Whirlwind March

Holy frijoles, I can’t believe it’s almost been an entire MONTH since I blogged last! Hot diggity dog, the time really does fly. Penny will be celebrating SEVEN months this weekend!!

Needless to say, the past month has been a doozy. I’ve been keeping super busy with work, and then last week Penny & I flew down to visit my sister in Atlanta! Penny did great on the plane there and back (her 5th and 6th flights since she was born!), although I was definitely even more nervous about flying with her this time than I was last time (when she was still just a little lump). It’s just that she requires a lot more entertainment and is more difficult to coax to sleep now — the world is just far too interesting! I still managed to get her to nap for at least a little bit on both flights by stickin’ her on the boob, though, heh.

It was BEYOND worth the slight stress of flying solo with a baby again, though, since we got to be there for my niece Mia’s 5th birthday! I’m still in denial that she’s FIVE years old. That’s like, a real little kid, man! I mean, she starts KINDERGARTEN this Fall! Gah!!!!

She had a Brave themed birthday party that was a ton of fun to help my sister prep for (if you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my Story documenting the epic fail that was our first attempt at the Bear Claw Brownies ::insert crying laughing emoji::).

 
 
And just look at all the STINKIN’ ADORABLE photos I got to take of Penny with her cousins. I mean, just, like, can you EVEN?!

 
And honestly this is just a fraction of the photos I took while I was down there, hahahaha.

Aaaanyway, I’ll give a full update on how Penny’s been doing, what milestones she’s been crushing, and all that good stuff for her 7 month post, but things have been pretty great with all things regarding her lately. Sleep was obviously impacted by our trip, but she didn’t do toooooo badly all things considered, and she’s generally back to mostly sleeping through from her bedtime around 7, 7:30 until 5 or 6 AM (whereupon I usually just nurse her back to sleep so I can coax a couple more hours out of her, haha.)

And I’ve also been planning a big bash for my upcoming birthday: The Big 3-0! I’m having a 90s-themed house party to celebrate my entrance into the next decade, and it’s honestly sooooo much fun (not to mention wicked nostalgic) to plan out. We’re talking choker necklaces, neon & cheetah print EVERYTHING, butterfly clips, slap bracelets, bagel bites, pixie sticks, oversized Zack Morris-style cell phones, and YES I absolutely did buy jelly sandals in my current, adult shoe size. Here’s a throwback to this sexy trio rocking some seriously sweet early-nineties fashion — is it weird that I would 100% still wear those saddle shoes?

Here’s where I need your help though: the music! No 90s party could possibly be complete without an EPIC party playlist to get funky to, amiright?

What’s your must-have 90s song for me to put on the party playlist?

 

Happy Week of Thanksgiving!

As the title of this post says, Happy Thanksgiving Week, friends!

As a special Thanksgiving treat, this little turkey decided to sleep for almost SIX (!!) hours straight IN HER CRIB last night, so I feel like a brand new woman!

Last we spoke, I was regaling you with tales of sleeplessness and wanting to continue getting Penny used to her crib. And so, in desperation, I ordered the Baby Merlin Magic Sleep Suit on Amazon and while this thing may make her look like an actual human marshmallow, dang, does it work!

 
I’ll definitely review it in more detail soon, but so far I am extremely happy with having purchased this baby snowsuit. Penny’s slept in her crib for four nights now, and is sleeping for increasingly long stretches of time. Last night’s six hours was certainly a record… praise be!

Anyway, all of this great sleeping and almost getting her on an actual bedtime schedule comes just in time to wreck it completely by traveling, hehe. Sean, Penny, and I are doing up Turkey Day with the Fox Family in Texas this year, and we’re so excited! Having already flown with Penny once, it’s nice not to be worried about the trip itself, and it’s going to be so great to introduce Penny to so many members of her family, including her great-grandmother!

This truly has been a week packed with family fun, since Penny got to spend some extra time with my parents during the week while I ran around to various post-car accident doctor’s appointments, and then this past weekend we also jaunted down to Williamsburg for a day to introduce Penny to her other great-grandmother on Sean’s side. 🙂

Sean’s mom prepared a huge Thanksgiving lunch for the occasion, so I got to stuff my gullet full of turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, potatoes au gratin, and cranberry sauce. I loooooove Thanksgiving food, so I was a veeeeeery happy camper. And I’m even more excited now to repeat the culinary experience on actual Thanksgiving, hehe.

My college bestie, Bethany, also lives in Williamsburg with her hubby and their littles, so we stopped in to see them as well and did some baby swappin’ hehe.

And then we also stopped by Sean’s parents’ house house on our way back home too for a quick visit with his dad (who wasn’t able to join us in Williamsburg.)

The family fun didn’t stop with that, of course, since I convinced my brother and sister-in-law to come out and take some family photos of us the next day, hehe. I definitely learned a lot about what to do and not to do when it comes to taking professional photos with an infant, lol, but despite the windy weather and the fact that I woke her up from her nap for it, I’m confident we got at least a couple of good shots!

I’m so excited to get the photos back and put together our holiday card this year, since we have an especially wonderful reason to celebrate the season! We’re already entering my favorite time of the year, and it really is all the more special and exciting now that we get to share the holidays with Penny. I’m so thankful for this little nugget! I know I pretty much complained every single second of my pregnancy, but hot damn, was it worth it.

Okay, okay, I’m ceasing with the sappiness. I’ve just got lots to be thankful for this year, that’s all. 🙂

Anyway, with the traveling and craziness of the holiday, I probably won’t be checking back in on here until next week, so until then, happy, happy Thanksgiving!

Penny Takes Flight: Flying with an Infant

Hi there, folks! Penny and I just got back from Atlanta after great visit with my sister, her hubs, and their littles!

 
 
I gotta say, nothing really puts the struggles of mothering one baby into perspective like visiting a household with a baby PLUS a four-year-old AND two-year-old. My sister = #supermom for REAL.

Mia and Kira were soooo sweet with Penny, and I loved getting to see my new nephew Alex again — he’s already changed so much since he was up here with Jenny last month! He’s just three and a half weeks older than Penny, so it’s really cool getting to see a little glimpse into her developmental future.

 
I had a wonderful time visiting, as I always do (if you’ve been reading for any length of time, you probably know that my sister and I visit each other A LOT), but this trip obviously was a smidgen more stressful this time due to it being the first time I was traveling with, y’know, my new baby. Sean had to work as he sadly used up most of his PTO when Penny was born, so I was also flying solo (pun intended).

But I’m happy to report that we successfully survived both the flight there and back! We flew Southwest from DCA to ATL, and the process was pretty painless all the way through. Getting Penelope on my itinerary was super easy, I just called Southwest a couple days before our flight and they added her to my ticket as a lap infant.

Then, at the airport I just had to go to the ticket counter where they issued her a Boarding Verification Document — kind of like her very own boarding pass, hehe.

Everything from there on out was business as normal! Those of you who have flown Southwest before know that there are no assigned seats, just a boarding group order (A, B, or C) that’s determined when you check-in for your flight. I didn’t want to worry about having to check in exactly 24 hours before my flight, so I paid for Early Bird checkin (guarantees you an A group spot). In retrospect, however, I realize that I’m now able to do family boarding (in between A & B groups) so I won’t have to worry about checking in on time again for like the next 6 years! Gahahaha.

We sat in the window and lucked out with an empty middle seat on both flights (funny how holding up your baby makes people less inclined to sit with you, hahahaha. Penny did ooookay on the flight down to Atlanta — she didn’t fall asleep until a little after halfway through the flight and was a smidgen fussy, so I tried to nurse her on the plane but got really flustered (I still haven’t really mastered nursing in public and planes make for especially tight quarters.) But once she fell asleep she was out for the count (huzzah!), and fortunately even when she was fussing, her little cries were drowned out by the plane noise. The people seated behind us said they didn’t even realize there was a baby in front of them when we landed, hehe.

On the flight back home, she slept pretty much the entire time which was awesome. All in all, two successful flights — one slightly more successful than the other, hehe.

And now that I’ve gone through the process of traveling with an infant, I definitely feel way more confident about doing it more in the future. Sean and I are going to Texas to see his family for Thanksgiving, and even though the flight will be twice as long, it’s going to be twice as easy because just having an extra set of hands is going to be sooooooo helpful. The hardest part about flying with Penny by myself really wasn’t the actual flight, it was more getting through the airport and security and whatnot. It was kind of a challenge juggling her while breaking down the stroller + carseat at security and then again on the gangplank (to gate check them.)

I did bring my Baby K’Tan carrier and found it super helpful. It’s kind of like the cheater’s version of a baby sling/wrap — it’s made of two loops and you can kind of wear it like an infinity scarf when you’re not using it, making it incredibly convenient to travel with! I was able to pop her into it while waiting in line on the gangplank, which freed up my hands to deal with the stroller and carseat once I got to the plane door. Also if you don’t already have a backpack style diaper bag, I highly recommend getting one (I have the Ju-Ju-Be BFF, a gift from my amazing friend Jackie), as just having your hands free as much as possible is what you wanna go for if you’re traveling alone.

My other rather obvious tip is that you’re going to want to give yourself plenty of extra time at the airport. Depending on which airports you’re flying in/out of, you might be able to use the stroller lane to get through security more quickly (ATL offers this), but time still goes by crazy fast when you’re taking your baby in and out of her carseat, changing diapers, and waiting for the big stall to open up in the bathroom — not to mention if you’ve got to feed baby before takeoff!

 

Some of my other travel tips include:

  • Bring extra pacifiers — In a hilarious turn of events that would probably only happen to me, I dropped two of her pacifiers on the airplane floor in the span of like 3 minutes. Airplane floor + baby’s mouth = not gonna happen so I was really glad that I had so many extras.

  • Bring one or two little bottles of ready-made formula for emergencies. As mentioned, I nursed her on the flight there and nursed her in the airport before flying home, but snagged a couple 2oz bottles of ready-to-go formula just in case things had gotten hairy while on the plane. I ended up using one when she got hangry as we were waiting for Sean to pick us up from the airport.
  • Wear something with pockets – I can’t tell you how many times my phone slid off of my legs when I shifted Penny on my lap. Luckily I had very understanding people sitting in the aisle seat that kept picking it up for me, but just one flipping pocket would have made a world of difference, hahaha.
  • Get a PopSocket for your phone. Not only will it make your phone easier to hold (thus lessening the likelihood of dropping said phone on your child NOT THAT I’VE EVER DONE THAT) but you’ll be able to take all the unabashed sleeping-baby-plane-selfies your heart desires.
  • Bring a portable phone charger as well, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll put your diaper bag juuuuuust far enough under the seat that you’re unable to reach it once baby falls asleep, and all you’ll have within reach is your phone. So your only entertainment options during the flight are to browse social media thanks to Southwest’s $8 wifi, or stare at the back of the seat in front of you.

So yeah, I’d say that Penny’s jetsetting life is off to a good start! If you have any questions about my experience traveling with a baby, lay ’em on me — I’m sure I left tons out, heh. And until next time…!

Foxlet: Week 28

Why hello there, third trimester — officially! I am now in week 28, and Sean and I got to spend this past weekend enjoying our little family of 2.5 out on our babymoon!

We drove out to the Shenandoah Valley and spent a long weekend at a gorgeous B&B, Glen Gordon Manor. The manor and grounds were so idyllic, with sprawling fields and gorgeous greenery, plus lots of animals living on the land. There were horses, as well as chickens who were right outside our room — it made me so happy seeing them chase bugs through the grass and roam around all fancy-free.

Glen Gordon is only about a 1.5 hour drive from where we live, so it was a super easy trip there and back. We wanted to stay relatively close to home since A) I am really uncomfortable flying these days, and B) so Sean wouldn’t have to take too much PTO, as he’s saving it for when Foxlet get here (he only gets 3 days of actual paternity leave from his company — womp womp). It worked out to be the perfect, relaxing mini-vacation we needed!

Glen Gordon Manor is owned and run by Chef Dayn Smith, and we got to enjoy an incredible feast each morning at breakfast, as well as dinner on the first evening. Everything was super seasonal, hyper-local (they harvest honey from their own honeybees, grow their own herbs, and use the eggs laid by their own chickens!), and crazy delicious. The chef even took the time to make a few adjustments to my dinner (it’s a prix fixe menu) because I’m preggo.

After we got to enjoy more deliciousness for breakfast the next morning, we got a couple’s massage, and then hopped in the car and drove down Skyline Drive into Shenandoah National Park. I’m almost ashamed to admit it, considering I went to JMU for college right in the Shenandoah Valley, but I had never actually driven down Skyline Drive. Crazy, right?

I thought it was going to be rainy all weekend, but the weather ended up being amazing — the overlook views were so gorgeous!

I’m admittedly not much of a “nature” gal, but I can appreciate a great view. And hey, getting to take in the sights in between jaunts in the comfort of an air-conditioned car was juuuust fine with me.

Can you believe they’re just letting these two weirdos be parents? 😉

Foxlet’s Size: At 28 weeks, Foxlet weighs around 2 1/4 pounds and is the size of an eggplant!

Weight: Holding steady this week at around the same weight as last week.

Symptoms: Ahhh, the lovely physical ailments I’m dealing with this week include my ever-persistent and ever-pleasant heartburn and SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction), as well as breast pain, tailbone pain, and headaches. Hurrah! But, lest it sound like I’m always complaining (which, I know, I am), there really is good stuff too. I feel her kick and move around aaaaaall the time, and am feeling bonded with this little life inside of me. I’ve got that nesting switch flipped for sure, and am certainly happy a lot. It’s just sometimes hard to focus on the good stuff amongst the bad, more painful stuff, that’s all.

Emotions: Guess who cries 2-8 times daily? This gal! Guess who is surprised by this news? Nobody! Aside from constantly having to redo my eye makeup though, my spirits have been pretty high! I’m getting really excited for all the “real” stuff we’ll get to do now that we’re in the third trimester — birth class, hospital tour, baby shower, nursery completion, and more.

Cravings/Aversions: I’ve been continuing to crave veggies, big salads, and fresh fruit — even more than usual, even. Asparagus, romaine lettuce, grapes, mango, and mandarin oranges in particular are my jam. No aversions, other than my lack-of-nighttime-appetite showing up again this week and making me super indecisive about what I want to eat.

Sleep: Sleeping at the B&B was a little bit challenging because I wasn’t armed with my arsenal of pillows that I surround myself with each night (I brought my little wedge pillow with me, but that was it.) Sleep continues to be challenging just because it takes me so long to get comfortable each night… only to finally get settled and then have to get back up because I need to go to the bathroom, or I forgot to put in my retainer, or what have you.

Purchases: Ummmm sooooooo, despite what I said about trying to be really good about not buying new stuff for myself before my baby shower, I toooooootally picked up more stuff for the nursery. I just couldn’t help it! I went into Target for some Zantac and walked out with a new comforter for the guest bed, a cloud bookshelf, and stuffed unicorn head. Hehe.

Looking forward to… my baby shower this weekend!!

NOT looking forward to… my 3-hour glucose test, which is probably well-underway as you read this. Bleh. Send good thoughts my way, and keep your fingers crossed that the phlebotomist doesn’t leave me looking like a heroin addict after all my blood draws… and also that I don’t have gestational diabetes if, y’know, at all possible.

Where to Start?

Wow, you know it’s been a minute since you’ve contributed to your blog when you have to remember the URL to get to the login page because it doesn’t pop up in your browser history’s autocomplete bar. To be honest, I don’t think I even cognitively realized just how long it had really been, you know? I mean, with the loss of my friend, and then my grandmother, blogging just didn’t seem “right” for a while. And then life just kept truckin’ along, and before you know it, here we are! December. Crazy.

So the reality is, I don’t even know where to begin with this post. It doesn’t really feel productive to spend a ton of time covering what’s been going on during last 6 months of my life because A) there’s not really all that much to report, B) if you follow me on social media in some form or another, you probably already know a lot of it, and C) I am too lazy to try to remember it all. But, it would feel weird not at least touching on where I’m at in, like, my life, sooooooo… I’ll try to make it brief.

Work: Yelp stuff is still going awesomely. I’m a little bit past 3.5 years at Yelp, and in July I was promoted to the role of Community Director. I am, it might go without saying, still loving my job, having a great time hosting events, working with local businesses, and championing my community. I also have the best #worksquad a girl could ask for. In August, I threw my 3rd huge Yelper Party event, and also attended CM Week at Yelp’s HQ in San Francisco for the 3rd year.

 

Family: Even though 2016 has been the year of some seriously crappy stuff, it will still be remembered as an amazing year in the grand scheme of my life, since it started off with me gettin’ hitched! Sean and my first year as newlyweds has been wonderful, and we haven’t threatened to divorce each other even once.

 

My nieces are still awesome, and my family and I are just as weirdly close as ever. In early November, my sister, my parents, and I went to New York and my dreams came true because I finally got to see HAMILTON (in short: I cried like six…ty times, it was NOT overhyped despite how much I built it up in my head, it was everything and more):

 

And later in November (lol), the whole fam (minus Sean, who had to work), went to Orlando for a big family vaycay. Which meant I got to return to the Happiest Place on Earth (for Gretchen), Harry Potter World, and also, the Happiest Place on Earth (for Other People), Disneyworld:

 

My trip back to Diagon Alley went really well with my latest tattoo, too:

And, finally, my dogs are still my wonderful, weird, bearded children:

Does that pretty much cover all the bases? I think so, right? Eh, if there’s anything I’m forgetting… I probably will never remember it. But! It should at least bring us up to the present, wherein I am actually trying to get back to updating this thing on the reg. But, for once, I’m not going to make any grand, sweeping declarations like, “I’m returning to my roots!” and “I’m getting back on the blog wagon!” because those will surely backfire and leave me eating my words. Instead, I’ll just be honest and say this:

My life has gotten pretty great. I have a loving husband, a home of my own, furchildren, an awesome family, a job that I am legitimately still obsessed with, and the freedom to continue to dye my hair any color I want with impunity (it even recently got featured in a Buzzfeed listicle, so, y’know, #lifegoalscomplete). I’m also, obviously, extremely humble.

But I must admit, if anything has been missing over the past, I dunno, few months… a year… or two… it’s that I’ve stopped writing.

I’ve basically stopped writing here on this blog, I’ve stopped writing creatively, and I think that I’ve been keeping myself busy enough that I haven’t had to think about it. It’s just so easy to put family, friends, work, holidays, trips, obsessively singing the soundtrack to Moana, binge-watching Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, and playing Final Fantasy XV nonstop for 3 straight days first. But I miss writing, I do, and I want to… stop… missing it. (Hmm, my skills may have already deteriorated.)

So, whether I start posting here regularly again, or whether I find the motivation to finally frickin’ finish the sequel to Terra (I know, I know…), or whether I just find myself coming back to my words a little more often, I’d like to write more. And I’m going to try to do just that.

And with that said, hopefully, you’ll see me back here in these parts very soon. Although, based on recent precedence, if I make it back for another post before… uh… April… I’ll already have outdone myself. I do love setting that bar loooooow. 😉