Tag Archives: travel

Visiting Family in Central California

9 Dec

So here I am, writing from my broken laptop in California, watching reruns of Chopped and trying to love on all the cats like there’s no tomorrow. It feels just like every day I spent in my second trimester of pregnancy waiting for Jonathan to get out of boot camp. Not kidding. I spent the whole time trying to tune out the TV and gather my thoughts, and failing miserably, and as a result  just churning out rambling blog posts and run on sentences and trying to remember why I’m staring at a text box and… anyway. Allow me to share my visit to California thus far via Instagram! Cuz it’s really not gonna happen any other way. (And forgive me for the rambling. We’re watching Kid Snippets on YouTube now.)


Tessa and I spent the morning yesterday lazing around the apartment with Jonathan, not getting packed till the very last minute. We barely made it to the airport in time, because what kind of adventure starts with timeliness and promptness and all that boringness? Not baby Tessa’s first adventure, that’s for sure!


Tessa was completely enthralled by all of the people in the airport. If I suspected before that she is a freakishly, abnormally awesomely chill baby, I know it for a FACT after yesterdays travels. With 8+ hours of travels, Tessa did not cry ONCE! She flirted with everyone, got a trillion compliments on her pixie hat, and had every passenger on the planes going on and on about how cute and calm and wonderful she was. She was giggling and chattering and watching the world when she was awake (which gave me great company when I’d finished reading through the two books I’d brought) and she was sleeping snugly and soundly in her ring sling when she was conked out. It was the easiest thing on the planet! Tessa kept watching the passing clouds out the window, completely entranced. She gets so focused and calm when she’s encountering something new. She’s already such a smart baby. Have I mentioned how much I just love her!?!?


My flight was about 40 minutes behind schedule. Which meant I left my dear friends (whom I’d never before met in person, haha) waiting at In and Out Burger for awhile. I first “met” Josh and Kristen when I was looking for breast milk donations for baby Tessa awhile back. Kristen provided Tessa’s early colostrum heavy milk and has become one of my favorite people. We like to tease each other about how we’re mutual blog / Facebook / Instagram stalkers. I am so blessed to know this lovely couple and Tessa is blessed not just with amazing nutrition, but with an amazing Auntie and Uncle in Southern California! I was so dang excited to meet these guys!! We spent so much time visiting we didn’t hit the road for Hanford till.. what? 8ish? I think?? (I stole some of these Instagram images off of Kristen’s page.. cuz I’m baaaad like that.)






So when we finally hit the road, my mom was all like, “Waaah wah waaah, I have to pee!” So we started to pull over at the nearest exit (Lyons Ave in Valencia) and then we realized, hey! Dennis from Billy Hill and the Hillbillies at Disneyland usually plays with his bluegrass band The Grateful Dudes on Saturday nights at a pizzeria right off of Lyons, let’s see if they’re still playing! And lo and behold they were! We stuck around for an hour or so to listen to the band and catch up on old times, then when we hit the road for the Central Valley it was well past 10pm. See? Timeliness = BORING.



After much coffee and soda and other unhealthy caffeine laden beverages, we finally made it home past 1am. Lots of visiting and settling in ensued and finally, around 3:30am, we headed to bed. Look at Tessa, all snug as a bug in her borrowed bassinet!


This morning we headed to Marshalls so I could buy the Christmas gifts for family that I didn’t have room to pack in my bags. Jessica had fun trying out the ring sling with Tessa. Check out their matching penguin hats:


My brother Jeremy and his lovely wife Angie visited from the coast to meet baby Tessa for the first time. Tessa LOVED them. It just kind of dawned on me today… she’s going to have an auntie and uncle that are going to spoil her rotten.



We headed over to Grandma Ree and Steve’s house in Lemoore for a kind of impromptu family reunion. Look, here’s my brother, me and my sister as babies!


Grandma Ree and Steve meeting baby Tessa for the first time!


THEN! My Aunt Peggy stopped by and Tessa got to meet her Great Aunt. It’s funny to me that Tessa was an angel on the flight -didn’t fuss or cry ONCE – but once we got to visit with family she decided to go all teething infant on me and drool on everyone. She got a tiny bit of a fever today, and kept trying to bite everything (but mostly her overalls). But still, Tessa was being a super cutie, and loving on everyone with her perpetually alternating “oh!” and “wtf?!” faces.


After the family get together, we all headed back to my old apartment (now my dads super secret lair) and spent some more time loving on Tessa. My mum sniped this shot of all three of us “kids” with the first grandbaby. I can’t wait till Tessa has some cousins to play with!


Anyway, I’m going to head to bed now. SO. VERY. TIRED. It’s only been a day and a half and we’ve already had some fun little adventures. Sorry for the rambling nature of this post. I’m tired, I’m distracted, and I’m… I can’t even remember what I was going to say. Yeah, that’s my cue for bed time. Goodnight, ya’ll!


Baby Tessa With Daddy In New Orleans

15 Oct

My favorite part of our New Orleans trip? I loved watching Tessa’s face as she took in sights and smells and sounds. She was always looking UP. As we sat in Pirates Alley for a short break, between the Cabildo and St. Louis Cathedral, Tessa couldn’t stop staring at crows landing on the wrought iron crosses along the tiled roof. Her eyes kept flitting to and fro, trying to keep up with the movement, with her little brow wrinkled and mouth pursed into an “O” in her concentration. Then she’d look around, at the water trickling along the cobblestone water gutters, at the artwork hung along the Vieux Carre, at the sidewalk performers tap dancing, performing solo jazz… it was making my heart so happy to see my daughter soaking in the beautiful swirl of life all around us, snug and safe in her daddy’s arms.

Anniversary Weekend In New Orleans

15 Oct

New Orleans is always pulling me back with its siren call of cobblestone walkways, French courtyards, lush ferns hanging from bead strewn balconies, Spanish moss, lamp posts, Dixieland jazz, creole and Cajun cuisine, the mystical and muddy Mississippi River, and history ranging from cultured plantation life to primal voodoo bayou life. I just can’t get enough.

Jonathan and I fell hopelessly in love with this place when we first visited with our best friends David and Shauna when they were living in San Antonio, Texas. We immediately started making wedding plans for a small and intimate gathering at our new favorite getaway spot. It was quite the feat, planning for a wedding in Louisiana from California.

Now, a year and many many life changes later, we find ourselves living just a short three hour drive from the spot where we said, “I Do”. Hello first year wedding anniversary trip!

Last year, it was just Jonathan and I, enjoying life together. Now, we are SHARING life with our little girl. It was so nice to be back in New Orleans, reflecting on our past year and dreaming about the years to come.

Oh. And the BBQ Shrimp, Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice, Beignets and Café au Lait was nice too. (Sometimes my love for New Orleans is 99.9% the food!)

A couple of repeat visits to The Big Easy are in order before we have to leave Pensacola, methinks. *nods*

Road Trip from California to Florida

19 Aug

These are some snapshots from my 3 day road trip from Hanford, California to Pensacola, Florida with my dad, my dog and my five cats. We crossed through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on our way to my new home. We were hauling a little 5×8 Uhaul trailer behind us stuffed with as many of my belongings as we could cram into the tiny space, so we were puttering across the countryside at a roaring 55mph the entire trip. Even with our trailer-induced slow pace, we made the nearly 2500 mile trip in good time… we left at 9am on Tuesday August 13th (my birthday!) and arrived at midnight on Thursday August 15th.

The majority of these pictures were snapped through the dirty windshield of my little Ford Escape. We really did not take the time to stop and sightsee. My animals did amazing on the drive, with my cats being happy, playful and purring each night we smuggled them into the Extended Stay hotels we stopped at.

The most stressful portion of the trip was my fear that my cage of cats would be spotted and we’d be hotel-less for the night. Extended Stay hotels allow animals, but with a limit of two per room. Whenever you ask management, “Hey, can I bring five cats and a dog into your facility?” The answer is always a very quick and oftentimes bitchy, “Hell no.” Since my cats are amazingly well behaved, socially adjusted and clean little buggers – and because they stayed in the crate the whole time and were only let out in the bathroom for a quick cuddle and playtime – I didn’t see the harm in making sure the coast was clear and then carting my cage of cats through the exit doors at 1am for our 8 hour stays. So I can now add, “Smuggler of Cats” onto my growing list of random things I’ve accomplished in my life.

While it got long, boring, redundant and stressful at times, I had a blast on this road trip with my daddy. I know I could not have made this drive at 8 months pregnant all by my lonesome. Since we arrived in Pensacola we’ve been busy beyond belief, and I’ve only now just found a chance to upload these photos and find some free WiFi at a local Starbucks. But I’ll be sure to update with more of my travel / moving in weekend when I get the chance!

On The Road to Pensacola

13 Aug


The fortune cookie has spoken.

I’ve been rather silent the last few days – and will be silent for the rest of the week because!… Tomorrow morning I embark on my cross country road trip from California to Florida to join my husband in Pensacola!

Our little 5×8 foot uHaul trailer is filled to brimming with my bare essentials (and maybe just a couple little luxury items, too).

My SUV is loaded up with roadtrippy goodness for me, my dad and my furry babies.

Oh! And tomorrow is my birthday.

I’ve been a broken record on this blog about how my life is about to undergo many, many changes… and tomorrow is definitely one of the major ones. Keep me, my dad and my unborn daughter Tessa in your travel prayers?

I’ll be back to blogging sometime next week!

Packing Up The Apartment

10 Aug





Despite the universe throwing every conceivable road block in my way – the car breaking and needing serious work in the shop, my edema acting up and making standing for more than 15 minutes at a time painful, the cost of moving mounting up to unbelievable proportions, etc. etc. – I am defying the world and packing up our 400 square foot studio apartment in Hanford, California to embark on a cross country road trip to Pensacola, Florida. That’s 2,261 miles. At 8 months pregnant. With a car full of cats. And a retarded moose dog. Who says I don’t have adventures?

My dad is going with me so I won’t be alone, but it’s still a daunting task. I’ve spent the last few days slowly packing up the apartment with the barest of essentials. And the more I pack the more I think “essentials” includes things like my antique phonograph horn (otherwise, how could I listen to turn of the century Al Bowlly music in the mornings on the porch with my cup of coffee..?) and my various carvings of cats and cougars.


The prospect of leaving so many of my precious collectables behind wrankles me. Oh. And I HATE touching cardboard. Hate hate hate hate it. It’s like nails on chalkboard to my fingertips. It ripples through my nervous system like a sour high note at a demon opera. So needless to say, I am one cranky bitch these days.

But I’m excited to be living – if not WITH my honey right away – at least near him. Until he is released to live off of the base, I will be carving out our little nest solo and preparing our home for baby Tessa. But it brings us one step closer to being reunited as a family under one roof again. Only this time, it’s 15 minutes from the beach and a day trip to New Orleans. I’ll take that.

Well, I better get back to packing. Just the living room and bedroom left!

Just Landed in Chicago

1 Aug

blogsouthwest blogbellyinthesky

After a LOOOONG day of driving, waiting, more flying, more waiting, delayed flights / connections, waiting some more, rental car mishaps, driving some more, and finally, hotel sweet hotel at 2am – my dad and I safely arrived in the Windy City.

The adventure was long and action packed. By action,  I mean, my feet swelled up like marshmellows stuck in the microwave during the flights. I have come down with edema that would be fascinating if I were observing it in others, but simply freaked me the eff out when it was my own feet trying to eat my toes. My dad the coroner kept squeezing my ankles to see the pitting from the fluid retention and commenting, “That’s what ankles from corpses that died from congestive heart failure or deep vein thrombosis look like when I get them in the morgue.” My feet inflated so much that my shoes would not fit after the flight and I had to walk barefoot off the plane and through baggage check. So that was fun.

But it’s another day, my legs feel much better, and while my ankles and feet look like those stuffed Halloween store limbs you buy to stick out of the trunk of your car, the swelling has massively gone done. I just woke up from a delicious 8 hours of sleep, and am about to embark upon the great “Jonathan’s Navy Graduation” adventure. Which I insist starts with food, since I slept through the complimentary breakfast here at the hotel.

Anyhoo, this is more of a post to say that I won’t be posting in the next few days. Sightseeing, deep dish pizza, Lake Michigan and most importantly, my handsome sailor man awaits.

I can’t believe it’s here.. Sarge’s Meet in Greet is in just 6 1/2 hours, and then my honey graduates tomorrow morning. I’m in a kind of numbed emotional state (or maybe I’m just really hungry and still partially asleep), but I expect to explode in a frenzy of tummy tickles and pent up emotions any moment now. I’ll wrap this blog post up now before that occurs and spare you all the excessive caps, exclamation points and made up words I spew when I’m hyper and excited. ^_^

Thanks to everyone for all your love and support, and thank you to those reading my blog and keeping me busy during these last two months when I’ve been lonely and restless and pregnant without my husband! I appreciate you more than you know! See you guys after the weekend!!  ^_^