May 25, 2017

Handy Dan-dy and a Touch of Fatherhood

Post written by Dan

Stephanie and I have been preparing for the baby to come these last few months. While Stephanie has been doing most of the research and preparing, I try to help where I can. The biggest way I have been assisting is to help prepare the baby's room. I have painted an accent wall, built the dresser, assembled baby gear, and nailed countless holes in the wall to hang shelves, artwork, and things like the smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm.

We're excited to see everything coming together bit by bit and often wander into the room when we're getting ready for the day or before bed. However, as much as we can physically prepare the space we will never be entirely mentally prepared to actually bring home the baby. There is just so much that will be brand new for all three of us and we'll have to figure most of it out as we go.

During the last few weeks, I've gotten the joy of feeling the baby kick a few times. It hasn't happened often yet and it is very faint and light but feeling it means so much!  Our special baby. We are so excited to meet him! 

May 23, 2017

Show and Tell Tuesday: Travelouges

Today is Show and Tell Tuesday with Andrea! I haven't been able to link-up the last couple of times but I was prepared today! The topic is Travelogues - show and tell us about your best and worst trips.

Dan and I admittedly do not travel very much. Neither of us have been outside of the country (except to Mexico which we don't really count). We are homebodies and we have limited vacation time. Also, when you opt to live away from family, you compromise that distance by using your vacation time to travel to visit family as opposed to fly around the world. We're cool with that. After all, we live in New York City so we've got plenty of culture right outside our door.

Anyways, besides our annual trips to Kansas and Colorado (or Chicago) we typically take two shorter weekend trips a year. One bus trip in the spring to someplace along the east coast. And one car (rent or borrow) trip to a beach along the Jersey shore for our anniversary.

For our spring trips we've been to Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and most recently our babymoon to Boston.

Read those trip recaps here:
Philadelphia Part I and Part II
Washington D.C. Part I and Part II
Boston Babymoon

Our best spring trip was probably our trip to Philadelphia in 2015. We had great weather and since I was somewhat familiar with the city we knew where to go and what to see. Plus, cheesesteaks. That is all. We had a lot of fun.

Our worst spring trip was probably our trip to Boston last weekend. It wasn't bad but if I had to rank them, it would fall to the bottom. We had crummy weather and all the walking was hard on my aching pregnant body. But still, a fun trip.

For our anniversary beach trips we've been to Cape May for our homey-moon, Wildwood, and Atlantic City.

Read those trip recaps here:
Cape May Part I, Part II, and Part III
Wildwood Part I, Part II, and Part III
Atlantic City

My favorite was Cape May. We had just gotten over that crazy wedding hump and we were in that honeymoon haze and it was the real taste of summer we had missed out on that year due to the wedding planning. It was after Labor Day so not super crowded and we had a blast.

Wildwood is a close second because we stayed at an awesome bed and breakfast and had so much summer fun.

My least favorite anniversary trip was Atlantic City this past summer. We enjoyed our time but AC is just a dying city and rather depressing. We also got skunked for weather with an incoming tropical storm cutting our second day.

I'm not sure we will be able to do an anniversary beach trip this summer since we will have a newborn at that point and, yeah, not gonna happen. But next year!

May 22, 2017

Weekending it

We had a jam-packed weekend.

On Saturday we attended a workshop in the city on evangelism and apologetics for a program we are participating in. I was not excited about it because it's not my forte. But! I was really surprised how interesting it was and how great the speakers were. Dan and I had a lot to talk about afterwards. That night we had dinner at a friends house where we ate Korean style for the first time (on the floor) and then played games. I laughed so hard I was crying.

Sunday we got up and headed into the city again and this time we headed to the NYC Baby Expo. A couple of months ago I entered a ticket giveaway and lost. But my friend won and she gave us her tickets!!! It was a special treat to go since we have a baby on the way and we got to check-out a lot of cool products. I entered about a dozen raffles and give-aways which I expect to win none of and will subsequently receive spam email for years. We also collected a lot of swag and freebies.

A lot of the booths had great discounts running so we purchased some things too like a fold-up playmat, nursing/pumping tanks, and some baby clothes. I liked the baby clothes the most since every piece was only $5 or less and we got a few cute things.

Randomly, we ran into a couple that we haven't seen in at least four years. I'm always amazed at how small this city really is even though it feels humongous.

After the show we walked for eternity to get salads at a place I've been craving. Then we walked all the way back to Times Square to get some splurge Broadway tickets for this summer (squee!). We got back home around 4 pm and then we spent the next two hours cleaning the apartment. We were behind on our tidy routine and I knew if I sat down I would never get up and then we would be another week behind with guests expected next weekend. So we powered through and caught-up. Grocery shopping followed (we hadn't gone in two weeks) and then we finally collapsed on the couch.

And today it is dreary and rainy. Fitting for a Monday.

May 19, 2017

Peeks from the Week

We've had a lovely taste of summer this week with temperatures in the 90s!!!! I'm not sure I was quite ready for the 90s but I sure am glad that coat weather is gone and bare legs and sandals are actual wardrobe options! Summer just does wonders for my soul and I'm so happy it's nearly here.

This week we got home early from work on Tuesday to meet the pediatrician which meant we had extra time in the evening. We worked hard on the baby's room and things are coming together. Sneak peek number two:

Most of the year, I don't take lunch breaks and I'll just eat at my desk. But when the weather warms up I love going outside for lunch. There are so many lovely places near my office to get fresh air and sunnies. This was my view on Wednesday:

We've been getting lots of goodies for the baby in the mail lately, including a stroller which I was thrilled beyond belief that it folds down and fits into our front hall closet! Rejoice! We've done so much purging to make space for baby items so I'm glad to see it's paying off.

I also got a free box from Amazon for completing the registry. It's a Welcome Box with lots of samples to try. Apparently each box is slightly different and I'm glad I happened to get the little bottle and some diapers. So tiny!

This weekend is pretty packed for us with both days requiring us to go into the city. On Sunday we're going to the New York Baby Expo which should be fun. Come back Monday for our weekend recap. Happy Friday!!!!

May 18, 2017

Boston in Black and White

Some more pictures of our visit to Boston, made more idyllic in black and white.

May 17, 2017

Second Trimester Recap

I'm almost to my 28th week. I think the Third Trimester starts at week 27? Does it start at the beginning or the end of 27? I'm not sure, it's confusing. But by Friday I will definitely be in the homestretch of this pregnancy which is exciting and terrifying at the same time. Last week we had our last monthly OB appointment and now we start going in to see the doctor every two weeks. Here is a little recap of the Second Trimester.

See First Trimester recap here
And 20 week update here 

Main Cravings: 
Chips and salsa or guacamole
Sour cream
Greek yogurt, particularly the Fage fruit kind
Grape flavored sports drinks
Fresh orange slices
Chips and salsa or guacamole
Sour cream
Any kind of cold fresh fruit
Cold water - all.the.time

Basically, I could live off of chips and salsa and sour cream.

Things we've accomplished so far:
Childbirth classes check
Scheduled a tour for the hospital check
Research and start a college savings plan for baby check
Finish the registry check (thank you Mandy)
Schedule the baby shower and book the room check
Purge the apartment and start getting things ready for the nursery check (SO FUN)
Meet the pediatrician check
Schedule a CPR and infant first aid care class check
Feel the baby move check (it's still faint and not consistent but apparently that's supposed to increase around now)
Pass the glucose test check
Get my maternity leave plan approved at work check (thank God)
Childcare plans check (thank you Mandy) 

Things we have yet to accomplish:
Write a will (this seems really odd to me)
Start writing registry thank you notes
Finish outfitting the baby's room
Finalize our top three baby name choices
Birth plan???
Register with the pediatrician
Register with the hospital
Practice breathing techniques 

10 Things I Now Know about Being Pregnant:

1) Full panel maternity pants are more comfortable and easier to wear than side or half panel.
2) Maternity shirts or dresses that cinch below the breasts make you look way bigger than you actually are and if you wear them, people will comment about your size. Guaranteed.
3) You do not need to buy new underwear, the old ones still fit (maybe a little more snug).
4) Anything with an elastic waist will still fit if you wear it below the bump (yoga pants, pj pants, leggings, undies).
5) You don't need to buy new bras. Well, you might, but I didn't. I just filled mine out for once.
6) Sleeping with a pillow between your legs really does help, no clue why.
7) No amount of water or bananas will prevent charlie horses from waking you up at 5 AM. EVERY MORNING.
8) Weigh yourself in the morning, it's slightly less alarming.
9) Your acne will not improve. Welcome back to middle school.
10) You will consistently feel like someone hit your tailbone with a sledgehammer, daily.

Things I miss the most:
1) Sleeping on my back
2) Being able to roll over or get up without effort
3) Being able to go 6 or more hours without peeing
4) Not worrying about every ache and pain
5) Not having trainxiety

I'm not a big fan of bump photos but here I am at 27 weeks.

And here we are at 27 weeks. Baby on board in Boston.

May 16, 2017

Boston Babymoon: Favorites

Sharing our trip favorites today from our trip to Boston this past weekend.

1) Favorite thing you ate
2) Favorite thing you did
3) Favorite thing you got

- Ate: Hot buttered Lobster roll
- Did: Freedom Trail
- Got: Photo strip

- Ate: Lobster tail pastry
- Did: Granary Graveyard on the Freedom Trail
- Got: Squished pennies

We only packed backpacks so we were not planning on bringing souvenirs back but we always pick-up squished pennies to add to my collection and we get a Christmas ornament to document the trip. AND, if we're lucky enough to find a photo booth we do that too. Photo strip, pennies, and ornament...all small and compact and they don't add to the "stuff" that we don't have space for.

I like to keep ticket stubs and other small mementos from the places we visit and put them in a memory box. And we also got our National Parks passport stamped several times (which is free).

And since I mentioned that Boston was expensive, here is a breakdown of what things cost in that photo.

3/4 of those pennies cost $1.01, each. I have never seen a penny machine that costs more than $.51 cents. The photo strip was $7. That ornament was a staggering $25 which I deeply regretted. The aquarium and IMAX were $32 per ticket. The Boston Tea Party museum was $25 per ticket. Dan's hot buttered lobster roll was $21 and the lobster tail was close to $10. We shared one scoop of ice cream for an afternoon treat and that one scoop of plain vanilla ice cream was $6.

Now, we live in NYC so we are no strangers to overpriced tourist traps but we were surprised by the prices in that city. We did get some good deals. Our Airbnb saved us a ton over a hotel. The pizza at Regina's was very affordable and our average dinners were around $50 each, both nights. The bus is always way cheaper than airfare as well. So overall we didn't spend a ton and it wasn't unmanageable, just not quite what we expected.

May 15, 2017

Boston Babymoon

Every spring Dan and I take a quick weekend trip to some city along the East Coast. Since we don't have a car or a lot of vacation time, we take a bus and spend around a day and a half to two days in the city. So far, it's worked out really well to get a quick trip at minimal cost.

In 2015 we went to Philadelphia
In 2016 we went to Washington D.C.

This year we decided to go to Boston. Dan had never been and I had gone once in high school with my family and then once a couple of years ago for a conference. We rolled this year's trip into our "babymoon" since we can't plan any extensive travel during the rest of the pregnancy. I think babymoons are supposed to be like a resort or a totally relaxing vacation. That's not really our style so we just did our own thing.

First off, we had a great time. But, we got skunked on the weather this weekend and were sort of shocked at how expensive Boston is compared to Philly and D.C. We stayed at an Airbnb in Cambridge since the hotels in the area were outrageous. And we ended up taking Ubers to get us to and from the city.

We left NYC at 9 am on Friday but didn't get to Boston until late afternoon due to heavy traffic in multiple areas and an unplanned stop to switch drivers. When we arrived we went immediately to the North End to get lunch because we were starving.

We tried Regina's pizza which was very yummy and different from NY pizza.

Then we went to Modern Pastry because I read that's where the locals go. We waited in line for a really long time to get a cream filled lobster tail and then headed to a park near the water to eat it. We got powdered sugar and cream filling everywhere but it was so yummy. We didn't go to Mike's because, although famous, they only have cannolis and Dan is not a chocolate fan and I wasn't about to eat a whole cannoli by myself.

This pet pig in the park was attracting SO much attention.

It was cold but the sun was out so we walked along the water anyways.

As a last minute decision we ended-up getting tickets for the last tour of the day at the Boston Tea Party Museum. It was a bit pricey and I wouldn't call it a "museum" but it still fun. They had actors give a tour of one of the recreated boats and explained the story of the tea party. You got to throw in a fake bushel of tea and then walk through some interactive exhibits. There was a great gift shop and a cute tea room as well. 

Afterwards we grabbed burgers and then headed to the Airbnb for the night.

On Saturday we walked the entire Freedom Trail and paid for a guided walking tour for the first part through Boston Commons, State House, Granary Burying Ground, Old State House, Site of the Boston Massacre, and others. Our tour guide was dressed as a Red Coat so he kept up his America shaming through the whole tour.

The tour ended at Faneuil Hall where we got our National Parks Passport stamps.

We picked-up an overpriced ornament for our souvenir in the area and shared a tiny overpriced (but delicious) hot buttered lobster roll for lunch at Quincy Market.

The sun never came out on Saturday and it was really chilly but the rain wasn't supposed to arrive until that evening so we made the most of it and guided ourselves through the rest of the Freedom Trail.

We paid to go inside Paul Revere's House (not worth it) and then headed to King's Chapel and then the long walk over to the USS Constitution. The Freedom Trail is only 2.5 miles long but it feels much longer because it winds around and is hilly in parts and over cobblestone streets. 2.5 miles is typically nothing for us but now that I'm pretty pregnant I get sore very fast and we had to take some sitting breaks along the way.

We explored the Navy Yard and the ships and then walked over to the Bunker Hill Memorial.

We took an Uber back into the city and got pricey tickets to the Aquarium. We didn't know how big it was so we budgeted about 3 hours to see it before an IMAX show nearby at 6 pm. We walked through the aquarium in about 45 minutes and had to kill a ton of time.

The Aquarium was cool but super crowded (probably due to how cold it was outside) and it didn't take us long to see everything we wanted to see so we stood around for an hour waiting for the IMAX show to start. The IMAX show as about the Galapagos Islands which we enjoyed (although we both fell asleep for a bit).

We grabbed dinner in the city before going back to the Airbnb and crashing early. The next morning we packed-up and got back on the bus to NYC.

We had a great time but were bummed by the weather and it seemed like we were able to do a lot more on our trips to DC and Philly without paying extra for everything. We left both Philly and DC with lists of things we didn't get to do and want to go back and visit. We didn't have a list for Boston although if we do go back we will definitely go closer to June to get better weather and have the chance to do some of the boat excursions.