Saturday, October 30, 2010

Louisiana and Mississippi!

The USMC doesn't think Josh should take leave as often as I would like, so Gray and I traveled to the South for a quick trip. I have to obtain a minimum of 10 continuing education hours (and I can assure you I always get the minimum) every year for my Speech Language Pathology license. I looked into some places here in SD to get my learn on, but they were all REALLY expensive and none offered 10 hours in one whack. I prefer a two-day conference to get it over with, plus childcare isn't the easiest thing to come by when you live 1700 miles away from all family members (if you don't count the aunt, uncle, and cousins in NM). I checked prices at home and found it was cheaper for me to come home and go to a conference than attend 2+ here to get my hours. Crazy, but true. Needless to say, I packed our bags and got on a plane. The up-side to two full days of airports with the craziest toddler this side of the Mississippi River was seeing lots of friends and family members while I was home!

Gray was up at 5:30am for a full day of flights. We flew out of San Diego to Jackson via Chicago. It makes a lot of sense to fly North when you basically want to go due West. Right? We finally arrived in Jackson after an hour delay in Chicago (for 4 passengers because that makes sense too) at about 6pm! Josh's Dad (AKA Papa) was there to meet us because he was leaving town the next day but he HAD to see Gray while we were in town. Gray thinks he is pretty spectacular, so he was quite excited. Papa held Gray, and played, and stole kisses, and chatted for a few minutes then we were off again!
Gray and his Papa at the airport.
Logically, our next stop was the Mississippi State Fair. Jennifer had taken Alexis and some of her pals to the fair, so we met them there for a little fair fun! We walked around for a few hours, ate some fried catfish (yum), drank some sweet tea (double yum), and got a free biscuit. THEN I spotted the one ride that Gray was able to ride on... the GIANT slide! He had to ride the slide since he loves slides! We then spend about $15 to ride this slide, once. I thought it was going to be a silly little baby slide. As I flew over the first hump and got a considerable amount of air, I thought maybe this wasn't a baby slide after all. After reaching speeds of up to 100mph (that might be an exaggeration, but I can't be sure) we landed safely at the bottom. Jennifer and I were quite shocked by this slide's ability to thrill us, but also that we were able to take babies on this slide. In a word this slide was: exhilarating. I highly recommend it to all!
Me, Gray, Jennifer, and Claire on the giant slide.
Gray and Claire wishing they could waste a lot of money for a gold fish at the MS State fair!
After the fair, Mom, Gray, and I drove to Bastrop. Gray and I got up early and headed to Shreveport for the conference. I dropped Gray off with his Grandma (Josh's Mom) in Minden for his first night away from his Mommy! After the first day of the conference, I had a pedicure and dinner with my BFF, Clair. I spent the night at Clair's in her son's Transformers bed. It was super comfy so I may invite myself to spend another night with her when I'm in town again! Don't worry, I didn't kick William out of his bed. He was with his Grandma too!

I learned a lot of useful information at the conference (or it would be useful if I wasn't in 'retirement'). I bought Gray some books and obtained all 10 of my continuing education hours! I think the SPALS conference is way more exciting than any conference in San Diego mostly because some of my favorite SLPs were there! 
Clair and I at 7am.
After the conference was over, I had several days to catch up with family and friends and drink as much sweet tea as possible. Josh won't drink it if I make it at home and I can't drink a gallon of sweet tea alone. I would feel guilty and not sleep for a month. So I drank my weight in sweet tea while I was home, because it doesn't count if you are on vacation. Who's with me? 

I stopped in Mt. Lebanon to pick Gray up from his Mamaw and Papaw. We also got to see Liz (Josh's grandmother), and his aunt and uncle (Philip and Angela)! Gray was very uncooperative in Mt. Lebanon, so both of the pictures I took there aren't super, which is sad. We also stopped in Ruston to see some pals, but for some reason I didn't get a photo with them at all. 

I drove back into Ruston Saturday morning to go to Tech Homecoming! I went to the game with Sheree and Jamie. We were going into the game but apparently tickets are $22 each. I'm not that kind of girl, so we decided to go shopping instead. 
Sheree and I at the Phi Mu house.
Sheree, Jamie, and I got into as much as we could (and had way too much fun 'shopping') then headed to the Dawg House for dinner with Shannon and Joe! We sat around and chatted a while (like the good ole days) but eventually the old ladies had to go to bed.
Sheree, Jamie, Shannon, and I at the Dawg House!



I decided to go to the Kappa Alpha mansion to see some of Josh's BFFs before heading back to Bastrop. Bryn (Josh's pledge brother) and Evan (Josh's little brother) were both in our wedding and both drove a long way for Gray's 1st birthday party, so I had to hang out with them for a while since we were in the same state! I love these guys so much, it was great to see them both!

Me and Bryn at the KA House. 
I drove back to Bastrop pretty late, and went to church with Mom. Gray and I love Cherry Ridge and we  saw a ton of people who we never get to see!
Gary and Gray sharing a laugh after church!
Mom and I drove out to Sterlington on Mom's lunch break to take Gray to a 'real pumpkin patch.' I was hoping to get some good shots of Gray but he wasn't as cooperative as he was last year when he couldn't walk. Maybe next year will be better... I got a few cute shots but Gray wasn't into it, so we went back to Bastrop.
Gray at the Pumpkin Patch!
Making his voice echo!
Maam giving Gray some yogurt as a snack. 
Hello? Hello! (Having fun at Maam's!)
One of my oldest pals, Linzay drove in from West Monroe to eat some tasty Johnny's pizza and hang out with me and Gray. She has a little one that is about a year older than Gray, so the two little ones played some and fought over a train. It was cute watching them play together. Gray doesn't really have manners yet, so he is trying to steal the remote for the train from Cayden. I'm so glad she drove in to see me. We have literally been BFF since Kindergarden (and she tied my shoes til 2nd grade) so I love that our kids are roughly the same age.
Cayden and Gray
We drove over to Jackson to see Jennifer one day. We also got to see my sister-in-law and her two kiddos. Josh's brother had to work so we missed him, but Gray loved hanging out with the girls for an hour or so. Adam and Melanie are about to have twins, so Gray is really going to love going home next year for Christmas! I think he will also be excited because one baby will be a boy! I'm sure he will love the little girl too, but he is so outnumbered with girls on both sides of the family. I'm sure he will enjoy having someone to get dirty with on holidays! 
Gray, Landry, and Lola
We spent one more day in Bastrop, getting his hair cut and my dress for the USMC Birthday Ball altered then we were off to the airport once more! Mom took us to the airport and Jennifer met us there to see us off. 
Gray and Maam sharing some Fruit Loops at the airport. 
Self portraits before getting on a plane. 
Gray and Buzz watching Toy Story at the Houston USO.
We had such a great time at home. Gray and I saw so many people we haven't seen in forever. Some since February at Gray's birthday party on our way through to California and some since before 2010 began! No matter how much fun we had, we were so ready to be home with Josh and Fletch! Josh picked us up after yet another airport delay and we were both so glad to see him! It's good to be home!

Friday, October 29, 2010

San Diego Zoo

The day before I left CA for a quick trip home, one of my best/favorite friends (and most of her family) came down to San Diego. They were in California on a business trip, so they took a day off to drive South to see the zoo. I totally love Tam and her family is equally awesome, so we made a day of it. The zoo is so big that we didn't see everything, but Gray and I saw some new things that we haven't seen before, which is always exciting.  
Jack and Gray watching the orangutans. 
Tamara's kids and Tana's (Tam's younger sister) little girl and Gray got along swimmingly, as always. Gray was also glad to have some people (read: suckers) around that would carry him for a while. He acts like it's so taxing to ride in a stroller.
Gray and Stella taking a snack break. 
A couple shots of the cute animals.
Koala bears are so stinking cute.
Pandas!
Me and T! Our only picture at the zoo. :(
I'm so glad they came down to SD and that I was still in town, so we could actually hang out for several hours! Gray and I were both worn out once we got home, but it was such a good day!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Miramar Air Show

The Miramar Air Show was at the beginning of October this year. Gray had never been to an air show, and this is one of the bigger ones (on Earth). I thought it would be a great idea to take him, but his teeth different plans. We didn't get to stay long because he was incredibly fussy and it wasn't worth everyone suffering. We did have a little time to hang out and check out some of the planes/helicopters that were on the flight line. It was too hot out to stay long so the teeth didn't totally ruin our trip. I hope that next year the teeth won't be an issue and Gray will enjoy it more since he will be a little older. 
He thinks he sees his Dada, but it's actually some random guy in a flight suit. 
Checking out a Navy 60 with his Screw Crew tattoo!
Gray loves airplanes!
I finally see the Blue Angles after living in Pensacola for 2 years! Very exciting!
Biggest. Plane. Ever. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Mexico.

Gray checking out the emergency exits and oxygen mask situation on the plane.
Gray and I recently went to New Mexico. One of my cousins got married and it was my birth-weekend! We went to the wedding and also enjoyed the sights. We were sadly in Albuquerque the weekend before the balloon festival, so that was less than fabulous but we had more than enough to see and do while we were there! 

On my birthday we went to the Petroglyph National Monument. I have dreamed of going here since elementary school, so it was a super birthday present!  The park is split into several locations. We had to walk a long way (with no stroller) and it was pretty warm outside in one part of the park. In another location the petroglyphs were on the mountain side, so there were lots of steps and some rather steep drop-offs. It was pretty exciting for me and I loved every minute of it! I recommend it to all! 
Petroglyphs!
Gray had a fabulous time too!
I think it was because he could run everywhere.
Gray and I after climbing a small mountain and seeing lots of neat petroglyphs!
The next day we went to the wedding and it's festivities. Gray has only been to one wedding, so he wasn't sure how to act. He did fairly well considering he HATES to sit still unless he is watching Toy Story. The wedding was nice and fun times were had by all. 

The happy couple!
Gray's entertainment? A fish which is also the centerpiece!
The next day, Mom, Aunt Robbie, Gray and I drove up to Santa Fe. Everything was so different up there. The houses were all adobe and the flowers were still in bloom (they are blooming here in SD too but not so much in Louisiana). New Mexico is nothing like any other state, and it's pretty fun to just drive around and enjoy the scenery that is the southwest. I also figured out pretty quickly that EVERYTHING has chilies! Some are decorative, you can find them growing everywhere, and people cook with them for every meal. 
Native Americans selling their wares. 
Gray love art!
Gray and Maam!
After lots of window shopping and sight seeing in Santa Fe, we left and headed further North and West to Bandelier National Monument. This is another one of those parks I have wanted to see forever and Gray is racking up stamps at all of the National Parks he is visiting! 
Bandelier National Monument
Cliff dwellings in Bandelier. 
Gray is also a super intelligent child. He learns new things without humans ever teaching them to him. I think he picked this one up so quickly because he tried to be more like Fletch every day!
Gray is a baby of many talents. 
After an extended weekend of wedding fun, family time, and lots of sight seeing, Gray and I got on a plane back to San Diego. We had a fabulous time in New Mexico but we were (as we always are) ready to see Josh and sleep in our own beds again! 
Leaving Las Vegas.