Author: Alaina P.

Executive assistant, living in central Massachusetts and working in Boston.

A Musical and Some Family Time

Since going back to work in July, the arrangement that my husband and I have with our daughter is that he will stay with her during the week, and I’ll have her on the weekends while he’s working. For the most part, our weekends have consisted of grocery shopping (if you follow me on Instagram, I post the weekly haul in Insta-stories, along with our menu for the week), going for long walks and runs (David and I are training for the Ramblefest Half Marathon in October!), or visiting with the grandparents.

This past weekend was a fun one; it consisted of a musical, a long run, and time with both my parents and David’s parents (No groceries this week since we already have so much in the fridge ๐Ÿ™‚).

Saturday

On Saturday, my mom and I went to the North Shore Music Theater to seeย Young Frankenstein: The Musical. I absolutely love the classic Mel Brooks/Gene Wilder movie, so I was intrigued to see how they would make it into a musical.

The verdict? It was pretty hilarious. The gentlemen who played Frederick and Igor were quite spot on, and I enjoyed Inga and Elizabeth. Of course, no one can compete with Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, and Madeline Kahn, but they all did an awesome job. Ah, who am I kidding, the woman who played Frau Blucher (*horse neighs*) was hilarious too! Not as much as Cloris Leachman, but overall, I very much enjoyed it.

Before the show, my mom and I enjoyed some chicken quesadilla’s and a beverage in their Garden Cafe.

During the afternoon, since David was at work, his parents watched her and they had a blast! And I love the fact that they take pictures of their afternoon; I love seeing her little smiling face.

I think my daughter looks like Curly from the Three Stooges. Ha!

After the show, I had dinner at their house, and then it was back home for her bedtime.

Sunday

Sunday was my long run day! The plan had 6 miles, and we ended up doing 6.5 with run/walk intervals. I have to say, it’s a lot of fun running with the stroller. I feel like it actually pulls me along on the road. And for the most part, Eleanor enjoys the runs too.

In the afternoon, we met up with my parents to have lunch and check out their new house under construction. That night, when we got back home, I watched Young Frankenstein (of course!) and gave Eleanor a bath.

Overall, a very enjoyable and activity-packed weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

How was your weekend? Doing anything fun as a wind-down to summer?

 

I Love Maine

Weekend #1 | Bangor

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My aunt held a late birthday celebration for my Grandpapa this past July (his birthday is in April) at her house and it was, quite possibly, the most perfect day. The weather was amazing, and there were so many wonderful members of the family to celebrate with. (My Grandpapa is an only child but he has an abundance of cousins. My great grandmother – I believe – was one of 12.)ย The food was delicious (the potato salad up there was garnished with curry) and the beverages were refreshing. And the first picture makes me smile every time I look at it. Now that’s a look of love for his great granddaughter. ๐Ÿ™‚

Weekend #2 | Rangeley

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This past weekend was the wedding of my sister in law, Grace. The wedding took place at the Farmhouse Inn, and I have to say that it rivaled the weekend before it in how perfect everything was. The venue was gorgeous, with the lake views and the open field, and the weather was a beautiful 70 degrees with a partly cloudy sky. I actually broke out my fancy camera (with some iPhone photos thrown in there), and it’s encouraged me to get out there more and test what my Canon Rebel can do. ๐Ÿ™‚

While most of the family stayed at the Farmhouse, David and I stayed at the Rangeley Inn down the street. The location was perfect, staff were friendly and accommodating, the rooms were spacious and clean, and they offered a free continental breakfast. I would definitely stay here again if we ever traveled up this way.

Have you ever traveled to Maine? If so, what’s your favorite area?ย I am partial to Bangor but I also love visiting Bar Harbor in the fall.

Phil & Teds Stroller

This is in no way a sponsored post; I just love my jogging stroller so much and wanted to share my thoughts on it with you all. ๐Ÿ™‚

When it came time to look for a stroller, I was admittedly very overwhelmed with all of the choices. I knew two things that I wanted/needed though: a jogging stroller and the fact that it didn’t have to match the car seat. (We have the Graco 4Ever seat which doesn’t come as a detachable infant carrier.)

Luckily, however, I had a great resource in my uncle who lives in California. He had a baby in 2004 (so, relatively recent) and is a runner, so I asked him what brand of stroller he used.

He responded back with the Sport by Phil & Teds.

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Adorable baby not included. ๐Ÿ˜›

The middle picture is featured with the shade screen. I also have a storm cover that fits in the same way.

One of the reasons this stroller came so highly recommended was because of the fact that it reclines a lot further than most jogging strollers, meaning I could run with Eleanor as early as 2 months old. And because of the way it lies (lays?), it almost acts as a shock-absorber when we go over any bumps. Her head will move from side to side but never up and down.

I can’t actually attest to how easy or complicated it was to assemble since I had my husband, father-in-law, and brother-in-law do it. It looks as though all the pieces were used, though, and nothing has fallen off. ๐Ÿ˜‰

It is a breeze to break down to put in the trunk, however it’s a bit heavier than it may appear. You simply squeeze the lever (behind the red button) and push the red button forward. (As easy as it is to do, it wasn’t so easy to figure out in the first place – thank goodness for YouTube!)

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Then, to keep the stroller folded, you make sure the latch on the left is joined with the small button on the right. To unfold, simply unlatch the two and fold the stroller outward until it clicks. (Again, YouTube was a saving grace to figure this out in the first place!)

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And a great safety feature is the Auto-Stop brake. To engage the tires, you have to depress the red handle, and if it’s disengaged, the stroller will brake. No runaway strollers here!

Since I was looking for a jogging stroller, I knew not to expect some of the bells and whistles that come with regular strollers (i.e. a lot of storage and cup holders). This may be a turnoff for some, but if you’re in the market for a jogging stroller, but don’t want to have to deal with another, every-day stroller, this is the one for you. It’s a bit on the pricier end, but the quality and reputation are well worth it.

There are also a ton of riding options available, so I’ll be looking forward to those if/when we have a second child.

What type of stroller do you have? Do you own a Phil & Teds?ย I ask because I have yet to meet anyone (aside from my uncle) who has and I’m curious about your thoughts! ๐Ÿ™‚

Life Lately

It’s almost time for me to return to work, so I thought I would take this opportunity to recap the first two months of motherhood.

In short: I’m loving it, but there are still so many things that we are learning and figuring out. It’s definitely not easy, but totally worth it.

If you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve seen the plethora of pictures that I’ve posted. I just can’t help myself. I mean, how cute is this face?

And how has Eleanor been doing? At two months and six days old, here are her latest stats (we just had her two month doctor’s appointment).

Height: 23.5″
Weight: 11 lbs 5 oz

Her eyes, ears, heart, and lungs look and sound great. She did have her first round of vaccines, which definitely wasn’t easy to witness. She did have the delayed crying, but as soon as Dad wrapped her up afterwards, she was able to calm down.

Eating: I am breastfeeding, although we do supplement with formula on occasion (Similac). She eats about every 2-4 hours and latching has come easy for both of us (thank goodness). She does spit up quite a bit, and no matter how much I try and get her head on the burp cloth, we obviously end up with some dirty shirts. That’s what washing machines are for though, right?

Sleeping (Napping): Right now, she is not the best napper and we haven’t quite gotten her on a routine yet. I know that she’s still young though, and we’re determined to get her on one in the next month or two (hopefully). She does go down around 10 in the morning, but it only lasts for an hour at most. And she doesn’t really nap all that well in the afternoon. I think she may be a bit colicky at that time, which is why she’s tough to get down. If that happens, I’ll either take her on a drive or a stroller ride to make sure she gets some shut eye. She is also able to doze off when either David or myself are holding here.

Sleeping (Nighttime): Right now I am thanking my lucky stars because she has been sleeping all through the night. When she was under the month and a half mark (this just started in the last couple of weeks) she would go to bed around 8pm, wake up at 11pm and 3am for feedings, before waking up for good around 7am. Now? She’ll go down between 9 & 9:30pm and wake up anywhere from 6am to 8am. And at times, we’ve put her down when she was still awake, and she’s been able to put herself to sleep. I do know that this could all change in a heartbeat so I am basking in it while I can. (And I’m sure you can imagine how “full” I am when I wake up!)

Likes: eating, sleeping (at night), smiling, kicking her legs, resting on daddy’s chest, car rides and stroller rides, walking down to the mailbox (she loves looking around)

Dislikes: Being put down for too long, having her face wiped

Port Wine Stain:ย As you can see, she was born with a birthmark near her left eye. Because of its proximity to her eye, the pediatrician at the hospital recommended that we see specialists to make sure that it’s nothing that could interfere with her sight. (She has a chance of developing glaucoma.) We currently have her visiting an ophthalmologist and dermatologist that specialize in pediatrics, and they are both wonderful. So far, her eye is looking fine, and it looks like the mark is responding well to the laser treatments.

Despite the little hiccups we’ve encountered, mainly with sleeping, she is an absolute love bug. She impresses everyone that she meets and she’s been doing great when we’re out and about (i.e. she slept the whole time at my sister-in-law’s bridal shower, and she falls asleep when strapped to one of us during our grocery trips).

How I’m Doing:ย Really quite well actually. It did take me the full 6 weeks to heal up and get back to running again. And of course, it’s slow and steady; I know I have a long way to go before I’m back to the shape that I used to be (if I’ll even get there at all).

In terms of weight loss, I’m about 20 pounds away from where I would like to be. I’m concentrating on eating better though, rather than trying to run the pounds away. I am watching what I eat by using MyFitnessPal, but I am also making sure to take in enough calories to be able to feed Eleanor.

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#thoselashesthough

In just over a week, I will be returning back to work. As much as I’ve enjoyed staying home, I am looking forward to having the routine again and to interact with my co-workers. David will be going to part time so that he can stay home to take care of her during the week (daycare is NOT cheap!). I really am glad that our schedules have worked out in such a way that one of us can be home to watch her. ๐Ÿ™‚

And I do hope that I can actually find the time to write more posts on here. I certainly do miss blogging.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend everyone!

Our Daughter

As I sit here, watching David cuddle our one week old daughter, it still boggles my mind that I actually gave birth. We knew that we always wanted children, but there was always the lingering thought in the back of my mind of how much the whole experience was going to hurt. But when things got underway, all I could think of was bringing our little one in to the world.

Sunday, April 23rd (39 weeks/3 days)
All day, David and I did errands around town. I was starting to feel some pains of possible labor, so we wanted to get the errands done, but also to get me moving/walking just in case this was the real deal.

We were ready to go to bed at 9, but I just couldn’t get myself comfortable. I was experiencing contractions about every 5 to 7 minutes, but they were tolerable. About an hour later, they were feeling stronger and I was even bleeding. We called the hospital and they told us to head over. Thankfully being 10 at night, there was no traffic getting to St. Vincent’s in Worcester (a 30 minute drive). I was checked in and admitted right away.

Monday, April 24th (39 weeks/4 days)
All through the night, the contractions were getting stronger, but I was only 3 cm; I was thinning though and they were sure that this was it. Eventually they gave me some pitocin to speed things up, and by the morning, I was 9 cm. In the meantime, they gave me an epidural and it was the best thing ever. I couldn’t feel the contractions, only the pressure. At around 1:30PM, the midwife checked me again (after going back and forth between my own contractions and those aided by the pitocin) and I was fully dilated and ready to push.

Three hours later, at 4:32PM, Eleanor Joyce was born.

Looking back, I’m glad, and lucky, that my labor was uneventful and I came out with only a few stitches, and a beautiful, healthy girl.

We stayed in the hospital for two nights, and we had such a great experience with all of the midwives and nurses. They had to monitor her for a bit since it took her a while to urinate, but everything ended up working out. We got home on Wednesday, and now we’re navigating our life as a family of three. And we are so in love!

So Thankful For…

…my wonderful husband, who has put up with my crazy mood swings and still thinks I look beautiful. ๐Ÿ™‚

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…my family and in-laws who have always been, and continue to be, so supportive and loving.

…a job that allows me to grow and bring my own special touch to the positionย (I just had my yearly review and I exceed expectations! :-))

…the fact that our latest ultrasound has highlighted that our baby is looking healthy, and growing. Oh, and the it? It’s a GIRL. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I think she has my head-shape and nose. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thanksgiving this year was quite low key. My parents had their annual Soupsgiving the weekend prior, and Thanksgiving dinner was spent with the in-laws. I have yet to put up our tree, and I think this year I’ll just light it but not deal with ornaments. I’m saving my energy for when Christmas will involve the little lady above. ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! What are you most thankful for?

B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill

In 2012, David and I had the chance to visit B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill in Connecticut, but unfortunately it was late in the season and there was minimal cider to be purchased. It was always in the back of our minds that we would visit again, and we were finally able to a fewย weeks ago.

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The cider mill is steam powered (operating since 1881), and they have cider pressing demonstrations on the weekends. We tried to go the weekend after Columbus Day but the line was to the street! A couple of weeks went by and thankfully this day was far less crowded (still crowded, as their season is pretty short).

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We went to the earliest demonstration, and we were able to watch them press all of the juice out of the apples. You can imagine that it smelled heavenly.

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After watching that for about 15 minutes, we went on a search for some hard cider. David tried a few samples and purchased some of their original and a few flavored ciders. I enjoyed a cup of mulled cider and a cider doughnut. They also had a few vendors there selling jerky, maple syrup, and kettle corn. It was a lovely afternoon, one that I am so glad we were able to experience right in the middle of their season.

Have you ever been to a cider mill? Ever gone somewhere that was so busy you just drove right on past it?

B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill
129 N. Stonington Rd.
Old Mystic, CT 06355

Our Latest Project

Hello everyone! Anyone still out there reading this little ol’ blog of mine? I’ve kind of disappeared for a few months but all with good reason.

Work has been pretty busy, and David and I finally finished our garage! And I finally took a vacation last week (after not having one since July 2015); I was able to relax, breathe, and get a lot done around the house. We also took a night to go up to Bar Harbor, Acadia, and Bangor in Maine. It was just what I needed to feel refreshed and return back to work.

And now that the garage is done, we’ve begun work on our newest project (well, it’s been in the works for the past few months and it’s mostly me doing the work):

WE’RE HAVING A BABY!

We’ve been planning this since the beginning of the year and luckilyย I was able to get pregnant the second time we tried. I’m due at the end of April, and we’re both very excited! My first few months (I just hit the second trimester) haven’t been great since I dealt with a lot of all-day nausea, but luckily I only really got sick once, and it hasn’t really impacted my day to day (except that I was exhausted by the time I got home). I’m still a bit nauseous if I don’t have something in my stomach but my energy is coming back.

I’ve done zero running since we started trying, and I’m hoping to get back into it once I feel better. We have a treadmill so I can get some miles in without worrying about the cold weather and the snow.

And that’s really about it right now! I have been out and about seeing shows (Jersey Boys, Cinderella, Mel Brooks), and David and I finally took down our old garage on the property, but otherwise I’ve been laying low. I can’t wait for the holiday season, though. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday!

What have you been up to lately?ย 

A View From Above

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Nothing beats the lovely views at the Skywalk Observatory at the Prudential Center. Last night was so crystal clear that you could see all the way to the mountains.

Prior to that, we enjoyed bites from PF Changs, Crazy Dough’s Pizza, Sweetgreen, Towne, Wagamama, California Pizza Kitchen, and Coldstone Creamery. Everything was SO good, although I am partial to the pizza from Crazy Dough’s. ๐Ÿ˜›

After the scavenger hunt (which was hosted by the Prudential Center and Where Boston Magazine), we reconvened at the Observatory and enjoyed more drinks and lovely desserts.

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Thank you again for an amazing night! If you are ever in Boston, a trip to the Skywalk is a must. ๐Ÿ™‚

Skywalk Observatory
50th Floor of the Prudential Center
800 Boylston Street, Boston, MA

Volunteering at Run to Home Base

One of the best things about the hotel that I work at is the community that it fosters and the feeling of family and camaraderie. This past Saturday, David and I, and a few other colleagues, volunteered at the Run to Home Base run at Fenway Park; the wake up call was early (4AM!) but the experience was well worth it.

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When we arrived around 5AM, they had the volunteers enjoy coffee and breakfast items while we waited for our assignments. We were located in the Champions room so I was having fun checking out all of the memorabilia.

Fun Red Sox fact: My grandfather’s good friend was the Carlton Fisk’s coach in high school.

We ended up waiting around for quite a bit, but were soon led down to the concourse where we would be helping out at the Military Appreciation Area. For the whole morning while we were there we were arranging items on a long section of tables and then tasked to put together care packages to send to the troops. Last year they did 9,000 boxes! Not sure what the final numbers were this year.

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After a while, more people were helping to put together packages (consisting of things like DVDs, activity books, socks, foot powder, ear buds, etc) along with a handwritten thank you note.

During the morning, I did sneak out to catch a bit of the ceremony.

The first picture in the post features some of the runners coming on to the warning track (right side), then they’re lined up to cross home plate.

Flashback to 2014 when I ย ran this race!

David and I had such a great time helping out. Due to the early wake up, we ended up taking a 3 hour nap that afternoon!

And of course, more garage work! The interior is done! We completed the storage shelf on Sunday.

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Yep, that’s me up there! It’s huge and overbuilt, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from David. ๐Ÿ™‚

How was your weekend? Do you enjoy volunteering at races? I’ve also volunteered twice at the Harpoon 5-Miler; always a fun time!