27 May 2015

Memorial Day Weekend (A road trip and scenes from my iPhone)

About a week ago at the dinner table, Andy and I chatted about some of the things we used to do before we had kids, things we enjoyed then somehow stopped making time for. It was a small list comprised of things like going for runs together, road trips, watching a movie on a work night, etc.  And we knew it wasn’t the babies who were getting in the way of these things; it was basically just us feeling limited or lazy or TIRED, tired allllll the time.  We also realized that with each child, the temptation to never leave the house again just grows.  So we got all brave and excited and booked a hotel in Hilton Head, well, two hotels because most were already booked for the holiday weekend.   We packed all the STUFF and planned to leave early Friday morning.  There is no greater packing list than the ones for babies and beaches. It’s blows my mind, all three postpartum brain cells I have left.    

We were on the road early.  We got coffees and filled the car with gas.  Brite slept, as she tends to do.  And Marin yelled “Fwuck!” with each passing truck.  Oh baby pronunciations, how I wuv you.  We stopped for lunch in Macon then jumped in the car for the last three-hour leg of the trip.  Oh, and there was screaming.  But we knew there would be, so we just tried to tend to the needs and stay the course…with out “uh, you think she is hungry again?” And “C’mon, let’s pull over.” We were more like “She just ate and burped…she is fine.” Bam. 

At one point there was an amazing and magical game of crying ping pong going on back there.  One would scream and wake the other; then the other would scream out of frustration for being woken up.  Imagine that lovely hour and a half.  Marin eventually got over the fact that she was only getting a twenty minute nap instead of her usual hour, and Brite eventually settled too.  We drove across the bridge to the island with the windows down and happy babies. 
We checked into our hotel. Marin ran into the room chatting about her “seaside holiday” with hotel wonderment.  She jumped on the beds and climbed on the couches.  She dialed random numbers on the phone by the bed. “Uh oh, Mommy, man on phone.  Uh oh.” Oops, haha.  What is a hotel stay with out a prank call or two anyway? 

That night we walked to a nearby restaurant and sat in a shady spot outside.  There was live music and a setting sun. Marin drank her weight in chocolate milk. Andy and I split a rum and coke.  We danced in our seats to “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Chicken Fried.”  After dinner we attempted a walk to the beach but turned around once Andy discovered it was a mile and a half walk with a toddler who wanted to be carried the WHOLE way.  We decided to drive instead.   

We pulled up to the beach and let Marin run her heart out.  She was the most joyful and free I’ve ever seen her, and that does something to a mama’s heart.  I never watched the ocean less.  She was phenomenal out there.  We stayed for an hour before Andy ended up giving a soaked toddler his shirt.  With two shivering comrades, we were off to warm showers and bedtime. 

I woke up early to get ready for the day and find coffee.  We took the morning slow, packed up our things and headed to the beach.  Everything about getting to the actual sand and shore was a process, Andy took the tent and bags while I nursed the baby and Marin pushed every button in the car.  The four of us walked to the beach together on a record breaking windy day.  Another record broken…the amount of time a toddler can play with a single solitary sand bucket.  It was pure joy for her and pure joy for us to watch.   We are still learning our daily rhythm with two kids at home, so a day at the beach felt like a gold medal in some sort of parenting triathlon. We played and dodged sand storms for three hours.  It was glorious.

After the beach, we made our way to our second hotel, which happened to be beach front. Hip hip hooray!  We toyed with the idea of driving to dinner, but opted for room service on our balcony, running on the beach, and swimming instead.  We ended the night with swimming and watched Marin wear her floaties and swim on her “OWN!” Imagine legs moving like a frog, but not in synchrony.  Precious and hilarious.  The choice bribe for getting her out of the pool was ice cream.  She gobbled it down while Andy got the remaining luggage from the car.  We ended the day with salty skin and hair, ice cream covered lips, and worn out muscles. 

This road trip will always be one of my favorites.  It wasn’t just a road trip; it was the four of us learning to go on adventures, no matter how much STUFF and SNACKS and screaming there might be to get there.  
I could cry that I get to keep the memory of it.  Perfect.  Oh and not a single baby scream on the drive home…amazing.   

09 May 2015


Andy and I are chronic prepare-ers, at least in the realm of our kids (whoa plural). And this tendency of ours, whether good or bad (verdict is still out), went into full swing when we started discussions about how best to prepare Marin for her baby sister. Through out my pregnancy she has shown warm feelings about the baby, always touching or kissing my belly and praying for "baby bite" at prayer time, but we weren't exactly sure how it would play out when Brite arrived. After all, there is only so much preparing you can do for these little ones. The rest is in their hands.

We had planned for Daddy and Marin to come to the hospital to pick up mom and baby. We wanted to leave as a family and arrive home as a family, all for one and one for all.
They knocked on the door to my hospital room, Marin with her look of apprehension peeking through the door frame. I tried my best to hide that my eyes were filling with tears. She looked so grown up all of a sudden. She looked like I had been away for months. I missed her. And nothing makes you see how big your baby has gotten than holding a new one in your arms. I could write for days on this, but I'll spare you some of the tales from the hormone diaries.

I had Brite positioned on the bed where she would be eye level for big sister. And after hugs, cuddling and a small tour of my tiny hospital bathroom to appease some crazy toddler fascination, I walked Marin over to the bed and told her we had someone very special for her to meet. I couldn’t help but hope I was witnessing two best friends meeting for the first time. Time would tell.
And there it was. The biggest grin, a small squeal of some kind and a "Baby Bite!"

She had done it again...amazed us with her lovely little heart. We asked her if she wanted to hold her baby sister and she responded with a high pitched "uh huh!" She wiggled her way into the hospital rocking chair, adjusted her legs, and stretched out her arms. She looked as ready and prepared as she did a couple weeks prior with that birthday candle.  It was like someone had taught her these small skills that we had overlooked or she had simply figured it out on her own. She was ready to hold baby sister. We layed Brite in her arms and Marin looked up at us with a huge smile and finger pointing at little sister "look, baby Bite!"

We signed discharge papers and were wheeled down the hospital hallways while Brite screamed and Marin cried with concern for baby sister. Andy and I looked at each other and the beautiful little circus of ours that was drawing all sorts of attention. What an amazing moment of total blissful exhaustion and anticipation. We snapped two in car seats, just before the nurse asked if we wanted to squeeze in the back with them. "Nope, they'll be alright."
Both girls were asleep before we hit the highway. And the car was peaceful...

...Until Brite started screaming and we pulled over for Andy to jump in the back, squeezed to a pulp by sandwiching car seats.

 Let the adventure begin.