Monday, November 30, 2009

Giving Thanks

This is the third year in a row my family has come down to celebrate Thanksgiving with us here in Virginia. We've thoroughly enjoyed our little tradition, so it was a little bittersweet this year knowing it would be the last time we could do our annual post-dinner beach walk, visit the Christmas light displays at the Boardwalk and Botanical Gardens and, new this year, take a trip to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's rewind to the beginning ...

Poppa, Marmie, Uncle Micah and Uncle Jared arrived around 1am and let themselves into the house. Jack and I were up bright and early to greet them and then we all hung out, whiling away the hours until lunch time and the grand cutting of the gender cake!! It was very fun to celebrate the knowledge of baby boy #2 with the family. And although all the anticipation made things extra exciting, if I ever do it again I think I'll try to have less of a wait time between the ultrasound and the actual reveal. My poor little mind was tormented nearly every night of the wait with dreams about the cake. The last night I dreamt that someone had smashed in an entire corner of it revealing baby's gender, with murderish undertones I glanced down at my own hands and realized that, much to my horror, they were covered in blue icing. I woke up very angry with myself for ruining the surprise, and then realized it wasn't real a few minutes later when I saw the cake sitting safe and whole on the table.

So we're all very happy to know that Jack will have, what we think to be, a little brother. We all got a good look at the ultrasound picture. Without going into too much detail, #2's "boyishness" isn't as obvious as Jack's but a second ultrasound will help confirm that. I think we'll hold off on the big name announcement until then. In other words, it's going to take these next few weeks for Jon and I to agree on a middle name...

I think Jack thoroughly enjoyed his time with his extended family. Poppa was always the first up and ready to feed him breakfast or take him on a walk, Marmie lap was always free for snuggles or a story and she's excellent at changing even the dirtiest of diapers, and the Uncles were always up for a game of topple the tower or ready to hold Jack when he was done with sitting in his stroller. He was full of smiles and laughs the entire holiday. And apparently he's added a new word to his vocabulary - "...k" - which, when accompanied by a point, means "look," at least this is what Poppa says, I haven't witnessed it for myself yet.

The nice thing about having so many people around is that I don't have to carry the full responsibility of Jack. Someone was always busy entertaining him so that I could eat breakfast or take a shower, or they were willing to hang back at the house while Jack napped so I could get some Christmas shopping done. It was nice for both of us to get a bit of a break from each other, but I know he's glad to have me back because, in addition to being very snuggly since yesterday, he's also started patting my back whenever I hold him. It's too cute. It's true, boys really do love their mamas!

I suppose this would be a good time to publicly congratulate my father on changing his first poopy diaper! It was completely unintentional. I had just changed poop #2 of the day, which is generally Jack's limit, and had put him down for a nap. My mom and I ran out to do some shopping while Poppa stayed back to watch football. Apparently Jack surprised us all with a third dirty diaper after he got up from his nap. If you know my Dad, he does not handle smelly situations too well, and Uncle Micah is just like him. So I was very impressed that he changed the offending diaper right away instead of pretending that he didn't notice it until we got back. He's a good Poppa!!

Jack loved seeing all the Christmas lights on the Boardwalk and at the Botanical Gardens, but my favorite event of the week was our trip to Busch Gardens. If you're in the area I highly recommend checking out Christmas Town. The entire park is decorated with Christmas lights, Christmas music is playing on speakers throughout each "country" and in that country's native language. There's "snow" falling, a huge Christmas tree with a light show, lots of live music and dancing, and great food. Also some of the rides are still open, including the Griffon, which the guys got to ride without having to wait in line. I would have loved to go too but I don't think #2 would have appreciated the heart palpitations. The only part of Christmas Town that I wasn't impressed with was the Penguin Display. We waited over an hour for a magical experience in a maze of snow and ice, culminating with displays of real live penguins. In other words, we waited over an hour to walk through a white styrofoam igloo with posters of needless penguin facts, only to be greeted by two very small, very still, sleeping penguins. I was just a little annoyed that we didn't get to accomplish everything we wanted to since we wasted so much time on that. Interestingly enough, the penguin exhibit is no longer mentioned on Christmas Town's website, so apparently the feeling was mutual all the way around.

Jack did so well this Thanksgiving. I kept having flashbacks of last year and my screaming, sleep-deprived, 7 week old refusing to nurse. Despite the occasional missed nap, shorter nights of sleep in Mommy and Daddy's room, and extra traveling he remained his happy, silly self. He's also used the past two days to make up for all that lost sleep, which I've really appreciated.

And so that wraps up our last Thanksgiving here in Virginia. We have so many, many things to be thankful for. Not the least of which are our wonderful families, who have been such a blessing and support to both of us during our marriage. Both Jon and I are honored to be part of a new generation in our great lineage. We have some incredible examples to watch and standards to live up to. And we're incredibly thankful that God has blessed with our own little family to carry on special traditions with - one adorable little boy with a newfound fascination for Christmas lights, and a second little boy that loves to kick his mom in the bladder and who will be joining us at the Thanksgiving table next year.

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