31 July 2014

Edel Edel Edel. (For the half dozen of you non Catholic mommy bloggers: I went to a Catholic women's conference called the Edel Gathering over the weekend. This post is shaking down to be my recap.)

               Hallie   Jen                Bonnie                                Christy       Kelly   Haley      mygirlAdrienne

Edel was kind of a blur. An awesome awesome blur. The kids and Jacob were with me since we were all en route to a wedding Saturday night. I knew going into Edel that I would miss the Saturday evening festivities because a dear friend was getting married that night. I also knew the conference would not be the relaxing and rejuvenating experience it was meant to be because I would be dodging back to the hotel room between sessions to nurse a clingy nine month old.

We stayed at the La Quinta up the street from the Omni, and after we arrived on Friday, Jacob took Jake for a swim in the hotel pool so I could get ready for the evening's cocktail party. I fidgeted and fidgeted with my hair, mad at myself for the mop of neglect it has become, put it up, combed it down, considered taking a shower, felt guilty about not just growing up already and paying good money for a good hair cut. I eventually managed a lackluster braid and slumped down on the bed to check the interwebs for some #edel14 love. Jacob got back from the pool with the toddler, looked at Lucy June on the floor of the hotel room chewing on a remote control, and then helped me through my minor meltdown concerning an old stain on the only dress I'd brought (prepared who?).

Jacob helped get the stain out and gave me a pep talk. Then I pulled on my cowboy boots and moseyed over to the Omni for the cocktail party. I wondered if I would see anyone I recognized in the lobby, but as soon as I walked through the glass doors I got so nervous I just stared at the ground and basically 007ed it to the elevators. After waiting six minutes (a lifetime!) for the elevator, I finally made it to Adrienne's room. Adrienne is one of my blogfriends turned real life friend, and we'd already decided to walk into this gig holding hands. I was nervous. So was she.

I couldn't make sense of the nerves I had. Or maybe I could. Over the years, this community of bloggers has become so important to me - it's helped carry me through these tough early parenting years. I'd thought about the possibility of a gathering like this for a long time, but it'd seemed so impossible. But thankfully Hallie and Jen are a little bit insane and a little bit magical because they made it happen.

I knew I didn't have the time to be nervous: I had so many people I wanted to connect with, that the connecting had to happen ASAP and I had to squelch any desire to appear cool in favor of marching right up to people and introducing myself. So Adrienne and I kicked back our first glass of wine and before I knew it, we were laughing with a five minute old friend about armpit stains.

Edel was electric.

Friday and Saturday were full of intros and little conversations and seeking out people that I wanted to say hello to. On Saturday afternoon, I was watching the countdown for when I had to leave for my friend's wedding. 1 hour. 45 minutes. 10 minutes. Soon I was giving Adrienne one last hug and running out to the street where my husband had been playing in the car for the past two hours with the baby while the toddler napped in his car seat.

We headed west out of town on 290; we headed west away from Edel.

Rushing to my hometown in the rural Texas Hill Country for this wedding, I could only think about how I was leaving this vibrant vibrant space that had collected women from so many places.

Two hours later and I was sitting on a white wooden chair in a crowd of people full of expectation - many of the faces in the crowd I recognized and even the faces I didn't recognize were familiar because of our common purpose. We were all about to witness something important. The buzz of Edel faded as I watched this friend walk the aisle in the most beautiful wedding dress I'd ever seen. The same wedding dress her mother and grandmother had worn before her. And I heard Hallie's words from the conference anew: "It is good that you are here."
Shamelessly stolen from facebook. 

Since that moment, those words have become like a song stuck in my head. Sitting at the breakfast table with my gentlemen and my little lady: "It is good that you are here." Nursing a baby to sleep and telling story after story to a drowsy toddler: "It is good that you are here." At book club with my dear Houston community as a dozen children run around in costumes and fight over toys and Jake spits on everyone: in a space beyond the din of the new five year old's harmonica, "It is good that you are here."
And now I must go to bed before I'm tempted to use another word like "din." Goodnight, friends.

Vacationing Part 2: Hawaii

29 July 2014

About eight months ago we were in Fredericksburg at my parents' church when some old family friends invited us to join them on their annual trip to their Awesome Oahu Beach House.

I remember it very well because I was standing in the church gym and I was a little distracted because four different people had come up and told me they'd "let Jake have some donut holes, but only two."

So as we got the invite to this Awesome Oahu Beach House, I was doing some math in my head that looked a little like this:

4 x 2 donut holes = Sugar Hell ----> Toddler Meltdown

There I was, in the middle of December, still very postpartum and getting this awesome invitation, and it just didn't quite register. I just kept nodding and smiling. I thought we were in the middle of Pleasant Conversation, not Invite of a Lifetime. And I stood their next to my mother and said something like "Oh, how nice." and then just kept nodding and smiling till Mom was like: "They're asking all of us. The whole family to come with them next summer. To Hawaii. Everybody. You and Jacob and the kids and all of us." And eventually it got through, but the whole yelp and high-five everyone in the building moment had passed, so I stumbled through something like, "OK. Yeah." 

Thankfully they didn't retract the offer despite my less than exuberant RSVP, and then began the months of waiting and planning and Hawaiian Air Mastercards. We decided to tack on St. Louis and Los Angeles to the front end of the trip, so we could get in some much needed visiting before heading to Hawaii. 

We boarded our plane to Hawaii on a Sunday evening, after six whirlwind days of visiting so many dear people, and since it was bedtime o'clock and we'd been going going going for days, I was prepared for a flight from hell. We trekked to the back of the plane, and I glanced up at the lucky man who got the fourth seat in our row. We scooted in with our baby and our snacks and our coloring books and our over excited toddler who couldn't go thirty seconds without talking very loudly about "CRASH LANDING." I gave the gentleman in our row my best apologetic-mom smile, and he smiled back warmly, so I relaxed a little. 

Five minutes into the flight, the man was fast asleep, and I was grateful that we didn't seem to be bothering him at all. Ten minutes into the flight he was snoring. Soon he was snoring loudly with a tiny bit of spittle flapping on his lower lip that threatened to fly at any moment. By this point I just wanted to turn to him and bark: "We get it. You're asleep. That's cool. More than cool. I mean, I basically haven't slept in the past four years and God knows I won't be sleeping on this plane, but you are asleep and that's great and all, but do you have to go and rub it in?!?" So I took some deep breaths, and Jacob reached over from the aisle seat and gave me a simmer down pat on the head, and soon enough we were landing in Honolulu. And soon after that we were overlooking the Pacific from our private deck.

As we expected it was pretty much the best vacation of all time. 

On this vacation we went to the beach. 

 We swam and kayaked and snorkeled in the reef.
We stayed in this amazing house with views like this:
and like this:
We drank adult beverages in the afternoons and listened to the waves crashing on the sea wall.

We played on the lawn which was literally nicer than the carpet in my last apartment.
And then we did that again and again and again.
We also played croquet.
A lot of croquet.
We also played this other game a lot. I don't quite know what this game is called.

Lucy June went from decently mobile to full on crawling.
 When properly incentivized.
 And we were still very much parents even though we were on vacation.

But we were cool parents.
 We also stopped to watch the sunset. Because:
I suppose it's good to be back, but my was it hard to leave.

Vacationing Part Uno

17 July 2014

We are home from our summer vacation that took us through St. Louis to Los Angeles and dropped us in an island in the middle of the Pacific.

In St. Louis we got to catch up with Jacob's sister's family.

We got some quality time with our niece

and nephew

*Commence gushing*

My goddaughter has just the sweetest little temperament. She's a little bit shy, but she took a shine to Jacob and my heart melted every time she snuggled up to his knees.

We got to see Jacob's mom who walked hand in hand with the toddlers to a Waldorf park (so she was in Hog Heaven.)

I emailed my oldest blogging buddy, and we met up at a deserted park. She brought all four kids, donuts, iced lattes, and still posted on her blog that day. (Grace, how do you do all these things?) I didn't even manage to bring shoes for my three year old.

We went to the St. Louis Zoo, and no offense to the uncommon, threatened, very threatened, and endangered animals, and the lone (short) giraffe

but my favorite moment (besides the Dippin Dots) was this little get up:

After three days in St. Louis, we headed west to see Jacob's brother.

Visiting our former stomping grounds in LA had us hopping from old friends to old friends, and between all the great people and the great weather, I almost forgot why we ever left.

We stayed with my old grad school buddy and her family. Every morning she and I got some quality time watching our infants flap their arms at each other while we drank coffee. It was perfect.

I'm bad at corralling people for group pictures, so for all the people visited, we only tried for the group shots once when we were with Jacob's old roommate and his family. You'd think this blog would have turned me in to Mrs. Document That by now, but alas it has not. After about fifty pictures, we had about three with all the kids in focus and looking at the camera and not trying to hide behind someone or hurl themselves on the floor.

Here was the keeper of the huge effort to get a pic of the families.

Visit them here!

More Blogger Fodder: Popes!

We had an afternoon with these buddies and meeting babies and talk talk talking, and it was awesome if woefully underphotographed. (Updated to beg Meg to please PLEASE start a blog so we can have a week by week update of her baby boy's hair because it's magical:)

Blythe and Kirby Leg and dinner at their super awesome firepit, flanked by garden and blossoming tree. No matter what you say, Blythe, your backyard is so awesome. The old high chair camped out by the chicken coop only adds to the charm.

So marks the end of the first leg of travel. The second half of the trip involved more swimsuits, but unfortunately not this one because Lucy June outgrew it before we'd even left St. Louis.
That will have to do for today because it's 2pm and I am only one cup of coffee, three pieces of bacon, and zero unpacked bags into my day. Also. Jake just spilled his smoothie and said "Oh shet!!" and is now slurping it off the table...so I need to go...you know...mother or something.

But it's good to be back. I've missed this little corner of the internet.
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