Monday, May 24, 2010

A preview of littlest deMars

At just over 34 weeks along, baby is estimated to weigh 5 pounds and 9 ounces. It was hard to get a great photo because the baby was moving around like crazy and blocking its face with its arm, but here's a glimpse of the little one. It's supposed to be 94 degrees tomorrow- if you need to reach me, my head will likely be in the freezer!
Baby has a button nose and lots of hair. So that's why I keep getting heartburn! 
You can see baby's eyelashes in the photo below. Technology is so cool!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A New England Love Affair

We just returned from a trip up to southern Maine. We had the most amazing time and the landscape of New England tightened its grip on me. I was sitting on the beach in New Hampshire, watching Gavin and Adam skip rocks and I found myself thinking, "what more do I need?" Now, to my west coast friends and family, don't be concerned- you all have a tighter grip on me than living back east. I have to admit, though, if you weren't there, I could live in New England indefinitely. I've been thinking a lot about this and I've decided that our time back here is somewhat like a love affair. It's new, fun, and a little adventurous. We've spent the past two years approaching life more as a vacation (well, not entirely sure that Adam would agree, working as a resident and all). I think this has more to do with why I love living here than the actual location. Let's face it, the Pacific Northwest holds its own with an equally beautiful landscape and there are plenty of beaches with rocks to throw. Gavin wakes up every morning and asks, "Have fun?" While he continues to say this all day long and it can get a bit annoying, I think it's a great approach to living. Why shouldn't we all wake up and decide to have fun? So, when we do return to the Northwest, I plan to explore the area like I never have before. And with that, let me offer a little show and tell of our recent trip through New Hampshire and Maine. There are a lot of pictures, but then again, we had a lot of fun!
Our first stop was to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We stumbled upon Fort Constitution, which is really awesome. This fort was used for several wars and it overlooks the ocean. We had a good time wandering through the secret passages.
The fort has a lighthouse and also these lookouts used for keeping watch for boats.

We found a great beach near Portsmouth and Gavin sat and threw rocks for an hour. Adam and I looked around for seashells and just simply enjoyed being near the ocean again.
We stayed in Ogunquit, ME

This area is Perkins Cove, located in Ogunquit. We had dinner at a little place across the bridge.
This is the beach in Ogunquit. The sand is perfect, but the water is very cold!
This bakery, Bread & Roses, will forever hold a special place in my heart. They serve the best Cinnamon Butter Puffs- it's a cross between an old fashioned doughnut and a muffin. They are moist, sweet, and savory. Basically, the perfect bite! We stopped here every morning to get coffee and treats.
We had fun looking for lighthouses. This one is in York, ME.
This was the first time that Gavin flew a kite. While he still preferred rock throwing, he did have fun!
We drove up to Portland, which is about 40 minutes north of Ogunquit. The town looked fun to walk through but Gavin didn't think shopping qualified as "having fun." We took a long walk down by the water on a promenade that was similar to the Burke Gilman Trail. It led to a public beach, yay rocks!
This is Portland Head Light, located in Cape Elizabeth. It was great because you could actually get up close to the lighthouse. Most of the others are located on islands and you can't get a very good view.
After seeing the lighthouse, we had lunch at the Lobster Shack Restaurant. Everything was very fresh and the view was amazing. The picnic tables are located above the cliffs, looking out onto the water. There were tons of lobster pots out, so we knew our lobster rolls would be top notch!
This photo doesn't do the food justice- we got fried whole belly clams which are a Maine specialty. They were delicious and the breading was not greasy or over the top. Gavin of course went for a cheeseburger!
We spent a day driving through a bunch of small beach towns, including the Kennebunks. Kennebunkport is where the Bush family has a huge compound that's been in their family since the 1800s. Don't worry, I resisted egging it! HAHA
Biddeford Pool, ME- another great place to throw rocks.
The last photo is of the footbridge that leads to the beach in Ogunquit. This really was a perfect family vacation. I can't wait to return. Maybe we'll head back up in the fall with our newest family member.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day: Lessons from my mom.

Last year I wrote about how much I've enjoyed being a mother so far and how motherhood has changed me. This year I thought I'd write about how much my own mother has influenced my life. There are the obvious things that I got from her: a love of cooking, home decorating, and, of course, drinking wine! But the single greatest lesson I learned came at around age 17.

Teenaged daughters cannot be easy to raise. I was actually a pretty good kid, rarely caused trouble but I know that I handed out my share of hormonal drama. At 17, I remember being really depressed about not doing well on my SATs and was sure that I wasn't going to get accepted to college because of it. And, even if I did get accepted, I'd never be able to pay for it, etc. So, I was sulking on my bed when my mom came into my room and started on a rant. She told me that I was in charge of my own happiness and nobody was going to do it for me. I could stay in my bed and be depressed or I could do something about it. Her rant included phrases like, "Oh poor Jenny, the world is just so tough..." I remember being a little pissed that I wasn't getting more sympathy. I think the word "bitch" even came to mind. I'm sure she doesn't even remember this because she was probably dealing with raising three other daughters, 2 under the age of 5, and working full-time. Anyhow after a little more sulking, I managed to pull myself out of bed and she helped me get my college applications together. Years later, even after getting a college education, this little life lesson has made a bigger impact on my life.

It's pretty simple advice, really: you are in charge of your own happiness. I'm sure there are thousands of writings on this exact concept. Oddly enough, I've met plenty of people (many, much older than me) that just don't have a handle on this. It's often easier to be the victim of a situation than trying to find a solution. I had a hard time working as a manager because I was often viewed as unsympathetic. (Seriously, I had to take one of those personality tests as part of leadership training and I came across as very unsympathetic.) My mom raised me to have a strong sense of self and an equally strong work ethic. I just don't get people who lack either. I also don't get people who blame others for their own unhappiness. Sure, there are relationships that go sour and cause unhappiness. But, at the end of the day, it's up to us as individuals to make ourselves happy. We can't depend on someone else to make us happy. We need to make ourselves happy and then share that happiness with those we love. I love being married to Adam and he does make me happy. However, if I depended on him as my only source of happiness, let's just say- I don't like golf, NBA basketball, or poker that much.

So when I find myself getting bummed out, I do as my mom would- figure out if it's something big that requires me making significant life changes, or maybe I'm just in a funk and need to paint my bathroom blue, rearrange the furniture, or change the color of my hair. If all else fails, pour a glass of wine and snap out of it in the morning! Parenting isn't easy but I'm grateful for my mom's rant 15 years ago. I consider her to be pretty bad-ass, and can only hope that my kids say the same about me years from now. Happy Mother's Day Mom, love you!