Paul and I enjoyed a wonderful couple of days all by ourselves getting lost among the Finger Lakes in New York. We stayed at a secluded countryside inn where we enjoyed privacy, some beautiful waterfalls, breathtaking gorges, a couple intense hikes, and wine tastings at local wineries. We also had the chance to explore the city of Ithaca as well as Cornell University - a beautiful campus built into the natural landscape of the area. My favorite part of the entire trip was just being able to hold hands with Paul without interruption. Little moments of intimacy like that are harder to come by once Matthew and Emma came along!
The most unfortunate part of our trip happened as we were packing the car. I had taken the battery out of my camera to charge the night before we left. In our haste to depart, we packed the camera in the bag but left the battery charging. We were unaware of this until we arrived at our destination. Paul and I immediately headed over to a couple electronics stores in the area, but neither of them had the particular battery I needed in stock. So, we were unable to capture any pictures of the beautiful sights we enjoyed on our trip. Guess this means we'll have to go back sometime!
This was my first time away from Emma and I was very nervous about leaving her. I knew Matthew would do just fine since he gets along so well with my family, but Emma has always been a little more clingy. Plus, in my mind she is still very much a baby. She seemed fine when we took off - happily playing with Amy and Jane. However, I could not stop thinking about her - especially around her normal naptime and bedtime. I'm the only one who has ever put her to bed! I must have driven my Mom crazy by calling to check on her so many times, but she was doing just fine! When we returned, she definitely punished me a bit by being super clingy and whiny but while we were out of the picture, she played, ate, and slept normally. The little stinker.
When we returned, we visited with my family for an extra day before they headed back to Fort Wayne. We enjoyed a relaxing day hiking around the woods and playing in the stream. The little kids also enjoyed shooting each other with water guns all afternoon. It was a great day.
For the 4th of July weekend, we enjoyed having Michael, Maria, little Michael, and baby Bonnie out for a visit. Matthew and Emma just love their little cousins. Little Michael played wonderfully with both of them and Emma could not get enough of Bonnie (I couldn't either - my goddaughter is such a cutie pie!). She kept pointing at her while exclaiming: "Baby! Baby!" She loved to touch her face and swing her in the little baby swing we set up for her in the family room.
The fireworks went well this year because Matthew only ran inside to hide once! This is a vast improvement over last year when he spent the entire evening watching the fireworks from behind the screen door. Emma, as a complete contrast, has the makings of a pyromaniac. She could not get enough of the fireworks. Every time Paul struck a match, her eyes would light up with wild anticipation of the explosion to follow. She turned into an angry little monster when we ran out of sparklers and threw a fit when I stopped her from eating a Bang Snap. What a horrible mother I am!
Of course, Michael (the big one) insisted that we purchase some snakes to set off. Snakes have become a firework tradition in my family mainly because my Dad is obsessed with them for some strange reason. My Mom and I detest them - they are ugly, look like feces, and leave nasty black marks on the concrete. I don't think the kids were too impressed with them either. Just look at their faces!
On a totally different note, after Emma's small bout with separation anxiety, I still thought she was acting quite irritable. Everything we seemed to say or do would set her off into a full-out, back-arching, whining, kicking, screaming, crying mess. I discovered the problem when I peered into her mouth the other day: she has six molars that all decided to pop through at once! The poor baby. She is behaving much better now which is especially fortunate for Matthew. He can't stand it when she cries - he claims the noise "breaks the ears."
Hopefully I'll get back into a rhythm with posting and have some more delicious recipes to share in the coming weeks!