Winter is my least favorite season. I can’t stand the cold and snow, so I leave the house as little as possible from January to March. Luckily now I have the perfect excuse to hibernate, thanks to my little bear.
(I should make it clear that I was not present when this photo was taken; Zach and his cousin Matt took Parker out into the snow for 5 minutes so he could have his first experience in it. I was happy to stay nice and warm at home.)
We were lucky enough to escape winter and celebrate the New Year in south Florida, where it was 80 degrees and sunny. We stayed with my grandma in Naples for the first part of the trip, and she got to spend some quality time with Parker for the second time since he was born. He’s changed just a little bit since we were last there in August!
We left Naples and met Dustin and Kristin and their adorable new baby, Jackson, for brunch. It was so much fun getting to meet him and hang out with both our babies. After that we headed to Deerfield Beach, where we stayed with Sally (one of my best friends from college) and her husband, Enrique. They have two little boys, Ricky and baby Donny, who’s only 3 months old. We had a wonderful time during our short stay, which included a trip to the beach and a nature center.
We ended our whirlwind trip and got home juuuust in time for a huge blizzard and polar vortex…so, that was awesome. More hibernating before getting back into the swing of things with work starting back up. That’s always a little difficult after 2+ weeks off for the holidays, but it was nice to get back into a routine.
And of course, part of that routine is taking Parker’s weekly photos. He is getting so big; he has completely mastered sitting up on his own, and can even pull up into sitting position all by himself. He loves to stand most of all, and we practice his “walking” all the time. He has the backwards crawl down, but is still working on going forward.
I almost can’t handle the cuteness that is Parker’s 23-week photo. The thigh rolls, his little hand waving, and that almost smile…kills me. Sometimes I just can’t comprehend how lucky we are to have this adorable boy in our lives.
We’re also lucky that Parker is a wonderful traveler! He proved that this past week during our trip to Florida, which is actually the second time he’s been so far in his short life. We turned my music therapy conference into an opportunity for a little family getaway, with my mom there half the week, and Zach there for the other half.
Parker did AMAZING being away from home for almost a week; he flew like a champ, put up with us keeping him up way past his bedtime almost every night, and slept well in the hotel room. He was a good sport about meeting all my friends, too, which is a good thing because I had lots of friends who wanted to meet him! The funny thing is that Parker actually got recognized when he was with my mom and Zach, thanks to Facebook. My celebrity baby :)
While I was busy doing conference things, Zach and Parker went on several adventures. They visited Neptune Beach, where Zach took this amazing photo of Parker in his happy place: next to the ocean. We realized back in August during our trip to Naples that he LOVES the water, and that definitely has not changed.
These two got to explore Jacksonville and enjoy the warm weather while I enjoyed the inside of the conference hotel, but I did have a chance to soak up some sun when we went to Orlando on the last day of our trip. I was SO happy we had the chance to meet up with my friend Vanessa, her husband Luis, and their sweet baby Kennedy while we were there.
After breakfast with them, we met up with our friends Wade and Jenni and their little girl, Caroline, at Downtown Disney. We made the most of our day in Orlando, to the point where we just about missed our flight home!
We literally arrived at our gate just as the doors were closing, and were the very last people to board the plane. Luckily the flight wasn’t completely full, so we had a row to ourselves.
We had a rude awakening when we landed in St. Louis; it was FREEZING outside. Zach still had on shorts and I only had a light jacket, since it had been 85 degrees in Orlando. That’s always the hardest part of returning from vacation, but luckily we’ll be heading back to Florida right after the holidays.
Living in the Midwest is good for a few things, though; you can’t get photos like this in Florida.
Parker is looking less and less like a newborn and more like a little boy every week :( Where did my tiny little baby go? He crossed the 10-pound mark, but it turns out that he is only in the 7th percentile for weight. He’s still measuring super long at 24.5 inches — that’s 84th percentile! — so we are hoping that his weight catches up with his height soon.
This was a BIG week for Parker: he took his first airplane ride to see his great grandma in Naples, Florida. Everyone’s advice was to nurse him at takeoff and landing so that he’d sleep for most of the flight, and that was exactly what happened! He did have some awake moments on the way there, which we captured in photos.
It’s a good thing Parker is such a great traveler, because we do a lot of it. In fact, we are already planning a trip to somewhere warm this winter. Dominican Republic, perhaps? Luckily, Parker also loves the beach and ocean.
But of course, the highlight of the trip (and the reason for going) was Parker meeting his great grandma — my “Grandma Florida”. We brought along the blanket she made for him, which is one of his very favorite things.
We were only in Naples for a few days, but they were action packed. We went out to eat lots, took two day trips to the beach, visited with our friends Sally & Enrique and their little boy, Ricky, and just enjoyed each other’s company. Oh, and Parker is getting the hang of the pacifier as a result of this trip (we figured it would be a good idea to have one along in case he got fussy in the airport/on the plane/in restaurants).
Now that we’re home, my days of maternity leave are dwindling. I return to work two weeks from today, which is a bittersweet feeling. I will miss the lazy days of summer, hanging out with my baby boy!
After a year filled with amazing travel adventures, it’s pretty hard to believe that we’ll never again take a trip either without our little guy or without leaving him in the care of his grandparents (and missing him like crazy, I’m sure).
So we called our vacation in southern California our “last hurrah” — and we definitely made the most of it! While I would be perfectly happy just lounging by the pool or at the beach the entire time, there’s never a dull moment on vacation with Zach. We saw lots of sights, did quite a bit of walking and exploring (including conquering “Heart Attack Hill” in Dana Point…not sure how my doctor would feel about that one at 8 months pregnant), and got tons of great photos along the way.
The “bump” was featured in quite a few of those photos, you know, just so that someday we can prove to Baby Rambach that he was indeed quite the traveler even before he was born.
We took a day trip to Catalina Island, and it was absolutely gorgeous. Zach went to town photographing the boats and scenery, and I loved the cute little town with all its shops and history. The nausea-inducing ferry ride there was well worth it, after all.
The last three days of the trip were picture perfect weather-wise, so I got my pool and beach time :) The first beach we visited was in La Jolla, where this photo was taken.
On the last full day of vacation, we headed to Coronado Island to visit the Hotel Del Coronado, where we stayed last time we were in San Diego. We hung by the pool, had lunch on the deck, and then sat on the beach before heading back to La Jolla.
It was a wonderful week from start to finish! Of course, it was a little difficult coming back to reality, but we had a very happy puppy waiting for us at home and I had my first baby shower the very next day.
The next vacation we have planned will be WITH the baby! We’re going to Naples, Florida in August to visit my grandma, and she’ll be meeting him for the first time. Now that will be an adventure, for sure.
2012 has definitely been the year of amazing vacations. Our tour of Europe back in August was the trip of a lifetime, but last week’s Maui vacation was a close second.
I have never seen a more naturally beautiful, tropical or peaceful setting than Maui. My family vacationed in Honolulu when I was in high school, but this part of Hawaii was completely different. Of course, the resorts and pools were gorgeous, but the mountains, beaches, ocean, sunrises and sunsets were the real shining stars.
As usual, Zach took plenty of photos to document our trip. It will always be really special to both of us, not just because we had such an amazing time, but because it was our first “family” vacation — technically, Baby R. was along for the ride :)
One of the things we noticed was that there were LOTS of families with babies and young children in Maui, which already has my wheels turning for a return trip in the coming years.
It was definitely hard coming back to freezing temps and the bleak Midwest after a week in paradise, but we have plenty to keep us busy between getting ready for Christmas, playing with Sadie (who we always miss SO much while we’re away), and preparing for a very exciting new year!
Welcome! I’m Rachel Rambach, board-certified music therapist and creator of Listen & Learn Music — educational songs and musical materials for children. I love sharing my work with you, along with my behind-the-scenes creative process, adventures in business ownership, and life as a mom of two little ones.
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