July 5, 2007

There is this episode of Blue’s Clues that I’ve seen about a million times—including twice today on the long drive back up from Oregon, thank god for laptop-based portable DVD entertainment but somebody please hand me an ice pick so I can gouge the “Now it’s time for so long . . . but we’ll sing just one more song . . .” part of the soundtrack from the depths of my skull where it is PERMANENTLY LODGED—where Steve makes a sock puppet and then he coaxes the invisible watching toddler audience to make their own puppets using their hands (this puppet is to be called, wait for it, “Handy”, which always makes me think helpless creepy thoughts about Handy the Children’s Puppet Which is Actually a Hand, Mommy I Don’t Like Handy), and then there’s a longish portion of the show where Steve repeatedly makes his hand open and close while saying “HELLO” while an invisible toddler’s voice repeats “HELLO” in a goofily deep tone, and anyway that’s sort of how I feel right now, like a probably-friendly but possibly-dirty hand puppet saying “HELLO”. So: hello!

We had a very good vacation, and I’m semi-tanned and mostly exhausted and my house is a total pigsty— I hate that about coming back home from a trip, how the floors are always gross and the fridge smells eerie and the entire house looks wrecked from our chaotic departure, and let’s not even discuss the incoming laundry situation—and I’m happy as hell to be sleeping in my own big comfortable bed tonight, and tending to my ablutions with some goddamn decent toilet paper (I will never, ever understand my in-laws’ preference for one-ply, why not wipe your ass with something more substantial, like a COBWEB?).

A few photos from the trip — the whole set is here:

Beautiful weather last week on the coast in Coos Bay.

Riley and JB splashing in the Umpqua River yesterday.

We spent a lot of time on this swing.

Toddlers don’t particularly care for lifejackets, I’ve learned.

The view from the cabin, which greatly helps make up for the travel time to get there.

So tell me, did you have a good week? What did you do for July 4, if you were celebrating?


37 Responses to “Back in the saddle”

  1. oregoncoastgirl on July 5th, 2007 9:49 pm

    Coos County represented in SE PDX with some sweet boombooms from Vancouver. Then it was back to work!

  2. Pete on July 5th, 2007 9:56 pm

    Working in the garage. I’m building an office in the garage and discovered termite damage. Now I am fixing that too. :-(
    We went to Denver one Christmas (1500 miles) with the kids watching Pokémon in the back of the van (12v TV with a Tape player). Took years to get rid of the nightmares.

  3. Yams on July 5th, 2007 10:02 pm

    Can I be the first to say you are glowing. Nice pictures of the family and dog!

    We hung out with a bunch of friends enjoying the lovely weather. There were 7 toddlers and a giant-sized basketball pool to keep them occupied while the parents just umm relaxed.

  4. Jem on July 5th, 2007 10:14 pm

    Was not celebrating. However, I spent the weekend going to the 2 Guns’n’Roses concerts in Auckland…so good, I was front row even!

  5. thejunebug on July 5th, 2007 10:28 pm

    Yay! You’re back!

    We went to Chateau Elan – http://www.chateauelanatlanta.com – which was one of the few places in Atlanta still doing fireworks, and stayed at their snazzy inn for the night to avoid traffic. It was very nice, don’t get me wrong, and very… uh, French, with all the wine & the open bar & reserved seating. But while I think we’ll still head to the vineyards next year for the Fourth (the fireworks were great!), we’ll skip the way-too-expensive Inn part & have a picnic like people are supposed to do before holing up in the pub eating stuffed mushrooms while traffic clears. But hey, live and learn, right?

  6. Naomi on July 5th, 2007 10:56 pm

    July 4th isn’t a holiday here so I went to work. It rained, then it hailed, then it sleeted. Winter in Australia sucks.

  7. Amanda on July 6th, 2007 12:44 am

    I’m Canadian, but live in Abbotsford (whee, three miles from the border! Hello Bellingham!), so me and a bunch of friends drove up Sumas Mountain and watched the 4th fireworks across the border – it’s the entire horizon, just filled with tiny (and some not-so-tiny) firebursts. You guys are CRAZY with the fireworks! Seems like every house has their own display. :D

  8. Keaton on July 6th, 2007 1:42 am

    Out of greed, I stayed behind to work while my family traveled up to Big Sky, Montana, which is stunningly beautiful and much cooler than it is here. So, I was alone in the house, and instead of throwing a big party (hah, like I’m that cool anyway) I drove up to see a friend (and get free BBQ – 6 days without cooking and counting) and then spent the evening with another friend watching Die Hard and eating pizza. We did try to climb onto his roof to see fireworks, but after nearly falling off a few times, I decided I just didn’t care that much. That’s what HDTV is for! =P

  9. Sally on July 6th, 2007 1:50 am

    Again, another foreigner – so no fireworks for us here in England, but I am definitely coming to Oregon, it looks gorgeous! (One-ply? – do they even make that any more?! Please God, say that it wasn’t that quasi-industrial stuff that’s shiny on one side – life is way too short for slippery loo roll).

  10. Eric's Mommy on July 6th, 2007 4:08 am

    Love the pictures! Your pics are always so nice.

    I had an okay 4th, Weather wasn’t too nice here in MA though.

    My weekend sucked when I was thrown off a horse and landed on my back, which already had issues to begin with!

    We did see excellent fireworks Sat. on my in-law’s lake.

  11. Swistle on July 6th, 2007 4:48 am

    What great family photos! With concealed fourth family member!

    I think you should bring a roll of 2-ply with you, and carry it furtively to and fro.

  12. Jan on July 6th, 2007 5:13 am

    No fireworks here in our corner of Kentucky since we had torrential rains after weeks of drought. Ironic, heh? We spent the day relaxing then went to a matinee of “Transformers” which is FABULOUS. If you like that kind of thing. Which we do. Had Culver’s burgers for dinner and came home to watch Season Five of Stargate on DVD. As you can see, we are veeeeery sophisticated.

  13. Creekle on July 6th, 2007 5:17 am

    We decided to embrace our Florida-ness by listening to lots of classic rock and blowing things up. If you’ve watched the news recently, you’ll learn that Tampa had a wee problem with making a firework tent ‘asplode.

    It’s amazing what a combination of booze and fire will do to a sleepy Florida town. Point of pride, people! (Kidding, of course.)

  14. el-e-e on July 6th, 2007 5:23 am

    We got AJ and the neighbor kids out on the Slip-n-Slide, which I think is VERY American, and then grilled burgers and corn on the cob. YUM.

    Also I found out that everyone in the WORLD is pregnant, including you and also, me. So yeah, it was a good week. :)

  15. Claire on July 6th, 2007 5:25 am

    My husband went to a BBQ and I opted out, because a bunch of old friends were going to be there and – geez – I am sick of answering all those pregnancy questions! I’m 7 months now so everyone can tell and I get the same crap over and over. But we did see some fireworks in our neighbourhood so at least it felt like a holiday then.

  16. JennB on July 6th, 2007 5:56 am

    We had a massive surprise party for my parents 40th anniversary and they knew something was going on, but they didn’t know that we would be having their family and friends from near and far marching in the local parade. It was awesome!!!

    Tune into my blog for an update soon!

  17. Ang on July 6th, 2007 6:48 am

    Glad you had a great weekend. It sure is pretty up in your neck of the woods!

  18. omu on July 6th, 2007 6:53 am

    Sounds like you guys had a wonderful time. If that swing looks out on that view I can totally understand why you’d be hesitant to leave it.

    I spent the 4th baking a cake with my 20 month old who promptly sneezed on it after it was frosted, and he used his sweaty toddler fingers to put on sprinkles. Guess we won’t be sharing that cake with anyone outside the family. After the cake we played on his new swingset and went for two trike rides to the park. That pretty much made his day, and with his three hour nap in the afternoon, we were golden.

  19. stephanie brown on July 6th, 2007 6:55 am

    We had 12 (count them, 12!) family members come in for Maryland to stay with us for the week. This happens every year. The only problem is that I’m living back at my parents house for the first time in 4 years so I got kicked out of “my” room so that my aunt and uncle could have a comfy bed. I ended up staying with a couple from church a couple of nights. All in all, such a wonderful holiday week. I’ve known those people for 18 years of my 22 1/2 years of living so there is a huge amount of comfort in having them near.
    :) thanks for askin!

  20. kendra! on July 6th, 2007 7:05 am

    Oh, I missed you gurl. I’m glad you had good weather and good swinging to counteract the one-ply discomforts. Riley does not appear suspicious in the swing pic, per usual. He looks like he finally got away from the perils and trappings of suburban crimefighting. Glad the boy got a respite.

  21. Karen on July 6th, 2007 7:38 am

    That last photo is lovely. I’m glad you had a good time! Welcome home.

  22. Leslie on July 6th, 2007 10:25 am

    That view from your cabin looks just like a Bierstadt painting. I’m jealous-jealous-jealous.

    You’d feel much better about Handy had you seen *The Tick* cartoons (now available on DVD!). Handy was a diabolical villain-puppet who was always making literary allusions that went over everybody’s heads, then scolding them, “Read a book!” He was my favorite member of the League of Evil except the Midnight Bomber (Wot Bombs at Midnight). When you’re ready to leave *Blue’s Clues,* that’s a direction to go.

  23. Jennie on July 6th, 2007 10:54 am

    I’ve recently found your site, so this is the first comment from me. I spent the fourth of July drinking Budweiser and playing poker. Also, avoiding the mosquitoes by watching the fireworks on the nightly news. I may not become one of your favorite readers with that introduction…

  24. Alex on July 6th, 2007 11:10 am

    Next time, why not bring your own 12 pack of two ply toilet paper?

    My Fourth was spent doing a lot of not much–exercise, hot tub, good food, fireworks from the upstairs porch…I’m brand spankin’ new in town (again?! what does it take to settle a girl down somewhere!?) and am finding my legs under me still.

    That swing looks divine.

  25. Sandy on July 6th, 2007 11:19 am

    Long time lurker, occasional commenter. Congrats on the good news! You look so content.

    I came across this today (via http://www.freakgirl.com) and thought of you: it combines your love of healthy eating and your interest in zombies in one comedic package: http://stahss.com/finalgirl/zfp.jpg.

  26. Melanie on July 6th, 2007 3:18 pm

    Gorgeous view! And the swing is also awesome. Maybe next time you can just bring your own toilet paper and it’ll be pretty much perfect?
    My 4th (my wedding anniversary!!) we drove up to Boston to have hamburgers (takeout, no grilling in studio apartments) and beer with my brother and his girlfriend, then see the fireworks in the rain. It was fun, but we had to wake up yesterday morning at 5 to get home in time to get Boyo before my mom had to go to work.

  27. Gena on July 6th, 2007 3:59 pm

    Beautiful pictures! I’m glad to have you back.

    We did nothing – just cooked out on the grill and had a few sparklers and snapper-thingies in the cul-de-sac. Most of the fireworks here were cancelled due to the drought. It was good and relaxing though.

    P.S. The only thing worse than 1-ply is the kind that is so thick that your kids clog the toilet EVERY TIME THEY WIPE. Yes, my father-in-law has that kind and his toilets are also the crappy flushing low-flow things. Bring on the plunger.

  28. biodtl on July 6th, 2007 4:39 pm

    The pics are great and girl, you look AWESOME! We went to a baseball game (the bucs actually WON one) and afterwards danced our asses off to Big and Rich. Then we sat on the Clemente Bridge and watched the fireworks. We stayed downtown in a hotel (yay Priceline) to avoid traffic home (which would have ended in frustration, screaming and tears) and then spent yesterday at the Childrens’ Museum. All in all a great time.

  29. amy (southkona) on July 6th, 2007 8:32 pm

    oh, Stephanie, I have your 12 beat with 19 family members and close friends that came from the mainland for my daughter’s 1st birthday. Fortunately my husband made an executive decision that they all needed to rent their own vacation houses (in no short supply since we live in Hawaii. The first ones came June 17 and the last ones don’t leave until July 12, with lots of overlap for the b-day party June 30, so it has been a little insane around here, but fun at the same time.
    The 4th- grocery shopping, short beach excursion, take kids for shave ice on the way home, let them help decorate for the 4th (which is also my dad’s birthday,) then a family barbecue at our farm, including birthday cake and ice cream and a fireworks show put on by my dad, sister in law, and husband. My newly turned 1 yr old sat on my lap clapping at the sparkly lights; my other kids sat on various relatives’ laps snuggled under blankets; my 5 yr old niece spent the night but was unable to fight sleep off for more than a few minutes- it was a very good day.

  30. Marie Green on July 6th, 2007 9:23 pm

    Such sweet family photos. Glad your trip was a success. You never know with toddlers!

    You are glowing. Can’t wait to hear more about your pregnancy.

  31. andrea on July 6th, 2007 10:04 pm

    Wow, the view from the cabin is absolutely spectacular. I’ve got the same issue with the in-laws toilet paper, is two-ply really that much more expensive?!?

    Our fourth consisted of braving the crowds at Gasworks, it was a clusterfuck, but the end result was well worth chasing our 11 month old through masses of people all day. Even better since he fell asleep at 9:00 and slept right through the fireworks.

    Congratulations on your exciting news. Can’t wait to hear more about your pregnancy.

  32. TB on July 8th, 2007 7:26 pm

    Yeah, about the toddler lifejacket? The smallest size they make is the one Riley is wearing size 0 to 30 pounds. Try putting that on a one month old. They like it even less than toddlers. We had Myles in his for all of 10 minutes before the neoprene had him so hot he couldn’t stand it anymore.

  33. Kait on July 9th, 2007 11:06 am

    Your pictures are beautiful! I’m a bit jealous of the view from your cabin!

  34. Amy on July 9th, 2007 12:28 pm

    I got married! In Netarts, OR, the goofiest name for a town but also the name of a famously good oyster. And yes, it was perfect! (the day, not the oyster)

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