Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tips for Taking Your Baby to a Resort

Every year my in-laws have a wonderful Thanksgiving tradition- they pay for all of us to come to a beautiful resort in southwest Virginia called the Homestead. I have told a couple of close friends about this resort, but I have never taken the time to really describe the experience to everyone in detail.

The Homestead was established in 1766 and has been a hot spot for politicians like President Taft (there's a "Taft" room. Yes, I know... Lincoln would have been more impressive) and Virginia Senator John Warner just to name a couple. Celebrities have also frequented the resort, if the pictures on the wall haven't been photo-shopped (and considering the lack of technical savvy here at the hotel, I'm doubting it). The rooms can be large or small depending on the amount of fortune you want to pay. There is a famous hot springs on site, golf courses, bowling ally, ice skating, spa, falconry lessons (yes, falconry), shopping... you get the idea. And since John and I were engaged in 2005, I have come to the Homestead with his family and had an incredible time, even if it does feel a little awkward walking among the wealthy and privileged as if I were one of them.

But this year is different due to the Beastling. Eric, sweet little guy that he is, does not react well to change and has always had difficulty adjusting to a new environment. Couple that with the fact that he's an easily distracted social butterfly who doesn't eat or nap in a place he's unfamiliar with and we have ourselves the makings of one hell of a Thanksgiving. Even though it's our second day here and tomorrow will be our last full day, Eric has already set up a predictable pattern of behavior. And most of it isn't pretty.

Which brings me to my tips for taking a baby to a resort.
(Keep in mind that these tips are more for older babies. Babies younger than 3 months can be taken to a Monster Truck Rally for a weekend and sleep through it happily)

Rule #1- Do not bring a baby to a resort in the first place if you can avoid it, no matter how much the in-laws want to show me off because, inevitably, the people they want to show him off to won't come to the resort that year (and, yes, that is what happened).

Rule #2- Make sure there are at least 2 adults with the baby at all times so that someone can have the illusion of rest while the other takes over the more dominant role of feedings, naps, etc.

Rule #3- If the baby won't nap, try not to raid the liquor cabinet for the $15 mini bottle of Chivas Regal. Because, with your luck, he'll get drunk and vomit all over the crib and then won't sleep at night.

Rule #4- Bring items that are familiar to your baby: a lovey or blanket and maybe even crib sheets and a bumper pad from your house so that your baby can smell home and hopefully rest better. Then ask the resort what size the cribs are so you don't end up carting all of this bedding 5 hours in a crowded Prius for no reason.

Rule #5- You will be tempted to bring lots of toys to amuse your baby while in the hotel room. Don't. Not only is it a waste of space during packing but your baby will enjoy playing with the t.v. remote, the room's refrigerator, table and chairs far more than his own toys. If all else fails and your baby is crawling, take him to a common room with long carpeted hallways and "walk" the baby until he is so exhausted from the exercise that he wants to nap (See Rule #3).

Rule #6- Remember when your baby vomits up every meal in the fancy dining hall, refuses to finish a bottle, won't nap, can't sleep at night, and has a screaming tantrum when you won't let him swallow the key to the mini-bar, that this too shall pass....
... And soon you'll be home where things may go more smoothly, but there won't be the free liquor. :-(

Monday, November 24, 2008

Karen or Erin?

John had decided on naming our daughter Erin. Before I get blasted for marrying a male chauvinist, let me explain: when I was pregnant with Eric I told John that I always had a strong preference for boys' names but not girls'. Similarly, John felt that way about girls' names but not boys.' So we decided that if Eric was a boy, I would pick his name. John would have veto rights over the first name if he hated it, and he would also pick the middle name. So this time around it's reversed.

So this time around when we found out we were having a girl, John had the task of coming up with a name. He liked the name Erin and would have named Eric that if he had been a girl. But now with a boy named Eric, it is tough to name a girl who's born a mere 15 months later "Erin." Especially when her mom and dad are "Jen and John." So... maybe too cute? Plus, we like the middle name Elizabeth as this is our moms' middle name. Can't do "Erin Elizabeth;" her initials would be "EEL."

The other name John and I are considering is Karen. This would mean we could use Elizabeth as a middle name and not have the "Eric/Erin" factor. We like the name Erin better; however, another cool thing about Karen is this would mean that our daughter would be named after one of my best friends. And her initials would be "KEL." Two of my closest friends from high school in Germany are named Kelly.

I put up a poll, and I would really appreciate anyone and everyone's opinion. The name Julia is a favorite of John's, which is why that is there. If anyone has their own idea, we would welcome that as a comment. With a last name like "Loizeaux" we are trying to keep things simple. :-)

THE House

I have been getting requests from friends to post about "the house" that John and I currently have a contract on in Herndon. The problem is I've become superstitious about posting a link to the house or being optimistic about it. The contract for the last house ended just a week ago and losing that house sucked.

I do believe that when the Lord closes a door, a window opens. I just didn't think a window would open so quickly. My mom sent me a link of a house with an extra bedroom and bathroom than the house that we lost. AND... the new house was cheaper! So I went to look at it the next day, loved it, and scheduled for John and my in-laws to come with me on Saturday to take a look.

Except for a strange lay-out in the basement and repainting the dining room, the house was perfect. The kitchen is just gorgeous with the granite counter-tops I've been lusting after for years. The backyard is large with a new playground set. The owners are non-smokers without pets (with a hyper-allergic person like me, this is big) and are relocating.

John and I talked to our agent Saturday evening and decided to put a bid in. She called us back while we were at Target and let us know that we were actually the second people to put in a bid. So we needed to put in a higher one, or at least a competitive one, or the seller's agent would go with the first buyers. We put in our bid below the asking but not much lower. To make a long story short, we got the contract.

The strange thing about buying this home is the fact that the house is owned not just by the seller's (who could technically counter our offer) and their relocation company. We have done all the paperwork for the relocation company, but we are still waiting for the sellers. So... you can understand why I'm a bit superstitious. So why am I now posting the link? Let's just call it a social experiment: if we lose this house, I'll never do it again!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Britax Marathon

So today I head out to Target to buy one of the best and safest convertible car seats on the market- the Britax Marathon. This mammoth car seat also has a mammoth price-tag: it retails for about $280. Target only had one pattern, a black and gray seat cover which was fine by me. So I load the thing on top of my cart and try to see over it (as well as stop Eric from pushing it off the cart) as I make my way to the check-out counter.

Chivalry truly is dead by the way. I thought I was going to have a miscarriage just loading that thing into the backseat of my Honda Civic. All the while, I'm thinking to myself 'if it barely fits in there NOW, how is it going to fit when we install it?'

[sigh] Yeah. So tonight after Eric went to sleep (he started screaming to be let out of the warm car when I tried to install it upon arriving home), John and I attempt to install this thing in the rear-facing position using a flashlight and freezing our butts off. The good news is that it fit in the back of my Honda Civic (and the Britax is one of the largest car seats out there). But the bad news is not only will it be a pain in the a** to move it and install it in our other car (A Prius! haha... that'll be a riot), but the seat itself seemed... well... flimsy.

I know we installed it correctly. But I have some issues with this seat, and maybe it's comply because I'm not familiar with convertible car seats and the rest of them are REALLY bad. But the Marathon sits straight up, even when it is "reclined." There is no padding at all. It looks really uncomfortable. I've read reviews of parents saying their kids loved it, slept in it all the time, etc. It'll be interesting to see how Eric fits in this seat and whether or not he likes it. He tries out his new car seat tomorrow.

John wants me to take it back and get another. If WE decide to take it back this weekend (so the 5 month pregnant mom doesn't have to go through that hassle yet again), I'm not looking forward to installing yet another car seat. Keep in mind- we leave for the Homestead in southwest Virginia for Thanksgiving on Wednesday morning. And Eric has grown out of his infant seat, so we need a comfortable and safe car seat. A five-plus hour car ride is no fun with an 11 month old who doesn't fall asleep in cars. I am hoping this seat works out, but if not then I'm looking at the Evenflo Triumph which also got the highest level of safety reviews from Consumer Reports BUT is a hundred dollars cheaper!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I need to buy a new car seat...

I just found out today that Eric has outgrown his infant car seat. Grrrr.... I'm reading a parenting magazine about making sure to check the weight and height requirements on your infant car seat. I thought our weight limit was 25 pounds. Turns out it's 22. And Eric has pretty much outgrown the height limit too. BTW- anyone who's considering buying an infant seat, esp. those "travel systems..." just don't. Get a convertible car seat like the Britax Marathon and spend the extra cash so you can use it for years. Now I have to make a trip to Target tomorrow. I guess John will have to install this when he gets home from work because not giving Eric your undivided attention is just aa bad idea.

Of course I want to talk more about this, but A)I'm tired, and B)John was watching Jimmy Kimmel on youtube and now I have the song "I'm f-ing Matt Damon" going through my head. Bloody youtube. But seriously, if you need a good laugh, you have to watch these in order. It certainly made my day.

Sarah part (NSFW) [Dear Mom, it means "Not safe for work." So... just don't. Seriously.]
Jimmy part (NSFW)

(Where does John get the time to FIND these things???)

I know that most moms probably wouldn't put this on their blog. I blame pregnancy hormones. And I'd like to think that by the time my kids are old enough to see my blog, it will be redone and totally innocent.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hard Ball

John and I didn't get the house. We gave a good offer, but the counter was given with a 2 page eloquent sob story about how they couldn't go lower than their counter offer. This actually wouldn't have been bad, but they started netpicking on the contract and then changed the settlement date to less than a month away! Inbetween 2 major holidays we would have had to get financing, cash in a CD early, order inspections... you get the idea. They had some renters lined up and just didn't seem willing to negotiate.

But there's always a silver lining. My mom found another house that I like even more (I'm fickle, I know. Sue me). It is cheaper, more updated, and larger. The occupants are relocating in two months. So John and my in-laws and I will be looking at that house on Saturday. The only downside is that the school district isn't stellar. John has issues with this. I personally feel that as long as my kids aren't going to school in the ghetto, it'll all work out.

Monday, November 17, 2008 Sucks

Karen gave me some good news yesterday evening as I was driving to Walgreens to buy my poor, sick husband some cold medicine. had the Britax Marathon car seat on sale for $43. For those of you without little tots, the Britax car seat is one of the best car seats you can buy. Unfortunately, they cost about $280. So you can imagine what happened. Karen ordered 14. I ordered one. And then I emailed my mom's group to let others know about this great deal.

Then this evening I got the email I was warned by a mom from my group that I would get- has cancelled my order due to an "error in pricing." I understand their position, but I have to say Target just lost a LOT of money. And they suck.

(P.S. Don't ask about what's happening on the housing front. It's just too depressing. I'll try and write more later)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

We found a house!

Today John and I meet our real estate agent today and make an offer on a home in Chantilly. While not in the "best" school district (something John was more adamant about then I), it's a great house within our price range. It needs no updating and is move-in ready. I liked it the moment I saw it. Now... if we can get all our ducks in a row. I think we're most worried about the interest rate of a loan right now. But you never know... I know the owners want to sell but we don't want to move in until late January at the earliest (we'll still be paying our rent on the townhouse until March). What if they get multiple offers? God this is so stressful!

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Today John, Eric, and I looked at houses with our parents. John liked the house that I fell in love with, so now we put in a bid. I'm excited, but we'll see what happens...

In other news, John finally caught my cold. Nothing is more miserable than a sick spouse when you have a teething or sick baby. Eric isn't sleeping well. Even his nights are getting disrupted, and he's always been a great night sleeper. It sucks... No rest for Mom.

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's a girl!!!

Found out this morning that John and I will be having a baby girl in early April. Our due date hasn't technically changed but she was measuring for a due date on Palm Sunday (1 day before her original due date). More importantly, everything looks normal. So now we're excited, and I'm in the process of pleading with John to buy a Care Bear nursery. He's completely against this. [sigh] I think it's rather cute and one of the few "girlie" bedroom sets I like.

Or we thought about reusing the gender neutral Pooh set for the girl and buying Eric a new boy bedroom set. Any thoughts??

Thursday, November 13, 2008

More cute pics... couldn't resist!

"Mom, this duck head is heavy!"

Eric and Granddad scoping out the competition.

Eric and I pose at home before heading to the Lawn.


I understand it's been two weeks since Halloween, but I can't seem to find my thumb drive in order to download pictures from my cell. And last week my parents' computer died. But NOW I finally have pictures...

Anyway, he's a cutie. he got his picture taken by the staff from the Cavalier Daily, the newspaper for UVA, but he didn't make the cut apparently.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Baby Evie

I'm here in Liberty, Missouri with Karen and little baby Evie. Evie is so aborable (as you can see). ;-)

I am here to "help" Karen. I say "help" because I'm not sure how much of a help I am. I had forgotten how much little ones sleep in the first few months. Evie is 6 weeks and she sleeps like a champ. I thought Eric was a good sleeper, but Evie has him beat. It's so easy to check email, make yourself a cup of tea, and eat when your baby is so young. Funny... I never thought that way when Eric was 6 weeks. I was so overwhelmed with caring for him and doing things around the house that I never felt like it was an easy stage. Now I WISH Eric would be so easy! And I wonder how the new baby will fit into the picture, especially with Eric being 15 months when he/she is born. I hope I have enough time for both babies, my husband, and myself but I know how unrealistic that probably is...

John and I find out the gener of Baby X a week from today!! I'm hoping he/she isn't shy on the ultrasound because having to schedule a separate appointment due to using midwives hasn't been as easy as having a traditional OB/GYN. I hope our insurance covers some of this...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Child-Proofing Tips

In response to Karen's post, I thought I would post some child-proofing tips.

1) Cover all electrical outlets. Don't concern yourself that little Jenny or Johnny won't be able to get their tiny pudgies into the outlet. It's trendy and shows everyone that you are at the top of your child-proofing game.

2) Remove all window treatments, especially window blinds. The cords can cause a choking hazard because tots are drawn to those little ropes as if they were made of baby heroin.

3) Remove all furniture in the house. I know it sounds extreme, but you'll be glad you did. It takes seconds for a little one to traverse the bed and crawl happily over the edge to certain injury. Sofas are made to be climbed, which is also a problem. And all tables, chairs, entertainment centers, etc. are going to draw welts, bruises, and possibly blood no matter how many layers of bubble wrap and bumper pads you place on them (I think we bought out Target). Toddlers find a way to the areas that are uncovered!

4) Put down carpet. Hardwood floors are modern and beautiful. But when little Johnny or Jenny falls down and cries, you will beat yourself up for not spending a few extra bucks for their personal comfort.

5) Dismantle the stairs. Added bonus- if you're worried about the baby weight you've gained, all those pull-ups you will do to get to the second floor will be worth more than a Weight Watchers membership.

6) Two words: "Baby Gates." Why? Because you're going to want to lock your little bugger in. You will be shocked and amazed at how fast they can move in the three seconds it takes you to clean up an ounce of spit-up (and inevitably they will be heading for the stairs. Did you remember to dismantle the stairs??!!).

I sincerely hope that this post helps all moms out there who want to baby-proof effectively. It's a tough job, but I promise my tips will make your life so much easier.

(Side-Note- I hope my readers understand my sense of humor. In all seriousness, no matter how well you baby-proof your house your child will find a way to get into something he/she shouldn't, and you will beat yourself up the moment they bruise or bleed. Eric managed to do BOTH in front of a parent at the pediatricians office, much to the mind-bending guilt and humiliation of mom. As parents, we need to do our best to make sure our kids are safe. But kids will get hurt. That's what kids do, and sometimes (many times) there's nothing you can do. So remember the days when we played on rusted gym equipment built on gravel and lived in rooms with lead paint? Our kids will survive.)

48 Hours

I can't believe that in 48 hours I'll be in Liberty, Missouri visiting Karen. I haven't flown for over a year. I used to live overseas, so it feels a bit odd... I can't wait to meet Evie and see Karen again. My only fear is her two dogs. Not afraid of dogs. Love them, actually. Just highly (very highly) allergic. I know I shouldn't take Sudafed, but I don't know how I can get through the four days without at least one a day. Do you think one a day will hurt an 18 week old fetus?? God, I hope not. I had no problems with allergies when I was pregnant with Eric. I didn't even need to take my daily Zyrtec. But with this pregnancy I have to take a Zyrtec every day. I try and tell myself it's a category B and okay, but I worry...