Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Guinevere's Travels: Chicago & Rhode Island

Sorry for the delay in posting.  We were traveling and then, upon our return, we were busy getting caught up! 

Before Guinevere was born, we knew that we wanted to take her on a couple trips in her first year of life.  Aaron’s friend, Nicole, was getting married in August (when our baby would be barely 2 months old), and we really wanted to take our little family out for the event and to meet family.  But we were nervous – would it be ok to bring such a young infant on a plane?  Would we be those parents?  We consulted friends and family about whether we should take such a little one on a plane.  They all told us that it’s actually much easier to fly with a teensy tiny baby than an older baby.  Let me tell you, they were right!

We went to Chicago to visit family before heading out to Rhode Island for a friend’s wedding.  Man oh man, am I exhausted!  G has recently turned into a mega squiggle worm!  Now that she’s mobile, she no longer wants to sit still . . . ever.  She spoiled us with her first two trips – she slept the entire flight to Michigan when she was two months old.  Then at Christmas, when she was 6 months old, she was awake, but perfectly content to sit in my arms and stare/smile at people.  But now, at almost a year old, the entire 4 hour flight consisted of her looking out the window and banging on it, then standing on my lap to look at the people behind us, then crawling into Aaron’s lap, then standing in Aaron’s lap, then crawling back into my lap . . .rinse, wash, repeat.  She eventually got super tired and I could tell she really needed sleep, but she was fighting it so hard.  Aaron finally got her to fall asleep in his arms . . . just in time for the descent.  It was a very long flight!  I guess everyone’s perspectives are different, though, because all the passengers around us thanked us for having such a good baby as they were leaving the plane.  So even though she felt super high energy and super squirmy to us, at least she wasn’t annoying anyone else around us.  J

On our first day, we headed to downtown Chicago to wander around and see some sights.  Guinevere finally got to meet her Uncle Dominick - Aaron’s brother, who met us downtown.  What’s funny is that Dominick actually lived with us in LA for most of my pregnancy, but moved out last May, when I was about 8 months pregnant.  I think G must have heard his voice plenty in utero.  I think she could tell that he was family, but wasn’t quite sure what to make of him at first.  We had a lot of fun, and walked a bajillion miles.  My entire body hurt from all the walking (I really need to start working out again).  After lunch, the skies opened up in a torrential downpour.  My SoCal brain was very confused, though, because there was so much water falling from the sky, and yet the sky was blue with little white, fluffy clouds.  It was very bizarre!  Once the precipitation stopped, we walked over to Millennium Park and saw an orchestra in their final rehearsal for a free show that was to happen the next night.  We also saw the “magic bean.”  The giant, bean shaped mirror fascinated Guinevere!  She was laughing and smiling and waving at herself in it. 

Our family in front of the Magic Bean

G likes ginormous mirrors!

Under the belly of the magic bean!

The next couple days, we relaxed out in the suburbs.  We napped, hung out with family, and took G swimming for the first time ever in the hotel pool!

First time swimming!

I think Guinevere was completely over being in her car seat after being in the stroller ALL day our first day in Chicago.  Every time we put her in her car seat, she would start crying inconsolably.  She also had trouble falling asleep in the pack n play – I think because we were all in one room together.  Unlike at home, we couldn’t just put her in her room and close the door.  She could hear our every move and there was no way she would let us stay up later than her.  I suppose the one upside is that we were able to keep her on CA time, so in Chicago we just all went to bed around 10pm, which was 8pm at home.

Rhode Island

The entire purpose of this trip was to go to Aaron’s friend, Tim’s wedding in Rhode Island.  Chicago was really a long “layover.”  We woke up stupid early for our flight to Boston, where we were renting a car to drive to Portsmouth, Rhode Island.  And by “stupid early,” I mean 2:30am.  We packed everything the night before, so all we had to do was get dressed.  Aaron took a shower while I nursed G . . . and yet we still seemed to be running late.  Halfway to the airport, I pulled up our itinerary and realized we had been off by an hour in our takeoff time – we were leaving at 6:15am, not 5:15am!  Phew!  With that immeasurable relief, we dropped off our rental car and waited for the shuttle to take us to the Chicago airport.

Guinevere was great on this plane trip.  She fell asleep right before take off and, for the most part, stayed that way the entire flight.  I even got to drink a glass of water and read my kindle!

The major downer to this flight was the baggage handling.  Our pack n play mysteriously ended up on the next flight from Chicago to Boston, even though the rest of our bags made it.  Fortunately, the hotel we were staying in had pack n plays for guests to borrow since the airline didn’t deliver ours until 11pm that night. The other MAJOR issue is that they broke our stroller.  As in irreparably damaged.  As in we need to get a new one.  When we complained to American Airlines about it, they said that because we didn’t put the stroller in a bag when we checked it at the gate, we checked “at our own risk.”  Apparently just putting a bag around it – any bag – would have shifted the liability and they would have reimbursed us for it.  (silver lining: turns out my credit card company offers travel insurance, and once I submit the required documentation, they will cover the replacement stroller)

We had a great time in Rhode Island!  Aaron and Guinevere were completely exhausted when we got to our hotel, so they napped while I made use of the hotel’s gym.  I had been sitting for far too long that day to stay cooped up in a hotel room.  After their nap, we went out to a local micro-brew and had some clam chowder and other New England fare.  

The next day we went into Newport for brunch and then wandered around by the seaside. It was adorable!  Newport is a beautiful little seaside town.  Then we drove around and glimpsed the gorgeous old manor homes that grace the island.

That night was Tim & Keri’s wedding.  The wedding took place at one of those old manor homes.  It was right on the water and amazingly beautiful!  After the ceremony, Aaron and Guinevere and I wandered the grounds a little.  Guinevere is now (sometimes) walking with assistance.  So we attempted some walking on the grass.  More often than not, though, she ended up flopping over and crawling around.  On a completely different subject, I saw fireflies for about the third time in my entire life!

At the wedding.


G says, "Look mommy - I can do it myself!"

The beautiful manor/wedding venue.

The next day, the wedding party descended on a small snack bar on the beach.  We rehashed the night before and discussed our travel plans for returning home.  Aaron and G and I had to leave straight from lunch to the airport in order to make our plane home.  Most other people were leaving the next day.  The bride & groom were leaving the next day for their three-week honeymoon in Europe.  I told them I was very jealous!  Someday I’ll get back to Europe . . . someday.

Saying goodbye to the Atlantic Ocean.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Freaky Friday

I’m going to take a moment to talk about something serious today.  My apologies to those who are new readers – I promise this is not normally a “serious” blog.  The next post will focus on counting down to my baby’s first birthday (can’t believe a year went by so fast . . . oh great, now I have Rent stuck in my head).  Anyway, yesterday was a weird day and I need to comment on the events that unfolded.

Yesterday started out like any other Friday . . . well, any other Friday when Obama comes to town.  Obama has visited LA some 14 times during his term.  Each time he visits, I’m terrified that traffic will be a nightmare.  Though I think the city may have learned a thing or two since the first couple times he visited.  The first time he ever visited, traffic was a nightmare!  I’m talking one of the worst traffic days EVER – which is saying something for a city that has been deemed the most congested city in America.  After those first couple visits, residents have been given notice ahead of time of the general time and area (and this time we even knew specific streets) where he will be so that people can plan to avoid those areas as necessary.  Yesterday, his visit was literally walking distance from my office.  Fortunately, they were smart enough (this time) to not shut down streets during rush hour.

Just before lunch, I heard sirens and helicopters and assumed it was due to Obama.  Then I heard the news that there had been a shooting at Santa Monica College, which is just on the other side of the freeway from my office.  Obviously, as the details were unfolding, the information that those of us in the area received was not always accurate.  At one point we were told that the gunman was on the loose and shooting at cars on Olympic Blvd (which is even closer to my office).  The number of people dead from the shooting fluctuated up and down. 

It turns out the shootings all happened along Pico, which, while further from my office, is still eerily close.  It started with a massive house fire, where two people were killed.  Then the gunman carjacked a lady and forced her to take him to Santa Monica College.  Along the way, he shot at a bus and a bunch of other people.  Once at Santa Monica College, he got into an altercation with the police and was ultimately shot and killed at the library where people were studying for finals.  Five people, including the gunman, were killed.

Click here for a map of all the incidents.

I don’t drive on Pico every day, but I do drive it quite often.  The theatre where I did “Chicago” and “Chorus Line” is literally around the corner from the house fire and between the house fire and the other incidents.  I have a friend who lives near the shootings, who was out with her 4 year old trying to see Obama when everything went down.  They quickly went home and stayed safe.

All I could think about as I listened to the odd soundtrack of helicopters and sirens was how I wanted to be with my baby.  I didn’t want my baby with me, considering how close I was to all the action, but I wanted to go to her.  It was such a bizarre day!  Santa Monica is usually such a quiet, safe town. 

I remember when I was doing my junior year abroad in Bristol, England.  I took a class where we went into a community center and worked with underprivileged kids.  One of the kids said to me, “I wouldn’t like to go to America.  There’s too many guns.”  At the time, it felt like a gross overgeneralization.  But it also opened my eyes to how America is perceived in the rest of the world.  Unfortunately, instead of proving that stereotype wrong, it seems in the years since, we have had more and more stories of gun violence.  I’m not here to make a statement on guns or gun control or anything like that (at least not in this post).  I just want to send out my thoughts to the universe – can we please stop shooting each other?  For that matter, can we please stop being violent to each other?  While we’re at it, can we please set aside any petty grievances and try to compromise when we disagree?  I realize it may be a pipe dream, but gosh, it would be nice.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

30x30 Final Week!

First I want to welcome any new followers from the 30x30 giveaway.  Welcome!  Hopefully you stick around once I stop posting pictures of my clothes.  J

This is the final 30x30 post.  Whew, I made it!  I’m actually quite impressed that I managed to keep up with it for an entire month. 

Here’s what I learned doing this challenge:
  • I am most definitely not a fashion blogger.  Taking a picture of myself every day was arduous.  I enjoyed participating in this challenge, but you will definitely not be seeing an OOTD (outfit of the day) pic of me every day. 
  • The one bonus to having to take a picture of yourself every day is that it forced me to put a little more effort into my appearance.  Due to my mostly casual work environment, it’s easy to throw on jeans, and minimal makeup and head out the door.  Though, I will admit to having to think a little harder about what to wear in the morning, now that my entire wardrobe is open to me again.
  • I think the biggest lesson learned is how much fun doing a group challenge can be.  I have absolutely loved getting to know all the other bloggers doing this challenge with me.  I fully intend to keep up with their blogs and tweets.  It’s even got me thinking that I want to try to find another group challenge or link up or something that will help me meet even more people out there in blog land.  June is a bit insane, what with 4 first birthday parties (including Miss G’s!) and weddings and thing, so I won’t be doing a month long challenge or anything, but maybe July will hold another challenge for me (please let me know if you hear of any that might be of interest to me).
Without further ado, here are my outfits: 


For the final day, I felt like going all out.  I put on my striped dress with a black sweater and tied it together with my turquoise belt.  Inspired by Aubrey, I did my hair in a ginormous bun.  I am kind of loving buns being trendy - as a former 'rina (that's ballerina for you non-dancer folks), I can put my hair in a bun in no time!

Definitely a bunhead!

I think this may be one of my favorite outfits of the entire challenge.  All day, I felt like I should be doing some sort of modern interpretive dance a la Audrey Hepburn in “Funny Face.”

I really do want to thank Kelly for organizing this whole challenge.  It was such a great experience!

Congrats to the Giveaway winner: Betsy Beavan Wallace!

Be sure to check out all the other ladies’ outfits: