Shiitake Happens – My Trip to PA

Weston and I ventured up to Pennsylvania for the weekend to visit my sister Megan and her husband Mike. It was exactly what I needed. The familiar drive of I-85 to I-95 rejuvenated my spirit. Maybe it is because I made the drive frequently in college in my ’98 Eagle Talon but when I head north to Pennsylvania, I feel like I am going home. My parents moved from the shortly after I graduated Clemson, got hitched, and moved up to New York. As mentioned above, my sister and husband still live in the area. Thank goodness. Without visits to Chester County, PA, one of my favorite parts of this country, I don’t know what I would do.

Weston is an old pro at traveling so we were able to make the trip in about 7.5 hours. We arrived when Megan and Mike were still at work so Weston played while I snooped through their house and rummaged through drawers. Kidding! Weston is really becoming more alert and aware of his surroundings. Weston loves to stare at the pictures of Clay I put into a book/toy/thingy/Ihavenoideawhattocallit. I just had to snap a picture of him at Megan and Mike’s staring at his daddy in uniform.

Megan (5 months pregnant) loved playing with Weston and even gave him his first basketball hoop. Megan and Mike declined to find out the sex of their little one so we won’t know if Weston will have a new boy or girl cousin until August. If how they interacted with Weston is any indication, they will be wonderful parents.

During my time in PA, I visited with a dear friend’s mom and grandma. It was so nice to see them and have them finally meet Weston.  They showered him with gifts – be on the look out for pictures of Weston in Phillies gear in the near future.

We also went to go visit our old house. I couldn’t resist getting out of the car to get a picture with Weston. He couldn’t resist eating his fist. I never lived in the house where my parents currently live in Georgia so it doesn’t feel like home. This house is home.

Home. We were looking at the house when we noticed something in the window. What is it? Let’s zoom in and take a look.

Why, it is the new owner. Who was taking pictures of us taking pictures of their house. Perhaps she was collecting evidence? Because I don’t know about you but if I were to see a woman with a baby and a pregnant woman get out of a Volvo SUV and take pictures – well, I would assume they were casing the joint.

Megan and Mike live down the road from Highland Orchards so we just had to take Weston to feed the goats.

I play the piano. Megan and Mike do not. They have a piano. I do not. This makes me very sad. I hope to have a piano in the near future so I can teach Weston to play and appreciate music the way I do.

We walked around Kennett Square, our old hometown. We ran into my boss from when I worked as a barista at Harrington’s Coffee Shop during high school and college summers. She graciously gave me two pounds of Harrington’s #45, the best coffee known to grace the lips of man. It is seriously that good.

I am not sure if I have shared this little factoid with you, but Kennett Square is Mushroom Capitol of the World. Pretty nifty, huh? We have the Mushroom Festival, a Mushroom Parade, and of course, tons of mushroom houses. Kennett Square, PA is home. And man, did it feel good to be home and around family.

When I wrote 6 Months I was down and thought I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. And you know what? It wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t that terrible at all. Shiitake happens. And it will continue to happen during the deployment and after the deployment. I even bought the little guy a shirt to remind me of the fact. When shiitake happens, I just have to laugh. And laugh I will.


6 Months – Learning to Adapt

6 months ago I waddled into the exam room for my 39 week appointment. 7 hours and a couple of pushes later, our sweet little boy was born. We struggled through the newborn stage together – him learning to live in the new world around him, me adapting to motherhood. We survived. We said goodbye to Clay and then goodbye again. And then goodbye once more. Weston will more than likely be walking when Clay comes home for R&R and talking when he comes home for good. I try not to think about what Clay is missing but instead what I am blessed to experience.

I seem to be having to remind myself of my blessings a lot as of late. I am sure teething is to blame but my little boy is testing me. He is fussy more times than happy. I couldn’t even get him to smile for a picture this morning (see above). He now wakes up multiple times during the night. And I am starting to unravel just a tiny bit. My patience is wearing and the lack of sleep catching up with me, despite my copious intake of caffeine. I tear up when I can’t console my son and I there are times I want to lay down and cry just because. I know this is due to me being overtired and I keep telling myself that this too shall pass. Sadly, over the past couple of days, I do not think I was the calm and collected mother I pictured myself to be while pregnant.

I know I can do this. I have to do this. I am not the first and I won’t be the last to have a husband away at war.  I am no more special than any other mom trying to keep it together.  I am lucky that I have the support and encouragement of Clay, even if he is 6000 miles away. I am lucky to have family willing to trek over here and help out when they can. And most of all, I am lucky to have Weston. So very lucky.

Yuma Adventure

We’re back! All in one piece and with newfound hated of American Airlines. Why Yuma you ask? Well, Meredith was on Spring Break and I was itching to make my inaugural flight with Weston. After a couple of emails, we decided to visit Martha, Edward, and the kids, who happen to be stationed at Yuma Proving Ground in Yuma, AZ. I grew up in Phoenix and absolutely love the dry heat and cool desert nights. I last had been out that way in 2004 when visiting Clay at OBC. Yuma also made an excellent ending location for my first flight with an infant because I did not have to travel with a car seat, stroller, pack-n-play, or any other huge baby item – they have them all and more. In the words (and tone) of Chandler Bing, can it be any more perfect? I wrapped Weston up in an Angel Pack carrier and strolled through the airport with just a tote bag for a carry-on. Bliss.

Our flight out to Yuma was nice. Continental Airlines = good. Our layover was in Houston. I am unsure of the last time that airport was cleaned. But we did stumble across a bronzed George H.W. Bush with an over-starched jacket. Photo op! We had the row to ourselves on the flight from Houston to Phoenix. I am sure when we walked on the plane, everybody seated were thinking to themselves “please don’t sit by me, please don’t sit by me!” I don’t know why…we’re just a new mom, 5 month old, and a pregnant woman who gets up to pees a lot. How is that bad? 🙂 I am happy to report that Weston is a champion flier and isn’t bothered by take-off or landing. Can’t say the same for Meredith. Just kidding.

Martha and Madison met us at the airport in Phoenix around 7pm. After dinner (fish tacos…yum), we made the 3 hour drive to Yuma. We had a blast catching up and watching the kids interact with Weston. I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with Madison and loved experiencing her world for a couple of days. Luke turned three so we celebrated with pizza, bowling, and cake. Alex and Weston held hands and shared toys. And I crashed Madison’s barbie jeep. No, I was not driving while intoxicated. I blame Mommy Brain. Luckily there were no red light cameras this time around….

We also feasted on donuts and coffee at the Goldsboro Bakery with snowbirds. No cupcakes. Insert sad emoticon here. But do you see the awesomeness that was my coffee mug? I’ll zoom in…

A wolf within a wolf. Does it get much better? I was sad to leave it behind but other patrons deserve the treasure to enjoy just as I did. I don’t think I have posted about my love for kitschy coffee mugs. Someday I will show you my collection.

On our drive back to Phoenix I was banished to the equivilant of the kids table at Thanksgiving dinner. Wedged in between two car seats, I sat in the back of a minivan, if that doesn’t screen Karen, I don’t know what does. Heh. I took in the sights of my childhood with Madison asking “Is that your house, Aunt Karen?” every 5 seconds.

Once in Phoenix we found ourselves at the Desert Botanical Gardens. It was hot but pretty. Meredith, Weston, and I spent the night in Phoenix and left on a 6am flight. We had a blast in Yuma and I am looking forward to new adventures with my little travel buddy. Thanks for hosting us Martha and Edward!