December 31, 2009

2009 comes to a close

This is a long post. If you are too lazy to read the whole post (or just want the good stuff - head down to the last 2 paragraphs!)

I don't normally make New Year's resolutions. It's not that I don't believe in them or I think I will set myself up for failure. I just think that waiting for a particular day to occur to make a change in your life (hopefully positive) is a silly idea. If I decide in June that I want to volunteer more, why wait until January 1st to contact the charities I hold dear to my heart? Why not call that day and ask how I can help out?

A few months after Sweet Pea was born, I saw that a blogger (and no, I don't have any idea who it was) was taking a picture of their baby every day for the first year of their life. What a great idea I thought. Why didn't I think of that? It wasn't like I didn't have 2000 pictures of her by her second month (because I did). But there was something about starting or ending or at least acknowledging every day with a picture of Sweet Pea's life.

I told myself it was too late for Sweet Pea. How could I start that now? What with her being 4 months old and all? So I didn't. And I regret it. Because how cool would it be to see how much she has changed. I know she has. I can see it in the pictures framed at my desk and the rotating background on my computer.

It's been a crazy year for our family. I know 2009 has been awful for some people (for a lot of people). But all in all, 2009 has been good to the RoadTripFamily. We went from a married couple (family of 2) to a family of three with Sweet Pea brightening our days. While I received news that I had tumors in my thyroid that needed to be removed, I learned they weren't cancer. And I was grateful. And a week before my husband's birthday, we found out that I'm expecting again. It was a rough first month and there were concerns of miscarriage. But I can tell you that I'm 19 weeks along and looking forward to our ultrasound next week. We've had our ups and downs, but there's been a lot of love. I look forward to 2010 with some nerves, but mostly I'm excited to see what will happen next.

On that note, I have decided on two resolutions for 2010. After seeing OHMommy wrap up her year in pictures on Twitter, I have decided to challenge myself to a year of pictures. I plan to share some on this blog but mostly, it's for the RoadTripFamily. We have a lot to see in the next year. From Sweet Pea's 1st birthday to baby 2 to our 3rd wedding anniversary and 4 weddings (so far). Secondly, my goal when starting this blog was to post as often as I could. And I admit, I could have posted more often. So in 2010, I am resolving to post at least once a week (please note that could mean a Monday of week 1 and Saturday of week 2 - because I'm ambitious but let's be serious). While these may seem like minor resolutions to you (and anyone else I tell), it's about a commitment to RoadTripFamily and our life together. They are the best part of my day.

Happy New Year everyone!

December 30, 2009

Fun with fish

Recently my husband and I took Sweet Pea and my parents to spend the day at the Shedd. It had been years since I had been there and my only memory was the large round tank in the center of the aquarium. I was thrilled to see so much more than I remembered.

There are seven large exhibits to visit along with the central tank and the four water areas to explore. We started with a stop at Amazon Rising. From anacondas and piranhas to rays and very, very large fish, this should be everyone’s first stop. I was shocked to see there were monkeys in this area too! I didn't see them the first time we were in this area but when we headed back up there later, I sat down on a bench and looked up to see the monkeys hanging out looking down at all the people.

After Amazon Rising, we headed down to Fantasea. It was a great show with the animals coming closer than you expect. We all got a kick out of the penguins as they toddled around the audience. There are several animals in this show: a seal, red tailed hawk, Pacific white sided dolphins, penguins and beluga whales. Sweet Pea was enthralled with the whole show.

As we explored exhibit after exhibit and saw all sorts of crazy looking fish and colorful sea life, I laughed realizing that I couldn’t tell who was having more fun out of our group – was it Sweet Pea, my husband, me?

We easily spent four hours roaming the aquarium and I’m sure we could have stayed for another four! It was a great day and everyone enjoyed themselves. If you live in the Chicago area or are planning a visit here, check out the Shedd Aquarium's website for information about free days at the Shedd.

December 15, 2009


Well folks - it's been way too long.

I had my surgery on Thursday, August 13th. I was told when I woke up that they only took out the left side of my thyroid and the bridge to the right side. This was the plan if the test results came back clear. I was relieved, but still wanted to hear the official word from the doctor after the tumors were really thoroughly checked out. On Saturday, August 15th, I received a call at home. The results were in - NO CANCER! I repeated this news from the nurse. I felt a little better - okay, okay - I felt a lot better! But something was nagging at me. I needed to hear it from the doctor's mouth. My follow up visit was the next week and I let out a huge sigh of relief when I heard the doctor say the tumors weren't cancerous. Relief, finally!

I was off work for three weeks as my doctor was not fond of my commute. Something about driving an hour each way while I couldn't turn my head didn't sit well with him. Unfortunately, I didn't get to spend that time with Sweet Pea. Instead, every morning off to the sitter she went. I was sad to be home and not able to spend time with her but I knew it was best for my recovery. My neck is one of her play spots. She scratches at it, plays with my necklace and pokes at it. Not a good idea when I have stitches.

It's been just over 4 months from my surgery and I'm starting to look at my scar less in the morning and any time I catch my reflection. It's not the first thing I notice. But I see it everyday. I know that people see it too. I saw a friend for the first time in two years and the moment I took off my scarf she blurted out, "What happened to your neck?!?" That hit me hard. I was reminded that it's noticeable. That people see it when they look at me. But I take it in stride, try not to be vain and remember that the results of that surgery were positive. I do not have cancer. I do not need radiation. I am so lucky.

I am so lucky.

August 15, 2009


So I now have six long weeks to think about my surgery. To fret, freak out and be a complete and utter you-know-what to my husband. Because he is the one that gets the brunt of my fear and anger. I try to apologize at every chance for my behavior. There's no excuse. My friends tell me it's understandable. But really, I'm not a nice person for this time. And he doesn't deserve that. Not at all.

It turns out that postponing surgery does not make it better. In fact, it gives your daymares (or at least that's what I'm calling them). For the three weeks leading up to my surgery I go from worry to obsession to panic. I am consumed with fear about what will happen. After two long weeks of awful behavior on my part, I finally explain to my husband what has been happening. I start with another apology and then say, "Every day for the past two weeks, a thousand times a day, I die on the operating table during my surgery. And the one or two times a day that I don't die, I have cancer."

I explain that these are my daydreams, nightmares throughout the day - daymares. I tell him that it doesn't end when I go to sleep - all night long, I play these over and over in my head. I am more exhausted than before. He does what he has done a hundred times since we were at the doctor's office. He pulls me close, gives me a hug, and tells me that everything will be okay. And I want to believe him. But part of me feels that something isn't right. I ask for him to keep telling me this everyday. Because until it's over and we have the test results, I won't believe it. But I will try...

It's been a while...

And I've missed you...

Things have been all sorts of crazy over here. So let's start at the beginning. I will be posting several times over the next couple days so I don't end up with another ridiculously long post.

Let's start with the rest of the doctor issues...

I received a call at work with the results of the biopsy the Tuesday after my appointment. The nurse says "The results of your biopsy are back. You have a thyroid tumor. Cancer can't be determined." I was told I would need to make a follow up appointment to talk to the doctor to figure out our next steps. I scheduled the next available appointment - Thursday. I have tried to stay positive up to this point. I have believed that everything was going to be okay. And instead, I am dumbfounded by this news. This was not supposed to happen. I was not prepared for this...

I call my husband. Repeat those three sentences and burst into tears. He tells me we will get this figured out and everything will be okay. We have nothing to worry about until we talk to the doctor and he tells us to worry. I say okay and tell him we will talk tonight. All I want to do is be with him and that's not an option for the next few hours.

I text a friend in another part of the building and ask her to meet me in the lobby. We walk around the office parking lot and I cry. I make vain comments about my neck being the only thing that didn't get fat on me while I was pregnant. I talk about the possibility of surgery and cancer and what will happen with my husband and Sweet Pea. My friend calms me down and we walk back into work. Thankfully, I am about 30 minutes from my scheduled time to leave so I wrap up my work and fly out the door at 4.

At the doctor's office on Thursday, he recommends surgery. And he recommends it sooner rather than later due to the size of the tumors. I have a list of questions and the doctor answers them one by one making sure we understand everything. I have my husband with me because I have been known to leave the doctor's office with no recollection of what was said. And because he wouldn't have been anywhere else but by my side. He's good like that.

I'm sure I'm smiling like an idiot throughout this appointment. In fact, the doctor mentions that I seem awfully calm about this recommendation of surgery. My husband said we thought this might be what you recommended. I nod along like an absent minded fool while in my head I'm screaming - THIS IS MY WORST CASE SCENARIO! YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT SLICING OPEN MY THROAT! I'M NOT OKAY WITH THIS! I'M NOT OKAY!!!

The appointment wraps up and I schedule the surgery for Thursday, August 13th - approximately 6 weeks later, because I'm not ready for this. I'm not okay. I'm scared.

July 25, 2009

BlogHer 2009

I had my first BlogHer experience last night and it was awesome. Husband has a weekend getaway surprise so I will tell you all about the BlogHer parties soon!

It's road trip time!

July 13, 2009


So I was going to write about Sweet Pea's first trip to the zoo but I realized all those pictures are at home and not on this computer. So instead, maybe it's time to fill you in on what has been weighing me down...(FYI - I started this post exactly one week ago, but lost track of time and ended up running late to my grad class. Oops.)

Almost two months ago, I went to the doctor. I had been absolutely exhausted for a couple weeks. I wasn't tired from the baby. It was this all consuming, over whelming, frightening tiredness. It would hit me every morning as I sat in traffic. I would finally gain enough energy to carry on a conversation a few hours later but I struggled to stay focused and conscious for the rest of the work day. The drive home would be amazingly smooth and awake. I was usually pretty good until around 8pm. At that point my body would give up and I would fight with all my might to stay awake if there was something that needed to get done. More often than not, my husband would find me passed out, fully clothed on the couch, or on top of the covers or anywhere else in the house if I stayed still for a couple minutes.

This was particularly alarming to me when I was commuting into work. I worried that at any moment I would pass out and smash into the cars in front of me or the construction barriers that make up 95% of my commute or hit the guardrail or land in a ditch. I told my husband that it was so bad, I was tempted to pull over to the shoulder in rush hour traffic just to close my eyes. I tried blasting the radio, opening the windows, turning on freezing cold air and even snapping a rubber band on my wrist. Nothing worked. I found myself violently shaking my head back and forth to jar my eyes open. The only thing that worked, was to talk on the phone. I know, I know. There are all sorts of reasons why this is not a good idea. But here's the thing, it kept me awake, and as my two friends who now get daily calls can tell you, focused. As I complained about this person and that person and wondered aloud why every road I travel on must be under construction, I found that I could keep my eyes open and arrive safely at work.

So, on May 20th I went to the doctor. It was an awful visit. My doctor was an hour and 45 minutes late for our appointment. There were other things that I do not care to write about, but I decided in that time waiting that I would never see this doctor again. (More on this later - in a different post.) But, this doctor thought that maybe it was my thyroid that was causing the tiredness. Not the baby - as everyone else had diagnosed me. And here's the thing people, if I tell you "It's not the baby. Sweet Pea sleeps through the night. I sleep through the night. I get a ton of sleep. I'm still exhausted." Then guess what? It's not the baby. It's not when I go to bed. It's not how much sleep I get. I know something is wrong. And thankfully, this doctor caught it. In the exam she mentioned that my thyroid felt a little generous (her words...). She ordered blood work and an ultrasound.

The blood work was completed immediately but I would have to wait on those results for a couple days. The ultrasound got scheduled for the following week. I have the ultrasound with my husband in the room. It’s not that it’s that big of a test, but honestly, I wasn’t sure if the person was going to say something like “Oh my God, that’s a big tumor or whatever.” And having him there made me feel better. I call the doctor's office and ask for a copy of my blood work results and the results of the ultrasound. I don't know what the results say at this point but I know that I will be seeing a new doctor and I want to have at least this information.

I pick up the test results in a sealed envelope (after the woman at the reception desk passed by the envelope at least twice...). I walk out into the sunshine and slowly tear open the envelope. The blood results are on top. As the nurse said, nothing is abnormal with the exception of high thyroid antibodies. Basically my body is attacking my thyroid and it's fighting back. From the research I have done online...(I know, I know - self diagnosis is not a good idea but I can' thelp but looking up some things) I know that this is probably a pre-cursor for hypothyroidism.

The ultrasound test results are next. I scan them for "bad" words. I find a sentence that starts with "At least..." It has been determined that I have "at least" 2 nodules. I feel like I got punched in the stomach. I get to my car and call my husband. "What does this mean?" "What's wrong?" "Why did they find something?" "What does this sentence mean?" He calms me down and says we will take things one step at a time. I take a deep breath, start my car and head to work.

It is the recommendation of my doctor to see another doctor in the practice, who is a surgeon but also has endocrinology background. I am told this doesn't guarantee I will need surgery. This does not make me feel better. The doctor also wants me to have a thyroid scan and uptake. This test involves radioactive materials and if I decide to have the test done, I will need to go to all formula for Sweet Pea. I schedule the two day test for the first week in June. In the end, after discussion with the nurse and my husband, we decide to hold off on this test.

Two weeks after my original doctor's appointment, I am in a new doctor's office. She tells me that if these were her test results or those of her sister (high thyroid antibodies and at least 2 nodules on the large side on the left side of my thyroid), she would recommend seeing an ENT. She makes me feel comfortable, she listens, she asks questions, she repeats things. And she doesn't mind that my husband is with me. Because I have learned that I cannot be trusted to remember what the doctor tells me. (More on this later as well - again, in another post.)

I meet the ENT doctor at the end of the next week. My husband meets Sweet Pea and I there as I was working from home that day. I had been travelling for work and didn't get home from the airport until 1am. There was no way I was going to turn around 5.5 hours later to put in a hour commute while I was more exhausted than usual. We discuss the test results and what steps we should take. He recommends a FNA (fine needle aspiration - see nice technical term for biopsy, which is a nice term for stabbing you with a needle multiple times).

The biopsy sucks. The room is too small for my husband to hold my hand and with Sweet Pea there it's not really a possibility anyway. Sweet Pea fusses a little as I'm getting situated on the exam table. She gets a bottle and I can hear her happily eating away. I have my necklace with our names on it wrapped around my wrist with the pendant in my hand. I squeeze it tightly as the doctor takes three samples from my neck.

I wince with pain, hold back the tears and five very long minutes later it is over and the doctor leaves the room. The doctor says he knows it was painful and that I did great. It hurts to swallow and I am convinced that he has punctured something in my throat. I am told that the test results will be back to me by the following Wednesday at the latest. We are left with the nurse, who puts her hand on my shoulder and apologizes for the pain. She says it's okay to cry. Which I do. I'm exhausted. I slowly get up and my husband pulls me into his arms. I hug him and Sweet Pea together and try to gather myself. We take a deep breath, get Sweet Pea in her car seat, gather my things and head out.

Coming soon...the test results

July 6, 2009

WGN's Beautiful Baby Contest

Hey everyone!

As you may already know, via Facebook and Twitter...We entered Sweet Pea in this year's WGN's Beautiful Baby Contest. The contest starts today and runs through the end of the month. The winner is awarded $5000 and a professional photo shoot. If we win, my husband and I are hoping to get a big jump in the college fund for Sweet Pea. And you know how much I love taking pictures of Sweet Pea (I think we have well over 2000 pictures of her already), so the photo shoot would be incredible. You can only vote once and you will need to register for the site. I know how much it sucks to register for stuff, but it should only take a minute and it would really mean a lot to us.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT! And we would be so honored and grateful if you linked back to this or posted my link from Facebook.

Here's the link:

And if you already voted, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

July 2, 2009


I have not forgotten about you. I have just had a lot on my mind and I was hoping things would get resolved and I could post a happy ending to what is going on. But this isn't resolved yet. And will be weighing on my mind for another month or so.

So, here's the plan. I will give an update on what has been going on with me by the 4th.

In the meantime, we are taking Sweet Pea to the zoo for the first time tomorrow. It will also be my husband's first trip to Lincoln Park Zoo. I'm really looking forward to this trip and the long weekend. Last weekend we ended up in front of the aquariums at Bass Pro Shop and Sweet Pea was entralled with the fish. I can't wait to see what she thinks of the animals at the zoo.

More news coming soon...

June 9, 2009

Happy Anniversay!

Happy 2nd Anniversary to my husband and I. Two years ago today around this time we were dancing with our friends and family celebrating our marriage.

With the cicadas (the 17 year ones) singing loud enough to hear in the church, we exchanged vows as a former teacher and good friend married us. There are things that went wrong that day - the room was originally set up 90 degrees off, I went "missing" with one of my bridesmaids that morning, our wedding cake topper disappeared, etc. - but there was at least one major thing that went right. I walked down the aisle to the love of my life and we got married.

At least once every few weeks for our first year of marriage, I told my husband that I wanted to get married again. It was one of the happiest days of my life and I would love to experience that level of complete and utter joy everyday. The world was our oyster (so cliche, I know) and our (married) life was just beginning. I still feel that tug to marry my husband again. We have known each other for ten years, been together for five years and married for two years. I know that's not a lot of time to some people, but it's a big part of our lives. And as I tell him, I love him more today than yesterday and I will love him more tomorrow than today. He is my soulmate. (Sappy I know!)

Looking back at a few favorite pictures show our first wedding together, our wedding, a old neighbor's wedding right before I got pregnant, a picture while I was pregnant with Sweet Pea at a friends' wedding and our first night out, which happened to be a wedding. Even as we celebrated our first anniversary in New York, we ended up a church of the weekend that our wedding would have been the prior year, and stumbled onto another wedding.

I have always loved weddings but there is something now that I am married that is new. Every wedding we attend is not only a celebration of our friends or family getting married, but I also
see it as a celebration of our marriage. And I love it. And I love him...

June 3, 2009

Mother's Day Part II

After the Walk to Empower event, LA and I headed back home.  When I got home, my husband was working on some landscaping for the front of our house.  I had mentioned several times how much I hated three of the bushes that were part of the landscaping when we bought our house.  To my surprise and delight, the bushes were now ripped from the ground and replaced with hostas and flowers.  My husband stopped what he was doing when I got home to proudly show off his handy work. 

The plan for the rest of the night was to head over to my parents house and have dinner together.  I went in the house to get ready and after a quick shower, I grabbed a pair of lightweight khaki cargo pants and a dark blue t-shirt.  I put my still wet hair back in a ponytail and went outside to tell the hubby that I was ready.  I had mentioned that I wanted to get some pictures of Sweet Pea in the grass since she had never been in it.  I grabbed her and the camera and we set out to capture this first moment.  Sweet Pea seemed to like the grass while she was standing.  Once I sat her down, we captured these two pictures before Sweet Pea decided she had enough. 

I took the camera back inside and let my husband know I was ready to go whenever he was ready.  I got the once over from him and "You're going to wear that?  I thought you were going to wear a dress."  I reluctantly pulled a dress out of my closet, went back to the bathroom to shave my legs and got changed.  

Once we got to my parents house, I opened a couple presents and figured out that we weren't having dinner there.  I figured we would be heading out so I left Sweet Pea in her carseat until we were ready to go.  I was then surprised to find out that Sweet Pea would be watched by my parents while we went on a date.  My husband took me out of a great dinner and we really enjoyed spending a few hours out.  We had a wonderful time out and then hurried to pick up Sweet Pea and head home.  My first Mother's Day was wonderful!  

May 27, 2009

Coming Soon...

Still to come...

Mother's Day Part 2
My birthday
Memorial Day weekend
Doctor's appointment/test results

I will be updating soon on everything listed above.

May 26, 2009

Lots to catch up on...

I have a ton to write about but I'm going to try to get caught up over the next few days and not have another extremely long post.

My first Mother's Day was a couple weeks ago.  I spent the morning downtown with Sweet Pea and LA at the Walk to Empower event (formerly the Y-ME Walk).  It was great to have Sweet Pea with us and we had a great morning.  The weather was perfect and the sun was shining.  I could not have asked for a better start to my day.  After the race was over, I met up with an old friend from college and her mom who were walking for their sister/daughter-in-law.  It was great to catch up with them and introduce them to Sweet Pea.  

The only problems we encountered dealt with parking.  Or should I say getting to and from the car in the parking structure.  It was a mess.  We parked my car in the Grant Park South lot underground.  Three stories underground.  Making it up to the race wasn't bad.  There were escalators going up and there was an elevator from the first floor underground to the street.  Although there was no way we were getting in the elevator, so we grabbed the stroller and hauled it up those last stairs.  I should clarify that I'm not talking about a little umbrella stroller.  I'm talking about a Chicco Travel System.  With the car seat part.  And a 12 pound baby.  No small feat for 7:30am.  We were proud of ourselves when we made it to the top of the stairs.  

Going back down to the car was a whole other story.  Had we been paying attention, LA and I would have realized there were only escalators going up...not down.  We might have noticed that there were only narrow stairways.  We might have figured out that it was going to be almost impossible for the two of us to make it down the stairs with the "stroller" and all the goodies we would pick up after the race.   But that did not happen.  We were in too much of a hurry when we got downtown to notice any of this. 

I had taken Sweet Pea out of her stroller after the race so she wouldn't be cooped up the whole time.  I figured I would just carry her down to the car and we would be on our way.  When we got to the entrance of the parking lot, LA and I realized that it wasn't going to be that easy.  Thankfully a woman noticed us staring at the stairs wondering just how we were going to make it and she swiftly grabbed one end of the stroller and helped us down to the next level.  There we were greeted by the payment lines.  Oh yeah, we have to pay here before we can get out of this lot.  Great.  Oh and I left the ticket in my car.  Even after the 10 signs I passed reminding me to take my ticket with me?  Nice.  I hike down the next two levels to my car, grab the ticket and haul myself back up to the payment area.  LA and I pay and then make our way to the stairs.  I am pretty sure I laughed out loud when I saw what we were going to have to do.  However, once again, a nice woman came to our rescue and helped LA with the stroller while I carried Sweet Pea.  Woo Hoo I thought.  Only one more set of stairs left.  Of course, these were the narrowest and steepest (maybe not, but they certainly looked that way).  We stopped and tried to figure out if there was a way for me to get the car up to that level.  We must have looked lost because a gentleman carrying an armload of water bottles came up to us and asked if we needed help.  We quickly agreed and he helped us manuever the stroller down those last stairs.  

Wow.  I really just posted three paragraphs on parking.  That's lame.  More to come tomorrow on the rest of my first Mother's Day.

May 14, 2009

Blogging Template

So I started this blog a little while ago and selected the template that I liked the most out of my options.  After viewing hundreds of blogs in the past few weeks, I have come to hate my current template.  But today I found the solution to my problem, Dee of Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House is giving away a free blog template by Hilary of SimplyYours.  You can register to win your own template as well by visiting Dee's blog here.  The contest runs until May 25th and you can bet that if I don't win, I will be purchasing a template shortly after and updating my site.

Hope everyone is having a great week!  It's almost Friday!!!

May 7, 2009

S-M-R-T Smart

So I have been debating whether or not to post about my weekend.  However, after much internal back and forth, I just cannot keep these comments to myself.  I am aware that what I'm going to write about may offend people but I cannot not keep it to myself.  And it's probably going to be a long post.  Sorry!

This weekend my parents, husband and Sweet Pea piled into a rented minivan for a trip into Michigan for a family baby shower.  The ride in is smooth and it's nice to have room to move around and be able to move around in the van if Sweet Pea needs something. 

We arrive at our hotel in Michigan around 7pm and my parents go in to check in.  We are warned that there are some interesting people inside when my mom returns to the van.  These words do not prepare me for the people that I will encounter for the rest of the weekend.  Apparently a certain group of individuals that belong to a society of smart people are holding a weekend meeting at the hotel.  This society shall remain nameless, but I figure you all can figure it out.  (It starts with an M and ends with an A).  

In the lobby there is a table set up outside a conference room with a sign indicating prices for something and a note about hugging.  I don't take the time to read these at this point because I'm distracted by getting all our luggage to the elevator.  While waiting for the elevator to arrive a man walks out of the bathroom with a name tag on.  His first name is written THIS BIG so you can see if from across the lobby.  My mom says "Hi Larry!" to him.  I'm embarrassed, if for no other reason than I don't want to make friends with random people in the lobby in the first 3 minutes we are there.  Larry immediately looks to see if we have name tags as well.  Which we don't.  Because we aren't that smart.  We explain we aren't there for the conference.  Just in for a baby shower.  In the mean time, Larry could care less.  And the elevator is still not there.  We see another gentleman with a name tag and Larry looks relieved to see another smart person.  My mom says something along the lines of "we'll see you around and we will probably be best friends by the end of the weekend."  I retreat with Sweet Pea into the elevator which has finally arrived.  Larry retreats as well, clearly disturbed with our encounter.

We make it up to the fourth floor and head all the way down the hall.  And around the corner.  And a little farther down the hallway.  Because apparently our room is at the other end of the hotel.  On the way to our room we pass a suite with the door open.  It appears to be a game room for the smart people.  There are a couple tables with board games stacked 15 high.  Most of which I have never heard of.  Must be smart people board games I think to myself.  Another table has the border of a very large jigsaw puzzle.  Now don't get me wrong people, I love a good puzzle.  I just don't bring them with me to a hotel.  But I'm not a smart person.  Maybe that's what they do for fun?  Moving on...while I notice the games and the puzzle, I also notice a woman with a short haircut and little mohawk (or faux hawk or whatever it is).  Now normally this wouldn't cause me pause.  But this haircut is special.  The top part is blue.  Bright blue.  And the bottom is purple.  Bright purple.  Yes.  You read that correctly.  Blue and Purple!  Apparently there is more, as my mom claims the back of her hair was a checkerboard pattern.  I never had the pleasure of seeing the back of this woman's hair the entire weekend.  Although I did see her.  Several times.  And every time I did a double take.  Still Blue and Purple.  Hmmmmm.

After giving Sweet Pea a quick bath and getting all settled in the rain, we head over to my mom's older sister's house.  On the way out, we check out the signs.  The prices are for the conference, whether you will be attending one, two or three days.  And the hugging sign is about their "Hugging Code."  Yes, there is a "Hugging Code."  I just googled it and the sign makes more sense then it did when we were there.  Apparently, you can wear either a green, yellow or red dot to indicate your hugging preference.  According to the sign a green dot indicates "Hug Away," a yellow dot means "Ask first" and a red dot means "No hugging."   Now you know.  In case you ever encounter a smart person.  And want to hug them.

When we return later that evening with Sweet Pea in her car seat, we get off the elevator only to encounter 5 smart people standing around the elevator.  Not waiting for it to arrive, just standing in front of it.  Just blocking our way.  I suppose I should clarify.  There are 4 people standing and one man standing on a Segway.  On the fourth floor.  We say excuse me several times and the smart people finally realize they are in our way and move.  I shake my head and wonder aloud back in the room what the hell was that man doing on a Segway.  

Later that evening my dad and husband head down to the bar for a complimentary drink.  When they get back to the room they are laughing.  Oh great I think.  What now?  They have discovered there is also a hospitality room on our floor for the conference with milk, chocolate milk, cookies and brownies among other late night treats.  Both of them are on the Atkins diet at the moment but they say I'm welcome to go down and get a treat.  I let them know that while I appreciate the offer, I'll pass.

The next morning my dad heads down to breakfast and encounters the Segway man again.  He has it in the dining room.  However, he is walking on his own to the buffet to get his food so it doesn't appear that he needs it.  But I don't know.  So I'm trying not to judge.  But really?  We also realize that Saturday appears to be "Wear your smart people shirt" day.  Everyone we encouter has a smart people shirt on and we can read all of their names from 200 yards away.

We head to the baby shower and Sweet Pea is a hit.  She hasn't met any of my extended family and everyone loves her.  At least that's what they tell me.  My cousin's wife looks great and she is happy to have the attention on anyone but her while we are there.  We all have a great time and Sweet Pea is her charming self.  Quiet at all the right times and soaks up all the love of my family.  The shower ends and we head to another cousin's house for a BBQ with the men of the family.  I realize how much I have missed everyone.  I hate that I don't get to see them as often.  And I vow (in my head) to visit more and invite them to visit me as well.  Because it's a long drive with a baby and Chicago is a great place to visit.

When we finally arrive back at the hotel, the bar is hosting karoake.  And it's awful.  The poor girl singing is not good.  My husband mentions that she sounds a lot like Cameron Diaz in My Best Friend's Wedding.  We all agree.  The elevator is slightly quicker than usual and provides a welcome respite from the awful noise coming from the bar.  

My husband and dad drop us girls off in the room and head out to get dinner as they didn't have much to eat at the BBQ.  While they are gone, a new batch of idiots end up in the hallway.  There must have been a wedding in the area and a groomsman and his girlfriend and friends are now yelling down the hall.  I realize that becoming a mom and getting close to another birthday has made me increasingly less tolerant of drunk idiots.  And these particular idiots are grating my nerve.  I realize it's just 11pm on a Saturday night but I'm tired and I have a 3 and half month old sleeping.  Nevermind that she can sleep through just about any noise.  That's not the point.  The point is you are bothering me and I want you to SHUT UP!  My favorite quote of the night comes as the groomsman passes our room and loudly declares "I'm sooooooo hammered!"  Good for you.  Shut up and go to bed!  No, don't get a cooler and attempt to drag it down the hall to fill it with ice.  Letting the ice drop into your empty cooler and echo down the whole hallway!  And don't let your girlfirend try to help you only making matters worse when you two drop the cooler and spill most of the ice.  Idiots!  They finally make it to their room and after the girl screams several times about God knows what, they shut up.  I assume they have passed out.  And I'm grateful that I have peace and quiet.

The next morning we pack and have our final encounters with the smart people who continually look disturbed by our encouters.  Maybe we are scary.  I have no idea.  I just know that I'm grateful to be checking out and heading home.  We walk out behind the drunk groomsman and his girlfriend.  He is in some sport shorts, a tee shirt and his dress socks and shoes from the wedding.  He is carrying his vest and bow tie and the girl is carrying a bouquet.  The groomsman looks silly enough for me to cause me to laugh at my anger from the night before.  We walk out into the sunshine and see the lady with Blue and Purple hair again.  It's even brighter in the sun.  My dad pulls up in the minivan and I hop in eager to get out of there.  The weekend ends with breakfast with some more family and then a long drive home.  I make a mental note to check with the hotel the next time we go into Michigan to ensure there are no conferences going on with the smart people.

Sorry again for the long post, but I had to write this down.

May 5, 2009

Pretty in Plaid

Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster comes out today.  You must go directly to your local bookstore and pick up a copy.  She is absolutely fabulous.  And while you are there, make sure to pick up her first three books, Bitter is the New Black, Bright Lights Big Ass, and Such a Pretty Fat.  

Seriously...Go now.  

Also, check out Jen's website for more laughs.

Are you still here?  Go get these books!

I'm picking up my copy tonight.

April 30, 2009

Great Start

Two weeks into blogging and I'm already slacking.  Such a procrastinator you say.  But I have my reasons.  Last Wednesday, Sweet Pea got sick.  And then Friday, I got sick.  And then Saturday, my husband (who never gets sick) got sick.  

It started with a stuffed up nose and not a lot of sleeping on my part.  Sweet Pea was sleeping, but she was so stuffed up that it was causing her to cough every 15-20 minutes and shift in her sleep.  She was finally forced to breathe through her mouth.  While it didn't seem to affect her sleep, every time I heard her I woke up to make sure she was still breathing.  It was the same thing for my husband.  We woke up Thursday morning totally exhausted.  By Friday night what I thought were allergies due to the crazy up and down Chicago temperatures, was pretty much confirmed to be a cold.  I was absolutely miserable.  Having not been sick almost my entire pregnancy and not at all since I had Sweet Pea, I wasn't the happiest person.  Grateful it was the weekend, I just prayed to get some sleep and was happy to sleep in the next morning. (Read - I woke up at 6:30 instead of 5 am.)  The rest of the weekend continued with lots of stuffy noses, sore bodies and as much sleep as we could get.

I thought I was better until yesterday morning when I was convinced I had been run over by a bus.  I felt awful.  A quick call to the doctor in the morning and a visit shortly after confirmed that no I did not have the flu (or the swine flu) and indeed just a virus and I should feel better soon.  The doctor gave me a prescription for some antibiotics and said I can wait out the virus or take these and possibly feel better a little sooner.  I chose the antibiotics.  Here's hoping I'm back to 100% soon.  In the meantime, Sweet Pea sounds much better.  I'm thinking she should be good as new tomorrow.  Just in time for us to head to Michigan for a family baby shower.

April 21, 2009

Five Books

I recently asked on my FB page what five books should every child own. This was a purely selfish request on my part. I wanted to know what books I should get for Sweet Pea's Easter basket. I had my personal favorites (The Polar Express, Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon, I Love You Forever and any Little Critter book.). I was surprised at some of the responses I got from people. No one else listed The Polar Express. But I did get some great suggestions. They included The Giving Tree, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Poky Little Puppy, the Berenstein Bears and any Richard Scarry book.

As I shopped for Easter, I grabbed a few classics that were recommended but I am working on compiling a list of books I want for Sweet Pea's library. So if there is anyone out there listening, I would love to hear your thoughts. What five books should every child own?

April 20, 2009

3 Months Old

Sweet Pea turned 3 months old today. I can't believe how quickly the time has passed already. I feel as though it was just yesterday that we were driving to the hospital hoping not to be turned away. I went into early labor the Saturday before she was born and it was so sad being sent home. I was so nervous as we drove back to the hospital. All I kept thinking was please don't send me home again. When I was admitted I couldn't have been happier. Finally, we were going to meet our little girl.

And here we are three months later - Sweet Pea is getting close to rolling over. We are doing our best to get her to laugh. She is starting to really explore things with her hands (and mouth). She's growing. And it's incredible.

First time for everything

I have been thinking about starting a blog for about 9 months. But I'm a procrastinator. So here it is...finally.

A little background on me: I have been married for almost 2 years to a wonderful man. In January, our little girl was born and my life has taken a whole new turn. I was on maternity leave for 11 weeks and I have been back to work for 2 weeks now. It sucks. No nice way to put it. It's one of the hardest things I have ever done. But hopefully things will get better soon.

What's with the title? Growing up my family went on road trips - they usually lasted around two and a half weeks. Mom had a conference every summer and Dad and I would start the road trip immediately after dropping mom off at the airport. We would drive to wherever the conference was and then spend a few days there before taking a few days to drive home exploring the country on the way. They were some of my favorite vacations. Now that we are a family of three, I have found myself already longing for those vacations. Having no set time to arrive our destination, we had the freedom to take the scenic route and see all parts of the country. I can't wait to share these moments with my family.

I would love to say that this blog will be all about the scenic moments in my life, but we all know that not everything goes as planned and you never know where the road may take you.


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