Fun in the Sun: Our Rockport Vacation Part 1

A beautiful pier just outside the door...too bad we didn't have access to it :(

A beautiful pier just outside the door…too bad we didn’t have access to it 😦

I’ve been away for a few days and this is the reason: this past weekend we had a fabulous family vacation in Rockport, Texas!

We left on Friday morning with optimistic, happy faces, we were looking forward to a relaxing and fun time away. We loaded up the car, strapped Penny into her car seat and hit the road. For some reason, I neglected to eat something that morning even thought I know that I get sick if I don’t. I was feeling pretty icky when we drove into Lockhart, TX and so we stopped for a breakfast sandwich. It took about half an hour to hit my system, but once it did I started feeling much better. From then on the drive seemed like a piece of cake! Penny did so well, and even took a 45 minute nap (thanks to The Beatles).

We arrived in Rockport with my in-laws and followed them out to the house they rented for all of us. It was awesome! Right on the bay with an infinity pool and very comfortable rooms. We set everything up (pack n play, clothes in drawers, toiletries in bathroom, etc) and let Penny run around for a while. She was definitely tired, but we decided to wait until Chris got back with lunch (from Whataburger) to put her down for her nap. After some ‘nana’ and yogurt, it was time to attempt the nap. I was worried that since we had such a good, established routine at home being away might throw her off, but she did surprisingly well. I tried to simulate everything we do at home as closely as possible (books, lamp, rocking and lullaby) and, after I left the room, she fussed for a few minutes before I decided to go back in and try more rocking. After this second round, she was out like a light. We all took a leaf out of Penny’s book and slept as well – so nice to get some catch-up sleep after a tiring car ride!

When Penny woke up, we all went out to the pool for some water fun. My husband’s 8-year old brother and sister were so great with Penny. All they want to do is sit with her and play with her – and Penny just eats it up. By the end of the trip she was grabbing their shirts and/or hands and dragging them from room to room.


The living room in our rental house – so nice!

We ordered Charlotte Plummer’s (a great seafood place on the bay) and had a nice dinner in. I wish I had a picture of the fried shrimp so you could drool along with me but, alas, I was too focused on eating and culinary photography fell by the wayside.

After some quiet before-bed play, we took an exhausted baby girl to our room for bedtime. She talked to herself for a few minutes before falling right to sleep! And we weren’t far behind! Chris and I read for a little bit in the living room (well, Chris read and I feel asleep) and soon we took our tired behinds to bed as well (tiptoeing into our shared room with Penny and praying that neither of us crashed into anything and woke her up – which luckily didn’t happen).

My hubby is still editing our Rockport pictures, so I’ll post those along with Part 2 of our vacation tomorrow!


8 Week Update


What’s New With Mommy

Doctor’s Appointment:

Nothing to report. Our next doctor’s appointment will be 12 weeks.


Still nauseated if I don’t eat something first thing in the morning and if I don’t get good protein in with every meal.

Still moody, but (maybe?) finding ways to cope so my family doesn’t catch the brunt of it.

Saliva has let up a little, though if I am nauseated the waterworks turn on.

I can’t keep my eyes open past 11 (which is saying something, because I’ve been used to staying up until 3 over the summer).

Several days ago I was having what felt like Braxton-Hicks contractions. That tightening feeling in my uterus that happened often during my first pregnancy (only my stomach didn’t get hard like last time – I don’t know if this was because my uterus is still so small or because I was feeling something else and the comparison to Braxton-Hicks was all in my head.). Being only 8 weeks pregnancy though it made me nervous. What if I was having a miscarriage? Luckily, I haven’t felt them lately and have had no other warning signs.

Baby Bump:

I’m unbuttoning my jeans and shorts when sitting a lot more now, and I feel like I ate a huge Thanksgiving dinner after even a small snack.

Weight Gain:

121 (back up from last week, but not much gain)


Still having some weird dreams, not as stressful as last week, but still extremely strange.


Similar to my last pregnancy, I haven’t had much of a sweet tooth. However, unlike last time, I want meat all the time. Steak please!

What’s Up With Baby


Baby Simons is the size of a kidney bean (just over 1/2 an inch).


Fingers and toes are forming on little hands and feet. Baby’s eyelids cover most of his or her eyes and there are nerve connections being made in Baby’s brain. His or her tail is almost completely gone this week!


Nothing that I feel, but Baby is doing all kinds of moving.

Advice for First Time Moms

Penny and Mommy Moby_resize

I’ve learned a lot from my first pregnancy and raising a baby girl.

As a first time mom myself, I also know how annoying it can be to get a constant stream of advice from well-meaning friends, relatives, and anyone who passes you in the grocery store. This is what I’ve learned from being a mom – I hope you take something away from it, but you certainly don’t have to!

  • Don’t beat yourself up about a little clutter. When Penny was a newborn, I had a choice between getting housework done and napping. Choose the snooze! The housework can wait! I made the mistake of trying to keep up with all of the laundry, cleaning, organizing, etc that was so easy when I had the opportunity for a full night’s sleep. With a newborn, you are focused completely on your little bundle when he/she is awake (and often when he/she is asleep too!) Instead of trying to get everything done when your baby naps, take a nap yourself. It’s a big change going from 7-8 hours straight of sleep a night to maybe 3 hour chunks. Rest yourself so you can enjoy the newborn time with your little one.
  • Invest in a white noise machine. My husband and I learned this little tip from The Happiest Baby on the Block, a book and DVD that my friend who had also recently had a baby turned us on to. According to Dr. Karp, the author and a practicing pediatrician, babies relax better when the environment they spent 9 months in is simulated outside the womb. There is constant, and fairly loud, noise (a muffled, rushing/whooshing noise) that a white noise machine does a good job of approximating. Once we bought one of these little beauties, my little girl woke up less often during a nap and slept for longer stretches.
  • Learn to wrap your little burrito (or find a wrap that does it for you). Also from The Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Karp emphasizes swaddling to help your newborn sleep well. In the womb your baby is snuggled tightly, but once outside, they miss the feeling of being enveloped. We tried over and over again to perfect our swaddling technique, but to no avail, we are pathetic swaddlers. Fortunately, we found some products that achieve the same effect without the sweat and frustration. Our favorites were: SwaddleMe, Woombie, and the Miracle Blanket (we used this one when she got really good at getting those little arms free).
  • Let people help you. Friends and family want cuddle time with your adorable little bundle. If you’re comfortable with it, let them babysit while you take a nap or run an errand. This was extremely hard for me (mainly because I wanted to spend every second with Penny) but you’ll be a better mom if you are well-rested and your baby will get some time to bond with those that will be important in his or her life.
  • Take care of yourself. With a new baby at home, it’s so easy to forget to take time for yourself to make sure you stay healthy physically and mentally. Eat well and eat healthy. Not only will this help you lose some of the pregnancy weight, but if you’re breastfeeding, you have to keep your body fueled and strong (not that you don’t need to do this if you aren’t breastfeeding, but it’s especially important if you are so baby gets nutrient-rich milk). Take walks or do light stretches to ease back into an exercise routine. Don’t overdo it right out of the hospital. Birth takes it out of you, so make sure you’re ready before you get back in the gym. And finally, don’t forget to take a shower! This seems crazy, maybe, but there was many a time I was so wrapped up in taking care of Penny that I forgot to do the same for myself.

These are some of the most important things I learned after my daughter was born. I’m going to do my best to remember them when our new little one is born (although, with a toddler at home at the same time, I’m sure I’ll have to amend/revise them a little. For all of you new mommies and new mommies to-be out there, you’re going to find your own way to care for your baby and your new family, they right way is what works for you. Above all, enjoy it. 

Travels with Charley in Search of America

Travels with Charley Cover

Does the dog die?

This is the first question I asked my husband when he recommended this book to me. The answer is no, and it won’t spoil the book for you. I needed to know this fact before I started because I wouldn’t have read it if he did. I know, it’s a stupid reason not to read a book, but it’s how I am. And no, I’ve never read or seen Marley and Me (and I never will).

This book is excellent. I’ve read Steinbeck’s major novels (Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, Of Mice and Men) and loved them all. This was a different kind of book, and one that I’m glad I read. I felt like I got to know Steinbeck.  Often, it read as though he was thinking aloud about the things and places he saw. It always adds dimension to an author when you are able to read something autobiographical by him or her. Steinbeck’s traveling companion, Charley, a Standard Poodle, provides another great perspective on the journey.

The book begins with an older Steinbeck preparing to take a trip across America; he feels out of touch with the people he writes about and he wants to feel the pulse of the country again.  Steinbeck decides that he will make the trip by camper, since he wants to meet people in their natural state. He doesn’t want to interfere with them so t he must be “a kinds of casual turtle carrying his house on his back.” He accomplishes this turtle-ness by purchasing a truck with a camper built into the bed. He names it Rocinante. The Quixote reference adds an interesting dimension to the book and it made me smile.


Now for an extremely brief summary of the book: Steinbeck spends what seems like a lot of time travelling from New York to Chicago (nearly 100 pages of 210). After Chicago, Steinbeck visits Montana and Wyoming (most notably) on his way to the west coast. Really beautiful descriptions of the land! Then, it’s on to California and Steinbeck’s hometown of Salinas. He spends only a little time here, feeling as though he no longer belongs in his hometown. He moves on through the Mojave desert and his next significant stop along the way is Texas. Steinbeck calls it a “state of mind” and an “obsession”; he spends little time on the land itself, but more on the people of Texas and their fierce sense of nationalism. As a Texan, I enjoyed this part of the book and his treatment of my home state 🙂 After a happy stop at a friend’s ranch, he heads to New Orleans, where he wants to witness the horrific racial tension caused by the desegregation of the public schools. This part of the book made me sob. Steinbeck speeds back home after this, eager to see his wife, sleep in his own bed, and be in his own home.

This book is definitely worth the read!

There’s the Heartbeat!

I had my doctor’s appointment today to confirm a heartbeat and little baby didn’t disappoint! It’s always a little nerve wracking to not know for sure how everything is progressing. In a weird way it can be comforting to have morning sickness; you know that your body is still working on growing that little baby.  I loved seeing that little flicker! He or she is growing and doing well, just a little gummy bear in my belly.

I filmed the ultrasound on my iPhone for Chris, since he wasn’t able to come to this appointment (he was at home with Penny since we haven’t told our family yet and it would be a little hard to explain a doctor’s appointment that we both have to go to…) He’ll get to come next time!

My doctor adjusted my due date a little, so now we’re looking at March 11. This puts me right around my district’s Spring Break, so hopefully I’ll be able to stay on maternity leave through the rest of the school year – 5 whole months with little baby Simons and Penelope!

My next appointment will be in late August, and we’ll have one more ultrasound to check in on the baby. Yay!