Testing the Limits of Unconditional Love



This past weekend we continued our Summer of Beach House Mooching and spent a few days in Ocean City with Jason's family. I am now home with a child so far off his schedule that it feels like we've returned to those fuzzy, bewildering newborn days when I never knew what he wanted or what was coming next -- would he scream? or sleep? or scream?  Since we've been back I'm stabbing in the dark once again -- handing him bottles and Cheerios and toys and books and the television remote and then throwing up my hands and telling him that's all I've got, buddy, pick something. You can eat, sleep or stare slack-jawed at the talking picture box. WELCOME TO THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

Jason's aunt and uncle are retired and live at the beach year-round. We've had an open invitation to come visit for as long as we've been together -- a good nine years now, but our vacation possibilities were always endless, boundless and selfishly budgetless. Now we're just assholes with a baby. Assholes who are more than willing to dump our asshole selves on anyone who doesn't mind the occasional middle-of-the-night shrieking session, a bazillion toys in their living room, diapers in their powder room wastebasket, and a semi-permanent coating of gummed Cheerios on every surface.

His aunt and uncle did not mind. They also made us waffles every morning. And I realized that all we require in order to get Noah to nap like he has never napped before is 1) a glider rocker, 2) a balcony, and 3) an ocean.

Img_5323 Their condo, built to withstand both hurricanes and Spring Breakers, had so much concrete and steel running through the walls that we had no cell phone reception or wireless Internet. Or DSL. Or dial-up.

There was free high-speed Internet down in the building's lobby, and all weekend Jason and I made noises about hauling our laptops down there, and all weekend we found better things to do. Including sitting on the balcony, staring at the ocean for hours on end, or watching Spongebob Squarepants, or made-for-TV movies which I got waaaay too into and had to turn my head away from my in-laws so they wouldn't see that I was choked up and could probably have a full-on cry over the gorgeous triumph of the human spirit and a straight-talking teacher who WOULD NOT GIVE UP ON YOU KIDS. YOU ARE NOT LOSERS. YOU ARE WINNERS! WINNNNNERS!

Way better than checking email, I'll tell you that.

Jason's parents were there as well, which is always nice to a point, since they would practically pay US to go places by ourselves -- to the beach or shopping or Hooters, whatever, they heard the wings are good and we like chicken, right? -- and leave Noah with them. It was delicious to spend a few hours on the beach without him, although I always got the sense that my mother-in-law used our absence as the perfect opportunity to correct all our parenting mistakes. (babiesdon'tneedextrabottlesofwater itjustisn'tdoneanymore hepees20timesadayalready OMFG) Although that could just be my own raging insecurity talking, like when I saw the little bag of bath toys she'd brought, and I thought what, she doesn't think I can provide my son with adequate damn bath toys or something?

And then I remembered that I actually HAD forgotten to pack bath toys and had just been letting Noah play with some travel-sized shampoo bottles; MY shampoo bottles, by the way, since I'd also forgotten the tear-free baby stuff.

The current obliteration of his schedule aside, I think Noah received excellent care and attention. And it only took six adults to do it.


It didn't help that two of those six adults were complete dorks who went out in public in matching damn shirts.



Matching shirts? are the new orange which is the newpinkwhichisthenewblack. and besides, in-laws LOVE that shit.

and who are YOU do have such great beach hair? Mine always looks like a brillo pad.


he's looking quite toddlerish, that there Noah.


Awwww... you guys are so cute. LOL It sounds like you all had a great time! With or without the Lifetime movies..LOL!!


Yeah, but they are Carbon Leaf shirts, and that makes it perfectly acceptable.

Glad you had a good time.


I don't think I would have stayed in my matching shirt for long.

The waves looks delicious and refreshing and like they wouldn't melt my skin off, as this Texas sun is known to do.

Friend of Mermaid

Being a dork is the new Cool. Love this post.


Aww- Ocean City. Land of inappropriate t-shirts and CANDY KITCHEN- Did you have the chocolate covered strawberries? Oh my god are they heaven on a stick.

I love OC


wow, noah looks so much bigger already since I saw him during our mutual beach house mooching session in delaware!


I was beginning to worry and tire of the tire photo, reminding me it has been TOO many days without a post. How dare you vacation!

Sounds like a delightful weekend! Way jealous over here in Ohio.


I'm loving that last photo. Dorks are K-E-W-L, no?


I don't comment very often, but I do read every day. I just wanted to say that your beachy family portrait is great! What a wonderful picture. I'm glad you had a nice, relaxing vacation at the beach.


I spent my weekend watching soap operas and looking at overpriced townhouses. Yours beats mine only by thismuch. :)


OMG...we were neighbors this weekend. Didya see me? I was in Bethany flowered tankini...smallish boobs, biggish hips. No? Well, it was AWESOME. The ocean, the balcony... the dolphins in the ocean, the wine on the balcony. We're from Rochester, thank you for sharing your little slice of heaven (and the GORGEOUS pics of Noah!).

Martine...lurker extraordinaire


I feel like a broken record here, but man is Noah cute! I love the look of awe at the water in the first picture and that second picture is priceless. I can't wait to be a Mom.


Sounds like an absolutely fabulous weekend. I can't believe he's standing(!) in that first picture. Since when did he become such a little boy instead of a baby? Though, the second picture is my favorite, with the look of pure joy on his face. Too cute!


I like Noah's 1940s style bathing suit. Goes good with y'alls matching Carbon Leaf shirts.


1. The last picture? Adorable.
2. Your matching (and totally not dorky) t-shirts reminded me: I'm going to see Carbon Leaf! Next Month! yay!!
3. Is it possible you were watching The Ron Clark Story? Because it's possible that that movie made me cry, too. Triumph of the human gets me every time.


Ahhh, the Hooters in Ocean City, MD. Did you know that my friends were caught robbing that place? (Of course you didn't because you don't know me, but whatever...) Hopefully your visit was more about the eating of the wings and less of the theiving of Hooters t-shirts ; )


I love me some Noah.

I love me some Beach Noah more.

But I love me some Laughing at the Pure Joy of Life Noah the best.

Anne Glamore

The matching shirts don't bother me as much as the fear that you have taken Noah out on the beach in a baby wrestling singlet, which is exactly the kind of thing my husband would do.

I'm just going to assume this is a sleeveless onesie.


Yes! The Ron Clark Story! Chandler cares, y'all!


Oh, and yeah, it's just a sleeveless cotton romper thing. Gift from the in-laws, because you know I'd just let him run around naked otherwise.


That second photo, of Noah in the t-shirt and overalls? He looks so big! And squealing with joy about gliders!and balconies!and the ocean!

Glad you all had such a good time.


Ha! The Ron Clark Story! Hilarious. Noah=adorable.
"baby wrestling singlet"! Hahaha


i saw that movie! and i cried, like a baby!
so, so good...

i'm glad ya'll had fun! i would give anything for a beach vacation right now...

Bozoette Mary

Hurray for Ocean City! My favoritest place in the whole entire world!


Totally delurking to comment on the awesomeness that is Carbon Leaf. And while I'm at it (and delurked), on the awesomeness of you, your blog, and your awesome baby. Also the beach. The End.


we live for those kind of holidays... the free babysitting is the best damn part!


We missed you! The muches with a baby sounds like my life! I love it! It sounds like you had a great weekend! Welcome back!

anne nahm

It seems crazy, but I've learned it's true - Each kid has to be outnumbered 3+ to one for anyone to get a break.


Glad you had a great time at the beach--sorry that the homecoming and return to an actual schedule has sucked so bad.

Welcome back!

Mary Tsao

I love Noah's romper. Those one piece thingies are the best. Gee, your MIL is smart! ;)

So, you two have reached the matching shirt phase of your relatinonship. That's quite a milestone. Congrats! Sure easier to pick the other one out of a crowd at the buffet line.


Damn, that kid is seriously getting cuter each and every day.

Knowing what the outcome looks like, I don't know how you keep yourself from jumping Jason every fourteen minutes.


Hi! Been blog-stalking you for some time & thought it was time to stop being rude and tell you what a fabulous site you've got. Love Snarkywood, which brought me to you and your blogs and now you've introduced me to Mrs. Flinger and other fabulous bloggers. So thank you (for totally ruining my work productivity). ;) Noah is totally adorable - love that first photo of him. I don't have kiddos yet myself so I vicariously enjoy yours & other mommybloggers sites. Forget the gripers, mommybloggers are the best and have the best stories! Anyway, just wanted to say thanks & keep up the good work!
PS - Hubbie & I love Chandler, I mean Matt's, movie too. :)


Glad you had such a lovely (sans laptop) vacation.

And when I was a kid, my family DIDN'T take a vacation without matching damn shirts. And while it was horrible at the time, I've since recovered.

You will to.

Welcome back!


Ditto the mother-in-law stuff! I always feel like I am not doing a good enough job, BUT every time he comes back from being at her place for more than 4 hours he is CRAZY for at least two days after that. I don't know what she does tohim! He's banned from going over there now.


I don't mean to be a total bitch, but that first picture? Amalah, it's really time to shave your legs.

Ha, I kid! I keeeeed! In fact, I'm actually pretty impressed that your husband doesn't appear to have the tight-sock lower-leg baldness that most guys (just mine?) do.

Actually, I'm delurking today too, and wanted to tell you how much I've enjoyed your site. I ransacked your archives last week, reading them pretty much all the way through. I'm very glad I did; they were great!


I so miss going to the shore. On the West Coast, we don't go to the shore, we go to the coast -- A cold, windy, rocky coast that is meant for short walks, not spending a day in salty bliss. And by "we" I mean "they" who have no idea what a real shore is. BAH!

Anyway, I loved the Ron Clark Story -- almost as good as the Joe Clark Story aka "Lean on Me".

Also, I am glad to know that there were responsible adults around to properly care for that preshus baby!! :-p


Y'all are so cute! Glad to have you back from the beach.


OMG, I could have written your story myself (though mine probably wouldn't have been so witty). Right there with you on just about everything, but especially the in-laws who would pay us to go out and be left alone, but no thank you I will cut of my nose, ears and eyelids to spite my face if that's what it takes so that she doesn't think that I can't do it all by myself.


Hey Amy! If I place my ear to my monitor I can hear the ocean! Cute pics of a cute baby, as always.

Heather B

That baby looks so sweetly dubious. The ocean is scary, yall.


OMG!! The M.I.L.!!! I thought mine was the only one who packed for my kids when we went places together. I mean really, I do pack snacks, wipies, extra diapers, etc. for my kids and don't need her doing the same damn thing!! I'm not a bad mother - they're 4 and 2 so they've survived well enough in my care when she hasn't been around. C'mon - enough is enough. I'm finding it harder and harder to laugh about it and it's just become downright insulting. How do we stop this madness?


My boyfriend is a teacher at a school with a predominantly all black & hispanic population and his principal gave him Ron Clark's book. She told him he reminded her of Clark. Having been forced to sit through that movie with me, he knew his story too well. He told his principal he was touched and she said, "Well, get over it, you're both just skinny white boys."

She was kidding. My sobbing throughout the movie was no joke nor is my lameness.

Did you guys take the tire on vacation with you?


Noah looks so grown-up already!! Did he play in the sand with buckets and shovels? I tried to get my 1 year-old DD to play at the beach but she freaked out and stood on one foot the whole time so that both feet wouldn't be touching the sand (totally unlike her!).

Love the matching T-shirts...dorks in love are all the rage right now =)


Most Ocean City condo buildings are built in the Gulag style...which really is a good excuse to step away from the laptop. And as much as it might make me twitch at first, it's funny how quickly I get used to it. More time for drinks with bad, fake Jamaican names at Seacrets! And that can only occasionally be a bad thing.


I was wondering whether it was the Ron Clark story. Except I kept thinking his name was Ron Johnson. And then Ron Howard.

I just can't get his name straight.

I watched that movie twice during the weekend, and started again last night with my husband. GAH.


My lovely husband took me to dinner the other night, whereupon we observed a youngish couple in matching shirts. We came to the conclusion that that kind of thing is only cute on little old people.

However, I'm willing to grant y'all an exception, since your kid is so cute and all. If not for that kid, though, I would totally be making fun of y'all.


I have been avoiding the Ron Clark story for fear of the sobbing. What if somebody calls or comes by? I am a serious weeper, ya'll. I cry at commercials. Comedies, even. Now I will HAVE to watch it and will blame my blotchy red face and swollen eyes on you!!


You guys are so cute! Noah, gosh that kid is growing up so fast.

Y from the internet

Whatever. This is all one big lie. You want me to BELIEVE you were at the beach so that I forgive you for not answering my "OMG! I JUST GOT KICKED OUT OF ETHAN'S BASKETBALL GAME" phone call.



No, but seriously, did you take the tire on vacation with you?

I have this image of a tire with a face just rolling along right behind you, sitting in the family pics, handing you a kleenex while your watching TV and lending a helping hand when you couldn't quite reach that spot on your back with sunscreen.

O-Kay, maybe I just stared at that tire for so long while you were on the vacation hoping an immaculate conception of a post would appear that I'm hallucinating now.


Awwwww i love the one piece romper! My baby was born in the winter so by the time it was warm enough for a one piece romper he was too big for them... *sniff*. Noah is adorable.


i feel so.... used.



Noah is so adorable.

I cried watching the Ron Clark story, too! My husband actually went to high school with Ron Clark in Podunk, NC, so we had to watch it.


Haha the matching shirts are just too cute !!!


You had me until matching t-shirts. Next time I will be forced to forward this pic to Go Fug Yourself. And for God's Sake, DO NOT GET THE BABY INVOLVED IN YOUR T-SHIRT TOGETHERNESS! The trauma!


what a great weekend.


I love getting new Noah pics so much, I always have to check out your flickr account to see if you added more there.

Score! ;)


We took our toddler to Provence last year for two weeks. One two year old, 12 adults, a lot of wine. Turned out that's the perfect ratio that assures that 11 adults can be drunk at all times.


but look how well you accessorized! (noah, duh)

Stefanie T.

"You can eat, sleep or stare slack-jawed at the talking picture box. WELCOME TO THE REST OF YOUR LIFE."



dude, this is almost fucking email worthy, because are you going to SEE the new carbon leaf tour? because they're touring with matt nathanson! BEST/NICEST DUDE EVER!! seriously, if you miss it, you'll be so sad.

Glad to hear you had a wonderful weekend, except for the no-internet-in-the-room.

Noah is very very very cute... From the last pic, I thought he really looks like his daddy...

Umm, I love the second photo.. He looks so happy... And the overall is cute.



Oh, how I miss The Beach. Except the whole salt-in-my-hair bit. I never much liked that. Which is why, I suppose, I stick mostly to the lakes. ; )

Glad it was a restful, and made-for-t.v.-laden! Nothing better.


OMG THE ROMPER! that is the cutest thing i have ever seen. noah is such a handsome boy, i know you're both so proud.

and the matchy-matchy? so six flags circa 1986 - you're totally retro!


I totally wrote about my traveling with a kid encounters today too.

Love the matching shirts.


Noah is about the cutest thing I've ever seen. . . and this is from a doting aunt of 4 and grandma (by marriage! i am a youngish 40-ish sweet thing!) of SIX. Y'all are adorable. And I've been lurking long before his birth. Nice going there, Amalah. You rock.


That orange outfit he's wearing is KILLING me because it's so cute.


OMG, totally couldn't stop watching the Matthew Perry special either!

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