Friday, June 27, 2008

Ben Kissed A Girl

Yesterday, we got together with some college friends of mine and their children. Among the children was Lexi - just one week younger than Ben - and now officially known as "the first girl who made out with my son". As you can see from the picture, they didn't just give each other a peck on the cheek -- they actually locked lips -- a bit shocking.
This kiss, while completely innocent and worthy of many "ahhhhs," got me to thinking of the years ahead as the mother of a son. For sons, Moms are always the first lady you love in life something that I truly treasure and I consider a gift. Also as a mother of a son, I realized that I am the number one lady in his life but after the "kiss" I thought that this distinction in life would not always be. One day my Ben will grow up and find "the love of his life" and I will become the number two lady. Thinking about it now (while I know it is many years away) - it makes me sad (and also cringe at the thought of all the girls that I will not "like so much" that he will bring into my home). Trust me, I want Ben to find a love like I found with Wally - the kind of love that brings you happiness but a love that also gets you through the rough patches. However, I'm a little selfish when it comes to Ben's love -- sometimes I want it all for myself. So until he finds the one, I plan to enjoy the honor of being my son's favorite lady in his life. And it is completely OK with me if he is forever a Mommy's boy and doesn't kiss another girl until he is 30 -- but at this rate it might just be next week. Heart breaker!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Suffering for Fashion

If someone asks me, "Jenn are those shoes comfortable? How can you walk in those heels?" - you know in that way that says "they don't look very comfortable" - I always say, "who cares if they are comfortable - they look great!" So the idea of "suffering for fashion" is not a new concept for me. However, it is a lesson learned that I should not force my philosophy on others, in particular, my son. You see Benjamin's grandparents bought him a cool pair of slip on sneakers complete with skulls and crossbones but I thought they looked very dorky with socks and no kid of mine is a dork (even though he is 1 and the person making fun of a one year old that wears gym socks with slip on sneakers is the lowest of the low). So I ditched the socks and slipped his feet into the sneakers. He seemed to be just fine and boy did he look very hip -- the most important thing - right?

On the sockless day, Benjamin, my parents and I decided to head down to the shore for a day of fun. As the day progressed, he seemed a bit whiny and I couldn't figure out why he didn't seem to be having fun on the "fun-filled" day. He had taken a nap on the way down, his belly was full, he was doing fun activities - all sure signs that he should be having fun. After getting off the carousel (a fun favorite ride for Ben) at the Point Pleasant Boardwalk, he wasn't happy. I put him down to walk and he started limping. My Dad noticed it first and he said maybe it is his shoes. I said, "he is fine." Well, he wasn't fine. He had a huge blister that turned into into a bleeding wound over the next few days because I thought my son should suck it up and suffer for fashion. Lesson learned.

So now, he wears his slip ons and even his Crocs (HE IS NOT A DORK) with socks but they are the cute ankle length ones so he is still cooler than most kids and grandpas who wear socks with their sandals.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why I Don't Talk to People

After I read this posting by a truly talented blogger, I began to ponder the reasons why I choose to ignore people on occasion. Friends of mine have a name for it they call it the "Jenn Baker". For those who aren't familiar with the action, the "Jenn Baker" is when you see someone you know but you either look/walk the other way or stare at them with a blank expression like you have never met them before (this usually unnerves them and they walk away, but I would only use this tactic for people who you rarely see not your mother or anyone like that). I'm also not the person who gets into conversations with complete strangers. I'm sure you are thinking, "I didn't realize Jenn was so rude or anti-social," that really isn't it at all. Let me explain. I have several reasons for this behavior. One, in my profession, I have to communicate with people all day long. Don't get me wrong - I like to communicate but I kind of get tired of it sometimes. Now, I like to communicate with people I enjoy communicating with like most colleagues, friends and family but the random salesperson and sorority sister I haven't seen in ages -- not interested. Two, this goes back to the A-Musings blog, people tend to tell me their life story. Once again, I enjoy hearing people's stories - I tell quite a bit of them myself but I don't really care about strangers stories. That sounds horrible right - I've learned not to care. I tried to explain this to Wally the other day. When we were in the Outer Banks, a woman came up to me and asked me if I would allow her daughter to watch my son. I told her no but thanks for asking. She then proceeded to tell me in about a 5-10 minute time span that her husband had been laid off because the owner of the company's son was now ready to take over the business leaving her husband without a job. He was now working on starting his own "handyman" business but they were finding it hard to make ends meet especially since they just bought this house in the Outer Banks. They were here for the month of June and that her husband wouldn't be joining her much because he had to work. It went on and on from there. I told Wally all the details and at the end of story as Wally stood there in disbelief that a complete stranger would tell me this I said, "now that is why I don't talk to people." Finally, I have limited time in this world. I know wah-wah. No one has time but you can gather more time in your life for the people that matter by cutting out the people that you decided long ago not to be friends with like former co-workers or college classmates. Where does the conversation go? I'll tell you "Oh my God. I haven't seen you in (fill in the blank) years! How are you?" To be quite honest I don't care how they are. I care how my friend Fran is or how my Aunt Lorraine is but not this person I haven't talked to in 10 years. By cutting down on these meaningless conversations, I have more time for the people that are important in my life that I sometimes don't even have the time for. Think what you will of me but it is just the way I am. I have to have set my priorities somewhere in life.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Taking A Lover

Yes, I love many people. I love my son, my husband, my parents, my brother, other family members and friends (to name a few). I guess you can say I am lucky that I have so many people to love in my life. However, I have a confession to make I have a new lover. Wally rarely reads the blog so I don't have to worry about him finding out. I'm also not leaving Wally (though if you met this lover you might be tempted too)-- this new entity in my life is truly a lover in every sense of the word. The lover came in to my life unexpected. I had been disappointed by a past love and decided to venture into new territory. I was nervous at first and couldn't make up my mind whether to do it or not but I did...
One night with my new lover and I wanted more and more and more. My new love is sweet and smooth and quite delicious. Although, he can be cold at times. I was delirious with excitement after our encounter. I'm not selfish either - I'll share my new lover too. I encourage you to try my new lover out. My lover can be found in Morristown on South Street at a little cafe called Bonte. I have included my lover's picture below so you'll know him when you seem him. Trust me you won't be disappointed. Guilty yes, disappointed NEVER.

Just The Facts...

Ben had his 15 month visit at the doctor on Monday. Here are the vitals:

  1. Weight - 23 pounds 15 ounces (let's just say he is 24 pounds)

Height - 32 1/4 inches

Head Circumference - 18 3/4 inches (why we measure head size I am still not sure but the doctor is fine with so I don't ask)

Developmental Milestones - Genuis (the doctor didn't say that but I knew what she was getting at when she said she was impressed)

Percentile - Means nothing so who cares

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Benjamin's Dad

When you get married, you don't have a crystal ball -- sometimes you wish you did. Wally and I were married in 1999. In our early years, we didn't talk about having kids much. In fact, I don't think we talked about it much at all but I didn't need a crystal ball to know that Wally would be a great Dad. We didn't need to talk about children or have a child to know in my heart the type of Dad Wally would be.
I would often see him with other people's children and I think, "he is a natural at this, he should be someone's Dad" -- I guess that's what got me to thinking about being a parent. It wasn't really my need to be a parent but it was the thought that Wally needed to be a Dad. It wasn't that he said to me, "Jenn I need to be a Dad." I knew he had to be.
One day, Wally and I realized that our family needed to grow and that we both wanted a child - a little something from each of us to express our love in the greatest way we knew how. Benjamin didn't come easy to Wally and me. During all the struggles, if it wasn't clear already, I knew that Wally was going to be a loving, nurturing Father, because he was the one who helped me the most during that time with encouragement, self-sacrifice and unending passion for our dream - all the needed qualities to be a great Dad. I felt awful sometimes because I couldn't give Wally his dream but he never, not once, made me feel guilty or that it was my fault - he always said, "we are in this together." Again, more reason, for this to happen for him.
The day Benjamin came kicking and screaming into our lives was the day my husband changed for ever. The day Ben was born -- a father was born as well, and my little boy is very lucky to have Wally as his Daddy.
Though he might not have realized until that moment -- Wally was born to be a Dad. I watch him with Benjamin and sometimes I am in sheer awe. From building endless sandcastles for him to strapping Ben (20-something pound Ben) onto his back and taking him for a hike to lifting him up to make a basket to cleaning his "poop, poop", he has such an easy way with Ben that it makes me feel like pinching myself and saying, "this can't be my life - how did I get to be so lucky?"
And boy does Benjamin love his Daddy...I really wanted Ben to be a Mommy's boy but I think in my heart I know he is a Daddy's boy. At 15 months, I can already see that Benjamin looks up to his father. He thinks of the world of him and I do too because I couldn't ask for a better father for my son. I didn't need a crystal ball to know that Wally was going to be one of the greats...I knew in it in my heart he would be. Happy Father's Day to one incredible Dad.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

To My Daddy

Sometimes (well most of the time) I suffer from this thing called "mom guilt" because I'm not a stay-at-home Mom. A few weeks back I was talking to another working mother about this and I said, "it is not about quantity - it is about quality." I believe in this statement because I lived it first hand.
You see my Dad worked two jobs for as long as I can remember. He might not have been at the super table every night, nor on every day trip I went on as a child but there was NEVER, EVER a moment when I didn't know that my Father loved me more than anything in this world. He was there for the important things. He never missed a dance recital or one of my brother's baseball games - he was always there to cheer us on to let us know that there was nothing more cherished in his life than his children.
Being a parent, I know now, why my Dad worked all those jobs. It was because he wanted only the best for us. We may not have grown up "rich" but I never knew that because I was given anything and everything I ever wanted. Now, some may call it spoiled but I just call it loved. It was very important to my Dad for my brother and I to achieve our dreams and he would go to the ends of the earth to make them come true. When I say this I don't just mean it was all about money, it had nothing to do with that - not at all. My Dad made us believe in ourselves. He made me feel confident - like there was nothing in this world I couldn't achieve. My Dad gave us the wings so we could fly. There was never a time in my life when I thought someone didn't believe in me -- because I had my Dad by my side.
There was also never a time in my life when I didn't feel loved. My Dad may not have been demonstrative about his feelings but he has always had a gentle but strong way of loving someone that I wouldn't trade for the world.
One of the best traits my Dad possess is his selflessness. My Dad is the guy that truly would give you the shirt off his back. After my college graduation my Dad (of few words) said to me, "Jennifer today you made my dreams come true." Dad I want you to know that you made my dreams come true too. I love you with all my heart. I am blessed and forever grateful to be able to call you Dad. Like you have been there for me always, I want you to know that I am here for you always. There is nothing I wouldn't do for you. Happy Father's Day from one very lucky girl.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

One Special Little Boy

Most of my blogs revolve around one special little boy by the name of Benjamin but today I'm going to write about another special boy in my life - Michael. From the day Michael was born, we had a very special bond. While I wasn't given the title of godmother from the start, I have earned it over the years (apparently, Big Mike would have given me the title from the start but that is a completely different story for another time). At times, I felt like I gave birth to him - I love him that much. As he grew, my fondness grew for him as well. When I thought I could be a mother and thought I actually wanted to be a mother, was when I met this little boy. However, it wouldn't be that easy for me. If I went through a particularly rough time with my fertility treatment, in a weird way, if I saw him and spent time with him it made me feel better. Although, I would cry sometimes to Wally "I just want to have what Kristi and Mike have -- I want a child as special as Michael." After many years of trying, God did answer my prayers with a very, very special child.
Last night, Michael graduated from kindergarten (I can't believe it). I sat in the audience and had tears in my eyes (yes, I am emotional and yes, I cry a lot) thinking how proud I am of this little boy - I mean big boy. We went back to the house and had some cake and danced to Michael Jackson's Thriller. The kid cracks me up and boy can he DANCE! He was also kind of impressed with my spinning and moves. He said "Aunt Jenn you're good!". Well, Michael I think you are good too. Actually, I think you are one of the best!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tiny Dancer

When I was younger, I always thought I would be on Broadway but as the years went on I realized I didn't have what it takes. My parents spent countless paychecks on dancing lessons, gas driving me to and from lessons, hours of their time at rehearsals but I was never to be a Broadway dancer. However, ask my parents if they would do it all over again and they would say yes. They loved the thrill of it all as much as I did - really they did. Never once have my parents regretted sending me to dancing school - nor have I. While I may not be a star, it taught me how to feel confident in myself and my abilities; not to be afraid to voice my opinion; and how to avoid "stage fright" - invaluable lessons I keep with my always.

Each year for the past two years, I have been able to relive my dancing fantasy by attending the recital of my good friend's daughter. I sit there in the audience and get a tear in my eye every time I see her performing and think of all those wonderful years of my life. I also think at that time that I would love to have a daughter (not in place of Benjamin because he is irreplaceable). If I had my own daughter up on the stage performing going to my old dancing school, I would most certainly need a valium before the performance because I wouldn't be able to control my emotions. Talk about tears. It would be worse than when I went to go see Stuart Little and I had to hide the fact that I was crying to Wally and his 10 year old (at the time) cousin. I would be crying from start to finish and bursting with pride.

Well, my fantasy of being a dancer and having a daughter will most likely never happen but I do have Julianna to live my dream (for now). Knock em' Dead Julianna!

Random Thoughts...

As the family and I were on the final home stretch of our travels, I began to comment to Wally on what "good color" he had gotten on the trip. We then started to chat about a friend of ours, who we will call water baby to protect the innocent, that we have never in our lives seen tan. Wally and I both agreed that we didn't think it would be even possible for water baby to tan. Red yes. Third degree burns yes but tan no. I then had, what I think is a brilliant thought -- SPRAY TAN. The poor unfortunate souls who never thought they could experience the joy of cocoa colored skin like water baby can now benefit from the wonderful invention of the spray tan. So water baby, if you are reading this the spray tan is the answer to your "white as a ghost skin" prayers. You too can have the George Hamilton just by visiting your nearest tanning salon but a word of advice - exfoliate first - it helps the spray tan go on more evenly. Just a random thought...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Why I Love Family Outings

I'll admit something -- one of the reasons I wanted to have a child is so I can go to fun kiddie places like aquariums, zoos, children's museums, etc. Maybe this isn't the best reason but I didn't say it was my only reason.

On vacation, the Kamienskis got our fill of fun family outings. Wednesday night, we headed to the largest sand dune on the east coast, Jockey Ridge. The sand dunes stand about 100 feet tall and believed they first formed after several storms had hit the area many, many years ago. For all Ben knew it could have formed yesterday, he was just happy to run around what appeared to be a giant desert. He happened to stumble upon a hang glider which he thought was a big ole' kite and wanted to fly it - we had to tell him no. We also climbed to the top of the dune (Wally getting an extra work out in by holding Ben while making his ascent up the sandy hill). We were both a bit winded and had to stand there for a while (remember we aren't the youngest of parents - we are in our 30s). The best part was we got someone to take a family pic as the sun was setting over the massive dunes. Ben loved the outing, however, the ride home was not so enjoyable for him. In fact, he thought it would be nice to cry the whole way home.

Thursday, we set out early for the NC Aquarium, what we later call the "Don't Blink or You Will Miss It" Aquarium. The drive was long but for the most part pleasant. I did have to climb in the back seat once to entertain Benjamin -- not so bad for an hour's drive. While the Aquarium wouldn't be categorized as the greatest I have ever been, Benjamin had a great time and that's what counts. He especially went crazy for the stingray exhibit. With his Dad holding on tight, Benjamin got to pet all types of stingrays in a pool filled with the species. He got so excited by the encounter he started to stomp his feet with pleasure (what I call his "Maniac Dance"). I then washed his hands (I threw that in for Grandma so she wouldn't worry that he was putting his fingers in his mouth after he had his hands all over strange animals) and we explored the last tank in the place and it was worth the price of admission. Just as Benjamin got up to the floor to ceiling tank, a shark passed by and Ben couldn't tell us quick enough what he say (see picture above) - his face was priceless. We left the aquarium and had lunch at Awful Arthur's Oyster Bar where Wally did a highball glass sized oyster shooter - Ben cheered on his Dad.

Whatever the reasons I wanted to have a child - family outings such as these, no matter good or bad, they are definitely one of the perks of being a parent (at least I think so).

Thursday, June 5, 2008

There Is A First Time For Everything

Life is filled with many firsts. Though as you get older "the firsts" seem to come few and far in between. However, when you have a child, you have an opportunity to relive the firsts. As the mother of a one year old, the firsts seem to come fast and furious. I embody the phrase "living vicariously through him." Take for example, this week Benjamin went in a pool for the first time. I mean, I've dipped Ben's feet into Grandma and Grandpa's pool but this was a full fledged whole body in the water swim and he got a real kick out of it. I love to watch his expression as he experiences something for the first time. He is often apprehensive but gets over the initial unknown pretty quickly. After the brief anxiety, Ben is all smiles. Wally teaches him how to kick and he actually kicks. I never thought a child kicking around in water for the first time could bring me such joy. As he kicks through the water, he gets totally charged up and starts saying "kick, kick, kick" while bouncing around in his floaty making a few ripples in the water. It is a joy to watch Ben experience his firsts with such pure wonder in his eyes.
But Ben wasn't the only one to experience a first this week, it was also Mommy's turn. Yes, at 35 years of age, I experienced a first. I consider myself to be a pretty independent lady. If need be, I could take care of myself (but I like that Wally does). I've traveled to foreign countries by myself. I've lived alone. I've slept in a bed by myself for many years (before Wally) but there has been one thing that I have avoided doing by myself and that is going to the movies by myself. Why? I just always felt depressed when I saw someone sitting alone in a movie by themselves. Now, I know my Dad goes to the movies by himself and he doesn't depress me -- I know he loves the movies and enjoys going to the movies with or without someone. The other reason -- I don't want people to think that I'm alone. We can go into a whole analysis of me right now but let's just save that for another time. Let's just say, I had a first this week that made me feel great as I exited the movies by myself. I forgot about all my anxieties, and thought if Benjamin isn't afraid to let himself go and not let fear get the best of him I can too and I DID! There certainly is a first time for everything.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Free Is For Me

I've vacationed in the Outer Banks from when I was a young girl, so it is such a wonderful experience to come back here with my son and husband. Since I have been here countless times, I want them to check out some of the things I remember fondly.
On this particular day, I suggest we visit the Corolla Lighthouse. Wally is on board with the plan so we head up the road a few miles to climb the steps of the Lighthouse. First let me start off by saying, I remember it being much bigger and second I don't remember it being that expensive. The cost to climb the steps of the Lighthouse is $7 a person. Now, mind you, I don't want to sound cheap (I'm the girl who spends $500 on shoes without blinking an eye) but you can't even climb all the way to the top to walk around to check out the view.
The boys are seeming a bit bored and disappointed and I am feeling deflated. I want them to love the vacation of my youth as much as I did. I then spot a trail and say "want to walk along the trail?" Wally agrees to check out the trail which winds along through a marsh to an expansive view of the Currituck Bay. The family is starting to warm up to this excursion. We laugh along the way and comment that the walkway looks as old as our parents decks combined. Wally also asks me if I would dive head first into the muck of the marsh for $100. I tell him no. He continues to up the price until he hits a million and I still say no but might consider. Trust me it is nasty. He then tells me for $5,000 he would push me in himself.
We then head back and notice another open area and we decide to check it out. What we find is the Outer Banks Wildlife Museum. We think, "why not?". Oh and it is free. It turns out to be the most perfect museum experience for Benjamin. The museum is filled with ducks! Ben LOVES ducks. He is somewhat obsessed with our fine-feathered friends. He is saying duck, duck, duck and running all over the place in sheer bliss. "Quack, Quack, Quack!" can be heard throughout the halls of the museum. Who knew such a museum existed and who knew a one year old and a small handful of others would find this museum so amazing. At the exit of the museum, we run into a bear (stuffed) and Ben pets it like it is Bruin with a huge grin on his face. We leave the world's best museum and head over a historic bridge surrounded by majestic willow trees to check out more of the grounds of the park.
After our walk, we decide to head back to the car. I think with a big smile in my heart, "what a wonderful time. "
By the way, we didn't spend a dime for an afternoon of fun so much for the $7 lighthouse...

Hungry Man

Wally often says, "Benjamin has the appetite of five truck drivers." My son, LOVES to eat. The best part -- the kid will eat anything and everything. He is much like his father.

If you don't feed him BEWARE! When he is eating, it is like he is on a mission. We often need to remind him to "slow down" and "chew." To appease us he will bob his head up and down - this is his idea of chewing. On this particular day, we went to a diner in Ocean Sands for breakfast (the day we went searching for a hat, chair and flip-flops). First off, the diner served organic whenever possible which is a plus for us because we are trying to raise Ben to be an organic kid (also whenever possible). Now for what he ate. He started off with his usual pre-meal snack of Cheerios and dried fruit. Oh, this did not spoil his appetite. The meal came and he seemed to be ravenous like I didn't just feed him a pound of Cheerios. He went on to eat one and a half large slices of french toast, fruit, some omelet, veggies and potatoes, oh yes and biscuit. Did I tell you he can eat? It makes Wally and I so happy that he has such a healthy appetite. I know one day he will probably only eat chicken nuggets but I am trying to hold off on that day as long as I can :)!

A Pair Of Flip-Flops, A Beach Chair And A Hat

While packing for the trip, I couldn't find a hat. When I went shopping before the trip, I found a hat at the Gap but thought, "oh, I'll find a better hat at the beach - no big deal"...famous last words.

Tuesday morning, Wally, Ben and I set out to find a pair of flip flops for Dad, a beach chair for Ben and a hat for me. We went for breakfast first at this really great diner but more about that in another post. We then stopped at Wings (the beach version of a 5 and 10) and even if I found the most wonderful hat there I wouldn't buy it (on principal), but, as expected, no fashionable hats. No chair, not hat, no flips at Wings. Moving on, we saw the Corolla Surf Shop next to Harris Teeters but we thought there was an entrance further up but there wasn't so we had to turn around. At the Corolla Surf Shop, I looked for a hat but lots of straw hats no cotton/cloth hats like I was looking for - I could wait. I was sure the perfect hat was around the corner. No chairs - at all but lots and lots of flip-flops for Wally to choose from. While Wally is searching for a pair he likes, Ben has now decided that he is going to start being a sales associate at the store. He gets behind the counter and thinks he can start ringing people up. Thank god the sales chick is very sweet and amuses my son who thinks he now owns the store. Wally finds the perfect pair (they look like a cork board - perfect, I can leave him notes posted on them) and wears them out of the store. One down, two to go.

The cool sales chick tells us they have another two stores one by the Food Lion (right by our house) and the other is in TimBuck II (across the street - why you would have the same store about 200 yards from one another is beyond me but moving on). We head to the Food Lion. I can't seem to locate the Corolla Surf Shop but I do see the store Birthday Suits and think I can definitely find a hat there so Wally drops me off and heads across the parking lot to find a chair for Ben. I look around and find more straw hats and the same cloth hat I saw at Wings in this store. I leave still no hat in hand. I see Wally across the lot and wave him down. He wants to head to Ace Hardware to get Ben's chair but pulls over the car so I can run into a few stores to see if they have a hat for me. I dash in and out of five stores (in about 40 seconds) and don't see anything I like. He pulls over one more time and tells me, "find a hat." I tell him I will. I don't. Oh and I still have no idea where the Corolla Surf Shop in the Food Lion Shopping Center is.

We then move on to Ace Hardware to get Ben's chair. Wally runs in and pokes his head out of the door a few minutes later with a plastic mini-Adirondack chair in hand. I give him the thumbs up and think, "I will never find a hat." Wally is back with chair and super shovel for $1.49 in hand. Chair down, no hat.

Wally feels bad and says, "let's see if we can find the Corolla Surf Shop in TimBuck II." I say, "forget it" but I really mean, "do you mean it and you won't be pissed to stop at yet another shop?". He says, "come on." We find the store and run in. I look around and see no cloth hats and think that very sweet sales chick lied to me. I ask sales chick II (as in TimBuck II - talk about having an unfortunate name and still wanting to be an egomaniac), "do you have any cloth, cotton hats?" She starts to say, "we have them at..." but I rudely interrupt her because my patience is wearing thin, "ah, no you don't have it at your other store I was just there." I can tell she is thinking in her head, "this lady is crazy" which I am on the verge of being at this point. Sales Chick II says, "no, we have them in the store across the street." I then ask (because I am a glutton for punishment) where it is because I can't seem to find it and she launches into an inarticulate explanation of where it is. I resign to the fact that I have to buy a straw hat which ends up being made of paper - very eco-friendly of me. I buy the hat. I come down the stairs triumphantly calling to Wally, "I got one!"

Now you are thinking, the story is over but wait...We get back to the house and we get ready for the beach. I put my big, floppy straw hat on and head for the ocean. On our short walk, my hat flies off 5 times. Wally says, "Jen just take the hat off!" We get to the beach, sans hat on my head. I put the hat back on. Once again, it takes a stroll down the beach without me as the breeze takes it away. I chase after it and put it on my head and sink into my chair. I can't see that my son is walking towards me because the darn hat is so floppy. He walks right up to me and takes my hat off and takes his hat off. He then puts his hat on me and my hat on him! That one moment made up for all the aggrevation, searching and missed beach time for the crappy hat I got. I love that boy!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

There Is No Doubt Benjamin Is A Boy

I never set out to be a Mom who encouraged Benjamin to be a boy's boy. He has the freedom to be who he chooses to be and to express himself in whatever way feels best or natural to him. Don't get me wrong. Of course, we have bought him boy's toys like trucks and cars but he instinctively knows what to do with them. He picks up a truck and wheels it around and says, "Vrroom, Vrroom" - not really something I taught him, it is like he just knows. Take for example our day at the beach yesterday. Wally builds a sandcastle for Benjamin to admire. Wally says, "Benjamin come look at the castle Daddy has built for you." Ben turns around and I see the mischievous grin start to form on his lips. He then starts to growl. The warning has been issued. Sandcastle if you could run for your life I would suggest it. Ben starts destroying the sandcastle like he is Godzilla stomping through the streets of downtown Tokyo leaving a path of destruction in his wake. He then claps for himself and his very proud and actually, no joke, he puffs out his chest and beats it a bit. Once again, not something I have taught him nor have I seen Wally go around beating his chest (one year old beating his chest cute...30-something year old beating his chest not so cute). Then there was also the poor crab who had to run for his little life all over the beach. What a sight. Benjamin ran and ran and ran after the crab from the beach to the shore line and back. The crab finally had to bury himself alive to try and survive the relentless attack from Benjamin. The day ended with both my boys snoring like chainsaws on the couch and me reading Maeve Binchy (total chick lit). It is fun being a boy!

Monday, June 2, 2008

First Days at the Outer Banks

At last our summer vacation is here and not a moment too soon! Although the trip got off to a rocky start, it has been blue skies and good times now that we finally made it. We hit the Turnpike at 2pm on a rainy Saturday headed for the town of Corolla in North Carolina. With bags of luggage, a stroller, and Bruin and Ben in the back seats, the three beach chairs and Ben's monster red wagon had to be tied to the roof. Once we first hit 70mph, some vibrations were coming from the roof so I pulled over on RT24 to tighten the bungees. The rattling persisted but so did we for about an hour and then hit rest stop for lunch where I also bought some tie-downs. After it was said and done, there was a maze of elastic and bungee cords criss-crossed over the roof holding the cargo down. Now we were ready to roll! Not later than 30 seconds after hitting 70mph again, Jenn notices a plastic wheel hanging off the side of the truck and I can tell stuff is rattling up there real hard. "Pull over, pull over", Jenn yells and I do onto the only spot I can which is the center median of turnpike.

I exit the truck and see the wagon half hanging off the roof and can't help but notice the once securely tightened cords are now tangled and useless. As cars and trucks literally scream by blowing my hat off, I am left to climb on the roof, undo what had been done and reststop the gear. No less than 5 minutes later, back in the truck, and full bore to NC, Jenn checks the red wagon and sees it is popping a giant wheelie on the roof, air under it and the chairs are banging around too. That's it! I get out of the car, to the roof again, undo the wagon while standing over Ben's car seat with door open, and shove this 4 foot long plastic beast in the back seat with all I have got. Bruin and Ben look back like what the heck is going on as the blanket and luggage push them forward. I slam the hatch shut, reattach the chairs (and by this time who cares of we lose them) and truly exhausted with rope burn on both hands and back in the car, we continue.

Four hours later, we are half way there, we are hungry again. We reluctantly skip the all you can eat crab joint and grab a table at the Japanese steakhouse. Great chef throwing shrimp to everyone. Ben loved it, everyone at the table loved Ben, Bruin got leftovers (the last time he has eaten...coincidence?) and another 4 hours we are at our summer rental. All this before midnight!!

The next day is 88 degrees, hardly a cloud in the sky and beautiful. We hit the beach (with red wagon serving a Ben's chariot on out 4 minute walk to ocean) and had a great day.