Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lessons From Maternity Leave

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Guinevere starts daycare tomorrow.  I go back to work next Monday.  I’m full of mixed emotions.  Honestly, this has been a really good leave.  I feel like I’ve had adequate bonding time with my baby and am surprisingly looking forward to going back to work.  It kind of feels like when the run of a show is exactly the right length: some shows I’ve done run for one weekend only, and it feels like it’s too soon to say goodbye when the final curtain closes.  Then there are other shows I’ve done that seem to drag on and on and by final curtain, you can’t wait to pack up your makeup and get out of the theatre.  And then there are those golden gems where you feel perfectly satisfied with how long you’ve embodied that particular character and performed the choreography and you are ready to move on to the next project, but will forever look fondly on that particular cast and show.  That is how I feel about my leave. 

Sure, there are things that I envisioned I would do that I didn’t get to do, but I think that’s how any segment of time works.  I don’t have any regrets about the time I’ve spent getting to know my daughter.  I love that now I know her cues for when she is tired or hungry.  I will miss our long mornings “talking” to each other – but at least we have the weekends for that.  I have learned so much in the past 3 months!  Not only about my daughter, but about myself. 

Things I learned about myself during maternity leave:

·      It is actually possible for me to eat quickly.
For those of you who have never eaten a meal with me, I am probably one of the slowest eaters ever.  I like to take my time and savor my food and really enjoy it.  That’s not really possible with an infant.  I learned very quickly – in the first week or so – that newborns don’t let you take your time with food.  I can now eat an In n Out burger and fries in about 15 minutes (I used to like to take an hour to 45 minutes to eat my burger and fries).  I also learned that I can tolerate cold food.  I used to be one of those people who liked their food scalding hot.  Now, I still prefer my food that way, but if I have to, I can eat half my meal, then feed the baby, and then come back to the meal and finish without needing to heat it up again.

·      It is possible to feel refreshed on 2 ½ hours sleep.
Pre-baby, I would be groggy if I didn’t get at least 6 hours of sleep. I now understand what true sleep deprivation is.  Sleep deprivation is one of the things everyone warns you about when you are about to have a baby, but you will never truly understand until you experience it yourself.  I still remember the first time Guinevere slept for more than 3 hours, it felt like a present!  I felt rejuvenated and refreshed.  Now she is sleeping much better, usually waking up just once during the night to be fed.  She is starting to sleep through the night more and more.  Of course, even when she manages to sleep through the night, I still wake up to check on her or go to the bathroom or feed the cat.  Someday I will get 8 hours uninterrupted . . . someday.

·      I am NOT a stay at home mom
Toward the end of my pregnancy, I had half a thought that maybe it would be fun to stay at home with my kid.  (I think I was mostly influenced by just how much daycare cost.)  About 3 weeks into my leave (maybe even earlier) I realized that I am NOT made out to be a stay at home mom.  I have so much more respect for stay at home moms now.  It’s hard work!  And I’m lucky – Aaron was able to stay home with the baby and me for most of the first two months.  After spending all day taking care of Guinevere, I am ready to go to bed by 9pm!  I love my child, I really do.  But I miss work.  I miss my co-workers.  I miss interacting with adults on a daily basis.  I miss using my brain!  Not that it doesn’t take brainpower to look after a baby, but I miss the intellectual side of my brain.  I actually miss redlining contracts and contemplating complicated legal terminology.  I guess this means I chose the right job and career path at least.

·      Best advice from a friend: set aside some money to hire a cleaning person to clean your house at some point during maternity leave.
I highly recommend, if you can afford it, to hire a cleaning person to come in your last week of leave (if not more often).  You would think that not going to work would give me plenty of time to clean my house . . . but no.  Babies take up ALL of that time.  And during the time Guinevere is napping, I am napping too, checking facebook, blogging or attempting to pick up here and there where I can. I am so glad Aaron and I set aside some money for professional cleaning.  The reason I recommend it for the last week of leave is that the first couple weeks the baby is home, we had the grandmas staying with us and helping to keep the house clean. Three months later, all their good work had been covered over by dust, etc.  I’m hoping that maybe we can swing it to make this a monthly thing, but as of right now, it’s just a one-off cleaning.

·      It will take me a long time to get used to saying “my daughter.”
In fact, I probably won’t get used to it until the next kid comes around, and then I will have to adjust to the fact that there are two of them!  It’s kind of like when I was engaged.  It took me forever to get used to saying the word “fiancé” and by the time I finally did, I had to start calling him “husband.”  I think it took me almost 5 years to really have that word flow right out of my mouth.  Hopefully it doesn’t take me 5 years to get used to saying “my daughter,” but if it does, no one has to know but me . . . right?

Here are some of my favorite images from the past 3 months:
One of our first pictures as a family.
Yoda baby!  After one of her first baths.

Photogenic even at 3 weeks old.

In Michigan.
My beach baby!  First trip to Santa Monica/Venice Boardwalk.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Guinevere's Travels: San Diego

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Last weekend, Guinevere and I went down to San Diego for the second time in her life.  Aaron had some work stuff that he needed to do in LA, so he wasn’t able to join us.  There were several reasons for this trip: a) I wanted to finally show Guinevere some of the sites of San Diego b) I wanted to clean out my room at my parents’ house c) attending a friend’s wedding.  It was so hot (again) that I ended up not getting much cleaning done, but at least I got 2 out of 3 goals accomplished!  Poor Guinevere is going to start to think that San Diego is hotter than LA!

On our first full day in San Diego, I took Guinevere down to Seaport Village while we waited for my sister’s plane to land.  Sharon was a bridesmaid in the wedding this weekend, and I thought it would be fun for her sister and niece to pick her up from the airport.  I am so glad we left as early as we did!  When we arrived at Seaport Village, it was already 85 degrees at 10am!  By the time we got back to Mira Mesa, my car was reading 101.  

Guinevere at Seaport Village

Guinevere with the Coronado Bridge in the background.

Back to Seaport Village – I’ve always loved this place!  For those not from San Diego, Seaport Village is a cute little shopping area downtown.  It’s on the water and super close to the airport.  In fact, it was much easier for Guinevere and I to stroll around at Seaport Village than to sit in a parked car in the cell phone lot.  I walked Ginny out to the waterfront and we wandered around for a while.  I even bought myself a big floppy hat.  


I don’t care if it looks silly.  I’ve been having some issues with irritation with my eyes and am trying to avoid contacts as much as possible lately, so I needed to get a hat.

Later that day, I attempted to get started on cleaning up my room.  Some kids have parents who turn their room into a guest room the moment they leave for college.  Not me.  My room in SD is almost like a time capsule to my teenage self, complete with bunk beds and all.  Yes, Aaron and I still sleep on my bunk beds (me on the top bunk, him on the bottom bunk) when we visit!  I had this great idea that I would go down to San Diego and clean out my room and donate the bunk beds and all the other stuff that has accumulated over the past however many years. Then I would go to Ikea, buy a new bed, and voila, we would have a real guest room to sleep in.   Yeah . . . that didn’t happen.  First off, it was so hot that I could barely move.  Also, Aaron wasn’t there to help hold Guinevere while I cleaned.  I thought that would be fine since I would be in San Diego and my mom and my sister would be fighting over who got to hold her . . . but my sister had loads of bridesmaid duties and so wasn’t around and my parents were busy getting the final arrangements done for the Mira Mesa Street Fair, which was the next day.

I tried putting Guinevere down for a nap in her pack 'n play in my room while I cleaned.  But there were two problems with that:  1. She was hot and fussy and didn’t really want to nap 2. I realized as I was putting my old trinkets into the various “keep,“ “donate,” and “trash” bags, there was a ton of dust in my room!  I really wasn’t comfortable stirring up that much dust with my 2 month old in the room.  So I finally gave up on finishing everything.  I figure if I just allocate an hour or two of cleaning/organizing every time I visit San Diego, we can eventually turn it into a more grown up guest room.  In the mean time, the bunk bed stays!  

Saturday was the Mira Mesa Street Fair.  My parents are very active in local community planning, so they played a big part in putting on the street fair.  It was forecast to be even hotter than Friday, and my dad was worried that the heat would make people stay home.  I took Guinevere to the street fair as early as possible to avoid the heat.  My friend Corey and her daughter, Mikaela, joined us.  We had fun pushing our strollers up and down the street.  We found my mom selling her book on the history of Mira Mesa.  Of course, when we showed up, mom wanted tons of pictures.  After the “grandparent paparazzi” session was finished, Corey and I bought some snowcones and ate them in the relative comfort of some shade.
Guinevere in front of mom's book signing table.

I have no idea how hot it was while we were at the street fair, but later that day, my car’s thermometer said 107!!!  I don’t EVER remember it being that hot growing up!  The newspaper said it was the hottest day on record since 1988.  Guinevere and I ended up escaping the heat at my friend Jfer’s house.  I’m actually really glad we hung out in the air conditioning for a couple hours.  G and I were much more comfortable and it gave me time to tell Jfer what Guinevere likes and doesn’t like, what time she goes to bed, how often she eats, etc. since I had Jfer lined up to watch Guinevere while I was at the wedding the next day.  

I’ve learned that with the baby, it takes a long time to get ready for an event where I have to do more to my appearance than just throwing on a pair of yoga pants and a nursing tank.  I think I took about 3 hours to get ready for the wedding this Sunday (including a couple of feeding breaks).  The wedding was beautiful!  I’ve known Becky, the bride, since she was in kindergarten with my sister.  My Girl Scout troop and hers would get together for camp outs, service projects and other events. I love Guinevere, but I will admit it was kind of fun to leave her with a trusted friend for a couple hours while I had fun.  I was able to dance and have a couple glasses of wine!  
My sister and I at the wedding.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What’s for Dinner: Grass Fed Beef Burgers


Aaron and I took Guinevere to the local Farmer’s Market on Sunday morning.  I love Farmer’s Markets but I hadn’t been to this one in a really long time.  Once I joined the CSA, I didn’t really have a need to seek out additional locally grown organic produce.  Plus, it has been so hot here ever since Guinevere was born that I really didn’t want to expose her to that kind of heat when she was so little.  Now that she’s a little bigger, and the highs are “only” in the 90’s as opposed to 100’s, I’m much more willing to take her out (especially in the morning before it heats up too much).  Aaron wanted to pick up some local honey to potentially help him with allergies (we shall see if that actually works or not), so we decided now would be the perfect time to take Guinevere on her first Farmer’s Market excursion.

I’m definitely glad we went earlier rather than later.  We were sweating by the time we left!  But I think Guinevere enjoyed herself.  She certainly smiled at plenty of vendors and got loads of comments on how adorable she is.  While I was buying some plums and pluots, Aaron started talking to the lady at the grass fed beef stand.  I’ve wanted to try grass fed beef ever since I read “Diet for a Small Planet,” which talks about how grass fed beef is much more sustainable for the environment.  But somehow, I’ve always skipped over the few meat stands at the Farmer’s Market.

As I mentioned in my post about our trip to Michigan, Aaron is from a farming family.  In addition to growing crops, part of his family raised cattle and owned a meat packing plant.  Aaron always talks about how humanely his family treated their livestock and how he never understood animal rights activists who went off on the horrible treatment some animals receive . . . that is until he moved to California and drove past some of the giant agribusiness “pastures” in central California. 

After talking to the lady at the grass fed beef stand, Aaron decided we should show our support for this type of farming and make a purchase.  Since neither of us had ever had grass fed beef, the lady recommended we buy a pound of ground beef.  She said it was a good “starter” option.  I made burgers with it last night – omg, they were so good!!!  I’m really glad the lady told us that grass fed beef doesn’t require a lot of seasoning – it’s very flavorful on its own.  I just added a bit of Worcestershire sauce and some salt and pepper.  Then grilled the burgers on my Foreman Grill.  We had a salad to go with, and it was delicious!  Of course, I ended up eating most of mine cold bc Guinevere decided to start crying inconsolably the moment we sat down to eat.  But even cold, it was yummy!

  
In continuing with my series of “How much does dinner cost?” I decided to break down the dinner I cooked last night.  I went into it knowing that it would be a bit more expensive because of the grass fed beef, but I was still curious.  Honestly, I’m really impressed that it wasn’t that expensive – even with the higher ticket items of grass fed beef and thin buns that have no high fructose corn syrup in them.  I think it’s still less than the cost of going to McDonald’s (not sure on that one since I’m not totally sure on prices at McD’s) – but $3 per serving seems like it would have to be cheaper.  Not to mention the cost in gas to get there.  As far as time, it was one of the fastest meals I have prepared.  I think it took me all of 15 minutes to chop the salad, divide up the meat into 4 equal portions AND cook them (the burgers only needed about 5 minutes on the grill).

Here’s the breakdown:
Grass Fed Beef Burgers

1 lb grass fed beef
$7.92
salt, pepper, worcestershire
$0.30
4 buns
$1.25
4 oz cheese
$1.00
pickle
$0.10
lettuce
$1.00
cucumber
$0.50
tomato
$0.25
carrot
$0.10
dressing
$0.10


total
$12.52


4 servings
$3.13

Full disclosure: I arbitrarily assign a value of 10 cents to anything that is a staple in the pantry, like salt, pepper, etc.  Also, there were more than 4 servings of salad, but it was easiest to just add all of it to this meal calculation.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Guinevere at 10 weeks


I never realized how much fun a two month old could be! Guinevere smiles and coos and is generally much more responsive and alert than in the early newborn phase.  I’m actively trying to memorize the way my adorably cuddly baby feels in my arms because I know she won’t be this small for long.  She’s now officially out of newborn clothes (though there are still a few that fit her), and fitting the 0-3 month clothes perfectly.

I think we’re to a point where we are starting to get into a pattern with sleeping . . . hopefully it continues.  I’ve found that we have the best results when we bathe her and put her in her sleeper after whatever feeding is closest to 6 or 7pm.  If we don’t do that, then we run the risk that she will fall asleep for the night and still be in whatever onesie she was in all day.  She was never a fan of swaddling, but she definitely sleeps better in a sleeper, with her arms and legs covered, than in a onesie where her arms and legs are exposed.

Guinevere doesn’t have a set bedtime, but seems to fall asleep naturally sometime between 8-9pm.  Anytime I try to purposely put her down by a specific time, it backfires on me.  She’ll get fussy and stay up and I’ll get frustrated.  Since I’m still on maternity leave, there’s no urgency in putting her down by a specific time.  Letting her fall asleep on her own terms so far seems to be the least stressful way of doing things, and if she follows her current natural bed time schedule, that will work out fine for when I go back to work next month.  The last two nights, Aaron and I actually had a little bit of grown up time after we put her to sleep.  Now if only I could stay awake past 9:30 . . .

She tends to wake up around 3 or 4am for an early morning feeding.  However, night before last she actually slept the entire night – from 9pm-5am!  Then she made up for it last night, waking up for feedings at 1am and 5am.  But honestly, I’d rather her do that than the 3 or 4am feeding, if for no other reason than it’s really hard to tell her smiley, happy face to go back to sleep.  She almost always wakes up with a huge smile on her face.
Smiley, happy Guinevere at 4am.

I think my favorite part of this age, though, is that Guinevere is not mobile yet.  I can set her down on her play gym and leave the room for half a second and she’s still in the same place when I get back.  She’s old enough now that she doesn’t freak out if we go 5 minutes without holding her (most of the time); in fact, she kind of likes looking around whatever room she’s in and exploring it with her eyes.  I am very cognizant that this will not last forever, and am trying to enjoy it as much as possible while I can.  Yesterday, I was able to lay her down on our bed while I vacuumed and cleaned the room.  It was amazing!  She loves laying on our bed while I fold laundry around her.  She’ll stare at the ceiling fan or make faces and smile at me or “talk” to me.  I love talking to her!  You can see her studying my mouth moving as I’m talking, and see in her eyes that she’s trying to figure out how to do it too.  Then she’ll open up her mouth and experiment with various vowel sounds.
How I get my laundry done these days.

It’s so fun watching her find new things to stare at!  I put her down for a nap in her crib the other day, and she looked up at the mobile that has been above her crib since day one, but she truly saw it for the first time.  It was amazing to see her discover it!  She now likes to have “conversations” with the stuffed Shamu on her play gym.  She’s also discovered the mirror.  Babies and mirrors are a great combination! When Guinevere catches her reflection in the mirror, she is fascinated.  She stares and smiles and gets excited.   I’m excited to see her grow up and learn new things, but I am definitely enjoying this age.

Guinevere staring at herself in the mirror.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Crockpot Dinner: Chicken Tetrazzini



Before I got pregnant, I had a (now defunct) blog where I would often write about meals that I had cooked and break down the costs for each meal (proving to myself and the rest of the world that it is almost always cheaper to cook at home than to eat out).  Now that we are out of the all-consuming newborn phase, I have started to cook again and thought it would be a nice feature to add to this blog.  I will admit that my cooking style has changed in the past 2 months.  I seek out recipes that are quick and/or easy – I haven’t yet had the guts to tackle a Julia Child recipe (those would take me hours BEFORE a baby came into our lives, and would probably take me  all day to complete now that Guinevere is here).

I always loved my crockpot before, but now I love it even more!  Guinevere tends to be in a good mood in the mornings and will often take a little nap (she apparently inherited my ability to power nap), so it’s relatively easy for me to assemble a crockpot meal in the morning and then let it cook all day while I focus on her.  Thus far, every time I have waited until the evening to start cooking dinner, it has backfired on me.  When my sister came out to visit, we decided to cook a recipe that should have taken maybe an hour, but it took 5!  Guinevere decided to be fussy and we had to pass her back and forth while juggling cooking, and then taking breaks when she needed to be fed.

Back to the crockpot: last Sunday, I made Chicken Tetrazzini.  I modified a recipe I found in “Crockery Cookery.”  I don’t like mushrooms, so I eliminated them from this recipe.  This would be a good candidate for a frozen crockpot meal (where you chop and prepare everything except the liquids and then freeze it, writing on the ziplock bag what liquids and other steps need to be taken).  The prep work went pretty quickly.  I had Aaron hold Guinevere while I chopped the onions and cut up the chicken.  All in all, I think the prep took about 15 minutes.

Here’s the recipe as I made it:
·    Chop 1 onion, cut up 4 chicken breasts and then put them in a crockpot along with vegetable broth, wine, salt, pepper, thyme, and parsley.  Cook that on low for 4-5 hours.  (At some point during this time, cook the spaghetti and set it aside for adding to the recipe later).

·    Dissolve the cornstarch in water and add it to the crockpot and cook on high for 20 minutes.  (I think next time I might use a little less cornstarch).

·     Add the spaghetti, half n half, and half the parmesan cheese and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

·      Then it’s ready to serve, topped by the rest of the parmesan cheese.

And here’s my cost breakdown:
Chicken Tetrazzini


4 chicken breasts
$5.50
bought fresh from the butcher
1 cup vegetable broth
$0.10
used half a boullion cube
1/2 cup dry white wine
$1.25
$5 bottle of wine
1 onion
$0.10
had in my pantry
salt, thyme, pepper, parsley to taste
$0.30
had in my pantry
3 tbs cornstarch
$0.10
had in my pantry
1/4 cup water
$0.00
tap water
1/2 cup half n half
$0.85
half of a $1.69 container
8 oz spaghetti
$0.50
half of a $1 package
1/2 cup grated parmesan
$2.00
half of a $4 package of parmesan
peas
$1.00
side dish of peas



total
$11.70




8 servings
$1.46
per serving


Sorry I didn’t take any pictures of the meal – I promise you it was delicious.  We've been eating it for leftovers every day since Sunday.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Guinevere's Travels: Michigan


One of Aaron’s best friends got married last weekend in Ann Arbor.  We used it as a good opportunity for our little family to fly across the country, attend a wedding, visit the University of Michigan, and meet Aaron’s big family.  Aaron’s dad was the middle of 9 children, so he has 8 aunts and uncles on that side and more cousins than I can count.  We had a great time introducing Guinevere to several of those family members (obviously, not everyone in the family was able to attend).  But I can tell you, traveling with a 2 month old is exhausting!  I ended up coming back from the trip with a small cold, and now am religiously washing my hands trying to make sure I don’t get little G sick too.  How ironic would it be if, after introducing her to multitudes of new people, I end up being the one to give her her first cold?

Air Travel With a 2 Month Old

The part of the trip that I was most nervous about was flying with an infant.  I didn’t want to be that family – you know, the one with the screaming baby in a small enclosed space, hurtling at high velocity, miles above the Earth.  Fortunately, we took a red eye on the way to Michigan and she slept the entire way.  I was given advice to feed her on the way up and down to help with any pressure on her ears, but I couldn’t even wake her up to feed her on take off.  I was able to wake her just enough to feed her on descent, though.  Honestly, traveling to Michigan was relatively easy.  The TSA people at LAX even let us skip the line at security and we got to go through with the pilots, which was good because we were running a little later than we had intended.  Oh, and when traveling with an infant, you don’t have to choose between being felt up or pelting your body with deep xrays.  We went through the regular metal detector and that was it.  Also, Delta (and possibly other airlines, but we flew Delta) does not charge for checking infant items, saving us $25 each way for the pack n play.  You just have to talk to the agents when you are checking in – the computers might try to charge you extra for infant items, but when talking to a human being, they just check it straight through.  Also, if you ever travel with an infant, be sure to talk to the airline people at the gate right away.  They will give you tags for checking the car seat/stroller at the gate, which is very important/helpful.  This way we were able to keep her in her stroller right up until we got on the plane and then they deliver the stroller back to you when you disembark the plane.

Guinevere's first plane trip.

Once we arrived at the Detroit airport, Guinevere needed changing badly.  There was a family bathroom, which I assume was big enough for all three of us to go in and change her, but it was occupied.  I went into the ladies room hoping that there would at least be one of those fold down changing pads.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was an entire changing station!  It had a changing pad, and disposable sanitary liners for the changing pad (though I still used the travel pad that I carry in my diaper bag on top of the disposable liner).  There was a sink right there next to the changing pad.  Guinevere loved looking at herself in the mirror at the changing station, so it made changing her after that long trip that much more enjoyable.

We weren’t quite as lucky on our flight home.  We still got the pack n play through for free, but had to stand in the regular security line at the Detroit airport.  There were several other babies on our flight, which was interesting.  There was even another 2 month old across the aisle from us.  Guinevere was still very well behaved; thank goodness!  She slept for a large portion of the flight.  When she woke, she was in a pretty good mood.  Every time she looked like she was about to fuss, we gave her the pacifier and she calmed right down.  Once we landed at LAX, I went into the ladies room to change Guinevere.  The LAX changing area was not nearly as nice as the Detroit changing station.  There was a separate room labeled “Nursery” which had a pull down changing pad and a sink.  But the oddest part of the room was that there was no trash can, so I had to carry the dirty diaper out of the room with me while holding my baby and find the general trash can for the bathroom. 

Aside from our first night in Michigan, Guinevere handled the time zone change relatively well.  The first night was really bad, though. She would NOT sleep!  It was like being back to the newborn phase.  She was awake and fussy and demanding to eat every 2 hours throughout the night.  But then 2 nights later, she slept through the entire night (10pm – 7am) for the first time ever!  She hasn’t done it again since, but it’s nice to know she has the capability to do so.  I was prepared for an encore of the sleepless night experience when we returned home, but she decided to be good for us and returned to her normal sleep pattern of waking once around 3 am for a feed and then going back to sleep.

The Wedding

The main impetus for this trip was our friend Nicole’s wedding.  Aaron and Nicole have been close friends since college at the University of Michigan.  Nicole was a groomslady in our wedding, and she asked Aaron to be an usher in hers.  The wedding was beautiful!  The ceremony was in the Michigan Theatre, which shows movies and has live events on stage.  It was a fun, lighthearted ceremony, complete with images of the bride and groom superimposed on classic movie posters.  Guinevere was well behaved during the ceremony as well.  She slept through most of it and got several adoring stares from the wedding guests.

We had a couple hours between the ceremony and reception.  Aaron had to stick around to take pictures, but Guinevere and I headed back to the hotel room and both of us took a nap.  I’m so glad there was that time in between!  I’ve noticed that the days I don’t get a nap, I end up going to bed around 9:30 pm because I am so exhausted.

Guinevere was really good during the reception as well.  She slept during most of dinner.  Once the band started playing, she woke up and seemed to enjoy the music.  Aaron’s friend, Kelly, was there and she held Ginny for us so that Aaron and I could have at least one dance together.  I don’t think I’ve ever danced so little at a wedding before.  I can’t wait until Guinevere is old enough for her to be my partner on the dance floor!  I just love watching little kids dancing and having fun at weddings!  Of course the bride wanted to hold Guinevere  - and got loads of comments such as, “well that was fast!” (unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of that.  I think Aaron got a pic on his phone)
The ceremony

Kelly and Guinevere
The bride and me
Our little family
Meeting the family

After the wedding festivities were over, Aaron and I headed back to Aaron’s aunt and uncle’s house.  They live close to Ann Arbor and generously hosted a family get together so that the Midwest contingent of the family could meet the newest member.  We had so much fun!  Aaron’s mom was even able to be there.  Unfortunately, I was having so much fun that I forgot to take pictures for myself.  But I know one of Aaron’s Aunts took loads of pictures (Aunt Dianne, if you are reading this, I would love to get copies of those pics).

Aaron and I also drove up to Chesaning, the small town where Aaron’s parents grew up.  Both of Aaron’s parents grew up on farms, but Aaron’s grandparents sold their farms long ago.  Aaron drove us past the farmhouse that Aaron’s grandfather built and where Aaron’s mom grew up.  We even stopped and Aaron knocked on the door to see if the current owners would be willing to let us walk around, but no one was home.  We stayed with Aaron’s grandmother and walked around a little.  This is one of those towns that’s so small it only has one stoplight.  I loved getting to spend more time with Aaron’s grandmother and watching her hold her great-granddaughter.  

Meeting her great-grandmother


Touring UofM

Aaron got his BFA from the University of Michigan and loves to reminisce about how fantastic an experience he had.  He ended up dragging us all over campus showing us portions of his glory days, and pointing out how much has changed in the past 10 years.  As exhausting as it was (Guinevere got to nap in the stroller much of the time, but I had to walk . . . when will they create a stroller for adults that we can nap in? J) , we had a great time.  Aaron ended up finding several professors/admin people that remembered him.  We got to go backstage at the Power Center and were able to take a look at the stage.  We also went into two additional smaller theaters later on (one thrust and one black box).  I kept telling Guinevere that theaters are like a second home to both her mom and dad.
Guinevere's first time in a theatre

Aaron also insisted on taking a picture of Guinevere on top of the big M located in the middle of the diag.  At first he wanted to lay her down directly on top of it – which I very quickly vetoed.  I know she’s had her shots and all, but laying my 2 month old directly on the ground where tons of people walk every day . . . no.  I am not comfortable with that.  So we put a burp cloth underneath her – unfortunately, she’s just a little too long for it, so then I grabbed a diaper out of the diaper bag and put it under her feet.  But if you have any experience with babies, you know their feet never stay still for long.  Oh well, at least she’s not putting her feet in her mouth . . . yet.
Future student?

Overall we had a great time.  I’m really glad that we got to see all the people and places we did.  Not that Guinevere will remember this trip, but hopefully a little of it will stick in her subconscious.