Saturday, June 30, 2012

Our Week at the Shore...Part Two!

I wanted to write about "Homecoming" - but it's not about the day we came home from our week long vacation.  Being away for a week with my Mom felt like coming home to me.  I wish I had been in a better "place" emotionally last week, but if I was going to be anything but "perfect"...I was so grateful it was with my Mom.  We had, at least I think, a great rhythm.  We knew when to talk - and when to be quiet.  If we were doing something with the kids and she wanted to do something else (which wasn't often!) - it was no big deal.  It was relaxed and comforting...and just what I needed.  Sometimes you just need your Mommy.  And I happen to have the best one.

Last Sunday, I wrote about Brian's terrible boat ride experience.  Click here to refresh your memory.  Well, he steered clear of those boats for the rest of the week.  But then...on the last day...he was REDEEMED!!
We went to the boardwalk in the afternoon so it wasn't crowded at all.  Brian was able to choose his boat (purple this time!) and there was NO threat of anyone ringing his bell.  WHEW!  As you can see, he was kinda happy...

Gavin and I went on the Merry Go Round that last day, too!  He always impresses me with how he sits tall and holds himself up.  The smile rarely leaves his face.

 Brian decided to watch from the sidelines with Ed

When we got off the ride, my Mom mentioned that she loved seeing Gavin press his cheek up against mine.  He does that when we're on the Merry Go Round - he leans in with his cheeky grin and presses his face up against mine.  It's almost like he's saying "Thanks, Mommy!" and it gets me every time.

I have had a silly tradition with the boys over the past few years.  Whenever we go to the boardwalk, I get a photo booth picture of us.  It started when I was pregnant with Gavin - Ed and I took a weekend trip to the beach and brought home a photo strip.  My hope is to one day put them all in chronological order in a big frame.  For some reason it makes me so happy.  This year was the most challenging yet with two squirmy (and silly!) little boys!!  But here they are!

We tried to do a family shot - but all of us have giant heads so that won't work.  Ever.

So we stuck with the Mommy and Gavin shot...

...and the Mommy with her little monkey shot.

The week ended and we drove home after dinner.  My Mom and I in one car with the boys...and Ed in his car (with the big equipment like the crib and the highchair).  Gavin and Brian slept most of the way home - and then went right to sleep when we got them in their own beds.  I didn't have Miss Sara come the next day.  To be honest - and this is no disrespect to Mom, my husband, my children, or Sara...but I was tired of being "on".  It is exhausting to always have an audience and feel like you need to be happy and smiling and talkative and...blah, you get the idea.  The day after we came home was the biggest release for me.  I think I cried most of the day - I didn't get out of my pajamas - didn't answer the phone - and I even took a nap.  I was physically and emotionally drained.  There was mountains of laundry and unpacking and cleaning to do, too.  I was just grateful to be alone with the boys - who, truth be told, watched a LOT of TV that day.

I think I'm still processing what happened.  It's sunk in - but it hasn't.  If you can't relate to wanting to carry and give birth to a child - then insert any "dream" you have had all your life.  Or something you've longed to 'accomplish' before it's too late.  It could be anything.  Then imagine that is ripped away from you.  It's not easy!!

Over the past couple weeks I've had some pretty bizarre (and rude, if you ask me) things said to me.  In person and online.  The worst was the person who said that "Gavin and Brian looked 100% caucasian.  Should Ed be worried?  I mean they don't look Chinese at all.  Are you hiding something??"  Seriously?  Who has the steel balls to say something like that to someone??  I was speechless - and devastated.  Or the other person who insinuated that we must have used a donor to conceive the boys since they didn't look Chinese (listen - I don't know what to tell you about that) so why we aren't adopting a child is just awful.  

Comments like these (and I could go on...believe me) aren't helpful.  In case you were wondering.

I don't know what the future holds.  But there's one thing you can be sure of.  I love my family and I'm so very grateful to spend each day with Ed, Gavin and Brian.  

Friday, June 29, 2012

Our Week at the Shore...Part One!

We're back!!  I can't believe that my last blog entry was Monday.  I didn't intend to not write all week...but I did intend to not push myself to do anything just because I felt I "should."  That includes writing, picture taking, going to the beach again - all of it.  Shocking, right?

So now I'm overwhelmed.  Miss Sarah is back today so I've come up to my bedroom for a little while to have some time alone while she plays with the boys downstairs.  I'm trying to figure out how to summarize our trip and share the photos and videos without boring the crap out of all of you.  Wish me luck with that.  I've set aside 36 photos and videos.  Can you handle it??  I can assure you that each one is worth it!!

First, I want to say thank you again (and again.  and again.  and then some more.) to our friends, Elayne and Geoff, for offering their beautiful home to us this week.  We felt so pampered!!  We were steps from the boardwalk (where we went every single night!) and the beach (where we did NOT go any other days this week, thank God.)

And we were so happy to have my Mom with us for this trip. 

 It was the longest she's ever spent with all three of my boys.  I was so happy that she had time to really "get to know" Gavin and Brian and see their personalities.

And let's face it...I think every daughter wants their Mommy to see them "Mommying."  She is my Mommy inspiration, so getting validation from her this week that I was doing a pretty okay job was the best feeling in the world.

At this point I don't even remember what day we did what...what days we were where...what my name is...and how to survive without night time boardwalk fun.  But there are a few things I do remember.  Here we go...

The rainy day cliffhanger.  

I had lots of great suggestions of things to do on that rainy Monday.  By the time we had a couple ideas we liked and got close to thinking about possibly planning something - BOOM - it was naptime.  For all of us.  Brian slept for four hours that day!  That meant we were VERY rested for a fun night at the boardwalk.  Up until that night, Brian was not at all interested in the rides.  I wanted him to lead...and if he never went on a ride, that was okay.  That evening we were standing inside one of the amusement areas when I felt a tug.  "Mama, I want to go on that," as he pointed up into the sky.  I didn't even look to see what it was...I just said "Ok - let's go!"  It ended up to be a "Raiders of the Lost Ark" type of obstacle course.  You can see their promotional video here.  It started with a rope ramp that Brian was too afraid to climb.  So I climbed this thing for both of us - lifting him up as I went.  Then we had to contend with a blow up slide that I was sincerely worried I wouldn't fit in.  Brian stood on the platform staring at it - refusing to get in.  

We had few options.  He had to either go down that slide...or I'd have to carry him back down that rope ladder.  Or the fire department could send up a ladder (which was sounding really good at that moment).  We let lots of kids go in front of us as we stood on that platform.  Finally he announced that he was ready - but Mommy first.  Oh boy.  What if I went down...and he wouldn't follow me?  I decided to take the chance and I bounced down (slowly).  It literally felt like I was being squeezed out of the birth canal...definitely not for the claustrophobic types! The good news?  Brian came bouncing down after me...laughing and smiling.  

And when he got to the bottom he jumped up and down and said "I did it!  I did it, Mama!!" 

He ran across the rickety rope bridge.  

He flew down the long (and very high!) slide.

And when he came out at the very end, he was SO full of the best way.

From that was all over.  He had found his confidence - and he remained that way for the rest of the week.  Each day after - several times a day, actually - he'd remind me of that obstacle course and how he did it "all by himself."  He was so proud.  And so was I.  Oh, and I made it all the way through, too.  Barely!

I was so happy that he wanted to go on the cars with his brother after that.  They had a great time on these cars over the whole week!  As you'll see on the video, Gavin was THRILLED to have his personal driver back.  His smile says it all...

The boys went on the Helicopters next with Daddy.  There's nothing sweeter than seeing the Dad's cram themselves into a small ride with their little kids.

Brian announced that he wanted to go on the Helicopters by himself after that, which was such a big deal!  

The next day I successfully distracted everyone from the whole beach idea (whew!) by suggesting we go to the Cape May County Zoo.  I had heard it was a nice zoo...but I never expected it to be THIS nice!  None of us did!  It's absolutely a hidden treasure in New Jersey - and I learned that TripAdvisor named it the number 3 Zoo in the Country on their Top Ten list!!

We spent much of the day there and maybe got to see half of the zoo.  We will definitely go back again - hopefully this summer!  It was the most beautiful zoo (with lots of shade!) that I've ever been to.  The boys enjoyed the animals and their picnic lunch there!

Brian was thrilled that they had a Toucan - one of his favorite animals!

And Gavin was excited to see the Goats - especially when they walked right up to where he was!

Brian was intrigued by the pigs - and wondering why they weren't green like they are on Angry Birds games.

Ed is giving Brian a better view of the Giraffes in the Safari section of the zoo.

After we left the zoo, we went further up the road to the town of Cape May.  I had always wanted to see Cape May - and my Mom was happy to give me a tour.  Cape May is a very sentimental place to her and my Father.  My siblings and I used to gift our parents with a trip to Cape May to stay at "The Angel of the Sea" Bed and Breakfast.  It was nice to see it in person!

We also went to Sunset Beach where my Dad would enjoy a moving flag ceremony at sunset.  We had a late lunch and some ice cream at a beachside grille.

We looked out over the water - and a sunken ship - and I think we were all missing my Dad.

I had thought ahead and decided we should take two cars that day, and I'm glad we did.  After we ate, Ed took the boys back to the house for naps...and my Mom and I went to a little town called Stone Harbor to do some shopping.

When we got home, I noticed that Gavin had sprouted a rash on his arm!  Ed had said that the sheet we used to cover their rug (to shield Gavin from the dog hair) had moved and Gavin was laying there.  We thought it was from the dog hair - but when it happened again when we were out in the heat, I thought it was something else.  My body used to be covered (and I mean covered) in itchy welts like this when I'd go out in the sun.  The combination of the sun and perspiration was the culprit.  (It got me out of a lot of outdoor gym classes in school!  Woot!)  I think Gavin might be following in my footsteps - poor kid.

That evening we met up with my sister, brother in law and their triplets, Shannon, Brendan and Claire, on the boardwalk!  They had come down the day before.  

They watched the boys go on rides...and then I went on a ride with them.  A very regrettable decision that had me feeling wobbly and nauseous the rest of the night.  I went on THIS.  Never, ever again.

We watched Shannon play some virtual soccer...

...and then watched Brendan play virtual football.

Brendan was sweet to let Brian come in and help him play soccer, which was really adorable.

Brian had fun playing arcade games with Ed - or was it the other way around?  Ed LOVES arcades!!

Stay tuned for more tomorrow!  I'll be writing about redemption, tradition and homecoming.  And I'll fill you in on my current state.  I think you've been overloaded with enough today.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Beach Bum...

Yesterday was another fun day at the beach!

Okay - I'm lying.  I can't take it anymore.  The beach, I mean.  I have to be real - I am NOT a beach person.  Never was - likely never will be.  Besides being ghostly white (by birth and by choice!) I just don't like the sand and the hot sun...which pretty much comprises the beach experience.  So, when you add lots of equipment - pulling a stroller through the sand - trying to keep Gavin's sandy hands from going in his eyes (stress!!) - reminding Brian not to throw or kick sand - screaming and running to rescue Gavin when his stroller (that he was in!) tipped over and fell sideways into the sand - it's confirmation that you are all...a beach girl.  

But - there's one thing I am.  A proud beach Mommy.  I can deal with all the stress of getting ready to go there, getting there, being there, packing up to leave there and cleaning up at home because of this:

Watching Gavin enjoy the ocean makes it all worth it.  He was more daring yesterday...even taking a few waves to the face!

Lucky for me, I have two kids that don't like staying on the beach that long.  After about a half hour in the water, Gavin is exhausted.  And after playing in the sun and getting red in the face from the heat - Brian is under the umbrella asking for cold milk and to go home.

Thank God for small favors.

So once home, we rest up before a night on the boardwalk.  Brian was happy drawing and practicing his letters.

And Gavin was happy with his toys.  We put one of our king size sheets over their rug - the dog hair was giving Gavin a rash and the sheet was the perfect barrier!  

After dinner we headed to the boardwalk.  Would we have fun?  Would Brian go on the rides tonight?  Would Gavin enjoy the fire trucks?  Would Brian let Granny have a turn at Skee Ball?

Only Zoltar knows.

We saw a real, live Angry Bird outside a store!!  I brought Gavin up to encourage Brian to follow...

...but this is as close as he'd get.

Gavin and Brian were so encouraging and patient with each other.  Gavin sat patiently and laughed and smiled watching Brian play games in the arcade.

And Brian cheered from the side watching his big brother on the rides.

The highlight for me is always watching Gavin on the rides.  It's something I'll never get used to... 

...every time is like the first time for this proud Mommy.

I would be lying if I didn't tell you I've had waves of sadness.  I'm also dealing with a very shall I say this delicately..."time of the month" which is just a reminder that - DUH - I'm not pregnant.  But trust's really hard to be miserable around these boys.  Just look at that photo of Gavin on the firetruck again - I dare you not to smile.

Today it is pouring rain.  I've been trying to figure out what to do with our day all morning...and as I look out the window at rain coming down sideways, it might just be a "hang out and watch movies all day" kind of day.  We'll see.

Stay tuned...

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