8 Things I Learned About Taking a Baby on Vacation

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Whew. We just got back from a week in Hilton Head, South Carolina with some of our very best friends, and then I pretty much immediately turned around and toted Grady to my birthplace, Shreveport, Louisiana for a long weekend. It was a whirlwind of crazy things, two of them being fun and stressful, but I feel like I’ve learned some lessons about taking a baby on vacation that I’ll be remembering for our next beach trip in August. Yes we’re nuts. Thankfully, our August trip is in Gulf Shores where another one of my very best friends resides, so if I run out of baby things I can just beg her for them. (Haaaaaaay Arden.)

1. Whenever possible, leave when baby is supposed to go to bed or at the very least, down for a nap. This should give you a few hours (or normal naptime) of peace when you can start the trip off on a good foot with getting gas, stopping for Sonic drinks (duh) and whatever road trip necessities you have.

2. Stock up on whatever will make your kid happy for the duration of the car ride. I learned that babies just don’t like the car for long periods of time. Or at least my baby doesn’t. Even with leaving past his bedtime, we still ended up with a cranky, fussy baby. Tylenol (because they get sore) and toys are mom’s best road trip friends. For older babies, snacks can probably be thrown in there, but mine is still on purees. For even older babies, those portable DVD players probably seem like God Himself reached down from Heaven and nestled them into the grateful and loving arms of moms everywhere. I look forward to these times.

3. Schedule-Shmedule. We’re not on a super tight schedule around here, but our routine is pretty bomb. We both love it and function very well by knowing what baby thing comes next. Plus, Grady is a pretty good baby. He’s still a baby of course, but for the most part, he will sleep and eat and everything else while we’re out and doesn’t have to be at his home base to function. Enter vacation. Crazy trip schedule + cranky, overtired baby + new and foreign place = yeah right on the normal routine. His naps were a fraction of their regular duration, every mealtime was a struggle, putting sunscreen on was as if I were rubbing Tabasco on open wounds. The list goes on and this type-A mom had to learn to roll with the punches.

4. I totally overpacked the wrong things. Because babies fit into clothes for like a minute tops, I packed alllllllllll of his cutest clothes that fit him right now. I thought I could make do with 2 swim shorts, 2 sun shirts, and 2 swim diapers. I did make do, but I definitely wish I would have considered the type of trip we were going on and what I would need most. we pretty much woke up and threw on swim stuff, so I for sure should have brought more of that. Especially the diapers. Those do not dry fast. And I as a first time mom did not understand the cleaning necessities for them. One poopy diaper being washed out in the ocean had me wishing I would have stocked up on those things instead of the cute clothes he wore half of. (He did look dang cute though let’s just be honest.)

bryan and grady

5. Sunscreen. Like all of it. I thankfully did not have to learn the hard way on this because I slathered it on my crying kid as often as I was supposed to. And really, how often do we reapply sunscreen as instructed? I even thought I did a great job on me and I still got sunburned on the first day, so I was grateful that I didn’t have to deal with a hurting baby on top of a hurting mommy.

6. They will have more stuff than you. Expect and accept it. Babies need a bunch of crap, and since mine is on solids now, food crap was added to the list. Seriously though, so much stuff. I wish I had taken a picture of our trunk. Bryan and I shared a bag and each had our personal totes, plus my sister’s bag, aaaaaaaand the rest was either Grady’s stuff, or stuff used for Grady (pumping supplies, nursing pillow, rock-n-play, etc).

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7. Just buy baby food. I usually make mine, but buy it sometimes when I’m in a pinch too. Like an idiot, I brought a bunch of frozen homemade baby food with me that I ended up throwing most of away. I thought I could keep it frozen during the trip, but it all thawed, and Grady couldn’t eat it fast enough before it went bad. Exactly half a day into the trip, I was wishing I had just bought it and left my frozen stuff at home for when I got back. Plus it would have saved me from having to pack and wash and keep track of bowls. Even the pouches can just be squeezed directly onto the spoon. Gaaah, so much baby food down the drain. Hold on, I need a minute.

8. Take advantage of people offering help. Because OMG vacation should not be as stressful as it definitely can be with a baby. When people offer to hold your kid so you can eat or go to play candy crush in the bathroom, for the love of all things good, LET THEM. Having people on your team makes babying sooooo much easier, especially on vacation.

We are pretty #blessed (Sorry.).

bryan and grady2

Love, Alex

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Camping in Our House.

You guys.

We are sleeping in our new house for the first time! Oh, you didn’t know that we bought a house? That’s probably because I suck at blogging as of late and also because OMGithappenedsofast.

We drove by this house on a Saturday and I said “nah, I don’t want to look at it because it’s a row home and probably isn’t what we want. On Sunday, Bryan went to look at it anyway without me. He called and said “So how would you like a house that has 4 bedrooms plus an office, a formal dining room, a big kitchen, and a bonus room, AND is in our price range?” I was all “Please yes I would like that please.” “Wellllll it’s that house you didn’t want to look at.” So our awesome realtor Blair showed us both the house on Monday, put our offer in and the owner accepted it on Tuesday. For real. They wanted to close 30 days later and we had to slow their roll.

(Seriously though, if you are local-NWA-call Blair Williams asap to be your realtor. He stuck with us even after last yeah when we had him show us houses all over the area and then were like “Haha jk Alex is pregnant so we’re not buying for like another year hahahaha sorrrrryyyy.” He did everything we asked and took amazing care of us. CALL HIM.)

So moving still sucks, in case you were wondering. We have been moving throughout the week and have been stuck in the limbo of two different houses with halfish of our stuff in each of them. Tonight though, we are sleeping here! It’s not as chaotic as I thought it would be, but I still feel like I’m camping out in my own house. I mean sure, our bed is here, but Grady’s is not and neither is his monitor, so I’m typing this all stealthy-like because he is asleep in the rock-n-play beside me and I’d like him to stay that way.

Here are a few of the many piles of un-gone-through stuff that I am choosing to deal with tomorrow instead of tonight. (“LALALA it’s all organized and decorated so you can take a chill pill and go to bed crazy person LALALALA”)

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I’ll try to put together some sort of virtual tour soon for you guys. I know you’re all dying to see an undecorated house with boxes everywhere.

We filmed a virtual tour earlier today TO SEND TO AN ADOPTION HOPEFUL! The kid will be shown our photos and video on Tuesday, so if you’re the praying and/or encouraging words type, we could use all of the things before and on that day.

I’ll keep you posted! Eeeeeeee!

Love, Alex

INSANITY and the 4-month Sleep Regression

As you could probably guess by my super-clever title, we have been dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 4-month sleep regression. For those of you that have not pushed a baby out of you, have a baby pulled from you, or signed all the forms ever made in order to adopt a baby, the 4-month sleep regression is apparently the time when babies start to sleep like normal humans and not babies. So instead of sleeping really hard-core all of the time, they have sleep cycles like we do. Many babies apparently have no idea what to do during the lighter part of the cycle, so they decide that whining and fussing until you come hang with them is the most reasonable course of action.

Ain't no rest for the wicked. Or Grady. Or me apparently.

Ain’t no rest for the wicked. Or Grady. Or me apparently.

Thaaaaanks babyyyy.

Well, I have been slacking on my INSANITY workouts for the past week while recovering from a cold and Monday was my welcome back. After not getting a ton of sleep, this is even more annoying than usual.

Sidenote: OMG you guys, being sick with a kid sucks. I mean, I knew that in theory it sucked, but all I had was a cold and I wanted to throw in the towel. Holla for family who are willing to get up all night with your kid for a day so you don’t have to.

Anyway, INSANITY. Goodness. I am so tired and sore. But y’all. I’m doing it. I’m actually so proud of myself.

This is a photo of me after INSANITY that Bryan asked me to send to him and for some reason, I decided that it was a good idea.

This is a photo of me after INSANITY that Bryan asked me to send to him and for some reason, I decided that it was a good idea. I’m too lazy to take off my makeup on the regular, so black smudges are a constant thing.

I still don’t LGN (not even close) (<–Is that not the most annoying acronym/word?), but I am getting there and for some reason, today I feel good about it. Tomorrow may be a different story, but today I am proud of myself.

Surviving.

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Ok. I feel like maybe I am finally in a place to gather my feelings and share them without crying, saying something stupid, or yelling at my husband for zero reason at all. (Whatever. How DARE he put his jeans in the wrong laundry bag.)

The aftermath of having a baby sucks. Hard. I’m over it.

No one tells you that 3 months later your clothes still won’t fit, your marriage will be really really hard for a while, you will cry more than you’ve eve cried in your life, and that you will feel such bipolar emotions, at the same time, all day every day.

Oh my gosh this baby is the best thing to ever happen to me.”

“Oh my gosh my life is over!”

All of this is worth it for this precious baby boy.”

“I may never seep again!”

I’ve never ugly-cried to my husband so much in the history of the world. I’ve caught myself thinking back to when I just wanted so badly to impress this guy. After what he has seen of me, let’s hope that good impression has lasted him through.

Oh my what his eyes had just seen. (Sorry it's blurry, I obvi wasn't the picture-taker.)

Oh my what his eyes had just seen. (Sorry it’s blurry, I obvi wasn’t the picture-taker.)

I wish someone would have told me that I would only want to watch Psych because I couldn’t watch anything that made me feel things. Or that I would find myself saying “I’m sad today.” because there was just no other way to describe how I felt. I wish someone would have told me (and Bryan) that it would be a while before our needs would be met fully by each other. Most of all, I wish someone would have told me how long it would take to start feeling better.

It’s not that I expected to feel great immediately, but my for-real expectation was like two weeks to a month.

Lol no. Grady is 3 months old today and I am just now feeling like my head is above water. It’s all about survival. And the worst part is that next week will feel entirely different and I’ll probably come crashing down again. I can only hope that the memories of the good days will hold me through the bad ones. 

Three months later, I’ve graduated to reruns of Gilmore Girls. Maybe next week I’ll be ready for crime shows again. I also started triathlon training again. Nothing like having to get new workout clothes because my regular ones are too small. #Irony.

**Side Note: My family is doing a biggest loser competition! We are all going to beach in August, so we have until August 1st to lose the biggest percentile of our goal, lest we lose $50 instead. Cameron (my brother) doesn’t get to play and therefore is our moderator and if he is upset about it then he can just TAKE HIS SKINNINESS AND CRY HIMSELF A RIVER.**

Oh! And I made myself a chore chart because the house was driving my crazy. Plus organization and the charting of the chores was therapeutic, duh.

Isn't it pretty?

Isn’t it pretty?

So there you have it. All of my emotions and thoughts from the past 3 months word-vomited before you.

It feels good to do life again. Just don’t misplace any laundry around me and hopefully I can keep my cool a little longer.

Love, Alex

What the Proverbs 31 Woman is NOT.

Proverbs 31

You want to know a secret? I mostly HATE Christian blog posts about women. What women should be, what women should aspire to be, what kind of men women should seek, what kind of woman men should seek, and the list goes on.

I hate them. With some exceptions of course, I feel like they are sexist, narrow-minded, and generally lacking.

I’ve always held that God NEVER intended for men and women to become so unequal. He created different roles for us within families and somehow, even by earlier biblical times, those roles became known as more and less important and they stretched to become meaningful in society as a whole.

Enter the Proverbs 31 woman. I’ve always liked her, but people use her as an example for something she’s not. She’s not timid or meek. She’s not stuck in a box. She’s certainly not less important. She’s feisty and has gumption. She’s a shrewd businesswoman, she works out, and she trusts her gut. My favorite part about this passage though, is that it says absolutely nothing about how good she is at the things she does.

We women love to both judge and compare ourselves to each other, partly out of nature and mostly out of nurture. Society has fueled in us the need to be better than our lady friends. You know who is the worst at this? Type-A people..

My husband recently said to me “You can’t be the best at everything you know.” While rationally I know this to be true, I let it hurt my feelings and you know what it was about? Rice Crispy Treats. Freaking RICE CRISPY TREATS. Ugh, God has so much work to do on me.

Proverbs 31 is filled with tons of badass things that this lady is and does, but says nothing about her skill level. Maybe she rose while it was still night with bedhead and horrific morning breath and went straight for the coffee because she was sooo not a morning person. Maybe all of the coverings and linens she sewed came out with crooked seams. Maybe her charity didn’t serve as many homeless people as the woman next door’s did. It says she GIVES food to her household and maidens, but maybe the Proverbs 31 woman ordered takeout because she was a terrible cook. MAYBE after all of that rising and sewing and feeding and field-buying she was exhausted and wound down with a bubble bath and a glass of wine… sheepskin of wine? You get the point.

She still lived her life like a boss. She was confident in what she did and delighted in serving her family. Even if she wasn’t the best, her husband was proud to be standing at her side and her children ADORED her.

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That’s all we really can do. Be the best us we know how to be and don’t sweat the rest. As a new mom, I’m learning that this is so important to remember. I’ve already crossed craftiness and staying underwhelmed off the list of things I’m good at, and I can assure you that there are more things on that list than the other one. But you know what I am awesome at? Loving that little guy so much that it hurts. He and Bryan make me want to be better for our family. My job is to keep him alive, lead him toward Christ, and love him, and as long as I am doing those things, even if I’m not the best at it, then I’m a Proverbs 31 woman too.

Love, Alex

Pfff Babies

crying

You know what type-A people LOOOOVE? Routines and structure, duh. You know what babies give zero effs about? Your routines and structure.

Ugh.

So after about 4 weeks of beating my head against the wall trying to implement Babywise………I’ve given up.

That’s right, you heard me. I threw the towel in and called it quits. I’m sure that it was much less dramatic of an experience than I am pretending it was. In my head, I arm-swiped the changing table and deleted my baby-tracker app, but in reality I just cried and wailed “I can’t do this anymooooooore.” IT WAS MONUMENTAL TO ME, OK?

For reals though. I so want Grady to fit into the perfect routine and sleep pattern and be super happy all of the time. What I didn’t plan for was when his stomach hurt so he didn’t sleep when he was “supposed to,” or when I am a new mom and just want to hold him all of the time and not feel guilty about it or like I am ruining him forever and ever.

I felt like such a failure as a mom because I was following all of the rules and it still wasn’t working. As if human babies follow a formula. I was stressing him out too. Since I became a quitter, he has slept better and become a much happier baby.

I think Babywise is great in some ways, and I plan on keeping a good bunch of it in mind. Everyone told me to take it with a grain of salt, but as I am a anal-retentive crazy person, I of course went full-force until I burnt myself out. I was so stressed and upset because he wasn’t logically doing what he was supposed to (I know right?!), that I feel like I missed out on some of the sweet moments along the way.

I am so guilty of this in so many ways. I get so set on trying to cram that square peg into whatever structured hole it’s “supposed” to go in that I miss the cues that it isn’t working, or that perhaps God has provided a better way.

I’ve decided that I am just going to do whatever I feel like doing in regards to Grady, and he will just have to be along for the ride. Now if I could just learn to be along for the ride for my Parent.

Mom.

Oh heeeeeey. Nice to see you again. I kind dropped off th face of the earth there for a bit huh? Well, allow me to show you why:

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I mean.

So, all that talk about being pregnant and all of the misery and frustration finally paid off and I got THIS ADORABLE CREATURE.

But really though? I’ve never been so tired in my life. I mean he’s worth it an all, but for real. so much not sleep.

The other day he slept AT NIGHT for 4 straight hours, which as you can imagine I was super excited about, until I realized that it meant that 4 is the most consecutive hours I have slept in almost a month as well. Then I was kind of sad.

I had all of the big feelings and raging hormones that you can imagine I had (ok fine. HAVE), and I will of course share those with you all in detail as if you really wanted to know about my ugly-crying sessions.

For now though, I will leave you with these pictures. Mostly because I figured the internet was running short of photos of people’s children.

My new favorite thing ever. Unless I have crap to do, then I'm just like "stop crying and sleep kid. Mommy has to wash your clothes and eat her lunch."

My new favorite thing ever. Unless I have crap to do, then I’m just like “stop crying and sleep kid. Mommy has to wash your clothes and eat her lunch.”

Is this not the sexiest thing you've ever seen in your entire life? OK, I could understand if not. but for me? Oh man.

Is this not the sexiest thing you’ve ever seen in your entire life? OK, I could understand if not. but for me? Oh man.

First bath! This is his favorite part. The part where he gets out of the bathtub and is wrapped in a towel and held after such a traumatic experience.

First bath! This is his favorite part. The part where he gets out of the bathtub and is wrapped in a towel and held after such a traumatic experience.

As you could imagine, Phoebe is ready for the new puppy to go back to his house.

As you could imagine, Phoebe is ready for the new puppy to go back to his house.

Grady and his new BFF Vaun. My friend Sarah and I were only 4 days apart our entire pregnancies and then our kids are now like a couple of weeks apart! (I was early, she was late)

Grady and his new BFF Vaun. My friend Sarah and I were only 4 days apart our entire pregnancies and then our kids are now like a couple of weeks apart! (I was early, she was late)

Indoctrinating him into our love of superheros early on. Raise a child up in the way that he should and whatnot.

Indoctrinating him into our love of superheros early on. Raise a child up in the way that he should go and whatnot.

Oh wait how did this get in here? Ok fine. I just had to prove that a) we actually did something on New Years Eve sans our child (Even if we were home by 11), and b) brag on my first post-baby drink! It was delicious if you were wondering.

Oh wait how did this get in here? Ok fine. I just had to prove that a) we actually did something on New Years Eve sans our child (Even if we were home by 11), and b) brag on my first post-baby drink! It was delicious if you were wondering.

I’m all kinds of pent-up with writing tension, so look forward to my verbal vomit in the coming weeks :).

Love, Alex