#tripnorth2015: The Un-Vacation

Hubs and I just got back from another #tripnorth. It was supposed to be a vacation with beach time and no obligations, but as I’ve come to learn, a vacation does not include a few things that are kind of non-negotiables when it comes to our trips: 1. family obligations and 2. a toddler.

The toddler is here to stay (lucky for him! Not so lucky for my “vacation” prospects in the near future.) and family obligations usually come with the #tripnorth territory. So we’ve gotta find a happy medium here.

But regardless of those vacation “non-negotiables” for this year it wasn’t entirely family or #babyschmidt’s fault our vacation was…what I hearby deem an “un-vacation.” My new job came with a few upsides (bigger salary!) and a few  downsides … largely the lack of vacation time in the first year. Not to mention, hubs had some work obligations that also cut “vacation” short on the front end.

Over the past few months, our vacation went from: a few days on the Cape, to a Yankees game, to U2 at MSG to celebrating my father in law’s birthday to… no Cape Cod. Reselling our Baltimore/Yankees tickets. We did get to U2 (which was AMAZING – no way we were sacrificing those!) and we were a part of an amazing surprise birthday party for my Father-in-law’s 65th birthday (which so awesome to be a part of!) but there wasn’t really any beach-ing…or a lot of quiet relaxing – again…toddler. So clearly I need to modify my vacation expectations. At least until retirement when Hubs and I can vacation any damn time we want.

So here are my lessons on managing vacation expectations with a toddler.

unvacation

1. Always have a back up plan (especially in regards to food) 

CT Lobster rolls

Thursday night before the u2 show, we kicked around Eataly – grabbing a drink up on the rooftop beer garden, getting oysters on the half shell at the fish bar, and then a cheese plate – but we had planned on grabbing a pizza or some pasta at the pasta place except by the time we got around to them…there was an hour plus long wait. WHOOPS. Needless to say, we trekked up towards Madison Square Garden and found a place after a few horrible suggestions on hubs’ behalf. The place we ended up at was good, but it was expensive for what it was. And in turn, we were a little late for the show.

Subsequently, a similar mistake was made on Sunday on our mission to find Lobster Rolls – the place we had found turned out being a food truck on the side of Bridgeport Avenue – and while I’m sure it was delicious, it wasn’t exactly a toddler appropriate atmosphere…being on the side of a busy road and all…with no fences. So we ended up finding another place that was delightful.

2. Research, research, research! 

Friday night, we went to Quassy – a tiny, independent amusement park next to Hubs’s hometown in Connecticut. Kudos to hubs for finding 50 cent ticket night (and  hot dogs! Which were…just okay.) but less kudos that they had a splash park that little man would have loved. Even less kudos for buying $20 of tickets (so 40 tickets total mind you) only for E to burst into tears as soon as the first ride he went on (a little boat ride. That i almost sunk because I didn’t know it was kiddos only. No ‘rents allowed). Total parental fail. He also had a meltdown on the train ride…and the carousel.

3. Don’t over plan but don’t not plan at all either

I had some general ideas what I wanted to do on our “vacation” – go for a nice hike… go to a beach… but I’m not from Connecticut. I had no idea what the best places were to do any of these things. Hubs wasn’t super helpful in planning or researching. We went on a little hike around a pond in his hometown – which wasn’t quite as challenging as I might have liked (which, if we had brought Little Man…probably couldn’t have been super challenging anyhow). And we ended up at a beach in Milford on Sunday afternoon – it was okay. Fun to wade in since it was low tide and there were tons of tide pools with little Hermit Crabs.

4. Be active

It’s vacation! Get outdoors – find new and interesting playgrounds. Explore the beach. Go for a hike where you’ve never been before. There is nothing more refreshing and relaxing than being active on vacation. If you’re training for a race, have a plan to continue your workouts. I stuck with the sleep plan over the workout consistent plan but I did do research on spin classes…I just didn’t actually make it to any of them. Instead however, we went berry picking at a farm up in Litchfield County and that in itself was a pretty hearty workout.

5. Make the most of it

Our “vacation” certainly wasn’t perfect but it did contain a lot of something we don’t get a lot of during our usual weekly hustle: quality family time. Despite the fact that I committed to doing some work to ease the PTO I had to take. And the fact that our vacation went from nine days to five days – two of which we already had predetermined plans. We spent a lot of time together and made a lot of great memories.

Make a list – hubs and I didn’t really communicate our expectations until I had a mini-breakdown and expressed my sadness that I didn’t really feel like it was much of a vacation. Thus came our definition of vacation as time off with no predetermined obligations. Beach or not – because every vacation can’t have a beach. This also likely means that race-cations aren’t really vacations, not that I’ve ever taken one of those. Yet.

So, now it’s back to the real world. Back to triathlon training. Back to work. Back to summer here – we’re going to hopefully round off our summer bucket list and I’m going to knock out the rest of my triathlon season before diving into my race season this fall since I have a couple of fun races planned. As I don’t have much more time off between now and June 1 of next year, we’re going to take advantage of the holidays, and try to make some fun day trips and fun weekend plans over the next few months to really make the most of our time together as a family.

Have you taken an “un-vacation?” How did you make the most of it? 

 

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#tripnorth – NKOTB version

Last week my sister and I had tickets to go see NKOTB. Cue fun connections from my freelance days and I managed to snag tickets to a meet & greet and upgraded our seats.

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I remember when I was younger, my sister went to a show with a couple of our cousins in Saratoga, NY – I was too little to go so I writhed with jealousy at home alone with my parents while she got to see the heartthrobs in the flesh.

20+ years later. We get a re-do. But better because man have those men aged nicely. I’m convinced that boy-bands are akin to fine wine – they get better with age. At least looks wise.

I haven’t listened to NKOTB in quite a few years to be honest, but Nelly? He’s my jam (especially when I run) and his opening act definitely brought me back to some nights at Our House East in Boston. TLC and NKOTB were both amazing throw back shows and the love, the love for Boston from the hometown boys? Was amazing and made me fall in love with Boston all over again just like I did the first time I walked onto Northeastern’s campus nearly 14 years ago.

Aside from that aspect of the trip?

My sister and I shopped for bridesmaids dresses for her August 2016 wedding. I tried on a lot of duds but THE dress is purchased and on order. Excuse my short-armed selfie attempts but really – the shoes. Check out those shoes.

I saw my grandparents and man, my Nana is not doing well. Alzheimer’s is an ugly disease folks. Ugly. But was still amazing to have a couple of short, sweet visits with my grandparents. Having not been home all that much since making my own home with the Hubs in the mid-atlantic, it always surprises me how much they’ve aged since I saw them dancing and smiling at my wedding back in 2009.

I drank delicious beer. Hello Switchback and Fiddlehead.

Fiddlehead

Two of my favorite Vermont brews.

Had delicious pizza and a real creamy. Summer in Vermont is the best time ever. Aside from the holiday season on Church Street. Nothing beats those lights on a snowy December evening.

Finally, Sunday before leaving, I hit up a spin class at CyclePath on College Street in downtown Burlington. What an awesome workout. I haven’t taken a spin class outside of your run-of-the-mill gym (like 24 Hour Fitness or Premiere Fitness here in Annapolis) so getting to hit up a cycling studio was a lot of fun. Super high energy and really state of the art. I will definitely be revisiting them when I’m up next and if you’re around Burlington and looking for an awesome workout? Check them out – AND be sure to get a smoothie from the JuiceBox after class.

Ultimately, a successful #tripnorth. Good to be home with my boys and into week 4 of triathlon training!

 

 

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2013 By the numbers

I should have posted this yesterday, but blogging has been tough the past couple weeks. With traveling, the holidays, a family stomach flu, you know the ish that holidays are made of. All in all, 2013 was a very good year with ups and downs. We are truly blessed.

Here’s 2013 by the numbers:

Nine months since Ethan was born. Nine months of growth, laughter, love and tears. Nine months since our lives were forever changed. Pretty incredible how time flies.

Eight races ran. Zooma 10k, Womens 5k, Travis Manion 5k (baby’s first race!), Army 10 miler, Ripley 5k, Junior League 5k, and the Girls on the Run 5k.

Seven Trips North to visit family in CT and Vermont. Two trips to Vermont, five to CT including a baby shower, a pseudo-babymoon, a baptism, visiting friends from over seas and two holidays celebrated with family.

Six months of nursing. Wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be but we made it six months which is a massive accomplishment.

Five days before my due date, was Ethan’s scheduled date.

Four different jobs between the two of us. It’s been a tough year employment wise – my part time job position was eliminated right before Christmas so now I’m debating between ramping up my freelancing versus going back to work full time or part time. Tough call. Thankfully, despite Adam’s position being eliminated at the end of October, he’s starting a new gig next week that we’re thrilled about.

Three years since we moved to Annapolis – don’t regret it. Love this town and the friends we’ve made. We are very blessed.

Two steady freelance writing gigs for two publications in town.

One happy family. We are so blessed with Ethan and he has been the highlight of the year by far.

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Christmas Number One

We celebrated our family’s Christmas yesterday. We’re traveling to visit families in VT, and CT over the next ten days or so, so we decided to do our own Christmas. I mean, there’s no point in stuffing our car full of gifts for each other when we just have to cart them back home again right?

 

Ethan was completely over-stimulated by the whole event and took an hour and a half long nap before playgroup. Playgroup was more fun, and following that and the last bits of Christmas shopping for family, he napped for 2 1/2 hours. I don’t know if I’ll ever get that lucky with nap time again.

All in all, Christmas in Annapolis was a huge success. We are beyond blessed as a family.

I think the kittens were just pissed that there was nothing under the tree for them. They’re crazy enough though, they certainly don’t need any cat nip to contribute to that crazy factor.

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Twenty Five Days of Christmas Fun

So it’s Baby’s first Christmas so of course, despite the craziness, I had to make it the most memorable Christmas ever – not just for him but for Hubs and I – since we don’t get another “first Christmas with a baby.”

I saw something similar over on pinterest I believe (of course I did) so I was inspired (or should I say pin-spired) to create my own list.

25 days of Christmas

Here are my 25 things I want to do between now and Christmas….

1. Buy and decorate  a tree
2. Add lights to the balcony
3. Take a Christmas photo of Ethan in holiday pj’s (inspiration)
4. Get nice family pictures
5. Send Christmas cards
6. Take Ethan to national christmas tree
7. Go ice skating
8. Decorate our mantel for xmas
9. Buy new and/or matching pj’s for christmas
10. Attend a cookie swap (I’m actually going to two!)
11. Have a Christmas-y crafty date with Liz
12. Buy Ethan’s first ornament
13. Watch Love Actually
14. Watch A Very Charlie Brown Christmas
15. Take Ethan to visit Santa
16. See Church Street in Burlington lit up at night
17. Go to a Christmas tree lighting
18. See Lights on the Bay
19. Drink mulled wine
20. Go to an Ornament Swap
21. Donate to Toys for Tots
22. Make New Years Eve plans
23. Attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve
24. Buy an Elf on the Shelf (and take photos accordingly!)
25. Document all of the above for Ethan’s memory book!
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? 
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Fall Bucket List: Navy Game Tailgate

Last weekend i knocked another item off my fall bucket list – one of a few, and probably one of the only ones I’ll get around to since my weekends have been jam packed.

But my pal Kelly invited us to a tailgate with her, her husband and a couple of their friends. The tailgate was organized by the Knights of Columbus  – it just so happens that Adam is a knight, but he’s been a bit MIA with his MBA classes that happen to fall on the nights they meet.

The tailgate was tons of fun. The KoC had a tent right on Taylor Avenue and the Mids marched past as they walked into the stadium.

navy football midshipmen

We scored pretty awesome seats for the game – right in the end zone about two rows back from the field.

Navy football game No zoom here!

We stayed until half time but Ethan was starting to get too chilly and cranky so we bailed early and finished watching the game at home. It didn’t help that he didn’t have much of an afternoon nap but Adam and i were getting too cold too so we were happy to skee-daddle.

navy football game

Here are my tips to surviving an outdoor sporting event with a baby

Dress for the weather. We were all bundled up but we should have brought a blanket – as the sun started to go down it got chillier than any of us were prepared for. Ethan had a onesie, a sweater and a fleece. He had on a hat and a hood, and jeans and socks. He’s prone to pulling off socks so next time we might put him in shoes – but I read somewhere that shoes are bad for babies not actually standing yet which he’s just kind of sort of starting to do…so it might be almost time but wasn’t as of this past weekend.

Use a carrier. Strollers are not stadium friendly. I don’t care what type of stroller you have. Between stairs, and narrow rows. There’s no room for it. We used the Tula and it worked awesome.

Be mindful of where you’re sitting. Our section – though a great view – had some pretty obnoxious dudes behind us. Definitely not kiddo friendly. Next time I’d get Standing room tickets for the grassy knolls on the other end of the field and bring a blanket. Also, if your babe gets cranky, just take them out of the stands for a minute. My pal’s baby girl got a bit cranky so she walked with her, and when Ethan got cranky, we decided to bow out.

Have your gear accessible. Bottles, diapers, blankets, hats. Make sure you don’t leave it in the car. I left something in the car, I don’t remember what it was, but even though we parked across the street it was still a pain going back for it. We had a bottle in the bag, and plenty o’ diapers as per usual. My bad habit is stuffing my diaper bag so full that I have to pull everything out just to find the formula. Fail mama bear. Faiiilll.

Ethan was a bit more interested in the game or at least thats what I tell myself. Well, him and I both were more so than hubs so there’s that. I love football games, I’m trying to get Hubs on board to be a Navy Football fan (what? They’re the home team!!!) but he’s National Guard which means he’s all Army. Even though quite frankly he’s not really into football. It’s cool though, Ethan and I will be Navy fans (except when they play Army). Any other sport though, it’s all Northeastern. Hockey. Basketball. No questions asked – my Huskies are my number 1.

Mission: baby’s first sporting event overall? Huge success.

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#tripnorth Awesomeness part 3: Family Camp & Harpoon

Rather than make this into a four part recap which is now going on two weeks late – I’m going to combine Sunday into one post. Sunday morning, after breakfast we scurried over to my grandparents camp in Johnson. This camp is so near and dear to me – I have so many amazing childhood memories there with my family.

This trip was especially important to me because it was the first time Ethan met my grandparents – his great grandparents (he has 3 of 8 remaining, Adam’s grandparents have all passed on, and my grandfather passed away when I was in elementary school). But my Nana and Papa have been such an important part of my life for so long, it was so important that he meet them. Given the declining health – especially of my Nana with her ailing memory (Alzheimers) – of both of them, this was so important to me.

We spent the late morning, lunch and much of the afternoon there until Ethan just got overly cranky. While him and Adam attempted to nap I walked around and took some pictures and picked some wild blackberries – so much yum!

Traveling is tough for Ethan – especially up north – it’s such a long trip. Since this was a bit of a whirlwind trip, as most trips to Vermont seem to be, naps were often sub par and taken in the car. So cranky is as cranky does and he was having none of our napping efforts up at camp.

This didn’t last long.

So much yum. We brought them to CT and had them and some blueberries in pancakes made by Adam’s dad on Monday. Deeeeeelicious.

 

Everything is so pretty up there. I loved kicking around taking pictures of old memories. This was the playground my cousins and I spent many summer weekends climbing upon.

After we left, we decided to continue on our #tripnorth fun and popped into the Harpoon Brewery which was right off I-91 on our way back to CT.

We had the opportunity to do a few tastings of the traditional Harpoon lagers and IPAs and then we hit their seasonal brews – the Pumpkin Cider and Pumpkin UFO were absolutely my favorite. I’m not usually a pumpkin brew/Octoberfest kind of gal but these two made my heart stop. I was hook line and sinkered for these two brews.

See that stuff on the rim – it’s honey, cinnamon, and brown sugar amazingness. Mmm mmmmm mmmmmmmm.

So much happy.

We also grabbed a pizza from the little pizza stand next to the brewery. The flour was milled locally, the tomatoes were hand crushed, and the basil was grown next to the front steps. Talk about locavore love! We had a BBQ chicken pizza that was delicious.

I haven’t ever been to the Boston Harpoon brewery (they locations in VT and in Boston!) but I bet it’s equally as awesome. Definitely swing by – either location really, the beers are totally worth it – at the Windsor, VT location they have a great area to pack a picnic and hang out for an afternoon with some good brews. I don’t know about you, but beer is always so much better at the location it came from. I haven’t been able to enjoy Heineken the same way since having it in Amsterdam and the same is true of Sam Adams when I’m not in Boston. Anywhere else, it just ain’t the same.

Have you ever visited Harpoon Brewery? What’s your favorite October-y brew??

 

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#tripnorthing (part 1)

As I mentioned, or you may have seen over on my instagram, Ethan got baptized this weekend. We spent the fourth with Adam’s family which was absolutely lovely and relaxing. It was awesome having help with Ethan. I didn’t have to worry about putting him down really which was kind of nice because family was happy to take him if I needed a break. It was so awesome to spend time with everyone, to see friends that we haven’t seen in a long time, and to celebrate.

Here’s how our Independence Day looked…

homemade sangriaThere was Sangria. Mmmmm. So much fruitiness.

grillingAnd grilling. Lots of grilling. My in-laws just got a beautiful new patio, the only thing it was missing was chairs to actually sit out there on (they were still hibernating from winter). Next time.

fourth of july foodAnd some good food. Lots of good food. Cheeseburgers, snappers, pasta salad with tons of veggies and broccoli slaw. Noms!

old friends and babiesOld friends…and new. Hubs with one of his best pals growing up who had his first baby about three weeks after Ethan was born.

family

And Ethan got so much attention and love from his aunts and uncle in CT.

cree-mee soft serveAnd soft-serve. Lots of soft serve. Technically…in New England referred to as Cree-mee’s. Half and half with rainbow sprinkles. Deeeeeelicious.

All in all, a very successful holiday with great food, and even better company. I’ll recap Ethan’s baptism later! For now, I’ve got a walk to go on! Happy Tuesday pals!

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So in love

You know, there days when life is so crazy, and I feel like all I do is nurse and nurse and nurse. And I think what am I doing with my life… and then there are days, when everything is just so perfect and beautiful and I see this when I wake up…

cuddles

And I see these faces. You see, Ethan is back to his regular sleep – waking up between 3:30 and 5a and going back to sleep til about 7:30-8:00am. After the 7:30am/8:00am feeding, Ethan will nap in bed with us until we get out of bed (usually by 9am – hubs is up much earlier during the week but not me unless I have to).

This morning, I had a walking date with Liz (which I was going to bring Ethan on until he decided to keep sleeping) but I looked over at 9am and saw this and thought I am the luckiest girl in the world. To have a husband as wonderful and loving as Adam, and a son as precious and amazing as Ethan.

Each morning, when I look over and see these two faces, looking so much alike, with the same sleepy expressions, I can’t help but fall more and more in love with both of them.

So filled with love and happiness. I can’t even handle my own cheesiness.

Happy weekend friends!

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On being a mama

Today is (was. it’s late) my first Mother’s Day. It was really the perfect day.

For nine months, I was afraid of if I’d be a good mother. Would I be good enough? Would I know what to do? Would I be able to soothe my child? I prayed every day that I wouldn’t break him. Babies are so fragile!

Surprisingly, one thing I learned very quickly is that babies and mama’s just go together like peas and carrots. I know when Ethan is fussy, and can usually predict (pretty accurately) what his ish is. Most of the time, just picking him up will ease his worried cries which is always a wonder to me. I’m amazed that I’m able to do that so easily.

He’s just constantly amazing to me. That this little person, this little being, with his own personality that shows itself more and more each day – that’s as stubborn as his mama, as inquisitive as his daddy, and as happy-go-lucky and easy-going as both of them – is mine. All of this just…fascinates and amazes me. Every day.

The most amazing thing that I least expected is how selfless you become when you become a mama. The lack of sleep, putting aside everything else so he can be my number 1…it just doesn’t phase me. I was worried I’d be upset about not being able to go to my favorite yoga classes or go for a run regularly, or whatever but really, it doesn’t phase me. It doesn’t phase me that I didn’t get to go for my scheduled run this weekend or go get my Mothers Day pedicure. I’ve learned that it’s about balance, about teamwork with Adam to make things happen and work. We’re a team, united, to take care of this little guy. To give each other the time we need to be the best parents we can be.

How was my perfect first mother’s day?

For Mother’s Day, Ethan surprised us by sleeping from 11:30-6a, which is as close to 8 hours of sleep that I’ve gotten since March 22. Following our 6a feeding, we all stayed in bed til about 9ish (well Ethan went back down til about 8:30 for his 2nd breakfast). I called my mama, and I got my lovely gifts from the husband and son.

They treated me to this awesome book that was on my wish list and replaced my beloved elephant necklace that I lost at the hospital (I wore it through my entire pregnancy and was heartbroken when I couldn’t find it).

{Note the electrical tape. Ethan’s not good at wrapping presents yet. A for effort}

Later in the morning, we enjoyed brunch at Eggcellence where I enjoyed one of my favorite muffins – strawberry chocolate chip. If you go, tell Will I sent you there. He’s the best.

{Apparently, also only New Englanders toast their muffins? Is this true? I love a good warm muffin with melted butter on top. It’s one of my favorite things!}

After brunch, we came home so peanut could have his early lunch, after which, he and I enjoyed a nice nap – me on the couch, him in his swing.

Later, we headed over to the Towne Centre to hit up Bin201’s Blind Tasting (every Sunday!) and to check out to Charm City Run to look for new sneaks for me. I decided on the Saucony Kinvara (the Newton’s won’t be fully retired, but they’re hitting their limit, so they’ll be used sparingly now. The Kinvara4 had only aesthetic changes to it, so I picked the Kinvara3 linked above). I’m pretty excited to try them out, I tried them last year at a Fleet Feet fun run, but tried the wrong size so they were a bit painful but I loved that they were so lightweight and comfortable. Also, similar to the Newton’s they have a 4mm drop so adjusting to them should be relatively easy and I have a few weeks before Zooma to break them in. I loved, loved, LOVED my Newton’s BUT they were significantly more expensive and I had a couple gift certificates so my new Saucony’s were next to nothing. So win there!

After that, we popped over to Crofton/Waugh Chapel – there’s a new Elevation Burger opening up over there and they were offering free meals for mothers day/their grand opening tomorrow. Their food is amazing – all their beef is organic/grass fed and thus the quality for the price is amazing – it was a really nice way to end the day. Then I went to Old Navy to check out the baby sale and exchange a top I had picked up the other day.

We came home, we skyped with Adam’s parents – a wonderful mothers day gift for my lovely mother-in-law – and then gave baby his bath, and did his bedtime routine. He slept starting at 8p – we discovered the power of the super tight swaddle. Normally it’s been a bit looser but Adam’s been making it tighter and I account that to him sleeping for 6 hours Saturday night. Hopefully we’ll have a repeat tonight. Fingers crossed friends. Fingers. Crossed.

He’s such a gem. I’m so blessed to be so in love with not one amazing man in my life, but two. I have been blessed with the perfect family and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mama’s out there!

{ICYMI– check out my guest post over on FittritionLife about balancing healthiness and being a new mama}

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