Tag Archives: travel

She Says… Raising An Olympian

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Since Owen still couldn’t go to school on Friday (he only had a teeny tiny patch of the rash that Emmett had all over his body, but since I knew what it was I was NOT going to send him to school and spread it to his friends), we decided to hightail it out of town for a little mini-vacay to Grammy and Grampy’s house in New Hampshire.

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The mountain air does a body (and mind) good.

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Usually we drive in the afternoon and I spend a lot of the drive stressing about if Owen is sleeping or not, and what do we do about nap when we get there, etc. This time we decided to leave as early in the morning as possible to capitalize on Emmett’s morning nap and so we didn’t have to worry about Owen napping in the car at all (and if he fell asleep, I’d count it as his nap anyway since we are working on reducing nap time little by little for him). As it turned out, it was a brilliant move and everyone was pretty happy the whole way. Definitely our most successful drive yet (THANK GOODNESS for a baby who actually *likes* riding in the car… it is such a change from what Owen was like as a baby that it shocks me every time).

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It was a weekend of skiing and enjoying the (hopefully) last of the snow! Saturday we went cross country skiing.

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Owen did great, but proved that enjoying cross country skiing is likely something you have to grow into… “I don’t want to just WALK everywhere, Mommy!”.

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He was a good sport and gave it a really good try (his balance is quite impressive for a 3 year old!), but it wasn’t his favorite activity.

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Grammy and Grampy were generous to help share the kid-duty. Grampy continued skiing with Owen and Grammy watched Emmett for the morning so Benjamin and I could get a few hours of solo (duo?) skiing in. It was one of the most beautiful days I’ve ever seen; conditions were perfect and the sunshine felt like a warm spring day.

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Sunday we went downhill skiing. THIS is Owen’s favorite. The kid is a SPEED DEMON and prefers to go straight down the hill, skis parallel, and not slow down or stop.

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We joked all day about how we had to take lots of pictures and video for the “Raising an Olympian” video they will undoubtedly need to make when he is an Olympic skier.

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Once again Benjamin and I got a few hours of kid-free ski time. It was so much fun to be out being active together.

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As with many of us, Owen’s favorite favorite part of the ski weekend was the apres ski. Aka hot tub time.

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He practiced dunking and swimming and jumping and splashing. Dude is so ready for summer when he can actually do those things for real. Weirdly, it seems like he somehow learned to swim (or at least greatly advanced his skills) with absolutely zero practice since last summer. We practically had to force him out.

An added bonus of the weekend away was that the time change passed us by without any issues at all (we were all so exhausted that everyone slept well at night, and our days/naps were all a bit different from our home routine anyway). Though it’s only been a couple days, we have definitely used the time change to our advantage and the early morning waking issue seems to be eliminated. No jinxies!

Now we’re back. Laundry is going. Kids are BOTH at school (and fingers are crossed we actually get a full week with no sick days for any of us!). Bodies are recharged and ready. It was just what the doctor ordered.

She Says… On Being Gone

Back before I became a mother, I remember hearing a new mom friend talking about how she felt like she was carrying all of the weight of taking care of their newborn. How her husband didn’t even get up at night while they nursed. That will never be us. I thought. That is so unfair. Fast forward a few years and two babies and not only have I completely changed my perspective on sharing the midnight feedings, I’ve also come to an entirely new understanding of the words fair and equal as they pertain to marriage. Specifically marriage when you are parents.

The old me thought that fair and equal meant splitting things down the middle. You take one feeding, I’ll take the next one. You take a night “off” to go play poker, I get a night “off” to do whatever I want too. You do the dishes, I fold the laundry. You buy yourself some new clothes, I get to add a few new pieces to my wardrobe too. In little ways, we kept score. Our relationship was built on equality, and that was important to me. We did equal “work” and shared the load. Gender/income didn’t dictate who wore the pants. We both did.

Equality is no less important to me now, but it doesn’t look quite like what I thought it would. Equality, these days, sometimes looks like me “doing it all” instead of “having it all”. Sometimes it looks like me schlepping both kids to and from school AND working full time AND cooking dinner AND remembering to buy a present for the birthday party this weekend AND packing lunches for the next day before falling into bed at night. And the only way that looks like anything resembling equal or fair is that sometimes it is Benjamin doing all of those things.

In the past couple of years Benjamin’s travel has ramped up quite a bit, and I have found myself at home alone more than I would like. Although I travel some for work (previously about once every couple months, usually to relatively close places like New York or Chicago, but once in a while a bigger trip like Paris, London or Munich), when we are apart, he is almost always the one “gone” and I am the one “home”. Sometimes this doesn’t feel fair or equal at all.

But then there are times, like this week, when I traveled to New York for work. I slept in a hotel for three nights and didn’t have to wake up, pulse racing, when I heard a cry from down the hall. I enjoyed dinners at lovely restaurants, sipped wine at a jazz club in the West Village and slurped oysters with old friends. I worked hard during the day and wasn’t constantly thinking about daycare calling or when I had to rush out of the office to pick up the kids or how I only had one earring on since I was holding the baby when I got dressed and didn’t have enough hands to put the other one on. I missed my family, of course, but I relished in the feeling of being the one who was “gone”. Benjamin, on the other hand, woke up to the 5am cries. He fed and bathed and diapered and kissed. He shoveled a foot of snow while still getting the kids to daycare on time and getting himself to work.

What the old me didn’t realize is that having a fair or equal relationship isn’t about keeping track of how many travel days each of us logs, or a tally of the chores. It’s about doing whatever needs to be done for as long as it needs doing, and knowing that my husband will be there to do it when the tables are turned. We may not do the same job all of the time, or even come anywhere close to splitting it down the middle, but we are partners.

The “workload” of our life shifts back and forth between us like playing catch with a huge sack of hot potatoes. One of us will inevitably hold that bag longer than the other sometimes, but it’s all fair and equal in the end if we know the other one is there, arms open and ready to catch it when it gets too hot.

She Says… Little Tiny Skis and Missing the Noisemaker

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Owen took a trip up to New Hampshire with Grammy and Grampy this weekend by himself. Well, Schnitzel was there too, but Benjamin and Emmett and I stayed home — it made for a lovely little vacay weekend for us all!

Anyone who has had two kids and then suddenly finds themselves with only ONE of said kids (especially if it’s the smaller, quieter one who naps a lot more) will tell you that it is ASTONISHING how easy it feels. How much time there is in the day to get things done. How quiet it is. Quieter than I ever remembered it being when Owen was Emmett’s age.

Benjamin and I packed our weekend with social events (out Friday, hosted a dinner party Saturday and I went out Sunday with mom friends — woot! Who am I?!), errands and finishing projects around the house, and there was still more than enough time to cuddle, hug, kiss, play with and adore Emmett. One on one. Really two on one. For a few moments it made me sad that every day in Emmett’s life isn’t like that — the center of attention, the nonstop holding and appreciating and marveling over what a perfect little dude he is. But you know what I realized? Emmett may never know what it feels like to be an only child, but what he gets in return is SO. MUCH. BETTER.

It’s too quiet here without Owen. There’s no constant “show” going on to entertain Emmett. There is less laughter and less chaos and less silliness. There’s a hole here when he’s gone.

Sure, Benjamin and I enjoyed the quiet. We actually cuddled on the couch and watched tv during Emmett’s morning nap; I can’t remember the last time that happened. We talked to each other and heard each others’ voices without having to compete with Owen’s incessant chattering. We went to bed at night knowing that even if Emmett woke up early, all we had to do was hold him and play with him quietly… there was no little preschool-aged dictator to talk and direct and argue and talk some more.

It was nice. But now I’m ready to have my little chatterbox back.

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He, of course, had a total blast. We video chatted yesterday and he beamed while he told me that he ate macaroni and cheese all weekend. And that Grammy laid in his bed with him when he got up too early (4:45am! Not happening at home, buddy!). And that he hasn’t napped once (!!!). And that he got to go in the hot tub. And that they went hiking and he got M&Ms at the top of the mountain.

So. Much. Fun.

They also took him skiing for the first time (next stop: Sochi)! This was a milestone that Benjamin and I were very sad to miss, but it probably went smoother without us there, to be honest. Thankfully Grammy documented the trip with lots of pictures and a video of Owen going the whole way down the bunny hill all by himself. HE ROCKED — stayed up the whole time (and apparently wouldn’t let anyone help him with anything, from the getting dressed to the “magic carpet” lift to skiing down the hill)! Benjamin and I watched the video with happy tears in our eyes. We are so lame.

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All in all the weekend was a huge success. I think everyone will sleep well tonight (especially Grammy and Grampy).

 

She Says… Sleepover Silliness

Here’s a tip: 3 years old may be a little too young for your kid’s 1st sleepover. Or, at least it was for mine. That is, if you expect any sleeping to happen.

As I mentioned, we went to Benjamin’s parents’ house in New Hampshire last weekend with our friends who have a son in Owen’s preschool class. Owen was BEYOND excited about this trip. He’s always excited to go up there, but he was a million times more excited this time since he had a friend going too. The other family also has a toddler, and clearly we have Emmett, who is still getting up to eat at night, so between the 6 adults and 4 kids we had to do some creative thinking about how to share bedrooms in a way that would maximize sleep. Ultimately we decided to have Owen and his little buddy share a room.

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We foolishly thought that even if the boys goofed off at bedtime and stayed up a little late that they would eventually conk out. Spoiler alert: Not so much.

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On Friday we drove up during naptime to get as much quiet time as we could in the car. Both boys did pretty well. Owen (thoroughly Benadryled to combat his car-sickness) whined a bit and asked “how many minutes until we get there?” about a bazillion and a half times, and Emmett lost his shit near the end of the drive and screamed his head off for longer than I thought possible, but in the end, we got there only slightly bewildered by the 4 hour drive. We set up bedrooms (video monitors, sound machines and all of the other accoutrements that I feel silly traveling with, but also can’t live without), fed the kids and got them bathed and jammied.

Bed time.

The boys dutifully laid down their heads in their beds and we turned off the light. Not too long after that we heard their adorable little voices chattering away. Owen asked Jonah what he likes to eat for breakfast. He pestered him with questions about which way he was facing and if he was closing his eyes to fall asleep so he could do everything exactly the same way (funny tidbit: Jonah told him he sleeps with his eyes open, so Owen tried to do the same).

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The chattering gave way to bed jumping. Their voices weren’t sounding so cute anymore. We intervened. Finally, after a couple extra hours of chatting, they fell asleep. We naively thought we were in the clear.

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That night I saw every hour on the clock of my bedside table.

  • 12:00pm Owen cried out for me that he couldn’t find his lovey in bed. I retrieved him and put both boys back to bed.
  • 1:15am Emmett woke up and needed to be fed.
  • 2:35am Boys are up again, daring each other to go out into the hallway and see what happens. You know what happened? I busted in their room and told them it was lights out. Quiet time. Close your eyes.
  • 3:10am Still not asleep. Apparently I didn’t have my best “mom voice” on. I stepped up my game.
  • 4:30am Emmett is up again to nurse. I tiptoe to his room and try not to make a peep while going to the bathroom.
  • 5:15am Fail. Boys are up. Owen has to pee.
  • 5:30am Giggles. Shrieks. Knocking on the inside of their door. The pitter patter of little feet outside my door. I send Benjamin in partly because I’m so tired I can barely move, and partly because I’m tired of being the only parent who is awake. I blame my supersonic mom ears.
  • 6:00am I tell the boys they don’t have to sleep anymore, but they do have to play quietly in their room until the clock turns green (Owen is so militant about waiting until the clock turns green at home that he forced me to bring it to New Hampshire)

Finally we all got up. The good news? The view from the New Hampshire house windows is almost amazing enough to make you forget you haven’t slept a wink. Almost.

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On Saturday we bundled up and went on a long hike (2+ hours). The boys walked the whole way. All of the parents smirked and thought, “Finally, they will sleep”.

(Side story: We had planned to have a snack and a rest at the summit, but when we got there it was COLD and WINDY and BITTER. I had to nurse Emmett and the kids needed a snack but it turned out to be a bit disastrous despite the amazing view. When we got to the top we realized it was the same trail and same spot I had hiked with Owen when he was the same age as Emmett, and I had a similar “nursing on a mountaintop” experience. Apparently I didn’t learn my lesson.)

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When we got home, Owen was on the verge of a meltdown and I could feel it in my bones. I threw lunch at him and took him upstairs for a nap. They wanted to nap together but I knew that was not a good idea. I no longer trusted those two.

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Thankfully, Owen’s protesting didn’t last too long and he succumbed to sleep. Jonah, on the other hand, did not. He’s pretty much dropped his nap at home and he just wouldn’t do it. I was impressed by his stubbornness, but quite glad that Owen couldn’t see what was going on. Don’t give him any ideas.

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At bedtime Owen was so conflicted: he yearned for his normal routine but wanted so badly to do whatever Jonah was doing. The dads somehow got the kids to agree to a staggered bedtime (Jonah was beat early since he didn’t nap, and Owen wanted to have his wind-down tv time before bed), which ended up being the perfect way to eliminate the falling asleep shenanigans from the night before.

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The boys each woke up a few times throughout the night and called for us (there’s something so sweet and innocent about Owen still crying for me and not caring that his friend was right there — no shame at all), but we all survived.

It was a wonderful little adventure, but I can’t say I’m planning the next sleepover anytime soon.

She Says… Back

I took an unexpected blogging hiatus last week. Nothing major to report, I just got really, really busy and we went away Thursday to Sunday and I don’t like advertising when we’re away on social media (it gives me nightmares about break-ins, despite the fact that I know I’m not a big enough deal to have internet stalkers). In fact, I barely opened the computer all week. I think if my maternity leave lasted much longer I would eventually turn it off forever! Currently I sort of “go dark” on the weekends (aside from posting pictures once in a while and surfing my personal Facebook account) and, well, every day is kind of a weekend now.

Anyway. Back to last week. And the weekend. My little sister got married!We flew to Philly on Thursday morning and had a weekend jam packed with family events. That meant two things: 1. Emmett’s first flight (and our first time traveling as a family of 4) and 2. Some missed naps/thrown-off schedules. The former was surprisingly easy. The latter? The complete opposite.

We left for the airport in a flurry of bags and last-minute items thrown in our carry-ons. It was almost time for Emmett to eat, but I was stressed about getting to the airport on time and decided we should “just get there” and I would feed him there. Unfortunately for him, once we arrived, parked, waiting in line to check our bag and went through security it was nearly 4 hours since his last feeding time. Fortunately for me (and everyone around me), the kid barely seemed to notice. Little did I know this was the first of many starvation periods this weekend.

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Both boys were silent on the flight. Emmett had a nipple in his mouth when he was awake and then promptly fell asleep. Owen was quite content to watch tv the entire time (the main reason we ONLY fly JetBlue these days). I even closed my eyes for a bit while Emmett snoozed in my lap. Bliss.

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My advice for parents traveling with 2 kids? Throw your screen time rules out the window and get one of these Trunkis. We packed all of Owen’s gluten free snacks and some extra clothes in the hard case and Owen ADORED riding this little guy through the airport. Sometimes we pulled him, sometimes he pulled it (it has a leash so you can “walk it” like a dog), but all the time he was totally entertained. Genius invention.

Pictures and stories from the weekend to come!

She Says… A Weekend of Firsts

  • Emmett had his first babysitter
  • Benjamin and I had our first post-baby date
  • Owen had his first weekend away without us (sniff, sniff!)

On Friday morning we said goodbye to Owen when we dropped him off at school knowing we weren’t going to see him again until Monday. Owen was bubbling over with excitement, telling his classmates and teachers and anyone who would listen that GRAMMY was going to pick him up from school and they were going to have an adventure. It was like summer camp, only better. (And only for a weekend… which is the most time away this Mama could handle right now!).

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They had a BLAST. Grammy and Grampy hiked and played and rode every ride at Storyland about a million times. They fed him and bathed him and listened to his nonstop chatter. They endured countless rounds of Zingo. They saw his sweet little face every morning and tucked him into bed at night. Owen worked his grandson magic on them and got away with not eating very many veggies and going to bed a little late (that’s what grandparents are for, right?), but overall it sounds like he was pretty close to perfect.

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Apparently he didn’t miss us one bit (he was too busy having a great time!), but Benjamin and I missed him a lot. The house was eerily quiet and it felt particularly strange to go to bed at night with the door to his bedroom open. But don’t get me wrong… we weren’t sitting around moping. In fact, even though we still had Emmett at home it felt like we were on a little vacay ourselves. A staycation, if you will.

Parents with one child, please don’t take this the wrong way, but HOLY MOLY HAVING ONE CHILD IS SO EASY compared to having 2. Especially a quiet, non-mobile one who sleeps a lot.

Benjamin’s goal for the weekend: To not do any dishes.
My goal for the weekend: To not cook any meals.

On Friday night we had our regular babysitter come over to hang with Emmett for a few hours so Benjamin and I could have our first post-baby date night. We made reservations at one of our favorite restaurants. I got my hair cut that day and even buttoned some pre-pregnancy pants in honor of the occasion. That was enough excitement for me, but Benjamin made the night even better when he surprised me with a beautiful necklace at dinner! Surprise push presents are THE BEST. (Those who hate on “push presents” must have never been gifted surprise jewelry after the birth of their own children). I am a lucky lady.

Saturday morning we snuggled on the couch drinking our coffees (while they were still hot!) and watched an entire episode of “Orange is the New Black” uninterrupted. I can’t even tell you how long it’s been since we watched tv during the day. Oh wait. Yes I can. It was probably July 23, 2010, the day before Owen was born. After running some errands we decided to get lunch while we were out. On a whim. I also can’t tell you how long it’s been since we did something on a whim (and at “naptime”).

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Sunday Benjamin did his 2nd triathlon (so proud of him!) and Emmett and I spectated. After recovering at home for the afternoon (and cleaning out the basement… yes, we are crazy people who spend our staycation cleaning our house…) we went out for an early dinner. Emmett dutifully snoozed away in his carseat for the entire meal. Bliss.

It was a rejuvenating weekend to say the least. I adore my preschooler, but I relished the peace and quiet for a couple days. And I could not wait to see his cute little face when Grammy dropped him off today. Perhaps most importantly I realized just how mature and capable and flexible Owen is. Hearing him chat on the phone and tell us about his day and knowing that he’s fully capable of telling Grammy and Grampy what he wants/needs is kind of mind-blowing (as was only having to pack 3 pullups instead of tons of diapers and wipes and extra clothes).

Sniff, sniff… when did my little baby grow up and become a full-blown KID?

 

She Says… Sand and Sun

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A little sand and sun were just what the doctor ordered.

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Owen hadn’t been back in the water since last summer, and although I knew how much he loved swimming back then, I was expecting to have to do at least a little bit of reacclimating once he saw the pool/ocean.

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WRONG. He couldn’t have been more excited to get in the water. I think the kid is part fish. He jumped off the edge of the pool without a care in the world, and tried over and over again to convince us to let go of him because he can swim on his own. We dunked our heads underwater and splashed and kicked. Watch out, Michael Phelps… Owen just may be headed for an Olympic gold someday.

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I also thought the vastness of the ocean would deter him from being so fearless. Not so. The child barreled towards the ocean and didn’t want to stop, even when the water was well over his head.

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We fully enjoyed Florida’s steamy temps and even the unborn got in on the action.

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To my surprise, I didn’t swell up in the heat (like last time I was pregnant in the summer, UGH SO GROSS) and my burgeoning belly didn’t hinder any of our fun in the sun. Perhaps more importantly, as someone who can pretty much get a blistering sunburn from walking around the block, I’m impressed that I came home pretty much the same pale color that I was when I left.

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Owen loved doting on his playmate (our friends’ one year old daughter) and it made my heart swell to think about him playing with a sibling someday pretty soon.

Florida2013-5He even surprised me with how well he slept — it was our first trip using a big boy bed outside of our house. I was half-expecting midnight visits from him and was constantly worried that he was going to leave his room and open up the front door to the condo (which had a handle, not a knob, and was not able to be deadbolted), but he did great and stayed in his bed when he was supposed to. Aside from a few little attitude-y outbursts (hey, he is 3 after all), Owen was a joy.

And now, back to reality… a billion emails in my inbox and more work than I can possibly finish in a 3 day work week. Sigh.

She Says… The Last Vacay

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Well, the last vacay before the little guy arrives. Hopefully not our last one ever!

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We headed for the airport Friday morning to enjoy a long weekend with friends and their one year old in a condo in Florida. For the first time, I wasn’t even nervous about traveling with Owen.

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We planned our flights around naptimes so that we weren’t expecting him to nap on the plane (aka expecting the impossible), which proved to be an excellent strategy. He’s to the age now where he is easily entertained by TALKING no matter where he is, so even though he needs to run around, I knew we could keep him occupied in the “waiting” times pretty easily.

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He’s also old enough to walk everywhere and get himself in and out of seats and security lines, so there was very little need to carry him, which was an added bonus.

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The best part of all? We flew JetBlue, so he had unlimited access to a tv during the flight. I threw my normal screen-time limits out the window and everyone was happy :)

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Since then we’ve spent our days away from computers and phones and enjoying time in the pool and the ocean.

Man, vacay feels good. Pics to come.

She Says… Balls on the Floor

On Wednesday I read a blog post that literally took the words right out of my mouth. Kelle Hampton wrote about enjoying those crazy weeks/months/years when you can’t keep all of your balls in the air. (Yes. I fully realize how inappropriate that sounds.).

I’m in the midst of one of those weeks where there are too many balls in the air and not enough hands to juggle them. But you know what? We’re getting through. And, hopefully, enjoying it. And, if I do say so myself, the important ones are staying up.

Blogging? Not so much. Eh.

I’m in New York for work. While this means I’m away from my guys and behind on my emails and feeling a little overwhelmed by what I have to accomplish while I’m here, it also means I had a lovely (quiet!) train ride here where no one asked me to do anything for them, and I actually spent a few minutes just staring out the window. I’m eating really good food that I don’t have to cook. I slept 9 hours in my hotel room last night (and only woke ONCE to a phantom baby crying… usually that happens several more times). Everything is humming along smoothly at home without me.

Find the places to enjoy, friends. They are there. Even when things are crazy.

So… excuse the blogging hiatus. It is, unfortunately, one of the balls getting dropped this week. In the grand scheme of things, I think that means we’re still doing ok.

 

 

She Says… Wintry Weekend

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Benjamin had a job this past weekend in New Hampshire, not far from where his parents have a house in the white mountains (right near Mount Washington). We decided to make a little weekend getaway out of it.

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Timing a 4 hour drive with a toddler is always tricky, so we opted to pick Owen up early from school, right at naptime, and cross our fingers that if we tucked him into his carseat with his blanket and lovey, he would sleep for a while in the car (thus giving him a nap and us some quiet driving time!). For the first time, uhh, EVER, it worked beautifully. For those of you who have been reading since Owen was a baby, you know he has always HATED riding in the car, and usually our drives are accompanied by a lot of crying and a hefty dose of vomit due to carsickness. So the quiet not-quite-2-hour-nap we got in the car was downright heavenly.

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We arrived and set up Owen’s pack n’ play like normal and realized something. Ummm, the child is totally too big for it. I mean, he fits, and he doesn’t yet exceed the weight limit, so technically we were ok, but we realized quickly that this was going to be our last trip with him sleeping in it (he could DEFINITELY climb out, since he can scale just about any wall, but, thankfully, he has never tried). He was old enough to voice things like, “the bottom is not comfy” and “I don’t like the sound it makes when I move around”. I think we’re just about ready for a blow-up mat of some sort. After the first night of Owen being a little less than thrilled with his confined space, we considered offering him a camping mat (he sleeps on a mat at school, so I figured he’d probably do ok), but then I realized the room had heavy furniture that was not bolted to the wall and I wasn’t comfortable with Owen being able to open the door and go downstairs on his own. I don’t think he would, but he could, so we’re going to change things around next time we come. Anyway, we’re going to need that pack n’ play for the new little one come July!

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The weekend was filled with snowy adventures hiking and sledding and sitting by the fire and playing with Owen’s Grammy and Grampy. After Benjamin’s job was over, the two of us even had a chance to go cross-country skiing together AND out to dinner while the grandparents babysat. Fun for all! Owen was relatively well-behaved (aside from a few  new molar-induced attitude-y outbursts) and was really quite flexible with all of the changes.

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Also? He wore underwear THE WHOLE TIME (when awake), never had an accident, and even pooped in a new potty/place. Huge, huge, huge.

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I am shocked to report that the drive home was equally as uneventful as the drive there (no puking! very little crying!). As a result, Benjamin and I are all of a sudden super anxious to pack our calendar with trips back up there before the baby comes, in case this baby hates the carseat just as much as Owen used to.

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