5 Days Away

DSC_0536

IMG_2698

Andrew and I went away, by ourselves, for five whole days.

In January, we found out that Andrew won a trip to Cancun for him and a guest through his work. It could not have come at a better time for us. I felt like I hadn’t slept in a year, and the minute I heard the word “vacation” I imagined a full 4 nights of glorious, uninterrupted sleep, that did not include a three-year old plastered to my back (sorry girl.)

For the kids, however, it probably could not have come at a worse time.

James was still nursing and still not sleeping through the night, and I had never been away from either of them for more than 1 night.

Our parents volunteered to stay at our house while we were gone and the kids were thrilled about this, which made it a little easier to leave.

I pumped breast milk to leave for James and started introducing cow’s milk in the hopes that he wouldn’t mind not nursing while we were gone. He didn’t (at least that’s what they tell me) and I have now returned to a child who is 100% weaned. So that’s my advice for weaning your child; go away on vacation for a week and leave some other poor soul to handle it. Because that is basically what I did.

As stressed as I was about leaving them, when we arrived at the white, sandy beaches of Cancun and I got a mojito in my hand, I forgot I had kids.

Just kidding family!

This was unlike any other vacation I have ever taken. Not just because of where we stayed  (Le  Blanc Spa Resort in Cancun, which was amazing), but because I appreciated literally every single second of it. When we sat on the tarmac for 3 hours (!!) on our way there, I was pretty much ok. I mean, reading my book in peace for three whole hours? That right there is kind of a vacation.

We did everything you can’t do with kids. We sat (like literally sat and did not get up) on the beach all day, slept late, worked out, lounged (once again, without getting up) by the pool, stayed up late, danced, sang karaoke, went on a catamaran, did I mentioned slept?

For me, five days was the perfect amount of time to be away. By the end of the trip I felt like I was aching for that little three-year old to be in bed with me again.

I know not everyone can do this (we normally can’t either) but looking back, it was something we needed. Yes, it seemed like a huge pain to get ready for this, yes, I always feel a little guilty leaving the kids and yes, there were many times during this trip when I thought, “I wish they were here to see this.” But, Andrew and I reconnected in a way that we hadn’t since before we had kids. I hate myself for that cliché sentence right there, I really do, but it’s true. Being able to just hang out together, alone, uninterrupted for an extended period of time is a rarity now a days, and we know this, so everything seemed extra special.

I will say though, that coming home to our babies was one of my favorite parts of this vacation.

DSC_0541

CSC_0563

IMG_2720

2015-02-27 15.39.572015-02-27 11.46.32

Where We’ve Been

Here I am.

Summer has happily gotten in the way and I haven’t been able to write as much as I would like. Here is what we’ve been up to the past couple of months

Lots of pool time in the yard because it has been HOT

032

034

Quick, post-work trips to the lake

063

Our cousin turned 2 and we partied!

071

076

077

Tried on dresses for my Auntie Kris’s wedding

1013050_4822008308199_338382512_n

297528_4822007628182_628190600_n

We went to the lake for a week. I swam, saw the sights, went to my first amusement park,  and ate my first ice cream cone, which was a mix of emotions.

177

185

193

124

102

130

1006275_753562752453_1088176463_n

109

116

152

154

144

166

113

163

158

131

191

156

173

Now it’s August and we are savoring our evenings outside because we know we won’t have them for much longer. Bedtimes have been pushed back and baths are sometimes skipped. And we are loving it.

Mom Guilt is a B

134_phixr

037_phixr

Another thing that motherhood has taught me: Catholic guilt has nothing on mom guilt.

I know I have said it before, but I feel guilty whenever I even think about leaving Reese for extended periods of time (other than to go to work or when I know she’s in bed for the night.) The fact that I only get to see her for one or two hours Monday-Thursday makes it very hard to justify ever leaving her on the weekends.

So a few weekends ago, when one of Andrew’s closest friends from high school got  married out of town, I tried to plan a way where we could both attend all the wedding events without leaving Reese for the whole weekend.

Lucky for us, my best friend Sarah and her husband Ryan live in the same town where the wedding was taking place, and agreed to watch Reese on Friday and Saturday nights while we were at the rehearsal dinner and the wedding.

I have yet to leave Reese overnight anywhere and I really didn’t want to if I didn’t have to. So despite the fact that we had two nights booked in a hotel, I was still planning on spending both nights with Reese, either at Sarah’s house or picking her up and bringing her back to the hotel with me. The wedding was taking place in the hotel, so logistically, my plan was not ideal and some (Andrew) may even say it was stupid.

Friday night we went to Sarah’s after the rehearsal dinner and all spent the night there. On Saturday, determined not to lose all the money we put down on the hotel, I picked Reese up after leaving the reception and brought her back to the hotel.

It was an evening wedding so even though I left the reception halfway through to pick Reese up, it was still pretty late by the time we both got back to the hotel. I got lots of judgments/looks as I walked through the hotel lobby at 1 AM carrying my groggy 15 month old. The valet, assuming I was the only one in the car, actually almost drove away with her in the back before I could get her out of her seat. I guess he didn’t know our baby hangs late night.

After two days of being out past 11 pm (!!) and up before 6 am, Sunday morning hit us like a punch to the mouth. Pre-Reese, wedding weekends involved late nights and late mornings. We would roll out of bed on Sunday morning and hopefully have time to take a shower before heading to the post wedding brunch. This weekend, 6 am found the three of us sitting in bed, Elmo playing on repeat and Andrew and I literally counting the minutes until the brunch began.

Four hours later, we were the first ones in line at the buffet.

The time it took for us to recover from the weekend was enough for me to rethink my reluctance to leave Reese for an overnight, and to consider letting go a little.

We have family members who have been clamoring for a sleep over with Reese for some time now, and I think I’m ready to take them up on that offer. I know we’ll miss our girl and I’ll still have a few guilt-ridden moments, but when I am gloriously sleeping in until whenever I feel like it, eating entire meals sitting on a chair at a table, and not finding applesauce in my hair at the end of the day, I will know that I made the right decision.

Girls’ Week

Our main man was away in California on business last week, so Reese, Miles and I were left to hold down the fort.

It was only the second time Andrew has traveled for more than one night since Reese was born and despite the fact that she is now running around, it seemed to be a little bit easier this time around than it was five months ago.

Four whole nights to myself (once Reese was in bed) meant lots of “me time.” I used this time wisely, laying on the couch watching trashy reality tv that Andrew does not tolerate. I caught up on Real Housewives, Teen Mom and the Bachelor and was even introduced to the embarrassingly addicting world of “Married to a Jonas” (I love you Danielle; don’t listen to the haters.) It also meant doing all the chores I normally do PLUS the boy chores (shoveling snow, taking out the trash, etc.) It was only 4 days but it reinforced my belief that single moms are not to be messed with. Working all day and then coming home to take care of a one year-old solo is no joke.

Without Andrew, even our nightly ritual of walking the dog turned into a major production, and it ended up taking me almost a half an hour to get the three of us out of the house. Getting Reese bundled up, Miles leashed and back-packed (more on this later; but yes, our dog wears a backpack), the stroller out the door and down the steps, and locking up, all while holding a 24 lb toddler and trying to avoid tripping over a 50 lb dog was comedic. The fact that we live on a very busy street (right at an intersection to be exact) means that there is always a live audience of people in their cars watching/judging as I awkwardly toss the stroller down the stairs and try to keep Miles from running out the gate while I strap Reese in. Never far from my mind is the fact that I know if I was in those cars, I would be laughing at me.

Come Thursday evening, the three of us were looking forward to having Dada back.

When we heard Andrew’s car pulling in the driveway, I brought Reese into the kitchen and she stood against the door peering out the window; hair still wet from her bath and her feet covered in fleece pajamas. She bounced up and down when she heard his feet on the deck stairs and when he appeared in the doorway she began her dance of joy (this consists of rapid arm flapping, heavy breathing, more bouncing up and down, and sometimes, ironically enough, ends with a slap to the face.)

Despite the potential slap, it really is the best kind of greeting after days away.

Travels with Baby Part 2

Well we made it to the Vineyard and back with no major catastrophes (not counting a VERY tired baby who refused to nap) and only minor back aches from the loads of crap we had to cart to and from the ferry.

We like to think we vacationed as the locals (or “islanders” as they are called in MV) would; lazy, rainy mornings in the living room, drinking coffee and eating dough boys, meandering walks through the cottages and shops in Oak Bluffs, pizza and cold coffees at the artisan fair in West Tisbury, and long, hot days at Long Point beach followed by cold beers, shish kabobs and s’mores in the backyard.  My cousin’s two little ones, Cole (6 years old) and Gus (almost 3) absolutely adored Reese and it was so sweet to see them cuddle and kiss her all day long. Seeing them together brought on a full-fledged case of baby fever and I’m so looking forward to the day when Andrew and I will sit on lawn chairs in our backyard on a hot August day, watching Reese and her siblings snoozing on a quilt, exhausted after a long day at the beach.

We were so sad when Sunday evening rolled around and we had to head back to life on the mainland. I was hoping Reese would catch a nap on the ferry ride home ( she had been on a nap strike the entire weekend) but no such luck.  I consider myself pretty laid back when it comes to Reese’s schedule,  but it made me a little anxious that she wasn’t sleeping at all during the days. I think there was just too much going on and she didn’t want to miss anything. I don’t blame her, we’re pretty fun people. Ever the happy baby, she never got cranky so I guess I shouldn’t have worried.

That is, until we got home Sunday night. That was a battle. She fought us until about 10:30 PM when Andrew finally cranked up the air conditioning, spread a blanket on the living room floor and laid next to her until they both fell asleep, exhausted from their weekend on the island.

Travels with Baby

This weekend our travels will take us to the lovely Martha’s Vineyard, or “The Vinyid” as peeps around here call it. My cousin Erin, her husband Jeff, and their two boys, Cole and Gus are MV locals and have been nice enough to let us stay with them for the weekend.

Despite having lived in Massachusetts my entire life, I have never really been to the Vineyard, so I’m looking forward to feeling fancy and popping my collar while  strolling around Vineyard Haven in my pink whale shorts.

While making our packing list this morning I realized something. When I made our travel arrangements I seemed to forget one thing. We have a baby now. We don’t travel like we used to. 

When I logged on to the steamship authority webpage to make our ferry reservations I realized that if you want to take your car over to the island, you have to book WAY in advance. Like, more than 4 days in advance. I was a little annoyed that we couldn’t take our car but I didn’t think it was a huge deal because Erin had offered to pick us up from the port in MV and to drive us around for the weekend.

In some ways, traveling with an 8 month old is a lot easier than traveling with a newborn (See our story here, about the first time we ever left the house with Reese), but she still requires a TON of stuff (diapers, wipes, food, spoons,cups, etc.) , and not having a car to hold it all is going to be interesting and probably hilarious. Poor Andrew.

We even have to bring our entire car seat with us on the ferry. How do people with kids who live in the cities and take cabs do it?? I always wondered about this. Do some cabs have car seats already in them? I cringe at this thought. I am not a total germaphobe, but putting Reese in a public car seat in a cab sounds like the equivalent of  letting her suck on the handrails on the Orange Line.

So off we go. Fingers crossed that we make it to the island without forgetting anything major, like our baby. I’m sure we’ll have some stories when we get back.