Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Year Ago

A year ago, my belly was round and hard and swollen and filled with you, my beautiful daughter.

A year ago, I had so many desires for you and so many anxieties about change and no time to actually ruminate long on any of it because I was chasing around your brother.

A year ago, I only had a sample of one to consider when trying to understand what we were in for.

A year ago, I wondered how our family would change, how we would stay the same.

A year ago, I had no idea how I would continue to handle chasing around your brother with you alive and in our house.

A year ago, I worried that having you in our lives might send me over the edge.

A year ago, I eased my anxieties by convincing myself if I could just survive the first year, I'd be ok.

A year ago, I walked around for weeks, my hips and pelvis aching; ready to birth you.

A year ago, I was not expecting you so soon, though I wanted you here desperately.

A year ago I felt contractions start early in the morning.

A year ago, I readied myself to go to the hospital and meet you and those contractions abated.

A year ago, I roasted a pork belly and went about my day convinced my labor had stopped.

A year ago, I gathered with close friends and family and beautiful children and feasted together on a meal made with care and love.

A year ago, I gripped onto the banister in our foyer while everyone dined and held on for the ride.

A year ago, I kissed your brother goodnight and told him mommy might have a baby by the morning.

A year ago, I labored hard in our living room and wondered if I could do it.

A year ago, I headed out into the early-season snow with your father and our doula and we made our way to the hospital.

A year ago, I shocked the nursing staff by my arrival and my calm demeanor.

A year ago, I shocked myself by bursting my water all over the floor and the side of the bed.

A year ago, I birthed you, beautiful you; 10 pounds, 4.8 ounces; a head full of thick, matted, dark hair; cheeks your face could barely hold on to.

A year ago, I birthed you, beautiful you; standing next to the bed in one one push; feeling you exit my body in an uncontrollable need to have you alive outside of the womb.

A year ago, you arrived. You completed our family. You brought peace and wonder and joy. You brought tears and frustration. You brought smiles and giggles.

You brought love when our hearts were already full.

To my beautiful, sweet, amazing daughter: thank you for continuing to grow our hearts with love.

Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Down the Shore

Since we so successfully went back to the summer in my last post, I figured you could handle doing it again.  In late July, we headed down to the Jersey shore for our annual pilgrimage.  Our rental is from Sunday to Sunday which really helps from a traffic standpoint.  Especially since we drive around 7 hours to get there!  

All packed and ready to GO!!

Stopped halfway at a Children's Museum in Connecticut for lunch and to stretch our legs. 

Headed over the George Washington Bridge!
We were the first of our family to arrive so I quickly headed up to take a picture of the beach and send it to my sister, her fiance and my mom...basically to make them jealous that we were there already ;)  I was really surprised to see how little of the beach was left from the year prior.  You can see the difference from last year's photos here: Jersey Shore.  

As the first ones to the house, we were also the first ones to find out the central air conditioning was broken!  This wouldn't seem like an issue, but it was mid heat wave, one member of our partner suffers from health issues that can be exacerbated by the heat, and getting our then 9 month old to nap in the heat was extraordinarily challenging.  I won't bore you with the details, but the lack of A/C and the logistics surrounding the eventual not-getting-it-fixed were tiresome and aggravating.  Thankfully, if you have to be tired and aggravated, you might as well be on the beach, right?  Yeah...that's what we told ourselves.  

Anyway, on to the rest of the pictures.  Eventually after we arrived, the rest of the family showed up and we were able to start our vacation!

Surprising how fun a sliding glass door can be. 

Lunch time!

Story time!

This was our second year of week-long puzzle challenging - this year we actually finished! 

The Ladybug only made it to the beach once a day due to nap schedules. We had a small blow up pool for her since we figured (correctly) she'd be terrified of the ocean. 

Ladybug and daddy check out the waves. 

Cousins digging in the sand

"No I will NOT put my feet in the ocean, daddy!" 

Protesting the ocean is exhausting.

Some downtime for the boys

My sister and Songbird in their custom, matching shirts

Wrigley the dog is an excellent vacuum

The 'Margarets'

That's a reeeeeeeeeeaaaaaly biiiiiiiiiig hole...

...and now a small swimming pool.

The Ladybug catches some rays with her aunties

The caption and the face says it all...he finished it off by drinking the last bits out of the cup! 

Ladybug takes her first bike ride!

Post dinner UNO competition

Surfer girl gets a rash guard!

Songbird's daughter, L, finishes off the puzzle
On our second-to-last night at the beach, after days of no air conditioning, we decided against the lobster bake that we traditionally do because it was just. too. hot.  Instead we sought out pizza with the intent of getting cool.  Sadly, the place we picked out was just a dive with no A/C and barely any seats.  Our spirits were beginning to dampen.

After the pizza dinner, my husband and I took our kids out to the lighthouse in the hope of catching some sort of cool breeze, but even there it was oppressively hot!  The views were nice, though.

Barnegat Light House

Checking out the waves

The house only cooled to 82 degrees with major humidity by 10:00pm - and that was after FINALLY getting some fans from my husband's aunt who lives down the road.

The next morning, we decided that after one last jaunt to the beach, we would vacate the premises even though we still had another night left.  We had tried all week to get the kids together for an annual photo and it just wasn't going to work.  Then, on that last trip out to the beach, a tide pool popped up behind a sandbar.  It was just shallow enough, and warm enough, that the Ladybug was transfixed!  I plopped her down in her complete outfit and diaper not even caring that she wasn't in her swim suit and she had a blast AND thanks to an iPhone 3 that Songbird had brought down with her, we got our picture.

The cousins at the beach!!
Just like last year, I love looking back and seeing the difference in how big the boys are (Ladybug wasn't even HERE!!)

2010 (G-1, W-5.5)

2011 (G-2, W-6.5)

2012 (C-9mo, G-3, W7.5)
We headed back to the house and packed up our things and headed out.  Just as we were leaving, I took one last look at the thermostat.  Almost 90 inside with oppressive humidity does NOT a good vacation make!

Fortunately, things were about to get a whole lot better.  My husband's aunt and uncle have a vacation home on the island and were there with various cousins and kids.  We headed there while my sister and her contingency headed off the island to a hotel in preparation for meeting up with someone the next day. The beer was cold and the A/C was even colder :)  It was such a turnaround from the frustration of the other place and the perfect way to turn around our spirits.

"Cocktail hour"

Little G checks out a kayak

We were able to get some fun pictures of the family while we were there as well.

And then, as if it couldn't have gotten any better, the ice cream truck showed up for the very first time in Little G's life.  It was magical.  He actually did a little dance when he realized there was an entire truck devoted to delivering ice cream.

We headed back to the dock and the sun was starting to set and was absolutely breathtaking!
Pic from my iPhone

Pic from Cousin A's fancy-pants camera

After dinner, Little G finally got to enjoy his ice cream sandwich.

The next morning, we headed back to the rental house to grab our bikes and headed home.

Headed back over the GWB

This year's trip was definitely challenging.  I know it sounds so whiney to complain about the air conditioning at a beach house, but we don't have central AC in our own home, so we're very aware of how to manage in the heat.  The issues were all related to the amount of time we spent NOT at the beach because we were waiting for various repair people to show up (or not show up) or show up and tell us that nothing could be done as well as the sleep lost by all of us with an angry, cranky hot baby in the mix.

All of that said, it was a lot of fun.  I grew up down the shore and it will always be part of my blood and I am so glad to have a chance every year to give that experience to my kids as well.

For one week a year, they are no longer cousins, but best friends at the beach.


Here's my recaps from our trips in 2010 and 2011