Travel Days // KC & Indianapolis

HOUGHTON FAMILY VACATION SUCKASSSS!

Okay, maybe it hasn’t been that exciting (I mean, we are traveling with a 20 month old so we’re not talking luxurious beach vacation here) but it was pretty great to be away for a week.

Let me take you through it…

The trip started early for me when Jenn and I left to help our cousin, Taylore, out with setting up her wedding in Kansas City last Saturday. It was horribly hot and tiring to work outside for two days straight, but the wedding went off without a hitch and it was beautiful. I highly recommend getting married at an orchard, people. There are ducks. There are apples. There are  beautiful houses with comfortable furniture that you can stay in.

The morning following the wedding Elias, Jeff and I woke up before dawn to start traveling to Indianapolis to meet up with Jeff’s family– all 18 of us — for the week. It was going to take about 7 hours, and we don’t have A/C in our car (a very tragic long story there, but I’ll spare it), so we wanted to get to Indy before it got too hot. Well, plans be dammed, we ended up getting a flat tire around 7am. It sort of turned me into a crazy person right away. I had received little sleep the night before (thrashing toddler in bed with us in a hot room) and had endured two days of manual labor outside in the summer sun to set up this wedding. 15 hours in the hot car later, I could have killed people.

The next day though turned out to be wonderful, and each day thereafter were a series of little gifts. Huzzah! Bad travel day redeemed! First of all, Elias enjoyed being around his cousins so much that I thought a permanent smile had been plastered on his face. Hugging everyone.Clapping. Blowing kisses. Dancing. Playing kindly with the other kids. There is something about seeing the world through a child’s eyes– everything is a new endeavor, which brings out playfulness and a sense of insight. Good things, I think.

The second part of the trip which I really enjoyed was  just exploring the city. Indy has a bike share program so it was incredibly easy to navigate and get through. This leads me to another unrelated point: I love cities. I like being outside and the country all of that, but there is something about the energy of a city that gets me going. It feels like possibility.

Requirements to make a city “cool” (and how Indy fit the bill):

  1. Plethora of pretentious coffee shops. They do, in fact, have the best coffee.
  2. Local music scene or ability to access good shows. -I attempted to catch a show on my own but ended up getting there late (family walk turned into an Entire Evening Event) and I had a hard time finding the venue. Also, as my family and I were walking along the canal one night we caught the beginning of an outdoor O.A.R. show. That was fun.
  3. Local shopping spots; like record stores (found a great one), vintage shops, local book stores, some sort of artisan snack shop (Indy has a POPCORN shop. Didn’t visit it, but oh-my. Popcorn!) , etc.
  4. Some way to be a pedestrian in the city- Indy has a canal, a bike trail through downtown, and the Monon. Good stuff.
  5. Groups of people with skin pigment that isn’t the same as mine. Note: doesn’t exist here.
  6.  Tall buildings. I love looking up. Again: possibilities.
  7. Art everywhere.
  8. Good landscaping. Strange requirement, but I love me a well landscaped space.
  9. Someone special to share it with (sometimes– sometimes I need some room to explore).

Finally, though, it was nice to be with family. Assuredly there were a few times I was slightly out of it and a bit detached– I think all in all I’ve been pretty exhausted from everyday life lately– but everyone being together was pretty wonderful. Jeff’s family = wonderful, kind, intelligent, caring people.

So to add it to the record- I enjoyed myself. Thanks, world, for some blessed time away.

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20/52 // In my head

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“A portrait of my son once a week, every week, in 2014″

I’m sorry I called you a baby Asshole yesterday, Elias. It wasn’t to your face, so you actually have no idea it happened, but I’m sorry regardless.  I said it with a glass of wine in my hand and a whole lot of expletives to back it up when I went to meet my girls’ book club group for craft night. (insert laughing/crying face here). You kind of deserved those adjectives, though. And don’t get me wrong, I love you dearly; extremely, in fact. Seriously though, crying and throwing fits for an hour straight while I exhaustively try to entertain you or get you what you need/want/don’t really want but THINK you want was awful. Two nights in a row, too. Once Jeff got home from work last night I just broke down and cried.

People are right when they say that a baby brings you more joy than any other experience in your life– its more than true, its truth. But lately you’ve been giving me a lot of “i’d like to pull my hair out” moments with the temper tantrums over NOTHING.

Summer is coming, Elias. The kids are gone from school, I’m working my extra hours after they leave getting things ready for next fall. Its hot outside. You played with the hose watering the dirt and the fence for a good while yesterday. With summer brings time to contemplate things in life, too. I’ve been reading more, thinking more– most of the time I’m running from place to place thinking more about how my hair looks and if I remembered to put the wet clothes in the dryer than the ins and outs of life and if I’m living it to the fullest. I’m pretty sure that most of the time I’m not, which disappoints me. I’m not sure how to do more though. I’m going to work on that. For us.

Rambling. Apologies. You’re not a baby asshole though.

Song on Repeat // Slow Motion // Phox

It doesn’t get much better than this. A fun little tune with a great looking girl and hipster boys roaming around with confetti in a backyard. All produced by none other than Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, of course.

Everything I do, I do in slow motion
I don’t know what to say
Everywhere I fall, don’t know name or location
Baby, I’ll just find my way
I’ll find it

Memorial Day Memories

Memorial Day, 2014: The year that everyone came to our house and our Air Conditioning unit broke. Like, completely broke-broke so we spent a kagillion dollars to replace it broke.

Ugh.

Yes, that sounds horrible, and yes, in some ways it was. I mean, we did have 10 people in our tiny two-bedroom house for the weekend– four of them below the age of 5. For all the sweating that we experienced, however, there was an abundance of smiles.

Can I say just how lucky I am to have married into the Houghton clan? This group of people, I tell you, they are some of the most optimistic, easy going, fun-loving, caring people I have ever encountered. And I get to call them MY family.

I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking on what kind of weekend we had. (*fun– it was fun!)

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19/52 // Feeling older & Birthdays

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thanks for the photobomb Callie Day

Jeff’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago… he’s 36. I can’t even believe it. I was listening to this great podcast last night while running called You Made It Weird (…hold on, I’m going somewhere with this…) and in it Pete Holmes was interviewing Mark Paul Gosslier — (!!)– they were talking about being past 35 and FEELING like they were still 22. That’s totally me. Jeff being 36 means, whoa, wait, I will be 36 soon, and that just doesn’t seem ok. Where did my 20s go? It all happened so fast. The house you feel like you just bought suddenly has been yours for 10 years. It all the sudden seems so small compared to all of your more-successful friends and you find your A/C going out in the middle of a weekend when you’ve got (a lot of) company staying over and everyone is sleeping on the floor. You have two dogs, one of which is your SECOND dog as an adult. You have a child who is no longer a baby but you think he should be. You start to see grey hairs and call your salon IMMEDIATELY to make an appointment. 

But I digress… 

Every year Jeff requests a BBQ at our house in honor of his big day, which has now become somewhat of a tradition. I’m counting in my head right now… I’m pretty sure this is year 8 that we’ve done the same party. Geeze…

I’m digressing again.

So this year I took a total of 5 pictures at the BBQ for lack of time– between chasing around Elias and our 2 dogs and grilling a crapton of burgers and hotdogs I just couldn’t. (Insert comment here: I feel like that’s life lately– best of intentions to get out the camera– but in the end chasing the toddler wins). Next year I vow to order Pizza and start the BBQ closer to Elias’ bedtime so I can actually enjoy it. 

The day after the big BBQ was Jeff’s actual birthday, which was a little odd to be honest. Jeff slept in, Elias took a super-long nap, and by 3:30 we were like, “well, shoot, we need to do SOMETHING to celebrate”, so we decided to go to an easy-to-get-to hiking destination, Busiek, to hike. 

Elias had a good time in the hiking backpack and splashing around in the water. It was quiet, and even though it was mid-May, it was NOT humid (amazing for Missouri!) We brought sandwiches for dinner and stayed late enough that Elias fell asleep in the carrier on the hike back.

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Overall it was a great birthday weekend for Jeff. Glad we were able to do very Jeff-ish things like backyard games with friends and breaking out the chacos and hiking equipment. You know what I particularly love about Jeff’s birthday? It means MY birthday is a month away. Time to start planning my own celebration and completing my wishlist.