Tuesday, August 25, 2015



Yes, it's true, I've got some 'splainin' to do. When I said good-bye two weeks ago, I promised to share snippets from our trip to Iowa. However, the radio silence on Instagram and Facebook makes it evident that I didn't hold up my end of the bargain. Oops! 

You see, for the past year I've been looking forward to this trip. The last time I saw many of my family members, I was just a naive preggo unaware of what life with Max might look like. But since his arrival last October, I've been giddy about the idea of introducing the babe to my dear tribe. Finally, the time had come. Woo hoo! I boarded the plane to Omaha on August 8th, and I knew I just needed to survive the flights {insert pep talk here}. The rest would be cake, right?! That was, of course, until I got ridiculously sick on day TWO. What the what?! I NEVER get sick like this. To make matters worse, Max got sick as well, but thankfully his symptoms only lasted a few days. I couldn't help but be frustrated by all of this. Argh! It's the sort of thing that Type-A(shley) can't control. It wasn't part of m' grand plan. Then again, if there's one thing the past ten months of motherhood has taught me, it's that you just have to roll with it. As much as I hated that Max and I felt so cruddy, I was really grateful to be in the company of my people. Even if that meant trading in an evening gin cocktail for NyQuil and Emergen-C, it warmed my heart to look across the room and see Max smiling (okay, maybe fussing) with relatives eager to smother him with love. It doesn't get much better than that!

Despite feeling under the weather, we managed to squeeze in some pretty memorable highlights, which is precisely what I'd hoped for when we planned this trip. Here are a few details I know I'll cling to forever...

  • Max LOVES being outdoors and the weather in Iowa was perfect, so we spent a lot of time hanging out in my aunt and uncle's beautiful back yard. There were s'mores and nightly fires, rounds of corn hole and cooling off with sprinklers.
  • A trip to Iowa means you will more than likely gain five pounds because you suddenly have the urge to eat. All. The. Food. No one will go hungry on my aunt's watch, and I can't say I mind. Self-control gets thrown out the window when you're surrounded by grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza burgers, smoked ribs, and Italian wedding cake. OMG!
  • I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to introduce Max to both sets of grandparents. It was a little bit surreal to see them holding my baby for the first time. Somebody pinch me! I was torn because I wanted to whip out my camera to take pictures and document the special moments, but I also wanted to be present and soak it all up. Just as I'd hoped, Max got a taste of everyone's personalities and that's exactly what I wished for. He witnessed the ornery and silly traits of both grandfathers and the calm and sweet sides to both grandmothers. I just adore that!
  • In a span of ten days, we managed to sneak in a few firsts. Aside from the biggies like meeting family, I'm talking about a big boy haircut courtesy of my cousin, Brianne, and Max's first taste of ice cream thanks to my Grandma Landra. By the looks of the photos, it's clear the love nugget preferred spoonfuls of creamy goodness to getting his coif snipped.
  • It's not often that Max gets to interact with other kids so watching him with my cousins' children was a riot. They were so sweet to him; he was in heaven. I especially loved seeing my godson hold Max and introduce him to the world of Star Wars and Lightsabers. In fact, I have a video of the two interacting and I imagine it will be played on repeat. So darling!
  • This trip was EXTRA memorable because it marked the beginning of my sister's journey at Creighton University in Omaha where Aubrey will study to become an occupational therapist. You guys, I couldn't be prouder! For almost 28 years my mom has had to remind me that she's the parent and I'm the sister, but the mother hen in me struggled with leaving her on her own. As odd as it sounds, I wish I could hold her hand forever or maybe just hang out in her pocket in case of an emergency. I know she's fully capable to take on this chapter with zeal and gusto, but I still really wish I could be there when she feels lonely or needs an extra boost of confidence and a good laugh. Seeing her in her white coat made my heart leap with joy. She's exactly where she's supposed to be and that brings me great peace. Her future looks bright!  

Now that I'm getting all misty-eyed again, I should probably wrap this post up. One day, I know Max will grow to cherish these summer trips to Iowa just as much as I do. I hope he understands that it's such a gift to be surrounded by people who show up and love BIG. Our tribe is a wee bit crazy at times, but there's a whole lot of beauty in the madness. I wouldn't want it any other way.

Alright, enough of my rambling. How are YOU?? Let's catch up. Pretty please!

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