Here in KC

Hello there! Quick post. No pics. Maybe I’ll just post pics in the next entry for catch-up  purposes.

We are wrapping up a weekend at Andy’s folks’ house in Kansas City. We have had a great visit. The car trip out was great. We’ve made it out to eat, to a natural history museum and Legoland. We had a visit out to Grandma Vena’s apartment, and tonight Andy’s Aunt Sue and Uncle Dave made a stop through.

Reid’s been cutting his two upper eye teeth, so he’s been a bit fussier than usual and we’ve been indulging his paci (he calls it “nonny”) habit more than we normally would. Otherwise, he’s showing off all his words. In fact – new this weekend – instead of saying “Where Grampa?” he’s saying, “Where Grampa go?”

Graham’s been entertaining himself with all of Uncle Michael’s spare toys that have been left around: namely a Batman mask and superhero Pez dispensers. Amazingly he has been sleeping in Michael’s room, Reid has been sleeping in the guest room and Andy and I have been sleeping in what was his room. Let me recap that for you:

We fill every room in the upstairs of Andy’s parents’ house.

How did that happen?

Last night, we drove downtown and hung out with my cousin, Lorien, and her boyfriend Ryan. We had a great time – ate Ethiopean food (cue the Billy Crystal joke from “When Harry Met Sally”) and played games back at Lorien’s condo. It was so nice to connect and have an evening that didn’t involve wiping mouths and refilling sippy cups!

Tomorrow we leave for home. Oddly enough I have to be in Chicago tomorrow night, so I’m picking up a rental car in Iowa City and leaving the boys to drive the remainder stretch of road back to Madison themselves. I’ll drive from Iowa to Chicago to watch some focus groups, then I’ll continue the drive home to Madison afterward.

Suffice it to say, I will be quite tired tomorrow. :) Aye aye aye.

Just a quick update from here! More later!

Weekend Trips & Baby Kate

We just got home from a couple of whirlwind weekend trips. Weekend before last, we piled in the car and traversed the Wisconsin-Illinois Interstate system to visit my parents. There, we celebrated my Dad’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, got our teeth cleaned, visited with Uncle Michael & Andy got a little catch-up time with friends before we piled back in the car and headed home.

Graham conquers Uncle Michael with huge foam pirate sword

Graham conquers Uncle Michael with huge foam pirate sword,
his balloon-animal-defense never stood a chance.

*This* weekend we made the voyage to Milwaukee. The trip wasn’t without its setbacks – Baby Reid threw up in the car upon arriving to the Milwaukee airport (on our way to Atlanta, no less), we forgot a umbrella stroller necessitating arm-disintegrating strength as we carried that sweet 30-lb sack of potatoes through the airport, and Graham did minor (but not insignificant) wall damage trying to be silly for Charlie’s benefit.

But I choose not to let those things define the visit because there is a baby girl to celebrate! We got to meet sweet baby Kate and all was right with the world.

Baby Reid meets his cousin in CUTEST INTRODUCTION EVER

Baby Reid meets his cousin in CUTEST INTRODUCTION EVER

Not only that, but we got our gang back together – even if just for a little bit. We fell into the visit just like it was old times back in the Big D.

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Except there are a lot of wonderful pint-sized additions now! (And a lot more conversations ditched halfway through to rescue something or someone from certain destruction!)

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If you want to see more great pictures from the visit, go see them at Michelle’s site: www.fischandmich.com

Bonus: On Saturday night, the boys were tucked into Charlie’s bunk bed and clearly carrying on some sort of rousing conversation. I snuck upstairs and slid my phone underneath the door to capture it. (The remaining adults were downstairs laughing about an SNL skit, by the way. Haha.)

Enjoy!

Note: Sorry about the low volume, once you get it adjusted, it should be easy enough to hear. If not, then there’s always the captions! :)

Thankful

I’m sitting in a dark bedroom at the end of a long weekend at home with my family. The only sound in here is the hum of a ceiling fan and the steady rhythm of Reid’s breathing in the pack ‘n play at the foot of the bed. 

And I can’t help but feel grateful. For everything.

This time a month ago, life looked very different for us. We lived in Texas, owned a different house, worked different jobs, and the kids went to different schools. Now, day-to-day life looks very different for our little family. Still, though – my guys are with me, and joy is abundant.

We traveled home to central Illinois to stay with my mom and dad this weekend. My brothers and their families traveled in for Thanksgiving dinner. I chased, squeezed and tickled a *lot* of nephews this weekend. McKenna and I waved, smiled and batted our eyelashes at one another. (Because, girls.)

Reid has a cold, but it didn’t stop him from celebrating the heck out of his 1st birthday (4 days early) today. Erin made the most professional-looking cake for the party – shaped like the number “1”. Like seriously, this cake could have been ordered. And it is easily the best cake I’ve eaten in years.

We took so many pictures, which I’ll post in the next entry, after we get back to the apartment. 

But I come back to the sounds of this little boy’s breathing in the dark, here with me. 

We did it. We made it. One year together as a family of four. Andy and I, keeping two little boys alive all by ourselves. Sickness and health. Joy and pain. At home and on the road. 

In this year, we made some realizations about how we want to live our lives for the long term. We set a plan in motion to get back more time with family, and so far so good. I can feel it coming together – huge parts of it already have. 

Less time in the car. More time with the boys. Slower pace. Focus on family. We’re getting there, and I am so, so thankful for that.

Life’s a Beach

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve posted anything. That happens when I get busy and have totally bloggable happenings but don’t have time to write. Then, when I DO have time to write, I put all this pressure on myself to keep things in chronological order so I intend to write one massive post that does nothing justice. Then I’m like, “I don’t have time for that either,” and then I write nothing.

But I’m throwing all that out the window because these pictures aren’t going to post themselves!!

We’re on vacation, y’all. We met up with my folks; Michael, Rose and their kids; and Tony, Erin and their kids in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. We’re holing up in some beachfront condos and logging some major water time and some epic naps too.

Here we are on travel day:

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Finally outgrew the height limit on his infant carseat. They actually looked like this, this morning. Getting everything sized right before installation.

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Since we’ve arrived, the kids have sort of been in this constant state of euphoria. Baby Reid and I stayed around the condo most of the day the first day.

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Graham has been repeating the phrase, “I’m having so much fun!” and, if he’s not around his cousins, he constantly asks where they are and what they’re doing.

He’s learning tons from Grandpa too. Grandpa was snacking on oyster crackers from a coffee mug the first night when Graham was saying goodnight to everyone. And guess what’s the first thing Graham wanted to do when he woke up the next morning?

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Hint: it involved oyster crackers and a coffee mug.

Been having a great time getting reacquainted with each other. Catching up, telling stories and getting some sun in the process. :)

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The Last Night

It’s the last night of our little beach getaway weekend. Tomorrow morning, as the rest of the world gets up and prepares to go into work, we’ll be shoving still-damp towels into grocery sacks, looking under couches and beds for missing toys and trying to make our suitcases close despite all our unfolded dirty laundry.

It has been a great vacation.

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Baby Reid and I had our share of hotel room time. Just keeping up with baby needs. Thank goodness for balconies with beach views. :)

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Graham was our little beach rat. And I mean that in the absolute best sense. He *loves* the sand, the waves. Galveston has a great beach for little kids. The beach’s grade is so gradual that Graham could be 15 feet from water’s edge and still only be knee-deep. The waves were perfect. Graham enjoyed “crashing” them, and the water was just tame enough that we could enjoy watching him without having to hover and worry when his head would go under.

The atmosphere down here is pretty Florida-like. Lots of palm trees, which was pretty exciting for our Graham, because one of his favorite books right now, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, is about a coconut tree.

He called them “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” trees. Love that kid.

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Dig those bunk beds, right? That’s one of the reasons we picked this place. :)

It’s been a simple weekend, but restorative. Looking forward to getting back home with some fresh reserves. But first, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a balcony with night sea breeze calling my name. :)