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Kicking and Screaming

A year ago yesterday, I was standing in the streets of Hopkington, trying not to throw up, thinking about the daunting 4 ½ hour task I had ahead of me. A year later, I am trying not to throw up thinking about the daunting 20-year task I have ahead of me. Two hundred and sixty minutes of running seems like a walk in the park at this point.

Last December, I touched my first pregger belly. Last night, I was touching my 2nd, except this one was housing my own kid!

A preg belly has to be one of the strangest wonders of the world. It can’t be natural. I don’t understand how a girl makes it through a day knowing there’s a creature growing inside of them? How do they look down, see the Astrodome where their stomach used to be and still function normally?

Does anyone look at a preg belly and immediately think of the scene at the end of Spaceballs in the diner when the alien jumps out of John Hurt’s stomach and dances on the bar? ‘Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal!’ Check please! Anyone?

This is essentially what happens, right? The top hat and cane are exceptions of course, but he basically escapes the 9-month prison cell he’s been living in and ‘jumps’ into the world. Unfortunately, his singing and dancing will come in the form of screaming and shitting, but at least he won’t have a tail (hopefully).

Seeing the belly is one thing. Feeling him kick is a whole different story. I would say half of American’s stomachs look preg, so it’s not rare seeing someone who looks like they just ate a small child. The difference, of course, is a pregger just has a big belly. Most American’s asses look like they just ate a small child too. Not from eating for 2, but from the Mountain Dew Coolatta and chocolate chip muffin they scoffed down on the way to work.

A few weeks ago, I felt the baby practicing his Kenpo-X moves. I’ve felt a few ‘kicks’ in my stomach after the Pizza Hut lunch buffet, but nothing like this! That was me kicking myself for squeezing in the blueberry dessert slice at the end. This was an actual kick from an actual foot from inside Jacky’s guts! Again, this cannot be natural.

Jack knows when he’s awake and sleeping and she tells me like it’s the most normal thing in the world. We’ll be standing in the kitchen and she’ll say ‘oh, the baby’s up.’ Um, what baby?! I don’t see a baby! I see me, I see you and I see a cat pretending to be a dog chewing on my big toe. Oh, the baby growing inside your body?! Got it.

Speaking of kicking and screaming (in pain), congrats to Meg, Doreen and Justin for finishing the 115th Boston Marathon! How about the guy who broke the world record, but doesn’t get credit because of the wind? Tsunamis, earthquakes, humans growing inside you, tailwinds….…..nature can be a real biatch!

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Another weekend gone, another vacation in the memory books. Many of you don’t notice the weekends passing, but we sure do. There’s not too many left until we have a guest joining us. Ten more weekends of no plans, no responsibilities and no worries.

I have been visiting North Conway since I was a baby. Many of my childhood memories with my family and cousins come from up there. I shouldn’t even say childhood. I’ve been to North Conway half a dozen times every year since I was 12. This past trip was definitely an eye-opener. It’s not just the parents and kids visiting North Conway any more. It’s now the parents, the ‘kids’ and OUR kids!

We always reminisce when we’re sitting around or driving past a memorable spot. The stories are endless. The same ones are told every time, but somehow they never get old. This weekend, in the midst of the laughter and chatter, I couldn’t help but look around the dinner table at all the new faces. Not new people, just new faces. Instead of parents, there were grandparents. Instead of kids, there were 30-year olds (two of which were pregnant). And next to one of the 30-year olds was an actual new face: a 15-month old baby. Trips to North Conway are officially different!

My aunt was telling Jacky about a night when my cousin and I were literally beating the snot out of each other and how she had to physically break it up and punish us. My cousin is a girl, but in my defense a very strong girl! She always reminds us of the winter we were into stealing. We didn’t steal jewelry or anything like that. We would ‘borrow’ silverware from restaurants, trays from McDonalds, cardboard cut-outs from movie stores and signs from trees. When we got back to the house, we would tape our ‘trophies’ to a wall down in the basement. By the end of the winter, you couldn’t even tell the paint color on the wall because it was completely covered in stolen goods. My aunt could never punish us because she played a giant role in every heist……..she was our getaway driver.

Sharing the stories and the memories from when we were kids while playing with one of ‘our’ kids was quite surreal. As unbelievably amazed and shocked as I feel when I look at my Godson or the two fetus-filled bellies sitting next to me on the couch last weekend, I can’t even begin to understand how parents feel when they see their own child’s child.

As I watched my aunt play with her grandson, I kept thinking back to the times when she would be hauling up a mini-van full of screaming, bratty tweens to North Conway for the weekend. And the car ride up was just the beginning. The parents were crazy enough to take us skiing the next day. Getting kids ready to go skiing has to be one of the most brutal tasks a parent takes on. Forget the morning rush of making sandwiches, packing bags with every winter accessory in sight and stuffing skis/poles/boots/kids into the car, the ski lodge itself is where it all starts. I wouldn’t help a kid put his ski boots on if it was my actual day job that paid me $1 million a year. Even if you succeed with the boots, someone is always missing a glove, a pole, someone needs hand warmers, someone needs a drink, someone fell in their boots and can’t get up, someone is screaming because their feet hurt. Even if you’re lucky enough to escape the lodge and hit the slopes, someone is cold or has to go to the bathroom and you’re right back in. There’s no doubt a parent’s true test of patience comes during their kid’s first ski experience (and every one there after).

I guess it will all come full circle soon. My son will learn to ski on the same mountain that I learned to ski (and unfortunately, someone needs to help him with his boots………mom). All of our kids will eat Happy Meals in the same McDonald’s gondola that we used to sit in. My son and godson will be fist fighting over who gets to play with the new Xbox 2020.

It’s strange to think that my kids will someday play with the kids of the kids I played with when I was a kid (read again. It makes sense). I’m not sure if that’s a rarity these days, but I’m thankful that we stayed family/friends long enough for it to happen. My parents are godparents to my cousin and I always hoped that one of us would be a godparent to one of our kids. And it happened with the first one! Who would have foreseen that when we were on rides at Story Land or canoeing down the Saco?

(actual view from their house)

My aunt and uncle think they’re house in North Conway is a place for them to escape to and relax. Hopefully their definition of relaxing is teaching all of our kids to ski, taking them to the Polar Caves, breaking up food fights in the gondola at McDonalds, pulling the car over so someone can swipe a street sign and finding bottles of vodka under mattresses.

Don’t worry, the theft and underage drinking won’t happen for awhile. For now, let’s focus on baby proofing the entire house, removing anything breakable, clearing the yard for a swingset, replacing beds with cribs, stockpiling diapers and turning the downstairs living room into a playroom.

I love North Conway. I have so many memories from up there and hopefully my kids will too. After reminiscing this past weekend, I started thinking. Should Jack and I go to the Cape, Newport or Maine when the kids are up in North Conway? Wait, did you think I was actually bringing them to North Conway!? I said THEY will be excited! Did you not hear some of those horror stories? The grandparents are taking them to North Conway! Mommy and daddy are going on vacation!

Babymoon – Stowe

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. Scratch the question from the last post. Updated question: why would you ever spend your babymoon with your in-laws at the Trapp Family Lodge!?!?

Right off the bat, spending your babymoon at a hotel with the word ‘family’ in the title is probably against the babymoon rules. Having your mother-in-law follow you around all week is like rule #3 of what not to do on your babymoon. The answer to the question: it was FREE!

We’ve already spent a boatload of money on this baby and for all I know, Jack’s just had one too many chipburgers over the past 6 months (this is a perfect example of how I must remember to say ‘just kidding’ after any of my witty 1-liners to the pregger). Jack’s parents had to use one of their timeshares, so they asked us to fill some of the empty space in the condo for the week. Hey, you don’t have to ask me twice! If the hills are alive with the sound of me saving some ‘doe’, I’m all for it!

I actually enjoy the Trapp Family Lodge. Stowe itself is an amazing town with plenty of ‘foodie’ restaurants, shopping, hotels and plenty to do for everyone. If you’re ever in Stowe, you need to at least drive up to the Trapp. The property is enormous (over 2,500 acres) and the views of the ‘lively’ hills are stunning. It snowed over 8 inches when we were up there and the scenery was extraordinary (you can even tell from all of these little thumbnail pictures). I personally enjoy the Trapp for all the recreational attractions such as the plethora of snowshoe/x-country skiing trails, indoor pool, outdoor hot tub overlooking the mountains, sauna, yoga and brand new gym.

I had the same schedule for the 3 full days we were there: breakfast, snowshoe a few miles, P90X, pool, hot tub, sauna, shower, lunch, movie, dinner, movie, dessert (linzertortes and apfelstrudels, of course). If that’s not the perfect day, I don’t know what is?

The snowshoe/x-country trails at the Trapp are 2nd to none. They have over 65 miles of trails and the majority of them are groomed. Stowe still has tons of snow and we took full advantage of it.

Jack’s dad snowshoed with us one day, but the other times it was just me, Jack and her mom, Lance Armstrong. The snowshoeing was pleasant minus the stops for Lance to pee in the woods, draw our ‘game plan’ in the snow with a stick and check her heart rate to make sure she was always ‘in the zone.’ Lance was bored silly on the groomed, flat trails her pregnant daughter and I were taking and kept trying to pressure us into a 6-mile, 5-hour, hike up Mount Mansfield. She eventually did it alone while the rest of us visited the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Waterbury. True story.

Lance even decided to join me for a P90X session one morning. She wanted to follow that up with a death match on the ping-pong table in the game room, but I told her there was a sign that read ‘No Swearing, Keeping Score or Throwing Paddles,’ so she obviously couldn’t play. I believe she eventually made her way to the pool to do laps and bet the kids that she could hold her breath underwater longer than them.

All and all, the babymoon was a success. Jack got to relax, spend some downtime with her family and friends and most importantly, try the new Ben and Jerry’s ice cream with chunks of potato chips (crazy preggers and their weird cravings).

Who was the most depressed that the babymoon was over? Not me, not Jacky, but Tula! When we go on vacation, Tula goes on vacation……..at my parent’s house. She usually gets the all-inclusive, all you can eat and nap package when she stays there. Dragging her home is more difficult than getting Jacky’s mom to stop jogging in place in the sauna.

Our next stay at the Trapp will be completely different, to say the least. There will still be snowshoeing, swimming and trips to Ben and Jerry’s, but with an extra pair of tiny snowshoes, some arm floaties and a kiddie cone. The Trapp ‘Family’ Lodge will surely have a whole new meaning.

I think the countdown officially begins after the babymoon is over. Is that correct? We still have another little vacation planned in a few weeks, so maybe we can start the countdown after that weekend? I don’t know who’s trying to prolong the countdown more, me or Jack? Me, because I have to figure out how to raise a human being soon or Jack, the person having a 7-pound bowling ball ripped out of her guts? Ouch! Toss up.

Just in case you don’t know what a babymoon is (guys), Wikipedia describes it as a vacation taken by a couple that is expecting a baby in order to allow the couple to enjoy a final trip together before the many sleepless nights that usually accompany a newborn baby. To sum it up: it’s basically your last vacation for 20 years. Going to Disneyworld and renting a beach house in the summer are not vacations. If you’re being buried in the sand, standing in 2-hour lines to ride Dumbo for 90 seconds or playing the Alphabet game in a mini-van, you are not on vacation. You are at the opposite end of the vacation spectrum. You are actually in the depths of H-E-double hockey sticks.

Our babymoon consisted of 6 days and 6 nights. We spent the 1st part at Lake Winnipesaukee and the 2nd part in Stowe, VT. Two of our good friends joined us at the lake and we joined Jack’s parents in Stowe. I know what you’re thinking: why would you spend your babymoon with your in-laws? This is a very, very good question. I will get back to you when an answer comes to me.

We stayed 2 nights at The Inns and Spa at Mills Falls in Meredith Bay. The hotel is amazing! We knew a few friends that have stayed here in the past and had nothing but great things to say. We drove by it last summer when we spent the weekend at the lake with Tula (dozens of negative memories just rushed through my brain in a matter of seconds, I think I actually just had a seizure). We tried to get a pet-friendly room at Mill Falls that weekend, but they were booked. That’s OK. The room we stayed in was fine, except for the fact that we had to buy sleeping bags at Walmart because we refused to sleep in the bed. I know I’ve thanked you numerous times in the past, but thank you Tula for joining us on such an amazing weekend!

(Jack attempted to take a bubble bath in the Jacuzzi)

(Bubble bath – 1, Jacky – 0)

Anyway, this trip to the lake was about 10,000 times better than the last (A – no Tula. B – sleeping bag free). Since this was our last vacation until the kid goes to college/Army/jail, I figured we mine as well live it up a little. I booked us the best room Mill Falls had to offer, the Gunstock Suite. It did not disappoint! The room was bigger than our condo! There was a separate living room, fireplace, flat screen above the fireplace, a nice deck overlooking the lake (and Gunstock of course), a Jacuzzi tub and a gigantic bed (Jack needed to step on a stool to get into it).

Our friends got a room across the street and basically just unpacked their stuff in ours. We ate, drank, took naps, watched March Madness, went swimming and took advantage of the hotel’s spa. I ran on the treadmill while everyone got massages (Jack got a prenatal massage and a facial for her babymoon spa day) and afterward my buddy and I sat in the steam room while we waited for the girls. I must admit, it was quite relaxing. They tried their hardest to talk me into a massage, but it wasn’t happening. I would rather run 6 miles than get a massage. Is that wrong? Plus, the gym overlooked the indoor pool/Jacuzzi where a 15-girl bachelorette party was spending their afternoon. To quote Charlie Sheen……..’winning!’

We had a great dinner that night at the restaurant in the hotel. The night continued in the Gunstock suite where the girls tried to get us to play games. I hate games. I was having an enjoyable night, which was about to get much better with March Madness on TV, Whipped Cream vodka in my glass and a giant container of chocolate chip bread pudding with vanilla ice cream in front of me. Why would I want to ruin this with a stupid game?

The girls eventually talked us into it and we played. We fought. The game ended quickly. The guys went back to drinking and basketball and the girls yelled at us for awhile. Just like every other time we play games! Maybe they’ll figure it out soon. Hopefully.

The next morning, we said goodbye to our last ‘kid-free’ hotel room, joined our friends for waffles and omelets and headed to the 2nd destination of our babymoon………the Trapp Family Lodge.

True story.

To be continued……………

Babymoon

Coming soon!

Twins

I could never be preggers. I think 99.9% of guys could never be preg. I am simply basing this comment on food consumption alone. Forget the 4,829 other reasons I could never be pregnant. I could never have food cravings and be allowed to gain 25-30 lbs in an 8-month time frame.

I gained 21 lbs from November 8th to January 24th. That’s only 76 days! That’s 2 lbs per week! To stick up for myself, I was coming off a full year of marathon training, stopped exercising altogether (for my back) and the holiday season couldn’t have come at a worse time. Add a new, pregnant wife to the mix and it was the perfect storm of weight gain. It’s kind of like we’re having twins, except my ‘baby bump’ is a lot bigger than hers.

As of today, I have gained more weight than Jack. Sad, I know. I’m actually having a much harder time during my ‘pregnancy’ than her. She’s been a serious trooper thus far. She never complains, never asks me to do anything and so far (I believe), there really haven’t been any issues with her pregnancy. Pretty much the exact opposite of how I’ve been during my ‘pregnancy.’ I’m always hungry, always sore, always worried about my ‘figure,’ never sleep and because of my back, I even walk like a pregger some times. I’ll have my hand on my lower back while bending slightly backwards. Jesus, I hope I’m not preggers!

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve already gained the recommended weight during pregnancy. The bad news is that I have 3 frigin months to go! I guess me and Baby X are going on a diet. Sorry buddy, but I have to think of my post-pregnancy bod right now! I’ve been doing P90X for the past 9 weeks and haven’t really seen any results (yes, I’ve still gained more weight than Jack doing P90X). You’d think the pregger would be the one constantly in front of the mirror? Not in our house. I’m always looking for some kind of P90X results and asking Jacky if she notices anything. Jack will say something like ‘I think the baby just kicked’ and I’ll be like ‘Jack, do you see this bump in my forearm? Yea, that wasn’t there a month ago. P90X – what’s up (while making an X with my arms)!’ Sad, I know.

You’d think I’d be getting in better shape and my body would start to feel better after working out for 2+ months? I’m almost positive it’s getting worse. It’s not even a question that I complain way more than Jack about our aches and pains. At night, Jack will be on the couch with Tula watching a movie or something. I’m watching the same movie, except I’m lying on the floor with ice packs on my back, wrists, ankles and (most recently) shins (still making the X sign with my arms). Sad, I know.

It’s not like Jack is soaking up the excuses to sit back and do nothing for 9 months. She’s on a steady diet and works out 4 days per week. She goes to Spin and Yoga class, does the Elliptical, lifts weights, hikes and snowshoes!

I think if we were having twins, it would be the same scenario as the actual movie Twins. She would pop out Arnold Schwarzenegger and I would have Danny DeVito. Short, fat, bald……makes sense.

The rest of the class was pretty tame compared to the ‘after hours’ version of rescue breathing. The videos they show are a laugh riot. I’ve seen better quality movies on YouTube shot by 10-year olds with their cell phones. I spent $80 for this stupid class. The teacher didn’t have a key, the heat was turned off for the weekend and there was no water to drink. I’m not positive where my money went, but hopefully they threw a few bucks towards a new video shot in the 21st century. They don’t need professional actors or anything. Just using a woman without bangs and a guy without a mustache would be a vast improvement. Also, it would be great if the person calling 911 could use a BlackBerry or an iPhone instead of a Zack Morris phone imbedded in the hump of their car.

Guys, another convenient part of the class is the lunch break. After getting to know one another for the first 3 hours, guess who wants to grab lunch together? Your new hot nursing student friend/future wife, that’s who! Are you kidding me? Your first date! It’s that simple.

Even if your new hot friend brought her own lunch and doesn’t want to leave, just bring her back a drink or a snack or something. The girl I was sitting next to brought her own lunch, so on my out, I asked if she wanted me to bring her back a drink. That small gesture now ranks in this person’s list of all-time nicest things someone has done for her. It was as if I brought her back a watch or something. Guys, that bottle of water just got you a phone number! Best $.99 you’ve ever spent in your life.

The CPR portion of the class ended shortly after we returned from lunch and we immediately moved into First Aid training, so we could get out of there early. Has anyone ever been to a First Aid class? I can’t even emphasize how much of a joke it is. I would compare being First Aid certified to having your Middle School diploma. If I was seriously injured and someone came rushing over to my assistance and told me they were trained in First Aid, I would try to ignore the amount of pain I was in and laugh hysterically in their face. If you’re First Aid certified, it just means you’re over the age of 5 and you’re not dead.

One of the demonstrations we had to complete to get certified was to wrap an Ace bandage around someone’s arm. I couldn’t even make that up! The teacher actually observed every student do this! Make me throw a leg in a splint, drag someone out of a burning car or start a fire using 2 sticks. Something a bit more difficult than putting a band-aid on some nursing hottie’s finger!

After everyone unwrapped each other, we skipped the test, the teacher handed us our certification cards and we were on our way. Guys, if it didn’t work out with you and any of the nursing students during the class, this is the time to listen for their name when the teacher calls them up for their cards. You can then maybe stock them on Facebook and start a conversation there? Yes, this move would be extremely creepy and desperate on your part, but hey, you just went to a CPR class to pick up chicks! You have absolutely nothing to lose!

Just think……….I am now trained to save your baby’s life if they are unconscious or begin choking. How scary is that!?