So we're back and unpacked and still trying to get the house pulled together after almost two weeks away.
Our trip started in Richmond where I dropped off the kids with Grandma and Grandpa. My flight for Boston left at 7 a.m. the next morning which meant I had to leave my parents house at 5 a.m. to get there on time. What made this so exciting was that my son woke up at 4:30 to pee (so I didn't need the three alarms to wake me up but upon returning to his bed the shared room with Anna, he woke up Anna....for the day. I'm very sure my parents were excited about that. Anna awake at 4:30 and mom on her way to the airport.
So Boston was awesome. I basically ate my way through and walked off the excess I ate. I did the Freedom Trail, the North End, Harvard, Beacon Hill, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Commons, Newbury Street and then spent the rest of the time lying on the grass reading a book. It was a perfect vacation away from the kids. By the end I missed them and was tired of walking around Boston. Vacation success.
We returned on Friday night to Richmond and drove down to North Carolina on Saturday morning. The beach was an interesting contrast to Boston, but it was relaxing nonetheless....even with the sand everywhere. The kids were in heaven with the endless amount of sand and water. Who knew sand could be so entertaining. Even our house down there had a giant sand pit, and I thought the kids would be bored of sand after the beach....nope. The vacation continued with eating and drinking and drinking and eating. Unfortunately, I wasn't doing the same amount of walking I did in Boston. The result = Fat Mama! While the scale SAYS I didn't gain weight, nothing fits and I look like my college self (my heaviest ever). So vacation left me relaxed and fat. Just one more thing to have to do upon returning...oh, that and catching up on the news. There wasn't a lot of TV watching so I missed an entire week of news.
This next week consists of:
--Reading the news
--Responding to emails (all 400 of them)
--Catching up on blog posts
--Getting kids ready for school (starts NEXT week)
--Working out (did I already say that?)
--Reprogramming my kids.
It's going to be a busy week here at our house.
We're back from our week at the beach and three days in Boston. I was relaxed, but after returning home to laundry, unpacking and mess (I swear I cleaned before I left) plus the 400 emails I had, I'm trying to get back to my state of beach zen. Hmmmm.... Promise to post soon.
August is a difficult month for us. August = Daddy traveling. My kids have a really hard time to adjusting to him being gone, then coming back and leaving again and coming back home. They don't know if going to work means not seeing him for 8 hours or 10 days.
Everytime my husband leaves we have a routine. My kids are bad. Bad (B-A-D) for about two days. I wish it wasn't the case, but that's the day. After about five days, my kids stop asking about daddy. Until this the latest trip to Europe. My kids were fully aware of daddy being gone. Alex was wondering about his dad being kidnapped. Anna wanted to know if we'd ever see him again. He returned on a Friday and left again Monday morning. They asked for me to sing the songs that my husband sings. No can do. I don't know them. This time before bed when he's here....is special dad/child time.
But I'm reading for August to be over so that daddy is back for good.
I'm not sure who to blame for my new addiction, but I'm addicted. I'm hoping the newness wears off fast! Someone recommended Facebook as the place to go for networking if you're in your 30s. Sure enough I have reconnected with people from high school, college, church, every job ever, overseas and all my new mom friends. Addictive.
Our family is heading out for our first "real" vacation since Anna was born. We have done a few obligatory family visits, but this is the first one where we're actually going away with some good friends. I am so excited. (Note: posting will be slow during this time as I'm not bringing the laptop with me.)
My husband already left this morning for his business trip. I know you all are so surprised since he travels like crazy all the time. But the three of us will head down to my mom's tomorrow and I will dump the kids (yes, dump as of today since they're driving me mad) and I fly to Boston Wednesday morning without my kids. For three full days I will be exploring this city which has always been on my list of must-see cities. Then Friday night I fly back to Richmond, pick up my kids and we head for the Outerbanks!!!
So packing has been a bit complicated since it means packing for two different trips. Basically it means throwing every piece of clothing for the kids in a suitcase. Throwing everything I own in one of the two suitcases (one for Boston, one for the beach) and throwing beach toys, towels, some food and wine and beer (don't forget the good stuff, man!) and hoping we didn't forget anything, like Children's Motrin, which you almost always need on every vacation.
I grew up in the New Kids on the Block era. Though I will never admit to liking them even back in high school.
Today while running on the treadmill at the gym, I caught their latest music video. I wasn't close enough to see the song title on the screen so I can't point out the video, but I was close enough to see five guys bumping and grinding with lots of bikini-clad women who were half their age. Yes, as I watched this I realized, these men look like they should be playing by the pool with their kids, and not with half naked women. Yes sir, those New Kids looked old, which must make me old, too.
I at least felt vindicated that I was watching this while running. Of course, I won't mention the part later where I actually hurt myself and thought they were going to have to take me out on a stretcher. Not good for my ego.
We took the kids to the playground yesterday since the weather was just so perfect. I'm grateful for the break from the pool. Love the pool, but I'm tired of my house smelling like chlorine and finding towels everywhere.
It was fun to be outside to watch the dynamics of the kids with others. Alex has always been one who wants to be friends with everyone. He goes from person to person introducing himself and inviting them to play. He will definitely be the outgoing one at school who wants to surround himself with friends. Anna....well, her personality is finally taking shape. Anna has no fear of anything. Not heights or anything scary. Most of all, she's not afraid of other people. She is the girl who wants to be in the spotlight, but could care less if anyone along the way actually likes her.
She managed to turn off several people at the playground by telling them what to do. Those kids even came up to tell me she was mean. After a few interventions from me or Andrew, they finally figured out some sort of heiarchy, but in the end we see Anna ruling the group. Did I mention she's three and the other three kids were four, five and six?
I have toyed many, many times with going back to work. I love being a SAHM, but I really am starting to miss work. Since Alex was born, I have worked several odd part time contract jobs doing survey analysis, freelance writing, freelance PR and newsletter editing. But I am on the cusp of needing to go back to a real job. Perhaps not one that entails an office. Because after this morning's chaos, I realized WHY I don't work full time outside the home.
Kids got up at 7 a.m. and woke me up. This is not normal. Anna is usually up at 6:30 at the latest. But for some beautiful reason she let me sleep in. Thank you God! I go downstairs make the coffee, get breakfast on the table. (Kids have camp this morning so we have to leave at 8 a.m.) This morning I had make "real" breakfast because my kids didn't eat the dinner I made for them last night and I have a strict "you eat what I make policy." So I quick made instant oatmeal and scrambled a few eggs. (Also note: this is not the norm!) They eat, I guzzle down coffee and quick check a few emails. Look at time and notice it's 7:30 and we have to leave in half an hour. Argue about what food they have to eat and what they can wear, as it's creek day at camp. (Translation: Get really dirty so you can't wear your new dress.)
Herd everyone upstairs to get dressed and brush teeth. It's 7:45. Notice I haven't done a thing for me yet. I throw on running clothes because we're walking to camp. I know, I know. It's only half a mile and it's a beautiful morning. After everyone is dressed with teeth brushed it's 7:55. Get the bags ready and water filled up and bug spray on the kids and we're out the door.
How on God's earth do people do this every morning AND get themselves ready for an office job????
I don't normally recommend movies here, but I watched one last night on my computer (via Netflix) called The Beauty School of Kabul. Loved it, I hear there's a book as well that I plan to check out. I recommend it to everyone, especially if you enjoyed reading Kite Runner, Thousand Splendid Sons, My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban or The Bookseller of Kabul. Can you tell what genre I like to read? My mother says I left the land of covered women and somehow still find a place in my heart for them.
The weather turned beautiful here this week, almost like the beginning of fall, so we decided to ditch our plans for Baltimore and head out to the country. With my husband still gone, I knew this would be a trip I could do with both kids alone.
Great Country Farms is about 45 minutes away from the Northern Virginia suburbs. They have a fall festival every year that is a mad house of kids and parents soaking up the fall weather and picking pumpkins. I figured this would be a bit more low-key, and it was.
This all got started when I found $20 last week and couldn't decide what to do with it. This ended up being the solution: supporting local business, local produce, fun for the kids, fun for me, great outdoors. It seemed to be a win-win for all. And it was!
We drove out to Bluemont, Virginia, which you will miss if you blink while driving down Route 7. This farm is great for kids of all ages, even the little ones. At $5 person over the age of 2, your kids can pick whatever is in season. This weekend it was peaches, blackberries and green beans! (Yes, it does cost extra to take them home.) Picking includes a very nice wagon ride out to the fields. My kids serenaded the others in the wagon the whole way out there with their pirate song. The farm also has a giant bounce pillow, mazes, slides, animals to feed/pet and a little cow train ride. Worth every penny we spent getting out there. In addition, you can pick up meat and other veggies at the general store. This weekend with our admission, we had free wine tasting at the winery across the street. My kids wouldn't behave for that, even though I tried.
This afternoon, in an attempt to kill some time, the kids and I hit the Asian Festival in Reston. If you are following the Olympics (which I haven't yet gotten into since we don't have TV), then this event is worth it for you and the kids. Lots of Chinese Olympic fanfare! But there is so much more. The kids and I hit the one of the three stages and saw some traditional Thai dancers (aka to Anna as dancing fairies). They were followed by a martial arts school and their Chinese dragons. My kids thought this was the best part. The food lineup was fabulous: Thai, Indian, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, and more. Although the food was the main draw for my kids--with Satay, meatballs and Pad Thai.
Besides the food, there was tons of crafts and exhibits. My kids were stuck on a stick dancing display of people who dance over sticks to the beat of music. Alex was mesmerized and even asked if he could try it. Then chickened out at the last minute.
The best thing: the whole thing is free! If you haven't gone yet, check it out tomorrow.
And as a side note for those that know me, this was the first event ever where we didn't have to quickly find a bathroom or use the port-a-potty. Yay!!
This week my kids started "nature camp." I was not at all hesitant when I signed them up....back in FEBRUARY. Good grief they start early around here. But I had heard fabulous things about the camp and so far, so good. Everyday they come home dirtier and more tired than the day before. The crafts are kind of there, but they come home singing songs....real camp songs. In fact, they were so funny about it that I actually videoed them doing it yesterday, but who knows if I'll ever get it uploaded to the computer. Who knew camp for preschoolers could be so fun? Songs, playing in the creek, seeing new animals, doing what camp should be--outside getting sweaty and dirty and having a fabulous time.
While we're still working out the kinks, the site is now live. It's more of a blog at this point, but we hope it will turn into more. It's fun to see three years of work starting to take shape. Please head on over to the Baby Bunching site. Bookmark it. Comment. Pass it along to all your friends who are current Baby Bunchers (two under two) or soon will be.
It's a work in progress. I hope that it will turn into a forum for funny stories as well as tips.
Oh, and there's a giveaway on there already.
I'm dedicating this post to my husband who says my past many posts have been depressing and sad. I'm hoping this is cheerier.
Four weeks and counting before summer is over. Ok, I'm not really counting because August may prove to be the best month yet! Here is an update on the season I have mixed feelings about.
1. The kids learned to swim! The best news ever.
2. Everyone outgrew their shoes before summer was over. That means a trip to Target to get everyone something to tide them over. Yes, I gave back the Crocs as a result. I'm such a wuss.
3. Camp started! Every morning. Every day. Three hours. Two weeks. Thank you Nature Tots.
4. No one has gotten sunburned yet this summer except mommy.
5. Skinned knees don't heal when you go to the pool everyday.
6. Beach trip is three weeks away. I'm so looking forward to time away with our friends and no computer.
7. I just booked a ticket to Boston with husband. He's going for business and it finally worked out that I could dovetail onto this trip for the free lodging and see a new city. Nevermind I don't get to go on the Athens, Rome, Milan, Vienna and Brussels trip that starts today. I'm not bitter.
8. Almost forgot to pay preschool tuition for fall. Yikes.
9. Enjoyed seeing new friends at the pool this summer.
10. Decided not to buy a new house (after much house hunting) and decided to redecorate our current one instead. Houses closer in are still too expensive. So now we're making full use of our main level instead of just 3/4 of it. Makes it seem bigger.
11. My best friend had her third baby, Joshua Quinn Fox. He's a cutie and I can't wait to meet him in person.
12. We are starting a Baby Bunching website in the next few weeks.
You have to be creative for birthdays as a mom. No one bakes you a cake or throws you a superhero/princess birthday party anymore.
With hubby out of town and me still being sick, I tried to find something fun for me and sort of fun for the kids. We hit the College Park Ikea! Fun for kids? Oh yes, indeed. I checked them into the Smaland kids center for an hour while I shopped with $150 worth of credit. Happy Birthday to me. Followed it up with Swedish meatballs for everyone. In the afternoon we hit the cupcake store. (I will clarify this is Edibles Incredible! at Reston Town Center that really had the biggest cupcakes I've ever seen.) Ironically, I had to fight for my favorite cupcake flavor and in the end, I was the one left cupcakeless. Oh well... My good friend Susan sent over her babysitter and took me out for dinner, in all my coughing and sneezing the mojitos still tasted yum. A perfect day!