Monday, September 29, 2014

Marshall: Four Months

You are already four months old, and you've completely stolen our hearts. I can't believe how quickly you've gotten so big!

Four months

Six weeks, two months, and three months

That giraffe has nothing on you now.

This post is going up a bit late because you've kept us rather busy around here. You had a bit of a rough time these last few days, fussing a lot more than usual and refusing to sleep despite all indications that you were exhausted. Luckily, you still sleep pretty well at night (though we're still waiting for you to go back to waking up only once at night); you just give us a hard time when we're trying to put you down. And naps? Ha! You struggle to get to sleep for a nap unless you're in the Ergo, cuddled in our arms, or in your car seat. Getting you to sleep in your crib for a nap takes quite the effort on our part, but we've heard it'll get better soon enough.

You're still growing like a weed. At your last appointment:

Height: 26 inches (80th percentile)
Weight: 17 pounds 8 ounces (85th percentile)
Head: 16.5 inches (45th percentile)

You still like to eat, but you're so much more efficient now. Lately you seem to eat less frequently, and at night it doesn't always seem like you really need food but rather prefer some comfort to get back to sleep. It's sweet and I will miss it when you're able to fall back to sleep on your own.

Speaking of which, you've pretty much outgrown your co sleeper. I thought we'd have a few more months! But alas, you'll need to move to your crib in your own room pretty soon. I'm a wreck about it.

You have learned lots of fun new skills this month. You love to babble and play with a wide range of volumes on your voice. You smile all the time now, especially at dad, me, and your reflection in the mirror. You also just started laughing! You laugh when we wiggle you on your back, when dad plays airplane with you, and when we kiss your neck. It's quite possibly the greatest sound I've ever heard.

You refuse to roll over. You did it once in July (tummy to back) and once this month (back to tummy) and never again since. Now it's a running joke around here that you did it once each way and decided it wasn't for you. On to the next milestone, huh?

You and I get to spend tons of time together, and I've loved every second (even the agonizing days where you just seem unhappy and I count down the minutes until dad gets home). You also are spending more and more alone time with your dad. We're making an effort to make sure I get some solo time, and you absolutely love hanging out with your daddy.

And you and Scout are starting to become more comfortable with each other! He has snuggled up with you a few times, and you seem to enjoy watching him when he's near you.

Some other fun facts:

  • You're in size 3 diapers already. We are taking a break from the cloth diapers because of the huge drought and as a small protest against the fact that we don't have a washer and dryer in unit. Skipping those two loads of laundry each week has made a big difference, but I do still really like cloth diapers, so we'll bring 'em back eventually.
  • You're still super into books, which obviously makes your momma super proud. You immediately engage and stare contentedly at books when we start reading to you. 
  • You've started to fuss as soon as we buckle you into your car seat. Thankfully you get over it once we start moving, but I'm pretty sure everyone who parks near us thinks you hate me.

So innocent.

  • You're really getting good with grabbing toys, picking up objects, and looking around for the source of a sound that interests you. But there are times when you want to grab something near you and you just wiggle your whole little body because you aren't sure how to reach it. Adorable.
  • You're still working on head control, but it's definitely getting better. Between tummy time and wearing you in the Ergo, you're on your way!

Daddy did this to you. But I took the photo.

There is absolutely nothing better than spending time with you and your dad. I'm so grateful to get to be your mom!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

All Over the Place

The heat wave is allegedly nearing its end in Southern California, and I couldn't be happier to see it go. We bought a portable air conditioner, but obviously it only cools one room at a time, so last night we moved it into our bedroom before Marshall went to sleep. Thankfully, we all slept better, but now the living room is sweltering again. I was thrilled when we went to the park today and felt a cool breeze. Bring on autumn!

This week I met up with some moms at a park in Culver City to learn how to use my Ergo and Maya wrap! I already use the Ergo a lot, but when I saw this "class" I figured I should just see if I can do anything differently or better. And I was too intimidated by the Maya wrap to use it regularly. The ladies were super helpful and sweet and answered a lot of my questions. Marshall is still too young (doesn't have head control perfect yet) to use the side or back carries, but it was good to boost my confidence. Granted, my baby wearing is pretty limited in this heat, but oh well.

I've been so annoyed lately whenever I see people leave their shopping carts in the middle of the parking lot, in the middle of a walking path, basically anywhere other than the actual spots with signs that say quite clearly, "Return Shopping Carts Here." Honestly, is it that hard? I think this issue really gets me upset because I live in an area with really tiny, crowded parking lots and sidewalks, so when a cart is in the middle of the walkway I can't get by with my stroller. Can we all just agree to return our carts? It takes about 15 extra seconds and it's a great way to add more more steps to your day. Thanks.

I don't usually check out much on Tumblr, but this one about ridiculous stock photos depicting motherhood as clean, calm, and relaxing is hilarious.

Our meal plan this week went out the window for the most part. On Tuesday night, it was so unbearably hot in our apartment that we opted to go out to dinner just so we could sit in some air conditioning for an hour. Last night Terry brought a ton of work home, so instead of making him grill our meal (and instead of turning on the oven), I cooked a quick breakfast for dinner. Today we're getting back on track, though, I swear. Actually, both of us have been feeling a little less than stellar about our health in general lately, so we're setting a few goals:

  • More exercise! Terry even got up to run before work on Tuesday, because he's such a stud. Yesterday I went to the Strand with Marshall and completed about four miles, thirty minutes of which was alternating 2 minutes running with 1 minute walking. It hurt in a great way.
  • Less sugar. My sweet tooth has been unreal lately. Well, for the last three months. We treated ourselves to lots of sweets after Marshall was born, and now it's time to cut back. We've decided to limit our sweets to only things we (I) make from scratch at home (er...except yesterday's croissant). Trust me, it'll make a difference!
  • Less alcohol. Granted, I drink very moderately since I'm nursing (to each his own), but we could still cut back. Actually, I have heard that beer and wine (in moderation) help with milk supply! (No wonder I have so much!) So we're sticking to three drinks per week. 
The days of being super strict with my workouts and eating are on hiatus, but I think these goals will help me feel a little more normal. 

I'm feeling a bit under the weather, so I'm going to try to get to sleep a little early tonight. I hope you have a fantastic Friday!

Any fun plans this weekend? I just want to sleep. It won't happen, but it's what I want.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Favorite Travel Photos + WIAW

Paris, France, 2011. We took this photo while wandering the grounds of Versailles. The morning was freezing, and we loved how the sun stayed low, even at 11 am.

Paris, France, 2011. This photo of the Paris Metro late at night is now blown up and framed in our house. I love the fancy lamps and how empty the station is.

Munich, Germany, 2013. We took this photo from above Oktoberfest in Munich last year. The scene was pure chaos--rowdy groups of drunk young men, children running around, tourists buying souvenirs, delicious snacks everywhere. I was about two weeks pregnant and had a huge aversion to candied nuts, so I remember feeling revolted whenever we walked by stands selling the stuff. The beer tents were a blast but crazy crowded. I'm so glad we got to experience that chaos together!

Somewhere between Switzerland and Austria, 2013. This photo isn't particularly artistic, but I took it on the train from Luzern to Salzburg. I was so excited for the train rides around Bavaria, and they certainly delivered! I've never seen such gorgeous hillsides, and the greens and blues were breathtaking.

Alpnachstad, Switzerland, 2013. There's so much I love about this photo! Terry bought that hat on a cruise for fun and brought it along on our trip. It was so European of him. Plus, check out those mountains! We hiked the Emmentaler Alps with my parents and had a wonderful time taking in all the views.

London, England, 2011. On the first day of our honeymoon, Terry and I strolled through Green Park and absolutely fell in love (with the park; we were already in love with each other). It was such a peaceful respite from the busy city. I think we just meant to take a photo of the lovely tree-lined path, but we realized later we caught this sweet moment of a couple holding hands. I have this one in black and white on our bulletin board. 

Boulder, Colorado, 2012. I absolutely loved Boulder. The hikes, the views, the people. Terry and I have said that if we were to live outside of California, we could seriously consider Colorado. This photo captures some of that awe-inspiring beauty.

Train to Salzburg, 2013. Funny story about this photo. That little mouse is one of Scout's toys. We apparently accidentally left the mouse at my parents' house once, and they chose to bring it all the way to Europe to return it to us! A well-traveled little mouse, for sure.

I could find hundreds more, but that'll do for now. Looking up photos from our travels makes me all nostalgic. I'm glad we traveled so much before Marshall came along, but I look forward to traveling with him, too!

So here's what I ate today, a day that continued this ridiculous heat wave we're experiencing in Southern California.

Breakfast: two eggs atop a piece of toast with some jam

Lunch. I don't want to talk about it, but I will. I bought an acai bowl after a nice little workout at the beach. I made it all the way home and then Marshall kicked the bowl while eating. It could have been worse, I suppose.

Unpictured snacks: apple, tons of water, and a handful of raisins.

Afternoon snack: almond croissant. Marshall and I needed a break from the heat, so we walked around the mall for an hour and then stopped in the bakery on the way home. 

Dinner: chicken sausage, greens, and eggs, topped with salsa, plus a piece of sourdough bread. We each had a beer and some brownies, too. 

I'm going to hang out in the bedroom now, because that's where our portable air conditioner is. I hope it's cooler where you are! Check out the other WIAWs, too!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

San Diego and Eight Random Things

Oops! Sorry about that radio silence. Some weeks just get a little hectic. Last week, Terry and I took a short trip to San Diego. He had to work down there for three days, so I decided Marshall and I should tag along. We didn't spend much time with Terry, but it was a nice change of scenery for me and actually cooler than our apartment, so there you go. A quick little recap of our trip:

I discovered that Ross (and likely Marshalls and TJ Maxx) sells Dr. Seuss books. We're adding to our collection! I also loved Go, Dog. Go! when I was a kid, so we grabbed one of those. 

They also sell Carter's clothes, which seem to fit Marshall the best. We stocked up on a few 12 month outfits (which will fit him any day now).

So true.

I also did a little shopping for myself. Once I packed away all my maternity clothes several weeks ago, I realized my closet was looking pretty sad. Problem solved. (The slippers are to walk around the house, since I'm not supposed to walk around barefoot and it's too hot to wear my other slippers.)

I found a three-level Target. This was a new experience.

Marshall and I took a few walks. One morning, after we dropped Terry at work, we looped the area around our hotel and stumbled across this lovely view. San Diego really is nice!

On that same walk, I stopped in at a cafe for my first-ever sit-down meal with just me and Marshall. I had a not-especially-delicious Belgian waffle with one piece of bacon and one egg. 

Another day I trekked about a half hour south of our hotel to try Tiki Port, which came highly recommended by Gina, one of my favorite bloggers. Gina recently moved to SD, and we tried to meet up, but it didn't work out. The acai bowl at Tiki Port, however, was awesome! Obviously I got the only one that had chocolate chips. 

The trip was pretty decent, considering Terry had to work so much, but we were also glad to be back home for this weekend. We spent almost the entire day cleaning house and running errands yesterday, and then Jenn and Justin came over to watch the UCLA game. We played Texas, and it wasn't pretty, but we won. And Jerry Neuheisel got to be the hero of the game!

And now, here are a few random things that I'm squeezing into this post because I was such a loser about blogging last week:

1. Today Terry and I decided to wake up and actually get up when Marshall woke us at 7. Sometimes on weekends one of us will get up with the baby and the other will grab another hour or two of sleep, but today we opted for exercise. We chowed down on toast with almond butter and honey and shared an apple before heading to the Strand. We parked in the middle, walked to one end, ran the whole damn thing (okay, I stopped for a walking break about halfway, but Terry ran the whole damn thing!), then walked back to the car. It was difficult and refreshing and fun to be out with all the early birds on a gorgeous morning. Plus, we logged four and a half miles, and it's nice to know I can survive that far.

2. Right now I'm home alone. This is my first time alone in our apartment for longer than 30 minutes since Marshall was born. Terry needed some quality time with the baby and I needed some time to myself, so here we are. I can't wait for them to get back. :-)

3. I'm finding more and more ways to process my C-section. I joined the ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) Facebook group and am hoping to connect with a local chapter. The Facebook group alone has been tremendously helpful. It's comforting to know other people have gone through something similar to what we did. I've talked to a lot of friends and friends of friends who have experienced a C-section, and that helps too. I'll be sure to provide an update as I make more progress.

4. Last weekend we attended our last wedding of the summer--and Marshall got to come along! It was a day wedding (starting at 3 pm), so it worked out well. Marshall seemed to get a little overwhelmed by all the people, but he did great. And he got to wear a bow tie like his daddy.

The wedding took place in Cayucos at a private home. The ceremony took place overlooking the ocean--absolutely perfect!

5. Terry and I are participating in a couples' Fantasy Football league. I have no business being part of anything related to any professional sports, but I took my brother's advice and created a pretty decent team. I will let you know if I dominate, but I already forgot to swap out players last week, so things don't look great.

6. We've been slacking big time around here as far as healthy meals and planning ahead for groceries. Today we created our meal plan for the week to get things going on a healthier note:
  • Sunday: bruschetta and salad 
  • Monday: our favorite stir-fry pasta dish (so easy and quick!)
  • Tuesday: kielbasa and potatoes on the grill
  • Wednesday: grilled veggie kababs with goat cheese and pita
  • Thursday: pizza with goat cheese, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, etc.
  • Friday: something with shrimp 
Lunches will be leftovers and sandwiches, and breakfasts will be oatmeal or eggs (or toast with almond butter and honey, because that was amazing this morning). 

7. A while ago, we went to UCLA as a family, and I never bothered to upload the photos. 

8. Can you believe it's already the middle of September? This year is really zooming along, huh? The holidays are right around the corner. I can't imagine how different things will be this year with an infant! But the great news about September is TV shows are coming back! I'm most excited for The Mindy Project, New Girl, and Parks & Rec, but I'm sure there are a few more I've completely forgotten. 

What TV shows are you most excited to watch?

What's your favorite Facebook page to follow? I love George Takei's posts! 

Do you prefer almond butter or peanut butter? I'm a peanut butter girl all the way, but almond butter always tastes better than I think it will. You'd think I'd learn.

Have a great week! I promise I'll be back before next week this time. :-) 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Breastfeeding: 15 Weeks

Marshall just turned 15 weeks old, so I thought I'd take some time to share how breastfeeding is going so far. I know I had a ton of questions about nursing before he was born (and even after!), so maybe this post will help someone else.

Preparing and Education
I took a breastfeeding class (with Terry!) through the hospital where we delivered. It was a great overview and a wonderful opportunity to ask questions, and it helped Terry and I make sure we were on the same page about everything. It's nice that when I have a question about something I can usually run it by him and he'll remember something from the class that I had forgotten.

I also read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding from La Leche League International, which was fantastic. The approach is very laid back and tries to emphasize that breastfeeding should feel easy and natural (after you get the hang of it). I really liked the book, and it provided great support and information whenever I wasn't sure about something in those first few weeks. There are some aspects to the book that weren't for us (bed sharing, for example), but the information was still helpful. I strongly recommend it!

And finally, I just sort of mentally prepared myself. I asked questions of my mom and my friends to ease any anxiety and hoped for the best.

The First Few Weeks
The first few weeks actually went really well. After the C-section, I was very nervous about how nursing would go, because I knew that surgery and labor drugs can cause complications for some women. Thankfully, Marshall latched like a champ and we had incredible support at the hospital (the L & D nurse helped with our first nursing session, but then we also had help from the Recovery nurses and two different lactation consultants). I've never experienced any pain with breastfeeding, except for some engorgement and one short bout of mastitis, plus the normal contractions that come with the first few weeks of breastfeeding.

When Marshall was readmitted to a different hospital for jaundice, yet another lactation consultant visited and answered more questions. I really appreciated this visit in particular because I had gone through a few days of nursing and was able to better formulate some questions, like if there were foods I should avoid or what to do during engorgement. This nurse was fantastic, too, and took some time to thoroughly answer all of my questions. She told a story about a mother of twins whom she saw eating a cookie for lunch (just a cookie, nothing else) because she had heard that salads can give babies gas. The nurse pointed out that sometimes what we read or hear interferes with common sense--how is it that we might think a cookie would be better nutrition than a salad? I walked away feeling much more confident that I should go with my gut and use my best judgment.

Once we were out of the hospital (finally!), we spent the next few weeks as a family of three all cozy in the house. I spent a LOT of time nursing Marshall. Feedings took around 40 minutes, and he ate about every two hours (start to start), sometimes more. It was exhausting. I still have to remind myself that nursing isn't just sitting around--it's a lot of work for my body! There were times during that first month when I wished someone could take over for me because I was so spent. Thankfully, Terry did take over almost every other aspect of our lives--burping and changing Marshall, cooking meals, cleaning, doing laundry. I felt a little helpless at times because I would just sit there feeding the baby while Terry ran around taking care of everything else, but it was only temporary. Terry, as always, was incredibly patient and generous, grabbing me water and snacks without missing a beat.

Six Weeks
Around the six-week mark, I noticed that Marshall wasn't eating as much--or so it seemed. I checked my book and learned that around this time, babies (and mom's body) get much more acquainted to the whole breastfeeding thing. My body now makes pretty much the amount of milk Marshall needs, and Marshall nurses a lot faster (about five minutes on each side). He still eats often (maybe 8+ times per day), but I don't feel like I'm living with a baby attached to me.

As a side note, we don't have a regular schedule for nursing. I feed on demand, which ends up being about every two hours. Sometimes in the evenings he eats a little more frequently, which fills him up for his long night sleep. But breastfeeding, while primarily a source of nutrition for babies, also provides comfort and stimulates the baby, so I never feel like I can feed him too often. Plus, if he's full, he stops getting milk on his own (as opposed to a bottle, where we have to stop him--otherwise he'd just keep on going).

At some point I started pumping milk so we could have a small stash. I'm staying home with Marshall for now, but it's nice to have a little back up milk in case Terry and I want to go out or in case I just need a little break and Terry wants to feed him. Here's how pumping has worked for me:

I pump whenever I feel like it. If I feel "full" or if Marshall didn't eat much, I might just pump a few ounces. At first, I tried pumping both sides at the same time, but it was difficult and frustrating and created more work because then I had to wash both sides of accessories. At some point, I tried out pumping just one side at a time, and it's SO much easier. Here's the process:

  • Either while Marshall is napping or while he's happily playing on his own, I plug in the pump and grab a pre-assembled bottle.
  • I almost always pump the left side first, because that side makes probably four times the amount of milk that my right side does. Note: I have to plug up the hose on the right side while pumping on the left; otherwise there's isn't as much pressure to get milk out.
  • If I get a full bottle, I'll just label it (after carefully documenting all bottles on a spreadsheet for weeks, I learned that Sharpie will actually come off these bottles in the wash!) and throw it in the freezer. If I only get a few ounces, I place the entire bottle plus the pump parts still attached into the fridge, ready to use next time. There's no problem with combining milk from various sessions.
  • When I do fill a whole bottle, I disassemble the pump parts and wash them in warm water with mild soap (I like Honest Company dish soap, and we have a sponge that we use only for pump parts). We also easily sterilize the equipment by throwing it all in a medium pot and boiling for five minutes. It takes very little effort, thankfully! Once everything is dry, I assemble it so I can "grab and pump" next time.
  • To warm a bottle (we like Dr. Brown's glass bottles), we thaw it and run it under warm water until it's lukewarm. Marshall is a big eater, so he can down up to five ounces at a time, and I think he would keep going if we didn't stop him. Crazy kid. 
I have the Medela Pump in Style pump, which was free through my insurance. I love it because it's easy and pretty compact for traveling. I also got the Medela storage containers, which are great. I am sure bags would be easier and take up less space if I had to pump a lot more (if I was working, for example), but I've had trouble with the bags spilling (horrible story, let's move on), and I feel good about using reusable containers. I love that the containers attach to the pump to make everything more stable, too.

In Public
Honestly, breastfeeding in public is not my favorite thing. I do not like it in a car, I do not like it at a bar. (But I have done both!) I have a super cute nursing cover that my friend's mom made me, so that makes the whole process more discreet, but I still struggle with the whole thing. First of all, it's been a ridiculously HOT summer, so I don't want to make poor Marshall eat under a cover. And then there's the issue of too much milk (often a problem on my left side), which results in Marshall pulling away and milk dripping everywhere. Plus, it's so frustrating to feed a baby who spits up. Even if the feeding goes smoothly, we have to find a place to burp him where he won't get spit up all over a carpet or gross a bunch of people out. It's ideal to be outside, but then that takes us back to being hot. Oh, and it's also SO much easier when I'm with Terry because then I can focus on the feeding and he can take care of the burping.

I've found that feeding in the car is easiest for me, if I'm in a safe parking location. It's slightly more private, so I don't need a cover (especially with tinted windows in the backseat), and I can have the air conditioning on for both of us. And if he spits up in our car, it's not the end of the world, but usually we can make it outside the car so he can spit up in the parking lot. So classy. 

I have also fed Marshall in many Targets! Huge shout out to Target here: In three different Target stores I've asked to feed Marshall in the fitting room. The response is always SO generous and welcoming. Usually they help me with my stroller and let me use the biggest room. There's a bench, which is useful for the feeding and also for changing him right after (which is usually necessary). I don't need to use a cover for my own discretion, and most of the floors are tile, so it's easy to clean spit up if needed. So THANK YOU, Target! :-) 

I mentioned before that my left side makes way more milk than the right, and it was becoming an uncomfortable problem, so I checked my book, and they recommended starting every feed on the less-full side (the right side, for me). It worked! Marshall starts his meal with a manageable amount of milk instead of way too much.

When I feed Marshall on the right side, though, I let down on the left, too, and I end up with a milky mess. I usually have to shove a burp cloth into my bra, which isn't super appealing in public. It gets a little annoying, but I know I'm lucky to have the "problem" of too much milk instead of too little.

Speaking of which, I use breast pads to protect against leaks. I bought a bunch (probably 30?) of reusable cotton ones, which are great, but they do get soaked pretty quickly. The disposable ones absorb WAY more milk, but I think they smell weird and am not totally sure about Marshall eating whatever chemicals they use to make the pads so absorbent. I try to limit the disposables.

Marshall may or may not have a bit of a sensitivity to dairy. He was getting pretty gassy at night if I ate ice cream for dessert, so I stopped that (the things we do for our children). Now I've tried to reduce my dairy a lot (so I'll still have pancakes with milk in the batter, for example, but I won't have a serving of yogurt or a glass of milk), and I don't notice the gas as much. I also try to avoid fried foods, because he exhibited some discomfort when I ate fries or other fried foods.

All I really need for breastfeeding is a baby, but here's what I really like to have:
  • Nursing bras and tanks. I really don't think I could have too many of these. I have six nursing bras, three nursing tanks (that would be appropriate to wear in public), and two nursing tanks that are like crop tops and I only wear at home to go to bed. I honestly could do with a few more, because they get soaked in milk or spit up so quickly, but they make nursing so easy because they just snap down and snap back into place.
  • Boppy pillow. I didn't even register for one of these because I assumed a regular pillow would be sufficient, but I'm so glad I received one (actually two!) at my baby shower. I only use it at night now, but it's wonderful. I keep it right next to my bed, pull Marshall out of his cosleeper, settle in (two regular pillows supporting my back), throw the Boppy on my lap, and lay Marshall across it. I barely have to hold him up, which is great at 2 am! Plus, if it gets milk or spit up on it, no big deal--the cover is washable, and I'm not sleeping on it.
  • Water bottles. It's easiest for me to have big Nalgene bottles filled with water. This way I don't have to refill often and I can close the top so it can tip over (Marshall kicks a lot while eating!) without spilling. I go through about five 32-ounce refills per day!
  • Burp cloths. You all know Marshall spits up like a fountain, so this one's obvious. But I use burp cloths for a variety of reasons: stuffed into my bra to prevent leaking, between my arm and Marshall's face when it's hot so I'm not sweating all over him, etc. We have no fewer than 45 burp cloths, you guys, and we go through them approximately every three days.

    Burp Cloth Mountain

  • Smart phone. I know, I know, I should just gaze lovingly at my child while he eats. But sometimes he falls asleep while eating, and then I can read an article or check e-mail. We also used the Feed Baby app (for Android) to track Marshall's feedings for the first three months. (Now that he is the size of a Thanksgiving turkey, I've decided he's eating well enough.)
  • Breast pads. (See above.)

Breastfeeding Marshall has been a wonderful experience for me, and I truly appreciate the gift of being able to feed him. I'm sure I left some stuff out, so feel free to ask me any questions or e-mail me at abetterlifewithburgers [at] gmail [.] com. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bay Area Summer Trip

Almost two weeks ago, we packed up and drove up to the Bay Area. It's strange to think we only made it up north once this year. Obviously, we had good reason, but usually we head up at least twice, and we've never missed hitting the delta. Next year we'll be able to bring our little one-year-old out on the boat, but for this trip we settled for family time, a celebration, and a very successful first road trip for the little guy.

We practically had to wake him up halfway there to feed him, and on the way home he slept five hours straight. 

We chose this particular weekend because two of our very close friends were having an engagement party!

Congratulations to Matt and Amy, an incredible couple with a beautiful future ahead. We're excited for the wedding...whenever it may be. :-)

The party was so fun and lovely, but it was certainly different from the old days. The party was at 3, and Marshall was cluster feeding, so I ended up feeding him twice while we were there. Normally I just feed him with a nursing cover wherever we are, but it ended up being easier to hang out in a bedroom with him. So I felt that my time celebrating the couple was a bit shorter than I would have liked, especially since we left fairly early (around 7) to put the little guy to bed. Add it to the list of changes that come with parenthood!

The rest of the weekend was busy, as well. We arrived early Friday morning (we decided to leave whenever Marshall woke up for his first feeding, which turned out to be 2:30 am, so we left at 4), and we hung out at home with my parents and waited for my brother and Ashley to arrive. Once they did, the dogs got to meet Marshall!
A scene of chaos: cleaning spit up off Marshall's face, trying to keep the dogs calm, and introducing furry friends to an infant)

My mom took me to a farm stand, which is a permanent farmers' market. Certainly I should be able to find one of these in LA, right? We used to go to one in my hometown, too, when I was young. I love the idea of supporting local farmers without having to wait for the weekend for a farmers' market!
Tons of fruits and vegetables, plus fresh pie!

My parents cooked a typical delicious meal--short ribs, corn, asparagus, and rice.

Hanging out with daddy

And on our way home we stopped to see two of our best friends, Brian and Winnie, so they could meet Marshall. Fun fact: Winnie went into labor that night! How crazy, right? Congratulations to the new parents of baby Keston! We couldn't be happier for you!

It was a great trip, but I'm already looking forward to a much longer stay next time. That 48-hour turnaround just doesn't work as well with an infant.

Also, I thought I'd share some fun I'm participating in this September:

  • The Larabar #SimpleRealJoyful photo-a-day challenge on Instagram. Each day has a theme, and you post a photo that fits the theme (per your interpretation). My photo for "Simple" was:

  • Gina's September Sweatfest Workout Calendar. I've been feeling SO much better (and more like myself) lately because we're finally getting more consistent in our workouts, so I'm going to use Gina's awesome calendar as motivation to make sure I'm more accountable. After that, I hope to be back to posting my own workouts again! 
Hope you're enjoying a great start to the short week!

Are you doing anything fun this month? Any goals or challenges? 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day 2014

This weekend is one I never want to forget. And yet I know I will. I know it will get lost in the shuffle. Among so many far more adventurous, exciting weekends, ones filled with weddings and birthdays and visits with family and friends, road trips and anniversaries and holidays, this little weekend in which nothing particularly special happened will fade into obscurity the way so many weekends do.

But it was wonderful. It was four days with my two favorite people. It was three of us spending time together as a family, doing nothing and the best things all at once. We embraced the fact that we no longer feel like "taking advantage" of four days off together to load up the car and drive somewhere far. Instead, we stayed home. We made no plans. We said no when friends and family so graciously asked us if we wanted to hang out. It was hard to do that, because we cherish those times, too, but we did.

We went for a long walk. We drove up to UCLA so Terry could donate blood. We cooked dinners at home. We played with our three-month-old son, who is learning to laugh and reach for his toys and lift up his head. We took a family nap in Marshall's room (we put him down in his crib, and then I got nervous about letting him sleep there for the first time while we slept, so Terry and I slept on the floor). I caught up on some thank you notes. We watched House of Cards. We drank a few glasses of wine. We did a crossword puzzle together. We played with Scout. We completed a few chores around the house. We ran some errands. We just enjoyed the time together.

Marshall enjoyed hanging out with us while we watched the first Bruin football game of the season. We won, but it wasn't pretty. Let's hope those boys clean it up.

We enjoyed lots of downtime. Scout is creeping closer to Marshall for longer periods of time. 

Terry and I took Marshall outside a few times to get some fresh (hot) air and some exercise. We got the go-ahead from our doctor to run with the jogging stroller, so we're testing it out slowly. Turns out pushing that chunky little dude is pretty tough! 

Today we completed a tough workout at the Strand:
- One person walked with the stroller heading away from the stairs
- The other person jogged up and back down the stairs, then jogged to the person walking the stroller
- We switched, so the stairs person then walked with the stroller while the other person jogged to the stairs
- Repeat twice up the stairs each

We were pretty wiped out by the end, and the whole thing (including a little walk before and after) took about 40 minutes. 

Tonight's meal: lamb burgers, served with sweet potato fries and a big green salad. We decided to eat  early, and Marshall hung out with us, which was fun. Scout looks like a creeper in that photo.

There won't be a lot of weekends like this one. Certainly most of our long weekends--especially four day weekends--will ask that we leave town or attend a party or run a half marathon. And this time, we agreed that we needed rest, time to sleep and play and laugh and slow down. So we did. Just me, Terry, and Marshall, for several days of relaxation and fun and nothing.

I'm sure that in a year or two I will not remember the specifics of Labor Day 2014. So I wanted to write it down here, to capture the essence of it. The end of summer, a summer that changed our lives so profoundly. I'm glad we found a way to embrace the newness of our little family, to exhale a bit amid the chaos of the last three months. We didn't plan it that way, but this weekend turned out to be perfect.

While summer ended this weekend (by traditional standards, which state very seriously that summer begins with Memorial Day and ends with Labor Day), something new started. I got a glimpse into our future, and it's incredible. How lovely to think that the best weekends to come will be simple, like this one.

I also love that Marshall arrived on Memorial Day weekend. He officially began the best summer of our lives, so it makes sense that the best weekend was the end of that same summer. I can't wait to see what autumn brings.