It’s funny, when I’m melting alive and cursing the hot summer temps, it often feels like it’s never going to be fall, and then summer ends and I look back on all we did amazed at how quickly it came and went. This summer was a 30 year record-breaking HOT one in New Mexico, (as I’ve mentioned about 47 times), but gosh was it one that we’ll never forget! Not only was this our little guys first summer as a part of our family, but we managed to accomplish the impossible! We pulled off the out of town road trip + lake trip + camping trip, and that’s just amazing! This is what I refer to as the Summer Trinity and Georgia and I have only pulled it off a few times in our 11 summers together. I’m sure it helped that we were home on mat leave most of the summer, but we were home with a newborn and just having two kids is a game changer, for sure. The fact that we didn’t let this keep us from getting outside surprised even me, a self-proclaimed recovering helicopter mom who hardly left the house when Gracie was a baby. It’s just amazing how much more chill parents are with the second born. It was also our gal’s last summer before starting elementary school, so we had to make it just a bit more special for her too!
Go to the Lake | Happy 4th of July!
Having grown up on the lake my entire childhood, it’s one of my absolute favorite places to be and I’m always so sad when we go through the summer not making it down for a visit! With this being Will’s first summer, my mom scheduled our trip down south for the 4th of July way back in March, before the baby was even born. She wanted to make sure to celebrate Will’s first Independence Day with all of us and knew that we would likely get invited to a few different events, so she locked us down early, lol! Nani then surprised us by renting a big pontoon boat so that we could all be on the water together and not have to take groups of 4-5 out on the water at a time, like we do on her and my step-dad’s boat. It was such a great surprise and totally made our trip. :)
Having the pontoon for the weekend was so awesome that Georgia and I are currently pricing used pontoons because we want one soooo bad! I’m thinking it may be more of a summer 2019 goal, but just like with the new camper, the more we talk about it, envision having one and save, the more likely we’ll be happy pontoon owners one of these days! Between the big boat, our giant water raft, a few Jet Skis and wakeboards, we spent 90% of our days on the water and had such a blast.
Look at this tiny water baby! Will was just 3 months old for our lake trip and it’s crazy to see how much bigger he is at 6.5 months old. You don’t realize how fast they grow when you see your kiddos every day, but video like this shows you just how much they change in such a short time! Our little fish.
Baby boy did great on our trip down and Grace was the most excited little helper ever. Even with the heat and the 6-hour round trip drive in the truck, he mostly slept while Gracie ate way too many snacks and played on her Kindle. I was worried about the sun because our gal burns so quickly and both kiddos have the same skin tone, so we decided to keep the baby out of the direct sun, even on the boat, while still putting hats and sun block on him all weekend and guess what? He got a little bit of a heat rash on day two, but didn’t end up getting burned! Gracie and I weren’t so lucky though… Both me and the bean LOVE spending sun up to sun down playing in the lake, so even with hats on our heads and sun block reapplied every time we would get out for food and water, we both totally over-baked.
This visit was extra cute because it was the first that Gracie wanted to hang out with her friends in the water and not follow me around. They played with water guns, ate all their meals together and had a blast watching fireworks. Grace stayed up way later than she has on past trips, which we agreed to as she’s our almost-six-year-old big sister gal, we needed to just let her have fun and having fun meant staying up until 10:30pm and she was so stoked about it. We celebrated a few birthdays during our extended weekend, did a little shopping at the marina, G grilled her heart out and I took about a million pictures of our 3-month-old water baby and his adorable big sis. These two, I just can’t get enough of them!
We did have a very scary experience during our visit that showed us both that there’s a reason we don’t take our eyes off our kids and never let them run off and play unsupervised, regardless of who they’re with… On the 4th of July, we began lighting fireworks once it started getting dark out. Grace wanted to be able to run around with her buds, so we let her play in-between our camper and my mom’s camper, which was directly in front of ours. About an hour into the evening, when it was still dusk out, I noticed a man walk right through the center of our camp and he gave me the total creeps. Not only did he violate camping etiquette by stomping through our groups’ campsite, but also something about his presence demanded my attention. He was very tall and slender and while he only looked to be 30 something, he had completely white hair, looking almost albino and had a totally removed/blank look on his face that made the hair on my arms stand up. It was right after this that I went to get Grace and let her know it was getting too dark and she needed to play in front of our camp where I could watch her more closely, even though G had been checking on them playing behind us just about every 10 minutes or so. Grace was bummed that I ended the fun but it was time to eat anyway, so she grabbed some food and we had dinner.
About an hour and a half later, the park rangers came to our camp to let us know that there was a situation about a mile down the beach where a man reportedly attempted to kidnap a 4-year-old little girl from her campsite pulling her by the hand and nearly making off with her before being confronted by the little girl’s uncle and then running away into the dark brush. They told us that they had not yet located the man but that he was described as being tall, very thin, looked to be about 40 years old and had platinum white hair. They told us that while they were certain he’d fled and were still searching, we needed to keep our children close. I about died. I literally felt my entire body go numb like all the blood had been drained from me all at once. When I watched that guy who perfectly fit the Rangers description, every mama instinct I had screamed that he was dangerous and it turned out, I was right.
In all of my 35 years of visiting different lakes in the state and in the 50+ years that my mom has spent every summer at the lake, never had we experienced anything like this and it scared the shit out of everyone. It broke my heart to know that there are monsters out there who come to places they know have lots of children, with the sole intention of hurting them. It also reaffirmed that for all the crap Georgia and I get for being helicopter moms, that’s not something that is going to change anytime soon, because we live in a dangerous world full of a lot of sick people and it’s our job as parents to protect our littles, 24/7, 365.
Thankfully, this happened on our last night at the lake so it didn’t cast a dark shadow on the entire weekend, but was so alarming at the same time and left us feeling very uneasy. We spent our last morning enjoying a big breakfast, playing a bit more in the water and packing up our camp. G somehow managed to maintain her exclusive pumping the entire time we were out there, even though we were without electricity most of the time, in the desert and outdoors, which made me so proud of her! Her dedication to exclusively pumping for our little guy regardless of location or circumstance for 5.5 months was so inspiring to me! She’s a super mom!
Go Camping up North | Labor Day with Friends
We started a tradition a little over 10 years ago to camp every year in August or for Labor Day in September with Grace and Will’s amazing Guncles. When Grace was just 3 months old, we took her on her first camping trip and it’s something the bean looks soooo forward to each year as the summer draws to an end and it’s literally all she talks about in the weeks leading up to our annual outing. She has her lifejacket, fishing pole, flashlight and bug spray in a special cabinet in the camper and our gal has become such a camping pro that she no longer even needs our help getting all situated when we set up camp. At the age of 5, she knows where her snacks are to feed herself in-between meals. She knows not to go anywhere near the river without us and her lifejacket and she knows where all her games are, so basically she’s completely self sufficient and only needs us to cook for her and tuck her in at night! My big girl.
Because my wife is basically the Hispanic MacGyver, she has all sorts of camping gadgets and somehow finds reasons to buy more each year, so setting up outside is always her job while I get things organized indoors. Now that we have the new camper, my life setting up is so much easier and I’m just LOVING it! No more cranking up the roof of the pop-up. We don’t have to spend an hour leveling the damn thing, often times in the dark and because we no longer have to completely empty it between trips, I don’t have to load it back up with all our stuff or do much organizing now… But don’t tell Georgia because she still thinks I’m hard at work in there while she sets up outside, when really I’m just enjoying a beer while watching our flat screen TV! I know – I’m an evil genius!
For baby boy’s first camping trip up north, uncle A and uncle B joined us along with a few of their family members who also share the property. We also had our friends C & L and their son come down as well as a bunch of friends who live in the area. There was so much food and we didn’t even have to catch fish this time because our fellow campers were pulling them in like a bunch of professionals! Gracie still loves to “fish” having no idea that there isn’t a real hook on the end of her line, so even though the fish were handed over to us, we still took her out “fishing” and she had a great time!
The camping highchair that G’s mom gave us for our baby shower has been the most amazing thing and has come in handy so many times this summer! We’re able to strap William in safely, attach one to two umbrellas that come with it completely shading him from the sun and it’s been perfect for feeding our boy. The best part is that when he gets tired of us holding him in the carrier or tired of being passed from person to person, we can pop him in there, strap him in and he'll sit happily for 30 minutes to an hour, people watching and smiling away. Thanks Gaga and Papa!
We decided to only go up for two days for this first trip and it was the perfect amount of time. We made S’mores, listened to music by the fire, did a little hiking, had a fish fry and played in the river and when we were tired, we cuddled up all together in our big bed or Gracie’s bunk beds and just relaxed. It was such a great getaway and Mama can’t wait to go again!
My sweet and adventurous babies! There aren't many hand-me-downs that they can share, so when I do come across one, it makes my heart so happy!
Adios summer 2017! Thank you for being so good to us.
30 adventures down - 0 to go!
To read our 2017 Summer Bucket List, Part 2 – click here.