Sunday, April 28, 2013

1,2,3 and 4!

We're dog-sitting for some friends this weekend.  If you thought life with 3 kids under 5 was chaotic, try throwing a dog into the mix!  The dinner/witching hour was over the top tonight.  (Probably something to do with wild toddler boys and a hyper 8 month old puppy feeding off each others' energy.) In fact, it was so bad that my husband is out doing the dishes and the dog and I are shut up in the office for a little "time out."  Surprisingly, I've made some good headway on my lengthy "to-do" list this afternoon so I'm rewarding myself with a little blogging time.  Here's the latest update on our brood:

1.)  Jack
He's always trying to hide from the camera.
By now, I'm sure you're all aware of our beloved Monkey, Jack's lovey-toy since he was a baby.  Monkey's been on many adventures and a few extended vacations.  Last week was his most recent.  Typically he turns back up after a day or two out on the road, but this time, well a week later and still no Monkey.  I seem to vaguely remember Jack having him outside.  So I made two separate searches on my own, in addition to turning the house inside out, but all to no avail.  I thought perhaps Monkey had had his last stand.  On Thursday, Jack and I were outside during the other kids' naptime and just for kicks, went in to search and rescue mode and started calling out Monkey's name.  The sun must have been shining just right because, lo and behold, there in the what Jack refers to as "the digging place," a stretch of sandy dirt located between the swing set and my garden, was a very dirty mound of monkey fur.  There had been two rainstorms since Monkey's disappearance and by the time we got to him he was barely recognizable.  Jack gasped and tenderly scooped up his "best buddy."  I wanted to get a picture of our successful hunt but Jack was so distraught, his face a mixture of fear and responsibility (that tangle of emotion that just about any mother can relate to!) that I felt too horrible to capture it.  I brought out a basin of soapy water so Jack could give him a bubble bath.  Then we put him through a wash and dry cycle and (considering how old and well-loved he was before he got lost) he's looking very much like himself these days.  And Jack is much more careful about where he takes (and leaves) Monkey.

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This was was a little bit after we found Monkey.
Jack is entering in to his last month of preschool.  He came home last week quite upset that he wasn't "graduating" at the end of the month like so many of his other friends.  I told him that he's so special he gets to come back to preschool next year and meet all the new friends!  I don't think it would be so bad if the lovely Bryn wasn't graduating too.  It isn't a preschool day if Jack's not talking about Bryn and her pretty dresses.  Oh dear, aren't we much too young for this?  Soon it will be summer break and the only girl he'll have to practice his moves on will be Julia.

2.)  Jude
His latest look - covered heard to toe in dirt.
You've heard about Jude recently, our big 3 year old.  He's struggling with his recent wardrobe change.  A combination of changing seasons and growing boy and we've had to put away most of the shirts and pants he's become so familiar with.  Unfortunately, my stack of 3T boys clothes consists largely of stripes and solids and not nearly enough animals and cartoon characters.  Which makes our morning routine that much more difficult.  As long as he's able to locate a pair of Thomas underwear though we're off to a good start!

Other than the clothing change Jude is taking full advantage of the arrival of spring.  He loves to be outside and is the first one out the door if you merely mention the word "walk."  He also loves mud and bugs ... two things he hasn't yet mastered to leave outside.

Of the three kids, Jude is THE MOST keen on my pregnancy.  He loves to sit on my lap and poke at "Baby J___" (nope, not giving away the name just yet!  You could always ask Jude, but his pronunciation might throw you off a bit!).  He's a bit confused thought about what, exactly, an unborn baby is.  He apparently thinks any "bump" on Mommy's body is a potential baby.  And that some are bigger than others.  I won't go into it any more than that but lets just say Jude thinks I'm carry one big baby and two smaller ones.  *cough, cough*

3.)  Julia
As usual, hands behind her head.
She's sitting on my lap now.  She got removed to the "time-out room" too after Jude decided he wanted to put her in the dog's crate.  She's a little teary-eyed and shaken, but soon she'll be slapping away at the keyboard and tearing apart all my important paperwork.

This girl is ALL 18 month old, whatever that means.  Just like I predicted, she figured out not only how to remove the slats from her window blind but also how to use them to knock down the fabric rounds hanging above her crib.  She then spends a considerable amount of "naptime" disassembling the decorative pieces I spent so much time putting together for her before her birth.

She's also very much in to her Daddy now.  If the boys weren't so much faster than her, she would be the first to greet him at the door of his car when he comes home from work.  But since she still insists on turning completely backwards and inching her belly down from the front step, it takes her a little longer to get places.

I think we finally have our first word (other than "Mama" and "Dadda") I was afraid, for a moment, that it was going to be "poopy" but she hasn't been using that one consistently yet.  And then I thought perhaps "dog."  But again, not consistent enough to know for sure it's one of her legitimate words.  Nope, Julia's first official word is ... BABY!  I love it.  It comes out more like "bee bee."  But she says it to all her baby dolls, when we see a little one out in the store, and when she's pointing to #4's ultrasound picture on the fridge.  I am so looking forward to her playing the part of big sister in a few months.  Although giving up her baby-of-the-family status might be a bit more of a challenge!

4.)  The baby
I've forgotten to take belly pics for the past two weeks, this is our fourth after all...

27 weeks now and strong and healthy!  I can feel this one's presence so much more pronounced than the other three at this age.  She's more "in the front" and we very quickly went from "butterflies" to distinctive kicks and body parts.  Apparently things are a bit "rearranged" in there.  I've been put on placenta previa watch.  In other words, at my last ultrasound the placenta was a bit too close to the cervix.  It is very likely that it will move (actually that the uterus will grow and therefore it will no longer be a problem) but if for some reason it didn't, or if it moved the wrong direction, I'd be looking at a hospital birth and possibly bedrest.  And since bedrest with 3 kids in the middle of summer is simply NOT an option for this Mama, we're really hoping for a good report in a few weeks.  I'll go back for another ultrasound then.  The doctor will want to see the placenta but I'll want to see this baby girl and make sure once and for all it really is a she.  Because if she isn't, I got a ton of yard sale clothes I'll need to retrieve from Marmie and Poppa's house!

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Big Sister laying on Little Sister, and subsequently getting a head massage.
And it's official, the first stranger commented on my pregnancy today!  The lady sitting next to us at lunch after church wanted to know if we were expecting another girl.  "Why yes, we're very excited!" and then the older lady behind us commented to Jon on our impending family of four as well.  "We're trying not to wish these years away!" he said, because Jon is very charming with little old ladies and we all know that mother's of very-grown kids have that historical perspective.

And we're not, we're not wishing these years away, as challenging as they sometimes are.  We enjoy them, not every minute, particularly not those few minutes this evening when the boys were running trucks in circles, freaking out the dog who peed on the floor and then knocked Julia's snack out of her hands, but most of them.  They're GOOD minutes and I'm so incredibly thankful I get to repeat them not two, not even three, but FOUR times.  We'll just put that dog-dream off a few years longer!

Typical dinner at our house: Jude killing bugs, Jack playing with his food, Julia doing her hair.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Jude: Three

Our middle-man turned 3 over the weekend!  According to Jon it seems like he arrived a lot longer than just 3 years ago.  I've been thinking a lot about those last few days leading up to his birth.  Something about the flowers blooming, birds chirping, and warmer weather always makes me think back to my very favorite spring and the days leading up to Jude's birth.  A lot has changed since then, but here were are 3 houses, 3 springs, 3 kids (and another!) later and our little guys is still completely awesome!

Gosh, he makes me smile.  He's really starting to shed the shy-guy persona and, to be completely honest, it seems that most he just won't shut up.  His Daddy has given him a new nickname: B.R. for "broken record." Jude has absolutely no problem standing and there and repeating the same word or phrase over, and over, and over again, until you finally acknowledge him.  Whether it's a soft "Daddy I go poopy" over breakfast this morning, a screaming "I don't want to go home!" when we left the park last week or a sobbing "Jack hit me" just about every afternoon, he's proven he's perfectly capable of saying something over and over for at least 100 times.  Now that's talent!

But he's also our little sweetheart.  He's very thoughtful of others and that mischievous grin that makes the corners of his eyes crinkle is enough to melt any mother's heart.  And now he's all grown up, talking in full sentences and long paragraphs, and making that hormonal mother sort through the boxes and boxes of baby clothes he'll never fit in to again.  Oh geez, enough about my yard sale prep and emotional turmoil this week, let's get back to the birthday boy.  Who woke up to what he called "a birthday" hanging from his doorway!

And a breakfast brought to you by the number 3!

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Following a long day of cleaning and cooking we welcomed Nonnie, Aunt Rachel and Aunt Katie for a visit!

Loving the neighborhood trees this week!
And I celebrated my son's birthday with MY favorite meal - Chipotle.  The copycat kind, that is!  Barbacoa simmering in the Crock-Pot all day, lime rice and black beans on the stove and a 26-week-old in my belly doing flip-flops at every whiff of cilantro and red onion.  Mm-mmm!

Julia's really starting to warm up to other people this past month, she's finally letting the aunts into her inner circle!
We followed up dinner with a special birthday cake that Marmie made and sent down, because she's the birthday cake queen and I'm still trying to figure out if it's possible for me to live a normal mothering-life and hold down two small jobs.

Jude was thrilled about this Duncan cake!  It got a little beat up after the car ride from Pennsylvania and three curious children staring it down all day, but it didn't matter to the kids.  They couldn't wait to eat the cake!

And then there were the presents.  Jude's been asking me about them (repetitively of course) ever since he realized there was a "secret" in the closet a few weeks ago.  I'm just glad we can finally move beyond trying to distract him from the wrapped gifts piled up in the guest room.

But Jude wasn't the only one excited, Jack did more than his share of screaming with each new present.  And when we finally got them calmed down enough for bed Jack's last words to me were "I love birthdays, I love Jude, I love Jude's birthday!!!"  It must be nice having a brother 18 months apart, I'm sure they will each benefit from each other's birthday celebrations for many years to come!

Of course, now that we have a 3 year old in the house again some things have to change, at least for Jack.  I heard him yelling at Julia today, whom he did want to play his game, that whatever he and Jude were doing was "Only for 4 and 2 years olds, I mean 4 and 3 year olds!!"  Clearly, the rules in this house are in constant flux!

And while Jude was honored that his Nonnie and Aunts drove all the day down from PA for his big day, the real reason they made the trip was so that us ladies could head to Virginia on Saturday for a bridal shower for our cousin-to-be.  I just love my husband's family and I especially enjoy all the new cousins I acquired upon my marriage (since I only had two growing up myself).  So I am always eager to welcome a new cousin-in-law into the fold to help make those family holidays even more zany!

Photo Credit: Aunt Julie

Photo Credit: Aunt Julie
Oh, those fun shower games!

My mother-in-law and her sister - two fantastic women whose family I joined 7 years ago!

Photo Credit: Aunt Julie
She was tickled to be included in our "Girls' Day"!

Bride and bridesmaid giggles!
And Hannah is no exception, we knew from the first moment Peter brought her to visit us last summer that she was going to make a perfect addition to the family!

Photo Credit: Aunt Julie
Sewing aprons for my brides just may be my new thing!

Aunt Julie and the littlest guests!

Photo Credit: Aunt Julie
Julia hanging out with Cousin Lizzy.
It was a fun day celebrating the bride with the girls while Jon held down the fort with his boys, who I was able to convince not to be sad that they couldn't come along since it was going to be all girls celebrating a princess party.

Photo Credit: Aunt Julie
Jon's sisters Rachel and Kate, me, Cousins Holly and Lizzy, their cousin Ashley, and cousin-to-be Hannah.

They were more than happy to hang out at home and play with their new Thomas toys after that.

Now we're home, we said goodbye to our family this morning and we're ready for a week of fun fueled by birthday and princess parties!  We're thriving on spring ... and with that comes spring cleaning!  In with the old and out with the new!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Coming up for air

So a few days before we left for Florida I had this crazy notion that I had a little too much free time on my hands.  I've really hit my stride these last few months since my job ended.  My youngest is now 18 months and, although hardly independent, I'm finding my hands are free more and more these days.  Then again, after we got home from our trip, it did take me a few days to re-adjust to all the nose blowing, snack fetching, diaper changing, bottom wiping, etc. requests that are made of me on a daily basis.  But anyway, one day in a fit defiance I scanned through the job listings on Craigslist and sent out a few resumes.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not bored.  And if I really wanted to it would be more than easy to stay busy all day, there are plenty of clothes that needed laundered and rooms that need cleaned and, if nothing else, Jack is always willing to fetch a large stack of books to read through in one sitting.  So it's not that I NEED something to keep me busy.  Nor is it the money, let's face it, most work-at-home-mom jobs don't pay THAT well.  I just wanted something different, something other than home-management and kid-rearing to occasionally turn my focus to, something to keep my resume from dropping off a steep cliff, something to ensure that other side of my brain stays in good working order.  So I took a stab at a few telecommuting jobs and then packed my bags and set off on vacation.

Forget I was pregnant?  Don't worry, I do it all the time lately. 24.5 weeks!
The first day in Florida I heard back from a transcription company with instructions on how to complete an online screening exam.  And by our fourth day in Florida I had received an email from a local real investor wanting to meet with me regarding a Web Marketing and Database management position.  And so, the morning after our return to Maryland, I took my little sunburnt-self off to Starbucks to meet who is now my new boss.  It's just a small job, so far only a few hours a week, but it's combining two things I really enjoy - web marketing and real estate.  Things are supposed to pick up over the next few weeks but I've already learned (*cough* self-taught *cough*) myself so much that it's been more than worth it.  On a whim, and during a VERY long evening, I completed the transcription screening and was SHOCKED to receive notice that I was hired the next day.  I may have over-embellished the short stint I did as a temp worker for a lawyer many years ago to fulfill the "experience" requirement because the training manual and guidelines the transcription agency have given me are definitely NOT answering all my questions.  It's been slow-going, and after 5 days on the job I think I've just made enough to pay off the foot pedal I had to purchase.  But it's oddly rewarding work.  And I have to admit, it's a little fun to eavesdrop on these court proceedings.

So all that to say, I've been busier than I anticipated this last week.  Now that I'm getting more into the groove I hope it doesn't take up as much time.  Because I also just got asked to head up publicity for our MOPS group next year.  And I'm SUPER excited about that.  And so, as I told Jon, I'm going to give this a try for a little while and if it's not working for our family, well at least I gave it a shot.

And the slip 'n slide is back!

Smolder much?

She was afraid of the slip 'n slide, so I gave her a basin of water.  And then she cried whenever she got wet.  Clearly we need to teach this girl what a swimsuit is for!
Speaking of the family, we are just dandy!  Some weeks go so well, and this happened to be one of them.  I wish I knew why exactly, so I could replicate those variables each and every week, but apparently it's just another one of those mysteries of motherhood.  I actually took all three children to the farm stand, library, Chick-Fil-A and grocery store (in one morning!) without a single issue.  Let me tell ya folks, that has never been done before!  And the cashier actually complimented them on their behavior, that doesn't happen often either.  She must have missed our entering the store, when Julia screamed for 10 minutes straight because both boys were in the "car" (those huge, bulky Mom carts) and there was no room for her.  I let her sit in the car for the first time last week while Jack was at preschool and it appears she will no longer have it any other way.  The cashier also mentioned that I seemed like a very calm mom of small children.  That, I explained to her, was because I knew that as soon as we left the store it would be naptime.  And not that my kids drive me so crazy that I can't wait to send them off to their rooms, but hey, I'm never one to turn down a few hours of mama-peace!

Mmm, peace.  For the first time since Daylight Savings Time stole into our lives, my kids are back to their 7:00/7:30 bedtime.  Of course, they also wake up at 7:00 in the morning but I don't mind that at all.  I'm a morning person, I start to run out of gas by the end of dinner and if I can give myself the biggest break at that point of the day I'm all for it.  I'm all about preserving the early bedtime and that means doing my darndest to wear my kids out during the day.  That's been going well too.

Thanks to this weather!  I think it's safe to say spring has finally arrived!  We spent ALL of Monday outdoors and it was glorious!  We returned to the woods, got reacquainted with the sandbox and later in the week planted part of the garden.  Naturally, my kids have been very dirty.  I mean dirt up to their eyeballs.  Julia had mud in her ears the other day, Jack's feet were so dirty last evening that I actually thought he was wearing brown socks, and every night when Jude puts his head on his pillow he leaves a little pile of sand behind.  But that's a happy kind of dirty.  Well, except when company is coming.

Spring also means Daddy spends his entire weekend doing yard work.
Hard worker has its reward, kisses from Lia!
Let's just say Marmie and Poppa missed the kids so much they came back two days after saying their goodbyes.  Okay, so it wasn't exactly like that.  Marmie and Poppa had their own trip to Florida planned, just a few days after ours, and since we're conveniently located near a major airport, and provide clean rooms, hot meals and taxi services to our traveling family members, we got to see the grandparents (and their  friends) on their way to the south and yesterday on their way back.  Which has caused utter confusion for Jude, who often asks "Where are (insert name of grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc.)?" and is used to hearing "Pennsylvania" as the answer.  Poor thing thinks everyone goes to Florida every week and wants to know when it's going to be his turn!

Watching for visitors!
Little does he know hot and humid Florida can't hold a candle to Maryland in the spring!  Allergies aside, there are new flowers blooming every day, I have a bowl full of flower petals by my kitchen window to prove it.  Unfortunately, my sons haven't realized they need to include the stem when picking a bloom.  And although we hit the nearly unenjoyable temperature of 90 last week, these next few days promise to be pleasantly mild.  I'm not sure what the chances are of having two great weeks in a row.  I'm not sure if I'll even get to see much of that sunshine if I don't learn to transcribe a little faster over these next few days, but I guarantee our windows will be open and fresh pollen will help cover over that layer of sand my children have been tracking in all week.  The sun is shining, ain't nothing going to get me down!

Sunday, April 7, 2013


I am here!  Alive and well.  And not just alive and well but happy and healthy and well-rested and so refreshed!  Because Jon and I are just coming off six days of vacation, just the two of us.  It was glorious!

I'd like to call it a second honeymoon but he didn't agree with that term and prefers to refer to our little jaunt to Florida as a "kidcation."  Our first ever break from all the kids!  Which, of course, was made completely possible by the wonderful Marmie and Poppa, who came down to Maryland to manage our household while we were gone.

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We got some money back from our tax return and knew we only had a small window of time where all of our kids were old enough that we felt comfortable leaving them for a few days, and before I was about to commit to another year-plus of nursing a baby.  And that moment just so happened to hit right around our seventh anniversary.  We also had a standing invitation from Jon's grandparents who spend the winter in West Palm Beach, so that is where we headed!

With our amazing hosts and marital heroes - Papa and Nana!
Six days!  At first it was just going to be a long weekend, but then as we were playing around with dates and figures and trying to save money on tickets it ended up being a Thursday to Tuesday.  And then we decided to maximize our stay by leaving early Thursday morning and not returning until late Tuesday night, so we would still have those as two full days.  And all is well and good until the plane starts taxiing down the runway and my mind is repeating 6 days, 6 days, 6 days as our speed increases and then I realize I said goodbye to my kids on a Wednesday and that they're not going to see me again until the morning of the following Wednesday which is much more like a week than 6 days and a week is entirely too long.  And just as we're lifting off I start to get all teary-eyed about leaving my kids for that length of time... Well anyway, I pulled myself together before the flight attendants started coming around with refreshments and although I REALLY missed my kids and thought about them entirely more often than I wished too, I didn't lose any sleep or cry any more tears during our trip.

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Taking off into the sunrise.
Ironically, our second honeymoon played out a lot like our first.  Jon immediately fell asleep on the flight and, although I had brought a book along to read, I decided to complete the Sudoku puzzle in the plane magazine instead, for old times' sake.  Naturally, for my first honeymoon I did not bring any books along to read assuming that my Love and I would spend all our free time on the flight simply gazing into one another's eyes.  I quickly learned that Jon uses air travel as sleep catch-up time and bought my first Sudoku book at the airport.  I have fond memories of pages and pages of Sudoku filling up those odd hours of our first year of marriage when even gazing into one another's eyes gets old.

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Anyway, the other aspect that resembled our original honeymoon is the lack of pictures.  Not that I wasn't entirely inspired to capture this momentous occasion but there are only so many photos one can take of palm trees, beaches, toes in the sand and sunshine.  And the occasional hold-your-arm-out-to-get-a-photo-of-the-happy-couple shot.  Unfortunately, during the moments that I really wanted to capture - like paddle-boarding and kayaking - I couldn't have a camera with me.  I'll do my best with word illustrations.

Paddle-boarding is something I've always wanted to try so when Jon's cousin Jackie and her husband (who also live in the West Palm area) suggested it we were all in, also joining us was Jon's other cousin Phil (who was visiting his sister Jackie) and his friend Ryan.  We rented equipment for an hour from a local surf shop and headed out to a tributary of the Inter-coastal Waterway.  It was actually much, much easier than I anticipated.  Unlike surfing or wakeboarding, I got up on the board right away.  And the paddling itself wasn't difficult at all.  I was surprised at how sore my ankles got after a while though.  And I'm sure you're all wondering, no I technically did not fall during the normal course of our jaunt.  But at the very end, when we returned to the dock a few minutes before our boards were due and had some time to kill, Cousin Phil and I were attempting to stand on the boards with one leg.  And I got a little nervous when Jon came up behind me ... and got tossed.  It wouldn't  have been so bad if I hadn't half landed on the board.  And if the other half of me wasn't in grimy, oil-swirled, boat-refuse water ... I scurried back on the board in a hot second.

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The only picture I have of paddle boarding.  In case there's any doubt, the girl in the bikini is NOT me.
The other non-photoed event was kayaking.  I love kayaking.  To me it's thinking time.  So quiet, calm and peaceful ... unless you're with Jon.  I think he was trying to burn off Easter dinner.  It took all my energy to maintain an acceptable distance behind him.  And of course my carpal-tunneled wrists were completely numb five minutes into our adventure.  It was a nice escape though and it got much easier on the return trip when we weren't fighting the current.  I was cruising along, watching the fish jump and scanning the water for a glimpse of a manatee (something on my Florida bucket list) when suddenly my entire kayak was lifted several inches OUT of the water and tossed from side to side.  It was all I could do to hold on and keep from falling in, all while screaming and watching my husband's eyes grow wide in the distance.  Several seconds later it stopped and I shakily paddled to Jon.  It took a few minutes to finally dawn on me that I wasn't in danger of a shark or gator attack and that while I didn't get my wish of seeing a manatee, I certainly had a very close encounter with the docile sea cow.

I felt bad about leaving my Littles over Easter but it was the only time that worked with both Marmie and Poppa and our schedules.  I knew the grandparents would give the kids a good holiday and we got to spend Easter Sunday with Nana and Papa at their church.

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Love this tree behind the church!

Nana also served up a fabulous Easter dinner for us, the cousins and some friends.  And of course, we can't forget the Egg Fights.  This year's champion was Cousin Jackie!


Champion round!
We also made a stop at the Henry Flagler Museum.  This was his second home, that he built for his second wife.  It reminded me of the estates I toured in England so when Nana and Papa gave us a brochure and two free tickets I knew it had to make the to-do list.  It was very impressive!  And since I was right in the middle of yet another Georgette Heyer novel it was easy to imagine the characters I had "befriended" dancing in the ballroom, breakfasting at the table or socializing in the drawing room.  What can I say, I love homes and history!

This reminded me of the statues/busts as Chatsworth, England (where the Pemberley scenes were filmed for the most recent "Pride and Prejudice.)

Drawing room.

Master bedroom.
If you ask Jon, I'm sure he'll say his favorite part of Kidcation was the convertible.  The unofficial theme of our trip was "doing all the things we can't do with kids."  So a barely-has-a-back-seat convertible was high on the list.  Needless to say we spent a lot of time just cruisin' the town, Jon working on his "convertible tan" and me scoping out all the beautiful Spanish-influenced architecture and fascinating Banyan trees.

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I actually did bring a scarf along just to use while cruising, I just didn't use it in this picture.
In addition to all the above there were also beach trips, afternoons spent reading by the pool, game nights, lots and lots of eating out and even a few trips to Target. Amazing how often we find ourselves there even on vacation.

Mike's grandparents condo.

Jupiter Beach.

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Reading -  my favorite beach activity.
Thankfully Jon had a few boys to play frisbee with one day.

The other 3/5's of our family fared well back home.  Actually, I was more worried about Marmie and Poppa than the kids.  Six days with 3 under 5 is a lot for anyone, but especially for people who are used to spending their days in the peace and calm that is retirement.  I only called every day.  Except for the last day, because by that point the boys were getting on the phone and hearing their sweet little voices was making things a little difficult.  As long as we stayed busy I didn't think about them too much.  Although it didn't help that my mom gave me a book of prayers for your kids the day we left...

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Marmie and Poppa forgot to bring a camera, so this is the only picture we have of their version of Kidcation: my babies on Easter Sunday!
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Hold up!  Can't forget Baby #4, healthy and growing at 23 weeks.

We pulled into the driveway a little after 11pm and, over some Marmie-made cookies and treats, swapped stories of our adventures.  Of course, I had to check on my kids.  And I didn't bother with turning the doorknob extra slow or skipping over the creaky board in Julia's room.  So naturally she was up and reaching for me within two seconds... which is exactly what I wanted.  We had some extra midnight cuddle time.  And since we were the first two up in the morning we also had another chance to make up for lost time.  Daddy needed a little more help getting awake but thankfully the boys were more than willing to jump right into our bed!

There may have been promises of special beach treats for good listeners ...
I knew the boys would be fine but I was a little afraid my now-18-month-old would have forgotten about me.  Well either she didn't or she quickly remembered because all is well and back to normal.  Back to breaking up brotherly squabbles, back to wiping bottoms four times a day, back to folding and re-folding loads of laundry...  The only difference is now I'm doing it all with a tan.  I'm convinced the world is a happier place when approached with a tan.  So warmer weather, please come quickly.  The effects of Kidcation are fading all too fast!
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