Busy, Busy, Happy, Happy

Well, I think it’s safe to say that Winter has come to Northern Virginia. Despite the fact that it was 75-degrees and sunny a week ago, the past few days and have felt like they’re of Winterfell-level proportions. Lows of 29 and 30 – brrrrr! The upside?

 
I’ve been able to make use of these stinkin’ cute fleece bodysuits that make Penny look extra-strength adorable.

 
We’ve certainly been keeping busy since last we checked in with you guys! Lots of time spent with family (that’s Uncle Ben hanging out with Penny in the photo above) and friends, old & new, plus Penny went to her first party and had a grand old time!

So, Wednesday night I finally got fed up with what was going on with my roots, and tried to re-dye my hair under the VERY MISTAKEN ASSUMPTION that Penny had gone down for the night and I had at least, like, 90 minutes before she woke up again. Well, I was unsurprisingly very wrong, and with Sean already asleep and me not wanting to disturb him (he has to get up very early for work), I had to pull my very best Tim Gunn and make it work.

 
Sooooo yeah, this resulted in a nice bleachy nursing session and lots of prayers that all of my hair wouldn’t fall out from bleaching too long, lol. Thankfully, I managed to get her to go back down pretty much right away after she was done, and thus escaped with hair unscathed and repurplefied!

And so I was able to look presentably vibrant (and very easy to spot) for my #momsquad coffee date the next morning! Now that Penelope and I are nice and comfy with each other, I’ve been really eager to meet other mamas in the area with similarly-aged kiddos. So being the totally level-headed and not-in-any-way-overzealous person that I am, I joined like, four different new mom Facebook groups and also downloaded the Peanut app (which is literally Tinder for moms, lol). I’ve been fortunate to connect with some lovely ladies and their even lovelier bebes!

It’s so nice to have other ladies with whom to get together and commiserate over developmental milestones, spit up, blowouts, and sleepless nights, hehe. Most of my friends’ babies are at least 8 – 10 months older than Penny, and right now the age difference of even a few months makes a huge difference in the whole parenthood experience. So while by this time next year, Penny and my friends’ babes all might be able to play together, it’s especially wonderful to have found some new mama friends with birthdays close to Penny’s — since they’re going through literally the exact same things as us. 🙂

On Friday, I met up with my friend Vicky for coffee in the morning. Mayhaps you are starting to see a pattern here: COFFEE. IS. LIFE. I’ve always enjoyed coffee, but was never really a habitual drinker. Didn’t need my daily cup of joe to get through the morning or anything like that. But now? HAAAAA! You should see the amount of stars I’ve racked up on my Starbucks rewards account. Lorelai Gilmore would be so proud.

And after yet another successful coffee date, Sean’s mom came by for a visit! Not only did she bring a delicious spread for lunch (homemade chicken pot pies!), but she also watched Penny for a stretch while I took a glorious and much-needed nap. Fri-yay indeed!

Which brings us to Saturday! We were invited to my coworker’s daughter’s first birthday party and were super excited to have Penny experience her first party! Naturally, she slept terribly the night before (go figure), so we got a pretty late start to the day. When I eventually had to jump in the shower, I asked Sean to get Penny dressed and returned to this bit of fashion-forwardness:

Bahahahahahaha. He gets major points for matching, but she is 100% missing the actual dress that’s supposed to go under the cardigan and over the bloomers. ::laughing crying emoji::

  
Much better. 😉

The party was so much fun! There were sooooo many kiddos and babies there, and it was really fun for Sean and me to see what our future holds, hehe. My fab coworker Kimberly did an amazing job with the theme, decor, and food (there was a Chipotle bar!!), and gave me serious goals for next August when we’ll be going through the same thing, hehe. Oh man, I’m getting emotional just thinking about that. I know that sounds ridiculous since it’s so far away, but I mean, I already can’t believe Penny will be 11 weeks on Wednesday! ::sniff::

 
Kimberly also arranged to have a Tunes 4 Tots session at the party, so Penny also got to experience her first music class! I can’t wait ’til she is, y’know, able to like, sit up and clap her hands and actually do stuff. But even though she was literally just sitting up in my lap watching it all unfold, I like to think she was having a grand ol’ time, hehe.

Later that night, Penny and I met up with one of my oldest friends, Megan. We’ve been friends since meeting in Taiwan in 2001, where we both attended high school! 16 years of friendship and counting…! Not that that makes me feel old or anything, heh.

After dinner, I dropped by my parents’ house, as another one of my uncles was visiting and wanted to meet Penny (she is far more popular that I could ever be!). This turned out to be a great thing, because while I was also supposed to see my parents again the next day, my mom came down with something so it didn’t work out.

They had originally offered to babysit for Sean and me while we went to a show, but since that didn’t happen we ended up having a nice lazy Sunday at home. TBH, it was really nice. I love having a reason to get out of the house (and I still did end up taking Penny on an errand run… and to get more coffee, hehe), but all the social engagements, coupled with the fact that Penny’s sleep has continued to be very unpredictable, did leave me feeling pretty drained.

So Sean, Penny, the dogs, and I all got to enjoy being home together — cooking (Sean), playing (Penny and the dogs), napping (everyone but me ::laugh/cry::), and taking care of stuff around the house (meeeeeee, heh.)

 
Which catches us back up to today! We’ve got lots of additional plans for fun this week, including our first Crybaby Matinee, more mommy dates, and a trip this weekend — whew! I’m also hoping that I’ll be able to get another one of the (many) parenthood posts I would like to write up this week, but guff, finding time to blog really is a challenge these days. I don’t know how actual mommy bloggers do it!

‘Til next time!

My Brave Little Unicorn + Sean’s Birthday Weekend

Happy Monday, folks!

Hope everyone had a fun, sugar-filled Halloween last week! We got literally zero trick-or-treaters that night so that means that I SURE DID bahahahaha. My candy bowl literally overfloweth and I ain’t mad about it, guys.

As I mentioned before, Penny’s two-month pediatrician appointment was also on Halloween, so my I took my gorgeous little balloonicorn (yes, in costume, of course!) to the doctor’s office. She clocked in at 23-and-a-quarter inches and 13 pounds, 2.8 ounces — 83rd percentile for length and 88th percentile for weight! Unsurprising, given how many delicious little baby rolls she has going on, but it’s always fun to hear where she falls on the charts especially since she was an early bird at 37 weeks.

The two-month appointment also meant ::DUN DUN DUNNNN:: getting her vaccinations! Thankfully, my brave baby did amazingly with her shots! They gave her one oral vaccine which must have tasted pretty good because she seemed to like it, haha, and then one shot in each thigh, and she only cried for like 15 seconds afterwards (and it took me just slightly longer to stop crying myself.)

The aftermath of getting her shots outside of her immediate reaction was all right, but not great. She was mainly just very sleepy the rest of the day, but didn’t have any kind of adverse reaction or anything. However, the next day she did develop a very low fever (didn’t seem to bother her too much, but naturally I was wigging, lol), and after that first day, SOMEBUNNY has been having a LOT of trouble sleeping ever since.

She’s fighting naps like whoa right now, and only wants to nap for like a single sleep cycle (30 – 45 minutes), and then at night she won’t go down without being nursed to sleep.

We’re also back at 2 – 2.5 hour stretches of sleep at night… and just when she was starting to seem like she getting into a real groove of 3.5 – 4 hours between wakings, too! Womp womp. I’m just going to keep being optimistic that we will quickly be able to get back to where we were. I don’t even care about her sleeping through the night or anything, I just want that one four hour stretch back each night. I tell ya, that extra hour, hour and a half makes a ridonkulous amount of difference in my attitude, energy level, and the amount of coffee required to function, haha.

Anyway, despite the difficulties that nighttime has been bringing with her sleep setbacks and whatnot, the rest of last week and the weekend was super fun! We stayed very busy with lots of fun meetups with family and friends, and also happily celebrated Sean’s birthday.

We got to hang out with my friend Lara and her pups (she’s expecting Penny’s future BFF early next year!), and also had lunch with my coworkers, getting Penny used to the delicious smell of Korean BBQ — it IS the food of one-quarter of her people, after all! I’m really loving being on maternity leave, of course, but didn’t realize how much I missed my coworkers and talking about work stuff until we got together! Definitely have been missing my workfam. Maybe the transition to going back to work in December won’t be as sad as I was initially thinking, hehe.

On Friday, we met up for lunch with the glowing & gorgeous Anne, who is 37 weeks preggo herself and ready to welcome her baby girl super soon! Always so much fun to get together with her — especially now that we’re both in this whole kid-producing season of life! We commiserated over how uncomfortable these final weeks are, talked about how fun it will be when our girls are old enough to actually play together, and how weird it is to think that when I was at the same point in my pregnancy that she is currently, Penny was already here!

I was also able to hand off several packs of size 1 Honest Co. diapers to both Anne and Lara, since Penny definitely can’t use them anymore with that baby wagon she’s draggin’. I swear, I didn’t even buy that many diapers, I just couldn’t have predicted how rapidly she was going to grow between month 1 and month 2 (nor how much junk she’d be carrying in her trunk, hahahaha.) I’m all paranoid about buying too many diapers in larger sizes now too, bleh. I’ve actually always planned on incorporating cloth diapering into my routine (especially when at home — my sister has cloth diapered all three of her kids very successfully), but I wanted to make it through the excess size 1 disposables we had first, so I gotta be extra careful about not going overboard with the disposables now.

Butttttt my problem is that Honest Co. just released these adorable seasonal prints, including one with arctic foxes on them — I mean helloooooo! — and a friend also turned me onto Parasol brand diapers and how they’re eco-conscious, bleach/chlorine-free, and have adorable prints just like Honest Co, but are much softer. So obviously I had to pick a pack of those to try as well (and true story, they are SUPER soft!)

Basically I am just every single baby brand’s dream consumer because I’m 100% a sucker for anything pretty or cute or trendy or that will occupy her attention for more than 45 seconds… heh.

 
ANYWAY! Friday was also Sean’s birthday, so we spent the whole week celebrating my baby daddy in style! All three of us went out for a casual dinner Friday night, and then we ventured down to his parents’ place on Saturday for a birthday dinner with Grandma and Grandpa Fox!

 
And finally, on Sunday my parents babysat Penny so that Sean & I could have a baby-free evening together, just the two of us.

We went out to dinner and saw Thor: Ragnarok, which was AWESOME. Two thumbs way, way up — it was outrageously funny and Thor’s near hair gave me all kind of feelings. We had a great time and miraculously managed to talk about stuff other than Penny, but we still missed our little nugget, of course!

Anyway, that catches us on up to today! This week has lots more social fun, including more get-togethers with friends, meeting up with a couple of mommas that I met on a local new mom Facebook Group, and my friend’s daughter’s first birthday party — Penny’s first party invitation! And who knows, if the stars align and the universe is looking favorably upon us, perhaps this week might also include getting a modicum more sleep? Hey, a girl can dream!

Penny’s First Halloween

So Halloween had kind of been losing its luster for me over the past few years. In my early twenties, I got SO JAZZED for Halloween: throwing parties, coordinating group costumes, doing the whole shebang. But, y’know, time passes and we all get old and lazy and my Halloweens of late have been a lot more about eating all the candy that I definitely, 100% got for the trick-or-treaters and not for eating in my pajamas with some kind of animal-ear headband on (only like, six kids ever come to our house, lol.)

But I won’t lie, Halloween with a baby — even one still firmly ensconced in the useless-lump-of-a-human category, like Penny — is like 1000x more fun!

Even though the only plans we have for today are lunch with a friend and going for our two-month pediatrician’s appointment (which means SHOTS! 🙁 🙁 🙁 ) everything is made just a smidgen better because Penny can be in costume, lol.

We took her unicorn costume for a test spin last week when we went to Spooky Tots at Fairfax Corner, where I got to coo and aww over all the adorable toddlers trick or treating in their costumes, while other parents appropriately cooed and awwed over Penny (something I never could have known prior to, y’know, having one, is just how much random stranger in the world flippin’ love babies, man!)

 
And because one costume is simply not ever enough, I also picked up the most amazing Bubble Tea outfit from BuzzBearStudio on Etsy — is she not the most delicious? 😀

Happy Halloween, friends!

Penny: Two Months Old

Happy two months to our gorgeous, happy baby girl!

Penny continues to grow in leaps and bounds, and we fall even more in love with her with each passing day. She’s still got her baby blues and strawberry blonde hair (WHOSE BABY IS THIS?!), and has been seriously packing on the pounds. I’ve been weighing her pretty regularly at home (with the Hatch Baby Grow Changing Pad and Scale), and she’s already 13 pounds!!

 
Which means she’s basically busting out of her Size 1 diapers (Turns out I got way too many packs – how was I supposed to know she’d be such an adorable little chunker?!), and most of her 0-3 month clothing is on its last legs. I’m incredibly happy that she’s been growing so well and is so healthy, of course, but part of me is hoping she slows down juuuuust a little bit. If she keeps this up, she’s not going to fit any of the holiday outfits I inherited from my sister by the time the holidays actually, y’know, roll around! Although, then again, that just means an excuse to buy her more clothing so… you know what? I’m actually okay with it either way. 😉

Loves: her pacifier, ceiling fans, baths, car rides, and being held so she’s sitting up.

Hates: When her paci falls out of her mouth, being tired, being put down pretty much anytime she’s awake, lol. (Thank goodness for caving and getting that swing, I tell ya.)

Can: smile, laugh (it’s the best sound ever!), coo, grunt (an impressive amount, hold her head up for much longer periods of time (she loves looking around!)

In other amazing developments, our little ginger whasian baby is now sleeping in 3 – 4 hour stretches most nights, instead of 2 – 3! She’s even gone back to sleep once or twice after waking up — even if just for an hour more. But hey, it’s an extra hour, so I’ll take it!

We’re still all over the place schedule-wise, though I’m trying to get better about establishing more of a bedtime routine and putting her to bed earlier (pretty sure she thinks that “nighttime” is midnight to noon right now, oops.)

Getting her to go down at the beginning of the night is hardest — she seems like she falls asleep pretty quickly at first with her paci, but then she’ll wake up anytime it falls out of her mouth, leading to us having to hold it or keep popping it back in for like an hour each night. -_- Anybody have any tips on how to get her to keep that dang thing in??

This past week had a few more firsts to check off the list: I experienced the wonderfulness that is having your baby pee all over themselves while out (we were at the car dealership getting some maintenance done and a tire replaced), and so I got to bust out her emergency outfit for the first time. Man, I usually employ the two diaper changing method, where you put a new diaper underneath before you take the old one off, but I guess I’ve been getting lazy about it and I CERTAINLY PAID THE PRICE. Never again…

A much more enjoyable first from last week was getting my first postpartum mani/pedi, massage, and MUCH NEEDED eyebrow wax. Ohhhhh man, those few hours of “me time” really did wonders for both my physical and mental state. It was kind of spontaneous, actually — I had a massage booked for later in the evening, but Sean told me I should go ahead and take some extra time if there was anything else I wanted to do, and that, right there, is why I married him. <3

Something that I definitely never would have had to thinking about before was making sure I tossed my manual pump (the Medela Harmony) into my purse so that I could pump a little bit right before my massage, as otherwise it probably would have been very painful to lay face-down on the massage table. I then received a very nice surprise when I found out that Massage Envy has these special pads that they can put on your massage table that basically has cutouts for your boobs, lol. It made things sooo much more comfortable — a total must for nursing moms!

Anyway, we have Penny’s two-month doctor’s appointment tomorrow, so I’m eager to see what the pediatrician has to say about her growth (they were already impressed with her weight gain last time, hahahaha), and I’m decidedly NOT eager for her to get her two-month shots. Sigh, not even the fact that her appointment is on Halloween and I get to bring her to the doctor in costume will make up for how sad we’re all going to be while she’s getting poked. 🙁

Wish us luck!

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…!