Life in Wilmington, North Carolina

wilmington NC

The summer following our move to New Mexico, David and I spontaneously decided to live on the beach. David had spent time in Wilmington while he was in the Marine Corps, and he has family who still lives there. I’d only visited once, but at that point in my life, I figured, why not? It was one of those summers when we just decided to take a break. A break from thinking about our future, from work, from school. At the time I was upset that I wasn’t in my career field yet, but now I realize we were lucky to have one last summer break as adults.

David worked odd jobs and I worked as a waitress at a restaurant right on the river. We had flexible schedules that allowed for us to enjoy our surroundings and take it easy. We spent a lot of time exploring and relaxing on the beach. My sister was able to visit for a weekend as well. I grew up in cold and beach-less Rochester, New York, so living on a beach was a pipe dream come true. Plus, getting to run with Juneau on the beach felt like I was in a movie, every time!

If any of you are One Tree Hill fans like I am, I spent a lot of my time searching for landmarks – the river court, Karen’s Cafe, even Peyton’s house. There are plenty of scenes that took place right on the river walk by the restaurant I worked.

Life on the beach was peaceful. We moved to Wilmington without really thinking about what was next. We thought we’d be there for a while, but about two weeks after I got there, I received my acceptance letter to Indiana University for graduate school. This ultimately put an end date on our summer at the beach, but it also got us excited for yet another adventure.

Have you ever lived on the beach?

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How to Become a Morning Person

I’ve never really been a morning person growing up. I remember my dad waking me and my sisters up at the crack of dawn when we were younger in order to make first tracks on the ski slopes. What did I care? I was a teenager and wanted to sleep! Even in college I despised having to take a class earlier than 10am. If I did somehow manage to schedule myself for an 8:30am class, you can bet I’d show up in sweatpants and head right back to bed afterwards.

It wasn’t until very recently that I have had a change of heart around mornings. When I was on maternity leave, Finn, Juneau and I would stay in bed until 10 or so. We’d be incredibly lazy, binge watch Netflix, and end up slowly getting our day going after the morning was long gone. It was nice while it lasted, but it also made the day seem so much shorter and ultimately made me want to stay up later – making me more tired the next day.

Now that I’m back at work, waking up early is a necessity. There’s just way too much to get done in the morning to press the snooze button. Strangely, though, I really don’t mind the early wake up call. It’s the early morning, before Finn wakes up, that have become so important to me. Even the first few minutes at my desk in the morning are usually my favorite. I sip my coffee, catch up on email, and read through the blogs I follow. It’s a nice little routine before I dive into my work.

So here are a few things that have helped me to enjoy my mornings a little more:

Enjoy a cup of coffee!

It’s such a small thing, but having my morning cup of coffee is something I’ve always enjoyed. Maybe because it’s really the only time of day that I drink coffee (at least I try to only have it in the morning), but there’s something cozy and nostalgic feeling about coffee. It reminds me of cold winter mornings in New York at my parent’s house and of all those mornings in college when coffee was the only thing fueling me after a late night.

Give yourself some quiet time.

The rest of the day can be loud and chaotic. Mornings are meant to be tranquil and quiet. Leave the television off, turn down the radio in the car, and get lost in your imagination.

Get outside.

There’s nothing more perfect than a chilly fall morning. We have witnessed a couple this season in Virginia, but I can feel it in the air – there are more coming! I don’t give myself nearly enough time to take a long walk in the morning, but the days that I do, I feel so refreshed and peaceful afterwards. Juneau is usually so psyched to get outside, too, and seeing a dog’s excitement is one of life’s simple pleasures.

 

Make it about you!

There’s a lot to be said for a little “me” time. I don’t know about you, but as much as I love being around people, sometimes just being alone to reflect on my day is the most amazing thing. Working full time with a baby at home gives me little time for myself. The mornings – whether it’s when I’m in the shower, or driving to work, or even pumping! – are usually the only time I’m truly alone.

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Life Lately

I know, I know. I haven’t blogged in about a week. But that doesn’t mean I have forgotten all of my plans for S&I. The last week or so I’ve been doing a lot of “behind the scenes” type things. Contrary to popular belief, maintaining a blog takes a lot of work and a lot of time – something I don’t have a lot of these days. But now I’m back, and have worked hard to continue to build this blog.

In any case, life has been so crazy lately, and I have no idea where the last month has gone! The past year or so has been full of anxiety and waiting. There were doctor visits and pregnancy apps to keep our minds busy, but in reality we were just living for the month of May. And then May arrived, and so did Finn. And since then we’ve been trying to soak in every little smile – and all the cuddles – while still trying to maintain our lifestyle and make time for one another.

And now summer is over and it feels like things can start to slow down a bit. Or least I hope they can. Here’s a little bit of what we’ve been doing:

New job!

In the great news of the week, David received a job offer with the defense contracting company he worked at when we first met! He was laid off  way back in 2011, and since then he has never given up on getting back in the industry. He has been in school full-time since 2012 and is about to finish up his bachelors degree and start on his masters. If this doesn’t inspire you to never quit going after what you want, I don’t know what will! Love you, David!

Baby Noah

A few weeks ago we were able to visit with some friends of ours who had their baby boy, Noah. David and Sean have been friends since high school (Sean was the best man in our wedding!) and it’s so wonderful to have friends who are in the same place in life as us. It’s also so exciting to think about all the play dates, baseball games, and birthday parties we will share with Noah and Finn. They are already so lucky to have each other!

Finn and Noah - Aug. 2016

New furniture

We’ve been living in our apartment for two years and just signed a lease for a third. I love where we live and we have plenty of space, but knowing it’s not permanent has put a lot of decorating dreams on the back burner. With David’s new job, we are now starting to look at buying a home (although the market in Charlottesville is sooo annoyingly high). We bought used furniture when we moved back to Virginia and told each other we weren’t going to invest in nice furniture until we bought a home. Well, Juneau had other plans. He decided to get into honey – of all things – and it totally ruined our $40 sofa we found on Craigslist. I think we got our monies worth out of it, so we’ve decided that the new furniture can’t wait after all. It’s actually exciting to start thinking about permanent things in our life. It makes me nostalgic for our nomadic days, but we are starting to plant some roots – and it starts with a new sofa!

Finn Man 3.5 months

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Adventures in Albuquerque

Albuquerque

It must be something about having a baby that makes you reflect on your past a bit. Did I do everything I wanted to before I started a family? Did I travel enough? Did I advance in my career? David and I have been reminiscing a bunch lately, but not in a nostalgic, sad sort of way. Instead we keep talking about how we want to introduce Finn to our crazy, adventure-filled lifestyle. Although we’ve been pretty settled the past few years, before that, we traveled quite a bit. Well, we didn’t just travel, we actually moved to these places – just for the fun of it!

Shortly after David and I started dating, he filled me in on his dream of becoming an MMA fighter. I had no idea what the sport entailed, but who was I to stop him from pursuing his dream? I had gone to college just miles from where I went to high school so I was ready for an adventure!

Eight months into our relationship, with Juneau in tow, we packed all of our belongings in my Pontiac Grand Am named Connie and took four days to drive out to Albuquerque, New Mexico. We were young, spontaneous and figured why not!?

The road trip out west were some of the best days of my life. We were so carefree and excited. We stopped in Nashville, Oklahoma City, Amarillo – we tried new food, saw new places, and just enjoyed our trip. We weren’t on a schedule and we had no idea what to expect.

We arrived in ABQ and had to find a place to live (yes, we didn’t even find an apartment before moving out there!) In total, we spent three months out west. David trained at the MMA gym and I worked from home. We visited nearby Santa Fe, watched the Balloon Festival from our porch, hiked the Sandia Mountains, tried authentic New Mexican food (I still miss the green chile), and celebrated our first anniversary together. It was such a huge test on our relationship!

abq2

balloonfest2

balloonfest

It turned out New Mexico wasn’t the place for us, and at the time, I was heartbroken. However, looking back, there was no other time in my life when I could have just up and moved across the country without anything holding me back. I am so grateful for that time in my life, especially now as we start searching for a house and a place to plant our roots.

Have you ever had a spontaneous adventure? Where did you end up?

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The Reality of Being a Working Mom

working mom

Editor’s note: I started to include this as part of another post, but realized that life as a working mom deserved it’s own post. So here goes!

I spent a good amount of time on the phone with my older sister yesterday. She has a six month old at home (I cannot believe Nat is 6 months!) and is a working mom, too. I find it hilarious how similar our problems are these days. Pumping all day. Washing bottles. Lack of sleep. The reality of being a working mom is hitting me – and although I may complain on the phone with my sister, it really isn’t all that bad. It’s simply just very different than it used to be.

I went to work when Finn was 9 weeks old. It wasn’t nearly enough time for either of us, and at the time I really didn’t want to go back to work. However, I can say that since Finn has had to wake up at the same time every day, eat at the same time every day, and spends time socializing with other people and babies at daycare, he has been so much more fun and much more content overall! Getting him into a routine was the best thing we’ve ever done for him, and we didn’t even mean to do it.

Getting me into a routine has been a little more challenging. I set my alarm for 6am every morning and end up snoozing until 6:15. I immediately have to pump so Finn has food for the day. That takes about 25 minutes. I then start to get ready for the day hoping Finn stays asleep. If he wakes up, I wake up David (he’s been working second shift so he gets home late, which adds a totally new element to all of this). Once I’m ready I start to pack all the bags. Finn’s diaper bag, my work bag, my pump, extra bottles for the breast milk, my lunch. In the meantime, someone has to run Juneau out for his morning walk (which sometimes I happily do just to have a little moment to myself before the day begins!)

I typically run Finn to daycare since it’s on my way to work, but if I’m running late, David will take him. Sometimes I swear he makes me late on purpose so he can spend an extra hour or so with Finn 🙂

During the workday, it’s tough to get into any kind of routine. Between meetings and filming (I’m a video producer), I try to pump every 2-3 hours, but it’s tough to nail down a normal schedule. Plus, all the bags.

Pumping at work is an ordeal in itself. My office has designated a space for breastfeeding moms, and since I’m the only one of those at the moment, I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s schedule. The room itself is less than ideal – it’s off the bathroom, with a curtain – no door, and has one old sofa in it. I’m not one to make a huge fit about these types of things – it’s a room and it will do. I tend to pump 3-4 times at work, depending on my workload and schedule that day and each session lasts around 20 minutes.

My wardrobe has to be well thought out due to pumping. Easy access is always preferred, but I only have so many button up shirts or dresses (and this lingering baby weight limits my options even more).

After a full day at work, I pick my Finn man up (best part of the day!) and head home. He’s usually super smiley to see me, so that helps. Juneau is super excited when we get home, so I throw Finn in the Baby Bjorn and walk Juneau around the neighborhood. (Side note: I really do feel for Juneau these last few months. I know he is jealous of all the attention Finn gets and any chance I have to spoil him, I take it!) Based on my energy level, I try to get in a short sweat-sesh. Abs, cardio, sometimes yoga. If I’m not feeling it, then I don’t stress myself out about it.

Finn eats, I eat, Juneau eats, bottles are cleaned, Finn gets a bath, a book, and a tuck-in, I blog, and watch countless episodes Real Housewives on repeat. I really don’t get to sit down until around 8pm. I pump agains once I’m home and once before I go to bed. David gets home around 10:30, the same time I dream feed Finn (best thing ever! He essentially just eats while sleeping and the big meal keeps him sleeping through the night). David and I catch up on our days, and I try to be in bed before 11pm.

Life is certainly chaotic and I realize that it’s only going to get more so once we have a mover and a shaker!

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