This summer will go down in history as one of the best summers we’ve had as a family, without a doubt! It’s been busy, at times crazy, but amazing! For starters, G and I were able to spend the first 3 months of summer at home with our kids, which for a couple of working moms is unheard of and a total dream come true. For two, it’s been our first summer as a family of four and the excitement that comes along with that is what’s been the most amazing of all. Thirdly, we successfully completed our #12weeks12adventures plan that we set out to do at the start of the summer (and yes, we created a hashtag for it, lol). The idea was that even with a new baby, we would do things a bit differently this maternity leave and set out on at least one family adventure each week of our 12 weeks at home. To understand what a mission this was for us, you should know that with Gracie, we almost never left the house when she was a newborn… so this was a challenge we made to ourselves to step out of our comfort zone. We wanted to get outdoors, fight our natural inclinations to be paranoid helicopter moms and make the most of what will be the last time we’re all home like this together. All in all, I would say we totally nailed it!
FMLA mission accomplished!
Train Ride to Santa Fe, NM | Gracie’s Last Prek Field Trip
We kicked the summer off by taking the day to go with our gal on her very last preschool field trip (and I’m feeling teary again just thinking about the fact that prek is finished for her) waaaaaa! The field trip was a two-part adventure. First, we all took the Rail Runner to Santa Fe, NM and this was a mini field trip in itself. Grace had never been on a train before and all the kiddos were a bit nervous but so excited to go! Since it was the last field trip of their preschool years, all us parents tagged along and I think we were just as excited as them. The kids had a blast on the train and then enjoyed a yummy picnic in this awesome industrial park in Santa Fe. I had lots of time to reflect during our train ride back into town and felt sad as I thought about this chapter of Gracie’s childhood coming to an end. At the same time, I felt excited for how amazing I know elementary school will be for her. I guess sometimes I just wish I could slow everything down a bit and keep her a baby for a little while longer. But don’t let her hear me say that! If there’s one thing that drives my kid crazy, it’s when I say I want her to stay little. “I’m going to keep growing, Mama! It’s what I’m supposed to do!” This one. 5 going on 15, I tell you!
Museum of Natural History | Our 1st Family Outing!
For our first adventure as a family, when baby boy was just a little over a week old, we spent the day at the Natural History Museum. We wanted to start with something indoors as it was hot as hell outside, mid-April! Like seriously, it’s been the hottest summer this town has had in 30 years (thanks climate change that apparently doesn’t exist) and because babies overheat so easily, indoors was the only option for us. Grace was super pumped because it had been more than 2 years since we last visited the museum and she’s at an age now where she’s really into dinosaurs and things like the constellations and planets. We also kinda loved that Will’s first family adventure would involve being introduced to outer space, since that’s been the theme for little dude’s nursery, his baby shower and half his wardrobe!
If I’m just being honest, baby boy slept through about 95% of the day as he did for most of our outings at the start of the summer, but he was there with us looking all cute and cuddly, and just being out as a family of four was the best feeling in the world. Grace basically ran from exhibit to exhibit at full speed asking us to read everything in sight. She would often come over to the stroller to tell her baby brother something, even though he was fast asleep every time she peeked in on him. She would smile and touch his little belly or feet and say “aww, he’s cute” before running off again. It made my heart so happy to see her try and involve him over and over. It was just the cutest! :)
We ended up staying all morning and afternoon before heading out because Georgia needed to pump, but not before visiting the museum giftshop! Gracie picked out a little stuffed green triceratops for her bro and a gift for herself and just like that, brother had his first ever souvenir and our first outing as a family was in the books! This family outing went way more smoothly than I thought it would and it surprised us. It showed me that things really are easier with your second child and I think you can attribute this to the fact that most parent chill the F out by their second baby. We weren’t worried about every person who came within 10 feet of us. We didn’t feel the need to get home right away and we knew that every possible disaster would likely NOT take place. This meant we left the house with a stroller and one diaper bag, as opposed to packing for a 2-day trip like we did anytime we left the house when Grace was a babe. We put mittens on Will’s hands (like any good germaphobe would do), packed an extra outfit in the event of a blowout and that was it. Live and learn, less is more, or whatever.
New Mexico BioPark Zoo | Will’s 1st Play Date
There are a few friends from my college sorority days that I’ve stayed in close contact with since graduation and my good friend Katy is one of them. Katy and I shared the experience of struggling to conceive at roughly the same time, with Georgia and I finally getting our baby girl in 2012, followed by Katy and her husband, Sean having their beautiful boy Logan in 2013. A few years later it was a struggle again for both of us to conceive our second little ones. Katy ended up getting pregnant first this time around, welcoming her adorable son Jackson in 2016, followed by the arrival of Will in April, 2017. As I’ve written in the past, conceiving was such a roller coaster, involving so much emotion and through it all, Katy was an amazing support to me, as I was to her. Now that our families are complete, it’s the absolute best when we’re able to get everyone together and this play date was the first that it was all 4 of them!
I knew I wanted Will’s first “play date” to be with Jackson, so when we noticed that a few cloudy days were on the horizon, we all planned to meet at the Zoo! It ended up being hot, but it was a bit overcast and so we found ways to keep cool as the kiddos ran their little legs off, all through the Zoo! They got to see nearly every animal attraction including some new attractions that just opened this summer. Again, brother bear slept, but this time he had a bit more awake time and seemed to be fascinated by all the trees. Gracie and Logan picked up right where they left off the last time they hung out, even though it had been almost a year. We picnicked, we visited and we loved on all the babies. So much fun!
And about these photos, ughhhh… can we please talk about how tiny my sweet boy was in these pictures?! I know they say time flies, but I don’t think anyone prepared me for the fact that it passes even faster the second time around! It really wasn’t until I starting writing this post recapping our summer and looking back at pictures, that I realized just how big Will is now! I’m sure I’ll say this again when I finally get around to uploading the remainder of our summer photos, next month. Be still, my heart!
A Day at the Aquarium | with a side of rain…
I should start my story of our day at the aquarium with a warning. Never let your older kid think it’s ok to place things like wooden owl figurines in the base of your baby’s car seat. Even more importantly, don’t fail to notice said item and fasten your car seat down, right on top of it – because here’s what will surly happen… An epic thunderstorm will take place as you’re trying to take your car seat out of your vehicle and you will find that much to your dismay, it’s completely stuck. What will follow will involve buckets of water raining down on your head as you struggle to remove the car seat and you’ll end up spending the remainder of your day at the aquarium with swap ass, (caused by soaking wet pants). True story, this is how our day at the aquarium began.
Thankfully, we were super pumped for our visit, so we all forgot about getting poured on pretty quickly. Gracie is obsessed with sea life and always has so much fun at our local aquarium, so she cared the least that she was wet, ha! This is the place we visited when the bean was a newborn for her first play date with bestie, Olivia and she could not wait to show Will all the fish, especially the sharks!
Grace knows her way around the place at this point and we’ve learn from previous visits that we have to slow her down and actually read the displays for each exhibit or we get through that place at lightening speed. Now that our gal is older, she was really into hearing about all the species of fish and happily accepted our challenge to identify each type of fish in the tanks as we read them off. Brother bear was more awake on this adventure then he had ever been on previous outings and while he did keep nodding off, he was awake long enough to see the awesome tanks and stare wide-eyed at the glowing water! We made our way through in about 45 minutes to find that the aquarium café now serves our favorite beer on tap, so we grabbed lunch and some drinks… because it’s totally acceptable to drink beer on a Tuesday afternoon when you're on maternity leave and we all know that beer increase milk supply. Two birds, one stone! Yay!
And there you have it, Part 1 of our 3 part blog series – The Roybal Family 2017 Summer Bucket List Adventures!
Up next: Will & Gracie’s 1st Swim Party, Family Bowling Night, Soccer Camp, Cabin Camping in AZ, Baby Boy’s 1st Stay at a Resort and so much more. Damn, I have a lot of catching up to do! #storyofmylife ;)