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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happy Campers

I couldn’t let this month pass without sharing one our family’s happy places—

Our beach “home”—our camper.

Some of my favorite memories from my childhood are from family camping trips at the lake. Back then, camping involved a couple of tents, some lanterns, and a campfire. As a kid, sleeping on the ground with an ever-deflating air mattress and no air wasn’t roughing it; it was an adventure. Nobody missed having a TV because the day was packed with water and floats. What the water didn’t wash off, the showers at the bathhouse would—unless we were too sunburned to let the water hit our red skin. Grilling out, not eating out, was the way to go.

Looking back, my parents would say tents and grilling were all we could afford. Looking back, I’d say we didn’t know the difference.

Years later, our family still loves to camp, but as we’ve aged, we’ve become soft.

About ten years ago, my parents traded any prospect of ever sleeping in a tent again for an air-conditioned camper at the beach.

The camper has a kitchen, two beds, and bathroom. Over the years, they added the screened-in porch, 2 sleeper sofas, a picnic table, a boat, and a golf cart.

Over the last eight years, we’ve also added spouses and four grandchildren, and by last summer, it was obvious that the camper was reaching her capacity.

As luck would have it, in April, a camper three spots down became available (again thanks to family), and our small(er) family of four became the proud new owners of a camper of our own.

Our little camper comfortably sleeps 6 plus two pack and plays. We have our own kitchen and bathroom—even satellite TV. And because I can’t even escape laundry while on vacation, we also have a washer and dryer.

Sure, the space is still tight when the whole family is down like we were for Memorial Day weekend, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Our accommodations might have a few more creature comforts these days than they did when we were little, but the experience is still very similar. We still revel in the simple pleasures like

• Waking up and sharing a cup of coffee with my parents
• Piling on the golf cart and riding to the restaurant for a big breakfast

• Listening to my daddy give the waitress a hard time
• Moving the jelly packs away from the babies but letting them drink a creamer (or two)
• Taking countless golf carts rides to nowhere except maybe the “water”
• Packing up and heading to the beach just over the bridge and to the left right past the police station
• Taking our family boat to the sandbar or down the Waterway or to Swansboro for a little shopping
• Grilling out and enjoying some adult beverages under the trees
• Waving to the fellow campers as they pass by, especially the nosey old men
• Playing arcade games in the Clubhouse and getting pissed every time someone mentions how they took out the Ms. Pac Man machine
• Wearing flip flops or the same clothes as yesterday
• Napping because there’s nothing else I have to do
• Watching the kids eat play in the dirt just five minutes after I scrubbed them down
• Telling stories about years gone by and reminiscing about those who left us too soon
• Walking out on the pier, listening to the water lap on the shore
• Doing whatever and being happy because

We’re with family.




Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Because every day is Mother’s Day…

As I thought about the significance of this Mother’s Day, I realized it was completely appropriate that I am just now getting around to posting this year’s holiday happenings.

According to the calendar and the greeting card companies, Mother’s Day was over 2 weeks ago—only about 50 weeks until we celebrate all over again.

However, as I thought about our Mother’s Day this year, I realized this day was really no different from any other day.

For me, I learned that Mother’s Day is really every day when I take the time to celebrate motherhood by acknowledging and giving thanks for the biggest blessing of my life--my children.

So on May 13, 2012, I celebrated the day and the gift of motherhood by just being a mom.

More specifically, I was a mom who took her children to the zoo for the first time.

It certainly wasn’t your typical gift.

I didn’t get to sleep in. I didn’t get showered with gifts of flowers and jewelry. I didn’t get a gift certificate for a spa day. I didn’t get a nice meal at my favorite restaurant.

What I did get was much more precious and more cherished.

I got to see the world anew through the eyes of a child.


Emily asking to see the “piggies.”

Both of them asking for “more animals!”

Drew learning to clearly say the word “monkey”

Both of them laughing when the geyser went off.

The excited look on their faces when they finally saw the elephant on the savannah

The way they loved the chimps, giraffes, ostriches, zebras, bison, bears…

But didn’t care for the snakes, lizards, or animatronic dinosaurs

The way they were eager to ride the carousel…

Until it started to move.

Sharing a cup of Dippin’ Dots as a family as we waited for the rain to pass.

Emily and Andrew, chasing a bird back and forth, trying to grab it through the glass.

Watching Drew get more excited about the Park golf cart and shuttle buses than the exotic animals


Yes, it was the perfect gift.


PS- If my husband is reading this post, please make no mistake—Since every day is Mother’s Day to me, you can book my spa day, complete with a nap, flowers, and dinner out, for any of the next 348 days.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Looks like a little Pop-Pop

It is generally well-accepted around here that Drew is the spitting image of Marty.

I remember the first time I saw Drew, I thought, "Oh, my! He looks just like Marty!"

Want to see for yourself?

During a recent trip to my grandma's house, my sister snapped these pictures of my dad, and we all were a little amazed at the resemblance.

Here's Drew today:

And here's my daddy:


So, what do you think??

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Strawberry Farm

To the fields...


Mommy shows us how to only pick the really red ones.


Emily catches on quickly and is meticulous about making sure she doesn't pull off anything but the berry.


Drew is really interested in picking strawberries, too...


...for about 5 minutes.


Look at her bucket!


"What's that I see on your face??"


Hanging with Grandma


Taking a break...


...before moving on to the ice cream stand!


This place has it all!


Strawberries, ice cream, a SANDBOX...


...even TRUCKS!


Sweet!
































Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hope is not lost

…it just took me a while to find it again.

As April started, I looked forward to the spring with anticipation—with hope.

While the March winds had blown in darker clouds, I hoped for lighter, brighter spring days.

Ironically, I had no idea that April would bring, not showers, but a torrential downpour--of anxiety.
*****

All my life I have been a worry wart. I am the classic “what-if”/worse-case scenario/over-thinker.

That said, something happened right before I got pregnant that morphed my garden-variety worry into full-blown anxiety.

Maybe it was the infertility. Then my surgery. Or one of my closest friends being diagnosed with cancer. Then the hormone roller coaster of fertility drugs. Or the rush of pregnancy hormones. Then the exhilaration of my biggest dream coming true and the sense of complete powerlessness to control all the contingencies of a “high-risk” twin pregnancy. Or...

Whatever happened, it was the perfect storm.

And, for the last couple of years, I have fought back the storm with varying degrees of success.

If you’ve never experienced anxiety, I know it might be easy to dismiss the condition as just a case of pesky worry. Until I lived through it, I didn’t realize just how incapacitating it can be.

What is it like?

It is irrational fear that I can’t shake.

It is a boulder on my chest that I can’t move.

It is a cold, prickly sweat that I can’t wipe away.

It is physical pain that can’t be explained.

It is a thief that robs me of the very moments I am so afraid of losing.

It is a hopelessness that I just want to sleep away.


I have tried all the remedies you might expect: prayer, therapy, medicine, exercise, diet, writing, wine…

At times, the storm has quieted. I feel like my old self-- when worries would come and worries would go.

But April was not one of those times.

April was a month of battening down the hatches and settling in for the storm.

May

So April showers brought May flowers, right?

Better.

It brought me closer to family.

As the anxiety subsided, I found myself enjoying the calm after the storm.

I found myself being less withdrawn and more engaged. Mentally, I was able to be present in a way that I hadn’t been in quite some time.

And, what a beautiful time it has been!

Emily and Drew are blossoming into these super-smart, super-entertaining little people.

Every day is something new.

We’ve picked strawberries, posed for our family pictures, danced in a recital, visited the zoo, played at the park, scheduled our ear tube surgery, planned a second birthday party, learned new words and games…

While the blog posts don’t show it, I assure you--MaMe was busy creating memories.

To celebrate this month’s focus on family, I am recommitting myself to blogging for the remainder of the month. (I know. I know. It’s all of about 9 days!)

My goal is to reconnect to the most important part of my life, my family, while also reconnecting to the most important goal of this blog: documenting the story of our lives.

Enjoy the flowers after the rain.
MaMe Musings


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

When the parents are away, the children...

Friday's Daycare Report

Emily: happy, playful, trouble sharing

Drew: happy, playful, time-out- Drew bit three different friends this week.

What the....??

Okay, so I could have seen the "trouble sharing" part coming. Remember what sharing the kitchen set has looked like lately?

But biting? Biting our "friends"? And, three of them? With only 8 others in the class besides them, Drew had noshed on three of them??

These reports called for...

a weekend away for mommy and daddy.

Well, not really. But that was already the plan.

As I rushed around to pack the last of our bags for our (much-needed) couple-only weekend away, Marty nonchalently dropped these bombshell reports on me.

At this point, there were a couple of ways to view the unfortunate timing these reports.

1. In the face of toddlers behaving badly, this weekend was a perfect time to escape. We could worry about daycare on Monday. After wine. And sleep.

or

2. In the face of toddlers behaving badly, this weekend was a perfect time for Team Mommy and Daddy to regroup, recharge, and plan our response. After wine. And sleep.

Turns out, we did a little of both.

Even with wine, sleep, and time away we spent much of our time talking about...

yep, you guessed it: the kids.

We wondered if they were behaving for Aunt Windy and GG.

We repeatedly said things like, "Wouldn't Drew and Emily like ___?" and ""I can't wait until Emily and Drew are big enough to bring them here." Don't feel bad for them, though. Apparently, they had a big time hanging out at GG's store and then with the farm animals at Aunt Windy's neighbor's house.

We imitated them and said, "Who am I?" And then we would laugh.

As we enjoyed a meal with an appetizer and without high chairs, we wondered if they were eating well for Aunt Windy.

And, while we certainly didn't have any problem falling asleep at 9:30, we wondered if the babies would give Aunt Windy any trouble going to bed.

So, we escaped AND re-grouped.

Turns out, we also learned another immutable parenting truth this weekend: kids are often better for other people than they are their own parents.

We are still working on sharing, but we view it as progress that every turn is not "Emmy's turn." And, Drew has yet to bite any friends this week.

Thanks to Aunt Windy and GG for taking special care of Emily and Drew. We also thank Aunt Windy for the (above) pictures she texted us while we were away--it gave us something to talk about!
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