Colorado 2013

Trip #2 as a family of 3 is under our belt, each trip bringing a new kind of adventure. We ventured to the Rocky Mountain National Park to celebrate my birthday (30 – eek!). Though we didn’t get as much hiking in as we would have pre-baby, nor any kayaking this time around, we had a great time. We did manage a few short hikes including a longer one at the Continental Divide reaching over 11,000 ft. This hike was probably the favorite considering it resulted in a 50-minute nap for Olivia.

The highlight of the trip is a tie between the beautiful scenery with its cool temps (lows in the 40s) and the delicious chocolate birthday cake. The worst part of the trip is easy to identify: altitude sickness for Olivia the first night at Shadow Mountain Lake. After the first full day in Colorado with minimal sleep the night of arrival, a long drive over the mountains including a trip up to Echo Lake before reaching our final destination we had one exhausted, queasy little baby on our hands. Luckily she recovered quickly after taking it easy the next couple days and shared more of her smiles and giggles with the family.

Pictures from the trip can be enjoyed here. A few favorites are below.

Our First Family Trip

Traveling with an infant seems like it should be easy aside from all the gear to pack – just stick them on your lap with a free ticket, nurse them when they get hungry, and hope they sleep most of the way with the motion. However, this only works if your infant actually sleeps with motion (aka: you have found yourself driving around aimlessly during nap time or in the middle of the night for them to sleep.) Olivia has never been a car sleeper, so we should’ve known better than to hope she’d sleep on the plane. We survived her first flight with only a bit of fussiness and about 20 minutes of sustained screaming toward the end. She does not like being stuck in one place whether she’s awake or asleep, even more so now that she’s discovered the joys of walking around.

All things considered, it could have been worse. The return flight seemed slightly better – perhaps because we knew what to expect, or because there were more children on the plane taking the heat off of us. We’ve come to a new phase in life where we hope there are other fussy babies on the plane. Here’s a shot of Olivia on her first flight, then gearing up to board the return plane home.

The plane was the least of the problems for our travel. The hardest problem was being off schedule, which is ironic since we don’t have much of a set schedule to begin with. Being away from home with all the commotion and so many new people to meet was great for entertaining and for a change of scenery but wreaked havoc on sleeping patterns. As a result, screams greeted us in the car without fail: “You’re putting me in my carseat again?? Enough of this! I’m so tired!”

Despite the sleeping issues, we managed to have a great trip to Minnesota. It wasn’t as cool as we had hoped, but there were a few nice evenings to escape July heat in Texas. Andrew & Martha’s wedding doubled as the Jacob annual family reunion. Olivia loved studying all the new faces. In addition to visiting with family, we enjoyed a beautiful day at the free zoo, and took advantage of being able to walk to town and the lake from the hotel. The last time we were here we walked on the lake with -14 degree temps. This year we saw lily pads and 90+ degree temps.

With one trip under our belt would we do it again? Absolutely (though maybe not too often).

A few pictures from the trip are below, but for the full experience, click here to see all pictures from the trip.

 

Tips for traveling with an infant:

  • Baby-wear through the airport: no need to hassle with a stroller and you can wear baby through security
  • Nurse or provide bottle during take-off and landing to minimize ear pressure (if they’ll cooperate)
  • Use lots of blankets on the plane to screen some of the stimulation
  • Use burp cloths to cover arm rests (which turn out to be very intriguing to a little one!)
  • Bring a bottle of water for you to avoid hassling with the airplane cups (prime spilling opportunity)
  • Overnight diapers for the plane to minimize need for in-flight changing
  • Be prepared to be “that person” while baby cries :-/
  • Check your carseat for free to try and have something familiar in the new environment for baby

 

Baby Shower – MA

Despite heat and humidity, last week’s baby shower was a fantastic celebration with friends and family. Thank you to those who were able to join us and all those who helped make it such a wonderful day both in person and in spirit! A sampling of pictures are below, but click here for the full collection from August 4.

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Last day home in MA until after baby’s arrival!

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Time flies!

It dawned on us that on Tuesday I will be 24 weeks pregnant, which when phrased as “6 months” sounds that much farther along. Time certainly seems to move at warp speed when you are in denial, or simply ignoring certain life changing events in favor of trying to keep up with daily life events: work, travel, exercise, yard and other chores, friends & family… this weekend we’re continuing our denial a while longer since thinking about the “to-do” list causes significant stress. Instead our attention will be focused on the Ft Worth Major Zone tennis tournament, with some water aerobics and family pool time in between matches to hide from the 106 degree temps.

Speaking of time flying by, it’s been about 5 weeks since the first post with belly shots. I figured it’s time to provide the next round of activity and photo highlights. Enjoy!

June 22, 2012: Walking the beach on Nantucket after some brisk swimming in the Atlantic. At 19 weeks, 3 days our baby girl got to enjoy the taste of freshly picked strawberries to start out the morning, then feel a drastic temperature change as we floated about the ocean to cool off in the afternoon.

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June 24, 2012: Annual dock photo our last day on the Cape, sporting my new Cowgirl-like hat from Nantucket, 19 weeks, 5 days:

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July 5, 2012: Today’s anatomy sonogram was recorded for us to enjoy over the years and share with our daughter as she gets older. Our little wiggler is already weighing in at exactly 1 pound today and measuring right on track at 21 weeks, 2 days with a strong, steady heartbeat of 155. The top photo has a nice image of her hands above her head in a relaxed pose, while the bottom picture shows her little foot that is already waging a war with my ribs.

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July 15, 2012: Baby was quite active after a pint of Phish food frozen yogurt, enough so for her daddy to feel her wiggling around that night for the first time. Perhaps she was saying thank you for finally beginning to make progress on her new bedroom, agreeing on the color after trying out our chosen paint samples and loving them … too bad that’s just the first step of many to actually finish the nursery.

July 16, 2012: Taking advantage of a black stretchy dress for work to hide the growing belly, 22 weeks, 6 days. Each day this week the “baby belly shelf” has become more and more prevalent, especially from my bird’s eye view, and apparently from my co-workers’ view as well as they constantly point to my belly before and after meetings and smirk. Not to mention the comment Thursday night from a new friend in the water aerobics class I have recently discovered: “wow, your belly is really starting to show now!” Gee, thanks?

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July 21, 2012: Purchased the majority of the paint for the nursery … each little step counts!

 

 

Nantucket

Growing up on the east coast means spending the summer in, on, or near the water. Despite having moved inland to Texas, this does not mean that our baby girl will miss out on east coast summer traditions, starting from the very beginning. We spent a glorious few days on Nantucket at the end of June, adding to Ben’s list of island’s visited (we covered Martha’s Vineyard last May).

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Having two jeeps that could go on road or sand, the 6 of us were able to explore the island completely hitting all the labeled beaches and then some. Even the “labeled” beaches were only so crowded as the first picture shown here, a bit different from Martha’s Vineyard!

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Despite the unseasonably warm temperatures, we managed to stay cool with a couple dips in the Atlantic (or at least most of us did including baby’s first dip in the Atlantic ocean). The southern coast had cooler waters and crazy waves, while the northern coast featured calmer, warmer waters the following day.

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Aside from beach exploration, we found time to peruse the downtown shops, go strawberry picking, share home-cooked meals in our beautiful rental home, and many, many photo opps since it wouldn’t be a Cronin vacation without them. We also can’t forget to mention the lovely game of after-dinner Spades that everyone thoroughly enjoyed, maybe some more than others. Results: Dane & Kara reigned supreme, Dennis & Karen held their own, Ben & Claire crashed and burned…

Saturday brought a return to reality and population as we finished up our shopping, boarded the ferry and made our way back to Cape Cod for Cullen & Sarah’s wedding celebration.

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It’s time for new flags to fly almost three years after our big wedding tent dwarfed the lawn.

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Click here to view many more pictures from Nantucket and Cullen and Sarah’s party. We’ve tried to add some captions to help guide you along; unfortunately Boston exploration and others are missing since they reside on Dane and Dennis’ cameras.

Quick May Visit

The weather could not have been better for our quick trip back to MA the other weekend. It was perfect for a couple walks, a short visit with Kate and Abby at the park, and the chance to share in the celebration of the beautiful union between Jan and Ahmed in Boston all the while catching up with Mom and Dad.

A few photo highlights are below.

Peek-a-boo with Abby:

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Return to childhood tree climbing:

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Abby eating stolen munchkins:

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Walk on Crane’s Beach with Dad (only our toes got in the water):

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Check back next month for a post with pictures from what is sure to be an awesome trip to the Cape and Nantucket in June.

Spring Skiing in Montana, March 2012

Though this post will not do justice to the fabulous trip we had to Big Sky, Montana a couple weeks ago, I will attempt to highlight a few key memories using a handful of the many wonderful photos taken that week [click here to be brought to the slimmed down “full” album]. First of all, thank you to Mom and Dad for scheduling the trip and pushing your children to agree to a spring skiing vacation, even if we hadn’t yet reached Christmas. The weather couldn’t have been better as we drove up to Big Sky Sunday morning after spending the night in Bozeman (with one Bison burger already under my belt).

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While some of us worked to get our ski legs back after a couple years, others worked their arms to dig out a stuck rental car with no snow tires that just happened to end up perpendicular to the road, wedged in each snowbank. Luckily the property manager of Cascade Ridge had a sturdy SUV that was able to pull him out without a problem. We missed Ben at lunch, but were happy to hear that his afternoon wasn’t a complete shambles after some exploration and much needed food in the belly.

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Later in the week, the legs had sufficiently adapted to allow for more active photo opps, though none from the crazy windy and steep tram run where it took all we had to focus on one turn after the next.

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Tuesday’s snowstorm afforded the opportunity to work a few more hours and avoid the whiteout on the mountain, but more importantly, provided the chance for family bonding on a different type of ski slope: Lone Mountain Ranch Nordic Ski Center.

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Despite initial trepidation by some, we all survived (and enjoyed!) the 5.39 mile trail up and down a 504 ft elevation gain.

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What kind of ski trip exists without some relaxation? Hot tubbing, rooting for IU basketball, sampling (and re-sampling) a variety of Montana brewed beers, shuffleboard and pool were some of the notable activities, each having their own preferred activity (bet you can’t guess the match ups).

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Last to note, but certainly not least, was Thursday’s expedition to Yellowstone National Park. Off to a bit of a chilly start with -17 degree temps on the drive down, the massive snowmobile suits combined with the warmth of the sun helped keep us toasty. Snowmobiles turned out to be a fantastic way to tour the park, especially as they afforded an up close and personal experience with the bison. Luckily they chose not to attack us by Old Faithful as Dane brought us closer and closer for that perfect shot.

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Despite all the good times, we were missing one element to make it a perfect family vacation: Claire, hopefully you can join us next time!