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.

Rockport_house

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!

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. 

Lessons I’ve Learned from Lucy

I’ve been on an I Love Lucky kick. It’s fantastic. Whenever I’m feeling blah I turn on Hulu and get my Lucy on.

These are some of the things I’ve learned from I Love Lucy:

Lucy Crying

1. It’s OK to cry. It seems like every other episode Lucy is sobbing over something or other. Most of the time one of her schemes didn’t work out like she thought it would, but sometimes she cries just to get her way. Ricky, on the receiving end of what can only be termed a ‘tantrum,’ usually caves and/or feels extremely guilty and buys her something. I don’t think I’ll be going this route in my marriage (as I already have a 14 month old who has started throwing tantrums when she doesn’t get what she wants and adding mommy to the mix might give my hubby apoplexy).

Lucy is enceinte

2. If you aren’t allowed to use the term ‘pregnant’ in your place of work, substitute ‘enciente’. This seems crazy in this day and age, but you couldn’t say “pregnant” on TV in the 50s – whoa! And her maternity clothes! Circus tents with frilly collars/decorative buttons. Talk about trying to hide a major fact of life. Sooo glad I live in a time when pregnancy can be talked about and is celebrated! (And the clothes are cute too!)

Lucy and Ethel

3. Lean on your close friends. Ethel was always there for the Lucy. Always taking part in Lucy’s crazy schemes (no matter how many times they backfired) and ready to back her up when Ricky was mad about whatever Lucy had done. We should all be so lucky.

Job Switching

4. Never take life too seriously. I Love Lucy only deals with the lighter side of life and I love that about it. There’s plenty of serious stuff we have to deal with everyday and I don’t need my TV shows adding additional anxiety to my life.

Lucy Dancing

5. Never give up. I think this is the most important lesson from the series. Lucy never quits trying to have her shot at fame. Poor Lucy…she’s not good at singing, dancing, or acting and she doesn’t know it (even though everyone around her tells her all the time). Still, she perseveres and takes every opportunity she can to be in the spotlight.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have another season to watch!

Just water for me!

So we had a busy weekend! Some friends of ours came down from Houston and stayed with us for a couple days. When we get together we love to eat and eat like we mean it. We hit up our favorite restaurants and we go home happy. Since we’re not telling anyone about my pregnancy yet, it can be a little dicey turning down that margarita at dinner when everyone else at the table orders them but, lucky for me, Chris stayed dry with me, which made the inevitable excuses a little less lame (“No drink for me tonight…I just feel like water!). We also had dinner with my in-laws last night. Delicious Mexican food and very little time to eat since I have a kiddo who wants to get out of that high chair and GO! I was talking to my husband’s dad (who has twins) and he was waxing envious about Penelope’s sleep habits (9pm to 10am…not bad!) and when I pointed out that he has two to deal with he said “…and that’s a warning!” Well it’s a little too late for warnings now 🙂 It’s definitely weird keeping such a huge thing a secret from friends and family, but it just makes the excitement of finally telling them that much sweeter.