Posts tagged Family Vacation
Summer Bucket List

The 12 weeks of summer vacation were so sweet. With both boys excited for little adventures and outings, we started the summer by making a bucket list of activities and places we wanted to seek out and embrace. Afraid of getting into a routine of just slow mornings and lounging, I tried to tackle one item a week so there would be a good balance between "get out and be busy days" and "sip coffee and settle in days." With only 24 hours left of my summer being a "stay-at-home-mom" with my kiddos, I am feeling nostalgic for the warm, long summer days we shared. It hurts so much to return to the rigid school day schedule after savoring this time together as family, but this summer there are no regrets or "I wish we hads." We carpe diemed the Sh*t out of our summer together and I am happy to look over the memories we captured as our trio explored together. If only I could get paid to just have time home with my family, that would be the life! I know that once school starts on Monday, it will feel fresh, and good, and exciting to be back on campus, but tonight I want to halt time and stay in this summer sunset longer. What was on the bucket list?

Wingearshaek Beach

Beach Days... yes, multiple!

Lunch with David

Davis Farmland

Eat oysters

Get a pottery wheel

California

Newport, RI

Hopkinton State Park

Ashland state park

Kayaking

SUPing

Salem

Gloucester

Beach Picnic

Summer Concert

Aquarium

Running in a Fountain

Eating outside

Roger Williams Zoo

Strawberry Picking

Riding bikes (my only picture of them on wheels)

Lobster rolls

Visit to Long Island

Have a kickass birthday party for Henry

Duck boat ride

Savor our family

Which items didn't get crossed off this year?

Castle Island, SoWa, Provincetown, Mass MoCA, Portland Day Trip

Not bad! We almost did it all, but I am glad we stuck to picking from our list. The boys loved hearing about the different places we could visit and would fall in love with one location and then want to go back and visit over and over again. This might be a fun little tradition to embrace and to maximize our time together and our explorations of this beautiful region of the country we get to call home.

The summer solstice was 2 days ago

Tracing my finger lightly around Henry's chin, cheeks, and forehead and down his nose and across his lips, he giggles and I remember doing this with my Nanny. It is a silly little game and, at the time, I thought it was the most luxurious thing to get your face tickled endlessly. And it is. I used to think, how did my Nanny have the stamina to tickle my face for what seemed like hours while I  laid in her lap and laughed and relaxed. Then sitting there with Henry and Owen, it dawned on me. Here I was with her endless stamina to tickle their little faces because I love them so darn much and they were clearly enjoying the little "spa" treatment and because I was SO DARN tired from the day, days, and weeks of the past month that I would have tickled those peanut faces for the whole day if it meant I too could rest a little.

Exactly 30 days ago, we packed up the family and went to LA to join in my father's retirement flight from Unite Airlines. After working for 35 years in aviation, it was time to hang up his wings. The FAA regulates that at 65 years old, captains and co-pilots must step down from the flight deck and this legislation pained my father. A truly passionate and gifted captain, he was not exactly ready spiritually to comply. We spent a few days in SoCal with family celebrating this momentous event. As a chief pilot said to my father, "The sign of a great career in this industry is an uneventful one, thank you for for having a great career." While there together as a family, we tackled jet lag, a desire to really go all out and all in for this special lifetime event, and a spectrum of emotions as we watched our dad come in to LAX for the last time at the helm and prepare for his return to his base in EWR. The morning of, our dad saw a number of friends in the terminal who came to shake his hand and clap him on the back. He boarded the plane and took control of the ship for 5 hours. The landing greased into New York and he received a round of applause not only from the passengers who each shook his hand but also when he came up out of the jetway. More family came to celebrate and it was a really good time.  It was such a beautiful and incredibly proud moment for him and for us. One day, and not in the proverbial way, my dad and I will have to sit down and write his stories of flight down. I imagine something titled "Confessions from the Flight Deck," in which we curate his hilarious tales from 35,000 feet because my dad was not only the epitome of professionalism in flight but also a character and a truly a humorous raconteur!

Once we got back to Boston, it was time to close out the school year. The last week and a half of school is obviously incredibly exciting because summer vacation is so close BUT standing in between a teacher and a much needed break is a mountain of grading, a pile of finals, a heap of comments to write, and way too many meetings to sit through. The workload always feels insurmountable and the pressure of the final due dates makes me grow "Bertha." Who is Bertha? Well she is more of a what. Bertha is my shoulder knot. David has often commented after an encounter with Bertha that I have a lump of cement in my shoulder blade. Every end of the school year, I sit at my desk with clamped shoulders while grading furiously. This position and those stress levels form Bertha who causes me literal sleepless nights and takes away my ability to turn my head from side to side. As the graduates of the class of 2018 threw their caps off, some tears fell down my cheeks, and I pushed "submit" on all the grades and finals, only then can Bertha slowly dissipate.  Goodbye Bertha, goodbye this school year, and hello to the next 11 weeks!

And then summer started!

10 days into summer and this feels like such a good one. Obviously summer vacation is always a good thing and time off with family is truly a gift that this profession gives in exchange for the high stakes and demands of the academic year. Jessie, Avery, and Smith arrived minutes after my final faculty meeting and stayed with us for 5 days. My underlining goal of their visit: Convince them that one day they should move to Boston because the city rocks, the people rock, and because we love them so much and just wish we had more family closer. Of course, leaving beautiful SoCal (or Florida for David's side of the family) makes moving north a bit of a hard sell. Neither of our families' current locations have snow or what I like to call wintry wonderlands, but Boston does have us and you can't find that anywhere else, right? In wanting to show them the best of Boston we bit off a lot: Fenway Park, duck boats, Boston visits, Strawberry picking, late nights, 6 bottles of wine, lots of eating, even more snacking, and even more laughing making it hard to  say good-bye to them. It almost felt like we just live together now.

After teary goodbyes, the boys and I headed into our first 4 days of "Mom is at home season!" This year a bucket list of fun and breezy summer activities will guide our time. And we already ticked off two items: a trip to the Roger Williams zoo and a morning at the lake. The beauty of this year's summer bucket list is that it is short. Potentially only 10 line items but most of them will definitely be repeated especially if they involve the oceanside. So stay posted because now that I have returned to this page, I am planning on documenting more effectively this summer's shenanigans and my next pottery class starts in two weeks so there will be more updates from the "artist's" studio as well as some really cool new pieces I am trimming and glazing right now.

But back to face tracing. Sometimes when you do a lot in a short amount of time or when you are transitioning from the fast-paced, routine-based school year into summer you need a little buffer time to slow down, kick your feet up, and trace your babies' faces. Maybe if I do this I can commit to memory their lines and curves more deeply and slow down this season.

california adventures

2,975 miles separate my front door from my brother's. I wish it were more like 2.9 miles, but unfortunately this is not the case. With each of us on our own coast, we are left then to savor our visits with one another.  Henry and I were so lucky to have the opportunity to spend an ENTIRE week out in SoCal with my brother, sister-in-law, and the littles. it was an AMAZING visit. While I was super intimidated flying solo with Henry, it was surprisingly not as horrible as I imagined. We left our home in Boston early with a bag full of baby goodies and spent six hours together in tight quarters. Once we landed and saw our family it was completely worth it. Henry had such a fantastic time visiting with his family and especially loved his time with his little cousins who were so warm, playful, and inclusive of him. We ate well, including a visit to the legendary In and Out burger, and spent time just being together at parks, water parks, long walks, short jogs, fun outings, and lots and lots of coffee cups shared. The highlight of the trip for me was when they surprised us with a first birthday party for Henry! It was so amazingly sweet and thoughtful and it just warmed my heart and soul. I could barely keep it together as they told me from cake to guests to balloons, they would be throwing the little dude a birthday blow-out bash. This trip will be very difficult to top but I have a feeling that visiting with them again will be...AMAZING.  I will miss them hard until then.

call me crazy?
Me + Henry = Flight to California Saturday

Uh oh!  I am about to undertake a solo cross-country flight with my 11 month old. Am I crazy? Yes and No.

No: This will be the fourth flight in Henry's young life-span. We have already tackled a flight to Florida, Amsterdam, and California. We know the routine: check-in, boarding, flight, disembarking, baggage claim. We can rinse and repeat this routine like professionals! My packing lists help alleviate the stress of getting organized, and there is always plenty of toys and food to pull out of my magic bag. I have some new toys stowed away for the flight there and back and an arsenal of raspberries to keep my berry monster content.

Yes: Henry is WAY more active these days than when we took those earlier flights. I am not sure he will be content to sit and play the entire 6.5 hours in my lap. And, I won't have my partner with me to troubleshoot the shrieks. David is AMAZING in general and specifically on flights. I am a nervous flyer, so David rocked Henry to sleep in the back by the flight attendants and David changed his diaper during turbulence, and David had extra hands to grab toys, food, binkies, and anything else that the little man might need. And, when I reached my capacity for wrestling Henry about David took over. I am most nervous about not having my partner with me. Six and half hours is a long time. You could watch 3 feature length movies or drive from Boston to Maryland! Perhaps, I will need to buy myself and everyone around me a glass of wine, or perhaps, Henry will see that it is just me and just him and we will have the most delightful flight cuddling and kissing and reading books and laughing.

Fingers crossed.

memorial day weekend
We have lived in Massachusetts for years now and have never been to New Hampshire, WHAT!?  I know it is madness! Well, that is not entirely true. We have taken short day trips into the granite state but nothing longer than that. We decided to rectify this with a little getaway to Lake Winnipesaukee for Memorial Day Weekend. My mom and dad planned the whole thing so we can't take any credit for the fantastic job they did setting up the family vacation. And, why would they do this for us? Obviously, they love us but also they wanted to celebrate our wedding anniversary!  Four years ago on a memorial day weekend, David and I said "I do" and this whole adventure got started.  This was a fantastic trip to celebrate love, family, and mother nature!  Each morning we started with an early family hike. We never set an alarm, which might at first sound like a luxury of relaxation, but really who needs to set an alarm when your baby wakes up at exactly 5AM each morning. Then the afternoons would be a different outing to the pool or mini golf or to the lake or to the town of Meredith. The three days were full but very fun.

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Siblings, Sunsets, & SoCal
How do I get back to SoCal? Seriously, though if I could pack up the family, blink my eyes, and find myself permanently resettled in Southern California my dreams might have come true. First, the people draw us in. My brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew spend their sunny, warm days in a truly beautiful setting. These people are the salt of the earth type. If they weren't already family, I would probably stalk them into a friendship! From the minute our airplane's wheels touched down, they took great care of us. Being with them, exploring with them, lounging with them, playing with them, and enjoying them made the weekend. Henry had the time of his life with his little cousins and cuddling with his Auntie and Uncle. The goal of the weekend was to share some quality family time and keep those moments out-of-doors. After our brutal New England winter, David and I feel like apocalypse survivors: Are there other humans out there? Is it safe? What is that bright yellow globe in the sky?  From backyard cookouts to long strolls along the water, to watching beachy sunsets, to visiting petting zoos and all things kid friendly, we truly soaked up the best of being with our family and the SoCal weather.

The flights to Cali were long. While we may feel like "seasoned" family travelers this trip still proved we are bit of a novice team not quite ready to win the Amazing Race. Inbound we were focused, playful, and in control of the situation. Henry played, laughed, and overall did well getting over to the West Coast. Interestingly the most well-behaved, adorable little boy sat behind us and let Henry read some of his books and play with some of his toys. It was kind of this weird idyllic co-parenting experience between rows 30 and 31 on that airbus. The way back...not so much. A weather delay followed by a mechanical delay made our flight two and a half hours longer than expected.  H was not a happy camper. Before the wheels lifted on our connection back to Boston, he was DONE. A constant nagging sound emanated from his throat and filled the cabin around us. He could not be distracted nor was he interested in sleeping. Ironically in front of us, a family of 3 also struggled to keep the peace and quiet.  Our kids had decided to make a pact of discontent!  Rows 30 and 31 were the epicenter of every other passenger's worst nightmare. But, hey we all made it safely home and isn't that really all the matters in the end?

Enough about the crazy travel. That was a mere blip on the screen of this epic weekend. How all of this happened in one weekend is shocking! Isn't it crazy how three full and warm days can trick your body and soul into thinking it was on a two week hiatus? After we landed, we were immediately greeted by the many embraces of our family. We settled right in with one another and adventured throughout the afternoon catching good food and glimpses of the beach through the early afternoon. We ended the evening at home in the yard while the kids played and we sipped wine and chatted about all sorts of things. Henry slept like a champion despite the time change and this allowed for all of us to be at our best. We were rested and refreshed for our second day. It started with some great playtime. The California littles were SO good a playing with their baby cousin. They included him in everything, shared with him, and taught him along the way. Watching my child play with my brother's children was a gift. I could not help but project into future playdates and visits.

On top of all this fun, we also drove down to San Diego to be a part of my dear friend, Sarah's wedding. Gosh what a beautiful ceremony, cocktail party, and dinner scene! I was not surprised in the least that these nuptials were the most fun and romantic ever! Sarah and Jesse are some of the coolest, most genuine people I know and their wedding was a true testament to their awesomeness. They married in their botanical Garden of Eden backyard and shared their home, good food, and happy chickens with all of their guests. No exaggeration, their vows were some of the most beautiful promises I have ever heard exchanged at a wedding and it was SO fun to be witness to their love. They deserve simply the best!

So what did we learn while on our California dreaming weekend? A lot.

Southern California is a utopia of beautiful people, beautiful weather, beautiful food.

Neighborhoods are manicured resort towns that beg visitors to pitch their tent permanently.

I miss my brother, sister-in-law, and littles SOOOOOOOOOOO much. Seriously, it KILLED my heart to say to goodbye.

Henry is crazy for animals particularly of the petting zoo variety. Let's just say he tried to lick one too many chickens out there.

Henry & the littles are going to be fast friends while growing up and I cannot wait to watch it!

My bro and sis-in-law are really cool people, whom I love as family and friend.

Cheeseburgers, fries, and special sauce are all you need to eat every day.

There is nothing wrong with 3 or 4 cups of coffee in one day when shared among good company.

Projecting movies and watching them 4-across in bed is a hilarious way to spend time together #bestideaever

I am obsessed with Costco fig bars...must get Costco membership stat!

Henry is a wild man at weddings, tearing off clothes & dancing, waving, and shouting at guests. He will inevitability be a wedding crasher we presume.

You can never have enough Disney princesses or clip-on earrings or dresses.

Savor every second because these visits are short and truly are the very best of times.

henry adam: 9 months
Month 8 was a wild and crazy ride here!  It was both the most exhausting and scary and awesome four weeks.  That sounds pretty ridiculous but it was.  Our month was divided into two very definitive halves. This first half of the month was consumed by Henry's epic illness. For twelve days, the poor little man was tremendously sick with an awful stomach bug that left him wiped out and left his parents scared and exhausted as well. When visiting with my friend Skye over coffee, I confided in her that those 12 days were by far the most terrifying of my life to date. Henry just seemed so helpless and depleted and no matter what we did we could not make him better. Rather our job was to keep him comfortable as he battled his way through those harrowing days. No sooner did the sickness subside then we were on a flight to Amsterdam for an 8 day family vacation. And, this was definitely a great way to celebrate the end of Henry's bug. We had a fantastic time exploring the city and its surrounding towns. It was definitely an adventure traveling abroad with a little baby. Henry did so well rebounding and was incredibly easy-going while we carted him around the city from sun up to sun down. And then before we could blink an eye the month was over and Henry turned 9 months!

This month also saw Henry eating more and more solid foods and a third tooth helps him with his love of eating. He is now a solid food pro and does not enjoy eating purees any longer (those are for babies!). No matter what we are eating, he wants a taste.  From roast chicken to miso soup to beef stew to Dutch waffles to salad and omelets, Henry cannot gobble down enough! He has been great with each new food and eats with gusto. I sometimes wonder how he can pack all of that in. So far there has not been anything that this little boy won't eat (including lemons). We are now trying to introduce a sippy cup. We have both a sippy with straw from munchkin and a sippy with a spout.  We will see which one he figures out first. Hopefully by next month H will be a pro and interested in drinking some water, especially as we begin to head toward Henry's 12 month birthday and our nursing weaning.

Mmmmm, Baaaaa, Hmmmm, are just a few of the babbling sounds coming from Henry these days. This has been a turning point month in Henry's sound repertoire. He laughs when he sees people laughing around him and this is so cute because it feel like he is "in on the joke." He loves babbling as he crawls around his room, towards the pups, and in your arms. He focuses intently on your mouth while you talk with him and puts his hands of your lips as though he was trying to learn how to replicate the noises. I love this phase so much! I am sure there will come a day when I will miss the quieter times as he talks non-stop but it is SO amazing to witness his language development. His voice is so cute and tiny and also so playful and sweet. And then, on the night before turning 9 months old, Henry said "ma ma"! My heart just exploded when this happened! Hearing his little voice call me "ma ma" for the very first time was amazing. I know I have been a mom this whole time, but it just became even more real hearing my son call me it. Be still my heart!

This month Henry is really into:

  • Pterodactyl shrieks from the back seat of the car. When Henry is strapped into this car seat he makes this sound that conjures up the image of a flying prehistoric beast. He is hilarious and playful and silly and we sort of love it!
  • Reading lots and lots of books throughout the day and before bed. He just cannot get enough. Right now his favorites are the Hungry Catepillar, Pajama Time, Barnyard Dance, and Olivia
  • Cuddling his jellycat bunny from Robin and Heather. This soft little bunny is a new buddy and joins us wherever we go.
  • Making little fists, reaching his arms above his head and growling as if he is saying, "look how strong I am as I flex my muscles."  This cracks us up every time.
  • Meeting animals like baby ducks and puppies. Amsterdam was full of random animal encounters and Henry enjoyed them all.
  • Sitting in the shopping cart while we grocery shop and run errands. You would think this was the best part of his day the way he gets so excited and smiles and laughs as you push him along.
  • Cuddling. Perhaps this is in response to the epic illness he battled at the beginning of the month but Henry has been SO cuddly this month. He loves to rest his head on your shoulder and give big hugs and sloppy open mouth kisses. I truly love this!!
  • Walking with a gentle assist.  Now that he can pull himself up on anything, he wants to move. He grabs a hold of your hands and just takes off. He is quite well balanced while walking laps around the house, museums, playgrounds, and everywhere his little toes touch the ground. We are all super curious when he will drop the assistance and start toddling about on his own.
  • And, I almost forgot but the little guy is waving too. He waves hello and good bye. He flaps his arm up and down rapidly and smiles and laughs. He is quite proud of his new dexterity!
Amsterdam Part I.

We did it!  We survived our first family international vacation. Over the last seven days, we toured around Amsterdam and the surrounding cities and just had a blast soaking up the sites and especially the foods of the Netherlands. To recap our little adventure, I am going to write about our trip in two parts. This first part will look over the wonderful sights and foods we enjoyed along with our daily routine abroad. Post two will cover the wild and crazy nights and other oddities that come with traveling with a jet-lagged baby! During the daylight hours, our trip could not have been better. We traveled direct from Boston to Amsterdam and Henry did not really sleep during the flight. It was clearly too exciting to sit in the bulkhead which meant tons of noises and sights from the flight attendant galley. Once we landed the excitement continued as we made our way via taxi to our apartment which we rented through airbnb on Frederiksplein. It was a great location. We were about a 10 minute walk to the major Museums and a 15 minute walk to the city center. And did we walk!  We decided to not take the trams even though they were super easy to navigate because we really wanted to see everything. From 8AM through 8PM each day, we packed up the baby and our gear and walked all about the city. During these days out, Henry would nap in his stroller around 10AM-12PM and then again from 3PM-4:30PM. This schedule worked perfectly. We were able to enjoy meal times together and when Henry napped, it felt like David and I were traveling just the two of us. It was quite the perfect balance of family time and couple time. We definitely ate our way through the vacation. And since we were walking so much we did not really heed any caution when ordering the second or third helping of frites with garlic mayo. When it comes to food, I am the sweet eater and David the savory.  Thankfully Amsterdam has enough of each to make our marriage a happy one. A few mornings prior to visiting museums, we ate at Cafe Cobra. Here we indulged in dutch apple pie, hot cocoa, pancakes, and egg sandwiches. The pancakes were as fluffy as marshmallows and the apples in the apple pie were perfectly crisp and cool. I ate my weight in stroopwaffle and am SO sad to have eaten all the waffles I brought home as "souvenirs" within the first 8 hours of my return state side. Continuing with our sweet treats, we enjoyed Metropolitan a few times as well for waffles and ice cream. This place was always packed and the chocolate delicacies including "sniffing cacao" made it very clear why people flocked here in droves to satisfy the sweet tooth. One morning we stopped in at Starbucks prior to taking a tour of Volendam and windmills and were surprised to find a chocolate hazelnut donut that was so yummy that I am left saddened that the U.S. stores don't carry this. I should have bought some to bring home! haha. Then there was this little bakery on one of the 9 streets. We didn't catch the name of it, but would pass it on a various walks about the city. Here along with our friends, Robin and Heather, we devoured a dark chocolate cookie filled with gooey white chocolate. Yes, this was a little taste of heaven. On the savory side of things, we dined on more frites than is healthy! Seriously, we may have eaten frites two times a day. I know, I know what were we thinking? Well we were thinking that these fried potatoes were so delicious and that the mayo and convenience of the hand carry packaging was to easy not to pass up! We also stumbled upon Mazzo and enjoyed a delicious pizza with butternut squash, bechamel sauce, haricot verts, and prosciutto along with a spicy bruschetta. It was creative and our taste buds loved this combination. When in the Netherlands, it is important to try "traditional dutch cuisine" and for this we walked all the way to Moedars. And, it was totally worth the hike. We dined on delicious meats, beer, and cheese. Henry ate with gusto here as well. All along the trip, he regained his appetite following his awful sickness prior to our departure and ate everything we put in front of him. The waitresses were impressed with him at Moedars and even gave him little gifts of baby socks and booties. They were so sweet with Henry as was everyone we met.  We were SO surprised by how accommodating everyone was in regards to Henry and how truly baby friendly every aspect of the city was from dining out to visiting sites to crossing the streets.  Everyone was so friendly and made visiting the country truly pleasurable for everyone, especially for Henry who was smitten by the people he met and enjoyed smiling, babbling, and being cheeky with everyone!

We did more than just eat though! We saw so much of the city and it is a BEAUTIFUL city. Gosh, the apartments are so unique and beautiful. Wandering the streets for hours you are left constantly in awe of the unique fronts, patterns, details, and canals. David and I kept saying, "wouldn't it be fun to just live here for a year." In many ways the city reminded us of Boston. The brownstones of Boston have a similar "feel" to the streets of Amsterdam which made exploring the nooks and crannies even more fun. We tried to soak it all up from museums, to shopping, to long walks, to finding hidden courtyards, to taking canal tours, to getting out of the city and exploring the surrounding cities and towns: Rotterdam, Delft, The Hague, Volendam, Marken, Zaanse Schans.

  • The windmills of Zaanse Schans were idyllic. Coupled with a light fog, the town looked like pastoral perfection.
  • Volendam cheese factory was great. We ate our weight in cheese samples and Henry was adamant about eating every single piece of cheese he could get his hands on including cheese with Italian spices, truffle oil, and peppercorns.
  • Marken was picturesque and seeing a local clog artisan at work was really neat. It was fun trying on clogs and eating freshly made Stroopwaffle.
  • Delft though was definitely my favorite excursion. It was a smaller, quieter version on Amsterdam and the food and town square were just beautiful. I wish we had spent even more time there!
  • Visiting the Begijnof in Amsterdam was one of my favorite sights. It was so peaceful and quiet and calm. A beautiful oasis from the hustle and bustle of the city center.
  • Our favorite museum exhibit was the Late Rembrandt at the Riksmuseum. Henry slept through the whole thing, but it was just great being able to see that many Rembrandts' in one area.
  • The Van Gogh museum was colorful and the perfect counterpoint to Rembrandt's darker palette.
  • The Anne Frank house was a somber but important visit and it was crazy that when we entered the little secret annex we bumped into one of my students. Small world!

I would go back in a heartbeat. It was an excellent visit, we felt like we saw and experienced so much, and it was really a fantastic country to tour as a new little family.

K comes to town!
A week went by too quickly! Auntie Kaelin came to town this past week and we had quite the visit.  From shopping, to sharing cocktails, to playing with H, to eating way to much food, to lounging together on the couch and catching up, it was a lovely visit. I wish Madison and Boston were closer so that Kaelin and I could hang out throughout the year. Thank goodness FaceTime is so easy, but it is still not the same as a face-to-face.

Auntie K was an excellent auntie. H loved singing his repertoire of baby tunes with her, rolling around on the floor with her (showing off his new move of sitting independently), and snuggling and laughing with her.  After a week of us, I am sure K is excited to be back to life without baby chaos but she definitely enjoyed the chaos while here! I am really looking forward to our next visit and restarting the series: 'Drinking with Baby.' No one mixes into our life here in Boston as seamlessly as Auntie K, but every time she goes, it breaks our hearts!

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henry's christening

This past week was very special for Henry. He had the opportunity to meet his uncle Bryan, aunt Jessie, and the littles. He also spent time with Mema and Pepa and met his auntie Kaelin too. Many of our wonderful family and friends came together both to visit and to celebrate the little man's christening. After a week of spending time together in the city and around the neighborhood, we topped off the wonderful visit (which I will blog about in a separate post) with a little sprinkle of holy water. The day was beautiful, the service special, and being together as a family the best of all. It is moments like these that make the distance between us hard, but the time we get together truly special.

family celebration, vacation, and babymoon

Last week was a wonderful celebration!  My mom and dad invited all of us to join them on a Disney Cruise of the Caribbean for their 40th wedding anniversary. Planned a year in advance, it is hard to believe that we just finished this magical time together.  We were so lucky to partake in this incredible vacation and so lucky to be celebrating so many wonderful family moments. While on board we toasted to my parents and their beautiful commitment to one another over their many years of marriage, we sang happy birthday to Avery who recently turned three, we enjoyed being together as a family, and David and I enjoyed some quiet moments that we deemed our "babymoon." DSC_1145

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We boarded the Disney Fantasy at Cape Canaveral  and spent two days at sea while we cruised down to St. Maarten. The ship was just beautiful. Disney is known for its attention to detail and its excellent customer service and in both of these areas they again excelled. Our dining staff, Yanina and Kaya, became instant friends and helped make our experience truly magical. Each day aboard, we explored all that the Fantasy had to offer from midship pools, to Broadway shows, to character encounters with Avery and Smith and so much more. Ending each night in one of the rotating dining rooms with Yanina and Kaya, we would recap our adventures and dine on lavish four course meals. It was a vacation fit for a king and I am not sure how much of the weight I gained is from the baby-to-be and how much was from the extravagant meals!  Regardless, it was well worth it as we all settled in to life on the Fantasy.

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Our first port of call was St. Maarten.  Here we departed from the cruise itinerary and Bryan became our guide. Having traveled extensively in the Caribbean when he flew for American Eagle, Bryan took us over to Maho Beach best known for its picturesque beach, delicious beach side bar, and the low flying planes overhead!

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To be that close to planes landing was actually quite amazing.  The bar showed the arrival times and people lined the beaches and paused from their swimming to watch the aircraft land. It was so cool!  This topped with warm clear blue water made our day in St. Maarten quite special.

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Our next morning, we woke up in St. Thomas to yet another beautifully warm and sunny day. We left the Fantasy early and boarded the Kon Tiki Island Boat Cruise. While aboard, we sang, danced, and partied our way to an isolated beach where we spent the afternoon soaking up the rays, enjoying our time together, and just relaxing.

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Our last stop was Disney's Castaway Cay in the Bahamas. This island oasis was groomed in true Disney fashion. From their pathways, to the set up of the lounge chairs, to the island BBQ lunch, to the underwater reefs the island exuded care, relaxation, and fun. This was our longest day off the ship and we enjoyed every moment. David and I snorkeled in the morning.  It was so different snorkeling while pregnant.  At times, we would  be gliding along the ocean looking at schools of fish and then the little guy would move and bump and kick. I like to think all that movement was because he was enjoying the weightless swimming  in the sea. David and I would stop and say, "Wow so right now it is just you and me but very very soon baby makes three!" With only 88 days until the estimated date of arrival this trip marked our last vacation as "just the two of us."  Thankfully we had plenty  of time with our niece and nephew to practice a little parenting this past seven days =)

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But really just being together as a family made the trip so special.  It is sad being home now in that it is so quiet.  I keep expecting to see someone come around the corner to say hello or to ask us to run off here or there on the ship. I am so thankful for last week and I am really looking forward to our next family gathering which will most likely include baby-to-be!

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