Thursday, September 16, 2010

Massachusetts Part 2

Another busy few days has gone by as Delaney's room has gotten a makeover and we're planning Annalise's.. can't wait to post about that!  Now back to the Massachusetts trip..

We spent a few more days in Grafton after we got back from the Cape.  I was not prepared for how hard it was to send Grace back to Cincinnati.  I had gotten too used to having her around.  For those who know Grace, it's easy to understand why.  For those who don't, I'll attempt to sum her up quickly.  She's my sister, 11 years younger than me, a dear friend, quick with a helping hand or a funny observation, always thoughtful, often silly, adores the kids (and it's mutual), is generous and has a huge heart..   I don't know what else I can say.  Seeing her leave, I had an ache in my heart and a tear in my eye.

After Grace left, we dropped the girls off at Grandma and Grandpa's, and Tim and I went to a wedding that was about an hour-and-a-half away in a small town we'd never heard of.  I was glad to be getting dressed up and going out on our first date night in I don't even know how long.  I think the last time we went out alone it was to buy a car, and we didn't dress up for that.

Who cuts off a full body shot at the ankles?  Grr..
On Monday we had a Labor Day cookout at Tim's parents', and on Tuesday, his sister Karen took the day off to go with us to Southwick's Zoo.  It is a privately-owned zoo that we love.  It seems like you can get so much closer to the animals there, even the ones that are behind fences.  The first time I went was when Delaney was three months old, and it was really just to get us out of the house.  We also went when Grace came to visit us soon after Annie was born.  It's a nice walk with lots of shade, and has a lot of interesting and cute animals.  It also has a deer forest, which I've never seen anywhere else.  We took our niece Natalie along too.  The older girls were at school.




This mama and baby made me smile.
In the deer forest, Annie and Natalie watch in disbelief as a real live deer approaches.

It was so nice being surrounded by a big family again.  It prompted us to revisit our ongoing conversation about where we'll eventually wind up when he retires from the Marines.  The answer is still we don't know, but one thing we do know is this: although there are many places we'd love to settle down (like San Diego), it will most likely either be around Cincinnati or Worcester.  We both grew up having grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins around as part of our lives, and we liked it that way.  We'd like it for our kids.  We've entertained the notion of living somewhere roughly halfway, maybe in Pennsylvania, where we'd be half a day's drive from either family, but then dismissed it.  We want to be close enough to see them on a regular basis.  So that will be a tough decision to make one day.  Until then, I just keep waiting for the goodbyes to get easier, and they never do.

We decided to leave EARLY on Thursday morning to make sure we missed rush hour in NYC.  Tim said 5, and was prepared for resistance from me.  Instead I said, "Why not get up at 4, and see how fast we can get out of the house?"  Surprised, he said, "OK."  And we were driving away at 4:23.  This time we made it home in only 12 and-a-half hours, with two stops.  I know I under-hydrated myself a little in order to accomplish this feat, and Tim probably did as well.  But I can't speak for Delaney, and the mystery of how long she can go without peeing that has always amazed me.  We gave her things to drink the whole time.  My guess is she just spent so much time entranced by her movies that she rarely took time to drink anything.  I barely remember the drive, because as Tim said, I was asleep for half of it.  It was more like, I slept, I read my book, slept again, and so on.  A good book is a must for a drive this long.  I drove for the last five or six hours.

As this crazy summer is coming to a close, I look back on how daunting all our plans looked to me in June.  A drive to Cincinnati by myself with the girls; a week in Pennsylvania with challenging sleeping arrangements; MOVING; and finally, the long drive and two-and-a-half weeks in Massachusetts.  It all looked pretty overwhelming to me at the outset, and I lost sleep more than a few nights thinking about how we were going to do it all and how were the kids going to handle it.  It feels so good to look back and say we did it, it's done, and we have so many great memories.  Our kids are two of the most versatile kids ever.  For a couple weeks, I don't think they knew where they were going to lay their heads next.  As for me, I ventured out of my comfort zone and it was good for me, helped me become a more flexible mom.  Naps were missed, bedtimes were delayed, meals happened wherever and however we could make them happen.  I ate so many PB&Js they started to make me sick.  I was reminded of how grateful I am to have a husband who is the perfect partner, who keeps me sane, and remembers the things I forget.

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