A Cape Cod Summer

Friday, July 28, 2017

Back in the day when my brothers and sister and cousins were little, we would travel up to Cape Cod and have these amazing, magical, vacations. The pre-electronic vacations where all there was to do was spend time outside and play board games in the evening. There are only a few things that stand out in my mind from those family trips- burying family members in the sand, the horsheshoe crabs, the creepy tides at Skatet Beach, and whale watching. These were such great memories as a kid and I've always wanted to share those same experiences with my own children.

After lots of back and forth talking and planning, we finally put the plans into motion and visited Cape Cod once again--after almost 25 (OH MY GOD) years. The cousins have had babies making the second round of cousins and we thought it'd be fun to start the tradition again. I'll be honest with you- was I excited about all those fun things we did as kids that were permantely ingrained in my memory bank? Yes. Was I excited about the hellaciously long drive up there to experience those fun things? HELL NO.

We've traveled a lot with Lucca and now with the two boys so I feel like I've become pretty good as far as packing and preparing for car rides. HOWEVER, this trip was without my husband (who usually drives 99% of any trip we go on) and we were caravanning two SUV's with five children and 3 adults total. Honestly, I wasn't sure I was going to make it.

Thank God for coffee and 5 hour energy drinks. A nine hour trip turned into 12 hours- only due to gas fill-ups and bathroom breaks. The kids were actually amazing the whole time- no complaints, we just kept feeding them snacks and everyone was in and out of sleep. I was quite surprised, to be honest. But that last hour, I pretty much lost all feeling in my right leg as we finally pulled into the driveway.

Aside from the brutal drive, we had SUCH a great week. It reminded me of those old-school summers as we stayed in an old cottage in Chatham with zero A/C, no cable, and plenty of outside time. The kids were climbing trees, digging in the sand, hunting hermit crabs, and getting eaten alive by bugs. We had the best dinners, fun days at the beach, epic naps, and fun exploring the quaint little town of Chatham. Since Leo still wakes up at 5 a.m., we were the lone two awake before the sun even rose, so we would take walks down to the beach and listen to the waves and point out all the "tweet tweets" along the way.

We had such a great week with all the cousins and it will be something that Lucca will be talking about for a very long time. One thing I'll never forget was the absolute joy and excitement he had when he kept discovering hermit crabs with my Mom at Skatet Beach. He found so many he wanted to put them in a bucket to keep "fo-ev-ur".

I always thought before kids that taking trips like that seemed so daunting-- how did people DO that with kids? Are they crazy? Yes, it is. And yes, we are. The planning. The packing. The traveling. But when you get there, it's the best. Memories are made. And isn't that better than playing it safe and staying in your house? And I personally feel that the sooner you get past your front door when they're little, the easier it gets. This is all Leo has known since he was been born- he's been to Pennsylvania, Virginia Beach, New York, and Richmond. We spent a week at Lake Anna when he was only 6 weeks old!

You just have to get out there. Yes, you'll have a ton of crap, it will take a shitload of effort to get there (whether the trip is 2 hours or 12) but you'll never regret going and making some lasting memories with your family.

Here are a few photos from one amazing trip! I can't wait for many more adventures with my little family.


A New Chapter

Sunday, July 16, 2017

It's been a whirlwind of change in these last several months. I've started a new chapter in my life, and it's the best chapter yet. I quit my full-time job, my baby just turned one, I've devoted time to a new business venture, and yet the chaos remains the same.

But good chaos. It's always good chaos. 
I can honestly say, that I finally feel happy again. Not that I wasn't happy to begin with- but my heart just feels full now. I had a goal to be able to walk away from my desk job that required 6+ hours in my basement with my two kids by June-and when I woke up on that Monday morning without having to drag everyone downstairs and put them in front of the TV- it was a glorious moment. 
Lucca had been counting down the days for this to happen, and out of habit he was ready to pack up his breakfast and head to the "dungeon" (the name I had given my workspace for the past three years). When I reminded him that I didn't have to work anymore, that we could actually enjoy our breakfast at the table and snuggle on the couch before our day began, he couldn't contain his excitement. I couldn't contain the tears. I'd been waiting for this for a long, long time.
Quitting my job, especially at the beginning of the summer, was the best decision I've ever made. I've been able to take trips with my family, go on daily adventures, set up slip-and-slides in the backyard...or have a day with no plans at all except a long walk in our neighborhood. We are experiencing summer for what it's worth. Sunburns and bug bites galore. And I've loved every second of it. I know that everyone is benefitting from this- I'm a happier mama because I get to spend more focused time with my family, my kids are happy because I'm more present, my husband is happy because I'm not stressed out and crying to him everyday to come home from work early. A win-win for all.
But that's not to say that with this change doesn't bring new challenges and sacrifices. We've essentially gone from two incomes to one (while I am still able to bring in money with my Rodan + Fields business and work on my own time) so we've had to refocus on some priorities for our family. That means the house projects have slowed down a bit and we've got to count our pennies a little closer than we had before. Is it a risk? Yes. Is it for everyone? No. Was it the answer for our family? Absolutely.

Working outside of the home, working from home, not working at all-they all have their benefits and their not-so-good qualities. What I know is, that I tried to make it work. When I finally thought I got a handle on things with one kid, the second came along and it was back to square one. I felt less connected to my kids, especially with Leo, who I basically just tried to corral in certain sections of our basement so he wouldn't be pulling out cords, climbing on things, or getting in some kind of trouble. I dreaded every single work day. I felt guilty as a mother that my 3 year old watched at least 4-5 hours of TV on any given day. I felt guilty that I hadn't actually sat down and spent the day playing with my new baby. I can't tell you how many sobbing phone calls I gave my husband in the middle of the day, saying "I'm going to quit.. today is the day." I stuck it out for as long as I possibly could, and when the day finally came--it was a huge weight lifted off my chest.

Things will be different, yes. It will always be an adjustment. Not everyday will be rainbows and butterflies and there will for sure be moments that I wish I could have some time to myself. But this is the best thing for me and for my family. I can focus on whats truly important, and that's being the best mom and wife I can possibly be, and filling my heart to the brim with happiness and love and giggles from my tiny humans.