Spa Trips & Different Rules

My husband and I recently came back from a wonderful trip to Nemacolin Woodlands Resort! We mainly went for the spa and the highly-rated restaurants, but definitely want go back for the winter or summer activities once our daughter, Sadie, is a little older. The property is just outside of Pittsburgh, PA and it is stunning. I recommend paying it a visit and here are a few reasons why:

  1. Amazing spa: We went for 2 days of treatments and left feeling so relaxed and replenished. My favorite treatments were the facial (part of the woodlands classic package) and the hot stone shirodhara. The facial was so relaxing I drifted into sleep, and my face was glowing afterwards. The hot stone shirodhara really helped work through some muscle pain & tightness I’d been feeling (and it also felt so good!) In both cases, the masseuse was great about asking and understanding my personal needs, which I really appreciated.
  2. Delicious food: The restaurants did not disappoint. Although the décor was very understated, the meals went above and beyond my expectations. Every dish not only tasted exquisite, but looked beautiful when served!ny5
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  3. Spectacular service: We stayed in the Chateau where we had a butler (which in itself was awesome and made me realize I need a butler everyday) but the service was fantastic anywhere we went on the resort. We felt very welcomed and waited-on the entire time we were there.
  4. Magnificent surroundings: The landscape and architecture on the property are beautiful. The Chateau displays art throughout the halls and attempts to push the limit on how many chandeliers you can have per square inch. ny6

There are also a wide variety of family activities and kid-friendly restaurants/areas, which is why we hope to return with Sadie. (There’s even pet care for those interested!)

Sadie and our dog, Wally, stayed with my in-laws in Philadelphia while we were away. Using our experience from Adult Week, we learned FaceTiming a couple hours before bedtime was best so Sadie wouldn’t miss us before going to sleep.

My in-laws have watched Sadie and Wally several times now. Even though they have different rules than I do, the little ones fare well in their care and are happy and healthy when I return. There were only a couple new things Sadie and Wally picked up that I had to teach them not to do with me; as long as I was consistent and firm, they picked up on my rules vs. my in-law’s rules pretty quickly.

We stayed at my in-law’s house for a couple days after our spa trip. I found when my MIL and I were together with the little ones, establishing who was in charge at that time reduced confusion on what the rules were and who would take the lead should chaos ensue. Since we were at her house, I handed over the reins a little more and I think it worked well.

Overall, it was a positive way to bring in the New Year and I hope you had a great holiday too!

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Adult Week Part II

Adult week is over and I’m so excited to see my babies and thankful for the time my husband and I had together.

The first 3 days were so fun and we really lived up the freedom. I slept so much! I did not realize how much I missed sleep. We had delicious meals at restaurants we’d been meaning to try. I even went to a couple yoga classes! (Finally… I used to teach yoga – Yikes!)

It was nice to realize I really don’t miss going out to drink. We had plenty of opportunities to hit it hard, but when it came down to it we both wanted to relax at home in our comfy clothes! Sometimes when I know can’t go out I wonder what I’m missing but this free time confirmed that I’ve really moved past that part of my life.

We FaceTimed Sadie twice a day so we could see each other and on day 4 Sadie cried when she saw us. 😦 I kept a positive attitude so she could see everything was ok and my MIL confirmed she was happy afterwards. It was hard because I started to question if we were going to be away for too long. After some reflection, I decided to focus on enjoying the time I had with my husband instead of moping. We only had 2 more days!

When we finally reunited with Sadie and Wally, the pure joy was amazing to experience. Sadie was practically squealing with delight and wanted to show me everything she loved around her Nana’s house. She kept running up to me at random and giving me hugs. It was so cool to see how much she had changed and learned in just under a week! Wally was so sweet and stayed right by my side. He got along very well with my in-law’s 3 dogs and was happy to have play mates!

I recommend taking some adult time when you can. The length of time doesn’t have to be as long as a week, but it’s really nice to have some time to reconnect with your own needs and have more time with your spouse; you’ll be amazed to see how adaptable your little ones can be and the things they pick up when they’re with other people.

Adult Week

Christmas is fast approaching and like many, we have lots of plans. Some of our plans are fairly complicated.

My mother-in-law graciously (and perhaps without realizing exactly what she was signing up for) offered to make the 13-hour drive up to Philadelphia with Sadie, our almost 2 year-old daughter, and Wally, our 2 year-old puppy, a week in advance of my husband and I. At first, I was upset about the idea of missing all that time with my babies around the holidays but then my husband smartly pointed out – we could have an adult week.

AN ADULT WEEK.

This got me onboard pretty quickly. We have a whole list of silly things we plan to do that you just can’t do as easily with kids (eat later, go to the movies on a weeknight, work out together, sleep in, etc.)

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My mother-in-law is also the main caretaker when my husband and I go to work, so she knows how to keep Sadie & Wally happy, she can keep their schedule, and they are both very comfortable with her. Luckily Wally has been to my in-law’s before and got along with their dogs, but they’ve still promised to be cautious in re-introducing the dogs (keep them on leashes when they first see each other and slowly increase the time they spend out together).

After the week is over I’ll check back in to let you know how it went! (for us and the little ones) Hopefully everything stays merry and bright.

Boarding, Planes, and Babysitters

To start 2016, my family went on a ski trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I have skied since I was a little kid so I happen to be pretty good and I was very excited for the trip. It had been 3 years since I skied last and the difference this time was I now had a husband, an 11 month-old baby, and a year-old puppy.

My puppy, Wally, could not come with us on the ski trip so we decided to board him at an animal hospital. I researched places close by and found one that seemed affordable, had outdoor space, had playtime at least 3 times a day, and had great reviews. When boarding your dog, it’s important to have access to all of their records for things like rabies shots and vaccines. I was able to connect the animal hospital with the vet who performed Wally’s vaccines so they could share all the paperwork that was necessary. When it was time to drop Wally off, we didn’t make a huge deal of it so that both him and Sadie didn’t worry about what was happening. Wally was so excited when he got there he didn’t even look back to see us leaving.

IMG_9708This was Sadie’s first time flying on a plane. Each flight was 2-3 hours and we had Sadie sitting on my lap. We were pretty nervous about Sadie freaking out so I did a lot of research to prepare. The best things I brought were: Tylenol, Benadryl, formula, and Cheerios. Before we boarded the plane, I always let Sadie play and move around in the gate area to get her sillies out. My husband would board with her stroller and all the bags and then Sadie and I would basically be the last people on the plane. This gave her more time to get some energy out while everyone else boarded. Once we boarded, I’d immediately give Sadie a “cocktail” of the Tylenol and Benadryl so that when we ascended her IMG_20160105_145133850ears would not hurt and she could sleep easier. While we taxied, I’d let her explore a little bit (she loved the window) and my husband would prepare her bottle of formula using water we bought in the terminal. Tip: If your baby is used to warm bottles, try to find water at room temperature. Once we took off, I’d give her the bottle of formula to help pop her ears and get her to relax. After she finished and burped, I’d swaddle her and rock her to sleep. She was able to sleep on each flight and only cried for a minute or so when I first started to rock her. When she cried, I would apologize to the people around us which helped reduce the stares. She would usually wake up when the plane started to descend (because her ears hurt). This is when I’d hold a couple Cheerios in my palm and she’d happily pick them up and eat them. Overall, she was very well behaved on each flight so I recommend having at least these 4 items! (and lots of toys and diapers)

In order for me to ski everyday, someone needed to watch Sadie. My mom had graciously offered to take care of her while I skied so it was a true mommy vacation! My mom has watched Sadie many times before so I knew they would both be ok. I left her with a written schedule and a few tips on how I get Sadie down for her afternoon nap. I’d also put Sadie down for her morning nap right before we left so Sadie wouldn’t have to see me leave and my mom would only have to take care of her in the afternoon.

The last night we were in Steamboat, we had a dinner reservation and my Aunt (who is local) asked her friend to babysit Sadie. We purposefully planned for the outing to be on the last day so that Sadie could have time to adjust to the 2-hour time difference and set the reservation for 30 minutes after her bedtime so that she wouldn’t have to meet anyone new. (She sleeps through the night and has a slight bit of stranger anxiety). My husband and I were a little nervous because this was the first time we left Sadie with someone who wasn’t in our family. However, everything went smoothly and it was very nice to have a night out together!

Road Trips and Holidays

This past Thanksgiving my family decided to make the 12-hour drive from Atlanta to Philadelphia to spend a week with my husband’s family for the holiday. In addition, our dog sitter backed out last minute so our 1 year-old puppy, Wally, came along.

Since my husband’s family has 3 dogs of their own and have never had a baby in their house, we did a lot of co-planning ahead of time to make sure things went smoothly. To help introduce their dogs to Sadie, we sent some of Sadie’s things a few weeks prior to our arrival so the dogs could get used to her scent. My husband’s family baby-proofed their house by covering all of the outlets. They also graciously offered to buy a crib and provide dog food for Wally so we didn’t have to worry about bringing those things in the car.

IMG_9266There were a couple extra things I packed that went a long way on our trip: blackout curtains and the pack n’ play. We ended up putting Sadie’s crib in our bathroom because that was the quietest space in my in-law’s house, but it had two high windows that made the room really bright. Using some tacks, I easily hung the blackout curtains and made the bathroom a dark, sleeping oasis. Even though my mother-in-law bought a crib, we brought the pack n’ play just in case. That way, if we ever needed a place to quickly put Sadie down, we wouldn’t have to worry about her with 4 dogs running around. It ended up being a great place for Sadie to play and practice standing while still being able to see everyone, and we could keep her toys there when she went to bed so the dogs wouldn’t steal them.

A 12-hour car trip with a 10 month-old is rough. Obviously, Sadie slept well when it was nap time because the motion of the car lulled her to sleep. However, entertaining her when she was awake took a lot of energy. I sat in the backseat with her and would alternate singing and playing with her to letting her play on her own when she wanted. I saved her favorite toys for times when she started to get ornery. Whenever we’d stop, I’d change her and let her crawl around the backseat for a few minutes to get her sillies out. For the one meltdown she had, the most important thing was to keep the whole car calm – it can be very stressful when you’re in a confined space with a screaming baby. Especially in traffic. I would tell my husband what was going on and told Wally it was ok. I kept trying IMG_9309different things to calm her down but of course nothing worked. Eventually, I put a blanket over the side of her carseat closest to me so she couldn’t see me. Then she was able to calm herself down by looking out the window and fell asleep. (Meltdowns can be exhausting!) Wally actually behaved very well and slept in his bed on the floor for most of the ride. (Tip: We stopped feeding him the night before so he wouldn’t have anything in his stomach in case he felt carsick.) Thankfully, we all made it in one piece.

When we first arrived, we introduced each of the dogs on leases to gauge their reaction to each other. Wally got along ok with 2 of the dogs but the third dog, Tyler, was not as friendly (which we expected). To slowly get them used to each other, we’d keep Wally in his crate when Tyler was out, and put Tyler away when Wally was out. After a few days of that, we tested having them both out on leases and would correct Tyler with a water bottle if he growled or bared his teeth at Wally. By the last couple of days, Tyler and Wally were able to be around each other no problem.

We introduced Sadie to each of the dogs as well. It seemed to help that they were used to her smell. They were either very friendly or didn’t show any interest in Sadie. Ultimately, we just had to make sure they didn’t play too close to Sadie so she wouldn’t get knocked over.

Even though driving and family holidays can be stressful, in the end we made a lot of great memories and had fun doing it! We were able to bring everything we needed, Sadie and Wally both loved all of the attention, and I enjoyed getting little breaks. 🙂

Parents-Only Trips and Worms

This past weekend my husband and I visited my sister at Mizzou! We had an amazing time and it was nice to get away. It was the first time we left our 8 month-old, Sadie, and our puppy, Wally. To make sure everything went smoothly while we were gone, there were a couple of things I did beforehand to prepare.

Sadie stayed with my parents who live close by. In the weeks leading up to our trip, I had my mom visit during different times of the day to shadow me. I also had her babysit a couple of times when I needed to go out to ensure Sadie would be comfortable with my mom and okay with me not around. A few days before we left, I emailed my mom written instructions and helpful tips about Sadie’s schedule that she could reference in case she had any questions. I also left her all of our insurance information and written consent for her to act as Sadie’s guardian in case she needed medical attention.

 

Note: Normally, I would recommend having someone stay at your place so there is less change to your baby’s day. However, in this case, my mom needed to be in her own home to take care of my 14 year-old brother in addition to Sadie.

 

Wally stayed with his aunt and uncle who fostered him originally. Since he stayed with them before, he was very excited to be there. Unfortunately, a couple of days before we left, we found out Wally had roundworm. (Poor baby!) It was very lucky his aunt and uncle handle puppies with worms all the time since they foster rescues that typically have worms. We provided them with de-worming medicine and gave them lots and lots of thank you’s.

 

For those of you wondering what you need to do to keep your baby safe if you have a puppy with roundworm, the most important thing is to keep your baby away from your infected puppy’s poop and any live worms. Children can get infected which could lead to severe damage to their eyes (this is rare). If your infected puppy poops or vomits worms inside use extreme heat to clean it up and kill any worm eggs.

 

While we were away, I checked-in a couple of times each day. It was really helpful to get pictures and videos because I missed Sadie and Wally terribly! When we returned, although Wally was very happy to see me (and he looked and felt much better – no more worms!), Sadie was not my number one fan. This only lasted for the night but Sadie would not make eye contact with me and had a major meltdown before bedtime (it took her 45 minutes to calm down and fall asleep). If this happens to you, don’t worry! It is common for babies to feel separation anxiety starting around 4-7 months and acting out when you return is a psychological safety mechanism. Everything should go back to normal once you reestablish your routine and your baby understands you aren’t leaving again any time soon.