Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Weekend

One of my favorite things about summer is that there is always something going on. Every weekend there are multiple festivals and events to choose from. Its a lot of work to take 4 kids to these events, but the payoff is so worth it. There is of course the exposure to new and different experiences, but my kids behave better when we get out of the house. Or maybe it's just that the time seems to go quicker when we're outside with the crowds in the sun. I know for sure that they sleep better after an adventure filled outing. This weekend was packed with fun and some really great naps.

Friday we stayed around the house and enjoyed the cooler weather. It was in the low 70s which was perfect for backyard swinging. My best girlfriends came over for dinner and a movie. One of them had never seen Moulin Rouge, which is basically a sin, so we remedied that. I still cry every time I watch that movie.

Saturday morning we headed downtown for the dragon boat races. I thought the kids would think it was way cooler than they actually did, but we went and had fun anyway. We only watched a couple races, but then we took advantage of the kids area they had set up. Yard games, sports, balloons, and a bounce house obstacle course. The babies were all about the balloons and the big kids would have kept doing the obstacle course all day if I had let them. If the babies were older we would have skipped naps and stayed downtown for GreekFest, but naps are a necessity for them.

After a good 3 hour nap, we headed back downtown for BuskerFest. This was the first year that they were broadcasting the main performers on a big screen, which was so nice. I was able to let the babies out of the stroller to romp around and I could still see what the street performers were doing. Harrison and Brooke waited in line for face painting basically the entire time we were there. They were committed! An hour and a half later, my children were replaced by Wonder Woman and Captain America. I had planned to grab the kiddos lunch downtown and maybe listen to some live music but they were beat by 7pm, so we called it a night and headed home. I am so looking forward to when they can hang until later than 8pm.

Sunday morning we met Rob's parents for the Covington Art Fair. it wasn't too exciting for the kids, although they did get kettle corn and strawberry lemonade, but Rob and I definitely enjoyed it. We bought two oil paintings, our first originals. We have some paintings I love, but they're all prints. I feel like having original art is a step into adulthood. Maybe one of these days I'll finally make it all the way there, although probably not.

Sunday night we had friends over for dinner before calling it a night early. I am letting my best friend kick my butt at the gym every morning, and 5:10am comes really early. I will be trying to reset my sleep schedule and nurse sore muscles for at least the next couple weeks. Hopefully my body can adjust to both changes quickly, because right now I'm sore and tired. Also, it's really hard to go to sleep when it's still light outside.

We have almost nothing going on this week, so I see zoo trips, pool trips, and lots of backyard shennanigans in our future. I hope you all have a great week!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

This morning we woke up to the perfect morning thunderstorm. Not too much thunder, and a perfect steady rain. All of the kids slept in a little bit, and Brooke slept until almost 9. That's unheard of in our house. While I was cleaning up breakfast I heard the big kids shouting about a rainbow. Sure enough there was a gorgeous rainbow I decided to grab my phone and camera because I loved the look of the rainbow over the wheat fields. Next thing I know, all 4 kids are outside with me and charging toward the street. Rainbow party!

They all wanted to splash in the puddles, so I let them. Because shoes dry, and why the heck not? Then Scarlett insisted on walking down the street and would screech anytime Brooke tried to turn her around. Well, ok then. I guess we're going for a walk. 1 Supergirl, 2 babies in diapers, 1 mom wearing pj pants, flip flops, and a tank top(sans bra), and 1 Harrison, the only one of us who was actually dressed for the day. Walking around the neighborhood without a bra, with two babies in diapers and tennis shoes wasn't how I planned to start my day, but cool. They were down for it, so I had to be, and I had my camera to document it all.

Our little outing wasn't anything special, but it was what they wanted to do. Instead of making them all come back inside and get appropriately dressed, we just rolled with it and everyone had a great time. It was a nice reminder that they don't need much to keep them happy, not even clothes.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summah, Summah, Summahtime

It’s the first official day of summer, which means my favorite season has arrived! Summer has always been my favorite, and I love it even more now that I have kids. Although if we’re being honest, I love all the seasons more now that I have kids. Lake season, pool season, fresh fruit season. What is there not to love? There is so much that we missed out on last year because the babies weren’t the best at outdoor activities, so this year we want to do it all. Spend more time outdoors, in the water, at the zoo. This is the first year that our summer will be cut short by the start of school too, so we have even less time to fit in our fun. I made a summer bucket list, and I hope to cross off all the items before Harrison and Brooke start school on August 16th.

I also thought I’d share my summer playlist, because music makes everything better. My music tastes are all over the place, so my playlist is all over the place too. A little old, a little new, and a slew of classic summer songs that always put me in a good mood. I am going to apologize now that LFO “Summer Girls” is on my playlist, because the song is terrible. It holds some very fond memories for me and my bestie though, so it will live on in all my future summer playlists.

 Do you have a summer bucket list or playlist? What are you must dos or can’t live without songs?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

17 Months and Done

I feel so fortunate that I was able to nurse all 4 of my babies without too much of a struggle. I know there are women who fight for every single ounce they make. I produced enough milk to exclusively breast feed two babies at a time. We didn't have latch issues, never dealt with mastitis, rarely had a clogged duct. I know how lucky we are to have had a smooth journey both times, and now that journey is over, again.

S & C's first tandem nursing snooze fest

I have slowly been weaning Scarlett and Clark by dropping nursing sessions. They were becoming distracted while nursing and completely lost interest in some feedings, so it was time to cut back. When we planned our vacation, we knew that would be the end of nursing Scarlett and Clark. I hated pumping this time around, and my output reflected that. I had zero interest in taking the pump along just to keep my supply up, so we opted to be done. I nursed them to sleep before we left for the airport, and that was it. I knew it was their last time nursing, and as it turned out, they really didn't seem to care.

They haven't once asked for milk or stuck their hands in my shirt since we've been back. I'm not 100% sure that I would have said no if they would have asked, so it's kind of a relief that they haven't.

It's also sad to know that they've moved on. They don't need me to comfort them in that way anymore, and they never will again. I felt ready to be done, but I'm not sure I was actually ready to be done. I think letting go of the nursing relationship is such a big deal because it makes them seem instantly more grown up. They still need me for almost everything, but not for nutrition. At one point I was their sole source of food, but not anymore. I can leave for a whole week, and they are absolutely fine without me.

In the grand scheme of things, it was the right time to be done. Rob and I definitely benefited from time away from the kiddos, and I think the babies benefited too. 17+ months is a great duration for a nursing relationship, and it's definitely more than I hoped for when I first started nursing their big brother and sister. I will never forget the nurse who told me on day 2 of nursing Harrison and Brooke that I should just give up and give them formula because most women can't exclusively breast feed twins. It made my emotional, postpartum, new mom self sob hysterically, but it also made me determined to prove her wrong.  It made me push through the 6 week haze of constantly having a newborn at my breast. It kept me going to 6 months, then a year, and then beyond. The journey with H and B definitely helped shape how I handled nursing S and C.

Their last tandem nursing snooze fest

It's sad to know that I will more than likely never nurse another baby again, but I am so blessed to have had this wonderful relationship with all of my children. I won't remember most of the time we spent snuggled up with our twin nursing pillow, but the last time was special, and it will stay with me forever.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Kid Free Vacation

My younger brother and his wife just had their first baby at the end of April. Visiting our new baby nephew seemed like the perfect time for Rob and I to take our first kid free vacation in over 5 years, so last Wednesday we hopped on a plane and headed for Seattle. I was really nervous the entire morning before we left and on our entire drive down to Indy. What the heck were we thinking leaving our babies?! Once we got on the plane though all my nerves eased, probably because at that point there wasn't anything I could do about it. Seattle, here we come! It was just after 11pm, 2am our time, when the Uber dropped us off at my brother's door, so we were straight to bed.

Thursday morning I woke up before everyone else, surprise, surprise, and fed my caffeine habit. I almost always get a headache from plane travel, and this trip was no different. Coffee, water, and pain relievers were basically on full time rotation the whole time we were in Seattle. It wasn't long before the rest of the house was up and I got to meet sweet little B. He's so dang cute, he made me forget my head hurt. There was a whole lot of snuggling involved, and then once we were all ready, we headed to Pike Place. Rob had never been before, and I jumped at the chance to have French pastries and lattes and Le Panier. We walked the market, checked out the gum wall, found a cute little garden that overlooks the sound, and then got out of there before it got too crazy busy.

It was cool the whole time we were in Seattle but thankfully not too rainy, so we were able to walk almost everywhere we needed to go. It's amazing how much more difficult it is to walk places when you have four kids in tow as opposed to one newborn in a stroller. On Friday we walked around Lake Union and met my brother for lunch at Cask and Trotter. I had the BBQ sundae which I think sounds disgusting, but was absolutely delicious.

That afternoon we all went to the Ballard Locks and then hit up Golden Gardens. The locks and the fish ladder were neat to see. There is a beautiful botanical garden next to the locks that we walked around as well. I wish I would have taken more pictures there, because there were a lot of beautiful views. It was pretty chilly along the beach at Golden Gardens, but I am never one to turn down a walk along the beach. Rob on the other hand said F it, and skipped walking along the sound.

We were introduced to Exploding Kittens and Code Names, both of which also have adult versions, while on our trip. We played the games after dinner while B snoozed away. I am rather terrible at both games, but they were still immensely fun, even when losing.

Saturday morning we walked to brunch at Rock Creek. The beignets, cinnamon roll, and mimosas were a big hit with the table, and everyone loved their eggs, except me. Overall though, a solid brunch locale. On our walk back, we ran into Donald Trump who is getting ready for this weekend's solstice parade. We missed the solstice celebration by one week, but I am hoping for some great pictures today.

We may have missed out on the solstice celebration, but we did get to see my brother graduate from Foster School of Business at UW with his MBA. I'd say we got the better end of the deal. The University of Washington campus is beautiful, and I wish we could have seen more of it. We had to call it a night pretty soon after graduation because 6am flights equal 3:30 am wake times.

The plus side to 6am flights is that you arrive to your next destination at a decent time. It's cheaper to fly from Seattle to Denver then to Indy than it is to fly from Seattle to Indy, so we opted for a two day stop in Denver to visit my older brother and his husband. I hate that my siblings are spread out all over the country, but they do live in some pretty great places to visit.

The first item on the agenda while in Denver was brunch. We had reservations at Linger which is a restaurant in an old mortuary. By far my favorite meal of the trip. Maybe it was the bottomless mimosas. Maybe it was the delicious breakfast dosa. Maybe it was the open air table and the smell of fresh baked waffle cones. Maybe it was the feeling of too many mimosas followed by Little Man ice cream for dessert. Whatever combination of things made it wonderful, it was a delightful morning.

The afternoon was spent playing more Code Names, day drinking, visiting with a longtime family friend, and then realizing how much we suck at bags. We ate at Root Down that evening, and got to witness a beautiful sunset and perfect weather. It was over 90 degrees both days we were in Denver, but with low humidity it was much more enjoyable than Indiana weather.

Monday morning we headed out bright and early and headed toward Rocky Mountain National Park. I could post 50 different pictures of beautiful mountain views, but I'll spare you and only share a few. It was beautiful no matter what direction you looked. There was still snow high up in the mountains, and we even saw someone who was getting ready to snow board. On our way back to Denver, we stopped in Idaho Springs for lunch and a little exploration.

Once we were back to Denver we visited a local brewery where we tried to redeem ourselves at bags. We fared much better than the previous day, so we blamed our poor showing on the board and bags. Likely story, right? We had dinner at Sloan's Lake Tap and Burger, the chicken fried bacon BLT was amazing, and then watched the sunset across Sloan's Lake over the mountains. Our vacation closed out with a little rooftop patio drinking before getting to bed for another early flight.

Our 5:25am flight back to Indy was on time and we were back home to our babies by lunch time. We FaceTimed with Harrison and Brooke every day, but the babies got too worked up, so we had to stop FaceTiming with them after the second or third day. Scarlett was all over me as soon as we got back, and Clark wouldn't let Rob go. Harrison and Brooke were happy to see us, but then they were off to play with their friends after about 2 minutes.

If you couldn't tell, we like to eat our way through vacations, and I would definitely go back to every restaurant we visited. It was great to have a few days away from the kids, but the whole time we were gone, we were thinking about bringing the kids back in a year or two. especially to RMNP. First we have to make sure they won't go run off the side of a mountain or trample the tundra. Vacations without kids are great, but they're just as fun with them.