Monday, May 20, 2013

Much Needed Girl's Weekend

I am SO very blessed to have incredible girlfriends in my life! Allison and Jill are two of my best friends in the world. We met at Riverbend in our small group and we just click. We've been through so much together and we can just be ourselves when we are around each other. I'm so thankful that they accept me the way I am and I love them dearly for who they are.

For a while we planned to go to NYC for a girl's weekend, but after Allison got pregnant we decided a relaxing weekend in Allison's hometown would be much better. We headed to Overland Park, KS and had an amazing weekend talking, laughing, crying and catching up. Kansas City was a perfect middle point since Jill lives in Minnesota (hopefully not for long...Texas wants you back!!) and Allison's mom was over the moon excited to have us there.

We got in late Friday night and stayed up until about 2 a.m. talking like three teenage girls. Allison let us see her preggo belly and we did the gender test where you tie the wedding ring on a string. We decided she's having a boy since it moved back and forth instead of in a circle. That's what I've thought all along, so I must be right and that test is very accurate. :) We won't know until August!

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We woke up Saturday and spent the whole morning in our PJs drinking coffee and talking. It was SO relaxing! We finally decided to get dressed and head into town for lunch at the cutest little restaurant called Urban Table. We sat and ate, drank coffee, ate cookies and had an amazing time for about 2.5 hours. It's crazy how you lose track of time when you are having so much fun.


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Allison drove us around her stomping grounds and showed us her old house, her church, school, etc. Then, we headed back to her parent's house where they made us a yummy dinner with Gigi's cupcakes for dessert. That night we stayed up late talking again and went to bed a little earlier after playing dress-up with Allison's belly.

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Sunday, I slept until 9:20am! I couldn't believe it! I haven't done that since before Q was born and it was amazing! We got dressed and headed to downtown KC where the fountains are on the plaza. This is a precious little area with lots of fun restaurants and shops. Allison showed us where Jordan proposed to her and then we stopped at a fun pizza/brunch place for lunch. Jill had to leave Sunday, so we were enjoying every last moment with her.

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We were so sad to take Jill to the airport. We decided she was meant to stay another day with us because she left her phone in the car and we had to take it back to her. It was definitely a sign! :) Unfortunately, she had to go.

Sunday night, Allison's parents made another awesome meal for Cinco de Mayo and we sat and ate and talked for a long time. I tried to talk them into moving to Austin, so we'll see how that goes. Haha!

Monday, we headed to a fun maternity store so Allison could load up on cute clothes for that precious bump. It was fun to see her try things on over that belly. It's crazy to see someone you love grow like that with a precious life inside them. I can't wait to meet the baby!

We reluctantly headed home Monday afternoon. I was ready to see Quinn, but we'd had such an awesome weekend. I think we just wanted to cherish that time while we could.

I think we will have to do this more often. We all need more girl time. When I became a mom, I immediately put Q first. Spending time with friends and charging myself wasn't a priority, but now I realize it has to be or I will go crazy! I need my girls!! It was refreshing and rejuvenating to be around Jill and Allison and I can't wait to do it again!

18-Month Quinn


Here's the scoop on 18-month (going on 16 years) Quinn.

Height: 34 inches
Weight: 27 lbs. 15 oz.

Talky, Talky
Quinn is talking a lot more. She can repeat pretty much anything we say (yikes...careful) and uses her words very well. When she gets whiny we tell her to use her words and she's getting a lot better at telling us what she wants with words or hand signs. She's definitely at the age where she wants to get our attention by saying the same thing over and over and over again. Some of my favorite things she says: 
-Motorcycle (mo-tu-tu-tu)
-Bicycle (ba-tu-tu)
-Guitar (GEE-ta)
-I love you (i-oh-u)
-Where is he/she/it? (eh-EH-ti?! in a high pitched voice w/ hands out)
-Heart ( a little British child)
-Tee-tee (when we go potty)
-No (the way she says it is more like a question, but the girl knows what she doesn't want)

Still a Perfectionist and Very Independent
Q is still a little perfectionist. She wants everything in its place including no creases in her baby's blanket, cabinets and doors closed, her sippy cup turned the right direction on her highchair tray and more. We haven't even childproofed our cabinets because she doesn't want to get in them. That would make too much of a mess and she doesn't want that. She's also very independent about her perfectionism. She wants to do her own hair sometimes (hence the headband pics below) and she'll try doing something by herself for quite a while before she'll start whining or say "help". 


She did NOT want that feather boa touching her.

Singing Songs
Quinn loves for us to sing songs. Some of her favorites are:
-Happy ("Happy Birthday" which we have to sing to everyone that we know including pets and stuffed animals)
-Gee-ta ("Home on the Range" She calls it this because a cowboy in one of her books plays guitar and sings that song.
-Elmo (the Elmo theme song which is about to drive us crazy)
-Abby (the Abby theme song)
-Bible ("Jesus Loves Me")
-Hawt ("Joy Down in My Heart")

We are starting to notice a trend that when Q is tired or needs to go to sleep she gets really wired. She moves around, makes herself very busy and generally fights sleep to the best of her ability. The other day I had to pick her up right before nap time at school. I walked in and all the other kids were sleeping or laying quietly on their cots while Q was doing headstands, rolling around and doing anything but sleeping. Oh dear. She does that at night too and sometimes it takes her an hour to get to sleep. I guess I'd rather she do that than cry. 

Separation Anxiety
Speaking of crying, we've found a new way of comforting Quinn when she cries in bed. Shockingly, we don't even have to go in her room. I've figured out she's going through an 18-month separation anxiety stage and she just wants to make sure we are around. So, we leave her door cracked when we put her down so she can hear us downstairs and if she starts crying, all we have to do is peek in her door and say "It's okay Quinn,. Lie down and go to sleep." Ta-da! It's magic! I can't believe it works but we've been blessed so far to have an independent sleeper and she's  proving herself more and more as she gets older.

Book Worm
Books are still Q's favorites. It's  been fun lately to pull out some of the "vintage" books at my mom's house that my Margaret used to read to me. Here are some of Q's faves:



Brown Bear

Here's a list of other fun (and some not-so-fun) things about Q right now:

  • She's obsessed with putting her shoes and socks on (or ours)
  • She's obsessed with watching Elmo on our phones. When she sees an iPhone, she immediately says "Elmo".
  • When we ask what she learned at school, she starts listing off all the kids and teachers in her class.
  • She's not eating meat as well lately, but loves broccoli, rice, cottage cheese, bananas, blueberries, sweet potatoes, beans or really anything we are eating that she wants.
  • She's eating really well w/ a spoon and fork and really gets into stirring things.
  • We got a learning tower off Craigslist for $30 (total steal). I hope this helps w/ the whining in the kitchen. Not gonna lie...I've done a lot in the kitchen w/ Q sitting on the counter top, praying she doesn't fall off. Don't worry, I'm standing right next to her.


(Ignore her "go to h-e-double hockey sticks" look)

  • She likes to open and close doors and regularly closes herself in the pantry. We can always hear her saying "boo" from behind the door. I guess she wants us to play peek-a-boo with her but it's so funny how she just stays in there, sometimes even with the light off. 
  • The car is getting a little better but it's still not her fave. We try to talk about things and encourage her to look out the window a lot. 
  • Changing her diaper is probably my least favorite thing now. Not because of the contents, but because she hates it and wiggles around so much that I have to physically hold her down. 
  • When we go over speed bumps she says "Whoa!"
  • She knows my dad drives a truck and parks it in front of our house when he visits. Now, when we look out the front window she always says "Pawpaw. Truck."
  • She and Ella continue to build their relationship (and by build I mean Ella still licks her mouth and Quinn chases her around trying to give her love. We have to say "gentle" a lot.)

  • She's testing us by trying to hit, but we've been able to give her some pretty stern looks and she apologizes by giving us gentle love pats. It's almost like "Oh, I was just kidding. This is what I was trying to do."
  • We find her in unusual places with unusual things. (i.e. in boxes, our closet, wearing my bras around her neck, with her shoes on the wrong feet, etc.)



Quinn is definitely in super toddler mode and quickly turning into a little girl. I miss my baby, but she's so much fun now that she can interact with us. She cracks us up all the time and we are just in love with her little personality. Toddler-dom isn't so bad. (Knocking on wood, praying I don't eat my words.)

More pics...


Lovely. Picking her nose for the first time.







Monday, May 13, 2013

San Fran/Napa Part II

One of my favorite parts of the trip to CA was the drive from Napa to San Fran. It was absolutely beautiful and driving over the Golden Gate Bridge was breathtaking.

San Fran Day #1
When we got to San Fran, we returned our rental car, checked into our hotel (the Hilton in Union Square) and then started our exploration of SF. We randomly found some City Passes at the airport when we took our car back and that turned out to be pretty awesome. You can ride all the public transportation for free. BUT, we didn't realize this until day #2 so we ended up walking from our hotel to Fisherman's Wharf. So dumb. I like to think I'm in shape, but those hills kicked my butt (and my calves which were so sore the next day). It was a cool way to see the city, but now I know why the trolleys are so cool.



We stopped to see the "crooked-est" street in SF called Lombard and then made our way down to the Piers and Ghiradelli Square.







After a fun afternoon of exploring we went back to the hotel to get dressed for dinner. We ate that night at A16, an awesome Italian place. Based on several people's recommendation, we got a burrata appetizer and it was AMAZING. It was sort of like a soft cheese dip with some toasted bread on the side. Definitely get it if you are in SF. We enjoyed some wine and brick oven pizza and spent a lot of our dinner listening to a narcissistic, California dude talk about how great he is. He mentioned that he is from Hollywood no less than 10 times and Jeremy and I laughed every time.

(best photo-bomb ever)


For dessert, we decided to head to another recommended place for ice cream. They make it right there in front of you and it was great.



After dessert we almost died. Okay, that might be dramatic, but seriously. We decided to walk back to the hotel and somehow ended up walking through the Tenderloin area of SF. This is a pretty rough area and since it was about 10:30pm, we saw some pretty rough stuff. Well, Jeremy saw some rough stuff...I had my head down with a death grip on Jeremy's arm the entire time. We made it out but even Jeremy admitted he felt uncomfortable for a while. Advice: don't go to that area when you are in SF...especially late at night.


San Fran Day #2
We love breakfast and apparently breakfast/brunch in SF is a thing. We went searching for a breakfast place and ended up down at the Fisherman's Wharf eating by the Bay. We both pigged out and then checked out the sea lions chilling on the docks before we went to catch our ferry to Alcatraz.





I'm glad we went to see Alcatraz. It has some interesting history and I love nerdy stuff like that. We took the audio tour (which I recommend) and got to step in some of the cells. It's crazy to think about some of the most dangerous people in the world being in that place. It was also really cold and depressing. Apparently, the reason they put the prison out there is because of the cold and choppy water conditions. There's a rule that the Coast Guard goes by that says you have a 50/50 chance of swimming 50 yards in water 50 degrees or colder. So, the inmates at Alcatraz knew they would die if they tried to escape.








After Alcatraz, we wandered around waiting for public transportation. Honestly, this was the only frustrating point in the trip. I was getting "hangry" and the stupid trolleys were taking forever. We eventually made it to the Painted Ladies houses and ate at a fun little bar/restaurant before heading back to the Union Square area.






That evening we went up to Chinatown to walk around and then made our way to Little Italy to have a drink. We were going to branch out and try some dim sum, but neither one of us was feeling adventurous so we went to an awesome Italian place and pigged out on bread and drank lots of wine.





After dinner, I was hell bent on getting more ice cream. I wanted to take full advantage of being on vacation and not counting calories! So, after doing some research, we took a trolley down to Ghiradelli Square to have a sundae at their ice cream shop. Over-priced sundae I should say. It was good, but I'd almost rather sit on the couch w/ some Blue Bell any day.


San Fran Day #3
My former roommate from my first year in Austin lives in San Fran and we got to spend the whole morning with her and her boyfriend. They were so sweet to chauffeur us around. They took us to one of their favorite local brunch places and it was yet another incredible meal. Ironically, I ran into a coworker at the same brunch spot! Not just a coworker, but a girl on my team that I literally sit right next to. Small world!


My coworker, Emily.

Miss Laura...miss her!

After we stuffed our bellies and caught up on life, Laura and J-Ro showed us some really cool stuff that we never would have seen if they hadn't toted us around. We saw the Palace of Fine Arts, the incredible view from the top of Laura's apartment building, Billionaire's Row (where I'm sure I'll live one day) and a few other local spots. We had such a fun morning and it made us more excited to visit the city again when we could focus less on touristy stuff and more on getting to know the local city life.






For this trip we decided to fly back on a Saturday so we would have Sunday to regroup and hang out with Quinn before another work week. I'm pretty sure we will do it like that from now on. It was so nice to have Sunday to relax and love on Quinn. I missed that girl while we were gone, but of course she was spoiled rotten! I was just glad to know she has a place to stay where we all feel comfy while mama and daddy are away.