beet&baguette

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

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

8 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Having a Baby

Hooray, motherhood! Right?

Let’s get one thing out in the open: there’s a good chance that I’m not saying anything you haven’t heard before. With that in mind, here is a smorgasbord of tips / experiences / lessons / tricks / hacks / musings all related to new-motherhood.

1. Don’t have a birth plan.

Okay, before you get all WELL I’M HAVING A WATER BIRTH IN MY LIVING ROOM SURROUNDED BY LAVENDER DIFFUSERS AND A CIRCLE OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY, let me explain. I’m not saying you shouldn’t at least have a general idea of how / where you’d like to give birth. Do you plan on having a home birth? Great. Cesarean? Awesome. No pain medications? Perfect. However, if this is your first baby, you are likely completely mystified when it comes to labor and delivery. AND THAT IS OKAY. I wanted an unmedicated hospital birth and had a drugged-out-of-my-mind emergency C-section. And you know what, I’m fine with that. When I say “don’t have a birth plan”, what I mean is that I want you to feel okay about whatever happens, because guess what – the most important thing is that you and that little baby are safe and healthy.

2. Utilize the hospital nursery.

For goodness’ sake, DO NOT listen to anyone who says, “Don’t send your baby to the nursery when you’re in the hospital because that is when he needs to bond with you.” Trust me, when you are so physically and emotionally wrecked and exhausted, you need AND FULLY DESERVE the nursery. Those nurses are there to help YOU and BABY. You are not a bad parent for asking a nurse to take your baby for an hour or two so that you can sleep. You are of absolutely no help to your baby if you are not well-rested and alert. In the days after Colin was born, there was a point during which Richard and I were so deliriously tired that we couldn’t keep our eyes open — the nursery service saved us.

3. There will be days where all you want to do is cry.

We all have them. They suck. Do you want to know why we all have them? It’s because when it comes to parenting, no one knows what the fuck they are doing. Everyone pretends. We all make it look like we have our shit together, because that mom over there definitely seems to have her shit together. Ask for help. Friends, neighbors, family members — anyone that you trust. Just know that you will have days where you feel like a failure. You’re not.

*If you are experiencing extreme mood swings, crying spells, insomnia, or feelings of depression or anxiety, ASK FOR HELP. Postpartum Depression is real, but there is a world of help out there.

4. The bathroom will become your sanctuary.

Seriously. Even if you’re just peeing. You are in there, sitting, sans-baby. It’s wonderful. Brushing your teeth? That’s a luxurious self-care experience at this point, mama. If your partner is home with the baby, you’re golden. Just sit in there as long as you want. Bring your phone. Reply to texts, delete junk emails, watch Instagram stories, you name it! Oh, you know how sometimes you put toothpaste on your toothbrush, but the toothbrush flips over and the toothpaste falls onto the edge of the sink? You wipe the glob of toothpaste up with a tissue and throw it away and start over, right? WRONG. New MOM YOU will just use your toothbrush to scoop the toothpaste up and proceed to brushing your teeth. Why? For one, time. You literally don’t have time to start over, because your baby is crying up a storm because you WALKED OUT OF VIEW. Another reason is that you just don’t care anymore. Most days, I only have time to brush my teeth once. Yep, go ahead. Call me disgusting. Just you wait.

5. Your body will never be the same.

When I was pregnant, people told me this. I pretended to understand, but I really didn’t. I planned on working my ass off to get back to my pre-pregnancy self. But now I get it. Thanks to hormones on the fritz, my skin changed (acne, ugh) and my hair is thinner. My breasts (even though I only breastfed for a couple of months) will never be the same, ha. The muscles that I worked sooo hard to have are weak. Getting back in shape is not a walk in the park, my friends. Oh, and did I mention that you’ll likely be too tired to do much working out anyways? While I’m not there yet, I’m making strides. I am just now getting back into running (thank you, cool weather!) and I’m wiped out and in bed by 9pm almost every night.

6. Make mom friends.

And do your very best to stay close with your non-mom friends. You will need them all. You might think you are too good for “mom friends”. Trust me on this one, you need them. And you most certainly need your non-mom friends to keep you sane. There will be days where literally ALL YOU WANT is to have a conversation with another adult about ANYTHING but babies. Let your friends know how much you still need them around.

7. Get used to what your face looks like without makeup.

Because you won’t have the time. Nor will you really care (that’s a plus, I guess). I’m not at all ashamed to say that I started using Proactiv a couple of months ago because my post-baby skin was terrible. I was embarrassed to leave the house without concealer or makeup, but I didn’t have time, so I decided to give Proactiv a whirl and it has been my lifesaver. Really, I’m not getting paid to write about this. It’s worked wonders for me. Also, because I don’t wear makeup every day now, it’s really fun to play around with it when I actually have the time to enjoy it!

8. Don’t let anyone tell you that you take too many photos of your baby.

When I look through photos of Colin that we’ve taken over the last four and a half months, he looks like 5 different babies. That’s how much babies change. You will want to look back at every single little stage that your baby went through. You know why? Because you won’t remember. You will be so tired and drained that you won’t actually truly remember those early weeks. You will want to look at those 1,496 photos to prove to yourself that you did it. You raised and loved and kept alive that sweet and squishy little newborn baby.

So cheers to you, mama.

xo Cassie

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