Birthday Weekend Report

This weekend finished up Camaron's birthday week. Friday was his birthday and oh, what a great day it was. I woke up extra early to finish up his birthday video and make breakfast (pumpkin french toast. t-t-t-tasty tasty.) Then we all ate together with the couch cushions strewn about us as we watched Zoolander -this was Camaron's request for how the morning would go. Then, in the afternoon, we went to claim some of Camaron's birthday freebies. We went to Cakelove and got the Toffee Crunch and the Chocolate Chip Cheesecake cupcakes. Amazing. We also visited a couple of vintage shops while we were in the area. Camaron is determined to find a bomber jacket, so we kept our eyes peeled (gross). We were near Dupont Circle, and the kids were in great moods, so we decided to keep on exploring. We passed so many beautiful buildings and a jam-packed dog park ...and Fox and I went nuts (because doggies!). Then we headed over to Panera for more birthday freebies. We snacked and then more exploring ensued. And at the end of the evening, we ended up at Shake Shack (never the wrong choice), because we were really hungry and it was there. And it was so good. All that walking wore us out and those shack burgers and fries were just the ticket to get us the rest of the way home.

It was such a nice day. Nothing too crazy, and so relaxing. Camaron's internship keeps him really busy, so he told me that this was just what he wanted. And I wanted it too. I'll take any chance to explore more of DC with this little family of mine. We only have about two and a half months left, so opportunities to make fun memories together is always at the top of my list. Thanks for letting us share your birthday fun with you, Camaron. Twenty six is looking good on you already:)

VIDEO // Happy Birthday Camaron!!!

As you may now know, Camaron is quite the guy. Hardworking, funny, intelligent, great dad, friendly ...this list could get very long very quickly. Today is Camaron's birthday and I am already having so much fun celebrating it with him. I'll keep the mushiness to a minimum, but basically, being married to this guy has made my life so much fun and full. I love you Cam!!! Happy golden birthday golden boy! Weeeeee! Cake!!!!!

p.s. A HUGE thank you to everyone who helped in contributing to the video. Don't worry, even though I cut down each of the videos to piece the whole thing together, I also let Cam view each of your individual videos you sent me later on. You guys are too much. I was basically crying during some of them because I could feel the love you have for my husband. We're so lucky to have you in our lives:)

Rock Creek Park

This morning, we made a quick little visit to our own little National Park, Rock Creek Park. We are in mid-birthday-week over here, and Camaron has the day off today, so he got to choose our activity for the morning. We had heard that this national park was pretty close, and it's pretty obvious it is when you look at a map, but wow! One of the park entrances is just a couple blocks away from us. And there is  a playground right before you enter the forest trail. Score. I'm so excited to go back again soon. Maybe the entrance by the Nature Center? And in a month I'm sure all of these trees will be sporting yellows, oranges, and reds! Thank you for the great choice, Cam! More birthday-week fun to come!

p.s. My hair is driving me nuts. You know how once you start thinking your hair is driving you nuts, and then suddenly it's basically all you can think about? Oh, that's just me? Well, that's where I am. My bangs are in a real awkward growing-out stage and it just seems like my hair overall doesn't want to do what it used to anymore. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the postpartum hormones still making their way out of my body. But either way, my bangs are constantly pinned-back, it seems. Maybe I'll find a hairdresser out here this week? Who knows! Pointless ramble!

VIDEO // Fox at Age Two

Fox at my sister-in-law's wedding last month. Bowties:)

Fox turned two last month, but he was just being so silly one day that we decided to get some of this two-year-old on film. Right now, Some of Fox's favorites are coloring, building cars out of blocks (and graham crackers, cookies, anything...), balloons, Curious George, giving tickles, yogurt, fruit/veggie pouches, cookies, playing at the park, baths (well, showers now. No bathtub here), magnets, being picked up, petting Sloane's hair, yelling surprise! ("a-prise!"), building pillow forts, squirrels, his "spiderman pants", riding the metro and busses, and ...he just likes a lot right now:)

Oh, and we clipped the tips off of his pacifiers last night -because I saw a kid at the park who was way older than Fox with a pacifier and it freaked me out, so we decided to wean him off of them this week. It went awesome! He was a little bummed that they were "broke" at first, but it was like he totally forgot about them the whole rest of the day. And he went to bed without even asking for them! (he's been attached to carrying two at all times lately). Sadly, he woke up in the middle of the night crying from a nightmare. We couldn't calm him down, and I was concerned about him being so loud so late when we now share walls with neighbors, so I caved and let him have an emergency pacifier we had in the back of his closet. But we put it back we he got up this morning, so we're crossing our fingers that he makes it all the way through tonight without any.

Another Lesson in Big City Livin'

I'm a little worried that these lessons in big city livin' may become a series on this blog -because, apparently, we still have a lot to learn. This lesson was learned over the weekend. Camaron had a job interview on Tuesday and he needed some footage of him in front of the camera reporting a story. So we decided to venture down near the National Mall as a family to get Camaron's footage and then maybe explore a little.

I don't know how it is for everyone else who has/had little kids, but it seems like it often takes forever to leave the house. There's just so much to do -make sure diaper bags are packed, kids have socks and shoes on, diapers have been recently changed, kids are fed, get them to stop crying, put shoes and socks on again, etc... We didn't bring the stroller because we rode the bus to the metro stop, so i wore Sloane in her wrap and Camaron carried Fox (kiddo didn't feel like walking at the moment). We got to the bus stop and double-checked that we had our metro cards. That was when we discovered Camaron had forgotten his wallet. So we walked back home, got it, and tried again. The buses don't come as often on weekends, so it took a while to really get going. We finally got on a bus, rode to the metro, then headed downtown.

It was golden hour -perfect lighting for Cam's video. And there were very few people about -incredibly rare, in our experience. Awesome. The kids were being great, so Camaron put on his suit coat, straightened his tie, we set up the shot, got ready to push record ...and realized we didn't have an SD card in the camera. Somehow we forgot to make sure it was in the camera. The camera won't record without it. So there we were, all set and ready to go, but without a way to record Camaron's video. So what did we do? We made bummed-out faces at each other and then went to Shake Shack for fries and a Doughnuts are Forever concrete.

So I guess we learned two lessons that day. 1: always double-check that you have EVERYTHING you need for your outing -especially when it's not easy to quickly head back home to grab something. 2: Shake Shack fixes everything.


Rainy Day at Lincoln's Cottage

On Saturday, we ventured out to the Armed Forces Retirement Home, which are actually the grounds that the Lincoln family used to spend time on and also include's their summer cottage. It was Family Day at Abe's Place! We were extra excited because it was close enough to walk there with the stroller. (Public transportation has become a little more difficult once we moved to the new neighborhood -the nearest metro stop requires us to take the bus to get there now, and we still haven't mastered the bus+stroller quite yet). It was a little rainy, but we still had plenty of fun dressing like our 16th president, visiting the little petting zoo (Little Sebastian!), sidewalk chalk, and making thank you cards for the veterans.

I loved this little outing. It was so fun being able to have the whole walk there and back to chat with Camaron, and then seeing Fox have fun and almost destroy an original Civil War wooden pipe is always fun, and the weather was so great. Well, it was. Until we left. Let's just say, I'm glad we remembered to pack our umbrellas and that we somehow had the inspiration to dress the kids in long sleeves and pants (us AZ folk are fools when it comes to weather that isn't sunny). 

Thank you for your hospitality, Abe.

Lessons in Big City Livin'

On Wednesday, I was both a fool and a hero. 
I had ventured off by myself to do some grocery shopping while Camaron stayed home with the kids. I rode the bus by myself for the first time (should I be embarrassed that that makes me kind of proud?), and made my way to Target. It's not exactly the ideal grocery store, but there's honestly not much to choose from in our area, and I would never pass up an opportunity to visit Target. I brought our big backpack -because how else do you get all of your purchases home when you don't have a car? (Something I had never really thought about until we got here). 

I made it safely to Target (Yay!) and grabbed a cart and got to shopping. Since it's a bus ride away, and it's not the easiest to bring the kids on the bus, I wanted to make this shopping trip count so I wouldn't have to do it again in like two days (probably with the kids). So I ended up with quite a little haul. But I had made sure to buy the smaller size of most items, and I did pass up a lot of things that I knew I didn't absolutely need this trip. I had also brought two shopping bags (bags here cost $0.05 each at all of the stores, fyi), so I kept eyeing my cart and I knew I could still get everything to fit in the backpack and the two bags for my trip back home.

I got to the register, the lady scanned all of my stuff and helped me load it all up. Luckily, it did all fit! Barely. Then I said bye to the nice cashier and went to put on my full backpack. I almost fell over slinging it on. It was so, so heavy. It was difficult to stand up straight. Next, I went to lift my bags. Oh wow, those were incredibly heavy too. They were large paper Trader Joe's bags and were filled to the brim, so I could barely even wrap my finger around the handles. This was not good.

As I approached the store escalator with all of my groceries in tow, all I could think of was that a scene from Home Alone was about to happen. I just knew my grocery bags were gonna rip and everything would break and/or roll everywhere. Luckily, I was wrong and the bags held. My fingers were already white with pain as the handles of the bags dug into my knuckles (luckily, they went numb pretty quickly). And I still had to carry all this stuff the couple blocks to the bus stop.

But I persevered!

I just held tight and tried to stand as straight as I could and slowly made my way. Sure, people were staring, I almost was stung by a bee (seriously, it was in my hand and I didn't realize it),  and my huge backpack probably got in some people's faces on the incredibly-crowded bus, but I made it. We made it (I'm giving those bags credit). We all made it home. 

And never again will I be a fool and use a grocery cart to shop when I don't have a car. Baskets, people. Baskets! That's what you need to use, so you know right off if things are getting too heavy.
You're welcome.

Another G-rated Birth Story // as told by mom and dad

Birth stories are interesting. I can understand why some may never want to read one and would completely avoid it. Before ever being pregnant, I pretty much felt that way. I never felt comfortable with birth or its details. But once I was pregnant, I found so much comfort in reading the experiences of others. It helped prepare me in so many ways and I am so grateful for so many women for being so open with their experiences. Knowing how much the birth stories of others helped me, I would feel silly not sharing my own experience. So, even though it's over two months late, here is the story of Sloane's birth. And I decided to do it similar to Fox's story, featuring both mine and Camaron's points of view:)  
***more pictures at the end. I won't be offended if you just skip to them

text = Andrea
text = Camaron

Since Fox was born a few days early, I planned for the same thing to happen with Sloane. Andrea was due on a Monday, so I expected her to be born the weekend before. I took off work, and my coworkers were all excited, and then BAM! Nothing happened. She didn't even have contractions or anything! SO I went back to work, everyone began questioning if I even had a pregnant wife, and life went on. 

The night my labor started (6/25/14), we were watching Seinfeld and I was bouncing on an exercise ball, religiously drinking my raspberry leaf tea. I had had my last doctor’s appointment that afternoon and had gone for the membrane sweep this time. My doctor had offered it the last couple appointments, but I figured there was no need since Fox came early and I was already having a lot of progress with this baby. I ended up going five days past my due date, so I was up for trying anything (no matter how many times you tell yourself that due dates are just estimates, it’s still a little panicky to go over).

So I get home from work on Wednesday and Andrea's bouncing on an exercise ball. After a little while she started having minor little contractions, which was a good sign. I had been toying around with the idea of live-Tweeting the birth, because 1) it would be an interesting way to look back at the birth, and 2) I could type out all the funny things I was thinking that would annoy a pregnant woman. Seriously, I had some real zingers during Fox's birth, and didn't want them to go to waste again.

I didn’t even notice contractions had started really. It was around eight at night, and I had felt kinda crampy ever since my doctor appointment, but then I noticed the crampy feeling had become more rhythmic. It would come, fade away, and then come back a little while later. I started timing them with a contractions app I had and sure enough, these were real. I was so happy.

We finished packing our bag (because of course we waited until the contractions started to pack the bag), put everything in the car, and just kind of hung out and watched Seinfeld. Eventually the contractions died down and we went to bed.

I woke up around two or three. I just laid there for a while and began to notice the contractions were back. I laid there until they started to hurt. Then I drew a bath, got in, and simply relaxed, pouring the hot water over my pregnant belly each time a contraction came. This really helped so much. I think I did this for around an hour and I was able to easily make it through each contraction that came. It really made a water birth seem appealing. Eventually, around four am, the contractions were getting pretty close together (5 minutes or less), so I called my mom to have her come over so she could stay with Fox -he was still sleeping. Then I texted Cam in the other room to let him know it was close to go time (he was still asleep. I didn’t want to wake him until I needed to). 

I was woken up around 4am to an empty bed and a ringing phone. Andrea had apparently woken up and gotten all contraction-y, so she had gone to the bathroom or something. She called her mom to come sleep at our house so Fox could stay sleeping, and then when her mom got there, called me to wake me up (Side-note: isn't that so nice that she let me sleep until the last possible minute? I think that was really nice). So I got up, got dressed, and grabbed the last few items to put in the car. When I got outside I found out that I had left the trunk door to our car open, which had me a little worried that the battery might've been drained, meaning I would have to deliver this baby (or, you know, we'd take her mom's car, or something). I didn't tell Andrea right away because I value my life, and instead went inside and talked casually with her mom so everything seemed cool. Andrea was pretty focused on the pain of her body trying to expel a human being from within, which worked out great for me. I grabbed the keys and the car turned on! Just to be safe, I told Andrea not to check her Twitter until after the baby was born. No need for unnecessary stress, right?

My mom arrived, we grabbed our bag, I had to pause a bunch because the contractions were pretty strong. I didn’t eat anything that morning before we left, but I did drink a Powerade. And I don’t remember what it was, but I know I had a huge dinner the night before. I remember this because, when I later threw up, I remember thinking, "I’m so glad my body digested that huge dinner and all that is coming out right now is just Powerade.”

We get to the hospital around 5am, and we get in pretty quickly. Andrea gets hooked up to some machine where they verify that she is in fact having contractions (she was). They then took us into the next room. 

My original plan was to just lose myself in my calming music and hypnobirthing tracks on my iphone, but I didn’t want to miss out on anything happening around me, I was just too curious, so I only had the headphones on until we got to the hospital. I paused against the car while we were in the parking lot and waited for the contraction to pass, then we made a break for it to the hospital entrance doors. Right before getting there though, I had to pause again. This was where the throwing up occurred. Right in the pretty plants next to the entrance. We were admitted pretty quickly, and breezed through triage since this was real labor, people. They asked if I wanted the wheelchair to get to the delivery room (the last room at the very end of the hall). I said no, because I knew walking would help speed things along. I waiting until a contraction passed, then made the break for it to the delivery room -the contractions were incredibly strong and I couldn’t walk, and could barely stand whenever they would occur at this point. Halfway down the hall, I had to pause again and wait another one out.

sidenote: I had been planning for a natural birth this whole pregnancy and had worked really hard to prepare my body. I exercised as much as I could, avoided getting too comfortable while watching TV (I had read that sitting up straight on hard surfaces would help prepare me better), I had done hundreds of kegals every day for months, I had taken a class, I had read numerous books, done special muscle-strengthening exercises. The goal of having a smooth delivery and quick recovery were what really pushed me. I really wanted to avoid all of the downtime and pain I experienced after Fox’s birth. I knew I needed to bounce back fast to help take care of both kids.

In the delivery room, we were left alone. This was nice, but also not so nice. We were able to be just the two of us, but there was no one there to ask questions ...let alone alert if a baby suddenly came out of me. I began feeling nauseous again. And my mouth was the dryest I think I’ve ever experienced -lots of heavy breathing going on. So I had Cam grab a nurse for a throw up bag and some ice chips (sidenote: we did bring a barf bowl in the car with us again, but we left it in the car this time). Eventually, I found myself in the bathroom. Why is it that sitting on a toilet can just be so comfortable? I was in so much pain and was shaking a lot. I was at the breaking point. I had held out this whole time and had worked as hard as I could, but the thought came to me, “I need an epidural.” Probably one contraction later, I told Camaron, “I think I want an epidural, I’ve really been thinking about it for a while now.” Being the great birth partner that he is, Camaron told me, “let’s wait ten more minutes, then let me know if you feel the same.” The time passed and we decided to do the epidural. I think my shaking was really freaking Cam out.

And then Sloane was born about twenty minutes later. At 7:21am.

Andrea wanted to try and give birth naturally again, and this time I had prepared to help her. Together, she was able to hold off taking any drugs for a really long time, and held off long enough that the drugs didn't have a negative impact on her recovery time. Her goal was a quick recovery time, and she got it, so I feel like we were pretty successful in that regard.

It felt like it took forever for the epidural. First the nurse could not stick me right to draw my blood (which apparently they needed before they could even call the anesthesiologist). She kept apologizing, but needles don’t really bother me, so in my head I was yelling at her to quit apologizing and just shut up and get it over with so I could get the drugs. I kinda wish I had said it out loud now, so Sloane would be more entertained when I tell her this story some day. Eventually, needles found their place, blood was drawn, and the anesthesiologist came in and started getting me ready for the epidural. I was sitting on the edge of the bed, legs hanging over one side. The bed was raised really high and they asked me to scoot further forward, lean over, but not hold onto the bed. I don’t know what they were thinking, but I was going to fall off the bed if I scooted any further forward. Finally, I just did it (and had Cam held onto me just in case). It was at that moment that my water broke. Over the side of the bed and onto the floor. They broke my water for me last time, so this was incredibly exciting to experience it happening on its own. And to have Camaron’s shoes experience it right there with me. Right after, the epidural was placed, but it seriously felt like so long before I could feel it working.

Right before the doctor arrived, when we knew the baby was coming really soon, Camaron asked me what my last prediction was. Right then, I suddenly pictured her. I told him I felt like it would be a girl, and she had a lot of hair. Camaron felt like it would be a boy.

All this had happened by around 7am, then the doctor came in and the fun really started! The bed transformed into this stirrup-wielding baby deliverer, Andrea was much calmer, and we were all really excited to find out if we had a little boy or girl. The first thing I noticed was the hair. So much hair! This baby already had a bigger mop than Fox! The baby slid out pretty quickly (nice work Andrea), and after the doctor's arm got our of the way, I saw that it was a girl. A girl! And she was cute and happy and it was great. Then Andrea ordered a gigantic breakfast, and that was great too.

It went so smooth. The doctor got there in time. The epidural was weak enough that I could feel myself pushing and had enough energy to do it. I only had to push through two contractions. And then the baby came. Camaron was the one to announce, “It’s a girl!” She was immediately placed on me and I just loved this little girl right away.


Our New Neighborhood

Over the weekend, we made the transition from Camaron's cousin's place in downtown DC to our new neighborhood in northwest DC. Our move was pretty fun. We didn't have any furniture since we found a furnished place, but we did have a ton of suitcases. Struggling with all our stuff + two kiddos on the metro didn't really sound appealing. So we used an Uber van to drive us and our stuff. Our driver was really neat and a DC native, so he had no problem navigating the crazy city traffic, and taught us a bit about the area. We made it to the new place, immediately unpacked, and went right to bed -we were worn out.

Where we'll be living the rest of this adventure is a little different from Camaron's cousin's apartment. To me, the difference is most obvious at night. The sound of ambulances and cars honking has been replaced by the sound of crickets and rustling leaves. What a huge change just a few miles up the road can be! Downtown was incredibly fun (and convenient!), but I'm really looking forward to the memories we'll make in our real place this fall.

Today, we visited a nearby park and it was so nice to just sit back and watch Fox climb up the stairs and then slide down the slide and do it over again a hundred times. Love that he's so independent now. He even made a new little friend and they followed each other around giggling for quite a while. I'm so glad we were able to find a place with parks nearby -that was on my wish list while we were searching for housing:)

A Very G-Rated Birth Video

I've always somewhat regretted not making a birth video of Fox. We got a little bit of footage when we were in the hospital with him, so we added it to his first birthday video, but it still wasn't quite the same. Camaron and I made a goal that when new baby came, we would use the camera a lot more. I'm so glad we did. I just love seeing Sloane when she was so brand new. And I especially love that we were able to film a lot of her visitors. I remember it got a little crazy in that tiny, crowded hospital room, so I'm sorry that not everyone made it on camera. How fun will it be to show this to Sloane when she turns one? (or maybe two. I don't know how much she'll understand when she's one).


Happy Friday! // Swimming on the Roof

Happy Friday! I'm extra excited for this weekend because we finally get to move into our apartment. Ok, I should remove the "finally" from that sentence. It's not like it's been super rough staying at Camaron's cousin's place. I mean, our new place definitely doesn't have a pool on the roof with a view of the Capitol Building and Washington Monument while you swim. Sheesh! But I am so looking forward to finally being able to unpack -suitcase living is the worst.

Have a great weekend! I keep thinking I want to come swimming here every weekend ...but the pool closes on the 12th:( I still can't wrap my head around that it will be getting cold around here before so soon. AZ friends, have fun swimming for an additional few months.
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