beet&baguette

food, travel, lifestyle, and a hearty serving of motherhood

Time Slips Away

Every time I walk into Colin’s room to take him out of his crib after a nap, he seems bigger. Every time he takes an assisted step and smiles, he’s wiser. Every time Richard and I tiptoe carefully into his room to savor one last sweet glance of him before we go to bed, he’s older.

In a few short weeks, our boy will celebrate his first birthday. There is a good chance that I will turn into a blubbering mess. However, I suppose there is also a good chance that I will be so deep into “party setup mode”, that I won’t even have time to process this enormous milestone until there is a cake in front of Colin and we all bust out in song. Then it will hit me like a ton of bricks.

Time slips away faster now that he’s in my life. His darling ginger hair is getting thicker, his sweet dimples are getting bigger, his smile is getting wider. He’s changing, and so am I.

We have kept this tiny, once utterly helpless, precious human being alive for an entire year. Yeah, woah. WE did that.

And in turn, this boy has taught me what it means to be patient on the most trying of days. Richard and I have basically learned how to survive on coffee alone. We have experienced moments of complete joy in ways that I never imagined possible.

Moments with him are invaluable. Every day with Colin is an adventure, and I am proud to spend my days as his mom.

– – – – –

I’m happy to be back and sharing this week’s Scribble Picnic sketch with you — the theme is “Grandfather Clock”!

I hope you’ll join us next week — the theme is “Rabbit”. Even if you don’t host a blog, you can still get in on the fun by sharing your doodle on Instagram using the hashtag #scribblepicnic — and don’t forget to tag Michael (@dottyhill), the leader of this creative co-op.

Happy Spring, everyone!

xo Cassie

Rain, Rain, Go Away…

Colin woke up too early this morning. Well, too early for me. Richard had actually just woken up, so I selfishly put him on morning baby duty, so that I could get a few more minutes of shut-eye. I somehow fell back asleep, even dreamed a little, and woke up feeling ever-so-slightly more refreshed.

I came downstairs and took over, so that Richard could leave for work. Colin happily snacked on little teething puffs while I made myself a cup of coffee. Then, I prepared Colin’s oatmeal breakfast. In the middle of me feeding him, I heard an unpleasant sound. A that-wasn’t-just-a-loud-fart sound. A few minutes later, he’s in the bathtub getting hosed off. Unpleasant, indeed. Lovely start to the morning.

You guys, at this point, it’s not even 8am.

He gets cleaned up and re-dressed. We head back downstairs to resume breakfast and much-needed coffee. We watch a little bit of television before heading up to play in his room. By 8:30am, he’s already sleepy again, since he woke up so early.

I put him down for a nap. As I’m leaving his room, I hear a little “drip… drip… drip…” sound echoing from the hallway. Did I leave the faucet on in the bathroom? Or maybe the tub faucet, from his bath? No, it sounds much closer. It’s coming from the attic. Water is dripping into the loft from the little attic door in the ceiling.

Great.

A leak.

I put a cheap bin under the leak and immediately get annoyed by the now-loud “PANG… PANG… PANG” sound, as the drips collect in the plastic trashcan.

Welp, that will probably keep Colin up.

I text Richard in a panic. He’s in a meeting, but calls me as soon as he gets out. Whew, he’s on his way home.

I get lucky, and Colin falls asleep. Time to indulge in a little pre-shower face mask relaxation. Ahh, it’s the little things. Alright, time to get serious. If there is a water issue, I better squeeze in a quick shower. Richard arrives shortly after my shower. WHEW.

He scopes out the situation, and it’s a water heater issue. He calls a guy.

My grandparents, mom, and sister all come over (this get-together was planned a few days ago, and I wasn’t going to cancel for a small leak!) and we have a wonderful time playing with Colin, drinking coffee, eating cake, and just catching up.

I finally got a moment to sit down and right this post – as Richard and the water heater guy are upstairs tip-toeing around Colin’s afternoon nap.

I feel like I just woke up, you guys.

And it’s 3:30pm.

Aaaaaaaaaaand this week’s Scribble Picnic theme is “Umbrella”. HOW FITTING! My scribbled umbrellas are paired with a quote from The Great Gatsby, a bit of sunshine and hope after a rainstorm. After a night of rain, an unexpected morning bath for Colin, a (quite relaxing) shower for me, and a LEAKING CEILING, my morning has been full of rain. Sounds like this theme was more of a premonition… Hmm…

I hope your morning was much less eventful than mine!

xo Cassie

Tranquility

I’m sitting at the bar in our kitchen, typing this post, with the baby monitor on my right and a cold cup of coffee on my left.

Colin is taking his morning nap.

A few of the windows are open, and I can hear birds chirping and gathering old seeds that have fallen from the dregs of our empty feeder out back. I can also hear Merlin (one of our cats) snoring. He’s asleep on the bar stool next to mine. A sense of calm filled the air as soon as Colin fell asleep. It’s a moment of peace and renewal between the bouts of laughter, crumbs, wriggles, dirty diapers, stories, and overall chaos that is my life as a stay-at-home-mom. I love every bit of it, I really do.

But I also love these quiet moments.

These moments of tranquility are like little gifts when my sleep was sporadic or yesterday was particularly trying.

Today’s Scribble Picnic theme is “Cabin”. I actually sketched this cozy A-frame cabin in bed last night – and doing so brought me a little bit of tranquility when I was having trouble falling asleep last night. I drew a place that I would want to be. I’d love to be reading a book in this little cabin, preferably by a warm fireplace, with soft blankets, and coffee that’s actually hot! Oh, and there absolutely must be snow on the ground outside!

But my little house in Chapel Hill, in my messy kitchen, with my cold cuppa will do just fine for me today.

xo Cassie

PS – I hope you’ll join in on next week’s Scribble Picnic challenge – the theme is “Umbrella”.

Eight Arms

As a new mom, I find myself wishing for more time in the day while simultaneously watching the clock and counting down the seconds until Colin’s bedtime routine starts. Being both a loving caretaker and an energetic entertainer (even after you’ve been woken up 4 times overnight) for nearly 10 hours a day is exhausting stuff!

I literally said to Richard this morning: “If someone said I could have entire weekend to myself, I honestly believe I’d sleep for 48-hours straight.”

On the flip side, there are so many things that I’d love to DO.

Tidy up certain corners of the house
Catch up on laundry
Spruce up the yard
Work on Colin’s baby book (sorry Colin, according to your baby book you don’t even exist yet)
Design and print photo albums
Finally start that tried-and-true recipe collection
Read a book
Drink coffee that hasn’t been microwaved fifteen times
Plan Colin’s first birthday

I could keep going, but I won’t.

Can’t us moms just grow some extra arms?! I mean, really. How is that not a evolutionary thing? Alright, fine. That would be pretty weird.

I drew this little octopus for Michael‘s new Scribble Picnic group. Michael is a friend from the blog world! Think of Scribble Picnic as a creative co-op – a weekly challenge for us creative-types. There is a theme each week, but other than that, anything goes! Please join us! This week’s theme was “octopus”, which just got me thinking of all the things I could do with eight arms!

Any mommas out there have some tips to share for at-home productivity with a little one? I’d love to hear from you!

xo Cassie

11 Tips for Traveling Overseas with an Infant

So you’re thinking of taking your little one on a grand adventure. Across the pond, perhaps? I know the scene, you’re frantically Googling airport luggage restrictions, packing tutorials, car rental information, and international formula brands. If you’re extra-crazy (like me), you’re even watching YouTube videos of mamas showing you the easiest ways to get baby through airport security with minimal tears. I know it’s daunting, but trust me, you got this! Here’s what I learned during our trip from North Carolina to London when Colin was 5.5 months old.

1. Wear your baby.

Embrace babywearing. At least for the airport. Most airports will allow mama and baby to go through security together this way. (Not Heathrow, though, ugh.) Baby carriers are wonderful tools for busy settings such as ticketing, security, boarding and de-boarding, and even baggage claim. If you are traveling to a location with less-than-ideal terrain for a stroller, you are golden! Plus, the photo-opportunities. Come on.

Ergo

2. Invest in the car seat bag and stroller bag.

I know, I know… another item to buy. But imagine shelling out the money to buy a new stroller or car seat. Or worse, being stuck in an unfamiliar country without one because yours got damaged on the flight. Plane undercarriages are nasty (often damp) places. Protect your expensive baby gear by zipping them up. Another bonus is that most bags have shoulder straps, which makes transporting this gear in and out of the airport WAY easier. Your stroller can be checked at the gate – so baby can catch some zzz’s in the stroller while you chug some much-needed Starbucks. Another tip: Don’t rely on a car seat from a car rental company. Be safe, bring your own. You’re familiar with it and it will be one less thing to worry about. Besides, it’s checked for free at the ticket counter!

Bubnest

Nest

3. Baby’s comfort takes priority.

We have a Bubnest and I literally don’t know how parents survived before these things existed. We brought ours on the plane, and Colin was able to sleep comfortably in his nest across our laps. Passengers sitting near us on the plane were amazed at how easily Colin slept! It was the one thing that we could guarantee would “feel” like home on the plane and in our Airbnb. It saved us!

4. Accept help from everyone.

And I mean everyone. Gate attendant wants to break down your stroller for you AND put it in the bag? Thanks! Random other mom offers to hold your coffee while you put baby in the Ergo? Cheers, mama! Janitor asks if you need help carrying the car seat to your gate? Uh, okay! Thank every single person that holds the door for you, carries or holds something for you, or offers you praise on a job well done. I’m not kidding, people are genuinely fascinated when they see the immense effort that goes into traveling with a newborn. And fuck, at the end of your trip, when you have done it, you feel like SUPERWOMAN.

London

5. Board the plane last.

A crying baby on an airplane is basically everyone’s worst nightmare. (Besides snakes, right?) Do yourself (and everyone else) a favor and keep your potentially cranky baby off the plane for as long as possible! International flights are LONG – and babies get very restless. You’ll thank me later. Another tip: check-in (and make friends with) the gate-attendant as early as you can, they may upgrade your seating location to give you and baby more space! Win!

6. Pack extra outfits for the flight.

For mom, dad and baby. We traveled to England with Colin when he was just shy of 6 months, and we went through 2 outfits on the way over and maybe 4 on the way back. Blowouts and vomit are just things that happen when you have a baby. I don’t know about you, but traveling already makes me feel disgusting – so be sure you don’t arrive at your destination covered in baby poop. Be prepared, mama. Be very prepared. Another tip: If you’re traveling with a little one, a diaper bag does NOT count as your carry-on item or your personal item! Woohoo! That being said, invest in one that you can wear like a backpack. Just trust me on this.

Packing

7. Breathe.

Things are going to go wrong. That I can assure you. Maybe your partner won’t stop asking questions because he or she is nervous about the logistics of travel. Maybe your baby gets sick just when you were beginning to have the most wonderful vacation. Maybe your rental car isn’t ready and you have to wait ages while trying to entertain your baby. Maybe your baby just WON’T. STOP. POOPING. Maybe you overbooked activities and baby just isn’t having it. The most important piece of advice that I have for you is to breathe. Remember that this trip is temporary and you will not always feel this stressed or exhausted. Try to be kind to your partner. You’re in this unknown territory together – the more you relax and listen and help each other, the easier things will be.

Whitby

Silly

8. Bring (powdered) formula.

In my opinion, bring it even if you’re breastfeeding. Your milk supply can take a major hit in times of stress and exhaustion. It’s best to be prepared for any situation, and the formula brands that you are likely familiar with in the United States typically aren’t sold in other countries. Also, and I cannot stress this enough, if you are able to, boil the water wherever it is that you’re staying. Boil it, let it cool, bottle it, and use it for mixing baby formula. In England, we assumed that Colin would be fine with normal bottled mineral water from the grocery store – he ended up with diarrhea (and a terrible subsequent diaper rash) that lasted almost a week. BOIL IT.

Stairs

9. Go easy on the toys.

Bring a few – especially if your baby has a favorite or a snuggly little thing that is absolutely necessary at naptime or bedtime. But for the most part, babies are like cats in that they will play with just about anything. A plastic cup, a water bottle, an empty tissue box, a sock, the list goes on. Just make sure it’s safe for baby to play with!

10. Say no to some of your plans.

Especially if you’re venturing overseas to visit family, it can be really easy to get swept up in the excitement of taking your little one everywhere! Of course, you’ll want to do your best to make the most of your time there, but remember that it’s okay to ask people to come to you, too. Staying in a hotel? Great! Hotel lobbies, bars, or restaurants are great for mingling and there is plenty of action to keep baby people-watching and occupied. Staying in an Airbnb? Even better! You may even have your own living room or backyard – perfect for catching up with family. Have them bring some takeout! Staying with family? That makes things a bit easier, but be sure to set boundaries about too many outings – especially if your little one could use some rest. Remember, this is a big adventure for them and their needs come first!

More Whitby

11. Time it right (if you can).

I realize that not every trip is going to be for pleasure. Family things happen, and you may be forced to travel with your little one before you are ready to. But if you have any control over it, I recommend traveling when your baby is roughly six months old. It’s unlikely that they are very mobile, which makes the flight way more manageable. Also, they are probably still in the infant car seat, which means you can easily tote them in and out of the car without having to unbuckle and remove them from the car seat with each stop. Six-month-olds are developing little personalities, too! It’s a fun age because they are recognizing familiar faces, smiling, and giggling! One downside: Colin wasn’t really able to sit comfortably in a high chair at a restaurant, but some babies will.

Most of all, have fun. Your little one is a globetrotter! Oh, and take millions of photos.

xo Cassie

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