Back from vacation - see pics here because I am too lazy to upload them right now.
Visiting my hometown is like entering a completely different world where life moves much more slowly and everyone is perpetually cheerful. It's like Mayberry, but with tipsy wine-tasting tourists and shops selling $250 jeans.
Wandering around our property never fails to recharge my batteries and erase the LA burnout that perpetually plagues me, the consequence of a small-town girl living in a big city. Note: I say "our" property because when my parents kick the bucket - sorry, Mom - it will be MINE, all MINE!!! Seriously, if my brothers inherited the place, they'd probably accidentally burn it down within a month.
Carter was obsessed with Grandma and Grandpa and spent the majority of the trip calling to them if they walked out of sight for even a few moments. If my mom left the room it was "Grandma going? Grandma doing?" This was quite a jump from out last visit at Christmas, when he had yet to say their names and spent most of his time talking about Santa and snowmen and oogling the enormous Christmas tree. He was alternately enamored with and terrified by "Tilly Doggy," the very friendly yellow Lab that is my parents' current baby, and we visited a nearby winery/biodynamic farm where he got to see chickens, cows and pigs, pilfer strawberries from the gardens and (best of all, if you're Carter) dig around in an vast amount of dirt.
Easter was a huge hit, and Carter is still enjoying watching footage of his first egg hunt, which he calls his "eggie" videos. He sought out those little colorful eggs like a pig rooting for truffles (except cuter) and was amazed at the Easter Bunny's final offering, a massive basket of toys and treats and a huge, beautiful German paper egg, the same one that I used to hunt for as a kid, filled with (you guessed it) more toys. I finally got to dress him up in some fancy duds (Babushka's bunny cardigan - gaaaah! adorable!) which was very satisfying for Mommy. All told, a good time was had by all. That afternoon we took a walk past my old elementary school and wandered up into the redwood forest nearby, where we stopped to introduce Carter to his first creekbed, the same one I used to catch salamanders and tadpoles in as a kid. He was fascinated by throwing rocks and leaves into the water and following the leaves as they drifted downstream. It made me very, very happy to see my city boy out in the wide open spaces.
And now - back to the grind. Our trip culminated in Carter's eye infection (I blame the pigs), keeping me home yet another day last Tuesday. I have never been so glad to return to the office - administering eyedrops to a kicking and screaming toddler is a special kind of hell.
Now I'm already looking forward to our next vacation, a trip to Seattle in June. After all, I'll have two kids soon, and who knows when the hell I'll be able to go anywhere. So in the meantime, bring it!