Category Archives: Weekend

secret weekend

A week or so ago I was out for a drink with friends at a bar near the office and a couple walked in with their two children – a boy about 4 and a girl about 2. Now to be clear, we were at a bar, not at the bar at a restaurant, an actual bar with pool tables and such. And despite the fact that I’ve now been a parent for nearly three years, but perhaps more so because of it, I found it a little odd for this couple to have their two youngins’ in tow. That said, it quickly became apparent that they desperately needed a drink and that any thoughts about the appropriateness of bringing their children to such an establishment were rendered irrelevant by that need. The kids were loud and climbing on things and the parents were stressed and exasperated and then this happened…the mom was walking past our table with one of the two children at her side and she looked over at us forlornly and said “I wish I was out with the girls. I love my kids, but I just need a break.”

Never in my life have I had a complete stranger be so open about the fact that she just needed to get the fuck away from her children for a bit. It was kind of amazing and definitely surprising. I quickly empathized by saying something like “I totally understand and am going home to my two in a bit!” which made her half smile. Later that night I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a post by my dear coworker (and fellow mom) showing a photo of her and her hubs smiling gleefully with the caption “One week before Beau was born. Looking very innocent and so well rested.” It seriously simulated a scene you’d see in a comedic movie or tv show right before it broke to two weeks later with both parents looking disgusting and haggard, a baby screaming in their arms, and them arguing with each other about something stupid like who got less sleep the night before. It was the kind of post where your initial reaction is to laugh out loud and then as your brain begins to process it you start to think about how exhausted you are from all things parenting and your audible laughter is silenced by your realization that life is officially crazy.

I wonder how many times a week the average parent begins a sentence with “I love my kids, but…” I’d put money on a lot. Because we do love our kids, but we also do need breaks to maintain some semblance of sanity. And it’s so super duper important that those breaks sometimes occur with each other, as in both parents breaking at the same time together, because we all know that one of the greatest challenges of being a parent of young kids is making sure your marriage or relationship isn’t relegated to roommate status for lack of quality togetherness. Which brings me to my whole point for writing this post! SECRET WEEKEND!

For Mother’s Day weekend this year, Pete planned an overnight trip for he and I ONLY and it was all a complete surprise for me. I knew we were going somewhere, I just didn’t know where or how or to do what. I love surprises and getting away and hanging out with Pete, so I was psyched.

He told me we needed to be on the road by 7 AM sharp because we had a couple stops to make on the way and there was a schedule to stick to. I was so intrigued. Off we went down the highway a handful of exits, and then got off! We’re going to Burlington? I thought to myself, losing some of my excitement (sorry Burlington). We pulled up at the Company Shops Station, a large brick building that I was unfamiliar with, and Pete told me something was going on there that morning. What on earth is he dragging me to at 7:15 AM in Burlington? Some kind of flea market? I guess that’s cool? We park the car and he takes out this top secret purple folder with papers in it and we head to the door. Once inside, I very quickly realize that we’re at a train station which is aided by the fact that it’s National Train Day (total coincidence) and there are model trains and train info and all kinds of trainy type things all around. We were headed to Charlotte by Amtrak!

The train ride was super cool and something we’d never done together before. Once in Charlotte, we went to an art museum, had a delicious alfresco lunch, saw a badass show at the theater, went to a couple bars in NoDa, slept fairly well, had a lovely brunch and then took the train back home. Apparently this is what people with no kids, lots of discretionary income and abundant free time do. I like it! But I love my kids! Pete did such an awesome job planning the trip – it was perfect and I love him dearly for being an amazing, thoughtful husband.

That’s it for solo trips for us until the big one in September…SCOTLAND! FUCKYEAH!

Some instas from the secret weekend can be found over at Elderworld (scroll a bit). Buh-bi.

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If you know Pete at all, you know that he loves, I mean LOVES the outdoors. We might even dare to call it an obsession at times, especially when it comes to researching and acquiring new (and always lighter) equipment for backpacking and camping. Lucky for him, in her short existence on this planet, Norah has shown signs that she too will be a lover of the open air and this makes Pete one super happy camper. Quite literally in fact as last weekend one of Pete’s dreams came true – he went camping with our daughter!

To be clear, they didn’t actually “go” camping, but rather he setup our tent in the backyard and he and Norah slept outside. While he certainly pines for the real deal outdoor adventure with both kids, Saturday night’s experience was a necessary test run before going all out woodsy with a toddler. And for the most part it was a smashing success. They slept outside the whole night and they loved every minute of it. While I fully supported this endeavor, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a wee bit neurotic about the whole thing, and as neuroses go, there was no clear basis for this worry. All I can surmise is that it stemmed from thinking that there was no way she’d stay out there the whole night and stressing about the possibility of having to deal with some middle of the night toddler freak out. Thankfully this was not the case and I’m super proud of my baby girl! She did wake up maybe a little earlier than comfortable – 5:30-ish (ouch) – but there was a lot of outdoor noise and commotion so who can blame her. Yes at that painful hour, on top of what must have been the longest train ever going by blowing its horn every 10 seconds, there was also the joyful spring symphony of birds making sure that everyone knew dawn was on the horizon. As Pete likes to tell it, shortly after the sunup song began Norah swiftly lifted her head and exclaimed “what are those birds talking about?!” After that, going back to sleep was a fading hope, and at about 6:30 I started getting text messages asking for snacks.

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Of course no first camping experience would be complete without s’mores! We borrowed a fire pit from our lovely neighbors and after Crosby went to sleep for the night (your turn will come buddy!) Pete built a little fire and we introduced Norah to the ooey gooey deliciousness of hot marshmallows sandwiched between chocolate and graham crackers. I don’t have to tell you how amazing this was for her – there were definitely some moments of crackhead crazy eyes after she’d had her first and was watching us make more. I suppose it probably helped with the overall enjoyment of the “camping” experience that we loaded her up with sugary goodness as part of the deal, so all in all I’d say she’s a fan.

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PS For Christmas we got Norah a book called Fred and Ted Go Camping – an easy read story about two dogs and their camping experience – which instantly became one of her faves. But for some reason now when we read it she doesn’t want it to be Fred and Ted, she wants it to be Mommy and Norah. I guess that’s my cue to be a part of the next adventure :).

31 is the new 30

Once you get past the youthful milestones of 16, 18 and 21, birthdays begin to run together a bit and eventually exist solely to remind you that you’re not so youthful anymore. Beyond the “I can finally drink (legally)!” celebration, the next “big” one tends to be your thirtieth and each ensuing decade marks another occasion to celebrate more outrageously than usual (and/or freak out about the seemingly impossible increase in the speed of time while overanalyzing even the smallest sign of aging). Being that I was five months pregnant with Crosby when I marked 30 years on this planet, the celebration consisted of some seriously low key family time, and being that low key family time is not exactly the Sarah Elder way to throw down for a big deal birthday, I was decidedly motivated to make up for it this year. And I did (with much help from others of course).

My birthday weekend kicked off with some serious awesomeness at my place of work thanks to a truly amazing group of coworkers that I’m quite fond of. In the morning they surprised me with a little breakfast biscuit party where I devoured a delicious sausage, egg and cheese delight from a favorite local deli called Neal’s. I then proceeded to consume half of my boss’s egg biscuit because he took the morning off to go flying (as in piloting a plane because he’s 50 something and needs to do that now which I fully support because it keeps him happy) and I somehow thought he might forget about it or not even have known about it to begin with. Oops, wrong. He most definitely inquired after his eggy goodness almost the moment he arrived at work and I apologized profusely for my greedy food hoarding behavior offering to replace his biscuit or buy him something else to snack on. Lucky for me the bossman doesn’t see food theft in quite the punishable light that I do and all was well in the world of work. Later in the day I was asked to come to the back where I was surprised once again, this time with the number 31 laid out on the back table in beers. A few of my worky faves had gotten together and picked out 31 different IPA’s for me which is pretty much the only beer I like to drink and that made me feel all kinds of special. Not only were the beers fun for me, but as it turns out they have provided much entertainment for Norah who thoroughly enjoyed playing “pretend beer” by faking the consumption of many beers with her dinner while talking about how she was going to have a party for the people and give them all the beers. She then took them out and lined them up in a curvy row and talked about how when she got older she could have beer like mommy too. So much trouble is coming my way, but for now at least it’s kind of hilarious.

Diptic

When I got home from work on Friday I did my normal routine of greeting the family and heading to the bedroom to change into my PJ’s (it’s never too early). I noticed the bedroom door was closed but thought nothing of it as Norah frequently closes it on her own. I opened it, entered, went to set my bag down, glanced in the mirror and gasped…there was a new headboard! I looked some more – a new bed too!! Pete had built us a bed that week and I had no freakin’ idea it was happening. I knew he was building something but totally thought it was Norah’s bed as that’s what he had me believe and I never once questioned it. Clever one that guy. The headboard he built out of some reclaimed barnwood we’d acquired awhile back and it’s absolutely gorgeous. The bed itself is going to be (still needs drawers) a farmhouse style storage bed. It was a giant surprise and entirely changed the look and feel of our room and I am SO happy with it.

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Then came Saturday with all the big plans. A couple weeks prior I had finally made a consultation appointment at Glenn’s Tattoo Service in Carrboro. Backstory: I got my first tattoo at the not so grown up age of 19 while attending the University of Florida. A couple of my friends had gotten the ubiquitous tramp stamp (clearly unaware of this label) and I wanted in on the action, so I found a lovely yellow flower deal and started thinking about it. Then one day while studying for exams at a local coffee shop I decided it was time and closed the books to go get my ink. While I can’t say I’d make the same selection for art or placement today, I don’t regret my tattoo because it’s pretty and simple and reminds me of that time of my life. Of course that first ink triggered a heddy desire for more because (assuming you didn’t have a terrible experience) the tattoo to potato chip analogy is totally accurate – just one is never enough. Until recent years I wasn’t quite sure what my next ink would be and then I had babies which puts a serious hold on permanent body art, but once I knew the baby making was done and I had most of what used to be my body back I was ready for round two. So I had my consultation, brought my ideas, worked with the wonderful Paulie Andrews on my art, and on Saturday of my birthday weekend Pete drove me to my appointment. I was so nervous about the whole ordeal and so happy with how it all went down and I absolutely LOVE my tattoo.

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That evening I put on a pretty dress, a little makeup and some fancypants purple shoes and got together with most of my favorite people for a Mebane Bar Bounce complete with dancing and even a few shots (trust me that’s a big deal these days). It was funtastic and I love my friends so damn much. For those of you that couldn’t be there…I will never forgive you. The rest of you are my BFF’s. The night went late and wound up with me stealing my pal’s Chinese food and eating nearly all of it by myself (I’m sensing a theme this birthday) followed by five or so hours of sleep before the kiddos decided it was time for Sunday to get going. Aside from being super exhausted I didn’t feel too terribly and later enjoyed a nice family birthday celebration at Grams and Grandma’s house complete with sushi and a funfetti cake that my mom baked and Norah decorated with oodles of sprinkles.

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Monday, my actual birthday, was actually the least exciting as the weather was shite and Norah came down with something icky. She spent the better part of the day sleeping off a fever and when she was awake I did what I could to make her feel better with lots of cuddles and attention. After the exciting events of the three days prior I was perfectly content to do pretty much nothing on Monday and other than my poor baby girl feeling puny it was just what I needed to wind down the weekend.

Thank you so much to all of my friends and family for making this birthday amazing with their cards and flowers and wishes and gifts and love and celebration. I couldn’t be happier with where I am in life at the fine age of 31. Hugs and kisses to all!

Elderland out. XO.

saturday

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Every morning when I go in to get Norah, after she has stood at the gate in her doorway hollering “mommy, mommy, come get me!” enough times to convince me that on that day, like every other day, she is most definitely not going to just magically climb back into bed and go to sleep, one of the first things she says to me other than “Norah’s awake.” (thanks princess obvious) is “today’s not a work day?” And since during a standard week five out of seven times the answer to that question is that it is indeed a work day, my heart sinks a little bit every morning on most days. She then says “but you’re not going to work yet?” to which I reply “no, not yet, we can hang out while I get ready.” If it’s later in the week I tell her how many days are left until the weekend when mommy gets to stay home for two whole days, and so goes our current routine. Which is all to say that Saturdays are so important to us so I thought why not recap this Saturday in Elderland…

Around 5:50 AM I heard the call of the bear from down the hall and cringed a little at the absurdly early hour, but also felt pretty confident that I could get her to go back to sleep. I think 6 is actually the breaking point for her. If it’s before 6, even though she clearly can’t tell time, I can convince her that it’s not time to get up yet and tuck her back in which will hold for anywhere from 30 – 90 more minutes. After 6, forget it. She knows and “Norah’s awake” is steadfastly declared in a way that says don’t even think about trying to put me back in bed. So yay 5:50! She went back to sleep and so did I, and the next time I heard anything from her it was 7:30–that’s major sleeping in around here. At that fine hour I much more cheerily hopped out of bed and went to her room to find that she had taken off her night time diaper, wiped herself, and put on her swim outfit. “Can we go at the pool now?” Pete had told her on Friday evening that we “might” go to the pool over the weekend and that girl doesn’t forget a thing nor does she understand the word “might.” So I explained to her that we had a good few hours before pool time which she accepted with little drama but insisted on keeping her swim outfit on even though it’s damn cold in our house and I’m still bitching with pants, slippers and a hoodie that I’m not quite warm enough. Crosby and Pete woke up around this time as well and we went about our normal Saturday morning routine of eating breakfast, hanging out in the kitchen, and planning our day.

After Crosby’s morning nap we loaded everyone and of all our crap into the car to head to the Triangle Sportsplex. It’s mighty nice to have an indoor pool 15 or so minutes down the road for days when it’s annoyingly frigid outside and your 2.5 year old doesn’t understand why we can’t spend the whole day playing at the park. As soon as I sat down in my seat and looked up at the windshield I blurted out some string of obscenities because there in front of me was a giant crack. I knew a rock or something had hit it the night before on the way home from work, but of course there was no crack when I went to bed and of course I didn’t try to find some late night glass service to get it before it was too late and of course now it’s too late. I can’t count the number of windshields Pete and I have seen destroyed by wayward road ricochets and now my pretty newish car, the first newish car we’ve had in almost 10 years, is horribly blemished. Pete still believes we might be able to have it repaired, but I’ve accepted defeat and will now just see how long I can deal with staring at this maddening fissure before I crack (PUN!) and spend the money to have the windshield replaced.

Anyway! The pool was super fun. Crosby and Norah both love being in the water and the four of us, plus some random 4 year old named Sofia whose dad weirdly dropped her off and then went to swim laps (sure, we’ll watch her for you?), spent the whole time wading around the kiddie pool, playing with Norah’s pink inflatable boat and splashing and kicking and just having a grand ol’ summer style time on a winter day. Once home, it was time for mommy and daddy to attend to separate activities–Pete headed over to our friend’s house to work on the door for the dining room to Crosby’s room conversion (another post, I swear I’ll write it) and I solicited babysitting help from my mom so I could get in a chilly 8 mile run (half marathon in June!). Norah and Crosby both took two hour plus naps (WHAT?!) and then we were all back together again and it was time for everyone to get clean.

Norah, who absolutely loves playing in water in any way she can get it, is typically a huge fan of the shower and so Pete and I both often take her in with us. Being that she’d doused herself in chlorine earlier that day it was necessary that a shower happen at some point before bed and so as Pete prepared to take one himself I began to also ready Norah. Unfortunately, for some unexplained reason that also explains any number of other irrational behaviors our favorite toddler exhibits, Norah decided that she was absolutely, positively 100% against taking a shower at that time and proceeded to scream her pretty little head off as though standing under that stream of water was the greatest torture she’d ever experienced. As parents we’re not keen on giving in to tantrums and as I stated previously that shower was necessary, so through her wales of crazy Pete proceeded with scrubbing her down. Crosby too was in need of cleansing and I undressed him while waiting for Norah’s torture to be over. Once done, she stepped up out of the shower bin and onto the tile step, still balling, and I handed nakie baby to Pete. And then, I kid you not, as soon as Crosby was completely transfered from my hands to his, Norah ceased her sobfest and said in the calmest voice possible “I want to shower again.” Shutthefuckup.

For dinner we treated Grandma to some La Fiesta which went smashingly well in terms of multi-kid restaurant experiences and then it was off to bed for all of us after one super great Saturday.

Sunday rocked too. Booo for the weekend being over. Elderland out! XO.

father’s day

This is Pete’s second official Father’s Day and boy does he love being a daddy! Add to the general joy of being appreciated as a dad that we’re just three weeks (or less, come on less!) from being the parents of TWO awesome little beings and I’d say you don’t need much else to make this Father’s Day a hit. But of course we wouldn’t just sit back and do nothing for Pete – how rude that would be. So this is how we spent our Sunday…

Pete is the breakfast guru around here. We’re both pretty swell at cooking the later day meals, but I almost never make breakfast because he’s just so good at it. I mean, sure, anyone can fry a piece of bacon or scramble up some eggs, but his eggs are just better than mine and he can bake a mean biscuit and whip up some seriously scrumptious pancakes – banana, chocolate chip, blueberry, maybe even all of the above. But not today! I made breakfast today and I’ll go ahead and give myself a pat on the back for some fandamntastic buttermilk French toast.

After breakfast we all went up to the sunroom to open Pete’s present. We’re typically not big present exchangers but Pete has been working so hard lately and of course he’s got a big job ahead of him helping to take care of all of us after Crosby is born, so I wanted to spoil him a little bit. As I’ve mentioned before, he might just be a little tiny bit obsessed with backpacking/camping/hiking, and he’d been talking about this tarp he wanted ever since he and his buddy got back from their trip to Appalachian Mountains last month. I kept saying no, we shouldn’t get it, we shouldn’t spend the money right now, you just got a new tent, let’s wait awhile, and he wanted to tarp it up so badly that he was looking into how to make one. So I got it for him. Norah helped him open it. It had bubble wrap in the box. So she got a present too.

Next up on the agenda – a trip to Target! Because who doesn’t love Target? Our main purpose in going was to get another crib mattress because sometime soon we’ll attempt to transition Norah to a toddler bed and it uses the same type of mattress that her crib does, but of course her crib will ultimately become Crosby’s (so many changes!). But we all know you can’t just get one thing when you go to Target. So aside from some Chobani yogurt which happened to be cheap as crap and happens to be one of Norah’s favorite things to eat, we also got a shirt for Norah and a shirt for Pete. They were both VERY good deals, duh. Oh and Norah donned a straw fedora just long enough for me to snap a photo.

We wrapped up our day with dinner at our friends’ house – us Elders, the hosts and our other friends who are due to have their first baby in November. We had a delicious dinner, some wonderful conversation and just a really happy end to a really happy day.

Happy Father’s Day to all our Daddy friends and family!

Elderland out. XO.

babymoon II

Last weekend, Pete and I drove up to Charlottesville, VA for our babymoon! What’s a babymoon? Well, according to Wikipedia (oh omniscient internet how I love thee): “The original meaning was a period of time that parents spend bonding with a recently-born baby. More recently the term has come to be used to describe a vacation taken by a couple that is expecting a baby in order to allow the couple to enjoy a final trip together before the many sleepless nights that usually accompany a newborn baby. Babymoons usually take place at a resort that offers appropriate services like prenatal massage.”

Okay, first of all, it’s quite clear why they changed the meaning of this term. Obviously derived from the term honeymoon which most definitely describes a time of fluffy bliss and carefree fun, it was entirely inappropriate to associate it with the period of time after the baby comes, regardless of the sequence of events (honeymoon after wedding, babymoon after baby, yeah no, doesn’t matter). I can confidently say that no new (sane) parent would describe the weeks immediately following the birth of their child as fluffy bliss, and if they do, they’re liars or masochists. So indeed, it makes sense that the travel industry (likely in cahoots with The Bump or Baby Center) decided that the social anthropologist/childbirth educator/author that originally coined the term was wrong. It also makes sense that said social anthropologist/childbirth educator/author is a strong advocate of home birth because that and deeming the newborn stage carefree fun would go hand in hand (I’m not judging. Have your baby wherever you want. I will have mine in a hospital. Hopefully.)

Alright! Now that I’ve surely offended someone, let’s move on to our babymoon, yay! You may recall that our first babymoon – prior to Norah’s birth – was a trip to Asheville, NC (you should really read that post again because I did after I wrote the above and it’s kind of funny how the two start). We apparently have a thing for -villes. Charlottesville was actually the suggestion of my Dad when he was visiting us over New Years. After he suggested it, we did a little research and spoke with some friends that had lived and/or been there, and were totally sold. Cute, charming, historic town that we could drive to in less than four hours and do cozy things like stay at a B&B, eat great food and explore – perfect! Note that bit above in the Wikipedia blurb about a resort that has services like prenatal massage. Enh (that’s the buzzer sound for wrong). We’re not really resort people, probably, mostly because we can’t afford to be, but also because we just like the idea of démodé decor in an old house accompanied by friendly hometown hosts and a “free” breakfast.

We stayed two nights at the South Street Inn – primo location for walking to pretty much anything we’d want to do in Charlottesville, except maybe Monticello which we elected not to do anyway because it would’ve cost nearly $50 and we decided with only two days in the town we’d rather spend that money on eating and other activities. Eat we did! And shop a tiny bit (presents for the kiddos), and catch a movie (The Five Year Engagement), and explore UVA, and walk A LOT, and visit the Farmers’ Market (right across the street from the Inn!), and much to our surprise there happened to be a music festival in town that weekend so we got to see The Walkmen. The weather was amazing, the town was adorable, the food was delicious and we had a really, really great weekend. Of course we missed the piss out of Norah and were stupidly excited to get back home to see her (thanks to Grandma for taking care of her!). And now I’m officially on travel lock down until Crosby day.

A few snappies:

our room at the inn

32 week belly

the walkmen

is that chris farley doing a chef demo?

transamerica bike trail

mother’s day breakfast

Elderland out. XO.

beach snappies

A few more cutie patootie snappies from our trip to Emerald Isle:

Elderland out. XO.