The Waiting Game

There are few things I’ve encountered less stressful than waiting for a newborn’s arrival with a toddler at home and a husband who works in a field where his days aren’t spent in one place.  While I have a long commute, I’m blessed with a job that ensures I’m always in the same place if a family emergency arises, and we made the choice to keep the kids in daycare near me for that reason.  The only time we feel the strain is when Jason is the only one who can respond to family emergencies (like driving a laboring wife to the hospital).  It worked out fine with A because I went into labor overnight and our only responsibilities were Abby (our Australian Shepherd), three cats and the pile of chickens.  They were all able to keep a few hours until my mother in law stopped in to pick up the dog and water and feed the others.

Expecting with a toddler is a totally new game – one that had him out of work yesterday in a dreadful snowstorm because early labor is just dragging on and neither of us are keen to deliver a baby in our Subaru on the side of a road because we got such a late start to the hospital.  We are fortunate in good neighbors and family who are all willing to take A at a moment’s notice, but the constant mental gymnastics of who can we call if X happens is starting to take its toll.  We have a plan, and a back-up plan, and my doctor’s reassurance that we can bring her to L&D with us if we need to, but I don’t think I’m going to feel fully settled about any of it until Baby M is here, and we know exactly how the nexIMG_3461t 48 – 72 hours are going to play out for our sweet girl, who is so very excited about her brother’s arrival.

So what are we doing to cope with the waiting today, given that the house is about as immaculate as it can be with a toddler in full time residence, the freezer is full of homemade meals, and the hospital bag is not only packed but also in the car (where it has been since the first false labor scare of two weeks ago…ugh).  We’re going to town – to do some shopping and walking and have another Mama/Toddler morning because A deserves all the time she can get before her little brother arrives and throws our routine out the window, and I’m trying to remind myself that things will get more difficult to manage before they get easier, even if it’s uncomfortable to be out and about at 40 weeks.

And until A wakes up after last night’s rough night of sleep, I’m going to sit back and enjoy what I’m hoping might be my last quiet cup of morning tea with only one little one to care for.

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Returning to the Garden

Gosh, it’s been such a long time!  About a year ago, I decided to vacate this space for a new home that just never found its legs, and thinking I’d settle in there (without finding an authentic voice), I kept putting off a return to this blog… until I feel like I just can’t anymore.  I miss writing and having an avenue for our chicken and gardening and family expansion that is coming so very soon.  Two weeks ago, we put in an order for another thirty chickens, hoping to find something we prefer to the Buff Orpingtons for meat.  We’ve ordered a mixture of Bard and Partridge Rocks from Murray McMurray and are eagerly awaiting expanding our flock.  We’ve also put in a seed order for this year’s garden, limiting it to our primary stock vegetables (those we can freeze or can and grow organically): peas, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, carrots and garlic (already in the ground and hopefully poking through the snow soon!).

But there’s bigger news.  Baby M will be arriving any day now, joining his older sister who has eagerly awaited his arrival for the past few months.  And in anticipation of Baby M and my almost five months at home with the kiddos, we’ve reinvested in a lot of the sustainable baby practices we did for A: preparing to breastfeed, restocking some of the cloth diaper supplies we needed, ensuring we’re ready for all that laundry, and purchasing a new baby carrier.  With A, I used a Moby (sparingly) and Jason got a lot of use out of our Ergo when she was bigger, but I really struggled with the Moby and I’m super-excited to get started with our new Sakura Bloom ring sling in Peacock, which came in the mail two weeks ago.

We’re counting down the days to spring and all of the new arrivals on our increasingly growing homestead, and I hope you’ll join us again for the adventure.

So happy to be back!

J

We Eat/She Eats and Monday Motivation

Today marks the beginning of another school year, and though I’m excited to get back into the classroom, I feel much less so about leaving A.  She has great daycare, but my schedule this year is a little tighter than last and lands us at home around 4:30 every day, instead of 3:30.  A celebrated last night by waking up about five times — thank God Jason is the one who does the back and forth to the crib, or I’d be an even more tired Mama.  Along with the return to school comes the return to pumping and scalding my milk because of the extra lipase that makes it really disgusting for poor A if it’s frozen (tastes just like soapy water).  I’m hoping to post about that soon, but it’s such a process that the thought of taking photos of it has been overwhelming in the past.

In terms of exercise, I maintained last week, dropping about a half pound, despite not tracking food via WW and just enjoying my last week of freedom with an evening beer after the little one went to bed most nights.  I did complete T25 Beta, but ended the week with so much hip pain and lower back achiness that I’m taking a week off to focus on yoga and core building.  I’m not sure my post partum body was ready for Beta yet (even though it seemed really fun!), and I’m considering another round of T25 Alpha before I move on.  A lot of reading I’ve done suggests a week off between Alpha and Beta to protect knees and hips from the jumping, but I’m still weighing my options once I get through seven days of twice daily 20 minute yoga work.

Goals for the Week:

  1. Survive the 4 a.m. Alarm Clock – One Day Down, Four to Go!
  2. Live healthily by packing my own lunches, drinking my new Klean Kanteen of water (40 ozs) at work every day, and getting in those 40 minutes of yoga.
  3. Limit caffeine – one cup of coffee a day at school – that teacher’s room pot is sometimes such a siren song…
  4. Make dinner every night – no takeout!  We did takeout pizza last week, and I felt so gross afterwards… then we did pizza on the grill at home and it was So. Much. Better – no grease, healthy toppings, happier tummy!

We Eat/She Eats:

Monday:
We Eat: Eating Well’s Picnic Chicken, Wild Rice, Green Beans
She Eats: Bits of Chicken, Water Melon, Wild Rice (chopped if large), Green Bean Bits, Yogurt with Pear Sauce

Tuesday:
We Eat: Roasted Pork Loin, Homemade, Sugar-Free Apple Sauce, Roasted Potatoes & Steamed Carrots
She Eats: Bits of Pork Loin, Apple Sauce, Potato, Steamed Carrots

Wednesday:
We Eat: Chicken Cesar Salads with Garden Veggies
She Eats: Grilled Chicken, Cucumber Bits, Watermelon, Avocado, Parmesan Cheese

Thursday:
We Eat: Cheese Burgers (Grass Fed) on Sandwich Flats, Roasted Fries, Salad
She Eats: Sautéed Ground Beef (Grass Fed 90/10), Potato (baked), Cucumber Bits, Cottage Cheese or bits of Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar

Friday:
We Eat: Chop Suey (Jason will make with Grass Fed Ground Beef, Homemade Tomato Sauce, Homemade Salsa and Elbow Mac), Green Beans,
She Eats: Leftover Chicken (from salads), Pasta, Green Beans, Avocado

Amelia also turns ten months this morning (5:17 a.m.) – where has the time gone?

Happy Ten Months Old, Sweet Amelia!

Happy Ten Months Old, Sweet Amelia!

 

We Eat/She Eats and Monday Motivation

I’m feeling a little low as I write this, having just waved goodbye to my mother and younger brother.  We had the best weekend, and even though we got a little off track on the healthy eating (my mom is an awesome cook!),  I still managed to lose another pound last week and finish the full T25 Week Four lineup.

Hanging with the family before they headed south.

Hanging with the family before they headed south.

So here we are… the Monday two weeks before I go back to work.  A is down for a great morning nap, I just finished the day’s workout, and I’m starting to try to imagine a world in which she and I get home from work at dinner time and have to shuffle ourselves into a routine of snuggling, nursing, and still getting a meal on the table.  Over the next few days, I’m hoping to post about some of our favorite make ahead meals.  Living in a rural area, the takeaway options are nearly non-existent or incredibly unhealthy, so we combat that by making and freezing meals ahead of time to try to help balance evenings when I have to work later than normal.  So here’s our lineup for this week:

We Eat/ She Eats Week Five:

* = Produce from Our Garden

Monday:
We Eat: Chicken Cesar Salad: Grilled Chicken, Salad Greens, Organic Lettuce, Cucumbers*, Tomatoes*, Red Onion*, Zucchini*, Organic Croutons and Parmesan Cheese
She Eats: Chicken Bits, Cucumber*, Banana, Parmesan Cheese, Cabot Greek Yogurt, Avocado

Tuesday: Plan Ahead & Freeze for Back to School
We Eat:  Meatballs in Homemade Tomato Sauce with Pasta, Green Beans*, Side Salads*
She Eats: Bits of Meatball (working on an Amelia-friendly recipe), Pasta Pieces, Green Beans*, Watermelon, Parmesan Cheese

Wednesday:
We Eat: Indian Chicken made with Seeds of Change Masala Sauce, Peas*, and Organic Chicken Thighs, Brown Rice, Cucumbers* in Greek Yogurt with Mint* and Garlic*
She Eats: Chicken Bits, Cucumbers* in Greek Yogurt with Pear Sauce, Brown Rice, Pieces of Peas* (chopped up)

Thursday:
We Eat: Hamburgers on Sandwich Flats with Sweet Potato Fries and Cucumber* Spears
She Eats: Ground Beef Bits, Bits of Bread, Sweet Potato, Cucumber* Chunks

Friday:
We Eat: Tomato*, Bacon & Pepperoni Pizza on the Grill (homemade crust)
She Eats: Cheese, Chopped up Soft Pizza Crust, Avocado, Lean Protein (Probably Organic Chicken Breast)

Goals:

  1. Continue to drink more water … I’m really struggling to get to that 10th glass every day.
  2. Live in the moment – summer is fading fast!
  3. Start getting up at 4 a.m. and working out to prepare for the return to work.  Sigh.
  4. Try to get to the blueberry fields.

Hope you’re enjoying a lovely summer Monday!

We Eat/She Eats and Monday Motivation

Somehow, another week has blown by!  I look back over last week, and how much we accomplished even though Jason had to spend the entire weekend working out at his dad’s house in preparation for its inspection, and I am so thankful we’re still balancing things.  Cords have been picked up and put away, more baby proofing has been accomplished, and I finally got to those pesky floors!  And, by some grace of luck, I managed to week and mulch our flower beds and stain the decks before we had company last Friday night.  But to get down to the purpose of this post… last week’s meal planning went great, and A ate what we ate (or what I had planned for her) every night of the week!

This week, we’re getting ready for a visit from my mom and brother (Amelia’s Uncle Sparky).  They’ll be arriving Friday night and staying through the weekend, and since Uncle Sparky lives in LA, this will be his first time meeting little Miss Amelia.  I can’t wait!

In terms of how things are going… I fully completed Week 3 of T25, and with the addition of more careful eating practices, I am down 1.5 pounds!  I’ve noticed some hip pain this weekend, but I think it’s just my body continuing to adjust.  We’ll keep our fingers crossed!  Eating healthily is so much easier with all of our own fresh veggies finally coming in!

Fresh Peas from the Garden!

Fresh Peas from the Garden!

This week’s We Eat/She Eats focuses a lot on what we can get out of our own garden at this time of year: onions, garlic scapes, zucchini, and cucumbers.  The tomatoes and corn are coming, albeit very slowly!  Amelia is also loving watermelon or watery-melon as I call it when I feed her, so we’re going through about one a week, and it makes such a great, healthy snack for Mama, too!

Monday:  Jason Working at His Dad’s House – Homemade Takeout
We Eat: Grilled Chicken and Cheddar Panini Sandwiches on Rye Bread, Crispy Fries, Cucumber Spears
She Eats: Grilled Chicken Bits, Cheese,  Avocado, Cabot Greek Yogurt with Fruit

Tuesday:
We Eat: Eating Well’s Easy Salmon Cakes over Salad with Cucumber Spears and Creamy Dill Sauce and Watermelon Cubes
She Eats: Cucumber Bits, Watermelon, Cabot Cottage Cheese, Leftover Chicken

Wednesday:
We Eat: BBQ Chicken with Homemade Sauce, Sautéed Zucchini with Melted Parmesan Cheese, Orzo with Herbs,
She Eats: Chicken Bits, Chopped Zucchini (sauteed but before I add the cheese) with Fresh Parmesan (unmelted), Bits of Orzo, Fruit (Mama needs to buy more watermelon!)

Thursday:
We Eat: Hamburgers on the Grill on Sandwich Flats, Sweet Potato Fries, Cucumber Spears
She Eats: Sautéed Ground Beef, Cucumber Bits, Watermelon, Cabot Cottage Cheese

Friday: Mom & Uncle Sparky Arrive!
We Eat: The Pioneer Woman’s Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs (without eggs), Salad, Bread, Green Beans
She Eats: Meatballs (chopped up) without Sauce, Pasta Bits, Green Bean Bits, Bread

And in case you were wondering what meals look like at our house… here’s Taco Salad from last week:DSC_0098

What are you and your little ones enjoying the most this summer?

We Eat/She Eats and Motivation for Monday (well… Tuesday)

We’re running a little late here because we got invited over to the neighbor’s for some playtime on the porch after our afternoon nap yesterday, but here’s your update:

Goals for the Week:

  1. Continue to eat less sugar.  We did okay last week.  Then I baked a batch of cookies.
  2. Keep pushing the water.  It’s hot and so hard to keep up with nursing A while remaining hydrated.
  3. Snack on fruits and veggies.

T25 is going great so far.  I finished week one, getting all of my workouts in and doing the Sunday Stretch workout, as well.  I feel great and my back pain finally seems to be receding.  I haven’t noticed any major movement on the scale, but I have a lot more energy and a lot of muscle to rebuild.

We Eat/She Eats

Monday:
We Ate: Tomato & Goat Cheese Bruschetta (we had both eaten really late lunches)
She Ate: Yogurt with Pear Sauce, Cheerios, Watermelon, Ground Chicken (weekend leftovers)
Tuesday:
We Eat: Grilled Rib Eye (Grass Fed), Herb Roasted Potatoes (local potatoes with herbs from our garden), Steamed Asparagus
She Eats: Ground up steak (depending on how tender the meat is), potato, steamed asparagus bits, watermelon for dessert

Wednesday: I have to work, so I’ll prep Jason and A’s dinner before I leave.
We Eat: Burger & Homemade Fries for Jason
She Eats: Sauteed Ground Beef (Grass Fed), with Fruit & Cottage Cheese

Thursday:
We Eat: Spaghetti and Meatballs (Homemade – Pioneer Woman Recipe – Frozen)
She Eats: Alphabet Pasta, Cottage Cheese, Leftover Steamed Carrots

Friday: BBQing with Friends on the Lake
We Eat: Bringing Watermelon Salad (Recipe to Come) & Italian Lemon Cake
She Eats: We’ll bring watermelon, Cheerios and Yogurt for A (and likely give her bits of chicken, as well)

Saturday:
We Eat: Sausage, Zucchini, Parmesan Cheese & Pasta
She Eats: Steamed Zucchini, Pasta, and Cottage Cheese

In the spirit of truthful reporting, we managed to follow our menu exactly last week, except for Wednesday when I had to work and I came home and made French Toast for dinner for myself, mac and cheese for Jason and pasta bits, peaches and yogurt for A.   This is the entire reason why we’re doing a freezer meal for when I work on Thursday.  Gone are the days of putting A on her play mat in the kitchen and cooking while she watched on her back.

Five for Friday

It’s been one of those weeks… I stripped our cloth diapers not once but twice; had to spend a whole day at work (blah – it’s summer!); because I went to work and A went to daycare, she was up five times on Wednesday night because she didn’t want the bottle and reverse cycled.  But A is down for a late afternoon nap and the weekend is almost here.  Here are five things I loved about today!

  1. The Weather: It’s a beautiful seventy-six degrees with a sharp breeze.  A & I spent the morning running errands and going on a coffee date with friends and then came home for a long nap.  After the nap, we went for a beautiful outdoor walk.  Hooray for a lovely, humidity free day and a super-happy, well rested baby!

    The well-rested baby in full-on crawler mode!

    The well-rested baby in full-on crawler mode!  She also stood up in her crib yesterday.  Slow down, A!

  2. My friend Lacey just had a little girl two weeks ago, so A manned her highchair, while I baked a batch of Joy the Baker’s Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  You’ve got to love a good excuse to bake!

    Best. Cookies. Ever.

  3. I mentioned this above in my mini rant, but after boiling and stripping with RLR the cloth diapers once again smell good as new.  As easy as the disposables were over vacation, I’m glad to have A back in her earth friendly option!  They also give her a little more padding now that she’s starting to pull up on things.
  4. The chicks are almost ready to head outside!  I know the blog has been really chicken light these days, but our little ones are just about ready to head to the hoop house – and isn’t this Mystery Chick cute?

    These are our little ones from Murray McMurray this year... including the "mystery" rooster who has a nice pair of bell bottoms!

    These are our little ones from Murray McMurray this year… including the “mystery” rooster who has a nice pair of bell bottoms!  Can you spot him?

  5. Pizza on the grill!  I just made the crust (bread flour, beer, yeast and salt) and I’m looking forward to a nice evening meal with Jason when he gets home.

    Gratuitous Rooster in Repose Shot... What chickens do on a warm, breezy day...

    Gratuitous Rooster in Repose Shot… What chickens do on a warm, breezy day…

And a final, just to be thankful thought, I made it all the way through the first week of T25 and feel great!  Looking forward to writing Monday’s post already.

We also have a garden... which Jason pretty much takes care of.  Even I'm shocked by how much we planted and how well it is doing given the fact that I spend my days chasing A instead of weeding.

We also have a garden… which Jason pretty much takes care of. Even I’m shocked by how much we planted and how well it is doing given the fact that I spend my days chasing A instead of weeding.

Have a great weekend!

The Honest Co. Diaper Review

All along, or at least since day four, we’ve been a cloth diaper family: Thirsties covers with Cloth-eze prefolds and, for nights, GMD workhorses.  We have a solid wash routine, and they work great!  However, when we were recently traveling to Vermont, my mom asked that we bring disposables.  She has a front load washer that doesn’t work great, and, honestly, I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of traveling with cloth.  It works great for home, daycare and errands, but sometimes you just want a vacation from all the laundry.

I ordered a bundle from Honest Co. using a great coupon, and scoring a month’s worth of diapers at 40% off (about $60 total).  I found that canceling the bundle (since we really don’t need a monthly diaper delivery) was easy as can be after the twenty-six minute wait on hold.  So what did we order?  A month’s supply of size three, which A had just started wearing in six different patterns; this came with four packets of wipes, and I also ordered the Honest Co. bug spray to try.

Photo Credit: Honest Company

So how did the diapers work out?  We were so impressed!  Most importantly, they caused no rash, and A seemed very comfortable in them.  The biggest problem we had is that she’s a heavy wetter overnight (she usually nurses once or twice but doesn’t want a change) and she woke up a little damp 2/14 times, but that’s looking at nearly 12 hours in a diaper.  We’ve never had leak problems with our workhorses, but they are always VERY wet first thing in the morning.

In terms of blowouts… well, there were blowouts.  A usually only poops once or twice a week (which falls into the realm of normal for breastfed babies), and every time it escaped to some degree, but I attribute most of that to quantity, and though her Thirsties have almost always contained her poop, they are a huge, contained mess.  I must admit, tossing rather than using the diaper sprayer was a nice little treat, though our Potty Pail is officially back in action.

We found the wipes to  be thick enough to handle her messes and very sensitive on our skin.

So in short: we liked the Honest Co. diapers.  They didn’t smell like plastic, didn’t cause any rash problems, and neither A nor I had any kind of allergic reaction to them.  The velcro-like tabs worked great and were easy to reapply during the first days when Jason and I were still getting used to velcro instead of snaps.  The prints are cute, and the service (though we spent a long time on the phone on hold) was great.

After a fourteen day vacation and a few days in them at home during a cloth diaper strip, we still have 2.5 bags of diapers left.  Given that she’s on the small end of size three, we are hoping they’ll get us through the remainder of our summer, and we’ll likely purchase size four for our trip home at Christmas.

Note: We purchased our diapers.  This was not a solicited review.  We are in no way affiliated with Honest Co., but we really liked their product and think it provides a great alternative for cloth diapering, earth conscious parents when cloth isn’t as convenient.

We Eat/She Eats & Monday Motivation

I haven’t talked a lot about this here, but I’ve thrown my back out twice since having A.  And I’m not talking little pull, I’m talking trip to the physical therapist with intense therapy and take home exercises.  The last time, she suggested I sharply increase my cardio and ab work, and after month of healing and increasing my fitness level, I bought T25 and spent last week doing a week of the modified program.  As such, I’m going to call this week my first week, and I’m hoping to chronicle my progress here, along with a series I’m going to call We Eat/She Eats because introducing a tiny person to solids is so much more time consuming than I expected.

Goals for the Week:

Cut out some of the sugar.  Jason has an extremely active job.  He burns calories like a machine, so he can get away with eating a lot of things that I shouldn’t (and can’t).  As such, I do a lot of baking for him.  Baking that I sometimes sample with my morning coffee.  This week, I’m trying to cut back and focus on natural sugars: fruits & veggies, using a square or two of dark chocolate for dessert.

I’m also hoping to get back to drinking water like I was before we went on vacation (for me that’s somewhere in the range of 100 – 120 ounces a day), which I desperately need to keep hydrated while nursing A in this very warm weather.

Complete Week One of T25 using only the modifications necessary to protect my back.  So far, so good – I wrapped up day one at 5:15 a.m.

We Eat/She Eats – Week One

Disclaimer: I’m NOT a doctor or dietician.  A is still primarily breastfed, and we’re feeding her along the guidelines of our pediatrician.  She has done purees successfully but now wants finger foods, so that’s where we are — tiny bite sized bits that she scoops up with great abandon.

A few notes.  We typically eat local, hormone and antibiotic free meat (much of the chicken we raise ourselves).  Veggies at this time of year come from the grocery store, but are slowly being supplemented by our garden produce.  Beyond that, while Jason & I don’t eat a totally organic diet, we do the best we can to ensure that what Amelia eats is as safe and pesticide free as possible.

Monday:
We Eat: Pre-Baked BBQ Chicken with Homemade BBQ Sauce, Boiled Sweet Potatoes, & Peas
She Eats: Bits of Chicken, Mashed Sweetie Potatoes (Sweetie Potatoes are sweet potatoes pureed with breast milk and served in little chunks on her tray), & Chopped up Peas, Cheerios

Tuesday:
We Eat: Hamburgers on Sandwich Flats with Salad
She Eats: Diced Avocado with Bananas and Cheerios, leftover Chicken if there is any

Wednesday:
We Eat: Indian Chicken (Seeds of Change Sauce) with Brown Rice and Broccoli
She Eats: Chopped up Brown Rice, Bits of Chicken, Steamed Broccoli Bits,

Thursday:
We Eat: Pork Tenderloin (Grilled or Roasted, depending on weather), Roasted Potato & Braised Carrots
She Eats: Bits of Pork Tenderloin (pureed or finely shredded), Braised Carrots, Steamed Broccoli Bits (leftovers), Cheerios

Friday:
We Eat: Homemade Veggie & Pepperoni Pizza on the Grill
She Eats: Organic Alphabet Pasta with Chicken & Sweetie Potato Puree (Freezer), Yogurt with Pear Sauce

Final Thoughts on Traveling with Tiny

After nearly 900 miles of travel in the car, a week at my parents’ home in Vermont, and one night in a hotel room, I wanted to come back to reflect on a few things we learned while traveling with A.  First and foremost, A was a rockstar when it came to travel.  She had a few rough spots (after about six hours on our initial trip to Vermont), and about twenty minutes before the end of our four hour drive to Freeport to meet Jason on Saturday, but all and all, she rode pretty comfortably.  Thank you Graco Snugride 30!

A few things that I think helped were the toys.  She had her Jellycat, whom she has had since she was two months old and a few jingle bugs.  What surprised me was that she wanted her old, familiar toys, not the new things that I’d picked up for the trip.  On the way to Vermont, we fed her at her usual intervals, and that helped until she just grew sick of the car after her second nap would have normally ended.  Going to Freeport, we were so close that we pushed it a bit to just get there in one nap since I knew it would have been way too hard to get her back into the car seat (she began to straighten her back and resist the car seat a lot more after that first long drive).

The greatest joy of the trip was that it came at exactly the time we needed to get her out of the swing and into her crib, and as long as she was in her sleep sack and rubbing her eyes, she slept like a little champ in her Pack & Play at my mom’s.  When we got home yesterday, she went down not only for a crib nap but also bed for the night without a hiccup, and I think that had a lot to do with the consistency we had to develop in Vermont because there wasn’t a swing and we were, largely, going cold turkey.  Today, I plan to disassemble her swing and store it for future use.

A, hanging out with her Go-go before bed.

A, hanging out with her Go-go before bed.

A few thoughts on successful hotel travel with tiny people:

  1. If your vacation or trip involves a lot of car travel, try to stay within walking distance of shops/restaurants/beaches.  We were lucky to secure a room at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport, and A was so happy to just stroll around after a long ride in her car seat.  It’s settled within two blocks of the flagship LL Bean store and has a lovely park within 200 yards for crawling and lazing about in the shade.

    In the LL Bean fish tank with her dad

    In the LL Bean fish tank with her dad

  2. The close hotel room meant that after lunch and a bit of shopping, A was able to go back to the room with me and my mom and take a much needed nap before we met Jason and some friends for dinner.  This absolutely saved us.
  3. Call ahead for early check in.  I called the hotel and talked to a lovely young woman at about 8 a.m., so they knew we might be early.  She said she couldn’t promise us anything before 3 p.m., but when we arrived at 12:30, she had our room ready and the Pack & Play pre-installed.
  4. Hotel P&P’s are okay, but not always the cleanest.  We brought our own sheets, but they didn’t fit.  A also sucked on an interior tag that I hadn’t noticed (yuck!).  Next time, I’ll check first and make sure all tags are tucked safely away!  At the end of the day, the hotel P&P was fine for one night, but I would probably bring my own for an extended hotel stay.
  5. Relax!  I spent so much time worrying about how A would do.  She  was great!  Sweet, gentle, generally awesome.  Babies are a lot more flexible than we give them credit for.

    Hanging out with the LL Bean boot

    Hanging out with the LL Bean boot

This wraps up my short series on traveling with A.  If you have any questions or other tips, please feel free to comment!