What I Learned On My First Kid-Free Vacation

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After three and half years in the parenting trenches, my husband and I took our first adults-only vacation (our honeymoon) at a resort in Big Sur, California. I didn’t feel too guilty about leaving our daughter behind with her grandparents, because ice cream. The real question was, would I be okay? As a stay-at-home mom, I didn’t have much experience with separation. It felt weird to be flying the coop.

So, on our first night away, instead of the usual bedtime routine of mac ‘n cheese, bath time and stories, we had cocktails, a candlelit dinner overlooking the ocean, and a long soak in the infinity hot tub. It turns out a little separation wasn’t so bad! What’s more, I made some pleasant discoveries about my relationship and myself:

I like monopolizing my husband. As rewarding as it’s been to see him evolve into a wonderful father, I’ll admit it was nice to have my husband all to myself again, holding my hand and making me laugh. It felt good to have uninterrupted conversations and really focus on each other. And let’s face it; it is way easier to flirt when you can grab an ass instead of wiping one.

Without chores or childcare, there is literally nothing to fight about. At home, a sink full of dishes can have us sniping at each other like Al and Peg Bundy. On vacation, we’re more like characters from a Fitzgerald novel: “Shall I open another bottle of wine?” “Yes, darling, that would be lovely.”

 

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5 Things That Went Hilariously Wrong At My Wedding

In the anxious days leading up to my wedding, married friends warned me that no matter how much I planned, some little thing would inevitably go wrong and it wouldn’t be a big deal. I counted five things:

1. It Rained

walking to altar

When you plan a Malibu wedding in July during one of the worst droughts in history, you’re all but guaranteed fabulous weather.  All but guaranteed.  (Cue Alanis Morissette: Isn’t it ironic?  Don’t you think?)  Yep, moments before I walked down the aisle, it started to drizzle—not that I would have known, since every time I asked “Is it raining?” I was assured, “No, of course not.” (That’s what you’re supposed to tell the crazy lady on her wedding day.) Luckily, the fan-style wedding programs we’d created to protect ceremony guests from heat worked as makeshift umbrellas, and the rain didn’t last long.  They say rain is good luck. I’ll take that over being pooped on by a pigeon any day.

2. I Couldn’t Walk in my Dress

dress dancing in field

I was so excited to find my fantasy bridal gown that I never noticed how constricting it was or that it weighed more than I do. Walking in my dress felt like swimming in wet cement. I made it down the aisle okay but was terrified for our first dance. Dave and I had been secretly practicing a routine at Arthur Murray for months, not telling anyone so as to avoid raising expectations. A good move, as it turns out, since I could barely execute the steps and was just grateful not to fall down (See #5). For the rest of the night, my power dance move was to stand still while shaking my skirts a la Cha Cha DiGregorio in Grease. It was a look.

3. The Flower Girl Melted Down

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Dave and I feel incredibly lucky that we could share our big day with the other most important person in our lives, our 3-year-old daughter, Viv. But being a mommy bride is not without its challenges. Here was one: we got married on a ranch that happens to feature an old timey merry-go-round. This seemed like a fun, kitschy place to shoot photographs of the bridal party, and although I couldn’t walk in my dress, I somehow managed to mount a pony in it. Everything was going swell until the flower girl lost her mind, wailing at peak volume, “But I want to sit on the ROOSTER!!!”  I managed to calm Viv down, but the photographer suggested I leave her out of the photo “because she’s the only one here who looks sad.”

4. I Cut the Cake Before the Cake Cutting

Viv and cake

After the photos, Viv bounced back, partying like a rock star at the reception. Our babysitter wanted to take her home at 10pm before another meltdown could erupt, but we hadn’t yet cut the cake and Viv wouldn’t budge. That’s when I realized, Mom comes before Bride. When no one was looking, I hacked into the back of the cake, serving a yummy chocolate wedge to my little girl so she could go home happy. Thirty minutes later we cut the cake officially.

5. I Fell on my Butt

on my butt

As the night flew by, I forgot about all the little problems and got lost in the moment – dancing with my favorite partner, surrounded by everyone I love with an amazing 80s band playing songs like “Don’t Stop Believin.’”  I was having so much fun that I landed right on my ass.  My new husband pulled me up so fast I didn’t think anyone even noticed…anyone except the friend that managed to capture this genius photograph and the other friends who are cracking up in the background.

And in the end…none of it mattered.  It was perfect.   But if you want to share with me something that went wrong at your wedding, please do leave a comment.

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The Conception Diaries

Are you ready, because I’ve got three blog posts for the price of one:

I’ve been asked to write a weekly Conception Diary over at mom.me, alongside two other writers, all of us trying to conceive right before your very eyes!

My first post, They Call Me Fertile Myrtle, is introductory, but my second post gets into new material with a ridiculous story about the psychic Dave and I visited on our honeymoon.  If you like this sort of thing, check back at mom.me every Tuesday for my next installment.

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Coincidentally, I have a post up on Lifetime Moms called 7 of the Craziest Things I’ve Done While Trying to Conceive, in which I come off like a complete lunatic, but hopefully an entertaining one.

As exciting as it would be to get pregnant, right now what I’m really obsessed with is WHERE ARE MY WEDDING PHOTOS ALREADY?? so I can share them with you and finally tell you all the wedding stories.  Soon, I swear.

 

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10 Things No One Told Me About Breastfeeding

IMG_4939One more post for World Breastfeeding Week. 

Before having a baby, the only thing I knew about breastfeeding was that your boobs get ginormous. As a former member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee, I was looking forward to that — and my D-cup milk jugs did not disappoint. The rest, however, came as a complete shock.

1. It Hurts. At least, it did for me, for the first three weeks. The moments after latching were excruciating, like razor blades to the nipple, so much so that I couldn’t think or speak until the pain subsided. Miraculously, my nips eventually toughened up and breastfeeding became a surprisingly pleasant experience.

2. You Become a Fembot. Until my supply leveled out, I could shoot a stream of milk across the room, very much like the Fembots in Austin Powers … except with more nutritious ammo.

3. Surprise, It’s Your Let-Down Reflex! The feeling of the milk letting down reminded me of that uncomfortable tingling sensation you get when your foot’s asleep, only you can’t hop up and down on your breast to make it go away.

4. “On Demand” Is No Joke. Babies eat every three hours, except when they eat every 45 minutes, which was my experience during the newborn days. During one night of intense cluster feeding, my husband had to shove pieces of pizza in my mouth so I wouldn’t starve. It soon became obvious that if I “scheduled” my life around nursing, I would never leave the house, so I learned to do it standing up — in the middle of Toys ‘R Us.

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When Babies Prefer Boobs to Bottles

I wrote this for World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7).  If you like it, please “Like” it over at mom.me.  Thanks!

My mother still thinks it’s my fault.

After two weeks of blissfully (okay, painfully) nursing my newborn daughter around the clock, it was time to try giving her a bottle of pumped milk. Surely, it would be good for daddy to share in the joy of feeding — and give mama and her sore nips a break. So I strapped on the agricultural grade pump and filled a freshly sterilized baby bottle, handing it off to my husband.

Then someone started crying, and it wasn’t the baby.

I don’t know quite how to explain my reaction. With someone else feeding my baby, I had the strangest sensation of being fired from my job. I felt possessive and anxious. It is my mother’s opinion that my 2-week-old picked up on this anxiety and decided to help me out by NEVER EVER TAKING A BOTTLE EVER.

There were many more attempts at bottle feeding after that day. The next time we tried, I left the house so that not only would I not cry, but the baby wouldn’t be able to smell me, which I’d heard could be an impediment. Even in my absence, the baby politely declined the bottle (i.e. clamped her mouth shut, turned her head and made a grumpy cat face).

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