Monday, December 5, 2011

...And Back...

Well, I'm on my way back from Portland, composing this offline to kill some time on my long flight. Looks like I'll actually have a movie on this one, but I might also have a little trouble making my connection, so we'll see how that goes. Thank you, morning fog, for delaying my flight crew. My trip was really nice, a mental break from my usual responsibilities at home and some good quality time with John, Kristin, Kate and my adorable new nephew, Max.
It was a pretty low key visit compared to my last trip west, when Craig and I visited Seattle and Portland during a whirlwind week of sightseeing—Pike Place Market, Space Needle, Rose Garden, Mt. Hood, Oregon Coast—but this trip was really mostly about Max and Kate, and I definitely enjoyed that portion. We ate well—a fantastic Mexican place, a cool brewery, a funky pizza place, the tiniest sit-down restaurant ever, along with a couple delicious meals prepared by Kristin. We walked around the neighborhood a bit, and ventured downtown. We went to the Nike campus and shopped at the employee store, and had a brief but lovely visit to the Oregon Zoo's Zoo Lights display. But the most precious moments were certainly spent cuddling my new nephew, and it was fun to play with Kate, as well. She was hesitant and shy at times, but when she let down her guard, we had fun.

Max was a delight, and it definitely reinforced my desire to have another baby. And playing with Kate solidified that I'd love to have a girl. But I do think it reminded me that I'll be totally in love with a new baby regardless of the gender, even if I might still have a nagging desire to buy cute dresses and play with dolls and play kitchens in addition to daily games of lacrosse and soccer in the living room. Holding a little boy definitely brought back memories from 3-1/2 years ago, when Jacob was a newborn and made those adorable noises. It's been a long time since I dealt with a baby too young for head/neck control, or that did the crazy, explosive poops mid-feeding. It took a little adjusting, but I was pleasantly surprised that the instinct came right back. Perhaps a little clumsier than I was before, but I think I was a lot less phased by getting peed on than I may have been before! I savored every moment of snuggle time and tried to take a lot of pictures of both Max and Kate.

Of course, I had my new camera with me, which presented both an opportunity and a challenge. I had great subjects to test out my camera on, but also the issue of trying to get good pictures despite not knowing the best ways to use my camera. Lots of settings to try out, lots of fun shots to play with, but all with the risk of not getting great pictures of the kids or the scenery while I was there. It didn't go perfectly, but I think I'm reasonably happy with the shots I got. Definitely a few winners in there, as you'll see below.
Clock of Nations in the Rochester airport.  It used to be in the mall I walked through every day for work.  I took the picture with the "toy camera" setting on my new camera to age it a bit.

View of Mt. Hood from the plane.  Gorgeous, and you can even see the snow blowing around! sweet.  So.  Sweet.
View from John & Kristin's condo

I love this picture and it was totally random.  Trixie came right up to me and set her head on my lap.  Couldn't resist.

Max, wide awake and still so sweet.  Handsome little man.

The tree got put up and decorated on Friday, and here's Kate with it.  Her ornament hanging handiwork is in the lower left :)

This picture turned out a little blurry, but it was probably the best smile I got! 

Apparently sweet runs in the family, eh?

One of my favorite artsy pictures from my trip...fisheye effect on the hanging decor in the mall downtown

Pretty tree from Zoo Lights

We only got to see a portion of the decorations, but this was one of my favorite walkways

Anyway, I'm happy to be heading home to my boys, even if Craig was dreadfully sick yesterday morning and I'm in total fear of Jacob coming down with the same thing...or me, for that matter. Being with another nearly-three year old was a good reminder of what I had left at home, and although I wasn't anywhere near miserable without him, I did miss being a part of his daily life and I'm looking forward to getting back. It is Christmastime, after all, so I'm happy to be getting back in the groove in time to start enjoying some of the best parts of the season.

Now there's just the little issue of catching my connection in Chicago to get back to that life. Or rather, catching it with a full belly, empty bladder, and enough room to store my luggage on board. Fingers crossed, because I want to see my baby tonight...

[Insert extra long flight, brisk walk through O'Hare, arrival at my flight with about five minutes to spare, super quick flight to Rochester, and a ride home from my boys here]

So, I'm finally home.  It's been a long day (did I mention I woke up extra early?), though my travel was relatively painless other than the stress of potentially missing my connection.  A movie made the first flight go quickly, and a rousing game of Mahjongg

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