Posts tagged family
Thanksgiving: Part II

At certain points, it felt like the universe did not want our thanksgiving travels to go down. Some of the occurrences were very small and easily dismissible except when added to the other crazy events surrounding them, then the signs were clear! This trip was disrupting some homeostasis. It all started like every Thanksgiving break with the insane end of the Fall Term. In 7 days time, teachers are tasked with wrapping up course content and student work, grading any remaining products, writing finals, grading said finals, lesson planning for the new term of brand new courses with brand new students, writing comments which is approximately 150 words per students, proof-reading colleague comments, uploading grades, and any other loose ends that inevitability have to be tied. It is a bananas timeline and you can feel the faculty stress levels boil over. But this frenzy is sadly "normal." I was ready to "tackle" this in order to squeeze into a break with my family. The other pieces though only more deeply complicated this already wacky time. Henry broke is leg. To be exact, he broke the femur growth plate and ended up in a cast from his toes to his hip. He refused to walk on it for quite some time, and then found moving even short distances both frustrating and exhausting with his heavy green "hulk leg" cast. Over a few days, he adjusted but the concern was: How will he navigate the epic trip which includes flights, Disney, and the beach? Then David burned his arm, because our oven never properly cooks anything and we had a suspicion that it was not rising to the appropriate temperature, David was on a mission. To catch our sneaky oven in the act of under-warming, David bought a thermometer to hang from a rack. But, he forgot that racks get hot and burned a giant letter I in to forearm leaving him with a bad-ass wound and a tender limb.  When driving home from work the next day, I pulled over to a random urgent care because I was tired of being so tired and started to think it wasn't just the lack of work-life balance anymore. Alas, it was walking pneumonia. With three days left to our departure, we were a mess. I could not breathe or keep my eyes open, David was trying to manage the house, grading was piling up, and Henry was incapacitated. Then my sister-in-law called to say she had a horrible eye problem and we all held our breath! If her issue did not adjust in the next 24 hours she would need to be hospitalized and our trip should then just be called off because the universe was starting to laugh at us little too hard.

In the morning light, Jessie was convinced her eye was improving so we packed our suitcases only to be hit by winter storm Avery! Six inches of snow fell and we braced for flight delays and indeed landed in Orlando at midnight. Waiting for over an hour on the jetway, our stroller had gone missing. My reaction to this "not so terrible occurrence" was to lose my freaking mind. Everything suddenly hinged on whether or not we had that stroller to navigate this epic trip with our son with a femur cast. The children were melting down to epic proportions because it was almost 1AM and we were waiting for over an hour and they were so exhausted and tired and frustrated and I was about one second away from throwing a tantrum right on that carpet next to them. When we finally boarded the Mickey Bus to bring us and our chaos to the hotel, the charming driver turned on her Disney princess voice at 2:30AM and declared, "Good Morning and welcome to the magical Disney bus!" and I nearly lost my head from the intensity of my rolling eyes. We got off the Magical Express and left behind our sweatshirts on the bus because losing something other than our minds was needed and we crashed in our beds to only wake up at 7AM exactly 4 hours later. But, all of the other members of our travel team slept in, and David and I just started to laugh the kind of laughs of unstable people, because all of this happened and we were in literal shambles and everyone was crying and we were about to start our first day at the Happiest Place on Earth.

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We did pull it together and we did have a great time, but Smith also did puke to add one last moment of chaos to the journey, but overall these were the parts of the trip that social media usually glosses over but the parts of the trip that were so real, and so ridiculous that we inevitably had to go from there!

 

 

One time I saw a psychic

I thought about that one time a lot this weekend. About 10 years ago, on a super rainy afternoon (I think maybe even a tropical depression was sweeping across Boston), David and I and a friend went to see a psychic downtown. It was a creepy event: gray skies, torrential rains, and the storefront sitting directly across the street from a colonial period burial ground. What brought us there? Our friend had shared about her previous experience in which the psychic saw deep into her past in explicit and concrete ways and even made not-so-soon-into-the-future predictions that rang true with her head space for the decisions that needed to be made. As a total skeptic, I thought it would be more fun than anything else to get my tarot card read and check out that one-time experience of psychic predictions. The space was exactly as you might imagine it. Dark lighting, some old thread worn carpeting, and lots of decor of stars, moons, and other celestial bodies filling the room along with various pillows of what was supposed to be lush and plush ornamentation but read more like a Pier 1 clearance aisle ransacked. We sat on chairs, that reminded me of seats from the local Columbus Hall,  in the waiting space behind a silk screen partition for our turns. The psychic was a heavy set man, probably in his mid thirties. I was beckoned over to his folding table covered in a tapestry tablecloth where he asked me to cut the deck of tarot cards to begin.

That is when things got weird. I remember at the time begin taken aback by many of the claims and insights he shared. The ones that have stuck with me throughout the years were:

  • Are you lactating? You are giving off a "milk making" vibe.

WTF!! This is crazy. Who has a milk making vibe? Did I smell like milk? I was not. Nor was I planning to have a baby any time soon since David and I only started dating.

  • You have a thyroid problem.

I do? Whoa....my recent blood work had not revealed this issue.

  • You live in Southborough.

I lived 10 minutes by T from this dude's psychic location, not 20+ miles from downtown Boston

  • You will have four children but two of them will be girls' and they won't be your children.

Huh? I don't want four children, that is just too many. Also, what does "won't be yours" mean? Like will I steal them? 

I left the session dismissing all the crazy. While it was fun, it was also an apparent waste of my time. But his prediction sat with me because they felt so bizarre in how direct and confident he was in delivering them. Every time they crept back into my mind, I would remind myself that of course he needed to share confidently whatever crazy story he was spinning because otherwise he would not have a "job."

So ten years later, perhaps if I bend around the tale a little you can make the argument that all of his predictions ACTUALLY came true.

  • I nursed both boys and it was a relatively easy experience though exhausting. It felt really awesome to accomplish that despite early troubles getting started and working full-time.
  • When I was pregnant with Henry and Owen, I did have thyroid problems and now who knows potentially I might see my thyroid crop up again on to the "naughty" list of organs not doing their job.
  • While I don't live in Southborough, I do live way outside of Boston. Perhaps he got the town's name wrong but knew that my true point of settling would not be within the confines of the metropole.
  • I have two sons. This should come as NO surprise to anyone. BUT I do have 2 goddaughters. When Avery was born, my brother and sister-in-law asked me to take on this super special role and then just this past weekend, I was asked a second time to be the godmother to my bestie's baby, Juliet. So I have 4 children but the two girls are technically "not my children."

Who would have thought that a kooky visit to a psychic might turn out to have been 100% valid over the course of a ten year landscape....or perhaps I am just remembering it that way, haha.

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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 double double

Grab your Rosé mama and join me at the campfire for a tale so mystical and mythical that it may forever become part of motherhood folklore! When the event occurred, my awareness for the unique situation was keyed up. I both wanted to share the events with friends and strangers but worried that no one would ever believe me. There are dozens and dozens of memes about children sleeping in the carseat and the spectrum of crazy a parent emotionally tackles during this circumstance: Child fell asleep while mom drives into garage for 2 seconds and wakes up "totally refreshed" from the long blink, child falls asleep in carseat and parent decides to hit up the drive-thru Starbucks for a 40 minute silent car nap and coffee BUT baby takes massive blow-out and is screaming all the way home instead, and, of course, a dad dressed in a bomb suit trying to transfer a baby from carseat to house while sleeping. Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 8.00.02 AM.png

If you are a parent, you know these feels and these situations all too well. You likely experience them EVERY day plus so many more. But I am here to tell you that when the moon is blue, when pigs fly, and when you think that all hope is lost there is such a thing as the double double transfer!

Double double transfer: verb. To move two sleeping children from their carseats into something else (i.e. crib, bed, stroller), and to successful return sleeping children into the carseat.

I know what you are thinking, NO WAY! Not is a million years could a parent successfully move TWO sleeping children out of their carseats into something and then back into the carseat. But on July 14, 2018 at approximately 1:05PM, in Wrentham, MA this happened. You might have felt the shift in the universe and thought it  was a minor earthquake tremor or perhaps a spirit moved through you, but no it was me experiencing the impossible.

After lunch on Saturday, we kissed David goodbye and packed the boys up in the car for a quick errand to the outlets. I barely backed the car out of the driveway when it became too quiet. Looking in the mirror, it was confirmed that the two little dudes had fallen asleep. Panic set in. The drive to the store was 15 minutes. That was not nearly long enough for a proper nap, but I also did not want to spend an hour + driving around for a car nap. I decided that I would just deal with them waking up after a 15 minute nod off and see what happened in the car ride home and just prepare myself for a moody evening with the boys because of that 15 minutes of shut eye. We parked in the lot, and I braced for them to wake up confused and angry!  Opening the trunk, I slide out and assembled the stroller and went for the first boy,Henry. There was NO way he was going to stay asleep. I would open the car door and his eyes would follow.  But then I opened the car door and his eyes remained closed. Thinking this was weird, I unbuckled him, lifted him, and settled him down in his stroller seat without a slight wakening. Then I started to hold my breath. Could I also do this with Owen? Feeling both cocky and terrified, I strolled over to his side of the car, opened the door, carried him out, and placed him in his seat. Taking my first breath in 5 minutes, I nearly fainted from the crazy transfer I just completed! WHERE WAS MY AUDIENCE? Where were the rounds of applause? Immediately, I called my mom and David because no one would believe this and it had to be documented. Then we headed into Jcrew and for the first time in maybe four years, I shopped "alone."  I went into the store with the hope that I could quickly grab one thing, and here I was meandering through the store slowly taking my time with each clothing rack, thinking about items, evaluating selections, and just shopping peacefully and quietly. Slipping the cashier my money, I was in shock that still they remained sleeping. Heading back to the car, I knew my time was up and I thanked the gods and prepared for the kiddos to wake up confused and angry when I moved them back into the vehicle.

Taking probably a dozen preparatory breaths, I attempted my first transfer of Henry. He slipped right back into the seat eyes closed. I felt invincible! Then Owen followed suit. It was a miracle: a double double transfer. Could I also fly? Read minds? Cure diseases? Win the Lotto? Life felt invigorating. And before you think, "Wow this is the lamest thing ever," I want to say that I have gone skydiving and the sensation of excellence, surprise, and thrill that I got from backing my car out of that parking spot was the equivalent of jumping out of that plane over Chatham and that is when I knew my identity as mom was cemented fully and I was totally cool with that.

Thursday moments: the carnival addition

Yesterday we snuck off to a little carnival in the next town over. We had driven by it for two days and the boys looked longingly at the lights and spinning metal. It was a really good choice to go! They loved it. While most rides were geared toward the older, more adventurous, and less prone to nauseous rider, there were 6 the little boys could do. They bounced and twirled along happily, although the little roller coaster gave them a bit of a scare. But their favorite ride of all was zooming down the super slider on a burlap sack. They both surprised me so much with what they were willing to try. They had both had their eye on that slide and I hesitated thinking there was no way they would climb the tall ladder let alone go down the slide itself. They proved to me that as a parent my job may be to keep them safe but it is also important to get out of their way so they can step out of their comfort zones all on their own! The night ended in ice cream and those are the best nights.

With Open Arms

This morning the commute marked the last 40 minute long journey of my ninth year of teaching! And with Journey on my mind, I cannot help but think of that great 80s band. While I won't stop believing that summer is really, finally, beautifully hear, it is their song "Open Arms" that is playing on repeat this morning. An odd choice you might at first think, but then when you realize the destination is summer vacation, an almost 11 week hiatus from the daily grinding commute, endless e-mails, piles of grading, and consuming lesson planning, there can be no doubt that I am charging into summer with these words on my lips: So now I come to you With open arms Nothing to hide Believe what I say So here I am With open arms Hoping you'll see What your love means to me Open arms

Do you hear Steve Perry too? And then the school threw 8 hours of training on Canvas at us this morning and summer vacation could not start fast enough! Each summer I worry about what we will do to cherish the time, it would be so much more fun too if David was home everyday. But with Labor Day's inevitable return, I am going to just try to soak it up, recharge, and check my attitude both for the sun-soaked happenings of summer and for a positive restart for the 2018-2019 school year.

You can find me in the sand until then!

models of love....

Ten years ago, David and I would lounge in bed in our pajamas and nap all day long and watch various movies or TV series and talk about plans for the future and our ideas about the spectrum of ideas. It was luxurious and we felt self-important in our lovely perfection of love. Sometimes I would turn to David and say that all I wanted was to work as a "model of love," where we could just exist like this, be together, adventure, and never have to worry about money or jobs or bills. Maybe if we win the lotto we can revisit that! This morning we woke up after getting to bed too late, and being disturbed from our blissful slumber by a little three year old seeking some help in the bathroom, and after the alarm sounded to say, "The day begins." It was less luxurious but even in this moment of sleep-deprivation, David was the person I rolled over to see through bleary eyes. We might not be modeling the best of ourselves all the time because life gets in the way of life when two tiny humans are thrown into the mix of things, but we are still modeling our imperfectly perfect-for-us-kind-of-love and I am grateful and appreciative and very much in love still with this partner of mine. And yes, Hallmark made me reflect today on these sentiments with their manufactured Valentine's Day, but when we get busy and overwhelmed it is all too easy to forget our beginning and how awesome these ten plus years together have been. The soft-spots in our marriage are inevitable, but I am so glad that I have an opportunity to reflect and love that same man who swept me off my feet. So cheers to the sappy holiday and cheers to renewing our commitment to being "models of love," (and allowing our love to shift and change and ebb and flow through the different stages and phases).

Toddlers, Babies & Parents say funny things

Much of the day of mommyhood is processing and responding to funny, sweet, and weird phrases, conversations and requests from Henry and Owen. So many of these parenting gems have been lost to the abyss of noise that is forever constant from sunrise to sunset, but every now and then, I have enough mental clarity to recall from my working memories those little sillies and jot them down for posterity. And then add to this an assortment of the many socially acceptable behaviors we try to encourage and discourage the boys from doing in an attempt to socialize them to the cultural norms they are a part of. From the parents:

No, you can't lick your brother

Don't touch your butthole or you will get pink eye

Eating a cake pop off the floor of Starbucks is yucky

Did you pee pee on the couch? Where should we go to the bathroom?

Buster doesn't want you to ride on him

From the babies & toddlers:

Let's play pretend tiger. What is that? It is when I roar at you and then you scream and then say wait you are just pretend.

Baby in thereas Owen points to my boob

I have an idea, how about I eat my dinner and then we go to CVS for a new toy?

Can we play hide the ball? I will hide it first....okay ready Owen runs over to the hidden spot and points to where the ball is. No, Owen stop it, be more fun.

Ce Ce Ja Ja? Puppy Ja Ja? Santa Pajamas or Puppy Pajamas what Owen wants to wear all day everyday.

Can we just do dinner and a show? Trying to have dinner small talk and Henry would prefer to do otherwise. Ha Ha nice try kid!

Hands mommy Hands! Any time we ride in the car, Owen gets his shoes off and slides his socks onto his hands. His proudest moment.

Great feat of strength

Tonight the GOAT, Tom Brady, takes to the field for yet another run for a Super Bowl win. While the game may be exciting, the commercials are known to create a Twitter trend too. A few years ago, I think it was Budweiser, had a series called "unsung heroes." This thirty seconds praised random people for silly and what might at first seem like insignificant talents. However they were true feats of strength like the bathroom user who replaces the toilet paper roll or the individual brave enough to take that last bite of the appetizer before the waiter removes the plate. On Thursday, I had my greatest moment! While I might have been in labor for 17 hours with Henry only to push out his chunky 9lb 12oz body and then headed back for another baby born naturally almost on route 9 because he was so fast and intense, Thursday trumps both of these moments in stick-to-it-ness and mind control! My co-worker is baking beautiful artisan breads and on Thursday morning while I sat in the faculty room for my prep, this kind coworker gifted me half a loaf. The feat of strength then commenced!

I sat beside that loaf of bread a mere twelve inches from my nose for two hours!!! I made multiple attempts to unwrap it from its cellophane but just before I peeled a layer, I stopped myself. Let's all just agree that there might not be a better smell than bread. No matter what the grocery store smells like as soon as you hit the bakery aisle don't you smile? Is that just me? Clearly a fresh loaf is my trigger. But at 3:25 on the fateful day, I walked to the car with the loaf intact proud that I resisted its temptations and prepared to share my sacrificed loaf with the family!

from 1 to 2

Everyone always says, "Going from one to two is the hardest" and... They are right!

Of course most of the time being a family of four is just beautiful and magical. When Henry cuddles up to his brother or kisses his forehead or does "tummy time" with little Owen, my heart just explodes. When I am tucking Henry into bed and holding Owen in my lap for story time, I could stay in that moment forever.

The hardest part is the random times in the day when you just don't have enough hands: Henry wants a cuddle or a snack while Owen is nursing. I keep telling myself it has only been three weeks and  not to get too worried about this dilemma. It will settle itself and we will find our family rhythm, but I just wish I had two more hands so I could be all things to both boys and then I wish I had one more set of hands so I could fold laundry and roast vegetables, haha!

It is amazing how these two boys come from the same momma and daddy and yet are already very different (I think). Henry is pale and Owen olive. Henry is slender and Owen rotund. Henry is sensitive and Owen seems to be made of tough stuff. Comparison is the fastest way to unhappiness, no? Yet, I promise that my comparison of the two little dudes in my life will stop here because I just want to savor and love and observe their unique personalities and see what paths they take in life (but, I am sure that desire to compare will show up from time to time).

What might be the hardest part of all is that Owen doesn't speak. It has been a LONG time since we had a little one in the house who wasn't babbling about all day. I just want to know Owen more and hear what his little voice is like, but we will have to be patient for a few months until we get a glimpse of that personality and see what kind of songbird this child is. Until then, when I hear "The Sound of Silence" on the radio by Disturbed, I imagine that that deep husky voice is Owen's.

So while this period is full of unknowns and curiosities, it is also full of quiet moments (though brief), lots of cuddles, and lots of learning on this mommy's part on how to develop and hone in on my patience and living in the moment.

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Owen Edward: 2 Weeks

Weighing in at 9lbs 10oz little Owen is ALMOST as big as Henry was on the day Henry was born!  It is crazy because when I look at Owen he seems so big now and Henry was that big on day 1, WHAT!?!  Crazy! BabyOwenFinals--3

These two weeks with Owen have been fantastic.  He is the cutest little baby and my heart just keeps on growing each and every day to love him more and more. Owen is definitely an "easy baby." Of course, easy is relative to the parents' I believe, but he is so chill during the day. We are able to pick him up and pack up for a day out and about. Owen has gone out to lunches and dinners, visited with friends and family, and gone to the playground to watch his big brother a handful of times. When I was this far out with Henry, I was SO scared to leave the house. Just getting down the stairs to the garage felt like an epic journey. So getting out at least once each day at this point feels very exciting and has given me some really great confidence as a mommy to two boys. And as we close out on day 14, Owen is more and more awake to explore the immediate world around him. His beautiful little brown eyes will scan my face and I cannot help but cuddle up close to him and kiss every inch of his baby face.

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What does a day look like at our home?

We are typically awake by 5AM and then head in to play with Henry in his room for at least an hour. Mornings tend to be slow as David and I alternate showers and head downstairs to cook up some breakfast. Then we aim to have a little morning outing. This past weekend, we went to Drumlin Farm with friends and I find that it takes a good 30  minutes prior to our set departure time to get everything packed for the day and to have the boys pottied and fed for the car ride! The philosophy of our lives right now is to get out the door in one piece with as little bulk as possible. It has taken about two weeks to figure out what we really need and what can stay home and how to keep all the boys' things in a single lightweight diaper bag. We are back home by 12:30 for lunch time and Henry's nap and this is when Owen is most awake. It's so sweet to have a little alone time with Owen and to whisper sweet nothings in his ear while his brother naps. In the evenings, I am pretty tired from the day and still feel drained from the physical toll of labor and delivery and aim to keep things slow and simple for the healing process having us stay close to home until bedtime with the boys.

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Owen sleeps pretty well. We get a long stretch of time asleep from 8PM-Midnight and then after that it depends. Some nights he sleeps for two-hour increments and some nights only one-hour increments (which leaves me very very tired by 5AM). Thankfully David has been home these two weeks to help in the morning and to encourage me to take naps when I can during the day even though my mommy guilt tells me to go go go. My big worry is when David goes back to work and I have to be everything to these two little ones. Of course, I want this but I am worried if I am able to do it. Fingers crossed for me please!

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Even though I am tired, and even though we are still adjusting to our life with two little ones, these two weeks have been some of my most favorite in my life. David has kept me smiling and is the most playful sweet father I could ever imagine having as a partner. It is really wonderful being loved by and loving three men!

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That time my brother came for a visit!

SoCal is SO far from Boston! And this makes me sad because it means we cannot see my brother and his family as often as we would like. Ah, if only they would move to the east coast! But, of course the weather is too nice out there and the winters of Boston are not tempting enough. So instead of seeing each other every week and growing tired of one another, we savor our short visits.  This visit may have been the shortest. A mere 4 hours was our window. My brother flew in Friday night and had to catch a 5PM flight back on Saturday. But when your sibling comes to town, you drop everything and race in to see him. We packed up Henry and squeezed my parents into the car and into town we went.

The weather was amazing! Typically it would be in the 30s and miserable to walk around but today (because my bro was in town) Boston held firm at 60! We had lunch, walked through the North End and along the sea wall, checked out the new Boston Public Market, watched the harbor seals at the aquarium, and window shopped in Faneuil Hall. Henry thoroughly enjoyed laughing with his uncle and sneaking bites of cannoli.

It hurt to say goodbye after such a short visit, but I am so thankful we got to see my brother today. It truly was a special!

             

winter weekends

You know that song "everybody's working for the weekend?" Since having my little guy, that tacky 80s lyric rings so true. I just cannot get enough time with my family. There is something so beautiful about a lazy, casual few days home with my people. They reinvigorate me and remind me of what all of my hard work during the week is for. This past weekend was lovely. We napped, did some Christmas errands, danced like maniacs around the house, cooked, snuggled, played, and strolled around a holiday market. It was full but easy.

December is truly my favorite time of year (despite the ungodly traffic). David's birthday is soon, then Christmas, my birthday, and the new year. Cold weather brings us closer and parties bring out the cheer. It would be nice to slow down my favorite month just a bit though.

Tonight I am going to take a stab at some homemade holiday cookies and then it's time to get serious about knitting and a little fitness. Yes, I am one of those resolution types but I always like to start mine before the new year. Somehow it makes me feel like I am more committed to change.

What is your favorite part of this time of year?

 

A lifetime ago

I have been a delinquent blogger. The start of the school year hit me harder than I anticipated. It took almost two months to feel like a "pattern" set in and perhaps this is a result of not yet having a full five day week! Isn't that crazy? But not until the week of October 26 will I have a full five day week. So each shortened week flies by in a blur of activity, grading, lesson planning, adapting, adjusting, life, family, life, and life! How is it that the start of year seven could feel as uncomfortable as the start of year one?! Teaching is a humbling profession. Somehow though I finally feel a little less frantic and settled and will return to updating this here ole blog more regularly! So what have we been up to?

                                   

Once upon a tween 

When I found out that our niece Alyza was coming to visit us for two weeks, I was excited and scared! What do you do with a preteen for two weeks? Do you play dress up or talk about boys? Do you go to the playground or sunbathe at the beach? Not-quite-a-teenager-but-still-a-kid is a tough age. I remember it and I remember not liking it. So how do we make the most of this visit? Turns out preteens are sort of awesome! She talked about boys, toys, life goals, growing up, friends, bullies, playgrounds, drama, dreams, and everything in between! She was playful with Henry but enjoyed having "grown up" conversations too. It was quite a great visit. Each day we did some little adventure. A visit to the water park, city, lake, or mall to name a few. My favorite times were when we were all together hanging out at the zoo or our fancy date family date night. Two weeks flew by and our super cool niece had to head home. Now we just need to work on getting her back here!

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.