Cole meets the Atlantic ocean

We decided to take a mid-week trip up to York Beach Since Greg has been working in Maine quite a bit over the last few weeks. My sister-in-law made the suggestion since she was spending a few nights in a motel on Long Sands Beach with her boyfriend. What a nice little get-away!

The Cutty Sark Motel advertises that every room has a view. They weren’t kidding! The motel is so close to the beach that during high tide you can hear the waves crash against the breaker wall that is right below the windows. There is nothing like the sound of ocean waves to ensure a peaceful sleep. There was plenty of space in the room for Cole’s travel crib and the location was perfect since we could walk to Long Sands Beach.

Arriving at Long Sands Beach

Cole loves the lake, but had never been to the ocean. I was so excited for him to step into the Atlantic for the first time! He had such a blast chasing the waves and walking in and out of the water. Of course he loved the beach as well.

Cole digs the sand.

Greg had to work during the day, but he met us afterwards for dinner with a view. We drove up some winding roads towards the Cape Neddick “Nubble” Lighthouse. The lighthouse was beautiful and when we return to York I want to go back up there during the day to spend some time enjoying the view from up there. We ate at Fox’s Lobster House, which had a great family atmosphere and served delicious food and drinks.

Family picture at Fox’s.

It was a bit rainy, but the gloomy weather couldn’t spoil the beautiful view from our table.

Dinner with a view.

The next day we visited York’s Animal Kingdom and I was pleasantly surprised! I assumed it would be a hokey, beach town zoo and that turned out to be completely false. It is clean and there are a wide variety of animals to see, including alligators, tigers, a lion, and an assortment of monkeys. There are interactive areas where you can feed ducks and deer. Bambi can walk right up to you!

“Cool, an alligator. Ok…what’s next?”

 

My favorite part of the zoo was the butterfly house, because I loved seeing all of the bright colors fluttering all around us!

Butterfly at York’s Animal Kingdom.

We had such a perfect, short trip to York and definitely plan on returning!

 

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First family vacation with baby

New Hampshire in August was the perfect setting for our first family vacation.  Pre-baby, our ideal vacation would include some sort of travel, the sun, good restaurants and plenty of cocktails.  Now that Cole has joined us we had to think outside the box a little!  My generous parents gave us the lakehouse for the week so the location was an easy decision.  Cole was already familiar with the house which relieved my worry of him waking up, having no idea where he was, and crying out for us in the middle of the night.

The week started off with a family pool party at my grandparents house.  It was fun to sit and reminisce about the days when my cousins and I would be running around together playing in the backyard.  The torch is now being passed on to all our little ones!  My grandparents are now great-grandparents to six beautiful children and babies.  Here are Greg and Aunt Kim holding Cole and Chloe (only 1 month apart!).

Besides the pool, we also spent a lot of time in the lake.  My brother and his girlfriend bought us this amazing baby carrier that is made for the water.  Best invention ever!  It made swimming with Cole so much easier for him and me.  If anyone is planning on spending time in the water with their baby I highly recommend the Body Glove Neoprene infant carrier.

One day we took a road trip to North Conway.  Cole slept the whole way there and the whole way back.  We’ve learned that great naps are one of the perks of taking mini road trips!  Although he couldn’t enjoy the food like we did, Cole got to experience one of our favorite restaurants in the area, Flatbread Company.  I love them because they use local ingredients to make delicious brickoven pizza. YUM.

One of my favorite parts of the week was our visit to one of the most charming towns in New England, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.  After a delicious lunch at Crepes Ohh La La, we took Cole for a walk down Cotton Valley Trail.  It was such a peaceful afternoon.

I love my family and I can’t wake for our next vacation!  Perhaps we will get Cole on a plane next time (eek!).  Where did you take your first family vacation?

Picture blog: Cole meets the lake

We introduced Cole to my favorite place in the whole world, Lake Winnipesaukee.  My Dad was excited to take him on his first couple of boat rides during 4th of July weekend.  It started a little rocky his first time out and he started to cry with the roar of the engine…

…But it was only because he wanted to drive the boat so Grandpa obliged.

All that driving tuckered him out so he was ready for a  nice nap.

The next time he was on the boat he was awake and ready to go!

Mima hogged Cole most of the time, but that’s what Mimas do!

Daddy got some quality time too. My guys are cool dudes.

The wind was strong when we went fast, but Cole didn’t mind.

The smile on my baby’s face was the best part of the boat ride.

Cole also went swimming in the lake for the first time! We got him all dressed up in his water gear.

He was kicking away – what a swimmer!

We went a little deeper and he loved that too.

I will always cherish the memory of our first summer at the lake with our baby boy.

Our Babymoon in NH

Everyone suggests that Greg and I rest up and “take it easy” before our baby arrives.  With that advice in mind, Greg booked us a romantic weekend at Church Landing in Meredith, NH.  As I opened the door to our charming lakeview room I was greeted with a champagne bucket containing Welch’s Sparkling White Grape Juice.  If that doesn’t say “let’s party!” then I don’t know what does 🙂

After enjoying an afternoon of reading by the fireplace, we indulged in a delicious dinner at our favorite restaurant in Meredith.  Our weekend package covered dinner at Lago that included an appetizer, entree and dessert…for each of us!  I waddled my way to our table before dinner due to the big baby belly, so as you can imagine, Greg had to practically role me out of the restaurant afterward.

On Saturday we walked around the Mill Falls shops and enjoyed the beautiful snowy landscape.  As much as I miss summer, it’s so beautiful up there this time of year!

And then is was massage time!  Greg had planned an amazing afternoon of pampering ourselves with a couples massage.  I was a little nervous getting a massage because of how pregnant I am, but my worry soon melted away to complete relaxation!  It felt amazing and we were totally refreshed when we got back to our room.

It was really important to Greg and me that we spend a weekend away together before Cole arrives.  We were able to relax and just enjoy each others company.  It’s going to be an intense, crazy, wonderful transition that will be taking place in our lives, and we are so ready for the journey ahead!  (Especially now that we took everyone’s advise to “take it easy” for a couple of days.)

Lake Winnipesaukee is such a special place for Greg and me.  All weekend we kept saying how excited we were to introduce Cole to the lake!  We know that he will love it as much as we do 🙂

My fun travels during pregnancy

It’s been a busy couple months for Baby B and me!  I was excited to get a couple of trips in before my third trimester began and I could no longer fly.  Our first adventure took us to beautiful West Virginia to visit my cousin and his family.  Greg, my cousin Matt, his lovely wife Samantha and I all hopped a quick flight down from MA to WV.  Every year I’m reminded how lucky I am to be a New Englander to watch the wide spectrum of colors that Autumn brings.  It was a pleasant surprise to learn that the same colors spread across the West Virginia landscape as well!

The precious cutie-pie in this picture is Sophia.  She is almost a year old and is such a happy baby!  Her personality shines through and I had so much fun spending a few days playing with her!  I think it’s important for future Moms and Dads to spend time with new parents, especially when they are as wonderful as my cousin and his wife.  They gave us lot of great advice, which I haven’t forgotten! For example, Joy shared with me that I’ll most likely get a lot of clothes sized 0-3 months.  She recommended not to remove all the tags and wash all the clothes before Baby B arrives.  Yes, this can hard when the nesting phase of pregnancy strikes, but it’s worth resisting the temptation!  This way we can exchange some of the smaller sizes for a size larger, which will extend the wardrobe longer as the baby quickly grows.  A genius Mommy tidbit.

The next trip on the itinerary was Austin, Texas with my Mom to visit our friends Maggie and Randy.  Austin was beautiful, and so much “hilly-er” than I imagined!  I always envisioned TX to be very flat, but I quickly learned on the short trip from the airport to their home that my assumption was wrong.  One thing is for sure.  People do not go hungry in TX!  My belly grew during those few days I spent in Austin.  Not sure whether it from the growing baby in my belly, or whether it was from all the delicious food I ate!

I am thankful to our gracious hosts in West Virginia and Texas.  I’m also thankful that Baby B seemed to like flying!  Besides the kicks to the bladder that had me running to the little airplane bathroom stalls every 10 minutes, I felt great on all of the flights.  Greg wondered whether flying during pregnancy will help make the baby more comfortable with flying once he is out in the real world 🙂  I’m not sure about that… but either way, my little boy and I have already had some great adventures together.

Baby B travels to Lake Champlain

Nestled between the Adirondack Mountains in New York and the Green Mountains in Vermont is Lake Champlain.  Greg and I booked a trip last year with a group of friends to stay on Garden Island on Lake Champlain.  The vacation was planned long in advance…unlike Baby Benson.  In fact, when Greg and I decided to start a family, we thought it might take awhile, and that there would be no way I’d be pregnant for this fun-filled vacation full of lake activities.  However, Baby B had other plans, so up we go to Lake Champlain – 9 weeks pregnant.

I have always loved the water.  My Dad’s side of the family has enjoyed Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire for generations, which is where this passion stems from.  Many of my first memories are from my summers at the lake.  Whether it’s swimming, water skiing, tubing, knee boarding, wake boarding – I love it all, and I’ve been doing it for a long time.  As you can see from the photo below, my Dad might have had something to do with it:

Dad teaching me to ski

So you can imagine how excited I was to be spending an entire week on Lake Champlain, one of the most beautiful lakes in the country!  Well, something happens when your pregnant.  You lose a lot of your energy, and a lot of activities become dangerous for the baby.  So here I was on Lake Champlain and instead of tubing with everyone, I was napping on the hammock.  Not that there is anything wrong with napping!  The cool thing is that three ladies on the trip were pregnant, and each of us represented a different trimester.  It was nice to have other people in the same boat as you – pun intended.  We are all so excited to have kids at the same time!

Our week on Garden Island was one of the best  vacations I’ve ever had.  We got to explore the island, paddle boat, swim, and just RELAX!  The sunset on Garden Island was breathtaking, and although Baby B couldn’t see how beautiful it was, I hope he/she could feel my happiness.

The Benson’s first family (sort of) vacation was wonderful!  And next time we visit Garden Island, Baby B can wear this tee-shirt!!