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Over the weekend, we went (extreme) apple picking and had a chance to enjoy the fall foliage and hang out with a bunch of friends. Because everyone in Northern NJ and Manhattan had the same idea, we sat in Country Critters!grueling traffic all afternoon on our way to the orchard. Masker Orchards, tucked away in the Hudson Valley in Warwick, NY is our “usual spot.” As the crowd has grown, so has the penchant for all things extreme.
Because, you know, it’s not enough to just drive up to a serene apple orchard and pick quietly. To fully grasp the whole experience, one should offroad in the orchard, sometimes picking apples through the sunroof. This is one of the 5 times a year that we actually get use out of our 4wd—-money well spent. Apple picking is always a good time, and I’m so glad we were able to go.

Jack had a playmate, which was so awesome. Jack loved Tommy, our good friends’ 2 year old nephew. The two kids didn’t do as much apple picking, but had fun turning baby apples into makeshift balls. Jack felt the need to slobber and bite every single apple that was within reach, leaving his little baby bite marks on one too many apples!
Tommy and JackTommy and Jack

extremeapplepicking 049Surrounded by so many buildings and not enough trees, I always forget what the landscape outside of the city environment looks like. Despite the headache-inducing traffic, it was well worth the drive to take in the fall festivities and spend time with good friends.

Now, it’s time to bake with all those apples with bite marks!

Jack’s slowly but surely shaking this URI, though still hacking and sneezing more often than not. He lost a few pounds, but is definitely working back to that hearty appetite of his.

I finally got around to organizing my photos and thoughts about Jack’s first birthday, so I thought I’d share.

Jack's 1st Birthday Party

The boy’s birthday itself was definitely a momentous occasion for our little family. It not only marked a year into this funny adventure called parenthood, but it was a time to reflect on Jack’s colorful first year.

As we do for big holidays and occasions, we did the 350 mile trek down to VA to celebrate with family and friends. Because our life here in NJ has been so hectic with work and the pending transition, I quite honestly didn’t do too much to prepare for this shindig. While I love entertaining and partying in general, Jeff and I agreed that we are in that school of thought where over-the-top orchestrated parties should be reserved for bigger kids aka the non-shoe-eating crowd. To each his own, but for us, the drive down, alone, was a financial and time investment, not to mention a physical and mental sacrifice for the three of us.

The party was much like family parties that we’ve had in the past, except this one was all about our boy! There wasn’t really a theme per se—well unless you count exuberant chaos as a theme. I invited family members from both sides and a handful of friends in the area. Overall, it was an overwhelming turnout. From high school buddies and their kids to various giggling aunts, so many people came out to celebrate. The food, like most of our family parties, was abundant. We all ate, drank, watched Jack play with cake and cheered for cool little boy toys.

The birthday boy, much like his mom, was not the greatest at being the center of attention. Ok, so he hated all the attention. He whined and cried more times than I care to admit, but he absolutely adored being around all those kids. I know it’s so cliche to say, but Jack really wasn’t himself on his birthday. As I tried to grasp his crankiness, I told friends that he “realized” how much he missed my mom, which could’ve been the reason he lost his mind every time she left the room. Or, it could’ve been the big crowd or it could’ve been he was exhausted from the drive down. Who knows? There were times when I couldn’t even console him! He didn’t cry the whole day, he was just obviously having an “off” day.

Cranky pants aside, it was a fun day, thanks to our many friends and family. (Thanks again to all of you that came out! As I’ve learned over this past year: always expect the unexpected, even if it includes a sometimes uncooperative birthday boy. I’ll say it again, but I definitely look forward to celebrating holidays and birthdays in the state that we reside—wherever we end up! Wouldn’t that be something to celebrate?

A year ago today, I started out the day looking a LOT like this and ended looking more like that.  Despite my obtuse exterior, I truly had no idea how much my heart–OUR hearts–would grow that very next day.

As summer fades to fall and we start putting away the shorts and pulling out the long sleeves, our family is inevitably going through a transition of our own.   As much as I possibly can, I’m savoring the last few days as the baby phase officially winds down.

But alas, with a kid whose nose is like a running faucet and the overwhelming temperament to match, the past few days have been hard to enjoy.  Like most families with kids in daycare/childcare outside the home know, if your kid appears contagious, he or she is banned!  Since Jeff’s been working crazy hours and I’m faced with monthly deadlines (my last for this publication!) the daycare logistics have been less than desirable.  Jack has been with me at work 1.5 days this week, home with me another and home with Jeff for half a day.    In those movies where they glamorize magazine editors, they don’t show the part where their baby completely MELTS DOWN on Park Avenue during lunch hour for every Suit on the east side to see.  To get even more graphic, since I wear black almost every day, I’ve started to look like a walking chalkboard– you know, with the runny nosed, clingy kid and all.

And to think, I once considered black a forgiving color!

But, it is what it is, right?

In a few hours, we’ll be on our way to Va. to celebrate Jack’s first birthday with family!  Yippeee and ughhhh!  And quite honestly, it’ll be, what we hope, the last major celebratory event outside of the state in which we live—aside from major holidays, of course.  Interpret it how you will, but times are a changin’.

We’re throwing a smallish family party on Saturday at Lola and Lolo’s house.  And from the looks of it, we may have the tailend of a storm for even more excitement!  Cross your fingers that it won’t rain!  Of all the things that haven’t been working out in my favor, I hope my kid’s party will be spared!  We are not driving 700 miles just to have waterlogged Lumpia and soggy cake!!

Either way, it’ll be a happy day!!  I can’t believe our boy is going to be 1!

All the hype about Chicago? Yeah, so worth it.

Let me just preface this recap by telling you what my agoraphobic-non-city-loving husband told me: “I almost like Chicago more than NYC.”

Can you imagine? Almost!??

At first, I felt like saying, how dare you question your loyalty to NYC.

But you know what? As much as NYC has become a part of our family, I’m so glad to have finally visited Chi-Town. I almost get what he was saying…

Oh Chicago. How much do we love thee? Let me count the ways!
Chicago
Quite honestly, we were only in Chicago for 2 days, but we totally fell in love. And one of those days shouldn’t really count. On the first day, as we were out gallivanting at the Navy Pier, we got stuck outside during a torrential downpour. It turns out, while we were seeking higher ground and getting drenched, Jeff, his dad, brother and nephew were at Wrigley Field.

Apparently, tornado sirens sounded, the stadium had to be evacuated and well, the rest is history. As Jeff reminded me the other night, “You know I’m going to tell my Wrigley story until the day I die.”Chicago Children's Museum

He’s so not kidding, folks.

Before the tornado craziness, we had a chance to check out the Chicago Children’s Museum. That was fun! It wasn’t as Chicago-centric as I had hoped, but it was still a fun place to visit. One of the best aspects about the CCM was the Target Free First Monday. (And they say nothing in life is free.) I loved the Treehouse Trails– a nature-inspired exhibit. Jack in the Waterways exhibitBut of course, Jack loved the WaterWays water exhibit–a little too much. Jack loved the exhibit almost as much as Barack!

On the next day, after the storm passed, we set out to see the city. We walked down Magnificent Mile a bit and then met up with my dear friend from high school, Kathleen. Oh Kathleen. Kathleen took us to a very cool historic Chicago eatery, Berghoff–an old cafe that was in the basement level of a fancier sit down restaurant. Meeting up with Kathleen and introducing my family to her was serendipitous in ways…well, not for me, but for Jeff. As we were catching up with each other’s lives, Jeff was beside himself after one sip of his beer. “THIS IS IT!”

What was it? Jeff “found” the beer that he loved from his grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary–12 years ago. I suppose it was happenstance that my dear high school friend took us to a cool Chicago joint, that so happened to be the namesake restaurant for this long lost beer. Good friend, good eats, good beer=good stuff.

Kathleen took us around that area a bit more, and we had a chance to see Millennium Park up close and personal. As far as city parks go, Millennium Park is amazing. I’m a big fan of Central Park, but this 24.5-acre park rocks in its own way. Its website touts the park as “an award-winning center for art, music, architecture and landscape design.” That’s an understatement, btw.

The Pavilion, called the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, was one of the most incredible outdoor concert venues I’ve ever seen. It has web of outdoor speakers, and the outer “shell” itself, was a piece of art.speakers at Millenium ParkPavilion in Chicago Chicago Symphony

As if all that wasn’t cool enough, we had a chance to sit in on the Chicago Symphony Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra’s practice session, along with throngs of other tourists, of course. As always, Jack did his little jig to the music. Our visit to the Pavilion at Millennium Park provided a fun (free) dose of cultural activity. If it wasn’t so painfully hot, I’m sure we would’ve stayed even longer!

After listening to a bit of the symphony, Kathleen led us to Cloud Gate, otherwise known as “The Bean.” The Bean is described as

Anish Kapoor’s first public outdoor work installed in the United States. The 110-ton elliptical sculpture is forged of a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates, which reflect the city’s famous skyline and the clouds above.

The Bean
It was perhaps one of the coolest outdoor sculptures I’d ever seen. In a way it reminded me of the Elsa Peretti Tiffany Bean, but on a much grander scale. Besides the humidity that day, it was also one of the most perfect days to view it. It was sunny, bright and the sky was filled with clouds. The reflection on the Bean lived up to its official name, and every inch reflected something spectacular. The Bean- reflectionAnyone that appreciates the beauty of a skyline would appreciate an installation like this! We walked beneath the sculpture, to check out the curvature of the Bean. The concave shape of the underside created some unreal reflections. I was able to walk backwards in my paparazzi-like way and catch a glimpse of Jeff’s head. It’s dizzying but very cool. Because Jack loves “the baby in the mirror,” this art installation naturally, was a huge hit!

Jeff under the Bean
The baby in the Bean
As we made our way out of the park, Kathleen was telling us all about this really cool wade pool– something we know all about. The Crown Fountain, as its officially called, was a juxtaposition of wet, frolicking children in a reflection pool.

Crown Fountain, ChicagoCrown Fountain, Chicago

The backdrop on either end were fountains that project various faces on these huge LED screens. It was an interactive fountain in the true sense of the word and as the website describes, they were also a reference to the traditional use of gargoyles in fountains, where faces of mythological beings were sculpted with open mouths to allow water, a symbol of life, to flow out.

After a beautiful afternoon with Kathleen, it was Jack’s naptime so we bid adieu to my good friend. We retreated back to the hotel for a bit, in time to get ready to meet up even more loved ones!

Jack, Uncle Cesar and ChristineWe had the chance to meet up with my uncle (my dad’s cousin) and his daughter, Christine. This is the first time I’d met my second cousin and the first time either of them met Jack. We learned that Christine is quite the budding DJ and has mixed at various big venues, including one in Manila. We had dinner at Pizano’s and enjoyed the deliciousness of real Chicago Deep Dish pizza. Nothing goes together better than good food and family! Speaking of family, I keep nudging my bro, John, and telling him he’d love Chicago. Who knows? Maybe he’ll go and love it, just like I imagine he would!

Due to the insane weather upon our arrival, sadly, I missed out on seeing a few friends. But luckily, I DID get to see one of my BFFs from jr. high (!). Oh, Vicky B. Liz, Vicky, me and JackHow I missed you, my dear friend. After several plan changes, Vicky agreed to meet me and the boys at the airport on our way out of town. What a reunion that was! Vicky and I have been friends since I think we were 12 or 13. With the advent of the internet and social media, we’ve been able to keep in touch.

And like I’ve said before, good friends, no matter how long you’re apart, always pick up where you left off.

With that, I’ve decided that Chicago is now our good friend. We’re hoping to go back again soon, and this time, to experience even more (minus the tornado sirens)…and pick up right where we left off.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for us with the traveling, catching up and resuming our daily craziness.  Jack isn’t quite back to his normal routine yet.  Just when I thought he was settling back in, the poor kid woke up with a stuffy nose.  No fever, just a clogged up nose.  With that stuffy nose, he almost sounds like his father when he snores!

Since I finally got around to doing 4 loads of laundry tonight, memories of our trip came flooding back.  We went to Wisconsin for Jeff’s (extended) family reunion, and what a time it was!  So, here’s my synopsis of our Midwest travels.
On the road again
Traveling with Jack this time around was much more seamless. The shorter flight, extra set of hands and morning departure worked out in our favor. The 2hr. car ride from Chicago to WI, however, not so seamless. I ended up having to hop in the backseat because Jack was in hysterics for half of the ride probably because he was so restrained all day long!  Lesson learned:  with small children in tow, direct flights are the way to go.
Once we finally made it to WI, we saw all the east coast family at the hotel and had fun hanging out and catching up.
Friday Night Fish Fry
The first night, we went out to dinner– Friday Night Fish Fry. From what I understand, this is a big thing in the Midwest. Not sure what other areas do it, but it’s pretty prevalent in this part of Wisconsin. This was my 2nd experience at Friday Night Fish Fry.  It’s exactly what it sounds like– the family gathering and enjoying a smorgasbord of fried fish and other goodness.
Later that night after we got the babies to sleep, all of the adult cousins got together at the “Uptown Bar.” We enjoyed the the $5.75 PITCHERS of beer. Jeff and I couldn’t get over the price difference. In Hoboken and moreso in NYC, often times, you can’t get a single drink under $6. Jeff was like a “pig in shit”  (As he likes to say.)  Beer for EVERYONE!

Saturday was the best day of the whole weekend. We all made it out to the family farm, where 2 of Jeff’s uncles still live. The farm was turned into acres and acres of wildlife refuge.The trails
Jeff’s uncle maintains the property and it is gorgeous! I can’t even begin to verbalize the beauty of the wide open spaces. We had a catered pig roast, lots of beer, wine and booze and plenty of ATV riding and exploring the property. All the kids–young and old–took turns riding the ATVs and getting a taste of life on the farm.  Because of location, we don’t get to see these relatives all that often, so it was such a wonderful day to spend with family. It was a great opportunity to introduce Jack to WI and a few new PA relatives. But to see Jeff channel his country boy side was quite the sight. He had so much fun riding those ATVs and doing what boys do.

Country boys...It was a well planned party and a much needed reunion. It’s so interesting to see how each sibling has lived their life and followed different paths, and then of course, seeing their children and grandchildren who are the products of those paths they’ve chosen. From the photos, you can tell that we’re from all different walks of life, but certainly bound by common denominators. Such is the beauty of family.

As they always say, family seems to get together for weddings and more weddings. I’m so glad this gathering had a much different motive –family togetherness– and one that I hope we all get to do again!

Chicago recap is next up!

The boys and I are back from our last major trip for the summer. After almost a week away, we’re finally back from our Midwest travels. As we’re getting back into our daily groove, I just thought I’d post a little update as I organize photos, memories and lament all that damn laundry.
After hours of ATV-riding, gazing at wild flowers at the farm, hanging out with family, lugging the kid to countless places to see many new faces, finding ourselves stranded in tornado-like weather and more, together with Jeff’s entire family, we experienced the Midwest at its best and worst.
The most important part is, we all convened at the family farm and enjoyed the much-anticipated family reunion. We couldn’t have asked for a better day: The weather on Saturday was perfect. The time with family was priceless. Everything came together so nicely. Without a doubt, I know good times were had by all.

More photos and recaps to come.

Lots of cheeseMore traveling!cornfieldmore fields
barnNeighboring barn

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.  The boys and I had a relaxing weekend enjoying the neighborhood, as well as our backyard– NYC.  After Jack calmed down from a rough start on Saturday morning, we went into Great Lawn the City to meet my cousin’s fiance, Jason who is in town visiting his brother.  This was the first time Jason and Jeff had met, but as Jason said, thanks to the internet and from our stories, it’s like they already knew each other.  We had a chance to relax and stroll around in Central Park, and eventually found our way to the green urban oasis, otherwise known as the Great Lawn. It’s always cool “escaping” the cacophony of the city and retreating on the luscious lawn.  While people played softball and picnicked, we all chatted and watched Jack flirt with nearby baby girls.  It was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Once we got home, we made it back in time for the last night of our church’s feast.  St. Ann’s Feast, in many ways, goes hand in hand with so much of our life here in NJ.  In its 98th year, the feast has so much history and tradition, but at the same time, therst.ann's feaste’s a sense of newness to the congregation, which, I thought, could be conveyed through the diversity of the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds.  If you will, it was old school meets new school.  As always, the feast was a week long of great music, sausage and peppers, Zeppoles and nightly novenas.  We absolutely love our church and priests, which makes the feast so much more special to us.  As much as it was a spiritual celebration for us, it was also a way to commemorate what will probably be our last summer here in Hoboken.

On Sunday, however, I thought I’d take the initiative with the changes!  Chopped itAs noted by my previous post, I’m way overdue for a change!  I thought I’d take advantage of the spa gift certificate the boys got me for my birthday and get a massage and haircut.  Since my hair grew at an exponential pace during and after pregnancy, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to cut and donate for Locks of Love once again.  So, within 2.5 years, I’ve donated 24 inches of hair!  And with that donation, it’s my hope that a child can benefit with a brand new look.

On my end, I’m hoping to benefit by facing the world with a brave new face.

Even though Jeff and I grew up at the beach, we rarely, if ever, make it down to the shore (for non-NJ people: the shore=the beach) in the summer.  There are tons of factors for this, but this year the main factor is, like most of you know, gas is so damn expensive.  I’m so sad we had to back out of plans to visit my friend/Jeff’s cousin and her family.  They’re our only family in NJ and they happen to live close to the shore.  Though I wish we could’ve made an exclusive trip to go see them, the silver lining is that we’ll get to see them at our big family trip in less than 2 weeks.  With the exorbitant increase in fuel prices, and the chain of reaction that goes with it, we are definitely starting to feel the crunch.  How about everyone else?  I mean, for crying out loud, I just paid $23 for a bag of rice!  Less than 2 years ago that same bag used to cost $8.  I keep talking about this, but I just can’t get over it.

Crazy gas prices thankfully don’t get in the way with us enjoying our church and neighborhood’s annual feast.  It’s that time of year again when we have way too many zeppoles and chow on street meat.  This year, or course, is so different because we’re not solely hanging out in the beer garden, like in years past.  We’re actually going to mass almost every night, enjoying the music and eating way more food than we should!  It’s been hot, sticky and crowded, but still a good time. Jack’s been such a trooper through the nightly novenas we’ve attended, but it’s almost like he knows he’ll be rewarded with live music afterwards.  Last night after the service, we met up with friends in time to see a fun NJ cover band. Festivals are fun, sure.  But when it’s your church’s festival, walking distance from your home, it’s even more fun.  Needless to say, Jack rocked out to various tunes by the Nerds and was a hit with all the ladies.  We, too, channeled our own inner rock stars (along with many others) by belting out the NJ anthem (Bon Jovi) at the top of our lungs.

My summers as a kid back home in Virginia Beach consisted of swimming in our pool all day or going to the beach as often as our parents would allow. The same went for Jeff. Beach, pool, play– that was the life.

But once in a blue moon, we’d go to the waterpark which, back then, was called Wild Water Rapids. There’s nothing like swimming and splashing around in a public chlorinated germfest.

Even at 32, I still love it–which is exactly why I wanted to bring the boy to the waterpark, which is now know as OceanBreeze.

So, the night before, I spent the evening stocking up on snacks, Swimmies and locating beach towels. On Saturday, we made our way to the waterpark early enough to snag a front row spot.
We marched up to the entrance, snack-filled bags in tow, to be greeted by a short line. After we bought our tickets we had to get our bags checked by one of two bag checkers. Like we would on the NJ Turnpike, we foolishly and unknowingly chose the asshole line.

We had 2 bags: the diaper bag with all of Jack’s paraphernalia and a reusable tote with our towels and snacks. Having not visited this park in 15 years or so, it never even occurred to me that outside food wouldn’t be allowed. And just as we got up to the bag checker guy, even before he could open my snack bag, like the crappy poker player I am, I revealed all of my cards: “So, I’m assuming outside food isn’t allowed in the park.”

“Sorry, no, it’s not.”

After the sad realization of having to part with my brand new tube of Sour Cream and Onion Pringles, I quickly went into mom mode. I deflected the bag checker’s Gestapo-like attitude as he peeled all of my unopened delicious chips out of my bag and asked defensively, “UM So, how is my baby going to eat?”

As he dangled Jack’s ripened banana all he could say was, “Well, what we do is put your items in a baggie with your name on it and hold at guest relations.”

I rolled my eyes and mumbled under my breath, just like one of those pain in the ass moms I swore I’d never become.

What I once considered such a joy became a huge pain in the ass.

As usual, Jeff volunteered to bring our delicious snacks back to the car. Jack and I wandered into the park and made our way to the kiddie area. And within a few seconds, as we sat admiring the Buccaneer Cove, I was excited again.

I inspected our goods in the disheveled bag after Mr. bag checker had his way with our stuff. I realized that he missed Jack’s lunch– frozen green beans. Score!

Once Jeff re-joined us, I broke out the swim diaper and sunblock. We stripped down the kid and did what we could to minimize the screaming as we pulled the diaper up over his bubble butt. After we applied the first layer of sunscreen, we were off to splash and play in the ankle deep water.
sunblock

The three of us had a wonderful time being together again. It was a great way to reunite and share our childhood summertime fun with our own kid. The sprays, waterfalls, lazy river were such a blast.

Later in the afternoon, on our 57th lap around the Lazy River, Jeff pushed Jack in his inner tube as I paddle behind on my own too-small inner tube. Just as I yelled to Jack, “I’m gonna getchyou,” I heard someone say, “Jeff and Jen??” on the other side of the gate, just next to the entrance of the park.
It turns out, it was our friend Lisa, who was there with her mom, sister and her kids. I always forget what a big, but small town Va. Beach really is.

lazy river

As we rounded out lap 64 on the Lazy River, with Jack on my lap, my legs started to fall asleep. As I pulled jack off and gave him to Jeff, I noticed a strange sight on my swim skirt.

Oh please no.

We walked over to the little pirate ship in the middle of the kiddie area. As Jeff held Jack, I peeked into his swim diaper AKA a septic tea bag and saw exactly what I feared.

Crap. Literally.

I have this single friend at work who loves telling me stories about his joys of going swimming at his local pool on Friday nights. “Friday nights are the best because there are no families there,” he’ll say. “Well, you know, because every weekend if one kid isn’t barfing in the pool, another is pooping in it. And of course, my time is always cut short thanks to them!”

Those are always the kind of conversations that I’d smile, nod and chuckle and go about my day. And then, I’d think to myself, “my kid won’t ever be one of those.”

If you know where I’m going with this, here’s your warning: do not pass go if you don’t want to read about well…you know.

Per usual, I’m sure I went about this whole thing the wrong way. But once I realized that Jack went #2, I immediately whisked him off to the bathroom to change and disinfect ourselves. I plopped him on his travel changing mat, atop one of those bathroom changing stations and foolishly tried to pull off the diaper exposing a scattered mess in my haste.

Experienced moms should warn you about these things. But then again, this is probably common sense– something I definitely did not tout at that particular moment.

As luck would have it, my kid wants to run and flail, just as a busload of people decide to come in and change next to us, while a curious little boy wants to make conversation with Jack.

Surely, they were all mocking the novice spectacle that just exploded in front of us.

As I mouthed obscenities to myself, I scraped and wiped and shook my head, as I tried to disclose the grossness that occurred in our corner of the shower area. After using almost every single wipe in our travel container, I put on a fresh new swim diaper and rinsed off Jack’s swim shorts. After wiping down the disgusting mess on the changing table, I sprinted back to Jeff to drop off the kid with the swiftness of a baton transfer in a relay race.

It was time to clean me and our travel mat! Thankfully, I carry around prepackaged alcohol towelettes in the diaper bag. I was able to scrub the soiled travel mat, as well as myself, as a long line of stall-waiting females could gawk and question what I was doing.

Swim diapers are designed to catch poo, and that’s about it. Apparently, they’re not designed to come off of your movable child too easily, nor contain the poo if the diaper is recklessly peeled off your child.

Baby BungeeAfter the whole diaper debacle, the rest of the day was breezy. As Jeff “hid” from the sun, Jack napped for almost 2 hours and I was able to run off and escape into the various slides and tubes.

Needless to say, the waterpark with a kid is much more work but definitely a different kind of fun!

I’m exhausted, busy and so worn out today. It sounds like a typical Monday morning, but it’s not–we’re still baby-less, we just got back from our houseboating extravaganza and I’m packing up for a quick business trip.

Jeff and I had an incredible time floating around, eating, laughing and relaxing with friends all weekend. Though, we barely had one on one time, we had a lot of time just being Jeff and Jen again, as opposed to Jack’s mom and dad who are constantly on call. I highly recommend relaxing weekends to all new parents.

I have yet to unpack our damp bathing suits and towels, but I have one foot out the door as I’m packing another overnight bag with suits and dress shoes. I’m heading out in a few hours for a business trip, so, for the first time since Jack was born, I’ll be without either of my boys. On the bright side, this quick trip will make the time away from Jack go by MUCH faster, which is a definite plus. It’ll be nice to be traveling and doing the journalist thing, especially since I haven’t done much of it since having Jack.

Speaking of Jack, I’ll talk more about him being gone later, but Jeff and I sorely miss him. He’s in absolutely great hands; however, I can’t not think about him. Every time I saw a kid while we were at the lake, I wondered if Jack learned any new “tricks” while he’s been gone. I don’t worry about him in their care, what I do worry about is him losing his sleep routine that has involved months of sleepless nights trying to regulate. 

My mom sounded like a broken record by punctuating every conservation with, “don’t worry, he’ll be fine.”

Fine? Of course he’ll be fine.

Now his sleeping schedule? The one that I’ve tried so hard synchronize since returning to work in December? Yeah. That’s so gone—I’m sure of it.

Honestly, as fun as it was/is living with somewhat wreckless abandon, Jack is so much a part of our life that things that were once fun when it was just the 2 of us, just aren’t the same anymore.   We both feel so much emptiness without him. And it’s only been 3 days.

More updates as soon as I get back!  And for those from the houseboating flotilla, I hope to post pictures by Tues night!