On our way back from our trip, we stopped at a random gas station in Mechanicsville, Virginia, a civil war town. Little did we know, that there would be a fantastic little farm stand right there. It was a perfect spot to get out, stretch the legs, show Sebastian something new and breastfeed. After getting a feel for the town, I definitely want to go back and finally see an awesome reenactment.
Sebastian enjoyed touching all he could. He especially loved the wind chimes–oh, if only he could get his hands on those!
Of course, we had to get some veggies while we were out there. We got a whole bag and I mean, a whole grocery bag full of kale for 4 dollars. That would have cost about 15 in NYC!! Ha, ha.
And, who could resist eggs, which, somehow, made it back to NYC.
This trip has been so beautiful and relaxing. When I’m at the beach or see any massive body of water, I feel so peaceful. I feel like God is in everything.
Here are just some little moments out of the vacation that struck me.
Walks and Silliness on the Beach with the Baby:
My mom running ahead and then doing her moves on the beach.
Here’s an upclose move of hers, spinning the baby around on the beach.
Entertaining Sebastian by gathering seagulls and pretending we had food to give out. Notice the mysterious man appearing again and throwing up his arms to trick the seagulls. And his Auntie holding a naked Sebastian.
…and the seagulls finally appeared here.
Sitting on the beach and chatting with my mom-in-law and Aunt Suzanne.
Reading on the beach.
Watching Sebastian look up in my Dad’s eyes.
Watching Sebastian play in the pool.
Taking fun photos of my aunt near the dunes. Believe it or not, she is my aunt by marriage. Husband’s grandfather had her later in life. She’s my age.
Eating yummy food outside on the deck.
Spending time with my husband and baby and some of Sebastian’s aunts, uncles and both sets of grandparents.
Enjoying sunsets on the beach.
Finding shells and exploring the beach.
All in all, a perfect vacay.
The mysterious man was on an ocean kayak.
I got nervous that he was lurking again…and then something happened.
He was so thankful to make it after that roll that he kissed the sand. Now, he’s ready to lurk and appear in random places again.
He just had to be shown the way to kayak on the ocean! Those waves didn’t get me down! Hahahahahaha!
I couldn’t resist taking a photo of Sebastian on the beach, as he sat au naturel on a mound of sand and looked up at the seagulls, flying above his head. It seems they were interested in some orange peels someone had left behind. This was the result:
Another first for us—our stroller got a chance to ride on the beach, and it worked (as long as we avoided the deeper dry sand or very wet areas). There really is nothing like taking in the view and the sounds and the feel of the waves hitting your feet. I wanted to experience that, while taking my baby along too.
And that’s how we came to Ray carrying the stroller down from the house to the beach. We attached the summer kit, which has an umbrella, sunshade and a terry cloth back. This allows Sebastian to be nice and cool on hot days. He was overheating in the winter kit, so it was time for a change.
We got the stroller down and then Ray flipped the wheels to drag the stroller on the soft sand. We knew it would be easier once we hit the wet sand.
Even Uncle Brett came out to taunt us.
Of course, Hubby had to show off how challenging it was to push the stroller on the sand. Since, it was so difficult for him, I had to take over. Ha!
We came across a mysterious man on the beach.
Then, that same mysterious man was standing by the pier. Oh, what was that man thinking???
I took the necessary toe photo!
My mom ran from left to right keeping the baby giggling, as she appeared and disappeared behind Hubby.
Most people left after Memorial Day, so the beach was fairly empty. The evening was beautiful, and we had a great time on the beach with our little one.
It’s so great to get a beach tent for the baby, this way we can spend a number of hours on the beach with the baby. He still gets his Vitamin D and doesn’t need all the nasty chemicals! It’s so easy to set up because it instantly pops up.
Sebastian was amused by the beach, but stayed in the shade. I thought it would be very difficult to be with a baby at the beach, but it’s not bad at all, especially if there is a place we can seek shelter from the sun and a place nearby for his morning and afternoon naps. I have yet to try a day on the beach without a house nearby. I think it would be too tough for a little guy at this age in extreme heat (I certainly welcome suggestions on how this can be done if any of you have good methods!) I don’t think every day will be like today with him wanting to stay in one place!
With so much family around to keep him constantly entertained when we want to go swim or read, this is an extremely relaxing vacation.
A puppy joined us on the deck.
By the end of the day, Naked Baby wanted to play in the mini pool his “Aunt” Joanne bought for us. He loves baths so much, it’s no surprise that Sebastian enjoyed the pool.
The picture below is how Sebastian experienced his first view of a pool and the ocean. Yah. Can you believe it? I almost can’t believe I’m here. What a blessing to experience such beauty! This iPhone photo doesn’t even quite express how amazing it is here in Ocean Isle Beach.
The beach house we are in is one of those houses that you always see in magazines. There are two fridges, two dishwashers, a separate $1300 ice-maker (we know this because the designer happened to be at a wedding next door), 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, decks galore and a pool overlooking the beach.
Below is our bedroom. We have a king sized bed, which makes the family bed so comfortable and Sebastian can fully spread out, with his arms out, but yet, still touches both of us, which he always needs to do (what a cuddlebear!). The doors there lead to a deck with lounge chairs. In the morning, I grabbed a cup of tea and strawberries and sat on the deck, reading, while the baby napped in the room. When I write that, those same morning feelings come back to me. I loved just being able to hear the ocean, feel that strong breeze on me and read an interesting psychology book on the brain.
The dining room table has room for a big family.
We played a really fun board game in the living room area last night, called Headbanz. Everyone had head bands with cards on their foreheads and we had to ask questions to guess what was on on our heads. For example, my cousin, Kathy had the word, “Farm” on her head. She asked questions like, “Do I contain cats?” “Do cats breed in me?” and Ray answered, “There is animal husbandry performed on me.” She finally figured it out after a few rounds, when there were large buildings on her, sometimes businesses and there were fields on her. We were laughing hysterically when the questions were being asked and answered!
Seagulls flew overhead all day. It was breathtaking to see them get so close.
Sebastian experienced his first touch of sand among the sand dunes. He showed such joy as his feet felt this new texture and he flapped his arms up and down with excitement when he saw the plants and could lean and grab them.
He was taking little steps in the sand, while holding on. I call this the dancing baby mode.
Sebastian was a bit worried about the waves, so I’ve been slowly introducing him to them over the last few days. He dipped his feet in a bit, but the water was colder than the pool, so I think it was a little bit of a shock.
All this attention from all the grandparents and all these new experiences keeps a smile plastered on Sebastian’s face.
Though he had already been in the pool that morning, it was only in the afternoon that we were able to get some shots of his reaction. He loved being in Daddy’s arms and splashing the water!
We even watched a beach wedding occur right in front of us (the bride gave me a smile when I took her photo, as she stepped out from the house) and then the party was set up next door.
Even Sebastian enjoyed peeking at the wedding party before he went to bed.
We started our trip with the best intentions of taking the scenic route, but after laboring through only 150 miles in 7 hours (including 2 traversing the streets of Philadelphia), we retreated to I-95.
We had started on historic hwy 1 and then went to route 13. And, by the way, it wasn’t very scenic, but I’ll get to that later.
Luckily, Pio (sometimes, we call Sebastian by one of his middle names) was all smile most of those 7 hours. He’s definitely more aware of everything at seven and a half months and no longer sleeps the whole time on road trips. If I just give him eye contact, I usually get this:
As we were struggling to stay on Route 13 due to unmarked turns, we decided we should take a break when we saw green grass in Philly. I had made sure to bring our picnic blanket, so we laid it out and I fed Pio.
As we waited, a Segway tour passed us by, we checked our map, stretched out and checked in with our families that are meeting us in NC. This was the first time we were using a map without GPS for a road trip. Navigon needs to make a scenic GPS route (their scenic route option only works on short trips). It would have saved us a lot of time if we stopped losing the route and if there were well marked roads, instead of stolen signs or partially missing signs. So, we did the old school method and had maps. Well, not that old school. We used paper maps that we printed out with some of the places we wanted to go and we also used navigon and the maps app to see in real time that we were on target.
In addition to being slow and hard to follow, we went through countless shady neighborhoods. I think I saw more burned out and abandoned buildings and fire trucks than I had in my life. At one point, we even had to detour around a fire that was in the process of being put out. After telling my cousin where we had traveled and mentioning streets, she was shocked. It wasn’t a good idea to get gas in “The Badlands” of Philly. I even was googling other random towns we went through to get the crime statistics. When a tiny city has the word shooting several times on different street corners, you know it’s not a great place to be traveling through.
At least we saw a neat retro looking electric trolley and had to carefully navigate streets to avoid getting clobbered!
It was all over the internetz that route 13 was incredibly beautiful. This was not the case, but perhaps we gave up too early. I would imagine that the Chesapeake Bay Bridge would have inspired some lovely photos. Maybe anything outside of the cities (beyond the oil refineries and paper mills) would be a bit more picturesque. But after taking so long with so little progress, we were ready to start putting miles on the odometer.
It’s road trip time and since we’ve had success with the baby before on road trips, we’re hoping this trip will be just as wonderful. I think Sebastian approves! Or…maybe he’ll give me one of these looks:
Hello Historic Route 1! It’s a scenic route from New York to Florida. We are just doing the New York to North Carolina part, almost to South Carolina and then we’ll spend the rest of the time in an ocean beach rental. I found a neat website that lets you find places to sleep and eat. For example, the Starlight Diner in Edison, NJ sounds like a blast to try (though, I might save that for another NJ trip, since it’s close to the in-laws and something fun to try with them.)
I’ll let you know how it goes! First stop, hrmm….good question…we will see where the road takes us…!
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road
This weekend I helped out my friend, Alice Evelyn, by taking a series of photos for her non-profit, Contemporary American Dance Museum (ADaM). Of course, Sebastian came with me for the first series of shots. Like I always say, we are a package deal. She’s been working on this project for years and it was incredible to see this passion and commitment develop into reality. I have to admit that when I first met her years ago and she was describing her non-profit ambitions, I didn’t really fully understand what she wanted to do. I would hear words like “document” and “archive” and not know exactly how that would relate to dance. But, when I saw it all come together in the last year, it started making more sense and when I saw it in person, it was exceptional.
The Committee for the Contemporary American Dance Museum is a non-profit organization seeking to establish a museum, which will show fine art interpretations of the creative process of making dance. I know it sounds complicated, but in action, it is captivating.
So, here’s how it works. First, Alice Evelyn does a lot of magic behind the scenes and by magic, I mean, hours and hours of work every night. She collaborated with a choreographer named Stephanie Batten Bland and several artists, including Benjamin Heller, Miguel Anaya, Carol Prud’homme Davis, Jonathan Paul Wagner, Adam Miller, Antonio Lai da Teulada, Kristin Kunc. All of this work takes months of effort, donated art, fundraising and invitations.
Second, the pre-installation happens. I had a chance to photograph a few hours of the “before” efforts:
The artists plan the order the drawings and paintings will go on the wall.
Bumper came along to help out with the baby and model the projection on the wall, showing some footage of the actual dance and use of the eggs or globes in the choreography.
Alice and Jonathan are working hard here, trying to get all the work up in a very short time frame.
A lot of measuring occurs during the pre installation.
Levels are used to perfect the hanging of the photographs by Benjamin Heller.
Even Alice's parents assisted in the exhibition.
Third, People go to see a dance performance. In this case, it was “A Place of Sun,” a contemporary ballet dance at the Baryshnikov Art Center. Finally, people come to see the exhibition, which was aptly called “Creation in Motion”.
Alice Evelyn is ready for the exhibition.
Stephanie Batten Bland, the Choreographer.
Attendee viewing the artwork.
The Dancers arrive.
The egg from the performance.
Some of the Crowd gather.
Art using Charcoal
As a bonus, the installation lasts a few days in a Chelsea art gallery and there’s a panel discussion on how the dance was created with lots of fun questions from the audience, like “What is the egg made of?” Yes, there was an egg, look at the photos! It was used in the performance and then brought to the exhibition. It was unique to see how something like that could be used in a dance.
Overall, a success. (Trust me, not all the Chelsea art exhibitions are that great, but this particular one was top notch.)