Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cape Cod Vacation {what we did}

Warning: Photo Overload

Congratulations if you made it past the explosion of pictures and are actually willing/interested in hearing about what we did while on vacation. As I said before, our vacation was absolutely wonderful. Owen was a dream baby, and Dylan did great for a 3 year old. Spending time with my family did what it always does- makes me want to move back to Indiana. But that's another story for another day. Let me get back to what we did during the week. 

There was the perfect mix of relaxation and structure to this vacation. Every morning there was a family breakfast at a relative's villa that we had the option of attending, and it was a great way to visit and get a great start to the day. After that, we would get ready for the beach or the pool. The beach was only a 2 minute walk, and it was a nice, private beach. You had to be a guest at the resort to have access. A major perk of this beach was the staff- you'd get to the end of the walkway and there would be a smiling European young man asking you how many beach chairs you wanted and whether you'd like an umbrella too. Then they'd follow you to wherever you wanted to park yourself and they'd set it all up for you. Seriously, I felt like I was in Downton Abbey: Beach Edition for a little bit. Being waited on like that was a little awkward, but mostly really nice.  The kids had a ton of sand toys to play with, so they were always entertained and excited to be on the beach. 

The kids liked to splash around in the water a little bit and look for crabs. The water was so shallow that there was little fear of danger- it was less than a foot deep for a long way out. There was a little drama, though, with Dylan allegedly getting pinched by a crab. He was content and playing in the ocean one minute, and then was absolutely hysterical the next, saying that a crab pinched him. No one saw it happen, but he did have a little scratch on his thumb. Poor kid cried and cried, and spent the rest of the week talking about the time that he was pinched by a crab. 

There were family activities throughout the week- welcome and farewell dinners, karaoke, campfires at the beach, a softball game on the lawn, a treasure hunt, and opportunities to explore the Cape. Goodness, I loved everything about Cape Cod (other than the humidity, of course). The houses were all adorable, and the surroundings were absolutely gorgeous. I still can't get over how many hydrangeas I saw throughout the week. 

 I had people telling me the whole week things to the effect of, "Good for you for doing this with a newborn!" Really though, all of the vacation activities were so much fun that I didn't want to miss them! Would it have been easier to stay holed up in our villa for the week? Possibly, but there were always people willing to help with Owen and Dylan, and I feel like I was able to take part in as much fun as the rest of the family. 

The worst part of vacation is when it ends, and I would have to say that the second-worst part is the post-vacation laundry explosion:

This vacation really was a perfect week, and I'd love to do it all over again. There will be another family reunion in 2015, and it's looking like we're all going on a cruise. Wahoo! No info on where we'll go, but I know that if the week is even a fraction as wonderful as this one was, the next reunion will be one for the books. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Owen at Two Months.

Height: 23 1/2 in. (74th percentile)
Weight: 11 lbs 4 oz. (26th percentile)
Head: 15 1/4 in. (39th percentile)

Owen has been such a wonderful baby. His personality is so mellow and pleasant, and it has really made the transition from one child to two much less traumatic that I had originally feared. Like I've said before, it just seems like Owen has always been part of our family. 

Owen just loves to be held and snuggled. In fact, I think he'd be content being held all day, every day. He's usually fine with lying on a blanket and looking around for a little bit or sitting in his bouncer. He also enjoys tummy time in small doses, and he's perfected the "drop and roll"- it seems to be his unintentional way to end tummy time. Just this week we started sitting him in his Bumbo, which has been a big hit- he loves it!

Owen has been very healthy since birth, and the only minor issue has been some dermatitis (looks like baby acne, but it is a scaly rash that was on his face, ears, neck, and chest.) All he needs is some special shampoo for the next little while and he's good to go. 

Owen started smiling at 6 weeks, and has smiled more and more each day. I can usually get the most smiles out of him when he's getting his diaper changed- he loves being naked!

Owen has been a great eater from day 1, and is very quick and efficient in his feedings. He's usually finished eating within 5-7 minutes! I was a little concerned about how short his feedings were- I just wanted to be sure that he was getting all the milk he needed- so I went to the lactation consultant. The consultant assured me that he was getting enough milk (she weighed him before and after his feeding), and it seems like he's just a fast eater. No complaints here! 

Owen is currently on a two hour cycle during the day- stay awake for 1 hour, sleep for 1 hour. Having the day broken up in just two hour chunks can be a little exhausting, but he usually takes one longer nap during the day. He's a great sleeper at night- he has slept for as long as 6 hours at a time, but usually goes from about 10:30-3 or 3:30 am, and then wakes up again around 6 or 7. Only waking up once each night instead of 2 or 3 times has been wonderful- getting those hours of uninterrupted sleep have felt like such a luxury for me!

Owen likes to be swaddled for sleep- when he was first born I was swaddling him with Aden+Anais blankets for sleep, and then I transitioned him to the miracle blanket. Today I started putting him in a Woombie. Let me tell you, Woombies are the best. It seems impossible for their little arms to escape, and it creates a womb-like feeling for babies. If you're wondering if you should get one for your baby, I say do it! I Dylan loved his, and I'm sure that Owen will too. 

{How cute is his motorcycle Woombie?}

Overall, Owen has been such an ideal baby. His happy little spirit has brought so much joy into our home, and I'm so blessed to be his mom!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cape Cod Vacation {getting there + where we stayed}

Like I said in my last post, we had been looking forward to our Cape Cod vacation for two whole years. This vacation was a family reunion for the Stephens side of my family (maternal grandpa). Every other year they do a family reunion, and they take place at a different location each reunion. Last one was at Ponderosa Ranch by Zion's, and at the end of that reunion it was announced that the next reunion would be on Cape Cod. 

These family reunions are fabulous- the company is wonderful, and the mix of whole family activities (there were 80 of us this year!) and individual family time is perfect. Nothing too structured- just relaxed and wonderful. 

We flew out of the Salt Lake City airport on Saturday morning with a direct flight to Boston. Traveling with kids is always a little tricky, and this was our first time flying as a whole family-- it was Owen's first flight ever. I was feeling really good going into things, since Dylan is a champ flyer and Owen is such a mellow, happy baby. 

{my boys}

The flight to Boston was long, but I could not have asked for a better experience. Dylan was happy and pleasant 100% of the flight (bless you, iPad), and Owen was a dream. Seriously, Owen fussed for under 5 seconds, total. My child is freakishly good tempered, and I love it. This flight was my first time nursing on an airplane... a little tricky, but entirely doable. I'm just happy that I had Ben to be my lookout to be sure that my nursing cover stayed in place and no one was getting an eyeful. 

We got in to the Boston airport about 30 minutes after my parents, who went to pick up our rental cars for the week. My dad had originally booked a minivan for my family and my parents together, but we realized that there would be no way that a normal sized van would fit 4 adults, 2 children, 4 large suitcases, 1 carry on suitcase, 2 sets of golf clubs, and 1 massive stroller. My dad was so smart and rented another car for our group. Whew!

We stayed in a hotel on Saturday night and then set out on Sunday morning to our final destination. That included first making runs to Costco and Wal-Mart. Our villa on Cape Cod had a kitchen, so we wanted to have food for the week, rather than having to go out for every meal. 

Sidenote:  People go gaga for newborns when you leave Utah. Seriously, I was stopped like a dozen times in Costco because people wanted to see Owen and ask me about him. In Utah, every other person is carting around a newborn and no one cares about yours. Sad truth. 

Once our van was full of food, drinks, and vacation gear, we made the 2 hour trek to the Cape. There was a ton of traffic getting out there, since everyone seemed to be heading to Cape Cod for the 4th of July. 

We finally arrived at our destination- Ocean Edge Resort. Holy cow, this place is absolutely stunning. See?

{The Mansion at Ocean Edge}

When we pulled up, there was a wedding going on on the front lawn, and everything about this place said fancy. In fact, this is what I texted my sister when we pulled up:

Luckily, I quickly realized that while this place is absolutely gorgeous, it was not stuffy at all. All of the family here for the reunion stayed in villas down the hill from the Mansion and were located just a two minute walk from the beach. Heaven! My family and my parents stayed in one villa, and my sister and her family stayed in another one. There were gorgeous hydrangeas all over the Cape, and they were all over our resort as well. 

Our villa had three bedrooms. Our sleeping situation was a little different this vacation, since Owen was so little and I didn't want anyone to have their sleep disturbed. My parents were in one bedroom, Ben and Dylan took the second room, and Owen and I shared the third room. While I definitely missed having Ben next to me, he was able to enjoy uninterrupted sleep during the week. 

{My room. Darling, right?}

The other 79 family members who were at the reunion were all in the surrounding villas, and we were able to see each other in passing all the time, as well as during the planned group get togethers- it was wonderful!

The week was absolutely perfect. Really, there's nothing that I would have changed (other than Dylan getting lost for about 10 minutes one evening- talk about getting scared to death!) This vacation was a perfect mix of activity and relaxation- stay tuned for my next post, which will be all about our vacation activities. They were divine, I tell you. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cape Cod Vacation {a preview}

For the past two years we have been looking forward to our family reunion in Cape Cod, and the vacation was worth every bit of excitement and anticipation. I have about a million pictures to go through, but here are a quick few that sum up the beauty of last week: