Saturday, July 26, 2008

An Attempt At A Portrait

At one point during vacation we did our best to get a picture of all the cousins. I was trying to figure out which one turned out best, and found it quite amusing.

Where's Levi?

There he is... being held down by my arm!

Oops. He's escaping!

OK, now he's back. But so is my hand. And we've got some funny facial experessions.

Hmm. This could have been good, except for Sam's "pose".

Could this one be the best? Maybe we should quit while we're ahead.

We're losing control.

Levi's gone again.


Better luck next year?


We returned from vacation 2.5 weeks ago, and it has taken me this long to finally post about it! That's partially because I have gotten out of "summer vacation" mode, and things fell apart a little in the past couple weeks. Not really, but it hasn't exactly been smooth sailing, either. The boys get cranky when they are bored.

Plus, a few other things have been going on, which I will update you on in a future post. (Why do I keep saying these things? It seriously puts me into procrastination mode!)


Smith Mt. Lake was great! We were with my parents, my brother and his family, and my sister and her husband. Our rented home was on the water with a little beach and dock. Here's the view from the back deck of the house:

Yes, that's a double-decker boat dock! It was particularly fun for this reason:

Mike was the resident thrill-seeker and took the plunge off the top deck first, but my brother Geoff was soon to follow. Sam thought it was most fun when Daddy jumped off the top at the same time he jumped off the bottom. It made him feel empowered.

The little sandy beach was perfect for the preschool/early elementary set. There was lots of fun sand-and-water-play going on:

Mom and Dad picked up some nightcrawlers for us, and we were able to do a little fishing. The kids had some fun, especially with the worms. They even caught a few fish!

On our last full day, my dad rented a pontoon boat and we spent the day on the lake. So much fun!

The best part was the innertube. Most of us went out for a ride, which was just right for the kids because the boat maxed out at 12 mph with all of us on it!

After frolicking in the lake, it was fun to take advantage of the hot tub on the lower porch.

Besides all the water activity, we got in plenty of family time. Nate had fun discovering daddy's ear:

Nana (my Mom) provided some much-needed stimulation when it was raining, as well as other times. She spent time with the kids playing games, doing crafts, teaching Levi several letters, and building a system of tunnels from carboard boxes that became a little playhouse for the kids in the lower rec room!

Nate got to snuggle with Paw Paw (my dad) more than once:

Sam had a birthday party, complete with Pinata:

And there was lots of cousin bonding time.

Sam and Emma, who are only 6 months apart, particularly hit it off. At one point early in the week, they were downstairs unsupervised in the "clubhouse" which they were supposedly decorating with markers. They got carried away and ended up colored in markers themselves. Arms, legs, faces, eyelids, and even areas where, well, clothing should have been were nicely decorated. We tried not to laugh as we handed down the punishment: they couldn't sleep in the same room that night. It didn't happen again.

Evenings were spent chatting, as well as watching hilarious Rhett & Link videos and a couple movies (The Bucket List and Bella - both worth renting). All in all, it was a great time away from the city with my hubby and kids. But more than that, when I visit my family I am reminded of the wonderful family I have been born into, and wish we could be with them more often.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Home, Sweet Home

After a wonderful week at Smith Mt. Lake at a large rental house with my parents, siblings and spouses, and all our kids (and my sister's pooch), we loaded up our van and said our goodbyes. Sam asked if he could go home with Micah and Emma, his "best" cousins. He also asked if we could stay at the house forever.

I oh-so-gently brought him back to reality by saying, "Sorry, vacation can't last forever! Only for a week." He took it in stride.

I have to admit that I felt a little pang of guilt over his desire to stay. Maybe I'm projecting my own feelings onto him, or assuming that I know what he feels, but I often feel guilty that we live in an apartment in the city. The kids don't have their own rooms or their own yard. We don't have a playroom. And although we spend lots of time at the park, it feels pretty sterile compared to my own upbringing. At the lake house, Sam and Levi had what I think of as a normal childhood experience: lots of time outside, fishing, swimming, playing, Sam riding his bike in the street (we were almost at a dead end). Lots of space inside, where they could run around a make noise without my shushing: "you'll bug our downstairs neighbors!"

We drove home on a scenic route and made a stop in Charlottesville to visit our dear friends, Harvey and Sally, who just moved there. After having lunch together and chatting for a couple of hours, we continued our trip. Long story short, it took us until 7:45 to get home. (We left the lake at 10am!) The kids were tired of being in the car.

As we pulled into the driveway of our building, Sam looked elated. "Hey! Our house!"
(Never mind that it's actually a huge apartment building, not a house. We still call it that.)

We pulled into our garage spot, and Sam and Levi danced around while Mike and I figured out just how much we could manage to bring up to the apartment in one trip. We made the trek and finally arrived at our apartment door.

What followed were excited shouts of glee, things like,
"We haven't been here in a really long time!"
"Da Iggles!" (Levi, upon reacquainting himself with his big red car.)
"I love our home!"

And several other exclamations that I tried to remember but can't. But what I do remember is how warm it felt, how rewarding, that my kids were so happy to be home after such a wonderful week away. Sure, it's a place, but it represents the way we spend our time on a normal basis, their rituals, their lives. Time and rituals that I am in charge of, that I sometimes labor to plan and keep orderly and sometimes allow to become disorderly and askew, even boring. And although they had a wonderful week away, they missed it.

More on the vacation soon!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

5 Years Ago...

... I became a mommy for the first time.  Wow, how time flies!  And how my life has changed.  But more than that, my children have changed me.  

Today is Sam's 5th birthday! I'll blog more about the festivities when we're home from vacation, but I thought I'd contemplate some of the ways I've changed since becoming a mother:

  • I can accomplish more in a day with less sleep than I ever did before kids.
  • I am more creative - I can entertain a 2 year old with an ear infection for 45 min. in a doctor's office in a pinch.
  • I drink just as much coffee, but it's almost never at a coffee shop.
  • If I'm going anywhere, I start to prepare for the outing at least an hour in advance, if not more.  I factor in 15 minutes just to get everyone strapped into the car.
  • I do waaaay more laundry.
  • I actually know how to cook.
  • I am more merciful, less selfish, and more empathetic.  Except when my hubby tries to sleep in because he has a cold.   (Sorry, Hon.)
  • I take fewer showers. ;)
  • My home is not as clean.  Or should I say, my home is not clean.
  • I cry at anything having to do with children being harmed, including the 5:00 news.  Scratch that - we don't watch the 5:00 news anymore so that our children are not exposed to violence.
  • Small talk that doesn't involve the subject of young children is very hard to come up with.
  • I have a blog.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list.  But one thing I know:  God is working out my salvation through my children.  I am changed, and I don't always like what I am but I know I am better because of raising these babes.  It is hard, but it is good.

I love my life. 

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th!

Tomorrow we're off to Smith Mountain Lake to vacation for a week with my family. I can't wait to get there! But right now I'm a bit stressed out, wondering if I'll remember everything. I think I'm procrastinating a bit by blogging!

But before going, we had friends Christian and Mckenzie over, with their babysitter and our friend Liz, for a little fun in the pool, some pizza and peach raspberry crisp, and some sparklers!

Blue Berries and Blue Lips

After a day or two of recuperation, we were off and running again. We've had a busy week! I'm ready for vacation.

On Wednesday we went back to Bulter's Orchard for a little blueberry picking, again with Megan and her boys. Here are the berries:

Here are our boys:

Again, Blogger is rotating my pictures. What's up?! Does anyone know what I am doing wrong? They are right side up in My Pictures.

We had to be taken to the berry fields via tractor ride, which all the boys except Levi loved. I'm sure we are quite a sight, both of us with a baby strapped to us, toddler in tow and running after preschoolers! Thankfully this seems to be a very popular outing among moms and their kids. We had some fun conversations with other moms of 3 and 4 kids on the tractor ride. It's like we're a part of a sisterhood or something.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon with friends Anita, Symon and baby Elsa at Hayse Park. Wow, it's a great little place. They've got a creative playground to climb and play around, and a fantastic sand area.

Levi has really enjoyed climbing in the past few days! He's not so cautious lately; this afternoon we found him in his crib, though we hadn't put him there! Here's my little climber in action:

But really, the afternoon was about the Sprayground. Look at this:

They had a blast! Levi wasn't interested in the sprinklers, so he spent the afternoon doing this:

Grrr. More sideways photos.

Anita and I got to chat, and I got to hold baby Elsa.

After about an hour of running around in the sprayground, the boys were cold and hungry!

The sun got rid of their blue lips, though.

Well, after only two weeks of summer vacation I hit a wall. It happened after the day at the zoo. I couldn't quite figure out what was making me so tired, until I realized that Nate had not been sleeping well for a few days. He was not napping well, but was also waking almost hourly during the night. I thought maybe we should start sleep training, but then realized that he might have an ear infection. I loaded the three kiddos into the car and drove to the doctor's office. Once there, after a 70 minute wait, the doctor looked in his ear and pronounced him perfectly healthy and ready to learn how to sleep.

Only a few hours later, this was the scene at the Godzwa home:

Sorry. I know that's gross, but several days later my life is still filled with much nose-wiping. Sometimes with kleenex, sometimes with my shirt (not by choice!).

Nate was indeed sick with a cold which caused so much congestion that he simply could not breath while nursing or sucking on a pacifier. So instead of learning to sleep, he got to sleep with Mommy and pretty much get whatever he wanted while Daddy took up residence on the air mattress in the living room for a few nights.

A day later, Levi came down with the same thing, and then Sam followed suite.

By Tuesday night I took Nate back into the doctor's office, and he did indeed have two ear infections. Poor baby.

But I'm happy to report that the whole family is sleeping better, even though their noses still drain more than you can imagine - where does all that stuff come from?! I seem to have dodged a bullet, so I'm thankful. I'm also thankful that we nailed the ear infection before leaving for vacation! Woo hoo! More on that in the next post...

We went to the Animal Fair...

Another outing: the National Zoo! We're truly blessed to live only 10 min. from the zoo, so I'm almost embarassed to admit that this is our first visit since last summer. I took the boys a couple weeks ago.
Sam likes to strike a pose lately.

The highlight of our morning was the elephants. We watched them play a little, and then got to see their bath.

Levi calls all animals "doggie". Pretty cute when directed at an elephant!

When asked what his favorite thing was at the zoo Sam responded, "the pizza playground!" He's not much of an animal lover (although he does find them interesting!)

Hamming it up for the camera:

And cooling off a little in front of one of the misters: