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!

My Best Birthday Yet

Today is my 29th birthday! Which, since Baby Foxlet will be making its way into the world before my next turn ’round the sun, basically means it’s the last birthday I’m planning on celebrating, uh, ever. I pretty much plan on just staying this age for the rest of my life if that’s cool, ahahahaha.

I spent the weekend celebrating, and oooooooh man, WHAT a weekend! It was full of family, fun, and feasting… and a little something extra special, which obviously means it was pretty much the best.

My sister, Jenny, was up for a visit from the ATL, so I got a lot of QT in with my little nieces. We also spent some sister-sister bonding time Saturday morning by heading to the salon for a little beautification. Since chopping off my hair, I’d just been letting it grow kinda wild… and it was heading dangerously into mullet-territory.

 

 

I was in desperate need for a little shape-up as it grows out, and I’m feeling much happier now that my locks have been tamed! Jenny lightened up for summer with some refreshed highlights, too. Huzzah!

 

 

Before Jenny and the girls had to skidaddle back to Atlanta yesterday, we had an early family birthday celebration for meeeeee! We headed to one of my favorite restaurants, Chasin’ Tails, and had a regular ol’ seafood feast. I was ecstatic for many reasons (y’all know how much I love my birthday!), but in particular because I was actually able to eat a good amount at dinner! I finally seem to be getting my appetite back (at certain times of day, at least), which after 4 straight months of nausea has been straight-up amazing.

 

 
 

After dinner, we headed back to my parents’ house for presents, dessert, and an extra fun bonus surprise… finding out the sex of the baby!

 

 

Yep, as what I’m sure comes as a surprise to absolutely no one, I totally caved, and ended up getting an elective ultrasound to find out early. I just couldn’t take not knowing any longer! Don’t judge me.

 

 

I had my ultrasound on Friday, just one day before the big reveal, and amazing bakery agreed to whip up some reveal cakepops on super short notice for me. the ultrasound tech called them to tell them the result, so I genuinely found out along with everyone else! And, well… just watch the video below to see! (My brother has a super cool 360-degree cam so we were able to capture everybody’s reactions all at once!)

 

 

Ooooor, if you ain’t got time for that, this oughta do the trick:

 

 

It’s a GIRL!!!!!!!!

 

 

I’d had a total of four separate and different dreams that the baby was a girl, but I wasn’t sure if that was just my own wishful thinking, since I’d always said I really wanted a girl, hehe. Turns out, it must have been my mother’s intuition!

Sean and I are both SO excited to be welcoming a baby girl into the world this September! I feel like I haven’t stopped smiling since Saturday evening (well, except for the hour I spent bent over the toilet around midnight that same night. Apparently baby girl does NOT like it when I take my prenatal vitamin on an empty stomach.) And I’ve already gotten to work adding lots of pink, fluff, and bows to my baby registry, ahahaha.

I know, I know, it’s not hip to be so gender-normative these days, but c’mon. It’s not like I wouldn’t love it if she ends up being all about trains, sports, and rocket ships instead of dancing, princesses, and tea parties! Okay, maybe not sports because I literally don’t care about one iota about sports, but how awesome would it be if she wants to be an astronaut when she grows up?! I just know myself, and know that I’m an annoyingly girly girl at heart. So are we really that surprised that I’m looking forward to filling my world with lots of pink, purple, and polka dots for the time being?

I will say, it is crazy how suddenly REAL things feel now that I know the sex of this little one. I mean, aside from learning this one little fact, nothing else has really changed all that much since my last update. And yet, when I think about the future, the picture is now all that much clearer! Trying to come up with her name suddenly has a real purpose, I can actually envision what it’ll be like to change her diaper, etc.

All of which is exciting, of course, but also mildly terrifying. In my excitement (and impatience) to learn the sex, I didn’t really think about how doing so would sharpen my image of the future, and thus make it all the more real that I am going to be responsible for an actual human life very, very soon. Like, responsible for her not dying on a daily basis. And when you think about it like that, 29 really just doesn’t seem all that old.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Happy Monday, folks!

‘Tis a great Monday indeed, since it’s the very last Monday before… CHRISTMAS!!!!!!1!!!11!!!!!!!!!!1!!

If you’re thinking, “Gretchen, ease up on the exclamation points and formatting, it’s just a holiday…” then you obviously don’t know me at all. Christmas is my FAVORITE holiday, my favorite time of year, my favorite everything. I’m totally that girl when it comes to Christmas. And this year, my whole fam is heading down to Atlanta to ring in Christmas morn at my sister Jen’s house.

It actually feels like the Christmas festivities have kind of already started, though, because even though we’re all going to her house for Christmas in just a few days, my sister and my nieces were actually up here this past weekend!

 
This may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it is also certainly the busiest! This past week has held my work holiday celebration, my brother’s birthday, a photoshoot, and a baby shower — as well as plenty of time spent with the best kiddos in the world, of course. 🙂

Wednesday night, I went out to dinner with my coworkers to celebrate 2016 and the upcoming holidays. We don’t have an actual office here in the DC area (I work from home), but I’m luckier than a lot of other remote Yelp employees in that there are actually quite a few of us in the same area! This gives us the luxury of getting me out from behind my computer screen every once in a while to love on each other in person (and gives me an excuse to get dolled up, too!)

 
I know I probably humblebrag about my job far too much already, but I just have the best coworkers. We went to this new-ish restaurant in DC called Mythology that I loooooved, and ate, drank, and chatted the night away. I don’t go into the city all that often, but this place already has me thinking about my next trip, it was so good! The deets are all on–you guessed it–Yelp, so take a gander if you’re interested:

Read Gretchen F.‘s review of Mythology on Yelp

Thursday was my brother’s birthday, and was also the day that Jenny and the girls came into town. We had a family dinner at my parents’ house, and then went to see Rogue One on opening night (no spoilers, but it was awesome.)

 
Saturday morning was spent twiddling my thumbs waiting for the insane ice that had taken over the Metro Area to melt. It was insanely icy that morning — I almost fell flat on my butt just stepping out my front door, and there were literally dozens and dozens of terrible traffic accidents throughout the morning (including a THIRTY CAR PILEUP on the beltway. :()

Luckily (and weirdly), it warmed up and the ice was all but melted by noon, so I still got to fill the majority of the day with fun stuff… and even had a special guest star that some of you may recognize:

Anne! My brother and sister-in-law were shooting some photos for Anne’s business, so I played the role of makeup artist for the day. I can’t wait to see the finished shots!

 
Getting to test out my makeup skills is always fun for me, especially as my interest in makeup artistry has continued to grow. I’ve been getting more experimental with my own makeup lately (perhaps I’ve been getting bolder as a side effect of chopping off my hair, hehe), and, much to Sean’s chagrin, have been investing in a broader range and breadth of products.

Maybe one day I’ll get confident enough to start a side hustle beautifying folks, but for now, it’s enough to showcase my extreme vanity all over Instagram. And here, too, I guess. 😉

Finally, my weekend capped off with my beautiful friend Lara’s baby shower! This was the main reason Jen was back in town, as she was co-hosting it, and it just worked out really well that it was around the same time as Ben’s birthday.

Lara is a big Crossfit nut, so the shower was actually Crossfit themed! I helped Jen out by trying to replicate some of the things that she found on Pinterest. Some were a big win (the barbell diaper cake!), some were passable (the kettle bell cake balls), and some were a huge, time-wasting fail (WHY ARE SUGAR COOKIES SO HARD TO DECORATE?!?!). Regardless, I had a ton of fun prepping with Jen and, of course, loving on Lara and her soon-to-be baby girl!

So, that just about catches us up! Jen and the girls head back to Atlanta today with my parents, and the rest of us will be following suit later this week. So the next few days are sure be super busy as I try to wrap up work stuff, personal stuff, and try to keep my raging Christmas spirit in check ’til I make it to the ATL! And if I don’t make it back for another post before the end of the week, we wish you the happiest of holidays and merriest of Christmases!

 

Breakfast, Onesies, and Technicolor Schnauzers

Well, it’s official: I am twenty-seven years old. Do you think that makes me an adult yet?

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Actually, don’t answer that.

As I mentioned in my last post, I celebrated this year’s birthday with a festive pajama jam breakfast party!

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Instead of my usual MO of putting together a themed excuse to get drunk birthday party, I opted to do someting more low-key and daytime-friendly. So, this year, friends donned their PJs and came over in the AM (well, late AM) for some scrumptious brunch treats!

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I put together a brunch table full of goodies, including a cereal bar, mimosa bar, little breakfast canapes, and even whipped up a batch of waffle iron hashbrowns.

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For the cereal bar, I put out four kinds of cereal (Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch) and four kinds of milks (almond, 2%, chocolate, and skim). In retrospect, I probably should have put out one non-sugar cereal, and skipped the skim milk (which apparently nobody likes, hahaha.)

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The breakfast canapes were made from mini Eggo waffles topped either with whipped cream and a strawberry or brushed with maple syrup and a small piece of bacon. They were the hit of the party! Super delicious and fun to eat.

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The waffle iron hashbrowns were outta this world, too. All you do is pick up a bag of frozen tater tots from the grocery store and pop ’em into the waffle iron. Squish ’em down and let them cook! They get perfectly crisp on all sides and turned out way better than cooking tots in the oven. I am a waffle iron believer now!

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The mimosa bar was a lot of fun, too! I got four different kinds of juices — orange, orange mango, grapefruit, and guava — and had some additional fruit for folks to pop into their glass. I kept the champagne on ice and, voila!

Of course, the very best part of having a breakfast-themed birthday party is the fact that for your cake, well… see for yourself.

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Isn’t it beautiful? Donut cake > regular cake.

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Ta-da! Birthday pajama jam brunch success!

If you’re thinking about doing a breakfast bar for an upcoming event, I say definitely do it! It was really easy to set up (the biggest thing is just having enough pitchers/serving bowls), and of course picking up supplies at the grocery store is easy and relatively inexpensive.

Plus, Pikachu onesie aside, I think it’s a very elegant way to present breakfast/brunch. This sort of thing would be perfect for a bridal shower, baby shower, or mother’s day celebration in addition to birthdays. It would also be really fun to do brinner (breakfast for dinner) for a nighttime party!

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Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that I dyed Daxter and Pixel for the occasion, heeeeeeeee. 😀

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Now they’re ready for Spring! (Don’t worry, I used completely animal-safe, vegetable-based dye.)

And so, alas, my twenty-seventh birthday has come and gone. But something tells me that 27 is going to be my very best year yet. I can’t wait to see what’s to come!

On the Eve of My Twenty-Seventh Birthday

Happy National Sibling Day to these two weirdos!

I’m pretty sure this picture (taken at Ben’s rehearsal dinner) is the most Asian any of us have ever looked, or will ever look again.

Anyway, in addition to today being National Remind People You Aren’t An Only Child Day, it is also the eve of my 27th birthday! Yep, tomorrow is not only Bring Your Own Cup Day at 7-11, it is also my birthdaaaay!

You guys know how much I love my birthday, but this year I’m actually not feeling quite as birthday-y as I normally am at this point each year. Maybe it’s because of this ginormous Yelp event I’ve got happening in nine days time, or the fact that I just got engaged (two weeks ago today!), but my birthday just hasn’t felt like as big of a focus for me this year.

Sooooo, instead of big themed par-tay in honor of my favorite pop culture obsession du jour (feel free to check out my Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Frozen-themed birthdays of the past), I’m having a birthday brunch pajama jam instead! I mean, what sounds better than lounging around in my PJs while friends come hang out, sip mimosas, and eat cereal with me?

So my brunch party is happening on Sunday, while tomorrow (my actual birthday) kicks off with another wedding venue visit, then a birthday lunch with Sean’s mom (we share the same birthday!), and then some kinda birthday surprise from my fiance (whee, that’s fun to say!) that he won’t tell me about, heehee. And THEN on Wednesday, my sister and Mia come into town (yay!), so we’re doing my family birthday celebration on that day!

Okay, okay, so I guess I am starting to get excited about all this birthday hubbub after all. 😛

All right then… see you guys when I’m 27!