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Cruising

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I think we’ve finally come to the post-holiday cruise. Where we aren’t trying to recover from the holidays anymore and life is starting to fall back into what feels like a familiar rhythm. Which is funny, because I’m not sure exactly what constitutes as a familiar rhythm these days, as the last half of 2013 jumped from massive traveling, to the tail end of pregnancy, to new baby living, then straight into the holidays. So maybe it’s less that things are returning to normal, but that with the absence of any major plans on the horizon, I feel like we’ve finally hit that ledge that leads into deeper water. The opportunity to be relatively still for a while. To be homebodies, and feel out this life now, which has managed to ease it’s way out of the family with a newborn stage and into whatever is next.

There have been so many changes already. I don’t even know where to start. Maybe with just a few.

Mason. His baby talk feels like it has faded all together. Which doesn’t mean that we can always understand everything that he says, but he’s nailing, not only actual words, but sentences and common phrases that we use. Thank you is no longer “Thap tham”, but actually sounds like “Thank you” or even “Thanks” He’s taken to saying, “Maybe tomorrow” and “maybe next time” when we ask him to eat or do something that he isn’t interested in at the moment. And when you ask him what he thinks about something, or if he likes something, you can see him pause and consider it… If it’s food, he tastes whatever is new, furrows his brow and goes “hmmm” before he reports back. I would give anything to be inside of his head and witness the process of thought that goes on in this little 2 year old’s brain. But in the absence of psychic powers, I am content with watching the expressions and opinions that come out of this kiddo from here.

Caleb. Is already 3 months old. Life definitely is moving quicker with two little ones than it did when we just had Mason. I can hardly believe its been three months already. This tiny tiny boy is such a sweet bundle. He is quick to smile, and loves to gurgle and coo make sounds at you, and breaks out into a huge grin when you repeat them back to him. He works so hard to pull himself to sitting and looks so proud when he stands now too, all unsteady and wobbly, complete with bobble-head action up top. Little things are different about the two boys at this age. I remember when Mason moved into his own crib, every now and then he would let out a terrified scream in the middle of the night, and I would leap up and race down the hall to see that he had pulled his blanket up over his face accidentally, scaring himself when he woke up. Caleb loves pulling his blankets up high when he’s nestled in the swing, snuggling into them and falling asleep easily that way.

There are so many more things. So many things that I want to record, to share, to remember.

But a little at a time.

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Beaver Nation

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Corvallis welcomed us to town with a beautiful rainbow and treated us well the past three days. We had a small hotel room near downtown and the river and did a lot of walking. In all, I think we walked most of the city and the downtown area daily. The weather cooperated for the most part but it did rain everyday and we bought umbrellas at a local thrift shop.

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Corvallis also taught us that Mason is still allergic to eggs. Bummer. We were having breakfast on Wednesday and low and behold Elaine’s veggie fritter had a surprise egg ingredient. Luckily Mason started refusing his food and we noticed that he was breaking out around his eyes and cheek. We were able to get him some medication and he napped longer but otherwise got better quickly.

On a positive note we had a great meal at Gathering Together Farms (thanks for the recommendation Carly!) Located a little outside of Corvallis, it is a small restaurant located on a farm that grows most of the ingredients for their dishes. Mason had fun flirting with our waitress and scored a free squash and lots of smiles. With these photos you can see parts of the restaurant and Mason having his first sips of peppermint tea.

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We had fun in Corvallis, walking downtown, the river park, farmers market, the campus of Oregon State, and even found time to find two geocashes. We each had a solo night out- Elaine went to a coffee shop and later went salsa dancing and I went to a movie. Elaine had a blast and I was wishing The Master had more pizazz

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We left town this morning and made our way to Portland. Yeah Portland! We are taking lots of photos here too and I’ll get them posted in a couple days. Before that though, here are two more photos from Corvallis… Enjoy!

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Half Moon Bay

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Funny timing for this post, (which I wrote last Thursday and meant to post before the weekend!) because Friday, we actually headed back up to the bay area for another weekend workshop (this time for me!)

Mark posted before about our little getaway, but this was such a great trip that it deserves two posts, and more photos of course.

Sooooooo one lovely, albeit slightly rushed, Thursday morning, we headed up north in our shiny charcoal colored Corolla.  A quick stop at Trader Joe’s to stock up on some Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free, Sugar-free snackables and mini meals (no easy feat, even at a relatively health conscious store), in case restauranting was limited up there… and we were off!  Although Mason has developed a new immediate dislike for being restrained into a car seat, that I’m certain begin during this trip, he did pretty well on the four hour drive up to Santa Cruz.  This is where we stayed our first night, to break up the drive a bit.

Santa Cruz is a place that had instant ties into my heartstrings.  Not because I have any personal or emotional connection to it.  I think I’ve only been once before.  But the town has this wonderfully relaxed, slightly urban, salt streaked, bohemian flavor to it that just makes me feel at home.  It doesn’t hurt that the main drag near our hotel, Pacific Ave, was a lot like Santa Barbara’s State street, although somehow less pretentious. (Perhaps the lack of Juicy Couture’s and Coach stores)

Like Mark mentioned a couple weeks ago, Santa Cruz is also where we found Cafe Gratitude, a delicious vegan restaurant who’s menu was also half RAW.  Music to my restricted palate.  What an amazing treat to dine (for dinner and lunch the next day might I add) at a place where I could order almost anything off the menu! (There was a veggie burger on a whole wheat bun that was out of my gluten free league)  Even though I’m a huge fan of the comforting warmth of cooked food.  I ordered raw both times I was there!  I felt a little silly ordering with the names of their dishes… “I am hearty” and “I am elated”… which probably says more about me than I wish to dissect right now… so I just asked for the raw pizza one night, and the raw enchilada the next day.  YUM!  I ordered their cookbook off amazon within a week of returning home 😉

At the risk of this becoming a novel… the real purpose for the recap on this trip is this…

Once we got to Half Moon Bay, Mark had to go into the conference almost immediately, and spent long hours of the day there, sometimes through dinner.  Our hotel was gorgeous.  Like a studio apartment, with kitchenette, sitting area, fireplace and a small outside patio… right on the beach.  It was a fantastic, airy, fresh place to spend the days.  And the days alternated warm and sunny and cool and foggy.

There’s something about vacations that can reset your pace.  Even if they’re just a few days.  It’s the removal from the normal routine of life.  Distance from everyday crutches, positions, habits.  Although we brought a laptop with us, I felt silly using it when the beach was right outside our door.  So we took long walks at sunset, or in the morning mist, the baby and I, while Mark was in the conference.  We played, I flew Mason around the room on his stomach, sang to him as we danced around on the patio, set him on his stomach and he stuffed my books into his mouth.  And when he napped… I paused.  And considered what I wanted to do next with my time.  I had brought some knitting, a couple books, and a journal.  I ate when I felt hungry, I made some tea when I wanted comfort, I sat in front of the fireplace when I wanted to still my mind.  I had an informational book about baby’s brains for when I felt like learning, and I had a novel for when I felt like being told a story.  And I even watched a couple tv shows, but only when I checked in with myself first.  I did so little out of reflex, or habit… that I realized how often my days just disappear, leaving me frustrated by the end of them, because the hours were filled with activity, but I did very little that I actually felt was nourishing, or productive in the way that I wanted to be.

Of course we squeezed in some time with bay area friends, and managed to grab some meals as a family of three, too.  And while Mason didn’t enjoy the long car rides very much, they gave Mark and I a long awaited time to just talk.  And we talked and talked and talked.  The conference gave Mark some food for thought on his career and it’s direction and his long term goals… and his thoughts on that spurred on my talking about potential long term career goals of my own.  Long term anything talk tends to turn into future moving possibilities as well… so our car ride home Monday night was filled with lots of musing and dreaming out loud about plans for the future and appreciations for the present.

So this trip… I think it gave all of us a chance to reset.  I definitely become more aware of my approach to the days and slow myself down just enough to make sure I was headed in an intentional direction before I took off.  To remember that word I chose for this year, Attention, and apply it, not just to those special fleeting moments that I want to treasure, but to all of the moments in my day.  In paying attention… to how I’m feeling, how Mason’s feeling, how Mark’s feeling by the end of the day, and what we all need at varying points… those special moments happen far more often.  Because life isn’t just occuring without my participation.

And who doesn’t want to be an active participant in every day of their own life?!

 

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