CONNECTICUT : a surprise.

so i went to connecticut, not this past weekend, but the weekend before. and, that basically means you have to click through for the whole post because, photos. on photos on photos on photos. of my nephew, by himself and with other people. basically.

(also i just finished writing it all out and it's like a short novel. apparently i had some things to say about this trip.)

(but seriously, this may be the longest post that i've ever written. that anyone has ever written.)

so i went to connecticut, to see my dad. well, my dad and H, and my mom and T and luca were there too. but i hadn't seen my dad since thanksgiving. i'm telling you, this living in all separate places is a real mess.

anyway, it was my mom's turn to visit my dad (they are still living in different states, as the house still hasn't sold) and T and luca and i thought we'd tag along and surprise my dad. it was so much fun, but it definitely felt a little incomplete without J and lee.

we booked early flights so we could arrive early in the day, which is something my mom is a huge advocate for because, then you have the whole day! logics, you know. except my dad didn't get home from work until later in the day, so now that i look back i don't really understand that logic for this particular situation. i could have saved myself all the sleepy decision making that comes with waking up at such an ungodly hour.

do i


 coffee right now? like do i really want to be fully awake for this?

no one should be awake that early. awake and functional and out the door. and drinking coffee.

who knew there was a time that was too early for coffee?

 it's true, i passed on the coffee, and ended up getting an extra half hour of sleep on my first flight. priorities, you know. sleep > coffee.

the good news about the early flights is that i met up with my mom and T and luca sooner and that was not a minute too soon, let me tell you. i skipped my february luca weekend, so that's all you really need to know about THAT. our layovers were only 30/35 minutes 

(our connecting flight was the same)

, which caused my mom great stress. like every time we'd mention the trip leading up to it, she'd talk about the short layover and how we'd need to run. but we made it. i got there first and while the A's were already lined up, they weren't boarding yet. so i got out of line to look for them, since T texted that they were close, and when i spotted them, i couldn't stop myself from running. there was maybe 15 feet between us, but i just couldn't wait.

we had plans to stop and see family after we landed, but luca was coming down with a bit of a cold, so we skipped the visits and headed straight home instead. home, which is not really home anymore. partly because i don't live there, partly because not even my parents (or, both of them) live there, and partly because it looks less home-y and more like something potential buyers would want to see.

we settled in quickly, which is to say we unloaded our things and made the house look lived in with all the baby things. luca showed me how he


drinking water now, and then some of us napped (T and luca) while some of us watched boy meets world on tv (mom and me).

my dad got home early, which really worked out nicely because we were all so stinkin' impatient. he was pleasantly surprised when T and luca came around the corner at first, and then again when i did. it was so nice to see him and hug him and i realized that even though luca is eight months old, i haven't seen a lot of my dad and him together.

my dad does the airplane thing with him and he LOVES it. i mean,


big smiles when he's flying through the air. and he looks at anyone watching like,

look at me guys i'm FLYING

. the cutest. my nephew is the cutest.

of course, i got in my share of smooches. lots of smooching those cheeks. to make up for lost time, of course. but how can i



we mostly hung out at home this trip, which is pretty much a solid trend for any time we're together. this time it had more to do with just wanting to hang out with each other, although that was part of it (obviously). it also had something to do with the cold. i mean, it was connecticut cold. like we were cold enough inside so no thank you i don't need to be outside. plus, it's overwhelming for luca to go from place to place even when it's not freezing cold outside. (he is a real southerner, y'all.) (also, a baby.) and he had a bit of a cold. so, lots of factors.

luca loves books, and watching my dad read one about trucks to him was so sweet.

yesterday in our family group text, which is maybe the greatest thing ever, we were talking about who in the family is the biggest baby hog. i had a dream we were all together and H was hogging luca, which is how it came up, but H isn't really a baby hog. neither is my dad, until he decides it's his turn. i think that's why i'm always snapping photos of them because it's so sweet! but also, when i'm not holding him or playing with him or talking to him, i'm ...taking photos of him.

and then there were those moments, like every day when he got dressed (was dressed, whatever), that i realized that my nephew definitely dresses better than i do. he also has space pajamas that are THE cutest. and they're not onesie pajamas, so he looks so grown up and science-y.

he likes to be the center of attention. and by likes i mean loooves. he'll fake cough, or sometimes just scream, to get your attention. (as if he doesn't already have it to begin with?) one night, H had him on the counter and he put on a little dance routine for us. so, that makes better clothes


 better dance moves.

also, i snapped that photo of my parents with luca on the last morning we were there, hanging out just us. i love that.

he's so BIG now. so long, and so sitting up on his own. and it's hard to get photos of just him, playing, because he's always moving. i remember when he was first born and knowing that time would pass quickly, but i still had a few months of baby-baby. newborn cuddles and a lot of napping. but those months have passed and he's so awake and active. i love the cuddling, and that thing he does where he puts his cheek on yours and intentionally keeps it there, but i also love the interacting. the way he screams his sounds at you or makes noises that are like little words here and there, but


 actually words, even though some totally sound like it.

we had a lot of friends and family come over to visit, including amy and shelley. it's such a strange thing to go home and have to schedule visits and time to see people and leave without even seeing everyone you wanted to. five days definitely wasn't enough time, but how much time would really be enough? i would like to see these people on the regular, and for a length of time that doesn't feel like a quick hello.

we did get to have a good visit with amy and ryan though, over lunch and seeing their house. and of course, with the photos. and the awesome backdrop photo bomb we've got in the background. such a nice photo of all of us, isn't it?

it used to be that T and i would have photo shoots for fun, but now we have them intentionally, like we need to mark the times we see each other in photos. also, we were aiming for a waste-up only shot, but i love the others too. we spend a lot of time laughing when we're together. (and not just T and me, but all of us.)

more luca love. (too much love, by the looks of his face.) (not sorry.) this wasn't intentional, but it's like i had a before and after photo shoot. long hair and short hair.

speaking of which, T and i got our hair done while we were in connecticut, which might seem a bit ridiculous or a waste of visiting time, but we have both been texting for months (well, since we moved, essentially) about how we never really fully appreciated our girl ali, who can do our hair like no one else. we've both tried a few places locally and each time we end up texting each other that our hair is okay, but it's not like ali does it. we have actually even thrown around the idea (while daydreaming) of making a special trip up just to have her do our hair, so when we were going and she had times available, you better believe we took advantage of it.

also great timing of this trip – ABBY'S BIRTHDAY. we flew in on her actual birthday, and she stopped over that night and we sang to her and ate cake and

i got to hug her on her actual birthday

. a few days later, a few of us went to sweet frog to celebrate and, again, it was SUCH a highlight to be able to celebrate with her

in person

. i cannot even tell you my love for this girl. i loved being able to celebrate her. (with her! in person! i cannot stress that enough!)

on our last morning, we sat on the couch and watched parenthood together. it's kind of like the hanging out at home thing, but getting to watch a tv show with them and discuss our thoughts about it out loud, and not in a text message, was so nice. it's moments like that. just sitting on the couch and talking and watching our show and having a photo shoot with ourselves. and, let's be real, once luca woke up we kept pausing the show to pay attention to him.

also we had leftover oreo brownies that are obviously the best choice for a sunday morning breakfast, wouldn't you say? (yeah. SO good.)

at this point, i was trying to feed luca his cereal and he was just NOT having it and being unusually cranky, so T was making his bottle and H got on the floor behind the counter and started doing a puppet show with only her hands. it was THE greatest. luca wasn't really thrilled, but it kept him from fussing well enough. i, on the other hand, was


. when T finished making the bottle, she joined in the show and that's when i took a few videos of it on my phone. their puppet voices and their stories were hilarious.

this mini photo shoot happened literally right before we said goodbye. well, not 


 before. we were mostly still thinking about whose bags were in the car and who had to pee. that's when it occurred to me that i hadn't taken any photos of US. (other than the ones amy took of us all together.) great timing, but usually i don't realize this until i'm sorting and editing. so, progress!

it is weird looking back on these, when we were still happy about being together and not quite sad about leaving each other yet. the goodbye that followed was particularly brutal, but just minutes before we were having a photo shoot!

and then one from the plane. i held luca the whole time and wondered during the entire length of the flight how i was going to give him back. (that ended up happening in a non-dramatic way, because i needed to pee and he needed his diaper changed.) i also thought about how much progress T has made as a flyer since the last time we flew together for her baby shower, when she squeezed my hand so tight i lost circulation. and this time she had her baby! i know she's flown before, but still. i'm impressed.

also if you've made it all the way this far, i'm impressed with you too.

the end. finally.