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Keeping Up With the Benjamins

alec vanderboom

We've had a crazy, nutty, busy couple of last weeks. My kids passed their homeschool review! Yeah! We had 2 birthday family parties (ages 7 and 42) and my 13th wedding anniversary.

We went on a family beach vacation at Assateague Island in early June. Being Artists, Carmelites, and Totally Nuts, we camped out for three days on the beach with 5 kids ages 2 to 11. Ocean front campsites were only $30 a night! The scenery at this National Park was incredible! I don't think the Hamptons or Cape Cod could be this lovely.

All my kids adored the ocean. The waves were over 10 feet tall, even close to the shore. I saw my first person surfing in the East Coast. I loved getting up early at sunrise and watching that incredible light dance over the water.

Because this counted as "serious" camping, we were the only family among various couples in their 20s. One morning, I was headed towards the outdoor latrine and a 25 year rustic guy eyed my pregnant belly with total shock. It was as if I was as exotic as the wild turkey next to me in the marshland . I realize that he wasn't trying to pick-me up. He was genuinely shocked to see a pregnant woman standing in front of him. Pregnancy is rare in his world. How funny! I'm glad to be a silent witness that outdoor fun doesn't have to end when you start a family.

I had one totally terrifying moment during our trip. My husband woke up to sand being flung on our roof. The tent was shaking. There were grunts and hoof stamping sounds all around our tent. It was like being the Blair Witch Project--only with noises from multiple wild horse noises instead of ghosts.

The Russian couple behind us failed to put away any of their food. About 10 horses came into our camp ground and refused to leave for over 20 minutes. We've followed the park rules about keeping food inside our car. Yet a kid had dropped one single peanut butter cracker outside our tent. A horse found it, ate it, and call over his friends. We were totally surrounded by six horses for ten minutes.

This happened on June 2 at 6 AM, the morning of my wedding anniversary. My husband and I had this intense man/woman fight in whispers. With a cool head, Jon said "We're totally fine if we stay inside the tent. It's serves as a psychological barrier."

I'm fighting near hysteria listening to heavy hoof pawing noises six inches from my sleeping children's heads. My position was "You think FABRIC is going to stop these wild animals from stepping on my kids? Lets get out of here now! Cut a hole in the tent with your pocket knife!"

Finally, the horses gave up finding other tasty tidbits at our campsite and wandered off to harass another camper.

Our anniversary ended really beautifully with wine and smores and a campfire under the stars. It's good to have a little adventure in life.

This week we're working on selling the house, which is such an overwhelming project. Three of my kids made Swim Team at a pretty competitive place. I'm doing a daily 50 mile round trip to take them to a pool in Maryland.

 I think my pregnancy is going well. I've still got pretty intense nausea at week 16. Basically living with a 24 hour stomach flu for so long is starting to get to me mentally. I'm grateful to have a baby. I'm grateful to avoid needing to go the hospital over this. It's still hard.

I found this website that really helps.

 As a woman, you often have many roles and obligations. You may need to rethink your old habits. Learn to say "no." Give yourself permission to manage the stress that morning sickness can cause. It is smart, not selfish, to take care of yourself!  Ask yourself: Must this task be done so often? Is there a better way or time to do it? Who else can do it? Can we take turns? It helps to have support from your family and friends. Their encouragement may help you avoid  the depression and guilt that many women feel when they have morning sickness.

I can't believe my bff St. Teresa of Avila, actively prayed to be sick because of its spiritual benefits.  Seriously? Yet if I'm stuck in this nausea hell, I might as well use it to clean out my Co-dependent behaviors. This week I'm trying to learn the art of self-care. I'm working on prioritizing my needs and calming asking for help. It's never to late to learn how to act like a grown-up at age 39, even when I'm feeling yucky.

Thank you for all of your prayers. Hope each of you is having a restful and Happy Summer!