Happiness is so much easier when you don’t expect the best of everything but make the best of everything. Learn how to be happy with all the little gifts in life because they are the ones that count. Remember, there was a time when you used to play with the boxes and not the toys that were inside…and you had more fun.
I can’t believe how big this baby is getting! I can’t believe in a couple more weeks she’ll be five months old! Seems like just yesterday we brought her home from the hospital. She was so helpless and couldn’t do anything. Now she’s laughing, making faces, baby talking, sitting up, she’s so close to crawling, and actually plays with her toys. She loves being in her walker even though her feet don’t touch the ground yet and she smacks the toys on the tray to make them move. Her little hands have grown so efficient she can reach for things and hold them and move them where she wants them (usually right to her mouth) and she does the “Sooo big” game by herself now. She’s got a thing for reaching out and touching your face when you hold her. Fellow Twihards, I have to admit I had a moment where I thought , “OMG is she going to show me her thoughts like a little Renesmee” lol. Rest assured, that didn’t happen…well, yet anyway.
It’s just amazing to me. Humans are so helpless for so long compared to most animals that pretty much have to get up and moving on their own right away. Yet, as slow as you think it happens, it’s actually really fast and you realize it is a lot of stuff to learn. It’s hard not to get wishy-washy thinking that in just a few months she’ll be crawling and walking and talking! And in a few years, school, then driving, then college and careers and a family of her own. It’s crazy to think that this is all going to be part of our life now. Sometimes when I’m holding her I just want to freeze her at this size so I can enjoy it forever. But then i realize I have so much yet to see from her and to be proud of. It’s hard letting go of your baby to her own growth. Even though it’s not an easy job, it’s no wonder to me now why people keep having kids so you can experience these ages all over again. I take a million pictures every week hoping I’ll never forget that one face she made that day, the way she smelled after her bath, the softness of her skin nestled into my neck, the way she looks up at me when she’s nursing and has to stop so she can smile big at me. It’s still hard to believe that this is real sometimes and every day I fight back tears at the awesomeness of human life and how blessed I am to experience this.
There are always people who know deep down they have done some horrible things to others and who create their own misery but thanks to their selective hearing from the encouragement of people ignorant enough to believe their distorted, exaggerated, and inaccurate versions they go on pretending they are the victims instead of the troublemakers. The only thing you are a victim of in life are your own actions. Believe what you want but the simple truth is that if you spend your life screwing with other people’s lives or hurting good people, you are going to soon find yourself alone, invisible and surrounded by people just as despicable as you. Some may say to shady people that they should watch their back but I say really you should be looking ahead at the future you are creating for yourself.
Thinking of all the brave men and women who gave their life fighting for this country. Freedom isn’t free and they have paid the ultimate cost. Today is a day to remember those we lost but also to appreciate those who still stand guard and fight for our freedom. To all who served and are serving, Thank you.
Our vacation was fantastic and also gave us more experience on how things change when you have a child. There are so many new things when you have a baby that you constantly need to think about that you didn’t before. So many things to remember to bring anytime you leave the house. And lots of limitations – yours, the baby’s… a diaper’s.
Our limits are in personal time. Long gone are the days of lounging under the sun on vacation or doing anything on a whim. Just deciding to go to the beach right outside our door took a half hour of preparations: packing the beach bag with all of her stuff, slathering her with sunscreen, getting her into her swimming diaper and bathing suit and then repeating those steps with yourself – all but the swimming diaper anyway. I soon discovered that you also can’t oil yourself down with tanning lotion to catch some rays because then you can’t hold her if she needs you without running back to the room and showering down first so you don’t inadvertently douse your 4 month old in tanning oil.
As far as her limits, a 12-13 hour drive is a good place to start. Adri normally loves a car ride but you can only sleep so much. Evidently 12 hours is everyone’s limit – especially if you’re stuck staring at the backseat the whole way. Thanks to smartphones we could distract her a bit when she did get crabby…even if it was with an old episode of Duck Dynasty at one point. After getting there, she didn’t care if she ever saw the carseat again I think. Unfortunately her carseat is also part of her stroller so by Day 2 of our trip she would get fussy every time we put her into her carseat apparently thinking we were going to drag her on another day-long haul. Luckily we brought the baby carrier, she liked it better and it was much nicer to use on the beach anyway.
Then there was also the unexpected explosion in her diaper while we were sitting down enjoying lunch on Day 5. Fortunately for us we were sitting at an outside table so it was just a quick run to the car to change her without a march of shame through the restaurant. Although that turned into a disaster too when it turned out we didn’t have a change of clothes and the ones she was wearing were a casualty of the poop bomb and everything around her in the back of the Pilot / changing station, a victim.
Before this trip we hadn’t really ventured out with the baby too much so we weren’t sure what to expect. We were relieved though the more we saw and discovered that this is the norm for most parents. We witnessed plenty of parenting moments on our trip that reassured us that things happen to everyone with children. As much as you plan you just can never be 100% ready for the unexpected and you can’t control every situation when there’s a child involved. There were babies screaming in restaurants while we just thanked God it wasn’t ours (this time anyway). Kids running around like crazed animals and frazzled parents chasing behind looking like they hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in years. During a food/bathroom stop on our drive home I was greeted with a pair of eyes peering at me from under the stall door while I was on the toilet and an embarrassed mother on the other side of the door when I emerged. At a second rest stop on the drive home we watched a dad run from the car with his daughter in his outstretched arms to the bathroom holding her at such distance you’d think she had just been sprayed by a skunk while her mom cleaned down the backseat from what I can only imagine was either Shit or Puke Fest 2013.
To make the ride home easier I rode in the backseat with the baby and it helped. Before the baby we may have been able to make that drive in 10 hours or less instead of 13. We definitely have to get used to any road trips taking longer now. And so much for my game with Maggie (our GPS). From now on we’ll just hope that we actually get to our destinations in the time Maggie’s projecting since beating her time is definitely not a possibility anymore. We’re also going to say farewell to the term “packing lightly” and will have to get used to stuffing the car full with all the baby necessities. One good thing about packing all this stuff is that even in a totally new environment she was still in the comfort of her own bed and familiar things all week so aside from when she was trapped in her carseat she was pretty happy the rest of the time and still slept well.
On one night of our trip while having a glass of wine with my mom she told me a story about her first attempt at a trip with me after I was born out to Mammoth Cave. Apparently I was born with claustrophobia because she said even that young, the moment the cave started narrowing and getting darker, I freaked out. In fact, I freaked out so bad she said she was asked to leave and was escorted to the emergency exit (which I didn’t know but apparently are hidden all over in those caves and literally take just a second to get you on an elevator and out of there). How embarrassing. Sorry about that mom! 😉
So yeah, kids just can’t be predicted. You can pretty much guarantee that they’ll pull a sneeze/fart combo right in the middle of a silent moment, be tired and fighting sleep by screaming and acting like a fool when you’re out in public, have a shit explosion that no diaper can contain in the worst of places, they’ll destroy your car, house, yard, whatever. There’s a reason people tell you to get a pet before you’re considering having a kid. But not a cat – they’re too self sufficient. Better practice is a dog. If you really want to prepare yourself, get a couple dogs. That way by the time you have kids you’ve had years of experience in getting your furniture, yard and house destroyed, and in embarrassing moments like animals that fart and leave the room so everyone can silently wonder who shit their pants, dogs that hump your guests or sniff crotches when company’s over or, in my case, dogs that hump each other and get knotted up every time you have a party. Yup, just like animals, kids are unpredictable and sometimes embarrassing but they’re totally worth it. And besides, there will be plenty of time years from now when the tables are turned and we’ll be an embarrassment to our children.
All in all, for our first big road trip I think we did pretty good. And it’s good to know that with all the little unexpected things, we’re not the only ones. This is parenthood at its finest. This is the stuff memories are made from…and used later to embarrass your mouthy teenager in front of her friends.
We had a great day at the boardwalk yesterday. I don’t know how but my mother and I agreed to go on the Sky Wheel (an insanely large ferris wheel). The cool thing was that the carriages are all glass enclosed, air conditioned and seat six comfortably so we could all ride together. Going up was the scariest part. The carriages rock a little too and any slight movement would make me freeze and leave me unable to breathe or move at all. I may or may not have threatened death to anyone that made it sway. After a couple rounds I started to relax enough to get some pictures though. I don’t know when I became so afraid of heights but I think it has something to do with age…and probably my weight. When we’re young we live in the moment and don’t think about the dangers of things. As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to worry about any little mishaps and all I have left to do in life. As you realize your time here is limited you tend to value life a lot more. And well, with extra weight, gravity is never a friend. The kids, however, loved it. My nephew was standing up and walking around looking at everything down below with not a care in the world and Adri kept staring out through her baby sunglasses when we were at the top and up at the wheel and carriages above us when we were at the bottom.
After we got home we had a few hours of pretty beach skies and the moon rose over the ocean while the sun was still out. After we had dinner a storm rolled over the beach. And not some little piddly rain shower either – It was pretty intense. The lightning show out on the ocean was phenomenal and it carried on for a while. It’s so crazy that you can have a storm that immense and then this morning a beautiful sunny sky and perfect weather and a beach that looks like nothing happened.
It’s kinda reminds me how I felt when I stared out into the Grand Canyon: It’s hard to take it all in and not believe there is a God – Standing in the sand and staring out into the water that goes farther than the eye can see; Seeing the tide come in and go out and trying to wrap your brain around the fact that in six hours time the entire ocean can shift to be high tide here and low tide in like Europe or Africa; Enjoying the sunset sky fading from baby blue into pinks and oranges until it finally surrenders to the dark when the moon glows so brightly above the water that it illuminates the beach and makes the water sparkle beneath it; Watching lightning dance across the endless sky and light up the waves crashing below it; Or just my little baby’s feet covered in sand that is dragged out to sea yet never runs out. This earth is such a beautiful place and being on vacation and able to take the time to enjoy it reminds me that we are all so blessed to be able to witness it.
Today is our last day here at the beach and tomorrow we set sail once again for the drive back home. Hopefully the baby does okay. All in all my mother’s wish to have a family vacation before she returns to the workforce was a success. She has tried to make sure we all have a great time (which can be hard with three daughters, a son-in-law, and two little ones) and we did. We had some great family time exploring and sight-seeing and just at the condo while the kiddies rested. I am so thankful to her for this and so proud of her for the job offer she got while we were here that was the cherry on top. It’s been a great trip and I’m going to miss it. It was a totally different experience with a four month old in tow and though she may not remember it herself when she gets older I’ve taken about a million pictures to help with that. It was quite different from our past vacations. A lot less drinking and sunbathing. Our zero SPF days are gone. Yet, though I won’t be bringing back a suntan as good as I usually would from vacationing at the beach, we had a blast and what I will bring back are some great memories…and lots of seashells. 😉
Before we embarked for our first family vacation The Hubs did the usual and checked out the best places to eat nearby. We are total foodies and love to try new places whenever we’re out of town. I was worried that my family wouldn’t like seafood as much and that was the one thing that The Hubs was most looking forward to. Fortunately my youngest sister is also a fan so we hit up the great seafood buffet seen in “Vacation Day 1: Turtles, Shells, And Crabs! Oh My!“. There are still a bunch of places he wants to try but I’m afraid I may have ruined his seafood buddy…
Hey, sorry. I thought everyone knew that crabs and lobsters are the cockroaches of the sea. Seriously. They’re Insects. Underwater bugs. It doesn’t mean they’re not good with a little bit of lemon and butter. I’m just as big a fan as anyone. But they are what they are (insects) and I just figured everyone knew what they were eating. The Hubs mentioned that he’d like to make ceviche and was hoping he’d get the green light from someone more than just himself so he could justify spending a load at the pier on fresh fish. An approval wasn’t coming from me though. I love crab legs and lobster but I am picky about fish in general – especially when it’s raw. After explaining to my sister what it was she said she was out too. In a last ditch effort I think (since she said she loved crab legs), he mentioned he’d like to try it with crab or lobster. So I merely inquired how one could make ceviche with crab or lobster when I thought raw crab and lobster was basically just snot. Apparently my sister didn’t know that either so, of course, I had to explain to her that it’s kinda like a runny egg white before it’s cooked when it’s just snotty clear goop.
Buggers. I hope I didn’t ruin her fondness of crab legs…or anymore seafood outings during the rest of our vacay.
Apparently iPhones don’t like cement. I knew I should have gotten myself a good case too for it when we got them like the Otterbox The Hubs got for his. I ended up with a simple hardshell case that’s pretty but doesn’t absorb any impact. I’ve dropped it couple times and it’s managed to survive fine but today while shopping in town it took a dive from the top of the stroller and met it’s death in the parking lot. We won’t get in to whose fault it was… because that’s still being debated. I can still use it only the SIM card is not connected and it’s got no service so I can’t send or receive calls or texts. It’s basically just a small notebook until we get it fixed/replaced which may not be until we get home…Unless we stop by an Apple store while we’re here…like tomorrow…as soon as we wake up. (hint, hint, nudge, nudge there, Hubby).
In times like these I have to remind myself of positive things and think happy thoughts to avoid going waco-lulu about the whole thing and filling my brain with crazy ideas and what-if’s. LIke what if I get separated from everyone while we’re here and then I don’t have a phone to find everyone and no one else will let me use theirs and they put us in the lost and found with a picture in the paper only no one we’re on vacation with buys or reads the paper and so after a while we have to just fend for ourselves and my baby and I have to go and join the circus because they’re offering free meals to employees and she won’t get to eat if I can’t so then I’ll spend the rest of my life shoveling elephant shit and she’ll spend her childhood being raised by me and the tattooed ladies, trapeze artists, sword swallowers, lions, monkeys and elephants. Ok now that I’ve pictured it, being raised in a circus around all those animals actually may be kinda cool- but yeah, you’re right, it’s a bit over the top. You get the idea.
It’s amazing how lost we are without our phone. To think there was a time in my life when I didn’t even have a cell phone – let alone a cell phone that did more than just call someone!
Our first day on the beach was great…Well, despite my almost blinding pale, white skin. Sorry fellow vacationers! Hopefully I can remedy that this week! Adri loves taking it all in. She’s so curious about everything I love watching her watch it all. She looked insanely cute in her little bathing suit and sun hat. I still have to pinch myself sometimes to remind myself that it’s not a dream – we actually made this!
The water is a bit cool but seriously, this is the perfect time to come to the beach as far as I’m concerned. The weather is so bearable. My crazy, frizzy hair isn’t suffering nearly as bad as it would be in a month or two down here with a million percent humidity. Our nasty, winter feet sure are enjoying the sand…Aaah, nature’s pedicure.
We saw some floating bodies in the ocean last night. As cool as that may sound, what they really were was a lot cooler…to me anyway. They were huge sea turtles! I’ve never seen a sea turtle in real life so it was pretty neat to see their heads bob up out of the water near the shore. Apparently it’s near their nesting time. I keep crossing my fingers that maybe we’ll see one coming up to the shore to lay eggs or something while we’re here. We actually thought we saw one on the shore last night. My mom and sister and I all could swear we could see it’s arms moving in a shoveling motion in the sand and everything. After speculating on it for a few minutes the three of us snuck down to the shoreline to investigate closer. Turns out it was just sea foam. Hey, give a non-drinking, nursing mother a few drinks of wine and you never know what she’ll see. (Hell, my other sister was completely sober and managed to walk into the patio door today.) :)~ My days of drinking are just a vague memory. And at least I had an excuse: I don’t drink that often. I don’t know what the hell my mom and sister were seeing. Apparently all three of us have the same vision problem…or I’m just that convincing. 😉 Had it been a sea turtle, it would have been pretty cool and at least we aren’t left with any doubt. I’m not giving up hope though either. We may see one ashore yet. Everytime we’re out looking for seashells I keep an eye a few yards out for one.
Speaking of seashells, I’ve got quite a little seashell collection started too. The trouble with me and seashells is that: 1) I’m a hoarder; and 2) I think they’re all pretty. We may leave with a suitcase full of seashells if I keep it up. It’s funny that the night before we left for vacation we watched an episode of Hoarders that involved a woman whose children had left her because of her hoarding and came back to help her clear out her house so they could be a family again. Except one threw out a rock that this woman insisted she had special plans for. Now, I know this sounds weird coming from me who can usually find a logical reason to keep just about anything but, seriously it wasn’t even something that could be classified as a rock. It was more like a pebble. It wasn’t even a shiny pebble. It was a dull, little, gray pebble. The type of thing that gets stuck in your tire or something. It had been sitting in this woman’s house for years buried under old food, dishes, dead animals, and God only knows what but she “had special plans for that rock” and in the end, it’s all that she cared about and, despite her new, clean, pretty home, she was pissed about that stupid damn rock. I can laugh about it…but seriously, let’s just hope that’s not me the night before we leave when The Hubs tries to say I need to narrow down my shell collection!
We spent the day enjoying the weather and the evening enjoying some great food at a larger than life buffet that donned a huge crab on its roof. We weren’t sure where to find a good seafood joint and just hoped it didn’t turn out to be a shoe store…or a swimwear shop.
Our first family vacation! With all the planning you try to do that never works (especially with a baby), we decided it’d be best to just let the baby tell us what time to hit the road and that we’d leave after she had her first breakfast. Well that turned out to be 4:30 am. I loaded the car the night before so we just had to pack up her portable crib, got dressed and hit the road…before the dawn.
At 5:00 am our GPS “Maggie” told us we had an ETA of 4:22 pm. There’s a game I like to play with Maggie on our trips called Beat the ETA. I get excited as I watch the minutes get sliced from the ETA the further we go. The downside is watching it go right back up after every stop. This trip was a roller coaster of ETA’s. After three hours we shaved a half hour off of our drive time. (Yay!) After that we had to stop for the baby’s second breakfast…and our first. All in all in took 20 minutes for us to eat and for me to feed and change the baby…But it added an HOUR to our ETA (wth?!).
It was such a long drive. You go kinda stir crazy when you’re driving that long. You find silly, disturbing and even disgusting things to laugh at…or, in our case, take pictures of and laugh at. Case in point:
It was a long drive, our baby’s first real road trip, and our first with a baby. That last hour seemed like the longest. But, by the time we got to our room with a view it proved to be totally worth it. I’m so looking forward to this first little family vacation. Let the R&R commence!