Friday, December 30, 2016

It Just Got Real, Bachelor Nation!


Y'all it happened...ABC has FINALLY created a Fantasy League for The Bachelor! You can sign up HERE (my username is FormerKennedyBlog) and make your predictions each week. Last year my husband and I made our own Bachelor bracket but this is a game changer. I'm not a long time Bachelor Nation fan, Ben's season was my first time watching, but I'm so in love now and trying to get friends to audition. Get signed up before the season premiere on Monday, January 2nd!

Who else is ready for the new season?! Do you like that the two time "runner-up" Nick is The Bachelor? Who do you think will show up from previous seasons? Comment below so we can chat!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Brynn's First Trip to Walt Disney World

It's no secret that I LOVE DISNEY! Walt Disney World will always have a special place in my heart because of my five years working there. It's where I made some of my greatest friends and memories. I spent so much time working and playing in the parks that I know them like the back of my hand, which has spoiled my husband and family when we visit. People kept saying to me that they couldn't believe I was going to brave the parks with a four month old but they were forgetting that my job used to be touring families (a lot of the time with babies and toddlers) around the parks so it's second nature to me. With my husband Brian, brother-in-law Jay, and best friend Kathleen in tow we made Brynn's first trip to Walt Disney World at the beginning of December.





You can tell she's my child with that textbook side eye

We opted for a long weekend where we all arrived to Orlando late Thursday night and left Sunday afternoon. We had a bunch of people who wanted to see us and meet Brynn so everything was scheduled around that. Friday we had a lunch date with our friend Leanna at Disney Springs and then headed over to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. I had two objectives as soon as we got there...get a Christmas card photo and take her on her first ride while it was still bright outside so we could film it. I was amazed at how well Brynn did being out and about all day in an unfamiliar place. She probably just loved being in constant motion.

Our Saturday was spent at my old stomping grounds, Epcot. Thanks to rider switch we got to experience the new version of Soarin, enjoyed delicious food and drinks, and spent time with some of our favorite people. We started a new tradition at Epcot which was getting Brynn's silhouette crafted, I'll do a full post on that later. Brynn met Santa and Mrs. Claus for the first time and by "met" I really mean she slept but managed to pull off the cutest little yawn you can see in the video below. On our way out we got Brynn her first Disney souvenir, a Belle ragdoll she adores and stopped by the guest relations lobby for old time's sake.








I had thought my best Disney days were behind me but this trip made me realize they are just beginning. I can't wait to share my tips on navigating Disney with a baby soon...until then enjoy the video of our trip below captured with my new obsession our GoPro.


All photos courtesy of my bestie Kathleen Norris at Places I Will Go Blog




Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Four Months of Brynn

It seems like each month passes faster and faster as you continue to grow and our family is getting busier and busier which is why this post is late. We're doing our best to savor each moment with you while we fondly remember "how things were" in the beginning and celebrate all the new "how things are" with you. Here are some things that happened this month...

You have started to eat less times each day but eat more during each feeding.You are still waking up one to two times a night to eat but I feel like pretty soon it's only going to be one time a night. Daddy has gotten you on a solid morning routine which consists of you seeing me off to work, swing time while you watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, eating, then morning tummy time and walks in your stroller. You are now big enough to ride in the stroller without the car seat portion which will come in handy next month at Disney! Speaking of Disney, this month you watched your first Disney movie which was Beauty and the Beast. You took to the skies again for your third and fourth flight up to Cleveland where we spent your first Thanksgiving with daddy's family.

You're developing such a cute little personality. You love to smile, laugh, and "talk" to us. You are a huge fan of Queen Elsa and watch the Let It Go video at least once every day. Mulligan and you get along great and he gives you kisses any chance he can, Caddie on the other hand is scared of you but getting more comfortable with you as time goes on. Whenever we want her to get off the couch all we have to do is lay you within 3 feet of her and she's gone!

You're still crazy about your "bunnies" (pacifiers), tummy time, being held, and your swing but now you try to slide out of it so we have to buckle you in which you are not crazy about. You are drooling like crazy because you are starting to teethe, so now we are having to bust out the bibs or you go through multiple outfits a day. Daddy has discovered that you like to have the window cracked in the car because you like the breeze. I'm hoping this means you will really love the open air rides at Disney like Dumbo.





We can't wait to see what new excitement next month brings! We love you so much Mouse!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

My Tips for Flying with a Baby

I'll be the first to admit that prior to becoming a mother I was less than enthusiastic when I saw a baby on my flight. I was never one of those people who would get made if they started crying...however school age children kicking the back of my seat and the parents saying nothing well that's enough to piss off Pope Francis. When the time came to take our daughter Brynn on her first flight I wanted to do everything in my power to make flying with her enjoyable not only for myself but for everyone. I'm not the kind of person who is going to make little treat bags for everyone on the flight because who the hell has time for that and I'm not apologetic for being a mother who loves to travel. At the ripe age of four months she will have been on six flights and with many new mommy friends asking for my advice I thought I would share five tips that have worked well for us and our future Travel Channel star.


Research your airlines policies for traveling with children

I am the queen of flying budget airlines...I can't help but run off to Orlando every other month when I find $29 flights. I have made packing an art form and rarely ever have to pay the additional baggage fees that come with booking budget airlines. When I realized how much more we have to bring on trips now I thought we would have to say goodbye to our cheap flights but luckily I'm married to a man that loves to research. Brian learned that both airlines we almost always fly, Frontier and Spirit, check a stroller and car seat for you at no additional charge as well as let you bring a diaper bag in additional to your one free personal item. This was a game changer for us and made us realize we could still travel to see friends and family without breaking the bank.

Get to the airport early

Your days of strolling through security with a bag and purse are over sister. You already know going anywhere with a baby requires a little more time and the airport is no exception. Feeling rushed sucks...feeling rushed with a baby in tow is miserable. We currently live in Atlanta and if you've ever flown out of Hartsfield-Jackson you know the pain of that airport. We make sure to arrive 2 hours before our boarding time so we have plenty of time to get through security and to our gate. Some airports, like Atlanta, have a separate line for guests traveling with strollers which is super nice. If your airport offers that JUST DO IT. This is not the time to be proud and think you can go through the regular line. We never feel rushed loading up all our bags on the belt, getting the baby out, and folding the stroller when we have used the stroller security line. If you are bringing opened formula or bottled breast milk just let the TSA agents know and they will perform a test on it and you can take it through, even if it's more than three ounces. Also when it's time to board take advantage of early boarding when they call for passengers traveling with small children. The extra time really helps you not feel rushed and lets you and the baby get settled in and comfy.

Bring items that make them comfortable

It's truly a pain in my ass to haul it around but our Boppy nursing pillow has been a godsend when flying. Brynn is able to be comfortable laying on it and cuddled up to me. Speaking of comfortable, dress the baby in a comfy sleeper and while you're at it dress comfy yourself...I promise you'll feel better too. Whether it's a pillow, blanket, or special stuffed animal bring whatever will make your baby feel at home.

All smiles on her third flight

Keep their little ears from popping

A few years ago I was on a flight and struck up a conversation with the lady beside me who happened to be a flight attendant of more than ten years. I asked her for traveling tips because at that time I had only flown about three times my entire life. One of the things she told me was that babies and kids gets to unruly on flights because of the unfamiliar feeling of their ears popping. She said with babies nursing, bottle feeding, or even giving them a pacifier will help this from happening and with toddlers and young children chewing gum does the same. I have nursed Brynn on every flight during take off and landing and have never had her cry on the plane, most of the time our fellow passengers don't realize we have a baby until we are getting off the plane.

CTFD!

Y'all I get it. There's no around not being stressed, nervous, and scared when you're flying with a baby but it's so true that they feed off your energy. If you're freaking out about everything there's a solid chance that little one is going to as well. Take a deep breath and own it. If the baby cries on the plane so what! If another passenger makes a comment or is rude about said baby crying that's what curse words are for...just ask the lady who pushed past me in the aisle as I was holding my baby #SorryImNotSorry. I've flown with the baby with my husband and by myself and managed to survive both ways. Sometimes people will surprise you and be incredibly kind and helpful like the TSA agents at Cleveland Hopkins who helped me in every possible way they could at security when I was flying without my husband so be grateful when things like that happen and don't dwell on them if they don't. Keep your attitude positive and don't feel like you have to apologize for being a parent.

At the end of the day all you can do is try your best and know that the flight won't last forever and when you're greeted by the people you're traveling to see it will all be worth it. Happy travels!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Three Months of Brynn

Another month has passed and so much has happened. Mommy has gone back to work, your grandma Lo and Poppa B came to Georgia to watch you, daddy is staying home with you thanks to his paternity leave, Mommy left you for the first time to go see her friends in Florida, and you visited West Virginia for the first time. Now to share some of our favorite memories...

Adorable Minnie ears by Oh Toodles Ears

It's funny how much you have your Poppa B wrapped around your little finger. When he found out you were a girl he said he didn't know what he was going to do with a girl but he's doing great. You love pulling on his beard and often make the motion of grabbing a beard on your daddy and then get upset when there's nothing there. You are still so happy when you wake up in the morning and that's what I miss most from maternity leave. You are so strong and love to "stand" when me or daddy hold you up and we think you might be a swimmer because you love kicking your legs in the water.


You still love bath time, your MAM pacifier, and your swing. Your new loves are tummy time, your activity mat, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, the lamb blanket from KK, and taking walks with daddy. You are a good little sleeper and eater which we are super thankful for. Tomorrow you will celebrate your first Halloween and next month you will enjoy your first Thanksgiving in Cleveland!



You have officially grown from a newborn to an infant. You were so tiny when you were born that I was afraid you would have a hard time growing but you are right where you need to be and wearing 3 month size clothes. You are so good with wearing headbands and I hope you keep that trait. You are starting to look more like your daddy but still have mommy's nose. You love to "talk" and are such a giggly little girl. We love seeing your little personality develop each and everyday and can't wait to see how you change from 3 months to 4 months.


Monday, October 17, 2016

One year down...


I always heard that the first year of marriage is the hardest but for us it's been the most eventful. Since day one of our relationship we hit the ground running and didn't waste anytime worrying about the "normal timeline" so many people stress about. We were married on this day last year which marked two years together and now we're celebrating three years together and one year of marriage. The past 365 days have been filled with so many adventures like traveling to Europe for the first time but most importantly became the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl. If you would have told me last year that we would be celebrating our first wedding anniversary as parents I would have called you a liar but everything is in God's time, not our time. To be honest it's been an insane year filled with lots of laughs and tears but if given the choice I wouldn't change a thing. Here's to many more happy years with the man who never questions my purchases on Etsy, never forgets the bronco berry sauce, keeps me laughing, and takes me to Disney any chance he can. I love you Coach!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Say it isn't so...



I can't wrap my mind around how quickly ten weeks has passed and that tomorrow I have to go back to work. I wish I could stay home with you for longer but like lots of modern day mommies I have to work to help support our family. I remember being pregnant and thinking that I'd be excited to go back to work but now that reality has set in I know I'll be crying all the way down I-20 tomorrow morning. Before the tears start flowing tonight I want to share with you my favorite things I've learned about you these past ten weeks together, just you and me. 

When you wake up in the middle of the night to eat and be changed the sleep loving part of me is always a little mad...that is until you look up at me with the sweetest little face as of you're saying thank you for taking care of me. 

The moment we both officially wake up for the day and we steal some extra cuddle time and you flash the cutest little smile followed by baby giggles that completely melt my heart. 

I love that you let me read to you and look at me the entire time even though I try to get you to look at the pictures on the pages.

You're such a good traveler and make going out in public so much better than my pre-mommy self thought it would be. You were especially good when we would go have lunch with daddy...I will miss  those visits. 

I'm so thankful that noise doesn't bother you. I've tried my hardest to make sure that you aren't one of those babies that needs silence to sleep. The dogs can be barking while I'm unloading the dishwasher and you sleep right through it.

Our days together were so wonderful and as my maternity leave grew shorter and shorter I began to cherish them even more. I soaked up every moment as you napped on me, marveled each time you'd hold my finger when you nursed, and cherished each time you'd look me right in the eyes as if you were about to start a conversation.

In ten short weeks you've turned me from a terrified, "I don't know how to take care of her", crying mess being wheeled out of the hospital to a proud, "yes I'm flying alone with a baby", confident mommy. As sad as I am to not spend my days with you I'm excited that your daddy gets to have one on one time with you. Who knows...maybe the stars will align and I'll get to stay home with you full time eventually but until then I'll race home everyday to kiss your precious little face.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Two Months of Brynn

Yesterday we took you for your two month checkup and shots. You will always be tiny but mighty to us. You've grown two and a half inches and have gained three pounds, which makes mommy feel a lot better. We love seeing you grow but hate how fast time is passing. Your second month of life was filled with so many memories and here are our favorites...

Your "2" is made from Buckeyes your cousin Kate collected for you at Cook Forest

You mean mug like me and smile and laugh like your daddy. Most of the time you resemble me more but every now and then you look so much like your daddy did as a baby.


So many "firsts" happened this month, here are a few: your first "coos", giggles, watching myself and your daddy walk across the room, rolling over from your back to your belly, holding your head up for an extended period of time and turning your little head, your first flight (which you did amazing on, slept almost the entire time and didn't make a peep!), your first Cook Forest, PA trip, staying at your Grandma Lo and Poppa B's house, and meeting so many of your daddy's family and friends for the first time.

 Seneca Point at Cook Forest with daddy

Meeting your great grandparents

You love your swing, Boppy pillow when you are eating, baths, MAM pacifiers (which we call your "bunnies" or "birdies"), comfy sleepers, walks with daddy, watching Bravo with mommy, and your bassinet because it vibrates.

As I type this I'm watching you smile in your swing and crying like a baby because you are so beautiful. Daddy turned on the music on your swing and "Simple Gifts" started playing which is what I walked down the aisle to and seeing you grin and laugh as it plays is so special. We're doing our very best to cherish each moment with you because, like everyone says, it's flying by. We love you so much mouse!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Our First Month

I seriously can not believe Brynn made her grand debut a month ago! So much has happened in the past thirty days. The day after we brought her home we were sent back to the hospital for what turned out to be absolutely nothing, Silver lining is we found out that even though she was preterm she is a super strong and healthy little girl. I'll hold onto that rather than hold the memories of what pure hell those few days were. Now on to what we've learned about Brynn in her first month...




She is a great eater and nursing has come naturally to both she and I, so we are very lucky. If I don't start feeding her as soon as she starts rooting, homegirl gets hangryyy! I can't blame her though...we've all been there.

She hates having her diaper changed like screaming bloody murder hates it...but she does love it once she has a clean diaper on. 

The dogs love her. Mainly Mulligan, he's so protective of her and comes running to her as soon as she cries. 

She loves taking walks with daddy.

She's not a huge fan of swaddling but does like to be cuddled and skin to skin is her favorite.

When we've taken her out to dinner and shopping she has done great so hopefully that sticks and she can be my little shopping buddy.

She looks just like I did as a baby and everyone says she's my twin. I agree, but I do think she has Brian's eyes and I feel like they're going to stay blue. 

She was in preemie clothes for the first few weeks, but is finally wearing newborn clothes and is fitting into some 0-3 months items.

She loves her MAM pacifiers and we're calling them her "bunnies" because the first one she ever took has a bunny on it. 

This month has been filled with smiles and tears but has been the best month of our lives. It's truly amazing how much this little girl has changed our world. We have been consumed by love and every time I see Brian look at her I melt. He is such an amazing father and husband. I could not have gotten through pregnancy, labor, or this past month without him. I can't wait to what the future holds for our little family. As for now I'll soak up every cuddle, kiss her tiny face, smell her little head, and enjoy every precious second of being a new mom.






Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Birth of Brynn


July 28th was a typical Thursday I was just trying to get through my work day so I could get home and lay down. As the day progressed I started feeling worse and worse. My upper abdomen hurt in a way that it never had before and while at a department luncheon I noticed my ankles and feet had swollen drastically. I ended up leaving work a little bit early to beat some of the Atlanta traffic and Brian suggested we go swim to see if it would help me feel better. Unfortunately the pool didn't help so we grabbed some dinner and headed home to go to bed.

Around 1:30AM I hit my boiling point. I couldn't get comfortable and was completely restless with increasing pain. In tears, I woke up Brian and after going back and forth he decided we should go to the hospital to make sure everything was okay, I already had hospital bags packed for me and the baby so we grabbed those and left for the hospital. I was admitted to triage for my general exam and was expecting for them to tell me I was being a baby and that they would see me in four weeks, but I could tell right away by the expressions of the nurses and doctors that something was wrong.

Brian's nametag

There I was at 35 weeks and 5 days pregnant paralyzed in fear waiting to hear what was going on with me. I was poked and prodded for blood work, got an IV set, and my blood pressure was being taken every five minutes. Brian was doing his best to keep me calm, but I could tell he was scared too. My blood work finally came back  and two doctors walked into my room. you could have knocked me over with a feather when the doctor said I had developed severe preeclampsia and for my safety as well as the baby's we are going to induce me.

We had gone over so many birth scenarios but never thought of an emergency induction, I thought my only chance of induction was me going over my due date. I was immediately placed on magnesium and penicillin so that they could give me my first induction pill in a few hours once my blood pressure had stabilized...it was in the 190's right after they told me I was being induced.

At 9:45AM on Friday, July 29th I was given my first pill for induction. Brian made a quick trip back to our house to pack a bag for himself and to take our dogs to the boarder. We notified our parents and close friends of what was going on and I did my best to mentally prepare that this was actually happening. I was moved from triage to my room and man did we luck out. I got the corner room and it was huge! My mom quickly packed up and started the drive from West Virginia and my in-laws in Cleveland, OH booked their flight to get in late Friday evening. The silver lining of the weekend was presented shortly after I got settled into my room...it was Harry Potter weekend y'all!!! I know it seem silly but that was the best thing that could've happened. All the things I was terrified of I got to have done with the comfort of Harry Potter. I was watching Chamber of Secrets when they broke my water and Prisoner of Azkaban when I got my epidural. I was blessed with amazing nurses they entire time but my first night nurse, Alyssa, was the one there for all the truly scary things for me and she kept me calm with her fellow love for Harry Potter, all things Disney, and Parks and Rec.

My dilation was being checked every few hours and around 5:00PM on Saturday, July 30th the doctor when to check to see where I was, the last time she checked I was at 5cm, and her eyes got really big and she said they baby's head was down and ready...it was time to push.

Everyone cleared out of the room except for Brian and my nurse, Colette. Colette said that everyone else was getting things prepared and that I would be pushing until the baby crowned and then the doctors and other nurses would come in. I was scared but not stressed because they told me they wouldn't let me push for anything more than twenty minutes for mine and the baby's safety. Colette gave me my instructions and we waited for the next contraction to push. I made my first push and Colette smiled and said I did great and that I got the baby to crown on my first push and that she would go get the others. The doctors and nurses came in and in four pushes while watching The Half Blood Prince at 6:43PM our beautiful little girl Brynn Elizabeth made her grand entrance weighing 5 pounds, 4 ounces and 18.25 inches long.

Brian took this right when they laid her on me.

Our tiny, but mighty girl got to stay with us for about thirty minutes. My mom got to meet her before she was taken to the nursery where she had to stay for 24 hours since she was pre-term. We were in the hospital until Tuesday evening and the only thing Brynn had to be treated for was 24 hours of blue light therapy for jaundice.

Getting her blue light therapy.

My greatest loves

Around 7:00PM on August 2nd, we loaded up in our car and headed home with our little girl, completely terrified and blissfully excited. Even though her start was rough she has proven to be so resilient and strong and I surprised myself by conquering my biggest fear...yes childbirth WAS my biggest fear. Our first night home was wonderful and much smoother than I ever thought it would be...the following days were the hardest of my life but that's a story for another time.

Leaving the hospital

Thank you to everyone for the love, prayers, and well wishes during my labor and delivery as well as the phenomenal team at Emory Midtown who kept me and Brynn safe from start to finish. It was a whirlwind experience but like every mother says completely worth it. There is nothing more special than seeing your baby for the first time and I wouldn't change any part of my birth experience because it happened exactly how it was supposed to.  


Thursday, June 30, 2016

Baby Shower in West Virginia

Two weekends ago we had our baby shower by our parents in my hometown of Hurricane, West Virginia. It was held at the dance studio I grew up in and was a great time. The food was catered by The Buffalo Diner and it was so delicious. I, of course, got to pick the menu and opted for pulled pork sliders, brisket sliders, potato salad, and baked beans plus some pasta salad made by my mom. If you like in the Putnam county area and haven't tried The Buffalo Diner please GO, I promise you won't regret it. Now on to some pictures of our day celebrating Baby Brynn...

The centerpieces were glass milk bottles filled with baby's breath, baby photos of Brian and I, and little white rocking horses.

My Pinterest dream cake come true made by Buffalo Diner Desserts, forever obsessed with it.


Stolen from my sister's snapchat

So many wonderful presents!

Man can my sister wrap a gift! Also stolen from her snapchat. 

Aunt Erika and Aunt Stacy

It was my in-laws 33rd wedding anniversary...

 So Brian and I put our "favorite" wedding picture of them on a cake lol

Brian and his parents managed to fit everything in the car to get back to Georgia. 

We got so many wonderful gifts. I especially loved the baby ballet slippers, the illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, all the cute outfits from everyone, the Lilly Pulitzer baby blanket from my mom, the coolest baby monitor ever, endless bath supplies, blankets on blankets, custom made and monogrammed burp cloths, GIFT CARDS, and well pretty much everything! It was honestly like Christmas morning! 

Tomorrow we head down to Orlando for the weekend. My friends down there are throwing us a baby shower and it's going to be so much fun too! Thanks for stopping by!