever been to a Hot Springs?  Me neither.  My husband had gone a couple months prior and came home smelling like a rotten egg.  The sulfur smell had permeated everything, and I was disgusted.  I couldn’t believe people willingly subjected their bodies to that stench.  He assured me that I would love the hot springs and that I’d get used to the smell.

He was right on one account:  I loved it.

But, the smell?  Oh, the smell!

But, I’m STILL not used to the smell.  I never got over it.  I’m sorry.  I wish I could say that once I was there for an hour or so, that I didn’t notice it anymore, but I can’t lie.  It was terrible.  Claire must have inherited my inability to let go of the smell, because she kept talking about the “stinky pools.”

Because it took three washings to get the smell out of his swim trunks the first time he’d come back from there, we planned ahead and brought two sets of swimwear.  The thought of frolicking on the beach in San Diego (a destination further on down the line in our road trip) in suits that smelled like rotten eggs was revolting.  The smell permeated my skin and my hair, and I honestly don’t see how people were seeming to ignore it.  Then again, I tried really hard to keep a straight face, too.

Now, this being said, I still loved it.  The naturally heated pools were awesome.  The way this Hot Springs was designed was there were lots of different pools, all different sizes and all varying degrees of heat.  The staff at the Spa monitored the pools and would change the temperature signs on each one, just so you would know what you were getting into…literally.

I LOVE hot tubs and steamy showers and boiling hot baths, so I knew this would be right up my alley.  The hottest one I went into was 112-degrees.  (No, Claire did not go in that one.  My hubby didn’t even go in that one.)  The hottest Claire went in was 104 or 105, and she loved it.  She has no concept for how long to stay in, so we were pretty diligent with making her get in and out.  Some of the pools had cascading waterfalls, and sometimes those were hotter than the pool below or slightly cooler, just depending.

This Hot Springs Spa really took care of us, and to be honest, it was the most expensive stop on our trip.  But, it was worth it.  (No, this isn’t a paid review.  Check out that link!  The pictures are great!)  Not only did we have plush robes to use between dips in the pools, they had little ones for kids!  (You have to ask for them, but they were great and complimentary!)  Seeing Claire walk from pool to pool in her tiny robe was the cutest thing ever.  Seeing her excitement in trying out the next “stinky pool” was great.  She’s like her momma and loves the heat, despite the smell.

As I was sitting there, nearly overcome by the smothering smell, the hot mineral water soaking away all the pre-trip stress, I realized that part of the smell was appropriate.  We were like hard-boiled eggs:  Our shells hardening to the point of cracking, and once they did, we were free.  It was the perfect way to start our vacation, fresh and renewed.

It was amazing.  Sitting in a natural hot springs on a brisk night while looking up at the stars?  Unbelievable.  Having to store our “stinky pool suits” in a sealed plastic bag for the rest of our trip?  Annoying, but necessary.  Remembering to pack our “non-stinky suits” for the rest of the trip?  Awesome.

And, to be honest, it’s probably a good thing that the pools were stinky…or I would have never left.  🙂

If you’re looking for more information about Pagosa Springs, check out this link!

Globeology at The Wildlife Experience

I have a writing piece up and running today at Mile High Mamas, the parenting blog of The Denver Post.

The three of us were invited to a VIP Sneak Peek of the new Globeology exhibit at The Wildlife Experience last week.  (The exhibit is now open to the public!)

Wanna know what we thought?  Wanna chance to win free tickets to check it out for yourself?  Click on over to check it out! The comments are closed here, but I’d love to hear what you have to say over there!

Double-dare to dream

Recently, I was asked if I wanted to participate in fun little book shower involving The Double-Daring Book for Girls, by Andrea Buchanan & Miriam Peskowitz.  I’d wanted to check out this book, so I jumped at the chance. After it arrived, I was flipping through it and I really enjoyed seeing the variety of daring things to learn and explore in this book. I wish I would have had a book like this years ago when I was a daring girl, and I can’t wait to pass it down to my daughter!

Do you know a daring girl or are you one? Check out the book yourself!

The book shower concept was to have involved me and my daughter, and admittedly, she’s a bit too young for the book. But, I knew that we’d find something we could try in the book, something that would be a connection for both of us.  Something daring.

And, then I saw it:


Dreams have always been a fascination of mine, and they’re something that I talk to Claire about all the time. I still write down my really vivid dreams, just as I started to do years ago in my old journal.  A year ago, after we’d lost power one evening, Claire asked me if her dreams ran on batteries or needed electricity to exist.  And, just a month ago, she asked me if she could watch the dream she’d had the night before on YouTube.

We always talk about our dreams, but I’d never thought about helping her write hers down…

…until now.

Starting on page 135, the book talks about dreams, and how to make a dream journal and a dream catcher and it even talks about some common dreams people have and their meanings.

Dreaming about losing your teeth? It’s in there.
Dreaming about flying? It’s in there, too.
Dreaming about showing up to a test naked? You guessed it. It’s in there.

I have more in depth dream analysis books in my personal library, but the list in the book was a good start.

It had never occurred to me to start a dream journal for someone so young, but why not? A 3-year old’s dreams are just as important as a 13-year old’s dreams, a 23-year old’s dreams, or even a 35-year old’s dreams. In fact, I don’t think you’re too young or too old to talk about your dreams. No, she won’t dream about showing up to her high school naked, but I was curious to see what her brain would focus on. Like I said, I always ask Claire how she slept and we talk about her dreams, but this was an excuse to get a little deeper.

So, I started writing down her dreams, and when she’s older, I’ll encourage her to record them herself.

Here are some of her dreams over the past five days (in her words):

  • One night, she dreamt about “flowers, doors, curtains and sparkly shoes.”
  • The next night, she dreamt about “picking shells” with her aunt on the beach in California.
  • The night after that, she dreamt about “fish and starfish.”
  • The next night, she dreamt about “the new pink raspberry shampoo” I bought for her.

The recaps of those dreams were pretty short and sweet. She didn’t elaborate any more than that when pressed for more information. They were pretty straight-forward and pretty easy to see the sources.

But, last night’s dream was more vivid. She got really excited and animated when talking about it. This is what she said:

  • “I watched a movie in my eyes. It was called ‘Squidder Oxy Dive.’ Puppy thought two of the squidders were dead, but they weren’t. Puppy wouldn’t let me watch his scary show.”

I love that she describes her dreams like “movies in her eyes.”  This reinforces why she asked if we could find her dreams on YouTube.  When I asked her what a squidder was, she said it was like the little submarine in the movie “Dive Olly Dive,” but it wasn’t. It was an animal. “Dive Olly Dive” is a DVD we watched a few days ago. We’re going to review that one, so I asked her more questions about that than I normally do when we watch a DVD. Maybe that’s why “Dive” is in the title of the DVD in her dream? Puppy tends to disagree with Claire quite a bit, so that’s nothing new. And, we won’t let her watch “scary” shows, so that’s probably where that came from.

Still, it’s amazing to me how the mind works.

When Claire is a little older, I’m going to help her make a dream journal and a dream catcher. (There are directions for both described in The Double-Daring Book for Girls.) In the meantime, I will continue asking her what she dreamt the night before, and I’ll write down the more vivid ones. I may even have her start her own Book of Dreams that involves her coloring pictures to describe them.

What about you? I dare you to share your dreams in the comments. No, scratch that…

I double-dare you!


Easy to remember

My hubby never remembers which holiday is in May.

I told him it’s easy to remember.  They start with the same letter:

Memorial Day is in May.

This means, of course, that Labor Day is in Leptember.


It really does taste like chicken.

We always have a variety of lunch meats in the fridge. We’re careful not to open more than one package at a time, so as to reduce spoilage, but it’s always fun to see what’s up next on the food docket. Yesterday, we used the last of the turkey, and this morning, I noticed that my husband had opened the chicken. I love this one!

Claire was watching me get some out of the container.

“I don’t want turkey today, Momma,” she said.

“This isn’t turkey, Claire. It’s chicken!”

“Chicken? It looks like turkey.”

“I know it looks kinda like the turkey, but it’s not. It’s actually chicken. You’ve had it before and liked it. Here, try some.”

“Well, what does it taste like, Momma?”

“It tastes like chicken!” I said with a little too much enthusiasm. I love stumbling into random situations that require the usage of such cliche phrases.

She didn’t understand why I couldn’t stop laughing. 🙂

Road Trip Tips & Tricks

I have a writing piece up and running today at Mile High Mamas, the parenting blog of The Denver Post.

It’s that time of year again…
Road Trip!!

Wanna know some tips & tricks for a tip-top trip? Click on over to check it out! The comments are closed here, but I’d love to hear what you have to say over there!

Anatomy of a Road Trip

I keep talking about this 12-day Road Trip we just took, but where did we go? How long did we stay? Before I get into the intricate details of all the adventures, it’s time to answer those basic questions.

Here is the route we took:

You can click on that photo to read my chicken-scratches.  No, it’s not drawn to scale. Yes, the roads to and from the different locations were much curvier and more exciting than they appear. 🙂 We chose a path that never crossed itself once, and seeing new scenery out and back was a treat.

So, here is the Anatomy of the Road Trip, each leg of the 12-day tour described:

  • On May 3rd, we left our home and headed south to Pagosa Springs, CO. We overnighted in a Hot Springs Resort.
  • That next morning, we drove to the Grand Canyon and camped there for two nights.
  • Then, we drove to California, where we stayed for two nights in Carlsbad and then three nights in a hotel on the beach in Pacific Beach.
  • From there, we ventured eastward to Flagstaff for two nights before staying the night in Santa Fe.
  • On May 14th, we headed home.

Are you curious about how a Casual Perfectionist prepares for a road trip? Do you want some tips and tricks to a tip-top trip? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post!

She had me at Skinny

Back in March, I started the 30 Day Shred, did my 30-days-straight, and then continued using it as a daily routine, doing a few days of each level here and there. I took a break here and there, because I felt as though I deserved it, and I did.  (You can read about the whole adventure here…including pictures of my results!)

I knew that I’d be leaving on vacation and I wondered what would happen. I wanted to continue doing something, but I wasn’t sure how that would work. My husband told me not to spend too much time worrying about it, because 1) we were going on vacation, and the point is to relax, and 2) we’d be hiking almost every day, in one form or another.

When I was packing for my trip, I debated leaving my workout clothes, shoes and weights at home. What were the odds of using them? My sister had said she was interested in checking out the DVD, so I was bringing that. I debated with myself about what to do. Bring them and lug them around, not using them? Don’t bring them and kick myself if I found myself at the perfect opportunity to use them?

In the end, I put them in my bag. That way, I’d have them, but I promised not to beat myself up if I didn’t get a chance to use them.

None of the hotels we stayed in had DVD players, so I couldn’t follow the DVD.  Some mornings, I’d do a few of the moves from memory, but I didn’t have a chance to do the 20-minutes every day. The non-schedule and full-on relaxation mode of vacation was intoxicating, and I never got out the weights. Or my exercise clothes. Or my exercise shoes. They stayed neatly packed.

The DVD got some use…but not by me. My sister, the one who we were going to visit in California, and the one who does pilates and works out every day at the gym was able to borrow the DVD, and she was promptly hooked. She bought it and is now working through it. Because she’s fit and thin and wasn’t a slug like I was when I started it, she’s not in nearly as much pain as I was at the beginning, but that’s okay.

I was able to enjoy my vacation and the fruits of my hard work in doing the Shred in the first place. I had more stamina for hiking, and my energy levels were kept up the whole vacation. But, I knew that when I got back home, I needed to get back on track or I’d lose what I’d worked so hard to gain (or vice versa, as the case may be). 😉

So, I’m re-starting the 30 Day Shred, from the beginning, 10-days each level. I won’t be blogging about it every day, but I will be referring to it on Twitter. (If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you can see some of my latest updates down on the left-hand column of the blog.) Today was the completion of Day 2. Again. It’s 100 times better the second time around, but it’s still a real workout.

People ask me what my favorite part of our vacation was, and I give the appropriate answers: the beach, the Grand Canyon, LegoLand, The San Diego Zoo, spending quality time with my husband and little girl, seeing friends and relatives, being able to unwind and decompress. I had a fabulous time, and it’s hard to choose what to say first, so over the coming days, I’ll be sharing our adventures.

But, the real answer? The answer that immediately jumps to the forefront of my mind and makes me smile? Remembering the look on my sister’s face when she screeched, “You’re so skinny!” THAT was my favorite part of my vacation, and I’m going to do what I can to maintain it.

Grand Canyon Shadow Portrait

As you know, we just got back from our 12-day road trip out to California via The Grand Canyon. We had a great time, and I’m sorting through all the photos and can’t wait to share our adventures.

We love to take Shadow Portraits wherever we go, and this trip was no different! (Click here to check out the other Shadow Portraits we’ve done!) In fact, to kick off this series, I’ve chosen a new blog header! (And, I changed my Twitter Page to match.) We took a TON of Shadow Portraits on the trip, and I can’t wait to share!

Here is the one I’ve decided to use first, and I’ll keep it up for a while before switching to the next one.  Daddy and I have Claire between us, and we’re both holding her hands.  I’m trying to take the photos as quickly as possible before any other sunset-viewers get in our way.  This photo has not been altered in any way.

I LOVE this one! The backdrop was perfect. Our shadows are being created by the setting sun over the Grand Canyon. They are being cast across an open crevasse that plunges downward to what seems to be the center of the earth. It looks as though you could reach out and touch the other side, but the distances are so misleading through the camera’s eye.

As I mentioned, lots of people were gathered at this overlook to take photos of the sunset.  This is the view that everyone else was focused on (in the other direction):

The best part about taking these shadow photos, other than being surrounded by a view that unbelievable was Claire saying “Cheese!” before each one. 😉

Stay tuned for more posts about our adventures!