Our itinerary included two flights with an almost-2-year-old in my six-month-pregnant lap, one week at Grandma's, an 8 hour drive up to Grandpa's, one week there, and two return flights home. No problemo. Ahem. I actually broke down and bought a portable DVD player because how else could I entertain a toddler on my lap for 3 hours? Gone are the days when I could nurse her during take off, have her fall asleep for the duration of the flight, and I might even sneak in a few pages of a coveted novel. (Full disclosure: Juniper can truly be a rock star at self-entertainment and we only used the DVD player for an hour and never could get the headphones to work right. On the return flight, she hadn't napped and was super-cranky-tired, screamed her head off for a few minutes then endearingly fell asleep curled up in my arms. No pages of a coveted novel read, but I did get some Kegels in.)
:: Grandma's: the land of milk and honey, the pot of gold at the end of the Oregon Trail rainbow.
Grandma and June bug watching the dancers...possibly one of my favorite pics of these two together.
The Scandi festival is thoroughly enjoyed by young and old alike.
:: Next stop, my hometown staple: The Saturday Market. An enviable farmer's market combined with crafts that haven't changed much in the last 30 years. There's so much color in my hometown...people, politics, clothing.... Being home makes me realize how most other towns are rather beige in comparison.
We're not sure where our kid came from. I was a hide-behind-my-mother's-legs child and my man...well, he can be rather chatty but I think he was more reserved as a kid. Seriously, Juniper runs up to almost everyone, demands, "HI!" and joins their group. Here she is plopped down next to...?????
Chewing on her monkey's tail.
:: At grandma's house, J bug and Bailey got along famously.
Juniper was thrilled to have a canine playmate again.
But she wasn't accustomed to a young, feisty dog and didn't quite understand the tug-of-war concept.
:: Outdoor dining every night at Grandma's is divine: no mosquitoes, no wind...just warm, twinkling, blooming, bliss.
And new bedtime stories with Uncle D:
:: I had been looking forward to taking bugs to this playground near my mom's house. But Juniper is still kind of eh about most playgrounds. She'll humor us, but really she'd rather explore the woods and old irrigation ditch on the outskirts.
:: My aunt hosted a good old fashion backyard bar-b-que (true to my aunt's style, it was all gourmet food) filled with brothers, sisters-in-law, cousins, nieces, nephews, friends--not all of whom are pictured here because I was too busy eating and drinking and soaking up conversation while my adorable niece glued herself to Juniper. It was possibly the most relaxing evening I'd had all summer. If her parents were willing, I would adopt my niece.
Juniper was enthralled with my aunt, her dog, and her recliner.
:: The one goal that topped my list and didn't make it until the end was a trip to the beach. We were trying to plan for a day with good weather (coastal weather in the northwest can be a little touch-and-go), but ended up walking a wind-blown beach anyway. Juniper and I had been reading about oceans and seas, pelicans, crabs, starfish, boats and whales and I knew she would get it if she saw the ocean, in the flesh.
She'd been to the Pacific before, of course, but that was before her mind was thoroughly sponging up the world around her.
When I told her, See that water, that's the ocean. It's where whales and crabs and starfish and all the creatures of the sea live. That's their home. Her eyes were wide and unblinking and I knew she was taking it all in, like ALL of it. Like, more than our adult brains could ever hope to register in one sitting. I love it when she's wide-eyed. It's like a window to human potential.
See those tiny streaks ^, that's how hard the wind was blowing sand, stinging the backs of our legs. Still wonderful. Still, as Juniper would say, "Awesome."
:: Next stop: Grandpa's house. Coming soon.