Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Importance of Naps

Have you ever heard the Samuel L. Jackson rendition of “Go the F&^k to Sleep”?  If not, here it is.  Go ahead, watch/listen . . . I’ll wait. (btw, this video is not safe for work or children . . . unless those children/workplaces have dirty mouths already) (also, the real audio starts at 1:00, up until then it’s just intro)

The first time I ever saw this video (pre-Guinevere), I laughed a little and thought it was mildly amusing, but I didn’t really get it.  Fast-forward to now and I have had those exact thoughts more times than I can count.  Granted, we still haven’t hit the point where G requests nighttime drinks and teddy bears, nor can she get out of bed by herself yet, but the sentiment is the same with a baby.  Every time I say to Guinevere, “please go to sleep,” Sam Jackson’s voice creeps into my head!

My darling Guinevere has never been a good napper.  It wasn’t until we put her in daycare and then followed daycare’s nap schedule that we could even get her to nap remotely regularly.  She’s been (mostly) sleeping through the night since she was about 3-4 months, so the lack of naps wasn’t that big a deal.  I’d trade daytime naps for nighttime sleep any day.  But occasionally the lack of sleep rears its ugly head.  Christmas time was bad – she screamed for about an hour every time we tried to put her to bed.

I realized yesterday that naptime is not just important for babies – it’s also important for parents!  Yesterday Guinevere did NOT want to nap.  I’m not quite sure why.  I had some errands to run in the morning, which ran into her normal morning naptime.  I figured she would probably fall asleep in the carrier and get her nap that way.  Nope.  She was wide-awake the whole time!  So then I thought she’d probably fall asleep in the car on the way home.  No.  She babbled the entire way home.  By the time we got home, it was lunchtime.  So I made us some sandwiches (she at an entire ½ sandwich, btw!) and then let her play for a bit.  Then I decided to attempt to put her down for an afternoon nap.  She wanted NOTHING to do with an afternoon nap either!  She screamed for almost 10 minutes, and then she calmed down and babbled to herself for about 10 minutes.  Then she started crying again.  So I just got her up.

Once I had finally given up on all hope of her taking a nap, I put her down on the floor for some tummy time.  We played a bit and then I had to step out of the room to change the laundry.  When I got back, she had finally fallen asleep . . . at 5pm . . . on the floor.  Oh well, the quiet was nice – even if it only lasted half an hour.

Guinevere's one and only nap for the day.

I was so exhausted by the end of the day!  Aaron is shooting all weekend, so I was the only one home with her all day.  I didn’t even get to shower because I was planning on showering during one of her naps.  Seriously, I don’t know how 50’s housewives did it.  How do you take care of a kid, clean the house, cook, and do it all in heels, a dress and pearls?  I bet they didn’t.  I bet they had days where their husband walked in the door, and there were screaming children with snotty noses, a messy house, and a wife who just desperately needs a shower too.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Sister's Wedding

Two weeks ago, my little sister got married.  I have only one sibling – just Sharon and me.  Sure, we fought when we were little, but now we’re super close.  She’s one of my best friends and I call her (almost) daily.  Whether she picks up is another story . . . but to be fair, she lives in New York, and I usually call her to pass the time while I’m stuck in traffic on my horrendous commute home.  I can’t expect anyone to answer the phone on a regular basis at 8 or 9 pm on a weeknight.

On the wedding day morning, the plan was that the female contingent of the bridal party would meet for breakfast at the hotel super early at 7am.  Then the groom’s side would meet an hour later after we had vacated and started to get prettified.  (My family is not super traditional, but one of the few traditions we cling to is that the Bride and Groom must not see each other the day of the wedding before the ceremony.)

Guinevere hung out with the girls while we got pretty.  She was really well behaved!  She seemed perfectly happy to just sit on the bed in the hotel room and play with her toys while we prepared.  At one point, she got tired, so I sang her a naptime song and laid her down.  She fussed a little and then fell asleep.

Once we were all ready, the girls headed over to the venue.  I needed a little extra time to get Guinevere in her flower girl dress, so I went on a later shuttle.  There’s a great story to the flower girl dress Guinevere wore: a couple years ago, when my dad, uncle and I were cleaning out my grandmother’s house to get it ready to rent out after we moved her into assisted living for Alzheimer’s, I came across a Nordstrom’s box with my grandmother’s writing on it.  It said, “For my great-granddaughter.”  She didn’t have any great grandchildren at the time, so I kept the box for whichever of the cousins had a little girl first.  As I was getting the nursery ready before Guinevere was born, I came across this box again.  I had stashed it in the closet and completely forgotten about it.  It was then that I realized I would be the one having the first great granddaughter!  I opened the box and pulled out this adorable little white dress with pink florets.  It was perfect for a flower girl dress!  I sent a picture to my sister to see if she thought it would work for her wedding.  She loved it!  My grandmother has since slipped even further into her Alzheimer’s – to the point where we weren’t able to have her at the wedding, so it was really nice to be able to have a piece of her there .

Guinevere in her flower girl dress.

The wedding was at a place called Twin Oaks in San Marcos, just North of San Diego.  The venue is a historic schoolhouse and its surrounding grounds.  The girls relaxed with some Prosecco cocktails in the schoolhouse before the ceremony while the boys had the run of the outside grounds. 

The girls with Prosecco!

The ceremony was beautiful.  My sister looked gorgeous!  Aaron carried Guinevere down the aisle and then handed her off to my aunt (he was standing up on Will’s side).  She fussed a little, but then took a nap while my aunt held her through most of the ceremony.

Aaron & Guinevere right before heading down the aisle.

After the ceremony, we took the standard bridal party pictures.  Once Guinevere and I were dismissed, I found a quiet room to nurse in.  I brought pumped bottles for her, but this helped with things not being quite so, er, painful.  G took another nap in her stroller during the cocktail hour.  We made our grand entrance (G still napping in the stroller) and then speeches happened right away!  I knew I was going to have to give a speech – I just didn’t realize it was going to be one of the first events of the reception.  I think my speech went well – I got several laughs, so that’s good.  Here’s the speech (in case you’re interested).

Flower girl has a crush on the ring bearer.

Guinevere did really well throughout the entire wedding.  The one downside is that there were so many new people that G got a little overwhelmed.  She all of a sudden decided that only mommy could hold her – not even Aaron or my parents could keep her happy!  So I missed almost half the reception feeding her a bottle.  I’m kind of sad because I really wanted to dance a lot more than I did.  Though, the songs I danced to, were a lot of fun!  I even brought Guinevere out on the dance floor with me!

At the end of the night, G fell asleep in my arms and Aaron wrapped his coat around the both of us.  I didn’t get nearly as many pictures as I wanted (kind of hard to do when you’re running around being MOH), but I have priceless memories that I will cherish forever.

Good luck to the new Mr. & Mrs. DeBeauchamp . . . now I’m gonna go get me a glass of wiiiiine!*

*read the MOH speech if you don’t get that reference. 

Maid of Honor Speech

**Note: this is what I wrote out the night before the wedding . . . not necessarily what actually came out of my mouth on the wedding day.**

Hello everyone.  As most of you know, I’m Sharon’s big sister . . . "big" sister . . . hahaha 
I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of what to say in this speech ever since Sharon told me she was getting married.  As you know, Will and Sharon got engaged after a whirlwind 4 month courtship.  So I didn’t really have any fun anecdotes to share about their relationship at the ready in my head - in fact, I had only met Will once, and that was when he flew out to California for 23 hours. (Fortunately, I have gotten to spend more time with him in the past year and a half, and I can truly say welcome to the family)  So, instead, I will use this time to tell Will about the fabulous family he is marrying into . . . and of course, the amazing woman that he is marrying: my sister.  
Will - Sharon is one of the most beautiful, warm and loving human beings to ever walk the planet.  She’s not just my sister, but also one of my best friends.  As most people here can attest, Sharon and I are very close and we share some fantastic memories, replete with inside jokes, some of which I shall now divulge to you . . . because really, what kind of big sister would I be if I didn’t bring up some fun, and maybe slightly embarrassing stories with 100 of our closest friends and family?
Did you know, Will, that I predicted Sharon would marry you?  Oh yes, I did!  Except, your name at the time was Orlo Yazzi.  I don’t know if you ever played this game when you were a kid, but Sharon and I used to do this all the time.  You bend the pop tab on a soda can back and forth until it falls off and as you’re doing this, you go through the alphabet.  Whatever letter the tab falls off on, is the first initial of the person you are going to marry.  Then you do it again, and that letter is the first initial of the last name of the person you are going to marry.  One time on a camping trip, Sharon got an O and a Y.  I decided to think up the most ridiculous name possible: Orlo Yazzi.  I think I might have even come up with some sort of silly song to tease Sharon about it.  I was thinking about this story the other night, and honestly, you kind of look like I had always imagined Orlo Yazzi to look!  So there we go, on the advice of Dr. Pepper and Mr. Squirt, I predicted Sharon would marry you even though I didn’t even know you.
Now I will leave you with one final story.  There was one summer I went out to New York to visit Sharon.  She was living up near Washington Heights, which for those of you who don’t know, is a relatively rough neighborhood.  Her apartment was great - it was just the neighborhood was a bit rough around the edges.  Anyway, we had had a long day walking all over New York City and wanted to just have a quiet night in with some wine.  We went to the corner liquor store looking for some Chardonnay.  This was one of those liquor stores where the guy running the store is behind bulletproof glass and you have to tell him what you want and then he slides it to you through a little door in the glass.  So anyway, Sharon and I were there trying to decide on a bottle of Chardonnay, which is surprisingly difficult to do when you can’t pick up and examine the bottles.  And this man, holding a bottle of Hennesy that he had just purchased, came up to us and asked what we were looking for.  

We said, "Umm, some Chardonnay?"  

He says, "Chardo-wha?  What is that?"  

We said, "Wine."  

He says, “Wiiiiiiine????  I don’t think I’ve ever had wine before.  So, tell me about this wiiiine - is it going to make me feel like a new man?  Or is it going to get me f***ed up?  Because I ain’t looking to feel like a new man!”  

We bought our wine and laughed all the way home.
So, in honor of that man in that liquor store so many moons ago, let’s all raise our own glasses of wiiine (or whatever you have), and I will say this, “Just like a fine wine, marriage should only get better with age and maturity, so I hope every day of your marriage ‘makes you feel like a new man.’ (or woman as the case may be).” Welcome to the family.  Cheers!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Guinevere's First Trip to Disneyland!

Inside the Happiest Place on Earth
Disneyland will always hold a special place in my heart.  It was one of my first college jobs.  I went to UC Irvine for undergrad, only about 20 minutes away from the big D.  I didn’t work there for very long, but it was a “magical” time.  So I was super excited when my sister mentioned that she might want to do a Disneyland bachelorette party.  Aaron and I have been saving up to get passes (which was our delayed big Christmas present to each other) for several reasons: a) it’s something that has always been on my bucket list (not sure if that’s a lame bucket list item, but there it is) b) many of our friends have passes and we’ll be able to go with them and c) with a baby, the pass makes a lot more sense because then you’re not rushing around trying to get on all the big rides.  If the baby is tired or fussy, it’s ok to just find a quiet spot and hang out for a while or even head home at noon.  Disney passes are not cheap!  We opted to go with the Southern California Annual Pass (the second cheapest version), so we can go most Sundays and anytime during the week (if we ever have the day off).  No July entry or Saturday entry, but honestly, we’d probably be avoiding Disneyland during those times anyway due to the crowds.

We got there right as the park was opening at 10am.  Not surprisingly, there were several other people with strollers and babies/toddlers.  Guinevere’s little face lit up every time she saw another kid or baby.  She’s a very social little one! 

My sister had been delayed due to traffic, so I went straight to the “mother’s room” (which is on the Disney map as the “Baby Care Center”) where I could nurse Guinevere.  I walked in and this nice old nurse greeted me and asked what services I need.  I said I wanted to nurse my baby, and she directed me to a sectioned off area behind a room divider dedicated to nursing.  I walked in and they had large semi-comfortable chairs (the chairs were wicker, which is never comfortable, but they also had nice cushions, which was comfortable) facing away from each other so that it felt more private.  There is also a pump room, a couple of high chairs if you want to feed your baby away from all the crowds, and a changing station in the back with about 5 changing tables.  They also had mini-toilets for potty training kids.  In case you ever go to Disneyland and need to find the Baby Care Center, it’s at the end of Main Street. Just walk to the end of Main Street, hang a right by the Plaza Inn café is and then it’s on the right hand side.  It’s kind of nice that it’s tucked away for privacy purposes, but was kind of a pain when I was trying to find it in the first place.

Once I was finished feeding G, my sister (Sharon), her fiancé, his sister, and the rest of our group had all gathered and we were ready to start the day!  We decided to start with Indiana Jones.  Of course, babies aren’t allowed on Indiana Jones, so we decided to try the “ride switch” thing.  Disney has a great program where, if there is a baby in your group, your friends can ride the ride first and then when they get to the front of the line (or after they’re done riding), they ask for a “ride switch pass.”  This pass then allows whoever was waiting with the baby plus one person to go through the fast pass line so that they don’t have to wait forever.  It worked really well for us!  While everyone else went on Indiana Jones, we took Guinevere through Tarzan’s treehouse.   
On Tarzan's treehouse.

We a little nervous about leaving our stroller in the “stroller parking” where EVERYONE leaves their strollers.  Seriously, I can’t tell you how many strollers were left just sitting out unattended.  My friend, Kim, who also has passes says you just get used to it.  Obviously you don’t leave any valuables in the stroller, and everyone does it.  I have a feeling that by the end of our next visit, we will probably be comfortable with it.  I’ll admit I felt a little weird every time we left it – either that someone would take it or that we would forget where we left it and never be able to find it again in the sea of strollers.  Though, I guess one of the advantages to having such a distinctive looking stroller as the Orbit is that it’s pretty easy to find.  And every time we came back to our stroller, it was in the exact same place and everything was fine.

After Indiana Jones, we went on the Jungle Cruise.  Babies are allowed on that one.  We strapped Guinevere in the Ergo so that we wouldn’t have to worry about her squirming out of our arms while on a boat.  Of course, she fell asleep while we were standing in line and slept through the entire ride.  Next we went on Haunted Mansion.  Guinevere woke up in time for that ride.  I think she actually enjoyed it!  I will admit that I got a little nervous when we were in the elevator and all the lights went out and everyone screamed.  But she was fine.  Kim has a 2 year old and a 5 month old, she said she would take the 5 month old on Haunted Mansion, but not the 2 year old – mostly because our babies are not old enough to get scared of things like that yet.

After Haunted Mansion, everyone else went on Pirates.  I love Pirates – it may just be my favorite ride in all of Disneyland!  But this time, I knew G was getting hungry and I was hungry too, so we opted to get some lunch and stake out a table for when everyone else joined us.  (This is the advantage to having passes; I didn’t feel bad about skipping out on Pirates because I know there will be another opportunity to go!) Once we were all satiated, we made a plan of action.  Somehow, with the park not opening until 10, it seemed like time was getting away from us – even though the park wasn’t crazy crowded.  The group decided to do Splash Mountain while it was still warm enough that they didn’t mind getting wet. 

While they did that, Aaron and I took Guinevere to meet Pooh!  I had been waiting all day to take Guinevere to Pooh Corner. She was soo adorable!  First we met Tigger.  Her little eyes lit up when she saw bright orange, fuzzy Tigger walk out.  She reached out to try to touch him, even though we were still a couple people back in line.  Once we got up to him, G seemed a little confused that this big stuffed animal was walking around and moving on his own, but then she smiled and squealed and giggled with glee.  Then we rounded the corner and Piglet was standing there to greet us.  G had a Piglet rattle that she’d been carrying around all day and we showed it to Piglet.  She reached out and touched Piglet’s nose and seemed super thrilled.  And then, the pièce de resistance, we met Pooh!  Pooh corner was my old stomping ground back in college.  Being Pooh may just be the best college job in the world!  And then watching my baby meet Pooh for the first time, warmed my heart.  It was definitely the best part of the day for me! 
With Tigger.

Meeting Piglet - she was thrilled!

Meeting Pooh - I was thrilled!

We then made our way over to Tomorrowland and split the group up.  Half the group went on the Matterhorn, while the other half went on Star Tours.  My sister’s fiancé didn’t want to go on either ride, so he watched Guinevere for us.  It was my first time going on Star Tours since they revamped it.  The animatronics while you’re standing in line have been cleaned up and updated, and were great!  But, I have to say, I was disappointed in the ride itself.  I am not a huge fan of 3D glasses – especially when the 3D element doesn’t enhance the experience.  And in this case, I really don’t think they needed to add 3D glasses/technology.  I loved the old Star Tours so much.  It wasn’t 3D and it was still amazing.  But the 3D glasses made me feel a little dizzy and there was no point – I think there was only one time that anything felt like it was coming out of the screen.  At least now I know that I don’t need to wait in a super long line for that ride next time we go to Disneyland.

Since the people in the group who don’t have annual passes bought the Park Hopper tickets, we figured we should take advantage of it and head over to California Adventure for dinner.  The nice thing about California Adventure is that they serve alcohol in a couple restaurants.  Sharon’s fiancé is a native New Yorker, and really wanted some Mexican food while we were in California (and with all the wedding festivities that would happen over the next couple days, he’d have to settle for theme park “Mexican” food because there would be no time to have real Mexican food).  We got some burritos and Margaritas for dinner.  Guinevere banged some spoons on the table while we ate.  By this time, we were all tired and basically ready to go, but there was one last ride people wanted to go on – the Tower of Terror.  The sign at the front of the line said it would take 20 minutes.  Haha!  Several of us waited with the baby while the others went on the ride.  It was a very long wait!  But when they all got back, they were full of the enthusiasm that comes from going on a thrill ride.
Our group at the end of the night - forgive our tired faces.

All in all, it was a fantastic day.  I am soo excited that we got passes and can’t wait for the next time we go!