Sunday, June 28, 2009

From East to West

Years ago when I used to keep a journal I was very good about writing in it daily. But, if I missed a day or two it was very hard for me to write. I feel a bit like that now. So much has happened in the past two weeks, no entry could do justice. But here is my best attempt. When I last posted Justin and I were leaving Atlantic Beach and headed down to South Carolina to see his dad and Diane.
It rained buckets on our way down Myrtle Beach but the sun appeared upon arising. John cooked us a great salmon dinner and it was great to catch up. During the day Justin and I would go to beach. The water was calmer and warmer then in North Carolina and it was such a relief to my aching ribs to just ride the waves. The beach scene was a bit different. It was just the two of us, no coolers or games, just towels and a bit of private time. Then in the afternoon we would head back to the house. John has done an amazing job of landscaping and it was nice to just relax on the porch in the sun. We also ate really well. John and Diane took us out for some great dinners. Justin got his fill of Chick-Fill-A and we where off to New Jersey before the heat wave.
While the vibe was a bit busier in the Jerz, it was also very productive. I welcomed the cooler temperatures and down pillows. The day we arrived we bought a second car (Pop knows this guy. . . ) you get the idea. We have been living for three years with one car, but with two more members we had to give in. Pop got us a great deal and it is on its way to the west coast. Then I went to spend to some time with Jill and her kids Emma and Jordan and Justin went with Jill’s husband Jeff to the Yankee game. It was great to see Jill, and it does not happen a lot. She is my oldest friend and it is so nice to see her raise such a great family. The night ended with an awesome carvel soft serve cone with aunt Nors.

On Thursday Justin, my mom, and I left for the Hamptons to spend some time with Donna and the girls. While it rained most of the time, we got a lot done. Donna had graciously saved a ton of baby stuff and now that we had a big car to fill. . . Mom must have done 20 loads of laundry. I feel so much more prepared. At least now the girls with have something to wear. Gena was really into my belly. She read the babies stories, liked to feel them kick, but was a bit disappointed they did not want to come out and play with her—to say the least I was relieved. The weather broke just before we left and Mom took the crew to the beach. The pictures tell it all. While there was no wave riding but a lot of playing in the sand. It is so nice to watch Justin play with Ella and Gena. I have no doubt he will be a great dad.

On Friday night we had Pop’s pasta special and Mica came to town with a lot of great baby goodies. She helped me organize, run around and look at cribs, and do all the sisterly duties. The most productive period of the Jerz had to come on Saturday. First Danna Mauch stopped by and surprised me. It was so good to catch up with her before we headed into the city. For all the chaos, traffic, and congestion of New York, it has it perks. If you want to buy it, there is a store in NYC that sells it. The Upper Breast Side was my savior. After weeks of rib pain the ladies at the store found bras for me. I would not dare tell you what size I am now, but only that I will not be shopping at Victoria Secret for a long while if ever again. While my ribs still ache, a decent pregnancy bra can go a long way. After, we met up with the rest of the family at Donna and Mike's for a little rock band and dinner.
Sunday the whole crew came out to celebrate fathers day and Pop’s 80th birthday. Uncle Fred, Uncle Phil, and Aunt Linda came up from Florida and the Mike, Jen, and girls flew in from Seattle. We all gathered for Jewish deli, bagels, and homemade lasagna and aside from eating way too much it was great. It was nice that Loren, Jill, Meryl, and Nagels stopped buy. It is not often I get to see all the people that helped raise me. See I was the first of my mom’s friend’s kids to be born. I sat on the side lines when the crew played on the Clifton softball team, I pretended to exercise in the living room when all the women came to our small apt. to do Jane Fonda workouts, and it is not often we all get to catch up. Mom also gathered pictures so that I could put together a video of Pop’s 80 years. It was a great hit. The seventies alfits were awesome and Nana looked as amazing as ever.

Leaving was bitter sweet. I especially miss Nana. I do not get to see her as much as other family members and she and I have a really amazing relationship. I am so glad her and Pop are coming to visit in August. But we had been gone for 2 weeks and missed our doggies. Vern and Scout were almost as excited to see us as we were them. The day after we returned I started summer school and Justin graduated with a survey degree. We jumped right into the jobs and lives we had left behind.
It took me a while to recover from the travel. But now I am fully nesting, cleaning closets, and making lists. But it is hard to be pregnant and not able to do the things I use to. I am especially having a hard time being big. Today in prenatal yoga class the instructor commented on the psychological toll it takes to be heavy, and it really hit home. I have always taken my size 6/8 jeans for granted and now that I warning 16’s it is hard to remember it is temporary. I remember my pregnant friends complaining about their weight and I brushed it off, oh your pregnant. But when I look in the mirror and see the arms I never wanted, it is hard to think I will ever run miles again. Last night I had a nightmare about falling down while playing ice hockey (random) because I was so out of shape. In reality, the doctors told me if I do not tone down my movements they will put me on bedrest, which would be terrible. So it is two more months (hopefully) of weight, food, and no exercise. But Justin reminds me that the Cascade Mountains are not going anywhere and we have a lifetime to be active. So I will work on getting used to that idea. Thanks for reading, more next Sunday.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Front Porch

After visiting the doctor last week and finding out I would most likely need a C-section, Justin and I packed up and began our much awaited trip to the East coast. The trip has roughly three parts, a visit to Atlantic beach with his mom Judy and sister Jill, then South to see his dad John and wife Diane, then up to the Jers to see my family. As I write to you now from a rocking chair on the front porch of the Watkins (Judy’s madden name) beach house, I cannot not imagine anything better.

We flew into Raleigh Durham Tuesday night. The flight was less then enjoyable. Now that one baby is pushing my liver into my right rib sitting up strait in a chair has become a challenge. But I had my first good night sleep in days at Judy’s house and we left early Wednesday morning for Atlantic Beach. The beach house is literally a family home. Growing up Justin and his cousins would pile into their grandparents home at the beach. It is located in a relatively quiet town and two blocks from a beautiful beach. While I only had the privilege of knowing his grandparents for a few years, I came to understand them much like my own—hard working people who would do anything for their family. They left the family beach house for their children and grandchildren to enjoy, and we most certainly have.

We spend the last few days lounging under an umbrella in the sand and riding the waves of the 80 degree Atlantic Ocean. The beach chairs where perfectly positioned so that my ribs did not hurt, it was as though I was meant to sit on the beach for days. Justin’s friends came from all over to enjoy the beach life with us. Phil drove down 6 hours from the mountains, Pier four from Raleigh, Mark and Emily three and half from Standford, and Trey, Lauren, and four month old Macy (the cute little girl pictured above) drove an hour up from Wilmington. It was as relaxing as could be. Justin grew up with most these boys and though wives and children have entered the pictured they hung out as if they had never been apart. Yet unlike me, when it was time to say goodbye they did as if they would see each other later that night, though we all knew it would be at least a year or more before they might meet up again. I admire that ability in Justin and strive for it in myself. I must admit if all my friends and family lived in one state I might be eager to return. Yet Justin assures me he loves our life in Washington, yet I would not put it passed us to move east one day. But for now it was beach life and no worries.

Each morning we work up Justin cooked breakfast and we walked two blocks to the beach. Pregnancy had its benefits. While everyone lugged umbrellas, paddle ball, chairs, coolers, boogie boards and what not, I was in charge of the 1980’s handheld radio and a towel. At lunch we would walk back to the house, I would take a quick nap and then right back to the sand. I do not know if there was ever a real declared winner of this year’s body surfing contest, but I can tell you it will not be the last.

It was so nice to get to spend time with Judy and Jill. The next time we see them is guaranteed to have a bit of a different vibe (insert Rae has a hard time with change in here). I cannot thank them enough for their hospitality and company—especially Jill, it is not too often we get to bond and hang out together. I look forward to her visit to the west coast. And, if her care for me this week is any indication; I know she will be a great aunt. Today we are riding down to Willmington beach with Trey and his family, picking up a rent-a-car, and driving to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina home of John and Diana DuPre. The second leg of our trip guarantees to bring more sandy beaches, warm ocean water, quality seafood, and a good time with family.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Older and Bigger

The weather has kept up and spring semester has finally ended. After a week of student excuses, exams, papers, and a lot of grading I made it. Friday was my thirty-second birthday and although I am much bigger than I was on any other birthday (30lbs if you are keeping track), not much has changed. I have always been a big fan of my birthday – most people are, yet I had never really considered until now, that it is literally the day in which I was birthed. That is, a day of labor. I know it sounds weird but I have always just associated birthdays with cards, attention, cake, phone calls, parties, and gifts. Yet now that I carrying two girls and face will face the reality of birth, my appreciation for my Mom is a bit greater. Maybe the mother should get gifts on the child’s birthday, after all they did all the work.

Anyway, after grading for most of the day on Friday I met up with Justin and some friends at the Boundary Bay Brewery (boy they make a mean lemonade). They have an outside lemonade/beer garden with live music and tons of sunshine. After drinks, Justin and I took advantage of Sara Greenwood’s birthday gift and had an awesome dinner at the Pepper Sisters (great southwestern food). My birthday weekend continued yesterday. Three of the seven girls in book club have birthdays on June 5th or 7th so Justin and hosted a group birthday party. I can honestly say that while it has taken us some time, Justin and I have finally made a really nice group of friends. Most of them are in their 30ths, some have kids, some not, some have dogs, some not, some are academics, some not—but almost all of them can cook. Our table was filled with lots of awesome food, we played some all terrain crocket (those of you who have seen our yard can figure out why), Justin grilled up a storm, Vern took birthday cake from young children, Scout played retrieve the stick all night, we have a fire, made s’mores, and all it all it was a hit.

Now we are getting ready for our trip to the east coast. Tomorrow night we have our first birthing class, I have one more doctor’s appointment and if all goes well we are off to Raleigh Tuesday. We plan to spend some time at the family beach house in Atlantic Beach, NC and catch up with some of Justin’s friends and family before heading down to see his Dad in Myrtle Beach, SC. Then up to New Jersey for some time in the Hamptons (notice the beach theme) and Pop’s 80th birthday party. Justin promised to dig me a big hole in the sand, so if you need be I will be on some east coast beach lying for the first time in many months on my stomach. I look forward to seeing many of you soon.