our two week third baby staycation

Monday, October 13, 2014

Three years ago, Brandon and I took a two week vacation to travel to Thailand.  It was amazing; we traveled through unfamiliar territory, tried new things, and spent time with interesting people. We ate food that was deliciously prepared for us, made memories, and took lots of pictures.

It also didn't take very long during our two week Thailand vacation to realize some important things.  First, being a parent changes everything - even though we were having the time of our lives; that didn't stop us from missing our kid with an ache in our heart that was physically painful.  Secondly, we genuinely enjoy spending time together; we are friends.  And despite all the other things that crowd our regular days; work, bills, household, etc - we get through it because we are friends.

Our two week Thailand vacation was one we still daydream about; two full weeks in a paradise that we hope we will get to visit again.

For the first time since that Thailand trip of our dreams, Brandon saved up two of his weeks for a vacation again this year.

Our two week third baby staycation was....well, sort of like our Thailand vacation....

We certainly traveled through unfamiliar territory while becoming a family of five.  So much of the past two weeks have been doing things we've done before, but laced with a thick newness.  Re-learning how to sponge bath a baby, use a breast pump, get lost in the smell of a baby's head, fall asleep while in the middle of a sentence, and at the very least feign alertness after a night of only three hours of sleep.

We have tried these past two weeks to navigate cautiously the balancing act of giving due attention to all the things that look to us for it.  Making sure each kid gets quality time with us despite the obvious drop in quantity.  We quickly realized that we also need to manage attention for all the other grown up things in life too; our pets, our home, doctor appointments, vehicle needs, meals....and, oh yeah, each other.

We also tried lots of new things; after B shot an eight-point buck on the first day of archery, he tried his hand at making deer jerky for the first time.  Grey spent his first ever morning in the tree stand with Brandon scouting buck for his Pappy.  We drove with a back seat full of car seats for the first time carting around all three kids to Violet's 2day check up.  Brandon and I learned more about the difference between a blocked tear duct and an infected one when Violet showed signs of the latter and we needed to apply antibiotics to get her cleared up (she's all better now!)  The kids learned about how to hold a new baby and what Tummy Time means (which they love, hahhaha).  Violet learned how to be a human out in the world (she's awesome at it).

infected tear duct:  4 days old

We joyfully spent time with interesting people.  We had plenty of visitors during our two week staycation; everyone looking to meet our little Lettie bug and to also (thankfully!!) help burn some preschooler energy from our bigger two.  I will never be able to say it enough; but we are so very, very blessed.

Mimi's 11th grandchild!
We ate food that was deliciously prepared for us; bless our family and friends.  We shared and received dinners that were delivered with love.  Take-out pizza, homemade roasts, chicken & potatoes, pumpkin and apples pies and three freezer meals (!) ready to be thrown in the crockpot for another day (like today!)  We even celebrated Greyson's half birthday with the Rummels while they visited with a whipped together birthday cake!

And truly, if nothing else, we made memories and took lots of pictures.  If Violet is holding these first moments somewhere inside of her subconscious about how the world works, she has firmly learned theses things in the past two weeks:
1. the sounds of her brother's and sister's voices in whispers, yells, sing-song and every volume between.
2. the smell of her Dad's neck (her mother's favorite smell of all)
3. the sight of her Mumma's smile
4. maybe not yet what the phrase 'I love you' means, but that it sure gets said a lot. and by everyone.

And over the course of these two weeks, with the limited parental sleep yet abundant child energy; I have been able to look across the room and see the face of my favorite friend and partner in adventure* who mirrored back the face I knew I was carrying too; a weary, exhausted smile with heavily bagged but grateful eyes.

The thing that makes this staycation most different from our first two week vacation is that maybe someday we'll be able to travel back to Thailand to re-live our days in paradise; but we'll never be able to go back and re-do this third baby staycation.

Thailand is a destination; a place we'll always be able to travel.  But our kids right now at four and a half, two and a half, and 2 weeks old is a time; a now or never kind of a place.

I imagine someday when we're old and gray, lounging on beach chairs on some far off adventure, Brandon and I will think back to our two week third baby staycation and daydream about when our preschool kids asked us to dance to the little red cd player blaring in their room.  When we would fight off sleep while on the couch with the weight of a newborn on our chest.  The days when we had two full weeks in a different kind of paradise; the chaotic sort of blur that makes your heart feel full because amid all the messes, sleepiness, movement, and spit-up there hides some sort of a fleeting magic.

I'm so grateful that we saved up on time for this third baby staycation of a lifetime.

*Dear Bud,
I don't have to say it because I know you know.
but I will anyway.
There is no one on this Earth I'd rather have adventures with
(both those at far off destinations or the staying in kind)
i love you.
we are so lucky you are ours.


  1. Tab et all,

    It is wonderful to see pictures and to know that you are all adjusting to a family of five!! You are a fabulous Momma! This is how real memories are made.

    Much love!

  2. This was beautiful. You have beautiful children, a beautiful husband (!) and I am so happy for all the joy & love that is happening in your life right now. Makes me excited! ;)

  3. Your post always have me crying happy tears by the end of them! You have a beautiful family! Three children make life so fun!!! I love my three!!