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Mikey: July 2014

Mike –
For once kiddo, we had a pretty tame month. July was all about readjusting and settling into a new routine. Momma started a new job with predictable hours and no weekends and it is really working for our family.
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{Schedule} In the mornings you wake up around 6:15 – it takes you a little while, but you sit up, look around, grab your WubbaNub and eventually stand up and walk the perimeter of your crib. If I go in and get you before you are ready, it is does not make for a pleasant morning, so I usually take my time. We walk back to Momma and Daddy’s bed and you snuggle with me while having a bottle and watching Disney Junior. We spend the next hour getting dressed, picking up, having our morning brushies and heading out the door.
In the evenings, Daddy gets to pick you up from Miss Gita’s house and play with you until I get home about an hour or so later. We have dinner, FaceTime with Bubbe, Grandma and Grandpa, have a bath and play. Our nighttime routine is my favorite. We go into your room around 7:15, you have some milk and snuggle while we read a book. Then each of us says what we are thankful for, who we want to pray for and what we hope for tomorrow. Then it’s night time brushies and bed time. You are usually asleep within 15 minutes.
{Eating} You are becoming quite an eater! You really like broccoli and ham and you never turn down yogurt. It seems though you are interested in whatever Momma and Daddy are eating and sometimes we share with you.
{Walking} You finally decided walking was going to be your main mode of transportation. It is so much fun watching you wobble around with, what seems like, so much purpose. You seem to know exactly where you are going and why. Aunt Rachel described it perfectly – you look like a baby giraffe who is taking his first steps. Very stiff legged.
{Wubba} The attachment to your WubbaNub is interesting. You used a Wubba when you first brought you home, but you weren’t that excited after about a month. Suddenly you found one in a basket and you have one near you at all times. I wouldn’t say you are addicted, we take it away and you are no worse for wear, but you certainly love carrying them around. Sometimes you have one in your mouth and one in each fist. You like to try to shove the extra Wubbas in your ears, eyes or even your mouth. You think it’s hilarious when we pop it out of your mouth and pop it in our mouth.
Bubbe came and visited and you enjoyed hosting her. Grandma stopped by too after her conference and you convinced her to join you in the pool. We also went to the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum again and you loved toddling around the airplanes. And let’s not forget Atlantis Waterpark!
Well love bug, it’s been a quiet month and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Hopefully August will bring more opportunities to play in the pool!
I’ll eat you up I love you so,
Momma xoxo
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Been There, Done That: Udvar Hazy Museum

One would think that living in the DC Metro Area we are ‘downtown’ on the weekends taking advantage of the free museums, live music, outside dining, and beautiful, historic monuments. Sadly, most people who don’t live IN Washington DC will tell you this is not true. Even before Mike arrived S. and I rarely made the trek downtown. The Metro, though convenient, is really a pain in the butt and, if I am being honest, the city is full of people.  In the summers, it is swarming with tourists and the rest of the year it is full of field trips. There is hardly an ideal time to hit up the museums to avoid crowds. Also, S. and I both grew up within a two hour drive of the Smithsonian Institute, so we have seen it a hundred times thanks to those exciting field trips. 
However, 10 minutes from our house is the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum. A taste of the Smithsonian without the Metro! We first visited when Mike was just a month old. We really wanted to get out of the house and practice maneuvering in the land of the living with an infant. We decided to go back again over the July 4th weekend – almost exactly a year later and had a fun time. 
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Like all the Smithsonian, UHASM is free admission – after you pay the $15 for parking. It’s about what it would cost for the metro ride downtown and the parking lot is huge, so we can overlook it. No food or drink, but they have a McDonald’s onsite, or you can indulge in space ice cream from the gift shop. We were able to bring in one sealed bottle of water and an empty sippy cup for Mike. There is also a lot of shade and picnic tables outside if you want to take a break for lunch. 
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The museum is a great size – you can walk the whole thing in about two hours. S. is a  fan of space travel, I have no interest in anything air OR space related, but it’s a great walk and interesting none the less. They have a few cool features – an IMAX for the older bunch, an observation tower linked to Dulles Airport (no strollers allowed so be prepared to leave it in the ‘stroller parking lot’) and the restoration hanger where you can watch them work on old stuff during the week. According to their site, they also have learning labs and events. 
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As most people with a little one, we got there right as it opened to beat the crowds. It was July 4th weekend and though we weren’t the first ones there by any stretch, it didn’t feel crowded. 
 
This time Mike was awake and a few times we let him out of the stroller to toddle around. He loved it! Since not many people were there, there was a lot of open space to run around. Most of the exhibits have interactive kiosks so he found that fascinating as well.  Just keep an eye on the short kids. The exhibits have a small partition that Mike could have easily crawled under. There were plenty of big, clean bathrooms with a changing table in both men and women’s restrooms. 
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Udvar Hazy is a great, inexpensive stop for families with kids of all ages. The littlest of kids will sleep while you get some exercise in, the elementary school age will like the exhibits (or space ice cream) and watching the airplanes come in, the middlers and high schoolers will find the exhibits interesting and really like the IMAX.  
You can do the whole thing in a couple hours and be home before nap time. When we were leaving the parking lot capacity had tripled, but there was no line at security.
 
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Quick and Dirty: 
Cost? Free, but parking is $15. Additional cost for simulators, IMAX and food
Age Group? Depends on the goal. Suitable for ALL ages
Parking? Plenty, $15
Food Options? Meh. McDonalds or space ice cream
Stroller Friendly? Yes, very. Wide walking paths, big bathrooms, elevators and ramps
Changing Tables? Yep, in both bathrooms
Safety: Debatable. Plenty of security and staff milling around, but the exhibits have open railings. So a little one could get curious and duck underneath.
See you there? Yep! It’s worth a once a year trip. Expect to find us when they open.
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Don’t Overpack for the Hospital

I know it’s been over a year since I spent 5 nights in the lovely Fair Oaks Hospital with my newborn, but I remember my hospital bag vividly. It was heavy. I am a ‘just in case packer’. Though my C-Section was scheduled well in advance, you never know when plans change – what if I decide last minute to have a water birth? I need my snorkel! Or what if I get hungry? I need multiple snack options (you know, because the hospital is in the middle of nowhere and doesn’t have a cafeteria or vending machine)!  Let me breakdown, in my opinion, what you truly need when having a baby.

overpack for the hospital

{Socks} I was so thankful to have my cheesy, fuzzy socks in the hospital. On the operating table it kept me warm and during my stay (which was longer than anticipated), it was nice to have some comforts of home. Plus, those rubber tread hospital socks are just not comfortable.

 

{Big Clothes} I remember watching an episode of Reba when Cheyenne was a pregnant teen having a baby shower. Her friend gave her a teeny tiny shirt and Reba said it would be cute on the baby. Cheyenne replied it was for her to wear home from the hospital. Sorry Momma-to-be, you will still have a belly. I brought my maternity yoga pants, nursing tanks and a light cardigan for when I had callers. I left the hospital in what I came in – a maxi dress.

 

PS – The minute you feel up to it, go to Target and get clothes that fit. Don’t look at the size. Don’t expect to fit in your skinny jeans. Be comfortable for the next few weeks. Your body just spent 9 months growing a little human. It needs some time.

 

{Toiletries} Small bottles of shampoo, a tube of toothpaste, toothbrush … all the normal overnight stuff take with you. I couldn’t WAIT to take a shower a few days after giving birth. I felt so human again and with deliciously smelly hair it was hard not to. I also asked my Momma to bring my mascara. It was pointless, but it just made me feel better.

 

{Pillow and/or Pillowcase} I am all for being comfortable and though I didn’t bring my pillow from home, I brought my neck roll pillow which I am attached to. It just felt good having something from home since we were there for awhile.

 

{Swaddlers} I am a terrible swaddler, S. is the pro. I will forever be grateful for the SwaddleMe velcro sacks. It made it so much easier for me to wrap Mike up since every half hour someone was coming in, undoing it and checking vitals, giving shots, etc.

 

{Boppy} I’ve seen a few blogs about how pointless Boppys are, but I disagree. I brought mine to the hospital and it helped me when I was breastfeeding and I wanted to put Mike down near me. I also seem to remember S. using it as a pillow at one point …

 

{Chargers} I am pretty sure we packed every single electronic we owned. And two chargers for each just in case. Oh, and extra batteries. I don’t think we used anything but our cell phones and chargers. Be realistic and if you change your mind, send someone home to get your stuff. If you are thinking about packing a book, you are clearly kidding yourself. You will either be sleeping or staring at your little wonder.
I’m probably missing something, but the point is, don’t overpack. Save room for the freebies – diapers, formula samples, and wipes. Don’t be afraid to ask for extras! You just pushed out a human. You’ve earned it.

 

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Been There, Done That: Atlantis Water Park, Centreville, VA

When S. and I were dating, we loved going to Fairfax County’s small ‘water parks’. Especially ones with wave pools or lazy rivers. Now that Mike is a water lover it adds a whole new element to our water park journeys.

On July 4th we opted to go to Atlantis Water Park at Bull Run in Manassas. Mainly because kids under 2 get in for free (adults are $6.75) and it’s about 10 minutes from our apartment. They have a large pool, a water slide, a splash pad, a sand pit, and a kiddie pool.  We stayed for about an hour and it was well worth the price of admission.
We got there right as they opened (as per our usual MO) and there was a short line, but a lot of people were turning around and kids crying. Uh oh. Turns out the main pool had a ‘problem’ and was closed. On a holiday weekend no less. However, the splash pad and the kiddie pool were open which is all we wanted to do anyway.
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There was plenty of seating, shade and room for a stroller. We immediately got into the kiddie pool and Mike had a hard time adjusting. It was windy and we think that might have had an impact on his fun level since he was shivering. He walked around with Dad in the shallow kiddie pool and then we walked over to the splash pad.
The splash pad looked like so much fun! A bell rang warning people to either run closer or run away from the massive bucket that dumped water all over anxious, laughing kids and some adults. There were places to slide down, climb up and stand under streams of water. While Mike wasn’t a fan of getting his face wet, he liked ‘helping’ pull the rope that turned the water on and got Momma wet.
The splash pad also had small water spurts that Mike liked putting his hand over.
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A few things of note for your trip to Atlantis:
  • No food or drink is allowed in the park, but we were able to bring 1 bottle of water in and an empty sippy cup. They have a snack bar with the usual – hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken fingers, ice cream, etc. There is also a nice seating area where you have to eat. IF you do bring your own food, there are lots of picnic tables in the shade outside the water park.
  • Babies have to wear swim diapers and can’t go in the main pool. There is also big locker room with showers and changing tables. Plus you can buy the diapers, sunscreen, etc at the front desk if you forgot anything. Oh, and they will check their bag when you come in.
  • Each section of the park is enclosed with a latching gate. So if you have a wanderer you don’t have to worry TOO much about him finding his way from the kiddie pool to the main pool. Not advocating you take a nap in the sun while your toddler plays in the water, but you know what I mean.
  • If you are not a Fairfax County resident you have to pay to to enter the park AND the water park.
  • There was an abundance of staff members and lifeguards, even around the main pool that was closed.
Quick and Dirty: 
Cost? Affordable (1 kid, 2 adults, no extras = $14)
Age Group? All ages.
Parking? Parking lot’s free with plenty of spots and shade.
Food Options? You can’t bring your own in but the snack bar had kid friendly options.
Stroller Friendly? Very. Lots of flat, wide walkways and room to ‘park’.
Changing Tables? Yes, in both men and women’s locker rooms.
Safety: Lots of lifeguards, staff and gates.
See you there? You bet! As long as you are there when it opens.

 

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Working 9 to 5, What a Way to Make a Living

Well friends, I just finished my first week back to work after 3 months of catching up on bad TV. I have to say – it felt good. And exhausting. But good.

I am now an Executive Assistant, Personal Assistant, Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to the Executive Vice President of an insurance marketing company. This is obviously a pretty new position, so I am still figuring things out and cleaning out my desk from the last person who was part time. This is my first job where I am in the office five days a week and it is a big change. Thankfully the office is casual dress and I am hourly, so I work 40 hours a week and anything more is overtime. The staff is small since we are a remote office, about 10 people and then 150 or so at headquarters in Nebraska.

I know it’s only been a week, but I think S. and I are juggling pretty well. Nothing is really different for Mike, he is going to daycare about the same time and being picked up at the same time, the only change for him is more time with Dad, but that’s never ever a bad thing.  Dad gets him from daycare, gives him dinner and starts a bath, which is usually when I get home. I get a good hour or so with the guys before Mike hits the sack. He’s sleeping so much better these days which is helpful.

I was so worried about this transition. I knew MIke would be fine, but me – I wasn’t so confident. But it’s been pretty nice, at least for a week, to have lunch alone reading my book, interact with my coworkers, commute for 45 minutes listening to my podcasts … I know some days will be hard, but frankly the only time I miss Mike is when I see other kids about his age on the street. I just make up stories in my head that they are with their nannies or on vacation because their momma works 10 hours a day.

I also realized pretty quick that our time together is much more valuable now. When I get home, no cleaning or anything other than Mike until he goes to bed. Everything else can wait. And with his morning schedule I get a lot of snuggle and play time before going to work.

Side note – I thought it would be nice to stick a funny SomeEcard about being a working mom, but wow. There is so much crap about who has it harder – stay at home moms or work outside the home moms. I’m not going to play into the mommy wars, so I am going to leave you with something else 🙂

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Looking So Long at These Pictures of You

I got the pictures of Mike’s local birthday gathering last night that my friend Miranda took and she caught so many fun moments. I have a really photogenic kid. For the first time in a long, long time I looked at the shots of me and my internal conversation went like this:

Well that shirt does nothing for your arms and it’s a bad angle for a double chin, but damn I looked happy and Mike was clearly having a blast.

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I’ve always been a bigger girl and struggled to keep my weight under control – I still do. I used to look at pictures and immediately hone in on the flaws, but no more. I am not going to be one of the mothers who hang behind the camera until they have lost the baby weight, covered their roots or changed out of the yoga pants.

I see pictures of my own Momma now and while she sees certain things, I see someone who is amazingly beautiful and perfect to me. She’s my mom. I see a moment captured that I will share with Mike and my future grand kids (God willing!). Those moments are important.

Everyone wants to take a good picture, but it’s not about me anymore and I get that. I won’t hide behind the camera – I don’t want to miss precious moments captured forever with Mike.

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