Sedona, Arizona 2014

Sedona, Arizona 2014

We went to Arizona with the in-laws May 25th to June 1st. It all started out innocently enough–the father-in-law switched their main condo week for a week in Sedona, Arizona; he wanted to do something different. They originally booked just a regular, one bedroom condo. The husband found out and wanted to go, too. This all got organized waaaay before the pregnancy, almost six months or more before the trip itself. So, we paid for our plane tickets and jumped onto their trip.

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The area in the immediate vicinity of Sedona was beautiful.

The condo was amazingly beautiful, rivaled only by Sedona itself. It’s nestled amidst these gorgeous red rocks! The pool had an amazing view, too. The father-in-law ended up paying for us to stay in the second bedroom attached to the condo. You can either book both (they connect) and use them as a fully functional condo, or you can book them separately. The bedroom we stayed in connected to theirs with a door, but it functioned on its own as a ‘kitchenette studio.’ We were very appreciative, though the couch pull-out was surprisingly comfy the first night we were there.

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The pool had an amazing view since it was elevated. I loved it. Unfortunately, we were there during the wildfire, so it was pretty smokey the first few days. We spent a lot of time out and about–the mother-in-law has really bad asthma and couldn’t really handle the smoke. Thankfully, it cleared up and the wildfire was under control a few days before we left!

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MIL likes photobombing.

We tried to do some hiking, but that ended up being a bad idea. Between the mother-in-law having issues with not sweating and overheating and my pregnant self wilting in the hot sun (probably a bad idea to go at high noon), we were forced to abandon our endeavor and leave the hiking to the men.

IMG_6771Our second full day there (Tuesday), we made the somewhat long drive (3 hrs) to the Grand Canyon! It was definitely a sight to behold. I had a lot of fun snapping pictures while the husband enjoyed posing with everything. It’s what he does. He likes posing in front of rocks and in weird places.

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We spent the entire day up there, away from the smoke. There was only one incident where I nearly starved and had to eat some really disgusting food just to keep myself going. I still wasn’t feeling the greatest and food was still the enemy. Kind of a pain when you’re doing a lot of walking and activity.

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At this point, I still wasn’t even showing. I had maybe a small bump, but it was mostly from the bloating. I’m so glad that’s no longer an issue now! Anyway, it was annoying because I felt really pregnant and miserable, but I didn’t look it, so everyone sort of expected me to act like I normally would. The husband was understanding and eventually the in-laws got the memo, too.

IMG_7157We went to a safari park that rescues exotic animals and that was pretty cool. The husband got to feed a tiger, which he was super excited about. He loves cats, but he especially loves big cats! It was a hot day, but we managed to squeeze that in along with another very small hike to see Montezuma’s Castle and some other stuff like that. At least it was mostly overcast that day. The husband also got to finally try Jack in The Box. He was over the moon.

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Our last big jaunt away from Sedona was heading out to see the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest parks. Along the way, the husband insisted we stop by this ghost town called ‘Two Guns.’ He had way too much fun ignoring my warnings of snakes and possible injury and climbing all over everything. I got some artsy shots when he wasn’t insisting I take pictures of him avoiding serious injury, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

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The painted desert is just so huge!

I was feeling really rough by the end of that day, so I didn’t get a whole lot of pictures. I captured what was important, though. It’s definitely like a whole different world out that way. It’s amazing. When we arrived, I said it was like being on Mars! I’m certainly not used to everything being so… expansive.

We spent some time around Sedona, too, checking out the local sites and doing some shopping. The husband bought me this beautiful butterfly necklace and we got some stuff from the Indians selling stuff in the area. I wouldn’t have believed it if they hadn’t started speaking Navajo to each other randomly.

All-in-all, it was a really good trip! I’m so glad we ended up going. I was afraid that we wouldn’t be able to due to me being so sick. I really love traveling and seeing new things. We had some good times outside of the parks, too. The husband and father-in-law played ping-pong, me and the husband shot some pool, we spent early evenings walking around and late into the night, you could see so many stars. Much more than even I’m used to and I’m from the middle of nowhere!

There was a fire pit they turned on every night and while it was lit by gas, it was still fun to sit by it, roast marshmallows, and just chill beneath the stars. The father-in-law had his first s’more, which is just madness! How does someone not know what a s’more is?! He wasn’t impressed. I don’t typically like them, but I ate several that night. I blame the baby!

Procrastination

Instead of working on cleaning, I’m sitting here on the laptop while my Pandora randomly plays from my multitude of stations over our very awesome surround sound. We’ve wanted this since we got married. It was the husband’s huge Christmas gift and celebration of finally having a home of our very own. Honestly, I think I get more use out of it than he does.

I got my anniversary present early–my very own 40mm “pancake lens” for my camera. I saw reviews on it and instantly fell in love. As much as I LOVE having a variety of lenses and I’m beyond addicted to the bokeh my 50mm blesses me with, I know that with a baby in our near future, if I want pictures I need something effortless and relatively weightless. Enter in this beauty. I can’t wait to take it for a spin in Arizona. It will make such a good “wandering around Key West” lens, too. My other lenses are “mid-quality”, so they’re heavy because of the metal parts. Still not as heavy as a full-scale quality lens, though. Those are absolute beasts!

The outside cat that roams the neighborhood has adopted the husband as his surrogate owner. That was all well and good until dead birds and other such things started turning up at the foot of the stairs of our back deck. Husband caught him with a live chipmunk hanging out of his mouth, too. He knocked it out and chased the poor thing off. I told the husband, it’s too late; he’s got a serial killing cat on his payroll now. I really don’t want it killing my birds. This is putting a HUGE damper on my ideas of having a bird bath and a lovely yard filled with wonderful birds, sigh. I’m not a fan of “outside cats.” Do NOT throw your cat outside for others to deal with just because you’re a terrible pet owner and “don’t want it inside anymore.” Find someone else to take it in. This poor cat ACTS like an inside cat, is very lovey and vocal–not feral at all. I don’t want to dislike it, but I also don’t want it killing my damn birds.

I’m sixteen weeks now and the “bad” symptoms are starting to taper off. I still can’t dig into my old menu of loves and I’m getting a little worried that my taste buds may be irreparably damaged. As someone with what I’ve designated “food OCD” who is also extremely picky, this is not good news. I panic even thinking about it. I like what I eat, I really do not want to have to go through the hell of “trying new things.” I’m not one of those people. My brain doesn’t work like that. Ugh.

We leave for Arizona at 5:30am. I’ll be on a plane, hopefully not ridiculously tired, and headed towards Chicago where we then head off towards Arizona. Nevermind all the bad weather and wildfires, sigh. I’m really hoping this trip isn’t a bust because the husband is super excited and he needs this. Work has been awful for him lately.

The TastyKake Krimpets I had are wearing off, so I guess it’s time to find some food. Hopefully I get some amazing pictures in Arizona.

Quickie Recap

I fail at blogging. I got so mad at myself last year for hardly blogging anything at all. I like being able to look back and chart my life. It’s important to me. It shows that I’ve made progress and that I’m not the same person I used to be. Self-improvement and becoming the best me I can possibly be is huge.

Anyway, let’s see here… Christmas wasn’t bad. It was not at all what we expected; we didn’t even see the in-laws that day. No one was doing anything and the husband’s cousin mentioned her family was doing something small and we were more than welcome to come. We did. It was quite nice, being able to relax and just enjoy a low-key holiday with family. Their two girls are adorable. My husband’s aunt and uncle (his cousin’s parents) were there, too.

The in-laws did nothing for the holiday. We told them our plans and they just seemed nonplussed by the whole thing. I really wish that they cared about holidays more. It’s such a downer that a huge part of our combined family could give a crap about the holidays or being together or making memories. It’s really sad. I don’t want any children I have to experience such ambivalence. Family is important–it doesn’t have to be blood relation–family can mean anything, even friends. The fact of the matter is that it is important, especially to me.

The two weeks of holiday were quite busy for us. We were out and about quite a lot. We’ve found that since buying and owning a house that Lowe’s and Home Depot are dangerous places to go! We always come out having spent a hundred dollars or stuff we needed for the house. It’s not all ridiculous spending–we bought a former rental. This place needs a lot of love when it comes down to that sort of thing. It’s amazing what these people tried to get away with!

Speaking of which, our hallway toilet is broke. It’s the most used bathroom in the house (which has two other bathrooms, thank goodness.) I guess they rigged it up wrong and now it’s leaking into the laundry room beneath it. Something about when they grouted the tiles that they didn’t raise the pipe up enough. Father-in-law and husband are planning on fixing it soon.

I’m excited to paint and really customize this place and make it our own. We’ve finally got some of our decorations up. Slowly, but surely, it’s all coming together. It’s just so surreal that we own our own home now.

In sadder news, the husband’s maternal grandpa with Alzheimer’s is now in a home. He broke his hip and is in recovery, but he’s being quite cantankerous about it all. His grandma is horribly depressed because of it and the family seems to be slowly falling apart. It is not an easy situation by any means.

My own grandma was hospitalized again, this time due to her congestive heart failure. The doctors essentially told her, “there’s nothing we can do but make you comfortable.” That’s complete bullshit, of course. She needs to go to a different hospital and not that idiotic hospital full of rejected doctors no one else would hire. Sigh. Convincing her of that is an entirely different story, though.

Mum’s legal situation seems to be coming along okay. Everyone seems to have realized it’s all a load of bunk and are beginning to see the light. She didn’t even need a hearing to claim unemployment, so that’s a small victory. Now it’s just getting them to drop the charges or proving them false in front of everyone else.

My dad’s dad has lymphoma. They thought he had a bite on his leg and had been treating him for it, but it turned out to be cancer. He has dead tissue in that leg from a stroke, so it’s hard to say if it is truly lymphoma or if that’s the cancer spreading. Dad said he’d let me know when he got more details, but that’s crap. I’ll have to try and get him on the phone again. It’s a real shame. We were planning a small trip to Florida, but it will now depend on my grandma’s health. I’d love to get down there, but I don’t want to miss an opportunity to be with her, either. Sigh.

It’s incredibly depressing to realize that there’s a real possibility she’ll never get to see our house.

All of this bad news came on the wake of me (and my entire section) getting a 20% raise. As I tell my husband, I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist; there’s a balance in the world and what goes up, must come down, and vice versa. I’m just looking forward to whatever good news it going to follow up this onslaught of bad.

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving was an experience this year. It was the first time I’ve done two complete Thanksgiving dinners in one day! My mother didn’t want to go to my aunt’s house, so she opted to have a small dinner with just us (me, her boyfriend, her, and my husband.) It was pretty nice. My mother cooked and that’s a miracle in and of itself. Of course, we spent the evening with dad and ate with him, his wife, and my grandmother. It was a pretty good day.

The saddest part is that I didn’t get to eat with my grandparents for the first Thanksgiving (spent with my family at least) ever. The part that’s really bad? I had more fun Black Friday shopping with my husband and my mother than any other part of the day! It was my first true experience and it was a blast. The town I’m from is quite small and so it wasn’t as frenetic as where I live now (between two of the biggest cities in this state.) Still, the first store we went to (which opened at 8pm Thanksgiving day) was packed. It was as if every single person from town was there and they probably were. We got some really good deals.

We got home before midnight and then went back out the next day to a mall I haven’t been to in years. It wasn’t as crazy as our mall gets here, but it was still pretty packed. Still, it was a fun experience. I’d definitely do it again if given the opportunity! This was my first year not working Black Friday since I’ve worked in the mall.

Other than that, the visit went well. We all played cards and stayed up entirely too late. I got to see my cousin and her kids (which are growing like weeds!) There was very little drama, which was amazing in and of itself. I didn’t really get a chance to take many pictures, which makes me sad. Especially with what’s happened lately.

My mother relapsed (AGAIN) last week. She was wrongfully accused last week and it’s just been this big drama storm since then. I’ve been avoiding it. I got really angry at first, at her, at her place of work, and mostly just at the world… but now? I just can’t deal with it. I’m seven hours away. I’ve tried giving advice, etc… and it goes ignored. I can’t even believe her boyfriend is supplying her with alcohol. My grandparents don’t know. I want to tell them, but I can’t. They’re old and I really don’t want them even more stressed than they already are.

It’s just a big mess… just in time for Christmas. Fantastic. I don’t even really want to write about it, because why? What’s the point? I told my husband, I just need to accept that I don’t have parents. My mum is an weak alcoholic who would rather run to it at the sign of any adversity and my dad has all but thrown me to the wayside for his new “family.” I can’t even bother thinking about it, really.

At least my in-laws are pretty amazing. They’ve been nothing but helpful during the move.

Let’s Never Do THAT Again…

Well, we’re moved in. We’ve been sleeping here since Saturday. We moved some stuff on Saturday and then the bulk of it on Sunday. Let’s just say… it was harrowing. I look like I belong to Fight Club. It was mostly just me, the husband, and the in-laws. Two coworkers were nice enough to help us with some of the bigger stuff! We didn’t end up getting a Uhaul like I wanted… so it was quite the endeavor.

We turned in our keys today and took one last look at our now empty apartment. It was really bittersweet. That apartment was our first true venture into independence and we were there for four years… seeing it empty was kind of sad. All that remains of us being there are the dents in the carpet. Those will be erased, as will any sign of us ever having lived there. Someone else will come in and it will be as if we were never there at all. Kind of a somber thought.

The new house is great, though. We’re settling in and getting things unboxed. My vanity is finally up! The husband got it for me for my birthday and I can’t wait to get all of my makeup sorted out on it. :) I’m waiting to take pictures until after everything isn’t a complete mess.

I really wish everyone wasn’t freaking out about the storm happening right now. Actually, I wish there wasn’t even a threat of a winter storm. We’re supposed to leave for Pennsylvania tomorrow! This is our first year not working Black Friday in a long time and I’m already pissed I can’t spend as much time with my family as I want–this storm is only making it worse.

Crossing my fingers and hoping that we can still make it and this is all just one big media shitstorm VS an actual, legitimate storm that will cause damage and prevent me from seeing my family…

Time to take my mind off of it and go pack and then watch some Sleepy Hollow.