Cape Cod 2016

We had a wonderful trip to Cape Cod this year.  We were adventurous and drove from Chicago with a 6 month old baby!  I was nervous since he doesn’t like the car seat very much but it went way better than I expected!  We stopped in Syracuse and Boston on the way there, and Buffalo and Cleveland on the way back.  Our trip was filled with family, beach days, lobster, shopping, and relaxing.


I was surprised how fast the trip flew by this year, and I attribute it to the fact that being with a baby is so busy.  There is more work involved, but the payoff is so great.  Seeing my baby at the beach and with our family made my heart so happy.



We ate out a bit and ate in too.  Jim made lobsters one night, which is always fun. We went on a quick date night to Chatham Bars one night, and went out with my cousins for drinks to The Squire another night.

We took a day trip to Provincetown one day, and Nauset Beach another day.


Being at the beach and smelling the salt water is magical to me. I have gone to Cape Cod almost every summer of my life, and it is truly my happy place!

Starting from scratch with running

Very early on in my pregnancy I stopped running. It didn’t feel good and I was too nervous to push myself. I’m sure it would have been fine, but I was a first time preggo lady and I was scared. So I stopped running cold turkey. Fast forward to 6 months post partum and I still haven’t run much. I had a long recovery, and have found it hard to get back into running and exercise in general. 
I really miss running and everything that I get out of it. I am a super slow runner, but have run 3 half marathons. I run to push my body and stay in shape, but I mainly run for the mental benefits. Sometimes I zone out and blast music, and sometimes I use it as a time to think and sort things out. I have really missed running, and have started to slowly get back into it. 
Since I am starting at square one, I decided to do the Couch to 5K plan. Couch to 5 k I am on week 3, and while it is frustrating that I feel like I mainly am on a walk, I already feel that I am getting better. I was really sore the first few weeks and now I’m not anymore. I’m excited to continue this program and maybe get back up to the mileage I was at before. I might never run a half marathon again, but who knows! 


A half marathon right before our wedding! 

I’m back!!

After a long, long break from blogging, and lots of consideration as to where I wanted to take the blog, and if I even wanted to continue blogging, I have decided to return!  I have decided to keep my son’s life private, so you won’t be seeing many baby photos on here, but I will still be talking about parenting, and all of the challenges and joys that come along with having kids. I have decided to stay true to the name of the blog and focus mainly on the following:

Yoga- and all things fitness related

Wine- and all things food and drink related

Happiness- my constant quest to be happy and fulfilled in life

 

I hope you will continue to read and encourage any comments and feedback you have!

 

Julia

New Buffalo

We took a little vacation this past weekend! It was our first trip with the baby, and it was so nice to get away. I go back to work in less than a week so it was great to spend some time together before life gets a little more complicated. We returned to New Buffalo, Michigan.  New Buffalo has lots of fun things to do for couples, families, groups of women, and groups of friends. We discovered New Buffalo a few years ago and have returned many times since. We have gone as a couple, with friends, with family, and now with our baby! Here are some of my favorite things to do in New Buffalo (and the surrounding areas)!

Redamak’s

Redamak’s is a New Buffalo staple! They have delicious burgers and fries. They also have shakes and tons of other food choices. It is perfect for families and large groups of people.

  
The Town

I forgot to snap a pic, but the town of New Buffalo has lots of cute shops and restaurants. It is not huge or overwhelming and you can go through the shops in a few hours.

The Beach and Harbor 

The harbor and beach are in the town and you can easily walk to them. There are benches everywhere to sit and enjoy the view, and of course, when the water is warmer, the beach is great for swimming.  

 

 

 Wine Tasting

There are wineries all over this area! Pre baby we used to spend the day wine tasting and picnicking at the local wineries. This time we went to a winery for a quick visit, and picked up a bottle for later too. You can even take a wine tour and get shuttled around to various wineries.

Neighboring towns

We love visiting Sawyer and Three Oaks- two nearby towns. They have small local coffee shops, a distillery, and a brewery, and restaurants. We visited Greenbush Brewery for a drink. They also have delicious food!  We also stopped by Staymaker in Three Oaks. Staymaker is a restaurant inside of Journeyman Distillery. It is housed in an old repurposed building that is one of a kind. The craft cocktails and food are delicious!



Restaurants

There are many other great restaurants in New Buffalo! This time we chose eat lunch out and get carry out for dinner because we didn’t want to push it with the baby. We got take out sushi from Song Asian Cuisine, and Mexican from El Rancho Grande the second night. Both were delicious!
Our Vacation Rental

We rented the cutest house! We stayed here Last time too and it is perfect. It is close to town and decorated so nicely. I wish it were ours! We rented it from homeaway.com.

  

All in all New Buffalo is a great place to visit and I can’t wait to return soon!

Colic 

  
My sweet Connor has colic. He takes Zantac for acid reflux but we don’t know what the cause is. I read the Happiest Baby on the Block recently and the Happies Baby Guide to Sleep,  and have been following the ideas and suggestions in the books. The website has lots of great info and the books have even more!  The cause of colic is unknown but whatever the cause or reason, babies cry for at least 3 hours a day 3 times a week. Connor cries a lot! In the beginning it used to freak me out and I would be crying right along with him. Now I am more used to it but it is stressful and I do everything in my power to help him. Thankfully Connor is much better than he used to be but he still has fussy times and even fussy days. For my baby this is what happens and how I try to deal with it. Of course every baby is different! 

Reasons for crying  

Being hungry- I think every baby cries because of this! 

Being in his car seat- he hates it! 

Being overtired- if Connor goes more than 90 minutes awake, he gets overtired and then he can’t seem to settle himself down. 

Overstimulated- Connot doesn’t like loud noises or loud voices, and gets overwhelmed, especially if he is tired. He deals with this by crying. Some babies deal with overstimulation by sleeping and some deal with it by crying. Connor chooses crying! 

Having a tummy ache- when Connor is gassy or has a belly ache he cries. 

Unknown- Connor sometimes cries and we don’t know why!

How we help calm the crying and deal with colic 

The Happiest Baby book talks about the 5 S’s- sway, swaddle, shoosh, side/stomach, suck

Sway- I walk with Connor when he cries. He is heavy! My arms are so tired all the time but it works for him. Sometimes I walk for hours at a time! 

Swaddle- at night we swaddle him so his arms are pinned down. During the day I try to calm down his arms if he is crying. 

Shoosh- I have the white noise app and it helps tremendously!

Side/stomach- when I’m carrying Connor it helps to have him up against me on his side. 

Suck- sometimes he likes a pacifier but not always. 

Tips for dealing with colicky babies if they aren’t yours

It can be hard for family and friends of a colicky baby. It can be stressful and overwhelming when the baby is crying a lot. Here are my tips to anyone who encounters a colicky baby. 

Let the mom or dad calm the baby- many people are tempted to try to calm the baby down and use their parenting skills to try to stop the baby from crying. For me, it makes the situation 1000 times more stressful and overwhelming because the baby gets worked up even further. It is easiest to just let me calm him since I am with him the most. 

Don’t take it personally-it might seem like the baby is crying because of you but it’s not! Babies cry. There is no rhyme or reason to it. And the fact of the matter is, babies usually cry less with their moms than anyone else because, well, it’s their mom! 

Be extra nice to the parents- being a new parent is hard, and being a parent to a colicky baby is really really hard! Give the parents some extra love! :) 

Respect the parents’ wishes- sometimes it’s hard to take Connor out. Sometimes we prefer to stay home because it is easier and works best for him. All parents of babies need to do what is best for the baby first and foremost! 

Know that this is a stage- colic ends eventually, and a happy smiley baby emerges. You will get to play and laugh with the baby eventually. 

Connor is feeling better than he used to and I hope this trend continues! If you have tips for colicky babies please share! 

Return to healthiness

I’ve taken a hiatus from blogging for a while. I’m a little unsure of what direction I want to take the blog, and am considering some different options. I also have a colicky little baby to tend to so I haven’t had much time for anything!
 I have been focusing on my health a lot! Since I’m 11 weeks postpartum I am finally feeling almost like myself again! I’m cleared to exercise moderately and am ready to return to my old self, or a new version of it. 

I am currently in physical therapy because of my rough delivery, so I can’t do much but I’m not letting that bring me down! 

I know I can’t just jump back into my old fitness routines so I’m taking it slow. Right now my daily routine is: 

Walking everyday 

Squats and lunges 

Planks 

Push ups 

Or 

Yoga from Yoga download

Or a stroller strides class or workout dvd 

I’m starting small and can’t wait to be back in shape enough to return to running and hot yoga! 

In terms of eating my plan is: 

Veggies and/or fruit with each meal

Lots of water

One treat a day- either a small glass of wine or a piece of chocolate so I don’t feel deprived 

So far that’s it! Nothing crazy or super disciplined since I’m navigating mommy hood and also nursing so I can’t restrict calories at all. I have decided to be happy with my new body. Yes it’s curvier and I weigh more than I used to but it is for good reason! 

    

Winter Happiness

I usually make big resolutions at New Years and then forget about them. I thought it would be a good idea to check in with myself about how my goals are going. Winter and early spring are the perfect time to slow down and reflect a little. The hubbub of the holidays is long gone. Quiet nights in, home cooked meals, and not much else going on creates a peaceful time to relax. 

I had talked in my New Years post about how I want to not take things so personally and let other people’s opinions bother me. It is absolutely impossible to please everyone in my life, and that’s just something I have to come to terms with, unless we completely give up all of our personal lives to making plans with people constantly every weekend. That’s not feasible or healthy for my little family and myself.  I have been working hard on doing what is the best for Jim, baby and me as our number one priority. If people are mad or offended then so be it! I am trying to not let it bother me.  This isn’t something that will change overnight, and it may never change.  I am trying to be stronger and stand up for myself, and do the things that work for me and my family.

My other goal was to not let work get to me.  Of course, now that I’m on leave this is an easy goal. But once I go back, it will be very important to work on this, since I will be balancing everything. To an outsider, teaching first grade seems like a piece of cake.  You get to go hang out with 6 and 7 year olds and just play all day, right?! However, as fun as it is to be around kids all day, it is also an incredibly challenging job.  The being with the kids part is why I am a teacher.  I love spending my days with these little sponges who are ready to learn and work hard all day.  The amount they learn in one year is astounding, and so rewarding.  There are other parts of the job that aren’t so fun.  Demanding parents, difficult administration, and much more, lead to teacher burnout and frustration.  My one biggest change that has helped me a lot on a daily basis was deleting my work email from my phone.  I used to check it at all hours of the day, and get really stressed out.  Now I only check it when I am physically at work, and it has done wonders for my evenings at home with Jim.  I’m not distracted and worked up and responding in the heat of the moment.  I am more present and calm.  I deal with work at work.  And when I’m home, I’m home.  Of course, I still have work to do at home like grading papers and planning, but the emails were always the stressful part.  I highly suggest this to anyone who struggles with work-life balance.  It was hard the first few days.  I kept automatically checking my phone, and was itching to just put it back on my phone and see what was coming in.  I resisted, though, and within the first few nights, I realized how nice it was to just put it all away for the evening.  There is nothing that earth shattering that needed to be attended to that instant.  It is always all there waiting for the morning.

My third goal was to go to church more.  So far that goal has gone well.  My mom and I signed up to be parishioners at a wonderful church, and I signed Jim and I up for baptismal classes for our baby.  I have also been trying to make it a habit to pray/meditate or whatever people prefer to call it each day.  Usually this comes in the form of savasana at the end of yoga.  I use my savasana time to check in with myself.  I am not an expert at meditation, and when I don’t focus on something during savasana, I start my running to-do list in my mind of what I need to do that day.  Giving myself a goal of what to think about during savasana has helped me a lot.

I challenge you to think about what is making you happy, and what isn’t.  What can you change to bring upon happiness?  It might be a small thing, like doing a little yoga each day, or a larger thing, like re-evaluating your work-life balance. Whatever it is, this is a perfect time of year to slow down and reflect and think. You never know what might happen if you do!

   

Shower # 3

My cousin Michelle threw me a shower over winter break and I’m just now getting around to posting about it! All of the showers were so fun and we felt so blessed! The decorations for baby showers are endlessly cute!!

   
  The rubber ducky theme was so fun!  
 
 All my girl cousins ❤️

  The most delicious sugar cookie!  
    
    
    
 

Daily Gratitude 

In the winter it can be easy to feel a little down. The weather is gross, there’s not much going on, and it seems to drag on forever (at least that’s how it feels in Chicago)! For the remainder of the winter, I thought I would focus on the positives during the day, and actually write out a few positives each day to help change my outlook. By simply thinking about the good things from the day, I have found that it makes me happier and more upbeat. I challenge anyone to try this for a week and see how it changes your outlook and attitude. You might be pleasantly surprised!  

   

  

My first glass of wine 

Post baby, that is :) This past weekend we opened a bottle from one of the wine clubs we belong to.  We have a huge stockpile of wines because we received a bunch of shipments during my pregnancy. We decided to go big and open one from Goldeneye. This was a yummy Pinot noir. I was excited to indulge in a glass of wine after all the hard work of being pregnant and having a baby. It was definitely as delicious as I remember!  We won’t be opening many of these expensive bottles in the near future but it is fun to splurge occasionally. 

  Recovery mode on the couch. And no, I didn’t drink the whole bottle haha!