July-August Birthdays

Okay, so I missed July. But the beginning of the month was getting ready for vacation. So I’m covering July & August.

July birthday wishes go out to Trina, Ali, Sharon & Kristy!

August birthday wishes go out to my mom, Cate & Amy!

Happy Birthday everyone and have an awesome year!

That Thing I Do

Don’t have much to say. Just letting you all know I’m just doing what I do, and nothing too exciting is going on. Trying to raise good kids, trying to be a good wife, and just taking care of every day things.

I’m glad July is over, I’m waiting for Fall and cooler weather. That will mean more walks. I’ve been able to get out to the gym once a week. I don’t use that time to solve my problems, but rather to shut them out for a while and just think about me. I’m feeling pretty good (albeit tired) and my weight is excellent. Now I need to maintain and tone.

I’ve contacted Cate about helping me with a project. I won’t reveal anything, you’ll have to see the finished project once I post it. And I will probably start on Miles’ stocking soon.

We watched The Pursuit Of Happyness last night. Geoff said it was depressing. True it was a sad movie, but I walked away from it feeling blessed, and thinking I need to appreciate how lucky I am.

I’m going to close with a quote from Hitch.

Hitch: When your wondering what to say, or how you look… just remember… she is already out with you. That means, she said yes, when she could’ve said no. That means she made a plan… when she could’ve just blown you off. So that means it is no longer you job to make her like you… It’s your job NOT TO MESS IT UP


Ok, now that I’m done blogging the vacation, I can move on. I don’t know how many people found it worth reading (thanks Sharon), but it was as much for me as it was for anyone else. And if anyone gleaned some new restaurants to try, then it was worth all the effort.

As mentioned, we got back from our trip and Elijah got sick, then me. This week it was Honey Cat and Geoff. Miles is the only one who escaped. Geoff didn’t have what Elijah and I did, his was something far less painful.

On Saturday, we went to Whole Foods (in Aurora) and it’s a much better store than Cherry Creek’s. For one, it’s at least twice the size. We picked up some satays and corn on the cob for dinner that night. Sunday after church we drove up to Breckenridge. It was supposed to be over 100 degrees down here, and comfortable 70s in the mountains. The drive reminded me of driving in the Canadian Rockies. Until you get to the high plains, which was weird to me. To be in the mountains, but it’s farm land. Kind of odd, but beautiful. The town was just how I pictured it, and I can not wait to get back. So many shops, and no time to look at it all. It’s hard to shop with two little ones.

Driving past Platte Canyon High was a little surreal. This was the school that suffered a tragedy this year with a shooter taking kids hostage, and one girl died. To see how small the community is, to see the school you’ve only seen on the news. It makes you sad. It made Geoff want to drive to the sheriff’s office to thank him for the job he did, as hard as it was.

Our temps here have been very warm, and yesterday I finally got out Elijah’s alligator pool for him to enjoy. I posted some pictures of that on shutterfly. The plans for this weekend are to go to a bbq, and if we’re up to it, we might try to go back to the mountains. We’ll see what transpires.

We watched For Your Consideration over the weekend, so I’ll close with a quote from that.

Lane Iverson: You can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater because then all you have is a wet, critically injured baby.

Vacation, Part Four (the end)

The hardest part of leaving the cottage was saying goodbye to my family, not knowing when I would see them again. There are no scheduled trips to Alberta on the books (visa issues), and they spent a lot of money to get to California. I may see them again next summer, but where has not been decided.

I think we were able to depart around 8am. The drive home went so much more smoothly. Miles slept in longer periods, thus were didn’t have to stop as frequently. The goal was to stay in Richfield, UT for the night. We had packed a lunch, and we stopped to eat that in Primm, NV. That’s right, we stopped inside the air conditioned outlet mall and ate our lunch. I also was able to sit on a couch to breastfeed Miles and watch classic ESPN. I almost got into the Old Navy outlet store but Elijah wasn’t going for it. We stopped one more time, at a rest stop, then we made it Richfield in time for dinner. We went to a restaurant down the road from our hotel, JB’s Restaurant. I loved it, I love diner food. It was what you’d expect. We checked into the hotel, and it was so much nicer than the place in St. George had been. Plus it had internet access! Geoff left to go check out the bakery he saw next door to JB’s, and the boys and I got settled. He came back bearing yummy treats, a cookie for Elijah and a maple dip doughnut for me. It tasted like it came from Tim Horton’s. The place was called Ideal Dairy. We had a hard time getting the boys to sleep. Miles was wide awake, and Elijah wanted to talk to me while I was trying to coax the baby to sleep. So I ended leaving the room and walking in the lobby to get Miles to fall asleep. Once I left the room, Geoff and Elijah fell asleep. 45 minutes later Miles was asleep.

Sunday morning we enjoyed the continental breakfast at the hotel (they had a waffle iron!) and then we were on the road. The hope was to be home by 4pm. We stopped for lunch in Fruita, CO at Pablo’s Pizza. This was the best pizza (outside of Geoff’s) that I’ve had in a long time. No joke, we’re ready to drive the 4 hours just to eat there again! (We are planning on getting back out there, there are some cool things to do in Fruita). We then embarked on the drive home. Now we were on track to get home for 4pm, but hit yucky traffic. It added an extra 2 hours to our drive. We almost considered pulling into one of the mountain towns for dinner to let traffic ease up. But we got home at 6pm, and hit the drive thru at Jim N Nick’s.

That was our vacation. Would I do it again? I probably wouldn’t drive that far again with a breastfeeding baby. Or at least I’d spread out the drive more. I loved that we never ate at the same place twice (except In-N-Out). We explored new places, broke out of our box. We had some good laughs. I’m a pretty blessed gal.

Vacation, Part Three

Wednesday it was our day to spend together as Armstrongs and Torrances. We tried to organize a trip to main beach, but it just wasn’t happening. Ryan desperately needed a nap, so they took a car drive to try and get him to sleep. No luck. But when they returned we had finally gotten the pack n play for him and Dawn coaxed him to sleep. Then Miles fell asleep before I could get him in the snugli. In the end, it was only Colin & Dylan taking the free shuttle to main beach. Geoff went to pick up more charcoal for the bbq, and to get side dishes for dinner. Elijah, Dawn & I hung out on the deck. Once we started dinner cooking, the boys got home from the beach. Got a long distance call on my phone (Hi Mom!) and just bragged about the weather and sights.

After dinner, Dawn & I walked down to main beach with the babies. I wanted to take Dawn to Wild Oats to see if we could find food for Ryan (he’s lactose intolerant and also can’t have egg whites). We did find some good stuff for him to try, and it encouraged Dawn to get to her own health food (Hippie) store. When we got back, there was a poker game going, and we jumped in, sending Dylan & Elijah off to bed. I think we played until after 10pm (party animals I know).

Thursday the Torrances ventured off to Disneyland for the day. We had made lunch plans with Rod & Diana, so I had to convince Elijah to have an early nap. Rod & Diana found the cottage easily enough and we all walked down to the restaurant I picked out, GG’s Cafe. It describes itself as Turkish/Mediterranean food. It was a lovely lunch (I had a pannini, Geoff had a hot pita sandwich, Elijah had pita bread) and so nice to catch up with Rod & Diana. After lunch they took Geoff to UCI to meet with his old boss, and I took care of feeding Miles before I too went to Irvine. I went to WCC to see Julie (most of the old staff has left or is leaving), and also saw Marilyn and Erik. Elijah found some girl on the playground to play with. Once we were done, Elijah and I went to In-N-Out for milkshakes. Geoff wasn’t done yet so I headed to Mason park (our old park we used to go to) to feed Miles. Elijah wanted to check out the lake, but we couldn’t stay. We picked up Geoff and ultimately decided to go to the In-N-Out on campus for dinner. Geoff called up Ryan to meet us afterwards for dessert. We had brought the laptop and the coffee shop had access (yay!). Once Ryan arrived he treated us to gelati (a little messier than I envisioned Elijah would get). A short visit, and then back to the cottage. We didn’t wait up for the Torrances to get home, we knew it would be late.

Friday. Our last day. We were all feeling sad. We tried to get some laundry done, and get organized. Colin & Dawn watched Elijah for us while Miles slept and Geoff & I ducked out for some alone time. We walked down to PCH and stopped in at Andree’s. We got a treat (a muffin & a chocolate croissant) and did some shopping. I got a souvenir, a gift for Amy for watching Honey Cat, and I bought Dawn’s birthday present (her birthday is in November). We talked about when we’d be able to come back again. Geoff wants to rent the house again. When we got back we made plans to hit the beach in the afternoon for tide pools. I waited all week for tide to be low, and it was scheduled for 2:20pm. We headed down to our beach, and then towards the keyhole. Walking along the tide, having it wash over my feet, I’m going to hold onto that feeling the next time the boys are driving me batty.

We broke into pairs, Geoff & Elijah, Colin & Dylan, Dawn & Ryan, Miles with me. At this point disaster struck. I was walking through the keyhole and had the sand swept from underneath me. I lost my balance, and with Miles strapped to my chest in the snugli, we fell into the ocean. I broke the fall with my hand on a rock, I cut my elbow and my feet. Miles slammed his back (padded by the snugli) into the rock I cut my hand on. He got sand all down his back, and the ordeal, while frightening to me, didn’t even faze him. He barely blinked. This scared Dawn off coming in to tidepool, she & Ryan were right behind me. It took the fun out it for me too, and I didn’t stay long. But it was teeming with life. A lot of crabs could be seen scrambling over the rocks. Once tidepooling was done, we set off to take our group pictures and to play in the water. This was the first day I actually got to get in the water. It was awesome. Too short was our time, we had dinner plans. We had to pack it up, get kids washed and go to Jake & Cindy’s for Crab Fest.

Again, traffic was awful, we got there shortly after Colin & Dawn, and they left long before us. But there was lots of food and Kroliks to see. Everyone got to meet my family, Ryan got adopted by Abbie, Dylan hung out with some older kids, Elijah found his own friends to play with and Miles always had someone wanting to hold him. The 4 kids barely saw each other (refreshing for them I’m sure). Us parents loved it. Dawn said, we should have done this all week! Elijah and Dawn both had their first taste of crab, Colin & Dawn got to taste Jake’s famous (and delicious) Lutzy Putz (I think that’s what he calls it, Kroliks out there, help me out). It’s a polish pork recipe he won’t share.

We couldn’t stay too long, we all had a busy day ahead. Many many sad eyes as we had to say goodbye.

Now all that’s left is Saturday and Sunday.

Vacation, Part Two

Sunday morning, once we got the baby fed and everyone dressed, we headed down to PCH to find some breakfast. We’d seen several cafes the day before, so we knew we’d be okay. Some were packed and had no free tables, some just weren’t for us. One place we wanted to go to, but was closed was Andree’s Patisserie. We finally settled on Goko Cafe, a mostly organic cafe. I know you’re wondering what did Melissa find to eat there? Well, I had a bacon and cheese bagel sandwich, with freshly squeezed apple juice. It was green, with foam on top. It tasted…like a freshly squeezed apple. Elijah had some yogurt, Geoff had granola and freshly squeezed orange juice. We then walked up a block to the Ralphs to get groceries for the house. On the way home, Elijah wanted to see the ocean, so he & Daddy went and Miles & I went to the house to feed again and put away the groceries.

The rest of the morning/early afternoon was spent with naps and running (you figure out who did what). Then Colin, Dawn, Dylan & Ryan arrived! I got the biggest hug from Dylan he was so happy to see me. More hugging, and then we went into the house and Elijah woke to 4 new faces staring at him. We all got reacquainted and met the new babies. Geoff returned from his run and we hung out. We had made arrangements for dinner with Cate & Kaisara, since they were leaving on an anniversary cruise that week. We headed towards them and found a new restaurant called Boneheads for dinner. I enjoyed the caesar salad with piri piri chicken, Geoff had shrimp, Elijah had chicken tenders. It was pretty tasty. Then we played in the fountains there for a bit before trying to get the kids to bed at a normal hour.

Monday the plan was to hit PCH and the beach with the Torrances. We headed down to check out the beach, which Ryan loved. He crawled along in the sand, wanted to be swept away by the ocean. Elijah got into playing in the water too.

The big boys were going to head back to the house, while the girls and babies went to Ralphs to get more provisions. The boys ended up finding us still shopping when they realized… I had the key to the house. Oops. On the walk home, we stopped in Andree’s, and got some yummy pastries. It’s a tiny bakery, just one guy. I had my first chocolate eclair. Fabulous! For dinner we had gotten burgers to bbq, but it didn’t quite work out. Not enough charcoal. But we had a good time regardless.

Tuesday the Torrances went down to San Diego to do Sea World, and we spent the morning and early afternoon having kids nap. Once everyone was up, we went to the beach house the Kroliks were at and hung out on their beach. It was nice to just sit and have someone else amuse the boys. 🙂 We took Lexi away with us for dinner. We walked down towards main beach and ended up eating at Greeter’s Corner. On the walk back we picked up some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at Ralphs to eat at the house. Eventually Geoff took Lexi back to her beach house, and after he got back the Torrances got in from their day at Sea World. They said it was huge, you could spend two days doing everything there. And yes, Dylan got splashed by Shamu.

Alright there’s a few more days for you.

Vacation, Part One

I’m trying to figure out the best way to blog about this trip.

We left early Friday morning, around 7am. We made some good time, but stopped near Edwards for our first break. Once Miles was fed, and Geoff and Elijah had explored the little creek there, we were back on the road. We had packed some sandwiches, and found a park by the welcome center in Fruita, CO. At this point I offered to drive the next leg into Utah. We wanted to make some good time, and we prayed Miles would make it past the 110 miles between Green River & Salina where there are no services. He did, but it was a little painful at times. We ended up stopping in Beaver, which was not a good rest stop. It was a concrete gas station. I was tired from my small amount of driving, I guess Utah wasn’t enough to keep me awake. The plan was to stop for dinner in Cedar City, UT before heading to our hotel in St. George, UT. Cedar City looked like such a neat town, I’d love to go back and see more. Geoff had researched some places to eat, and we settled on Sullivan’s Cafe. Service was okay, the food was yummy enough. It was a short drive to St. George, like maybe 20 minutes or so. Geoff had gotten himself a slice of pie to go, so I hoped I’d be able to find a Dairy Queen or something near our hotel. Even better, was Iceberg Drive In. (I just discovered on their website they are presently only found in UT, but are expanding to CA, NV, & AZ) For $2, I got the biggest chocolate dipped cone you ever saw! (Athena, I almost took a picture of it for you, but I started eating it because it was like 105 degrees outside) On their menu, they had 48 ( I counted) different milkshake flavors! Our hotel wasn’t great, but the bed was so comfy. This was also the start of Miles not sleeping through the night again.

We were off again at 7am, since we did have a wedding to get to. The continental breakfast hadn’t been set up yet, so we left and just snacked on the granola bars we had packed. We were making good time again, and had our next stop in Primm, NV. It was well over 100 degrees there by 9am, and made for unpleasant conditions to breastfeed in. Elijah & Daddy walked around the outlet mall there (in hindsight, I should have gone in there to feed). Once they got back, they were going to head to the McDonalds to get juice for everyone. The line was too long, so we went to the Carl’s Jr. I got juice for everyone and some hashbrowns too. While Geoff ducked in to use the bathroom, I heard Miles needing to be changed. Thank God he did it before we got on the road. We blazed through to Barstow, CA for lunch at In-N-Out. We made more good time and arrived in Orange County by 2pm. Since we couldn’t check into the house until 3pm, we went to visit a favorite haunt, Peet’s in Newport Beach. Killed some time sitting on the patio and then headed down PCH to Laguna Beach. Elijah was pretty excited to see the ocean (picture him yelling OCEAN).

We found the cottage with no problems. It was built in the 1920s, just one bedroom, a kitchen, dining room, and living room. They built the other two bedrooms when they started having children. It had a lot of charm, it felt cozy, and in good ways. Geoff went for a quick run, and I took to looking around, taking pictures then feeding Miles. Should have spent more time getting ready for the wedding, because we ended up running late. Had to call Jen and ask her to meet us there to pick up Elijah for their playdate. We did not anticipate the traffic being so bad near main street Laguna, so we were really running late. We ended having time to spare. Elijah was happy enough to go play with Jen, Greg and their dogs.

The wedding was beautiful. The temperature was perfect, and the ceremony was lovely. Amy was a glowing bride, she looked perfect. Once the ceremony was over, I went to find a place to feed Miles. Found a couch in the ladies room, and Geoff took pictures and mingled. Had my friend Pat come talk with me while I fed the baby, and learned the exciting news that Erik & Becky (whose wedding I attended in December) are moving to Colorado Springs at the end of the month. Whoo-hoo! Once I was done, I was able to mingle, and show off the baby. I inquired to Cindy that I hadn’t seen Jake’s parents (his mom had been in the hospital weeks leading up to the wedding). While she had gotten out of the hospital days before, she didn’t have the strength. So they had arranged to have the wedding streamed online for them. How cool is that?

The reception was very nice, and we got to catch up with Pastor Frank & Cynda. Miles slept through dinner and the speeches on Geoff’s lap. We chatted a ton with the Kroliks. We couldn’t stay for the dance, I wanted to get the kids to bed, and it had been a long day. We went to pick up Elijah and then we headed to the cottage. No traffic worries at that time of night.

Okay so there’s Friday and Saturday. I think this post is long enough. Better break it up, or you’ll stop reading. 🙂


So we got home safely on Sunday night, drove right to Jim N Nicks for takeout. Monday morning Elijah woke up saying he had a tummy ache. All he had was some orange juice. Then after Daddy went to work, he said my tummy hurts, started to bounce and whine and then blah, he threw up on the loveseat. He ended up throwing up 3 or four times, but by the third time I could see the signs and tried to get him to go in the bucket. No luck. Tuesday he woke up with a fever. He came down for breakfast (oatmeal) and then when right back to bed for 2 hours. We vegged and watched movies all day, then he went down for a 3 hr nap in the afternoon. We had stirfry for dinner, and an hour later, I told Geoff I didn’t feel so good.

Boom, I spent from 7:30pm until maybe 4:30am dashing to the bathroom every ten minutes. I spent a lot of time on our floor, whining and praying for death. I couldn’t sit up without getting dizzy. Praise The Lord that the kids slept all night. What would we have done? In rotten timing, Geoff’s magnet called him all night long wanting attention. So he was in and out of the house all night, getting maybe an hour or so sleep before his drama started.

Wednesday Geoff stayed home to take care of the kids and help me out. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to feed Miles, so we tried to give him some formula. He wasn’t crazy about that. I was able to feed him, but it was very draining. I was also able to nap twice, and I took some Tylenol to help with the pain. It wasn’t until the afternoon that I was finally able to keep my water down.

Praise The Lord again that the kids went to bed early and slept the whole night! We went to bed at 8:15 and woke at 6. I am trying to take it easy, and not over-exert myself. Which is hard, because I see all theses things that need to be done. Pray for me to rest, for Geoff and I to catch up on sleep (as best as parents can), and for the kids to continue to be good boys.

I’ll blog about vacation later.

Homeward Bound

Woods Cove, down the road from the cottage.

We’re currently in Utah, and on our way home today. If today goes as well as yesterday, it won’t be so bad. We’ll probably get in tonight.

Gotta go, big day ahead. Here’s another picture from our vacation.