J&R

Four Days in Mexico – May 2017

My mother found out at the very beginning of the year (2017) that she had made the President’s Club at her work.  This meant she got to go to an all-inclusive resort in Tulum, Mexico.  She got a Plus One for the trip and since my father didn’t want to go, she asked me to go with her.  I immediately said yes to the trip that would happen in May.  I got to work renewing my expired passport and got excited for the trip.

At the time of the trip it had been 4 years, almost exactly, that I had been sharing my body 24/7, either pregnant or nursing or both.  This would be the first time that I would be away from both of my girls and I would have a few days not breast-feeding and I wasn’t pregnant.  I was nervous and excited.  I needed a bit of a break, my body was starting to feel really worn out so I knew I needed to get away for a few days.  I would still be pumping to keep up my supply while I was gone, but I would get a break of someone else attached to me for a bit.  I enthusiastically said yes in January because I was feeling so tired, but as the trip approached I started to not even be able to talk about the trip without getting really sad about leaving.  I didn’t tell that many people that I was going because I didn’t want to talk about it.  I was worried because Lucy wasn’t even 1.5 yet and she was a very attached baby and the longest I’ve been away from Lyra was 48 hours just a couple times.  If John hadn’t pushed me to go in the last two weeks, I probably would’ve canceled.

But I went!  We flew out on a Tuesday afternoon and flew home Saturday morning.  I’d be gone for about 4 days total.  In the end I was so glad I went and so thankful for the opportunity.  Though I do think that 4 days is more than enough time away from my babies (and husband especially!).  Pumping was not very fun.  I had to pump 3 or 4 times a day for 30ish minutes at a time just to stay comfortable but luckily my supply didn’t drop  that much and after being home with Lucy my supply was 100% back to normal within 24 hours.

 

We flew into Cancun, Mexico and had a van take us to our resort, which was a little over an hour away from the Cancun airport.  It was really fun to meet some of my mom’s coworkers that had also made the President’s Club, she works with really kind and delightful people, not only were they nice but they were a whole lot of fun.  The hotel was really nice.  I had never been to an all-inclusive resort before so that was something new and exciting.  It’s weird to get used to not having to pay for anything and just going into a restaurant and eating without getting a bill, but I loved it.  There were plenty of food options, both quick service and sit-down meals.  There were several bars and there was a night club.  The resort had 3 pools total, my mom and I spent most of our time by the quiet pool because I’m at a stage in my life where I don’t want to be around wild and crazy college kids and I also have two very loud children soooooo quiet time is what I needed.  I went to the gym a couple of times while there and did another exercise class that they offered by the pool.  There were a few events that we had to go to:  Tuesday evening welcoming reception, a Wednesday evening get together with just my mother’s office (there were a bunch of branches of her company represented from almost every state), and Friday evening was the big President’s Club reception, dinner, and awards ceremony.  Other than the required events our time was our own.  My mom and I originally were going to do one of the day trip expeditions but when we learned it was going to be literally all day, sun up to sun down, we decided against it.  There was a spa there, but it cost extra so I didn’t do any of the treatments.  A few times we ate with some of her other coworkers that were there.  But mostly we just lounged by/in the pool and beach and enjoyed the places the resort had to offer.  There were shops around and each day they had different things set-up around the resort for you to do.  It made me really want to do a week at an all-inclusive resort with John in the future, it seems like it would be super fun for couples to do.

Saturday morning we were packed to go home and after breakfast we had a van drive us back to the airport.  The airport was PACKED.  Thankfully we had all checked-in the day before but we still had to wait in crazy long lines to check our luggage.  We were at the airport way before our flight, but by the time we checked our bags and got through security, we only had to wait by our gate for a short time before boarding.  The flight home was a direct flight (we had a layover on the way out) and we got home to RDU and through customs and then back to our home town.   John and the girls had put back Welcome Home balloons on the mailbox which was a fun surprise. Lucy was napping when I got home which was nice because I was able to pay close attention to Lyra.  I knew once Lu woke up I’d be nursing a ton.  I gave the girls, John, and Irene their souvenirs and then I was settled back home for the night.

The girls did well while I was gone.  John caught me up to speed on how they spent their time while I was away, he had intentionally been keeping things vague so I wouldn’t dwell on being away from my family and enjoy my time and he didn’t want me to worry if Lu was having a rough spell.  Lucy had a couple good nights and a couple rough nights.  It was good for her to see that her dad could be just as comforting as mom while I was away.  Everyone was fine while I was gone but everyone was also happy to have me home.  I was especially happy to be home and back with my family.  Those four days were very refreshing.  It was nice to have some time to myself, but man am I thankful to have my family and get to spend so much time with them.  It made me excited for when the day comes that John and I feel comfortable leaving both girls for a vacation ourselves, but I don’t think either of us want to be away from them for more than a few days right now.  For now we will enjoy little bursts of time by ourselves or with each other and then in the future we might just get to do a week at an all-inclusive resort by ourselves!

Anyway, here are some pictures!

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the view from the hotel lobby
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they gave me white wine as soon as I got there, nice!
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(a bad picture of) our room
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bananas outside our window
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we didn’t have an ocean view, but it was still cool
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the quiet pool where I spent a lot of time
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the pool closet to the ocean
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the gulf!
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balloons upon my return

 

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J&R, parenting

Coffee + Crumbs

John has an essay featured on the website Coffee + Crumbs.  I’ve enjoyed this blog from its inception, as I was an avid reader of Ashlee‘s long before she created this great site for moms.  John has been working on a lot of essays about parenthood lately and I encouraged him to submit to C+C — lo and behold, he’s the first dad featured on their blog.  Super thankful to Ashlee for publishing him on a “mom blog” :)

C+C Screenshot

Please head over to the site and read his essay.  HERE is a direct link to his post.  And if you haven’t already, add Coffee + Crumbs to your blog reader, I always enjoy the essays posted over there.

J&R, Lucy, parenting, Uncategorized

Flying solo!

I don’t really consider myself an anxious person.  I don’t get flustered too easily.  And I don’t tend to dwell on things in the future.  BUT!  At the beginning of January, I booked a trip to Kentucky for a long weekend at the end of January.  This meant I’d be flying by myself with a newborn.  This terrified me more than anything.  I was super anxious about this trip and thought about canceling time and time again.  It would’ve been so easy for me, I’m a homebody by nature, I’ll just stay home.  The only problem was, I really missed my friend and really wanted to see her.  I have the time off for maternity leave so I felt like I really needed to go.  I had to get over this and just do it.  I was so worried people would find me annoying and a burden.  After all, people are pretty moody when they are in an airport / on an airplane.

I read tons of blog posts from people that flew with super young children.  I went over what I’d bring or not bring time and time again.  I read forums on what people found helpful and not helpful to bring.  I watched youtube videos people made for how to go through security when you are by yourself with an infant.  Let’s pause here and say Thank GOD for youtube.  You can find everything on that.

Ultimately, here’s what I decided to bring with me after lots of research:  A snap-n-go stroller, infant car seat, a bag to put the car seat in when gate checking, a rolling carry-on bag for me (and Lucy), my diaper bag, a boppy pillow, and ergo carrier (thanks to Kendra for the infant insert because Lucy is too small without it and I didn’t want to bring my moby – too much fabric).  And obviously I brought myself and my baby.  Everything was carry-on.  I did not check any bags.

I flew out of a large airport.  And while it was more daunting because it was crowded and there were tons of people in line for security and people traffic throughout the terminals, I’m glad this was my first experience because it would be the hardest and if I could get through that the rest would be smooth sailing (flying?) since I’d fly into a tiny airport and when coming home the hard part (security) would be easy.

John came into the airport with me to help me get situated before I’d have to go through security.  I had watched a ton of videos so I knew just what I’d do when I went in line.  Before getting in the security line I changed and nursed Lucy and put her in the ergo.  The diaper bag and boppy where on the stroller and I rolled my carry-on behind me.  Once I got up, slipped off my shoes (Toms) and placed them in a bin with my jacket and Lucy’s blanket, put my bag on the belt, took out my liquids, put my diaper bag on the belt, unsnapped the car seat and put that on the belt (upside down), and then collapsed the snap-n-go and put that on its side.  I wore Lucy through a metal detector and then my hands were swabbed.  If you don’t go through the x-ray machine they swab your hands, easy peasy.  By the time I was deemed clear, my stuff was coming off the belt.  And I got all that and went on my merry way.

STOP!  Here’s where I tell you that people are AMAZING.  Remember back up in the first paragraph where I told you I was so anxious about this?  I thought, especially at the busy Charlotte airport, that people would be crazy annoyed with me for taking so long because I had a ton of stuff and a tiny infant by myself – so it takes a while for me to maneuver and do things.  I think if someone had gotten huffy with me I might’ve cried simply because I had my baby with me.  I don’t know.  I was just really worried someone was going to yell at me or be super passive aggressive and I know if that had happened I would’ve cried.  But, people helped me the whole time.  There were two gentlemen behind me in security that looked like seasoned travelers.  I thought for sure they would be a little peeved at how slow I’d be through security, they looked like they had places to go.  But they helped me get the stroller off the belt and snap the car seat in it so I could just grab my bags and pile them on the stroller.  They smiled and were kind and patient and sympathized with me.  Shame on me for judging them!  They were so helpful.  I got through, what I thought would be the hardest part, with their help.

The next task I was anxious for was boarding the plane.  I was flying in a smaller plane and instead of people with young children boarding first, they board last.  At first I was upset by this, but then I realized, since the plane is so small they didn’t want me having to wait a long time before take-off.  I was the last person on the plane.  Well, Lucy was with me and she’s a person, we were the last people on the plane.  ;)   The flight was full so I was unable to take the car seat on with me.  I got valet tags for my snap-n-go, the car seat, and my carry-on bag.  I put the actual car seat in this bag so it wouldn’t get gross in storage.  I would definitely recommend this bag.  After a lot of research I decided to go with it and it held up really well!  So on the actual plane I took Lucy in the ergo, with the diaper bag and boppy pillow.  You are not allowed to wear your baby during take off and landing so once we were seated I just unsnapped the top part of the ergo and held her.

PEOPLE ARE AMAZING BREAK #2:  One woman offered to help me board the plane.  I had to decline because she was in the first boarding group and they were making me wait, but how nice is that?!  The gentleman I was seated next to was so nice and patient and happy to be sitting next to me.  He helped me put my bag under the seat, held my boppy while I got settled, didn’t mind at all when I told him I’d be nursing Lucy periodically.  He took a picture of Lucy to show his wife.  He had grown children he had flown with in the past and empathized with me traveling with a tiny one.  Lucy even gave him a laugh and a bunch of smiles before take-off.

Now for the flight.  Lucy was awake before take-off so I was worried.  And I was right to be.  Homegirl cried off and on for the entire flight.  Even when nursing (super hard in those tiny seats).  She finally crashed hard when the captain announced the final descent.  Of course!  And she slept soundly throughout landing and deboarding and getting out to baggage claim.  Just my luck.

PEOPLE ARE AMAZING BREAK #3:  Everyone I was seated around, including my seat partner, kept reassuring me through Lucy’s tears that it was alright and they didn’t mind she was crying.  They smiled at me and told me how cute Lucy was and just kept telling me I was doing great.  It helps that everyone around me was around my parents age so they had kind of paternal/maternal sympathy for me.  Oh they were so sweet!  When deboarding no one seemed agitated that it took me a little longer to get out of my seat.  My seat partner helped me get my bags and the lady across the aisle snapped my ergo back for me.  When waiting for the gate checked items with other people from the plane, two gentlemen helped me set up my stroller and car seat.  Then a woman about my age told me she’d walk with me to baggage claim and roll my carry-on for me.  (I think you’re not technically supposed to let people do this, but I didn’t worry, I was with her the whole time.)

My trip to Kentucky was wonderful.  We didn’t do much, at my request.  I mostly just wanted to visit some old favorite restaurants, so throughout the long weekend we ate Greek, Thai, and Indian and it was delightful.  Other than that we did a little shopping, went for a long walk, watched a lot of feel-good movies, planned our summer vacation, and drove around my hometown.  It was so relaxing!  And it was really nice to have a nice chunk of time to solely focus on Lucy.  Second babies don’t really get all that one-on-one time as their older siblings.  I loved getting to hold her as much as I (or she) wanted and be able to attend to every single need as soon as possible.  She slept sooooooooo well while we were on our mini-vacation too.  It was lovely.

Coming home was much easier than going to Kentucky.  For one, the Lexington airport is tiiiiiiiiiny compared to Charlotte.  I got there about an hour and a half before my flight to allot enough time to really get settled.  I felt a little rushed at Charlotte and wanted to be sure I had more time coming home to compose myself and figure things out.  I got my ticket and then got Lucy out of the car seat and into the ergo.  I then went ahead and put the car seat in the travel bag because I knew the flight was full.  When I went through security a nice woman behind me told me to take all the time I needed and she wasn’t in a hurry.  I went through using the same strategy as last time and it was easy breezy.

PEOPLE ARE AMAZING BREAK #4:  The woman behind me then helped me get all of my things settled and asked if I was on the same flight as her because she would like to help me.  Unfortunately she wasn’t.  But how nice of her to offer?!  I thanked her profusely and we parted ways.

Once at my gate I got all my valet tags I needed and went ahead and set everything up.  And hour before take-off (not boarding), I went to the family restroom and changed Lucy.  Once we were back at the gate I nursed her and she ate a full feeding and fell right back asleep, by this time they were calling for boarding.

PEOPLE ARE AMAZING BREAK #5:  A woman at boarding offered to help me on the plane and get settled.  Once again I had to decline as she was in the first boarding group and I was in the last (last person on the flight again) but it was so nice that she offered help.  Well, when I finally got on the plane, it turns out I was seated next to that same woman!  How lucky for me.  I knew immediately that she was going to be patient with me.  She helped me get everything settled and told me she had three young daughters.  We talked briefly about our families, exchanging pictures on our phones and then it was time for take-off.  I was one of the last people off the flight and once again several people helped me get my gate-checked items and helped set-up the stroller for me.

Lucy slept the ENTIRE flight.  She slept through security, she was barely awake for the diaper change and nursing session, and she slept through boarding, take-off, the flight, landing, getting off the plane, and the long walk to baggage claim where John was waiting for us.  She didn’t wake up at all until we got out of the busy part of Charlotte before stopping for a quick bite to eat.

Oh my word.  I’m not a cynical person, I generally believe that almost everyone is good.  And this trip proved it.  How wonderful to have been on the receiving end of all that goodness from people!  I was so worried, to the point of thinking I should just cancel, that people were going to be annoyed with me and complaining about how long I was taking or how loudly my baby was crying.  That was never the case.  I felt prepared as much as I could’ve been and I was helped all along the way from so many kind souls.  When I was telling John about how nice people were I had tears in my eyes.  I still do typing this up.  Flying by myself with a small infant was hard.  I don’t think I’d ever want to fly by myself with a child if I can help it — no matter the age of the child, having a partner with you must make this process 1,000 times easier I assume.  And I’m sure there are different challenges at every age.  Kids come with a lot of stuff and it’s hard to maneuver all of that when you are by yourself.  So, even though I’m not going to fly by myself with children again (if I can help it!), I know that I can do it and that people are kind and good and patient and helpful and it won’t be so bad!

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I intended to take a picture before I left, but was a little overwhelmed and forgot.  So I had John take the picture at the airport when I returned.  It is nighttime and I’m very tired (and hungry!)  but you can see everything I brought with me: snap-n-go, car seat, the orange/white thing is the car seat cover, my carry-on, my diaper bag, my boppy (hanging on the stroller), and Lucy is in the ergo.

 

J&R

T H I R T Y

Today is my thirtieth birthday!  Happy birthday to me!  Age has never bothered me and I’ve never been too big on celebrating birthdays — I do a party like once a decade.  It’s mostly just another day to me but not in a bad way.  I’m here and I’m alive and I get to experience life with my favorites.  Thirty seems like it’s worth documenting.  It’s a big one.  I’m basically a third of the way through my journey experiencing the universe as a human being.  That’s pretty rad.

To be completely honest, though, I kind of felt like Jenna this morning at the house.  [See the video below.]  Lyra woke up an hour earlier than she had been the past week (I got used to “sleeping in”), I’m still congested from this dang cold, I am 8 months pregnant and feeling huge & uncomfortable, John locked his keys in his car meaning he had to take my car meaning my sweet mother in law had to drive me to work, the list goes on.  BUT I am totally thirty and flirty and thriving so I can’t be too bummed this morning.

The universe gave me a big dose of reality this morning.  I didn’t wake up to a quiet, blissful house and tiny animals & little birds didn’t help me get ready for the day and there were no doughnuts (there should always be doughnuts in fantasies). However, I’m married to my best friend, I have an awesome daughter with another on the way, amazing friends, a house I love, ungrateful pets that I’m obsessed with, I love going to work, and I’ve yet to find a gray hair on my head.  Cheers to another year!