Category Archives: Good times

Back from the beach

Ahh…

We had a really, really great time down in Virginia with our friends.  We hadn’t seen each other since last June, when they came up to Massachusetts and threw me a baby shower.  Amanda and I were both pregnant, her due date being about 6-8 weeks after mine (how is it that we didn’t take a picture of the two of us pregnant together?!).  Until this week, we hadn’t met their second son, and they hadn’t met our kids.  Marcus and M were friends and post-college roommates, so there’s something nostalgic and a little funny about taking a picture of the two of them, nearly eight years after I met them both, playing with their kids on the beach.  My, how things change.

Anyways, the travel was a little hairy, as might be expected.  Unfortunately, we did not have a direct flight, so it was two short hops.  On the way down, we left for the airport at 4:30am for our 6:30 flight, but then had a nearly four-hour layover in Newark.  Joy of joys.  But we made it, they fell asleep on the drive from the airport, and we put them to bed early.  Whew.  After an enormous grocery run, we threw some meat on the grill, chatted it up like the “old” days when we practically all lived in the same apartment, and called it a night.

The first few days were glorious and sunny, which meant we weren’t too bothered with the windy, cloudy, drizzly days in the middle.  We played at the beach, found a mall and a park, and even took turns staying home with the kids so each couple could have a date night. Wohoo!  We stayed up too late watching the DNC, and got up early with all four kids.  M and I took the kids for a mini road trip to meet my blog-buddies in Williamsburg, which was just as fun as I hoped it would be.

The kids did really well.  They stuck pretty well to their normal schedule, slept fine in the Pack & Plays, and were only a little clingy.  Their different reactions to the ocean were funny, if not at all surprising.  Daniel clung to me or M for dear life, sometimes trying to climb even higher up my shoulder.  He did not like the waves one little bit.  He was content to sit on the towel farther from the water, though sometimes crawled off to check things out.  Rebecca wanted to walk all the time, and get closer to the waves.  She laughed when they washed up on her and complained loudly when I took her away from them.

By the end of the week, though, I was ready to come home.  Ready to sleep in my delicious new mattress instead of the covered rock that was in our room at the beach house.  Ready to be in my own space with my own routines.  We had a really fun time with our friends, but I’m almost always ready for trips to be over.

Travel home was also rough.  This time the flights weren’t so early, but the first one was delayed enough to wipe out our entire would-be two-hour layover at JFK.  We bolted off our first plane, went one gate over, and immediately boarded the second.  Only to sit on it for probably an hour before taking off for a 40-minute flight.  Rebecca, strangely enough, fell asleep just before our first flight landed, but slept through all of the jostling and plane-changing, until we were at our cruising altitude on the second flight.  Daniel slept much of the first flight, but it wasn’t enough to keep him from screaming for much of the second.  Sigh.  We were those people.

In the end, one of our three bags missed the connection, but it was delivered by this morning.  We made it home in the same number of pieces in which we left, and all was well.  Our house looks like a tornado hit it, so I’m sorting and unpacking and doing laundry.  Our friends were able to keep the house for the extra two days of the holiday weekend, and I was a little sad that our flights were already booked and we couldn’t stay with them.  But on the other hand, we came home and still had two days to recover before M goes back to work and I’m back to the daily grind.  Worked out pretty well.

Without further ado, a few of my favorites out of the nearly 400 frames I snapped on our week away:

The view from our deck!  The location was perfect, right across the street from the beach entrance.

The view from our deck! The location was perfect, right across the street from the beach entrance.

Daniel makes a new friend. Would you believe the baby on the left is two months younger than my kids? But bigger, and walking.

Daniel makes a new friend. Would you believe the baby on the left is two months younger than my kids? But bigger, and walking.

Rebecca would like to walk in the waves some more.

Rebecca would like to walk in the waves some more.

College classmates, roommates... daddies.

College classmates, roommates... daddies.

Darren, Cheryl, Sarah, Rebecca, me, and Daniel.

A blog-tastic meetup in Williamsburg: Darren, Cheryl, Sarah, Rebecca, me, and Daniel.

On a cloudy day, play in the kitchen!

On a cloudy day, play in the kitchen!

Daddy, read me a story!

Daddy, read me a story!

Pots make good drums, but I'm not sure this is what they mean by "boy band."

Pots make good drums, but I'm not sure this is what they mean by "boy band."

It was too windy at the beach, so we found a park.

It was too windy at the beach, so we found a park.

Daniel gets a ride and tries to pull Daddy's hair out.

Daniel gets a ride and tries to pull Daddy's hair out.

Daniel gets a little more bold on the beach.

Daniel gets a little more bold on the beach.

A rare picture of all four of us!

A rare picture of all four of us!

Rebecca decides the beach is a good place to take up yoga.

Rebecca decides the beach is a good place to take up yoga.

Waiting around the airport on the way home, Rebecca realizes she can stand on her own.

Waiting around the airport on the way home, Rebecca realizes she can stand on her own.

Daniel kills time by "book surfing" down the hallway.

Daniel kills time by "book surfing" down the hallway

Advertisements

7 Comments

Filed under Good times, Toddlers, Travel

Hello from Virginia

We are having a great time on vacation so far. The travel was a little hairy, but we made it. The house we’ve rented is working out well, and spending time with friends we don’t see often is a blast. Only a quick update for today, since we opted to bring the Wii instead of a laptop and I’m making use of WordPress for the iPhone…

As is required on a vacation like this, we’re eating and drinking ourselves silly. Our house is perfectly located across the street from the beach, which removes a lot of the hassle from bringing the kids there between naps and meals. Not surprisingly, Daniel is not a fan of being near the waves, while Rebecca was ready to jump right in.

I’m taking plenty of pictures, but with the whole laptop thing, you’ll just have to wait until we get home for the good ones. For now, just the iPhone pics from this evening…

(P.S. Head over to http://www.mommyesq.com and say congrats, because her babies were scheduled to come today! Haven’t seen an update, but I hope everything went well.)

2 Comments

Filed under Good times, Travel

Entering phase 3

…of our Great Midwestern Adventure. (or is it phase 4? I don’t know phases…)  Tomorrow we leave the greater Chicagoland area for the middle of nowhere, Illinois (near Starved Rock, for those in the know), for my dad’s family reunion.  It’s an annual gathering, probably 50 or so people, and it’s total insanity.  My family is big and crazy, and I can’t wait.

It has been quite a trip, and I’ll recap the whole thing next week when I’m home.  We arrived last Wednesday morning, had a few days at my dad’s house. Then drove six hours to my mom’s lake house in Northern Wisconsin, to spend time with her, my brother and sister-in-law, and my stepdad and his side of the family.  Then, six hours back to my dad’s house, more visiting family and friends, and tomorrow a two-hour drive to the reunion.  Sunday we drive back from the reunion and fly home to Boston on Sunday night, which is also the kids’ first birthday (the cake has been ordered).  Madness!

The kids have really done very well with all of these new faces, new places, and lots of activity.  I’ve stuck pretty strictly to their usual schedule, which I think has helped.  The hardest part has been being away from M for so long.  I’ve had plenty of hands, that’s not the issue.  I just miss him!  Sadly, he does not have endless amounts of time off, so he couldn’t come for such a long trip.  Happily, he arrives tomorrow morning just in time for the reunion and the birthday.  We can’t wait to see him!  He really misses the kids, especially (me, too, I suppose, but mostly the kids!).

Anyways, it has been a good trip, and I’m trying to keep little notes so I don’t forget it all.  Oh, and there’s the photos.  The photos are out of control.  I’ve taken close to 500 so far. I managed to upload a few for a HDYDI entry on Monday, but mostly they’re still living on my camera.  I hope everyone is enjoying the birthday countdown (yay, scheduled posts!), and I’ll be back next week with the whole trip round-up and reflections on making it through the first year.

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, Good times, Infants, Travel

Another important first

The kids were great for our crack-of-dawn flight yesterday, and not long after arriving at my dad’s house, we decided to go out for lunch at a favorite old haunt.  Herm’s Palace is a burger/hot-dog joint that is practically like family.  In fact, my dad’s surprise 30th birthday party was held there, back when the original “Herm” was still alive, and before I was!  My dad and his buddies still go there all the time, though instead of the big Italian beef sandwich, he usually gets an “Epstein,” a heart-healthy chicken and pita dish that they all got together and created when heart attacks hit the group.

Anyways, they were so happy to see the grandkids, and toasted up a nice grilled cheese for them.  Scott, the son of the original owner, has been there forever.  He remembers your entire order without writing it down, repeats it perfectly to the short-order cooks, and whenever you get around to it (like after you’ve eaten), he repeats it again and adds up the total in his head.  Naturally, we had to get a picture with Scott to commemorate the kids’ first trip to Herm’s.

Rebecca and Daniel with Scott at Big Herm's

Rebecca and Daniel with Scott at Big Herm's

4 Comments

Filed under Family, Good times, Infants, Milestones, Travel

Back, and better than ever

We had a really great time in NYC this weekend.  Getting away was delightful (I talked about it on HDYDI, today, as well), the kids and their caretakers did wonderfully.  So, so worth it.

Friday, I drove with the kids to M’s office, were we visited for a little bit.  My SIL and her boyfriend met us there, and we packed the kids back into the van and waved them off.  That was a little hard, but I knew they’d be fine.  I gave them a rather ridiculous packet filled with schedules, tips, directions, and emergency contact info, and the house had plenty of food and diapers, so they’d be fine.

Even getting in M’s car was strangely freeing.  He drives a little sedan, which I have practically not been in at all since the kids were born.  We had a little time and stopped at a bookstore on the way to the train station.  Getting out after we parked felt so… light and unencumbered!  I had my one purse/bag (my fabulous new SeatBelt Bag), he rolled our one small suitcase, and that was it!  No strollers, no carseats, no sippy cups!  The train was a solid 4 hours, and it flew by quietly.  Read my book, got a snack, stared out the window.  Ahh…

We stayed at a nice little hotel near Grand Central, called 70 Park Ave.  I will say, the moment I arrive in New York, I feel glaringly out of place. The only bum/tourist in shorts and a t-shirt, never quite fabulous or stylish enough. I’m never at ease there.  But still, we had fun.  The hotel was perfectly nice, though the bathroom was so cramped that you had to sit sideways on the toilet. Charming.

The next morning, no joke, I stayed in bed until 11AM. That’s madness!  I did wake up much earlier than that, but dozed on and off, read my book (The Other Boelyn Girl, no, I haven’t seen the movie), read blogs on my iPhone… not much at all.  We finally left because we had a lunch date at noon with my friend Marci (hi, Marci!) and her husband.  Not only did she realize that she and her husband were wearing our sorority colors, but then they walked into the restaurant, and M and I were wearing practically the same thing.  It was a little creepy.  But so odd that we had to take a picture.  And if you’re in Times Square and like BBQ, I highly recommend Virgil’s Barbecue.  Mmm, pulled pork…

After lunch, we walked a few blocks and saw a matinee of Avenue Q.  Tons of fun, loved the raunchiness, very clever things done with the puppets and the set.  I could have done without the whole Gary Coleman thing, but it was a great show.

We didn’t really have any plans until dinnertime, so we spent a little while wandering aimlessly around Times Square. It still has pretty much no appeal to me, I have to say.  Especially on a Saturday afternoon in the summer.  It’s ridiculously crowded and a total sensory overload.  But hey, we saw the Naked Cowboy, as well as M&M World and it’s somewhat ironic across-the-street neighbor, a “gentlemen’s club” with an enormous billboard of Jenna Jameson.  Ah, New York.

We went back to our hotel and rested/napped/read (ah, the delight!), and then back out to meet friends of M’s for a spectacular sushi dinner.  We went to Sushi Seki, and it was awesome. The three of them got the chef’s tasting menu, while I (silly me) just got the Chirashi.  Ooh, it was oh so good.  The salmon, in particular, was out of this world.  We didn’t leave there until 10:30pm, and then went to another place for drinks and dessert.  I got a delicious pound cake thing, and a cocktail that was essentially a vat of gin with a splash of color and flavor.  Got back to the hotel after midnight, somewhat drunk.  Quite a departure for someone who’s usually in bed around 9:30.  I could live without the taxis barreling through the streets, especially since I did not fulfill my ambition of getting on Cash Cab, but all-in-all it was a blast.

We left relatively early Sunday morning, another quiet 4-hour train ride home. The kids were napping (or on their way down) by the time we got home, so we had time for the full report from my SIL.  The kiddos did wonderfully, were pretty much on their best behavior, napped when they were supposed to, and all of that.  And my SIL and her boyfriend, since they don’t have to do this every day, had plenty of energy to just play, play, play whenever it wasn’t naptime.  Everyone had a great time, and the kids seemed happy to see us when they woke up from their nap, no drama at all.

I’m really very glad that we did this, and super grateful to my sister-in-law and her boyfriend for offering to stay with the kids and doing such a great job of it.  It was wonderful to just relax, stay in bed, and especially to hang out with M in the absence of childcare and house and home responsibilities.  No worrying about laundry or naps or meals or activities.  Just doing our own thing, hanging out with other adults, not tied to the strict routines of two 11-month-olds.  We missed them terribly, of course, and were so happy to get home and see them again. But being a mom, whether you work outside of the house or especially if you don’t, means that you don’t get vacations or breaks very often.  My weekends are barely distinguishable from my weekdays.  Every day, regardless of whether it’s a holiday or a Saturday or anything else, I still have to do the same meals and bottles and naps.  And that’s great, and I’m really lucky to have my kids, and I stick to my schedule for a reason.  But sometimes it’s nice to have a break, even if it’s just running away for a day and a half.

And now, we’re back.  M is at work, the kids and I have already been to Target.  Back to the usual stuff, but with just a touch of rest, it’s just a touch easier.

And only a little over a week until we leave for Chicago.  Oh, shit.

8 Comments

Filed under Good times, My beloved, Travel

Impromptu

My sister-in-law has been offering for months now to watch the kids so that M and I can get away.  I wasn’t ready for a long time. I didn’t think the kids were ready.  Infants are hard, you kind of have to know them and what they need.  But you know what?  Now, I’m ready.  The kids are ready.  I need a break, M and I need a break together. We need a few hours to not worry about naps, not have babies screaming at us, not stress about what needs to get done around the house.  The kids are on a fairly predictable routine, are up for more activities and different foods and all of that.  While not in every way, in many ways they’re much easier than months ago.  Plus, my medical-student sister-in-law is on a relatively lower-stress rotation this month, so actually has the time and energy to take this on (thankfully, with her boyfriend there as well… I wouldn’t make her take both of them by herself!).

We debated where to go.  Drive up to New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine? Out to the Berkshires?  Newport, Rhode Island? The trouble is that it’s peak summer travel season, so finding a place was pretty tricky. And this is not the kind of weekend where we’d be happy staying at a Holiday Inn. We wanted someplace nice, with a few low-key things to do nearby like restaurants or a spa (massage!).  No big plans, as we wouldn’t have tons of time to spend on activities.

And then, at about 9:00 last night, we decided.  We’re going to New York.  The great irony is that M and I generally dislike NYC (I really think you’re either a New York person or you aren’t, and we aren’t). But it’s a quick trip down on the train, we got tickets to see a show, and we’ll have lunch and dinner with friends.  We’ll go down Friday night, and be back early Sunday afternoon.  It’ll be entirely too expensive for such a short trip, but we’re just going to ignore that and go for it.

M and I are not usually spontaneous people.  Usually the most we do is “hey, want to go out for sushi tonight?”  And even that was, obviously, pre-kids.  That, combined with the fact that this is the first time we’re leaving the kids with someone else, and we kind of freaked out as we clicked “confirm” on our reservations last night.  But we’re going to do it, anyways.

Now, suddenly, I have a million things to do to prepare for our trip and for my sister-in-law.  She’s going to need detailed instructions on the kids’ schedule, what they eat, etc. (which she requested, but I would have done anyways…).  I need to make sure there’s plenty of the “right” food in the house.  I need to print out all of the emergency contact info, including directions from my house to the emergency room (hey, just in case!). Oh, and I need clothes for myself, as I don’t think shorts and a ratty t-shirt are really appropriate attire for a Broadway show or dinner in Manhattan.  Gah!  Gotta go!

12 Comments

Filed under Family, Good times, Infants, My beloved, Travel

Water babies

I had another great photo op day yesterday.  It’s been really hot and muggy in New England this past week or so.  We bought a little kiddie pool several weeks ago, but I couldn’t even manage the energy to inflate and fill it.  Yesterday, I decided, was the day (after all, I can’t keep going to the mall…).  I inflated and filled it during their morning nap, and set it in the sun so it would warm up during the day.  By 3:30, it was just what we needed.  An outdoor activity, refreshing but not cold water.  I even busted out the swimsuits someone had given us months ago, and gave the swim diapers a first try.  A successful afternoon on all fronts, and another beautiful day for photos…

Rebecca was hesitant at first, but seemed to enjoy it. The pool didn’t quite work as I thought it would, but the good part of the sides not standing up as well as they should was that it was easy for them to climb in and out. Daniel stayed in for a full hour, and spent a fair amount of time doing a little downward-dog action and just barely sticking his face in the water. Made me a little nervous, but I stayed within arm’s reach and let him keep exploring as long as he was enjoying it. We may have a future swimmer on our hands!

Love it when the dog comes over

Pink floppy hat

Getting out of the water

Daniel tastes the water

Blowing raspberries, as always

Soaked!

13 Comments

Filed under Good times, Infants, Photos