Saturday, August 24, 2013

Summer 2013

 I know, I know, I'm way over due. Our wonderful, memorable, and "went way too fast" summer started over Father's Day weekend when a sweet friend and co-worker let us visit their house at Ocean Shores, WA. Jude and I had never seen the Pacific coast before so we were excited. It is obviously much different, especially temperature wise, than the east coast, but we had a blast. Jude loved playing in the sand and sitting on the jetty. We saw seals, dolphins, sea snails, crabs, and all kinds of fun sea creatures.
 Jude also roasted his first hotdogs and marshmallows over the fire pit they had. Other than some car sickness and me tripping and getting a bad sprained ankle, we really did have a great weekend. Many of our vacations are spent with extended family and though that is a fantastic way to spend time, it is nice to have some time away with just us too.
 The following week Jude and I made our way across the country back to North Carolina. We spent our first week getting used to the time zone, helping care for Eli, and reconnecting with family. Jude also found Pop's ice cream truck and reiterated his love for sweets like me. We spent most days outside playing near the creek, in the water, and going down the slide.
 We also had the opportunity to spend some time in Tennessee. It was great to see Mamaw Peggy, my Aunt Debbie and her whole clan, as well as other family members. This is probably one of the things I miss most about living so far away...we're not able to get to TN very often, usually one time a year now, since it's still a 5.5 hour drive from my parents. I'm thankful for technology though that allows me to stay close to my cousins, aunts, and uncles.
 Justin met us in TN so he could also visit family. It had been 2 years since he saw them last and we wanted to make sure he spent some time with them. One of my cousins and I are very close and his oldest son Jamen is only 4 months older than Jude. His 2nd son Jones is only 8 days younger than Eli so it's wonderful seeing the boys all play together. We visited a petting zoo while there and made lots of memories playing with one another. Jude and Jamen enjoyed singing songs together and dancing.
 From Tennessee we went straight to North Myrtle Beach for a week with my family. We stayed in a nice, quaint condo that was beach front and had a pool, as well as a lazy river. We are very thankful for my Mom's friend who gave us his place for the week at a very reasonable price. Jude enjoyed getting used to the water and spending time at the beach. He and Eli really bonded this week and started playing together. Jude also got the hang of  peeing in the potty!!! (I think it helped to see Jamen doing it the week before and have some positive peer pressure.) By the end of the week, Jude was asking to swim.
 We also enjoyed seeing all kinds of animals at the beach and picking up sea shells. Jude got on a kick about sea weed...meaning it was in all of his shorts pockets, he slept with it, and the condo smelled very salty, needless to say. We had many games of bocci ball and Jillian and I shared some great sister times tanning while everyone else napped in the afternoons. Mom, Jillian and I also took advantage of some outlet shopping where Sadie began to get spoiled, needless to say.
 We of course had to make our annual trip to Calabash for some yummy seafood. It was yummy and Jude really enjoyed going on the dock and seeing the fisherman prepare fish.
 Mo Mo used these 2 weeks (TN and the beach) to really love on her boys and spend some quality time with them together.

My favorite beach quote from Jude occurred one day while Jillian was holding him at the waves. It was one of the first days and he was unsure about going. Though my sister was telling him that he was safe and she wouldn't let him get hurt, he matter of factly told her, "But JJ, I'm little and the ocean is BIG!" This summer we saw how much more aware of things he has become. Things that didn't used to bother him make sense and seem dangerous. He's working on being brave and we are proud of him, but certain things do take a little more coaxing than it used to.
 From the beach we went to spend 3 weeks with Justin's family. We had a fun time playing in the neighbor's creek where Jude found salamanders, cray fish, and his pet snake "Petri". He didn't know it was dead, but he sure did enjoy playing with that thing all day and scared his Nana about to death.
 We visited the broad river a few times and Jude enjoyed tubing and learning to skip rocks.
 Sadie began to really pop out in these few weeks. Here, I am 24.5 weeks preggo with our sweet girl. Of course, she continued to get spoiled with girlie things from Justin's family and we ended up bringing home a packed full extra suitcase, mostly with things for her. :)
 While in Shelby we celebrated Justin's 27th birthday and our 5th wedding anniversary. (Justin's Grandpa Jerry also had a surprise 75th birthday party while we were there.) We also got to see some of our best friends from Alabama on a weekend away to Brevard and it was so amazing catching up with them. The Thomas and Railey families really made us miss our clan back in Auburn and be homesick for our old town. It was a great reminder that no matter how far you may be from someone, special relationships are always that, special.

I also got to see some sweet friends on a short shopping trip to Gaffney, SC where they helped me pick out Sadie's bedding. Thank you Pottery Barn Outlet!
 We not only got to visit Nana and Papaw Derrick, but all of Jude's great grandparents too. We are so blessed to have such a large family, especially on Justin's side. Jude is incredibly loved. We ate some great "southern" food, including tex mex, Chickfila, and Bojangles. Needless to say, my pregnancy weight gain has been slightly different this time around and I think it has little to do with Sadie... We also visited the train and carousel, which were fun adventures for sure.
 We also visited the Lazy 5 Ranch one day with Nana and got to feed some really cool animals. Jude's favorite were the steers, but mine was definitely the giraffe.

Jude also spent some really sweet quality time with his Uncle Cody and his girlfriend Sydney. They are younger than his other aunts and uncles and he enjoyed playing with him. We believe Jude has a slight crush on Sydney for sure. We had never seen his flirty side before, but when she came over, watch out!
 Justin had to get back to work and a few days after he left, we headed back to Asheboro to spend a little more time with my family before heading back ourselves. We had a big surprise 60th birthday party for my Dad on a VERY hot August evening. We enjoyed a great cookout, delicious cake from Zach's friend Brittany, and time with old family and friends. Jude also enjoyed playing on the play ground with new friends and Eli.

 Favorite quote of Pop's party: Jude going around asking people to pull his finger...oh dear.
 While in NC, we got to see this sweet boy develop some major milestones. He began crawling and sitting up. I can't believe Eli is already 7 months old. Jude become very protective of him and really started to show him love. I think this experience will certainly help Jude when Sadie comes. He learned why babies cry, kick, etc...things we're not so tolerant of him doing any more and why it's ok babies do it.

Jude (knock on wood) stayed and continues to stay when back in WA, consistent on pee'ing in the potty. He's had a few #2's, but the hard part is that his BM schedule tends to be first thing in the morning and mid afternoon. Both times, he's usually asleep with a diaper, so he's not having much practice with this one.
 We also made a day trip to Smithfield to see some of my best friends from college. Jude enjoyed swimming and Mommy really enjoyed Hills of Snow...the best snow cone place on the planet. It was great to see old friends and catch up.
 We also got to visit JJ's work (the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Duke University Medical Center) where we took treats to JJ's coworkers and families. We made several new memories that both Jude and I will always remember.
As our days in NC quickly came to a close, we spent our last few days taking it easy, playing at Mo Mo and Pop's, and visiting local play grounds and the YMCA splash pad. There are certain things Jude will always associate with his trips back "home" to NC. Hot and muggy weather, lots of animals, infinite hugs, kisses, and snuggles from grandparents and family, and fun times that we will always cherish.

Our summer has come and gone, but we know we have some great family times ahead when Sadie arrives. I'm incredibly thankful for the time we had back east this summer and even more thankful for the family and friends we were able to share it with.

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