Tag Archives: vacation

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… Cat Say Meow?

In addition to his adorable cousins, Owen found a new love last week at my sister’s house.

THE CAT.

Her name is Coco and she is used to getting poked and prodded and dressed up and kissed on the mouth, thanks to my sister’s two little girls. Thankfully.

Owen could not get enough of her. He would wake up in the morning and ask, “Where my cousins? WHERE IS COCO?!?!”. And shout things like, “Coco, whatchoo doin’?” whenever she dared to step foot in the same room as him.

She could entertain him for hours. He begged her to “say meow” and wanted to kiss her constantly.

Proof:

She Says… Cousin Craziness

We’re home. The laundry is done. The ‘fridge is filled. I’m wrangling my overflowing inbox and Benjamin is catching up on projects that fell by the wayside while we were away. We’re on the downswing from last week’s vacation, but it was all SO worth it.

As I mentioned, we opted to take the train instead of flying. Survey says? This was an awesome plan.

First of all, Owen is currently obsessed with trains, so he was thrilled just to be there and watch the trains and saying hi to the conductor nearly caused his jaw to hit the floor. It was so sweet. Granted, that sweet amazement wore off after the first hour and we still had 5 more to go… so it was still a long trip. BUT, not having to strap him into a seat with a seatbelt was amazing and being able to move around was key to his happiness for the whole trip. If nothing else, I find the train incredibly stress-free. As soon as you get on, you are MOVING. TOWARDS YOUR DESTINATION. Unlike a plane ride, where you are stuck waiting a lot of the time. My two year old doesn’t do well with waiting. And, let’s be honest, neither do I when he is around.

Second of all? Despite the fact that I brought a ton of toys and activities to entertain him along the way, Owen only wanted one thing: my iPhone. While originally I told myself I would limit his screen time like a normal day, I quickly threw that stupid rule out the window and handed it over. To anyone looking to occupy a toddler with a phone, get any and all apps made by Duck Duck Moose. They are magical.

Once I got over my screen aversion, it was pretty much smooth sailing. Oh, and the constant supply of snacks didn’t hurt either. When in doubt… feed him. And, FORTUNATELY, Owen’s car sickness was nowhere in sight (we made sure to pick seats that faced forwards for him, in case that was the problem).

To all of those parents who I judged for putting their kids in front of a screen when traveling, I am sorry. I was wrong. You were right.

Once we arrived Owen was bombarded by grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. Oh, the cousins. The way they played together melted my heart. They made me want to have a million children so I could witness the interactions forever. Bestill my ovaries. (Maybe those Duggars are on to something…).

The “it takes a village” philosophy is never truer to me than when I hang out with my siblings. Your kid is my kid is whoever’s kid. We all know what the others are and aren’t allowed to eat and drink, who’s allergic to what, and what they call their loveys. Though we don’t spend that much time together throughout the year, the closeness never seems to fade.

Owen is so lucky.

The week was filled with playing outside…

(Doesn’t that little toddler hug make you swoon?)

And playing in the pool…

And playing with stickers…

And more princesses and pink than Owen had ever experienced before.

My 5 year old niece asked him several times, “Who is your favorite princess?”. I’m not sure he knew what to make of that question. Believe me, we do lots of playing outside of traditional gender roles (playing makeup and dress-up), but I can’t say he has been too interested in princesses quite yet. Ha! I, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed the pretty pretty princess games that, as a boy mom and only a boy mom so far, I don’t usually get to take part in. I LOVE being an aunt to girls.

I almost completely “unplugged” for the week as well, except for that one blog post and a few tweets to share some great pictures. Can’t even tell you how recharged I feel, despite the early morning wakeups to Owen wailing, “WHERE MY COUSINS?!” from his pack n’ play (which was set up in the playroom… can you blame him for wanting to get up early and play?).

Now, back to life, back to reality.

She Says… Vacation Staycation

Vacation cures what ails you, my friends.

Even if that vacation is staying in your sister’s basement, with five kids under five, two sisters, one brother, parents and one brother-in-law and one sister-in-law (though we don’t think of them like inlaws… we think of them as just part of our one, big, crazy family).

It’s nutty. But it has been filled with cousins clinking sippy cups and holding hands and giving endless “huggies”, holding sweet babies and laughing with siblings who fall immediately back into roles of “big sister”, “little sister” and everything in between. We don’t change out of our pajamas until naptime and we barely need to shower since we spend at least a few hours a day in the pool. Every night we test the maximum number of people who can fit at the very extended dining room table and we commence a loud and wild dinner table of toddler-wrangling and food passing and a whole lot of memories being made.

In short, it warms my heart. THIS is what “home” feels like to me.

Of course the flip side is that I see what I’m missing all of the time living several hours away. But still, I am so happy for this time we get to spend together. Instead of spending money on vacationing away together, we decided to meet at my sister’s house for the week and play “pass the baby” with my 3 week old nephew (the only other boy cousin other than Owen). What resulted was a relaxing week of uninterrupted family time.

We’re having so much fun we just extended the trip, despite the fact that the cost of the change was almost the cost of the entire trip in the first place. It’s that good.

Full recap to come next week with photos and a review of how our 6 hour train ride went and everything else. But for now, I’m giving myself over completely to no computer time and will instead spend my time staring into the beautiful faces of my nieces and nephew.

See you next week!

She Says… Spontaneous Vacationing

Last week I was joking about what constitutes a vacation these days (a quiet few hours riding the train to New York for work). But it sort of made me realize how we never really go on vacation. Our honeymoon and one trip to Vegas are the only trips I can think of that were not work-related or to visit family over the last few years. Lame.

So you know what we did this past weekend? Decided to take a REAL vacation. Spontaneously.

Don’t be too impressed. It’s not like we jetted off to a tropical island on a whim. But when our friends invited us to join them and some friends at their beach house on Cape Cod last Thursday, we stifled the urge to say “Oh, it’s too short notice… what will we do with the dog… we’ve both been traveling and we really need a weekend at home…”, and just said, “YES!”.

Yes, it was short notice. And yes, we had to figure out who would watch Schnitzel while we were gone. And yes, Benjamin has been traveling so nonstop recently that I really thought all we needed was a weekend, at home, with just the three of us. But you know what? Getting out of the house was far better. We couldn’t weed the garden or go to Target. We couldn’t do laundry. We couldn’t get stuck in our usual weekend routines.

Instead, we packed up the car when I get back from New York. We threw clothes in bags and made a quick list of things like the pack n’ play and booster seat and grabbed a bunch of extra diapers.

It really wasn’t that hard. I’m not sure why we don’t do this every weekend!

Owen was entertained for the entire weekend and acted like a little angel. He took the new sleeping arrangements and nap time car rides and new foods in stride.

He made LOTS of new friends (one other toddler, who was already a friend of his, and 10+ adults staying in one house = lots and lots of people to chat with, climb all over, play with and perform for!).

He explored a new house, playground and the beach.

Benjamin and I were able to completely unplug and relax in a way we could NOT have done at home. There was even one naptime when Benjamin was asleep on the couch, everyone else was out to lunch, and I literally had NOTHING to do. It was… unprecedented. I hadn’t even packed a book, because when was the last time I had a chance to sit and just read? So I plopped my butt in a sunny spot, turned my face toward the sun and closed my eyes. Now THAT is vacation.