Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This kid

This kid is all too eager to relinquish his title as "World's Best Baby" lately. This kid is exhausting his poor mama by waking up at 5am every morning. This kid then started waking up between 2-3am, and has since added an 11pm wake-up. This kid is up more in the night now than he was 3 months ago. This kid actually compelled his daddy to get up with him in the night for the first time in his short little life!

This kid has suddenly lost interest in nursing ... unless it's 3 in the morning. This kid would rather stare at the ceiling fan, watch his big brother, or play with Mommy's hair, than eat. This kid needs to know his Mom is not a TV dinner. And yet somehow, this kid has managed to gain a whole pound in two weeks.

This kid is still only taking 45 minute naps. This kid has a frantic mommy who's entire day is constructed into 45-minute blocks of time. This kid occasionally will play the 2-hour nap card, but only when Mommy is least expecting it. This kid and his new 4-month habits are kicking his Mama's rear this week.

And yet this kid is only getting more adorable. This kid was stopping lady-traffic in church on Sunday with his "big blue eyes" and "adorable shoes." This kid loves to hold a blankie, especially when it's covered with this kid's spit-up. This kid's latest activity is swinging outside clutching his sour-milk scented flannel, and he thinks it's the most relaxing thing in the world.

This kid can make his parents forget about 45 minute naps with just a toothless smile. This kids chunky thighs and round arms make fighting for his attention during nursing sessions his mom's new favorite pastime. This kid's adoring looks makes his big brother feel like a movie star. This kid's infectious laughter is worth every 3am wake-up for the rest of his life. And this kid has my heart completely.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Jackspeak, Part II

Finally, I was able to capture those adorable utterances on video!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Jack's vocabulary has multiplied this summer.  I just love his little voice and its highly entertaining to hear him spout off new words.  I started a list the other day of all the words he knows, since the doctor had suggested a certain amount by the time he turns two, and I eventually lost count.  So I think we're doing good on the whole language thing, even if it seems like all the little girls his age are having full conversations at this point. :)  Some of my favorites are:

truck - CHr-uck (major emphasis on the CH!)
car - cawr (NJ style)
shhh - sssss (make "O" with lips, curve finger and put against teeth)  This is usually when Jude is sleeping, but he does it so loudly it doesn't make much of a difference.
cow - mooo
baby - bee-bee
Jude - Jewww (the 'e' is in a high pitch)
poppa - bobba
hot - hoTTT (really pronounce that "T"!!)
cool - kewwwl (Jon thinks he says it just like me)
yes - yah or ee-yah (he just learned this one and says it all.the.time.  Oddly enough, he hasn't said "no" yet.)
fish - she? (as in fishy, but he always says it like he's asking a question)
cheese - chee
swing - swee
apple - ahh
train - tew-tew-woowoo
squirrel - girl
football - foof-baw (with plenty of spit from each "f")

I won't include the words he actually says "correctly" because they're not any fun. Mostly he just sticks to one word sentences, but I'm almost positive I heard him say "Where go?" this morning when we were looking for his shoes.  He gets very dramatic when something disappears - palms turn up, shoulders squeeze together, bottom lip goes down as eyes go up and then a double shrug of the shoulders.  It's adorable, gets me every time.  I also love his non-recognizable English babbling.  He just goes off chattering, bobbing his head, raising his eyebrows, waving his hands.  And I just pretend like I know exactly what he's talking about.  I've tried numerous times to get this on video but for some reason both my boys won't act for the camera.  Life is always at its best where there's no camera around to catch it!

Speaking of Jack (and his speaking) my almost-2-year-old is really growing up.  I don't get as sad about it anymore because it seems that things are starting to get slightly easier.  Besides, I have another baby on his heels that keeps my baby-love tank continuously full.  So I am fully enjoying this little guy who is trying so hard to be big.

He's a huge "helper."  I take advantage of this whenever possible.  I can't remember the last time I actually had to walk to the trash can to throw something away myself.  I simply hand it to Jack, say "trash" and he immediately disposes of the object.  He's quite handy.  Of course, he still likes to help sweep the floors, often cleaning up the very same mess he just made moments ago.  And he really likes to help water, er drown, the plants. I'm slowly learning that he needs to be kept busy.  Constantly.  When I'm out in the garden and I turn my back for a second, he's stepping on plants and picking green tomatoes.  But if pull weeds in between handing off rotten tomatoes one at a time to Jack and saying "trash", well I can almost get the job done.

But we're getting better.  Mommy's adjusting to life with an active, willful little boy and Jack's learning the proper way to exercise his opinion.  Sometimes I think toddlerhood took me by surprise.  But then again, so did babyhood, and motherhood as a whole.  I may have two kids, but with Jack I'll always be a first-time mom.  And sometimes the learning curve seems so steep.  Then I remember that this is how it's always been.  Two steps forward, one step back.  Progress is a spiral.  Some days I think we've finally made it, finally figured this whole thing out.  And then the next day starts off and I realize we're right back in familiar territory.  And yet somehow it's still progress.  As someone who thinks I could easily be a perpetual student, I think I've found my niche.  Mommyhood.  Where you never stop learning.

Monday, August 23, 2010

With apologies to August

Perhaps I was a bit too brash in my last post.  August isn't entirely bad, and I've considered redeeming it by trying to have a baby some August a few years from now.  It's not the Fall, but it's pretty close.  And it might be a nice way to kill time during those hot last weeks of summer ... I digress.

Anyway, after I blogged my August angst I later realized that the month does hold one special day near and dear to my heart ... our ENGAGEMEVERSARY!  If you remember from last year, we try to make it a point to celebrate the day, or at least the week, that we got engaged. 

August 17, 2005
Our special day came just at the right time this year.  We needed a date.  Marmie and Poppa came for the weekend for one last summer fling before Marmie starts teaching again.  And they were both more than happy to watch the boys for the evening.  Our original plan was to hit up Old Towne Alexandria, a place I've been longing to visit since long before we lived nearby.  But a sketchy weather forcast and utter exhaustion from the previous day's activities kept us closer to home.  Instead we opted for dinner and a movie a few minutes away.  We were kinda excited about going to the movie theater since it doesn't happen very often these days.  We decided to really do the whole experience and spent a small fortune on soda and popcorn.  We've been wanting to see "Salt" and weren't disappointed.  But I think we'll stick to movies at home from now on.  The snacks are free, I don't end up missing 5 minutes when I need a bathroom break after drinking a larger than life Coke, and Jon is able to pause the movie as needed and offer his commentary.  If you've ever watched a movie having to do with history/politics/military/intelligence/Islam/terrorism/national security, etc. with Jon, you know what I mean.  Sometimes the excessive pausing to offer explanations is annoying, but usually it helps keep me interested in "his type" of movie.  Then again, I once tried to watch "Pride and Prejudice" with him (the newer, shorter version).  He stopped the movie to ask questions so many times I've decided I'd rather watch "my type" of movies by myself.

Other than celebrating our engagemeversary, we had a wonderful time with Marmie and "Bobba" as Jack has started to say.  We prepped him for their arrival 20 minutes before their ETA ... and then spent an hour trying to keep him occupied after M & B got stuck in traffic.  Jack was really excited to see them!

Marmie and Poppa like taking Jack to the pool.  We tried to go without them once earlier this summer, but it ended up being kinda lame with just us, so it was nice to have an excuse to enjoy our pool again!

On Saturday we headed off toward a cute little beach town on the bay.  We walked the boardwalk, explored an antique shop, and ate ice cream that melted faster than we could eat it.  We also combed over a nearby marina seeking out names for our someday boat.

From there we drove to Annapolis.  I was super excited about this trip since I've heard so many things about this adorable town.  It totally satisfied all my quaint charm cravings.  We didn't get a chance to give Jack a tour of the Academy there, so we'll definitely have to make a trip back again! 

Needless to say, visiting the "Sailing Capital" has solidified my part in Jon's dream to own a sailboat.  Can't you just picture our little family all dressed in white shirts, khaki shorts and deck shoes?

It was a hot, long day, made even longer by the construction traffic on the way home.  Which is why we were a tad exhausted the next day and decide to settle for only one tour of charming streets over the weekend.  We don't want to waste all the adventures at one time, so Alexandria will be something else to look forward to.

So we said goodbye to Marmie and Poppa yet again.  We're not sure when we'll get back to PA to visit them since this Fall is already booking up with weddings, reunions and other visitors.  Jack was a little sad to say farewell, but little does he know what excitement awaits him when his four cousins arrive in a few days!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer rebels

August is such a trial.  In fact, now that I think about it, it may be one of my least favorite months, topped only by the long, dark, cold months of winter.  Vacation ends, school starts, fall is just around the corner and ... it's still unbearably HOT.  August reminds me of field hockey pre-season and just thinking about those days makes my muscles ache.

Can you tell this was pre-haircut?
So here we are, more than ready to visit a pumpkin patch, light some spicy candles and enjoy more dinners on our back patio. But Mother Nature refuses to cooperate.  And it reminds me of the last few weeks of Jon's patrols during his deployment days.  When I'd just do what was necessary to get through the day, anything to tick off another date on the calendar, whatever it took to get one step closer to meeting him on the dock after 3 long months apart.  So that's what we're doing now.  Trudging along, going through the motions, using whatever energy the hot season has left us with to pull off a few more summer flings.  While secretly pulling cute, little jeans and hoodies out of the back of the closet where they too have been waiting for the slightest drop in temperature. 

Have I mentioned what a tease the neighborhood trees have been?  A few of them just gave up in early July when the rain clouds stopped coming around.  And so piles of brown leaves littered the streets, an absurd picture in the middle of the year, and a grim reminder that this coming autumn may not be just what I had anticipated.

And my poor garden that I've only had a chance to tend to once this summer.  The summer storms have finally arrived and our yard is green again.  But somehow the "weed garden" task has fallen way low on my to-do list, somewhere between "burn old home videos to DVD" and "order a wedding photo album."  Yeah, you can guess how long that's been on my list.  The garden manages to thrive despite my lack of attention.  Maybe we'll just saying we're growing wild tomatoes. 

I can hardly keep up with the harvest, but I haven't quite figured it out yet.  If I wait too long they end up splitting and rotting, and then there's these yellow ones that I'm guessing, after a few weeks of watching, are never going to turn red.  And another plant that I've finally figured out doesn't produce round tomatoes.  And unfortunately, I have no idea what to do with yellow or gourd-shaped tomatos.  The peppers aren't quite ready yet.  And the squash plant has taken over the entire right side of the garden.  That nasty squash has completely chased two tomato plants right out into the yard.  I think I know how it gets its name now.

But we're enjoying other non-garden produce.  Nothing says summer like fresh corn on the cob.  And I figured it was high time Jack had his first shucking lesson. 

He's a quick learner.  Of course, anything that involves ripping and tearing comes quite naturally to him.  And eating of course. 

I tried to explain that we don't eat corn until it's been cooked but he didn't seem to care, and then ran off with one of the cobs.  Up until now we'd been cutting the corn off for him. Apparently that was a bit superfulous.  Completely chewed his way around the whole thing, he did.  I was a little grossed out but I think I read somewhere that cooking corn isn't neccessary.  Probably from the same source where I've heard that corn has no nutritional value.  I think I was bummed for the entire day after hearing that.  Anyway, I let him go because obviously the poor kid was hungry and at least he was reaching for something of the vegetable variety.  A few minutes later while I was gathering the ears to bring in the house I noticed another one was missing.  You guessed it.  Tank plowed through two ears of corn, RAW, before I had a chance to finish shucking the rest.  You can only imagine his diaper the following day ...

But that was last week.  Today I lit an "Autumn Spice" candle and made chicken stock.  Today we went outside in the morning and pretended like that's what it feels like all day.  I might even crank up the AC and put on some jeans. 

Today we're rebelling against summer, defying the 9 and 4 glaring at me on the digital thermometer even though I know I'll despise my August bashing self a few months from now when it's cold and dark and we're stuck in side.  So just today. 

Tomorrow we'll think of new ways to celebrate the last days of sunshine and our slew of guests that are coming over the new few weekends.  Tomorrow I'll put the spicy candle back in the cupboard where it's been hiding.  And maybe I'll just go ahead and freeze that chicken stock for a more soup-worthy day.  Until tomorrow then!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Operation: Explore Maryland

This was our first weekend home in Maryland, by ourselves, with nothing planned.  I figured we would just use it to catch up on laundry, housecleaning, yard work, etc.  But Jon had other plans.  We awoke on Saturday morning and he announced we were going to have a "Family Fun Day."  The phrase stuck. We used it all day long.  When Jack was yelling and running around the house and refused to get his shoes, "Hey, it's Family Fun Day, now sit down so we can get in the car!"  When Jude was crying and then spit-up all over his nice clean clothes, "Oh well, it's Family Fun Day!"  When Jon didn't want me to give Jack a sip of my mocha coolatta with insane amounts of sugar, "Why not?  It's Family Fun Day!" and so on.  We didn't have a plan, according to Jon we were going to pull this off the way my parents typically do - spontaneously.  I also reminded Jon that my parents don't have two kids under two either.

But somehow it worked and ended up being fun.  We needed a day with just our little foursome, we needed to try something new, and we definitely needed to explore our new home.  So we pulled out a list of State Parks, circled a few that looked interesting and took off down the road. 

If there's one thing I'm learning as a moves-around-a-lot military spouse, it's that you can always find something to love about your location, sometimes you just have to look for it.  We love our house, and our quiet, cozy neighborhood.  But I'm having a hard time loving our city.  In my opinion, it's crowded, too new and lacking charm.  But I'm slowly learning that the best secrets are usually just outside the city.  And the best way to find them is to just get lost, but bring a map along just in case.  We weren't far outside the hustle and bustle before we were cruising by rolling green fields, beautiful farms, a half dozen fresh produce stands, a huge Amish farmer's market with lots of "Yook, horseys!" and two kids consignment stores.  Of course, Jon refused to stop.  But I've got the place marked and I'm ready to attack this coming week.  I realized, after seeing Jack cry and pull on his waist everytime I button his size 2T shorts, that he may be ready for the next size up.  I've just been waiting to come across some good consignment stores and here they are!

After over an hour of driving through the country we reached the very end of Maryland, a State Park surrounded by water.  Because we didn't have a plan, we ended up buying lunch stuff from the campground store and then enjoyed a not-so-healthy picnic by the bay. 

It was a gorgeous day, both boys were in great moods (or should I say all 3 boys?), and I was loving the change of scenery.  Jon and Jack went exploring while I fed Jude in the shade under a tree.  And by exploring, I mean Jack picks up every rock, leaf, acorn, etc. he sees, and then usually throws it.  As the day wore on the objects got bigger and bigger...

We checked out a little more of the park, got some ideas for the future and then left with a tourist map and a new destination.  It was naptime so we took another slow drive through several quaint little towns and glanced over some hiking/biking trails at a nearby lake to let the boys sleep.  Jack woke up just in time to see the "booooats" as we passed through an adorable little island village, where we brainstormed names for the sail boat we'd love to get someday.  A little bit later we ended up stopping at another park, known for its fossil beaches and sandy cliffs.  It was a 2 mile hike from the parking lot to the beach. 

Since we didn't know what they day held when we left the house in the morning, we only had an umbrella stroller and our jogging stroller in the back.  The park ranger said the trail was "stroller friendly" ... I think the park ranger didn't have any kids ... or at least didn't have a stroller.  So Jude had a bumpy ride in the jogger and Jon took Jack "off roading" in the other stroller.  The boys made it in one piece and maybe just a little rattled.

It was nice to dip our toes in the bay after a hot hike through the woods.  It was more like a Barbie-sized beach compared to what we've been visting this year, but the cliffs were gorgeous and the people around us were digging up fossils left and right.  Of course, Jack immediately started picking up rocks and throwing them.  Such a boy.  In fact, I caught my husband doing the same thing earlier that day. 

Can I just say that, as a girl, I don't think I've ever had the desire to pick up a rock and throw it?  But I decided to try it out, just to amuse Jack.  I didn't get anything out of it personally, I think I'll just stick to picking flowers.

And that was our day!  Well, most of it.  To sum up the rest we hiked back to the car as quickly as we could with two strollers.  Met a couple with two Weimaraners that convinced us, yet again, we need to get some (we keep changing out mind!), ate some amazing surf and turf at a restaurant we'd never heard of, discovered a former railroad bed that is now a bike trail only a few minutes from our house!, put two very tired boys to bed as soon as we got home, and then watched a movie that ended up keeping me awake half the night. 

So yes, we had a full, exciting day exploring Maryland, found new reasons to love our new (albeit temporary) home and came back with a whole list of things to do and places to see over the coming weeks.  And maybe I'll even get a few more blog post ideas from our adventures!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Not Your Average Baby

Jude finally had his check-up at the doctor's today.  Technically, it was supposed to be his 2-month well baby appointment, but since he's going to be 4 months next week, they decided to just skip the 2-month one altogether.  I guess I never really understood what well-baby checks are all about, until today.  Basically, they're just checking to see if your baby is meeting certain developmental milestones.  So it'd be kinda hard to do a 2-month exam on an almost-4-month old. 

Sounds simple enough, right?  Make an appointment, bring the baby in, make sure he's doing all those things 4 month olds do, and go home.  Ha, if only.  First, we had to request a change of primary care physicians since we moved.  That went through in June, and we were assigned to a base clinic in DC, about 40 minutes away.  The next day I called to make an appointment, the soonest I could get Jude in was today.  The only appointment they had available was 2:40pm, arrive 15 minutes early, yada yada yada.  I took it, and afterwards realized that was prime afternoon nap time (for the boys, not me).  I was hoping Jon would be home to keep Jack but he had orientation stuff today so Jack would be coming along.  Ergo, I've been planning for, and dreading, this trip for several days now, especially since this was the first time I was making the drive into the city by myself. 

Thankfully, God was good to me and woke both boys up a little earlier today.  So Jack was more willing to go down for his nap an hour earlier than usual.  And even though he only got half a nap before we had to leave, that was much better than no nap.  I had a movie already set up in the car, snacks and toys in the diaper bag, the stroller in the back for the big guy and the Mei Tei for the little guy. 

Traffic was good, the GPS led me in the correct direction and we arrived an extra 15 minutes earlier than the 15 minutes early.  Of course, it's quite the process getting out of the car and into the clinic.  Mom gets out first, then gets stroller, gets Jack out of car seat and into stroller, loads stroller with many accessories, puts on Mei Tei, pulls Jude out of carseat, puts Jude in Mei Tei, shuts all car doors, walks to clinic, opens first door with handicap accessible button, attempts to open second door with same button, doesn't work, so Mom pulls on door with hand, swings it open as wide as it goes with foot, holds it open with hip and pushes stroller through, then gets heels scraped by door as it shuts on her.  There's paperwork to fill out, which I have to do on a clipboard, in the air, my elbows accidentally clipping Jude on the head.  Naturally, we learned that our medical records never made it over from the former clinic.  And then there's the waiting typical of all doctors' offices.  Except this one didn't seem too typical.  Jack quickly went through my whole bag of tricks, and we were still waiting to be called back.  After waiting about 40 minutes Jon called to say he was on his way back from work, did I want him to stop by and pick up Jack.  "Yes, please!"  So he came and took Jack home before he became overly difficult.  And then Jude and I waited another 15 minutes. 

We were approaching the one hour wait mark when the nurse finally called our name.  We chatted with her a few minutes, and then waited another 15 minutes for the doctor to show up.  She checked Jude-bug over, pronounced him healthy and happy, and then sent us to the lab for a PKU check (which the hospital neglected to report results for when he was born, thus we had to do another one!).  So yet more waiting, then a horrendous heel pricking experience.  Next stop was the immunization office since Jude hasn't had his vaccinations yet.  Annnnd ... he still doesn't.  Because by the time we made it there the place was closed.  So now I'll be making yet another one of these crazy trips in a few days.  Just what I wanted!

On the bright side, I really like the boys' new pediatrician.  And this one is an actual children's doctor, with a super cute office with animals on the walls, toys to play with and the examination table on top of a purple hippo.  And despite the lack of healthcare these past few months (which I kinda liked), Judey-boy is doing fantastic.  The doc wasn't the least bit concerned with his rare bowel movements.  She said it's common in EBF (internet lingo for exclusively breastfed) babies.  Translated, Jude mom's makes such amazing milk that nothing is "wasted." :)  His excessive spitting up is also normal, just messy and stinky.  Which is the same thing we dealt with with Jack.  He's oh so close to rolling over and loves to practice.  He's holding his head up like a champ and just this past week he's been sitting in the Bumbo.  He's grabbing, sucking his fists, recognizing mommy, cooing, giggling and not teething just yet.  And he weighs in at just shy of 15 pounds.  He's just above average in weight and height, but he's got his brother's big head (way above average!).  The funny thing is, at almost 4 months Jude is the same size as Jack at 2 months.  And I have to say, I could get used to this little baby thing.  Labor was easier, feeding is easier, predicting clothing sizes is easier, and he slept through the night earlier... Oh, I love my totally different, yet sometimes the same boys!

So that was Jude's day.  And do you know what else is special about August 12, it's the day we found out about #2.  Yup, exactly one year ago today I snuck a bun into our oven and surprised Jon when he got home from work (literally, not figuratively).  Wow, where does the time go?

Monday, August 9, 2010

An Early End to Summer

We decided to end our summer with a bang.  Just days after leaving the beach and washing the sand out of our swimsuits we packed the car and headed to New Jersey for Jon's Nana's 80th birthday celebration. 

Nana is "aged to perfection."
What should have been a 5 hour drive ended up taking 7.  Let me tell you - long drives and congested highways are 10 times more frustrating with two babies in the backseat.  Jude is a fairly good traveler, but the carseat doesn't seem to hold the same sleeping powers that it did with Jack at that age.  And although Jack will take a nap in his carseat, it's never very long and he wakes up even crankier than usual.  So we pulled into the Lake House with two grumpy boys in tow.

But if there's one thing I've learned over the past 5 years, it's that when my mother-in-law's side of the family gets together bad moods don't last long.  Jack was soon running off the carseat wiggles with the cousins and Jude was dishing out smiles to all the ladies.

Nana and Papa have 6 kids who, with their spouses, have 18 of the grandkids and 8 of the great-grandkids.  The few times that the whole clan gets together are full of fun and energy!  It's a privilege to be a part of such a diverse, yet close, huge family!  And I love watching my sons soak up all that rich family heritage.

35 of us crammed in to two houses on Lake Hopatcong, NJ.  With a boat, jet ski, kayaks, rafts, swimming hole, air hockey table, yard games, delicious food and superb conversation there wasn't a moment left to boredom.  The weekend flew by and before we knew it we were back in the car and back on the road. 

The boys weren't so happy about that and, after being stuck in several different slow-moving traffic lines for no apparent reason, Jon and I weren't either.  We're done with traveling for a while.  It's time to put the suitcases in storage and vacuum the sand out of the car.  No more nursing sessions in a restaurant booth while trying to eat my own meal, and no more diaper changes on those sketchy rest stop changing tables.  At least for now. 

We're hanging up summer activities a little early this year.  Jon started back to work/school today for the first time since we moved.  It was just me and the boys all day and it actually didn't go that bad.  Soon I'll have things in ship shape.  It has certainly been wonderful to enjoy such a long term "vacation mode" but I'm beyond ready to turn our days into something a bit more predictable.  And now that the beach and lake are behind us Jon and I both agree that fall is looking very enticing.  I can't wait to see how "Jumping Jack" takes on a crunchy pile of leaves, to wear jeans and sweatshirts and to try out my new and improved pie crust making abilities which, I believe, can only be attributed to the new climate.  So even though the days are still hot and I can still hear the neighborhood kids playing in their yards, I'm in full-on fall mode now!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Back to the Beach

Last week we were in sunny South Bethany Beach, DE for my family's summer vacation.  It's the first time Jon and I have joined in the festivities as a married couple.  In fact, the last time I went on vacation with my family was the first summer we were married.  Jon was out to sea for 4 months and I was a lonely little newlywed.  It wasn't that much fun.  Thankfully he's back on dry land these days, and we have two little tag-alongs.  So it's no surprise that we had a wonderful week!

My mom asked me if it still feels like vacation when you have a baby.  Of course!  I mean, I still had to get up in the night a few times, and maybe I wasn't able to finish out a round of Mexican Train because Jude was hungry.  Jon and I had to take turns going back to the house for the boys' afternoon nap, and naturally no one can satisfy Jack when he wants his Mommy, but it's still fun to get away and spend a few relaxing days on the beach. 

As you all know, my favorite way to relax is with a good book.  And I definitely relaxed last week.  I got through a stack of 6 books to show for it.  I took the boys to the local library a few days before we left, came home with a small pile of books, and announced to Jon that my goal for this vacation was to read every single one of them.  And I did.  And now that vacation is over and I'm sufficiently well-read I feel I can focus on other important things, like cleaning the toilets and sewing curtains for the bedroom.  Which is, what I feel, exactly what vacation is all about.  A rest from the real world, the day to day activities, so that you can get back to life with a renewed vigor.  *sigh* I miss it already.

When we first got married Jon as a bit surprised to heat that my side of the family spends the majority of our beach vacation ... on the beach.  Literally all day.  We wake up, eat breakfast, pack our lunch, head to the beach and don't come back 'til dinner time.  And actually, one day during the week we bring dinner to the beach so we can stay and hang out even longer.  We Winebergs really love the beach.

You'd think I'd have my fill of the sun and sand after living there for 3 years, but no.  This is different.  Living at the beach is not the same thing as vacationing there.  So I squeezed every drop of beachness that I could out of last week.  And Jack, well you would have thought the kid had never been to the ocean before.  He was the first one out the door each day, faithfully carrying his bag of small balls.  And the last one that wanted to leave.  He adds new meaning to the "kicking and screaming" kind of exit.

He just loved everything about that little corner of the world.  Digging holes in the sand, building castles (or knocking them down), attempting to play paddle ball, jumping in the waves, splashing in the water, finding sea shells, eating sand, taking hard naps, and then getting up to do it all over again.  Not to mention the hours of entertainment he provided to all who were watching him.

And of course, the other good thing about family vacations is all the people who watch and entertain Jack.  Whenever one person gets worn out there's another one ready to take over.  Even Jack's boundless energy can't outdo 12 adults. 

And Jude, well he was content to watch it all from his perch in the jogging stroller.  Occasionally he'd start to fuss if he was getting tired.  So we'd take him on a quick walk down the beach and soon he'd be sound asleep.  He's so awesome, and I'm not just saying that because he took it easy on me during vacation.  There were a few times where he wanted mom and only mom would do. 

But I don't mind.  He is definitely my snuggler.  And he knows it too.  I get him in one of his two favorite holding positions, and he immediately settles down as far as he can,  And just when you think he's comfortable and happy he starts nuzzling even further, until his tiny body has fit against mine, each adorable baby roll settling in to every curve.  Sometimes I think I could let go and he'd stay right where he is.  It's like he just can't get close enough to his mama. 

And I love it.  I love every last second of it.  Because now I have firsthand experience with how quickly they grow up.  Because now I know that the bigger they get they more they want to run.  And because I see how he continues to grow and I just don't know how much longer he's going to fit perfectly against my rib cage, nestled in my arms.  He's happy to be there and I'm all too happy to oblige. 

But that was then.  On vacation.  When the only thing I had to worry about was what page I was on.  Now we're back.  Back to having to put the baby down every once in a while so I can get something done.  Back to having to think up new ways to keep Jack busy.  Back to buying groceries, planning dinner and trying to keep everyone eating healthy.  Back to early bedtimes and no-haggle naps.  Back home and soon (for Jon) back to school.  But I'm already scheming ways that we can get back to the beach.
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