Sunday, November 13, 2016

Beach Babymoon

Stewart and I love our sweet firstborn baby boy more than life itself, but we also recognize that a little healthy one-on-one "adult" time is crucial for our marriage and sanity. And since our lives are about to change again drastically in about three months when Baby Sister joins the family, we decided to plan a little grownup getaway for ourselves with some of our very best friends, Brett and Haley. 

We headed out to Ocean Shores for a weekend of relaxation...

Believe it or not (she looks tiny in this photo), Haley is also due with a baby girl just six days after me! We've had so much fun sharing our pregnancy experiences.

We had big plans for our weekend at the beach:

Relax... Repeat.

After an amazing night's sleep during which I, for once, did not have a two-year-old kicking me in the ribs and trying to climb on top of me all night, Haley and I headed to the nearby beach town of Seabrook for prenatal massages. Haley had found a beautiful unique day spa, where we were both treated to the most amazing massages of our lives! 

I honestly can't remember the last time I felt so relaxed and calm; it was exactly what I needed...

In the meantime, the boys had no trouble entertaining themselves back at the casino

They both won big, which meant next up was a yummy lunch at my favorite coastal seafood restaurant, Bennett's. And since we were on vacation, our next stop was the candy shop for ice cream and salt water taffy. 

Afterward, we rolled ourselves on down to the beach...

Future Baby BFFs.

The rest of the weekend we spent lounging, chatting, napping, watching movies (and the UW Husky football game), and of course eating as much as we could manage. I think on Saturday night all of us were asleep on the couch by about ten o'clock... 

Ryder spent the weekend with my parents, and even though I knew he was having a fantastic time I sure did miss that little guy! He has been my entire world for the past 2.5 years, and I'm having a bit of a hard time imagining how I'm going to split my time and attention between two children. In the meantime, I am just trying to shower him in as much love and quality time as possible.

Because Baby Sister is on the way, and we can't wait to meet her!

Many, many thanks to our fabulous friends Brett and Haley for making this fantastic weekend possible. 

We love you guys! 

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

We're having another baby!

Guess whooo's going to be a Big Brother?!

Yep... we're having another baby

Ryder is excited to announce that his Baby Sister is due in February, 2017.

Lucky in love doesn't even begin to describe it... 

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Happy Birthday, My Love!

Happy Birthday, Stewie!

I now present to you the vintage, 1981, limited edition, 35-year-old Stewart!

Damn, he makes it look good.

Although I have no photographs to prove it, I did plan a fun little surprise for Stewart this year. I told him that my mom had planned a little family birthday celebration for him (fun, and very kind, but a bit boring, eh?) and instead I organized something else...

I got some of our very best friends together at Brett & Haley's lake house (where I claimed we needed to drop something off that morning), and they popped out at the perfect moment to surprise Stew with a morning at the golf course followed by a yummy BBQ, lawn games, and birthday treats.

For once I was able to pull off a surprise (I always end up spoiling them one way or another), and Stew said that he had a fantastic day (not that we wouldn't have had fun with you, too, Mom and Dad!) 

So Happy Birthday, My Love!

This is the tenth time we have celebrated your birthday together (you're halfway to 70 now... what?!?), and I am looking forward to many, many, many more.

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

Here is the story of how Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease ruined about two weeks of our lives...

But first, a brief description of this disgusting, evil sickness: Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than 5 years old. Symptoms include fever, mouth sores, and a skin rash.

Doesn't sound so bad, you say? Tell that to this poor little buddy...

It's no joke, ya'll. 

Here's how it went for us...

First, Ryder randomly came down with an extremely high fever, so we took him to the pediatrician. He was diagnosed with a mild ear infection, prescribed antibiotics, and then went home to sleep it off.

We were relieved to have taken him to the doctor on Friday, because we were hosting an evening, adults-only event that Saturday night for about 40 people that had been planned for weeks.

After a hot and fitful night's sleep, Ryder was miserable and clingy the next morning, which I chalked up to the ear infection. But a few hours later, on the way down to my parents' house (where Ryder was spending the night while Stew and I went out to play), I noticed painful-looking blisters popping up like wildfire on his hands, feet, and face...

Ryder was clearly miserable, and for the first time ever he cried for the entire car ride, which he usually doesn't mind a bit. I began to panic and look up urgent care clinics, convinced he was having an allergic reaction to the antibiotics. Then, in a moment of clarity, I decided to check in with our nanny. Her text back immediately confirmed my suspicions: 

"We just got back from the doctor... It's hand, foot, and mouth, and both my boys have it. I'm so sorry!"

To make a long story short, basically every child, including Ryder, who had attended a birthday party at their house the previous weekend had come down with HFMD.


Fortunately, my mom is an experienced veteran when it comes to caring for sick kiddos, and she was more than up for the challenge of comforting our sick little baby so that Stew and I didn't have to cancel our big night out. So I tried my best to push aside the nauseating waves of Mommy Guilt, and transferred Ryder into Nana's loving arms before heading out on the town.

He got some rest, and then actually perked up quite a bit.

In the meantime, I tried to put aside my self-doubts as a parent who leaves their sick child with someone else and tried to enjoy a rare evening out with my husband and our friends. 

Ryder survived a fitful night's sleep in Nana's arms, and we were back for him early the next morning.

The next week was an agonizing blur. Swollen, oozing sores covered Ryder's hands, feet, legs, arms, bottom, face, ears, and even inside his mouth.

Eating hurt his mouth and throat, and although Tylenol and Motrin gave him some relief, the medicine stung his mouth, and every time we gave it to him he would sob. He was too uncomfortable to sleep or play, and spent most of his time huddled in our arms, whimpering. The only thing that gave his poor baby skin some sort of relief was Aveeno's Soothing Bath Treatment (made with natural colloidal oatmeal), which seemed to help the sores dry up more quickly.

Ryder finally started to look and act like himself again about seven days later, but the sores didn't really clear up for about two full weeks.   

Hand, Foot, and Mouth is extremely contagious, which means we were quarantined to our house for all that time, and everyone went a little stir crazy.

Unfortunately, there is really no way to avoid HFMD, because it spreads like wildfire in daycare centers and on playgrounds, and it's most contagious before any symptoms are present. 

I might wish this nastiness on my worst enemy, but certainly not anyone else. Luckily our little trooper got through it though, and is back to his normal, adorable, cheerful self.

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Shower for Baby Girl

My best friend Tara is having her first child soon, a baby girl, and it's been so much fun to be a part of her pregnancy journey!

This weekend I hosted a baby shower for her at my house, and if I do say so myself, I think it was a success!

Tara and I met my senior year of college, which means she has been by my side for pretty much every significant event of my adult life. I don't know how I would do it without her! And I sure hope we never get in an irreconcilable fight, because I shudder to think about all the dirt this girl has on me... 
Everyone knows I love a good theme party, so baby showers are right up my alley. 

We started off with some games and activities... 

My little helper... He certainly isn't used to so much pink!

The Mommy-to-be, surrounded by gifts from her incredibly generous and kind friends.

As I said, I love themes, and this obviously necessitates that the food and beverages fall in line. Pink and gold! 

And actually, I have to give credit where credit is due. I was in charge of the decorations, not the food, so a huge shout out goes to Tara's sister Kelli for providing all of the refreshments. I especially liked the pink deviled eggs!

I had a custom growth chart made as my special gift to Tara and Baby Girl. I can't wait to watch her grow up!

Tara with her super sweet nieces... she is no stranger to taking care of little girls!

It was such a fun day of celebrating, and I was so happy to see Tara showered with gifts that will help make being a first time mom that much easier. 

Now the countdown is on... Baby Girl will be here before we know it!

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter from the Alway Family

Happy Easter, everyone!

Or, as Stewart likes to refer to it, "The Best Candy Holiday." 

And oh boy, it sure seems like our little bunny has inherited Daddy's sweet tooth!

For reasons different than Stewart's, Easter is my mom's favorite holiday, so we always make sure to celebrate it with her and my family. While for me this no longer means sitting through several hours of a Catholic mass, it does include lots of fun traditions and memory-making.

Holidays just get better and better the older Ryder gets!

It was a beautiful spring day, and we spent the morning teaching Ryder how to dye Easter eggs...

To be honest, I was super busy and overwhelmed leading up to this particular holiday, so I wasn't really able to put together a proper Easter basket for Ryder. But honestly, what does a little boy really need besides a basket full of plastic eggs filled with jelly beans?

I promise, he could not have been happier... or more high on sugar. 

In my family, our tradition growing up was you had to find your hidden Easter basket, as well as colorful plastic eggs that were hidden all over the house. It was so much fun re-creating that tradition for Ryder this year. I loved hearing his adorable squeal of delight every time he found another egg.

He did also receive some non-edible gifts like sidewalk chalk and bubbles, and we spent a lot of the day playing outside in the sunshine. Then later we went over to Grandma Sally's house for a visit with even more relatives.

We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with family and friends!

Do you have any fun Easter traditions?

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