My Birthday Weekend in the Redwoods

So, I had another birthday. It’s always Labor Day weekend. When I was little, I used to hate that because I never got to celebrate my birthday at school and everyone always forgot about it. I’m not exactly sure why it has taken me this long to realize that long weekend birthdays mean I can do more fun things to celebrate!

This year we went glamping in Redwood National Park. We went for the sole purpose of hiking Fern Canyon, one of my bucket list to-dos.

It took fooorreeeeevvveerrr to drive up, but…[read the captions!]

We spent my actual birthday hiking Fern Canyon, hanging on the beach, eating s’mores and watching shooting stars with some of my favorite people in the world.

The next day, we took Boogie on a mini-trail so he could practice hiking with his new toddler-sized pack. Also, we want him to start hiking long distances so we don’t have to carry him any more. Also, redwood trees are amazing.

I say birthdays don’t get much better than this!

 

Happy Birthday to my Hunky Husband

I made Andy a sorry excuse for breakfast this morning to herald the dawning of a new year in his life. It was too pathetic to document, so lucky for me, it cannot be displayed here for public ridicule. Like the good hubby he is, he acted very pleased about the overcooked eggs, curled up toast and three tiny slices of cheddar cheese on his plate. I realize that it was not difficult for the day to get better from this auspicious beginning; nevertheless, I vow to remember to plan that part of his birthday next year and maybe actually, you know, think about it more than five seconds in advance.

Carter’s birthday present to Andy was the three hour nap he took this afternoon. As you can see, Andy thoroughly enjoyed himself during this time (he’s been banished to sleep on the couch for the last two weeks because of a nasty cough he is trying to spread around the family):

Dropping off baby at Ama and Agong’s for our night of birthday relaxation:

We started his celebrations at Happy Feet Foot Spa; how can you argue with a $30 foot massage that comes with a complimentary one hour full body massage? I say, you can’t. Post-massages, we stuffed our faces with deep dish pizza and started to go through Dr. Aron’s love questions (we got to question 12. To be continued next year when we go on our next date…). Then, we took our big round bellies to a hot tub spa. We capped off the evening with ice cream sandwiches from Cream.  Methinks we’re getting old if this is our idea of an exciting birthday celebration. But this is what life has come to, and we are pretty pleased with ourselves.

Happy birthday to my massage-mongering, pizza-loving, cheesy hunk with a hot bod. Hope the baby gifts us a full night of sleep tonight. I love you!

*Update: Baby started screaming bloody murder at 5 a.m. and did not stop for two hours. Then, he discovered his snack cup with Snapea crisps and magically transformed from psycho baby to smiling baby in a matter of milliseconds. So much for sleep.

Oh well, if you can’t beat them, join them. He won this round hands down. We gave in and propped ourselves in front of the TV; I hope Carter doesn’t learn that if he screams for two hours, he gets TV time! Poking ourselves in the eye to stay awake today…

My Birthday Week: A Homemade Climbing Wall, Twenty Humback Whales and Another Trip to the ER

I remember my life in snapshots. My mind takes mental pictures of my experiences and tucks them away into the recesses of my brain, many never to be seen again. Thank goodness for photographs and my relatively-recently acquired smartphone that makes taking pictures even more convenient. When I have an actual picture, it seduces the cobwebbed mental snapshots back into consciousness. I remember a large part of my life through the photos stored on my laptop. If I don’t have a picture, it is likely I might not remember that it happened. This is one reason I love taking pictures.

This week, I’m feeling particularly grateful for my photographs. Two days before my birthday, I took Andy to the ER  with a migraine that had stroke and seizure-like symptoms (more details below). It was terrifying. We cancelled the camping weekend we had planned to Redwood National Park and he spent much of the week recovering slowly. My memories of the week are a stupor of terrified, sleep-deprived, worried disappointment.

Then, I looked at my pictures and realized my birthday week was filled with love, adventure and celebration. It is certainly one that I won’t soon forget. I’m feeling grateful.

A Surprise Birthday Party with a Homemade Climbing Wall Birthday Present

Yup. I said a homemade climbing wall birthday present. That my husband built for me. Because he is freaking amazing. Then he invited some of my favorite people for a pre-birthday celebration. Did I mention that he build me a climbing wall? He is the best. husband. EVER.

A Spontaneous Trip to Monterey to Find Some Whales

My aunt phoned my mom from DC one morning to say there were a historic number of whales in Monterey Bay this year. She saw it on PBS the night before. So, naturally, my mom and I dropped our things and made a uncharacteristically spontaneous trip down to Monterey to find us some whales. I didn’t have my digital camera or warm clothes for myself or the baby; thank goodness for my phone and my mom’s big sweatshirts!  We sped down the highway and made it onto a whale-watching boat just in time; we saw dolphins, otters, over twenty humpback whales and four killer whales swimming around our boat, spraying water, flopping their tails and poking their heads out to spy around the surface (these are technical terms). This is one of my favorite mom-daughter adventures of all time.

Another Trip to the ER

I came home from whale watching to find Andy barely coherent on the bed with a heating pad on his face and all the lights turned off. He was slurring his words, complaining of tingling on his right arm and unable to remember names of important people in his life. He improved for a brief moment in the car to the ER, but deteriorated quickly once we arrived. At the worst moments, he could not talk, remember his name or birthday, understand or follow simple physical directions, stand or speak. He forgot who I was and he couldn’t remember Carter’s name. A team of nurses and doctors flocked around him asking him questions, running tests and finally, restraining and sedating him because he kept trying to fight them off. They thought he had a stroke or seizure and began a battery of tests that lasted into the early hours of the next morning. He had a CT scan, chest x-ray, blood tests, MRI (during which he barfed), EKG, EEG and who knows what else. They pumped him full of sedatives and he was unconscious until the next morning. He remembers almost nothing of the entire evening.  I, however, did not sleep that night and I remember every detail. The tests were mostly normal, so no seizure, stroke or tumor. Thank goodness.

I’m grateful for my step-dad who came from work, stayed with me until the middle of the night and continued to check on Andy’s medical updates through the following day. I’m grateful for my mom who watched the baby for me. I’m grateful for my brother-in-law who came when I called and gave Andy a blessing. I’m grateful Andy will be okay. It took him over a week to fully recover, but I’m hopeful we can find ways to avoid future complex migraines.

This is the fifth time in three years that we have been to the ER. We have been to the ER during this August-September time of year every year for three years and always on a special occasion. Three years ago Andy had an appendectomy on our anniversary and a week later I was med-evacuated from Goldwall after I fell from a climb before I made the first clip (miraculously, I sustained only bad bruising and no internal injuries); last year I had an emergency c-section and gave birth to Carter; this year…this. I am hopeful the pattern will not continue next year!

Another Plan B: Ardenwood Rail Fair

I was terribly disappointed that we had to cancel our camping trip to Redwood National Park; I had been looking forward to hiking Fern Canyon and spending time together with Andy and Carter. I needed to get away. But, alas, it was not in the stars for us. Nevertheless, Team Plan B still managed to have a lovely weekend together. First stop: Rail Fair, model trains, bluegrass, train rides and farm animals at Ardenwood!

Labor Day at the Beach

The beaches were absolutely packed, the waves splashed dangerously high and the weather was perfect. Carter is obsessed with sand and water, so the beach is his kingdom. His excitement makes everything even better.