Catching Up

I know how trite it is to say, but I can’t help it: I am in total shock that Thanksgiving is a mere 2 days away. Like, I just… I mean… how?!

This time of year always goes by really quickly, but this feels like it’s on a whole other level. I think that Thanksgiving coming early has a little bit to do with it, as does the fact that I’ve just been in a total tizzy of nonstop activity since Halloween.

Penny and I have come and gone from another successful trip to Atlanta to visit my sister, which is always so wonderful. And it’s, of course, even more fun now that Penny actually shows excitement and affection for her cousins (and vice-versa!)

 

There were carousel rides and gymnastics birthday parties and all sorts of fun stuff for her to do while we were down there — we had a blast!

 

I also got to see Ed Sheeran in concert while I was there, which was such a treat. After my last concert being Taylor Swift (at the same venue), I wasn’t sure whether Ed Sheeran’s performance would captivate me, but he is just so damn talented!

It’s just him — no band, no backing tracks, just his guitar, a microphone, and a bunch of looping pedals. My only disappointment was that he didn’t play Tenerife Sea, which was Sean’s and my wedding song, but the rest of the setlist was really great. He has so many big hits!

Sadly, I got sick on my last few days in Atlanta, which put kind of a damper on the end of the trip, and I’m STILL dealing with the same freaking cold now, 10 days later. It hasn’t been debilitating, just making me thoroughly snotty, sneezy, and miserable… and of course at what feels like the worst possible time. I’ve just had a lot to catch up on from being out of town, in addition to all the craziness of it being a short week this week, then holiday stuff, etc. I also haven’t worked out since before I got sick, which is kind of depressing.

On the brighter side of things, at least we got back in time to get to experience the first snow of the season in the DMV area!

Well, it was bright news for like, a few hours that day, before everything turned to total crap weather-wise and it was just an onslaught of sleet and rain for the rest of the day. But still, at least we got a few hours of beautiful crisp, powdery white fluff, which is just the best. You can take the girl outta Ottawa, but I guess her love for snow’s gonna stay.

Like I mentioned, I did have two events over the weekend as soon as I got back, so between jumping on those, digging myself out of my email inbox, and trying to get Penny back on some semblance of a schedule (it’s not really working, lol), things have felt pretty frantic since coming back. I’m trying not to get overwhelmed but I can definitely feel the anxiety starting to rumble under the surface. Hopefully the Thanksgiving holiday and the fact that I have a couple of weeks before my next big work event will help me feel like I have a little room to breathe.

Despite all the busy-busy-ness, we did mange to squeeze in a family photo session this weekend with my brother & sister-in-law — this was literally the only time that we would have been able to do it, so I’m thankful that it ended up being a beautiful, if chilly, day! All of the snow had melted by then, so we got lots of beautiful fall colors as our backdrop.

 

 
 

And that just about catches us up to today! Hopefully I’ll be back with another post a bit sooner this time, but that’s unlikely to be before Thursday, so let me say Happy Thanksgiving in the meantime, and see you on the flipside!

Atlanta: The Return of Aunt Pookie

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, it’s been quite a couple of weeks ’round these parts! Just a few weeks after our last visit, Penny and I made a return trip to my sister’s in Atlanta to participate in a whole slew of big honkin’ life events. As if the fact that Penny is 11 months old weren’t enough of a reminder of what a cruel thief time is, try throwing my nephew Alex’s first birthday AND my eldest niece Mia’s first day of Kindergarten into the mix!

WHEN DID SHE GET SO GROWN?! ::sob::

 
 
Penny had a grand ol’ time helping Alex with his smash cake after he started slowing down, hehe. And it also really helped whet her appetite — literally — for the donut smash photos that I took of her in preparation of her own upcoming big day!

More of those will be comin’ at you later — I am chomping at the bit to share them all right now but trying my darndest to save them for her actual birthday (just 2.5 weeks away!!!!).

Other great things that happened during this trip included plenty of quality time with my best gal (obvs), quality time with my best sister, working out 7/9 days I was visiting (ARE YOU NOT IMPRESSED?!), and even getting to spend a day at the pool!

 
 
Oh, right, and also that little thing where me and my 50,000 besties saw Taylor Swift perform. The show was PHENOMENAL — such insanely high production value! Whatever you might think about her or her music (obviously, I’m a big fan, but I know she is somewhat polarizing, lol), you cannot deny that she is a stellar performer.

 
And as a bonus? My Fitbit logged over 18,000 steps and more than 8 miles on the day of the concert! Gahahaha.

It was a great trip, and thankfully at the end of it I didn’t have to say goodbye for too long — my sister and her family will be coming up here in just a few weeks for Penny’s birthday party & baptism! I admit that I’m kind of glad to have all that solo air travel behind me… for the time being at least. Penny is a great flyer so far, and she very rarely gets fussy, but she is just sooooo busy and nosey and energetic that it’s pretty hard to keep her contained on flights nowadays. She doesn’t fall asleep too easily these days anymore either — except, of course, for during the final 10 minutes as we’re descending, lol. Thankfully, we had our row to ourselves on both flights!

 
Anyway, after so many weeks of being up, on the go, and busy as all get out, I was looking forward to at least a modicum of calm before Penny’s birthday but, as always, life has other plans. Alas, after successfully avoiding it for 30 long years of blissful, wise, toothy bliss, I finally have to have my wisdom teeth removed. Two of my wisdom teeth have erupted (turns out I only have 3 of them — #soevolved) but they are all impacted, and one started giving me some serious jaw pain last week. So my surgery is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

So if you’re not already following me on Instagram, I imagine that my Stories will probably be pretty entertaining that day, lol. See you on the flipside!

Time Marches On

Man, time just keeps marching on, doesn’t it? Even though it feels like I just posted Penny’s 10 Month update, it’s already been weeks! And a lot’s happened since then! Though she didn’t stay up to see the fireworks, we celebrated her first Fourth of July:

 
And the day after, she and I flew down to Atlanta for another visit with my sister, brother-in-law, and their three little munchkins!

Penny is becoming quite the seasoned traveler, and while she is really a very good baby on the plane, it just keeps getting more and more challenging for me. She is just soooooo busy, and soooooo nosy! She wants to be in everyone’s business, and I’m just trying my darnest to get her to stay with me. I mean, maybe just a tiny bit of stranger danger wouldn’t be such a bad thing, eh? At least on our flight back home she miraculously fell asleep for a portion of the flight. My arm went totally numb but it was worth it.

 
I had a great time visiting my sister, as I always do, but I gotta admit, coming back has been a bit of a bear this time around. Since traveling always makes time fly even quicker, and between our San Francisco trip & this one, I haven’t been able to really get settled back into a routine. So the days are kinda just whooshing past, and I’m just here like, okay, suddenly it’s mid-July. Penny is now ten and a HALF months old. I’ve got a huge slate of stuff to tackle for work before my next trip, for which Penny & I are heading back to Atlanta in a just few weeks for Alex’s first birthday (squee!)… and to see Taylor Swift (all my local DMV friends may have seen her show this week, but I bought the tickets for Atlanta a zillion years ago so my sister and I could go together.)

Whew. It’s just a lot, especially considering summers for my job tend to rocket past anyway. Plus, thinking about Alex’s first birthday being just around the corner makes me oh-so-very aware that Penny’s is as well (they’re only 3 weeks apart). Which means I need to start turning all of my many vast and unrealistic ideas for Penny’s first birthday party (just seven weeks away!) into an actually manageable checklist, lol.

Call it the burden of hosting events on the regular for my job, or just the fact that I am, indeed, a crazy Instagram mom, but I want this party to be the bomb-diggity! After all, it’s really the only one I get to do up completely and totally to my own whims, as something tells me that by next year, Penny will have opinions about what kind of party she’ll want, hahaha.

The other thing that’s been on my mind is that I haven’t been feeling very positive about myself lately. I’ve been feeling emotionally drained (Penny has almost completely weaned from nursing, and it hit me pretty hard last week especially), and have not been feeling confident or happy with regard to my body, my weight, and my health.

The hard truth is that I’ve let myself get out of control with some truly terrible eating habits (fast food in particular, sigh), and despite all of my best intentions and former proclamations (“I wanna get healthy for Penny! I want to be able to keep up with her forever! I want to set a good example for her!”), I hadn’t made any effort or taken any actual action to back up those claims. In fact, despite “knowing better,” I kind of kept doing, well, the opposite.

So, I just kinda stopped talking about it, and slinked quietly back into the shadows with my waffle fries. Which, I mean, hey, that’s fine, being fat is not a crime, it’s not really even an issue as long as you’re happy and feel good about yourself. Which I guess I kind of was, for a time? But I’d be lying if I said there weren’t cracks in my self-confidence, and slowly but surely, I started feeling less and less healthy, less and less good about myself, and less and less happy.

So, I finally hit my tipping point a couple of weeks ago. Sick of agonizing over my closet because my clothes don’t fit well anymore and being upset over how I look in candid photos and just generally not feeling good, I decided I don’t want to — and that I don’t have to — feel like this anymore.

So, I finally dragged My Fitness Pal back up from the depths of my iPhone’s app folders and hodgepodged together a plan. I’m cutting way down on sugar, trying my best to limit simple carbs (at least for this initial period — there is no power on Earth capable of keeping pasta from my life permanently), tracking everything, and, of course, eat mindfully & healthfully. And it’s working! I’m down 10 pounds already, which feels nice to say, though, the seasoned dieters among you know that’s mostly water weight. Plus, when you’re as heavy as I am, 10 pounds is also like, barely anything. But regardless, I’m feeling optimistic and motivated.

I do intend on adding fitness back in, as that’s obviously an important part of the health equation (though, as we also know, when it comes to weight loss specifically, it’s a much smaller part than what we eat), but I went to the gym for a step class with my sister while I was in Georgia and left feeling defeated and sad because I’m just so uncomfortable with my body right now. Also, I didn’t actually bring any real workout clothes with me, and I don’t think it helped that I was exercising in one of my regular tops, with two doubled-up nursing bras in lieu of a sports bra, hahahahaha.

So, baby steps. Literally. Carrying a wriggly, always-on-the-move, twenty-pound bundle of energy is my strength training right now, and chasing after her as she terrorizes the dogs is my cardio, lol.

And speaking of our little mischief-maker, we have an exciting new development… Penny finally (FINALLY!) cut her first tooth!

 
She is the Toothless Wonder no more! Which explains why she was shoving the local Georgia flora into her mouth incessantly during our backyard photoshoot, why she has been drooling up a storm lately, and also why she had a temperature the day prior to that little thing pokin’ on through. She’s got a real little chomper in there! (It’s her bottom left.)

And I think that just about catches us up. Here’s to looking at a brighter, lighter, happier, & healthier tomorrow (and the day after that, and the day after that) — as well as to getting these cutie pie cousins back together very, very soon! <3

Let’s Rock and Roll

Tomorrow, I’m leaving on a jet (yet again) to visit my beautiful sister, Jen, and even beautifuller niece, Mia! (“I mean, not FULLER, you don’t look fuller, but more beautiful…”) in Macon, GA. And the reason for this trip? Well, there is no real specific reason, actually! It’s a visit for the sake of visiting. And yes, I did just see them a month ago in Cabo, but hey, when it comes to little minions like this, can you really ever get enough?

IMG_7708.PNG IMG_7709.PNG
So this is kind of a random visit, but it’s also a visit that came at almost no personal expense because of the ridiculous deal that I got on my planet ticket. See, when Frontier Airlines launched their service to and from IAD, they had a crazy 12-hour flash sale where flights were as low as $15 each way. So I spent like three hair-pullingly frustrating hours on Frontier’s constantly crashing website, refreshing, refreshing, and refreshing some more, until I finally succeeded in securing a $30 roundtrip flight to Atlanta to visit Jenny.

That is not a typo.

THIRTY DOLLARS.

So yeah, it’s pretty sweet. Alas, Frontier is one of those nickel-and-diming airlines that charges for EVERYTHING, including in-flight beverages, choosing your seat assignment, and putting your carry-on bag in the overhead bin. Not just checking your bag, but actually putting it overhead. Womp womp. So I’ve decided that I’m going to try to fit everything I need for my entire trip in my single duffel bag and squish it under the seat.

I mean, if I’m not successful in cramming it under there, of course I’ll just pay the extra $25 or whatever to put it up top since all things considered, it’s still waaaaaayyyyy cheaper than a regular plane ticket anyway, but who doesn’t love a challenge, amiright?

So let’s discuss my action plan to fit all of this:

332A9107.jpg 332A9108.jpg
Into this:

332A9109.jpg
There are a few different packing ideologies out there — traditional stacking, bundle wrapping, stuff ‘n’ go — but the one I personally subscribe to is rolling.

332A9114.jpg 332A9116.jpg
332A9118.jpg 332A9119.jpg
Rolling not only makes your clothing super compact and easy to arrange, but also leaves you with far fewer creases than traditional packing. Somewhat ironically, the t-shirt I used in the example above was actually already kinda wrinkly to start with (oops), so it’ll actually end up coming out of my suitcase nicer than when it went in, haha!

And how is this space-saving packing mastery achieved, you ask? Here are the easy-peasy steps, as demonstrated in the photos above.

  1. Lay out your clothing item flat, then fold the bottom hem over about two inches.
  2. Fold the item into even thirds.
  3. From the opposite end, begin tightly rolling the t-shirt.
  4. Pull the folded part of the hem over the roll to lock it into place. Done!

The last bit’s a little bit hard to explain in words, but when you actually do it it makes perfect sense. Just make sure that the folded-over band is wide enough.

Rolling’s not just for t-shirts, of course. You can roll up everything from maxi skirts to workout shorts…

332A9126.jpg 332A9129.jpg
332A9131.jpg 332A9134.jpg
…and even underwear! Although since they already take up so little room, I don’t bother with the fold-over band part when doing my undies.

332A9124.jpg 332A9125.jpg
Sidenote: these eBags Slim Packing Cubes are the bomb.com. They make compartmentalizing your packing and keeping all your littler items together soooo easy. I use them for my delicates, for makeup/toiletries/brushes, for electronics, all that good stuff.

332A9136.jpg
So that’s how I roll (pun intended) when it comes to packing! As you can see, things are generally more compact, and it’s organized, too! Another plus for rolling is that each item is still clearly identifiable, even when wrapped (provided you actually know what your clothes look like), so if you really needed to grab something out at the last minute, it’d be easy enough to do so.

Some items, like my long maxi dress and romper I just kept folded, since they are made out of that thin, non-wrinkle material and I haven’t decided if I’m going to wear one or the other on the plane there.

332A9140.jpg
I’m happy to report that once I loaded all my clothing (shoes included!) into the duffel, there was still plenty of room to move and jive and squishhhhh. I maintain high hopes that this will indeed be underseat-crammable.

332A9143.jpg
Of course, this is excluding one more packing cube of makeup and toiletries, as well as the fact that I need to fit my purse in here as well, but I’m sure I can make it work. And, again, if not, I’ll suck up the bag fee, no big deal. Either way, hopefully at least one person will have found this tutorial on clothes rolling informative!

To finish out this post, here are some shots of my packing helpers (you might have already noticed Harry chilling in one of the photos above, hehe.) If only I could roll these fuzzballs up into my bag and bring them with me, too!

332A9133.jpg
332A9138.jpg