Thursday, September 27, 2012

Two Tickets to Paradise

This past Sunday Jason had to go to Florida for work so I took myself and my baby girl to my parents' house in Tennessee.  This was Eloise's very first trip away from home and we had a wonderful time!  It was almost like old times for me back when my mom and dad retired and first moved there in 2004.  They built a house on 150 acres of wooded land and Dad accurately named their long driveway "Shangri-la."  I used to go up there all the time to just hang out with them in this beautiful, peaceful place, hike in the woods, and to do long training runs with Mom. 

The view of Shangri-la from the house

Sunday night Mom kindly offered to give Eloise a bottle and take the night shift so I went up to the loft (what I call the princess room) to sleep alone... just like I used to do.  I spent many nights up there in the princess room day dreaming, looking out my 2nd story window at the woods below, sleeping in the peaceful silence that surrounds the house, and I even waited up there in my wedding dress before walking downstairs with my dad to marry Jason in 2007. 

Before crawling into bed Sunday night with a book my sister had given me (reading...something I haven't done since Eloise was born), I walked around the room looking at the pictures on the wall and remembering.  It was a strange sensation to realize I was back in this place, but with a baby girl downstairs sleeping in her bassinet.  I was no longer the single girl wondering what the future would hold...I was living that future.

I slept 6 straight hours that night and it was heaven.  Mom brought my wiggly baby girl up to me at 5:00 a.m. so she could run a 20 miler with some friends and Eloise and I enjoyed a quiet, peaceful morning together.  When I went downstairs I made coffee and spent the morning talking with Dad until Mom got home and kept Eloise while I went for my run.

I walked the 0.4 down Shangri-la before starting to run once I got to the main road. I ran on this beautiful, quiet country road not seeing a single car or human the entire way.  I did see some turkeys, butterflies, birds and one tiny green snake that I almost stepped on, giving a delayed-reaction "whoop!" and hopping in the air once I realized what it was.  I ran 4 miles and felt great in the cool morning air.  It was heavenly. Following my run I did one of my Jillian Michael's videos and Mom made me a delicious breakfast sandwich, which is basically a grilled cheese with an egg in it. 

The few days I was there eased gently by and we hung out together, enjoying my baby girl and each others company.  On Tuesday we put Eloise down for a nap and Mom and I went for a short run together.  When we returned we found Dad walking around the house holding her.  She had awoken from her nap only to fall asleep again with Dad. 

I love this!
Each day we put Eloise in the "front pack" as we call it to get her used to it. This baby girl likes to be held and around dinner time it would help if I could do that hands free.  She puts up with it for a while before she whines, but each time she stays there a little bit longer.

A short walk down Shangri-la
We spent a good bit of time drinking coffee, sitting on the front porch enjoying the cool fall breezes and the wonderful smell of the woods.  I held my baby girl and soaked up every moment of these slow, easy days.  Have I mentioned it was absolutely heavenly?  I haven't been keeping up with my gift list on this blog, but as I sat on my parents' huge front porch and rocked my sleeping baby girl, I know I counted to a thousand right then and there.

Rocking on the front porch
Part of my view
Two of the four kitties that live outside
Our last day at my parents' I was nursing Eloise upstairs in the early morning and I heard noises coming from the woods.  I went to the window and directly below us were two deer.  My window was open and Eloise was making all sorts of baby noises.  The two deer looked around for the source of the sound before taking off into the woods. Every night I left my window open, sleeping and waking to the sound of the birds and the wind in the trees. 

I went for one last run down my beautiful country road route and ran 4 miles again in 42:30.  That's really good for me these days, especially on this hilly route.  I was sad to see my few days in paradise end, although I was glad to get home to see Jason too.  We finished up our week with my niece and nephew's karate belt promotion.  I can't help but hope Eloise might follow in her cousin's footsteps one day.

Caroline is the orange/green belt in front
Caleb (right) facing an opponent
The kids and their fans
What Eloise did during the belt test
Now Jason is home and it is back to life as usual.  And life as usual is pretty great, but I had a truly wonderful and restful time with my parents and my baby girl in paradise.

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