August 26, 2010

Beach Tripping

When I married Travis, I gained a new family...parents-in-law, more siblings, a nephew, grandparents, and more Mormon aunts and uncles than I can keep straight. You know, the whole deal.
However, along with all those Utahans, I also gained a Phillip and a Jason. And I married into the "Boyz Vacation Week."
Phillip and Jason are Travis' two best friends, whom he met while at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. While I was still in college, these three best friends (aka "the Boyz") were learning how to be pastors down in South Carolina. Along with Jason's wife, Carla, they took their first vacation together after seminary on a trip to the Bahamas. From that point going forward, these three guys have taken a trip together every year. As the years have gone by, the original four started to multiple. Along came kids and wives and more kids. And still more kids. Til this year, we numbered 12.
That's right. TWELVE. 6 adults. 6 children. Having joined the group when we numbered 8.5, it's been kind of amazing to see it grow the way it has. And I'm not sure we've put a cap on things just yet...

Stealing crayons. Busted!
So, with twelve people, 6 of whom were 5 years old and younger (two of which weren't even a year old yet), finding a place for "The Boyz Vacation Week" is a tough assignment. Add the fact that we are all pastor families on pastor family budgets, and it makes it almost impossible. The beach is a favorite since it offers free entertainment for the kiddos. Since it was our year to find a location, I stuck with the North Carolina coast and ended up with a wonderful house in Kure Beach. (By the way, I would highly recommend Victory Beach Rentals. The house was reasonably priced, beautifully taken care of, and their customer service was great...even when our house got struck by lighting and half the outlets went out!)
Eating sand. So gross.
The Saturday our vacation started, we were in Kentucky celebrating the wedding of my dear college roommate, Alison. So, while we did a crazy amount of traveling in just three short days...we did the full on planes, trains, and automobiles!...the rest of the crew arrived and set up house for us. We finally arrived at the beach late Sunday afternoon. While it took us a few days to finally settle into the rhythm of beach life, we finally did and we had a wonderful time. Hanging out. Reconnecting. Laughing Hard. Eating Sand. Digging Pools.

...And watching as our son got to meet his future playmates. It is such a gift to have these families in our lives, and I am so glad Luke will have this group in his life for the long haul, if nothing else than to have a whole group of kids his age to will understand, completely and fully, just how awful it is to have your dad preach a sermon about how you didn't clean your room last week.
Welcome to being a pastor's kid!
My first Boyz vacation, St. Augustine, FL. Also, our engagement photo!
My 4th trip, Luke's 1st (if you don't count in utero!)

August 6, 2010

This Baby Was Made For Walking

A couple of weeks ago, my oldest sister and her family came by for a whirlwind visit. It was the first time she had met Luke, and to honor the occasion, Luke managed to take 5 consecutive steps. Up until that point, he had tried  a step or two...often repeating the same foot, so that he would end up with his legs wide apart, or going in circles. But on that Friday afternoon, he stood up, grinned like crazy, and took off. Since then, he's been testing this whole walking thing out. The past few days, he has stopped crawling when he gets 3 or 4 feet from his desired destination and finishes the rest of the journey walking.

It has been an amazing thing to watch him learn how to walk. It's happened so much faster than I have been prepared for. It feels like the transitions from sitting up unsupported, to crawling, to walking have gone lightening fast. And while I can't say I exactly miss the days of sitting on the floor all day entertaining an infant, I can honestly say I would love the chance to just sit for a while. Instead, I spend most of his waking hours crawling around after him...plucking all the things out of his mouth that he has somehow managed to get his hands on and grabbing him from plunging his hands into Henry's water bowl.
Someone needs to invent a dog-friendly, baby-thwarting water bowl. Smart people, get on that. Pronto.

On Tuesday, Luke turned 11 months old. I cannot believe that to even be possible. But it is. Everyone always says that it goes by so fast. During those 1AM nursing sessions, back when he was just a squalling lump in a blanket, I was very skeptical of that. But now...it's like I blinked and he's starting to look more and more like a little boy instead of a little baby. I remember putting him to bed in his crib for the first time, and now, when I go in to retrieve him from a nap, he literally tries to jump into my arms and there are toothmarks lining the rails of his crib.

He truly is the happiest baby I've ever encountered (minus the teething days, of course). We've had lots of visitors at our house over the past few weeks: aunts, uncles, grandmothers. It's been so much fun to watch them interact with our sociable little guy. I'm not quite sure where he gets it from, but he is never happier than with a room full of people to crawl and climb all over. 

We will take our first real beach vacation starting next weekend, and while I know it will be exhausting, I can't wait to watch him interact with the ocean and with the children of our friends...learning new things and still growing up way too fast.