The Post-Vacation Blues

I think of myself as a pretty good traveler. I’m relatively low maintenance. If we need to stay in a ten-person dorm to make our trip happen, then by all means let’s do it. I can spend all day walking around a city or trying new food or meeting new people. No itinerary necessary. I love it all! Recently I’ve discovered; however, that I am not a good person for coming home. Many people rejoice at the idea of sleeping in their own bed and being able to just grab something from their own fridge. That’s all good and well but that coming home slump is unavoidable for me. Even at 32 weeks pregnant when I really need my own bed and walking around a new city is more tiring than exciting, coming home is still tough to handle.

The last day of our honeymoon, a road trip back to Texas from our wedding in Virginia, Tyler woke up eager to get the long 8 hour drive out of the way. I cried all through breakfast and most of the way home. Sunday when we came home from a wedding in Georgia followed by a one-night “baby moon” I sat at the kitchen counter staring at my to-do lists just sinking into my disappointment at being home.

It’s not so much being home as it is being back in real life that gets me every time. It’s meal planning and no longer being able to buy things with the exclamation, “Who cares, we’re on vacation!” It’s setting an alarm for 6 am but hitting snooze and feeling bad for not walking the dog. Work days just aren’t nearly as exciting as vacation days. Bah.

We set out for Milledgeville, GA last Friday to see one of Tyler’s best buds get married. When they weren’t fishing on salmon and halibut boats he and Rex lived in a trailer together in Alaska on a 9-hole golf course. They worked and lived together for 7 seasons. Every year that Tyler and I were dating, I would go up for a week and stay with them. It was awesome to see them together again after these last two years apart.

Unfortunately we encountered several delays on our way to GA and the during the day before the wedding was a rainy mess so we really didn’t get to explore the town. We drove by Andalusia (inspiration for many a Flannery O’Connor story!) and walked into a couple cool shops. The rest of our time was spent watching one of the Steve Jobs biopics in the hotel and doing wedding activities.

Being sober at a wedding is not something I’ve ever wanted to experience, but I’ve now done it twice this year. It’s not so bad when there’s really good music! We were treated to a Motown-style band from Atlanta that truly killed it. They did an awesome job and while my dance floor time has been severely reduced I have managed to create a pretty sweet belly dance. Don’t be jealous.

The day after the wedding we met the bride and groom with some of their friends for a late breakfast at IHOP before heading down to Savannah. Flooding and downed trees had made the inland journey to GA pretty difficult so we opted for the coastal route back with a stop to celebrate our 2-year anniversary!


We stayed at a very basic, but totally adorable place called the Thunderbird Motel. It was decked out in retro colors, super affordable and right on the edge of everything. We would have stayed in an Airbnb but we couldn’t find anything with that didn’t require a multi-night minimum without a pricey cleaning fee. Next time we’ll just have to stay for longer! Regardless, we weren’t disappointed. Our room came with 2 RC colas and 2 Moonpies. Um, amazing.

This was an incredibly short trip (less than 24 hours) so we saw the slightest peek into Savannah. We were able to walk the river area (pretty touristy), through Colonial Cemetery and down to Forbush park. So beautiful! Later I read a guidebook in our hotel room that informed me of the numerous dead bodies under the sidewalks surrounding the cemetery (apparently they needed the cemetery to be smaller- why not just pave over it, right?!) and the yellow fever victims buried in Forbush Park. Next time, I definitely want to do a ghost tour! I love learning about all that kind of stuff.

The houses and parks were incredible. It seemed like there was a small, green park with beautiful live oak trees every few blocks. While it would be hard to trade our yard and quiet street in I was definitely pondering whether or not it’d be worth it to live in an old home in Savannah where you could walk everywhere.

Savannah is also a food destination and I feel like we hit two awesome spots. We stopped for an appetizer at Public to fuel us up for the evening. I broke the rules and shared a salmon bruschetta with Tyler. We’re talking soft, lightly toasted bread with Boursin cheese, fig jam, smoked salmon and caramelized onions. Holy moly! I wanted it to last forever. Unfortunately our appetizer really set the bar too high and dinner didn’t compare. We ate dinner at Jazz’d, an Americanized tapas bar. Meh. I won’t waste time on it here.


Breakfast was another story altogether! We splurged on a fancy breakfast at the Collins Quarter. Totally worth it! The owner is Australian so he offered coffee drinks like the flat white and breakfasts that included grilled tomatoes and baked beans. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a menu like that! We sipped on a vanilla milkshake with espresso (not me) and homemade chai (yes, me!) while raving over our meals. Tyler ‘s breakfast was buttermilk biscuits with a link of chicken apple sausage, a smoked bacon gravy, fennel-apple slaw and poached eggs. The weirdest part? It didn’t leave him in a food coma. My meal proved the impossible- vegetables are for breakfast too!  I ate squash and broccolini, ya’ll. For breakfast. And I loved it. It was braised short rib over potato hash cakes with avocado smash and sautéed squash topped with over easy egg and chimichurri. There was broccolini on the side as well. Life-changing.


It was a wonderful trip. We got to see two incredible people get married, explore new areas, eat incredible food and be all lovey-dovey all over the place. And now that we’ve been home a few days, it turns out it’s pretty nice to be home again after all.


I know I’m biased but he’s a pretty cute date. 

How Did I Get Here?

I cannot believe we are in the third trimester. This year has been a total whirlwind. There has been zero crafting, little baking, minimal biking, and many of the other things I normally strive to do. This year has been just straight up pregnancy. How did we get here?


First Trimester:

Having few friends who are parents I did not understand what the first trimester would be like. Disclaimer: it’s different for everyone. For me, it was exhausting. I got on the couch as soon as I got home from work. Staying upright during dinner was asking a lot. I got put to bed almost as soon as I stopped eating, which was never at the end of the meal. Eating a full plate of food was out of the question.


I don’t know this baby but we are kindred spirits.

Luckily though, I didn’t have morning sickness. Queasiness, yes. Overwhelming nausea or vomiting, no. To those who have to deal with this, I bow down to you.

What I’ve learned:

  • Sleep, sleep, sleep. Don’t fight it. Just embrace it. This trimester drags on but the others do not.
  • Carry food everywhere. Do not leave the room without a snack in hand. Keep a snack next to the bed for when you wake up.
  • People don’t know what they’re talking about. Everyone starting telling me all sort of bullshit about exercise and whatnot but if your pregnancy is straightforward (high risk people, do not listen to me) you are fine. Your baby is the size of a grape. You can still pretty much do what all your activities. No freaking out necessary.

Learning I was pregnant also gave me an incredible amount of empathy. In addition to being exciting, it has also been scary and overwhelming. To every woman doing this alone, I wish I could offer you my support. To every teenager facing this, I wish I could talk you through this. To everyone who doesn’t speak the language where they are, trying to navigate medical care, I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. Once I get on the other side of my own pregnancy I want to find an organization that to work with to offer support for women making reproductive decisions- whichever route they choose.

Second Trimester:

It was around 15 weeks that I started feeling fairly normal. Someone falsely advertised to me that I would feel like superwoman but I really just felt normal. Not exhausted, not queasy- just regular. The baby started kicking during this time which has been really weird and incredible. This is my favorite part of being pregnant, although I don’t think I’m going to miss watching my stomach move back and forth.

What I’ve learned:

  • The Internet is awesome. There aren’t nearly as many pregnancy or mom blogs that strike me as “real” where women talk about their concerns about parenthood but there are some and it is a huge relief. Between Twitter, Instagram and blogs I have felt much less alone when I don’t feel like a glowy, Stepford wife (which is not a thing that has ever happened to me). Start here-
  • I should have started looking for daycare the moment we peed on a stick. We are now on 3 waitlists, only one of which we have a reasonable chance of getting into around the time I go back to work. Yay.
  • Picking out childbirth classes or a pediatrician should also not be delayed. We have gotten the last available spot for a December baby at the pediatrician of our choice and barely got into childbirth classes. We arranged these somewhere around 27 weeks. Apparently we’re slackers.
  • What I am still learning is that my emotions are overwhelming and that is totally okay. At times I felt incredible fear, confusion and despair at being pregnant. That doesn’t make me a bad person. This is scary. This is overwhelming. Life is changing and chances are I will never regret that but doesn’t mean I can’t look at the parts of life that stay behind with mixed emotions.

Third Trimester:

Oh, my. How did I get to third trimester so quickly? How do I get all the millions of things I think I should do done in the next 11 weeks?

I’m hoping to learn to ease up but… no guarantees.

A Little Trip to the Lone Star State

This past week I got a chance to travel for work. It’ll be last non-local travel until I’m back from maternity leave so I had to take advantage of it. I’m not often given the opportunity to travel outside the state (but when I do it’s dangerously close to my due date and I have to refuse- er!) so making the most of each trip has been key.

This time I was being sent to Fort Hood (Killeen) Texas for a career fair. In case you don’t know that’s delightfully close to Austin. To make the most of a trip to Austin you must do two things. 1. You must eat very well. 2. You must go swimming. Otherwise you may not survive. And you just don’t know what you’re doing.

Austin Eating:


Snooze is a relatively new “A.M.” eatery which basically means it’s a breakfast/brunch place. I thought it was delicious and adorable but my eating companions did order various types of eggs Benedict and they were all- tiny. So just don’t get that.

Black’s BBQ-

Eating BBQ was a priority for me this trip. After an afternoon of swimming we weren’t interested in driving all over the countryside. Luckily since I’ve left Austin some of the best hill country restaurants have opened up locations in town, including Black’s! We all ordered way too much food and ate until our eyes bulged. It was totally worth it. This is the BBQ way.



So many delicious smoothie and juice options in Austin! Why don’t we have this in Wilmington?




I worked here one afternoon and really enjoyed it. By chance, my brother-in-law was also working remotely there. I sampled his lunch and it was insanely delicious. I have to figure out how to recreate it.

Vera Cruz-

We ate from the Vera Cruz food truck at Radio during bluegrass night which was delicious but didn’t rock my world or anything. The music and beautiful outdoor area there is awesome though.

Via 313-

So glad I didn’t leave Austin without a ladies night out dinner with Via 313. I would have certainly regretted it. That is a pizza with balsamic reduction and PROSCUITTO. Get overwhelmed.



McKinney Falls is a nice, although more expensive alternative, to Barton Springs. We weren’t prepared for the line or the crowds so we headed east instead of into town for this swim time. I’ve gotten a little spoiled now that my swimming life is almost entirely in the Intracoastal Waterway or the ocean but this dip saved me from insanity. Texas, you are too damn hot.

Baby Love:

The best part of my trip? I experienced my very first baby shower as a mama-to-be! It was incredible. I can’t express how loved I felt.

There were peanut butter chocolate cupcakes, baby rubber ducks floating in mocktails, only ONE game and it wasn’t embarrassing in the least AND it was co-ed. Perfection.

I wish Tyler could have been there and that I could have spent more time with everyone who came. It was incredibly special.




Like a Kick in the Gut

I think it was around 17 weeks that I started feeling kicks. They weren’t real kicks yet since presumably the baby still had little t-rex arms and itty bitty legs. They were flutters. A friend said it best when she compared it popcorn popping. It is a gentle burst of movement. The movement is brief, light and airy but undeniably there. Although I had been nervous about feeling like there was an alien inside, I cried when I when I felt the first movement. I felt totally overwhelmed and without words.

I have not yet reached the stage where a kick is clearly a kick or I can recognize an elbow from a foot. Munchkin is still small enough to do somersaults which are a move that stops me in my tracks. I hold my breath until it has finished, unable to do anything on my own. Equally there are kicks and stretches and what feels like drum practice. I watch my belly move now. I spend time picturing a baby inside so I don’t focus on this scene too much.



I know, gross. Sorry.


When I was in high school (or earlier?) I read Summer Sisters by Judy Blume over and over. This is one of Judy Blume’s adult books and it focuses on two friends. It’s a story I am more familiar with now and recognize in other books. There are two girls- one is more outwardly wild, obviously beautiful, mysterious and attracts all the boys while the other is quiet, always watching with strengths and beauty she had to work to recognize. The teenage girls become adults, wives and mothers. I can’t remember what became of the quiet friend, what her hardships were as an adult or her successes. The wild one sticks out in my mind with her affairs and her gypsy life. She became a mother but in name only. Her lack of connection to actual mothering and the lack of relationship with her children stuck out to me then as it does now, like a song I can’t get out of my head. It is a terrifying idea- that you might have children but never commit to the job, never connect with your children, never really get it.

Among the many fears I contemplate- some irrational, some not- this is one. It’s not one I put a lot of stock in. I compare it more to fearing ghosts or something else that could totally be real but probably won’t affect me. Still it is the change in kicks that is the most reassuring. At first every kick was a curiosity but now it makes me laugh. Watching my belly move and feeling so many little movements immediately throws me into the giggles. I try to hold my breath to not miss feeling everything but I am too tickled to be successful. Tyler has missed many a good kick because I can’t stop laughing long enough for him to get his hand on my belly. 14 more weeks y’all!

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: Feminist Punk

Earlier this month Pitchfork came out with The Story of Feminist Punk in 33 Songs. I don’t reach Pitchfork but theriotgrrlproject  has been posting a song on a day on Instagram which I have loved following.

Unfortunately my time spent with feminist punk music was somewhat short lived and mostly in the early 2000s so I’m less familiar with some of the older and newer songs on this list. But challenge accepted! Sorry workmates, this is what I’ll be listening to all day today…if not all week.

A couple of my favorite artists from the list:


Kim Gordon’s new memoir is still on my to-do list!

The baby is really kicking as I write this so must be a she, right? Little riot grrrl rocking out!

In this same music vein, Tyler and I watched the Los Punks documentary earlier this week which was pretty good. In my very uneducated opinion a lot of the music was leaning more towards metal than punk but it was a really cool look into the backyard punk scene in mostly Hispanic areas of Los Angeles. I wish it had gone a little farther back into the history of punk in the area.

If anyone knows of a good documentary on punk music, please share! I’ve already seen The Punk Singer on Kathleen Hanna (loved it!) and I’m in the mood for more.

Regaining Strength & Clarity

Pregnancy is a very public event. It’s something that starts very private (well, typically) and then quickly becomes shared with all. One week you look like you ate a big lunch, the next you’ve clearly “popped” and no one’s afraid to ask you about your bulging belly. The first time during my pregnancy someone asked me “When are you due?” I was shocked to have a genuine answer. For the last 15 years that question has led to anger and sassy responses (and it’s happened every year) but now it’s just…the norm.


It might be my new normal but don’t make it yours. Stop asking ladies if they’re pregnant. It’s weird and none of your business. 

There are some benefits to this- I am not expected to carry anything, stand under any circumstance and people eagerly encourage me to seconds of dessert at parties. Now that I’m a bit larger, I mostly appreciate all of these pregnancy perks but initially they were hard to accept (not the dessert one though). Being constantly asked “How are you feeling?” and having even the lightest packages items out of my arms made me feel even weaker rather than cared for. When going out others would ask where I wanted to stand, if I was comfortable, and so on. I felt like a fragile teacup.


Chip, the most adorable teacup that ever was. 

On one hand I was given an enormous amount of support and never given grief for going to bed early but on the other hand everyone seemed to be waiting for me to fall apart. That waiting gave me the feeling that it was only a matter of time. I was waiting for me to fall apart too. Instead of reassuring those around that I didn’t need the extra attention I stopped trusting whether I was okay. This at a time when I was questioning what changes this pregnancy would bring to my sense of identity…

I never ended up falling apart (except for the occasional big ol’ cry which I consider good for the soul and a part of normal maintenance). Crossing out of the first trimester is a gift for many reasons but one of which is it involves a lot less fatigue and a lot more clarity. Without feeling tired all the time I’ve regained most of my ability to say “I’ve got this” as well as become aware of what my limitations are. I will gladly call for Tyler to come carry things for me and I don’t feel obligated to stay at your party past 10pm. Sometimes I kick ass in my exercise class, sometimes I fall asleep on the couch. These things happen.

I know the second trimester is supposed to be when you’re riding high (as much as pregnant ladies do) and I’m about to hit the down turn but I’m hoping my new sense of self will help carry me through the rest of these weeks. In the meantime some fruit loop baby is clearly breakdancing over here.


This seems pretty close to what must be going on in there. 

Becoming My Parents

Growing up I couldn’t have been more embarrassed by my parents. It sounds silly but I know we can all relate to this feeling. It wasn’t my dad’s spandex bike shorts that really got to me or my mom’s cheesiness. It was the small talk. My parents are small-talkers. It didn’t matter where we were they would strike up a conversation with the nearest stranger. In line for the grocery store my mom couldn’t resist commenting on a cute baby or an usual food in their cart. My dad would always ask the server where they were from or talk to store owners about their business. Every time I would duck my head down low trying to hide from the strangers they were talking as well as possible onlookers. I did not want to be associated with these crazy, over-friendly people.


Don’t be fooled- they’re very friendly. 

As luck would have it now I’m a dang small-talker myself. I should have known it would happen eventually, but I spent so much time being afraid of strangers that I hadn’t even noticed the change. Before I studied abroad my junior year of college my mother secretly got her passport because she was convinced I wouldn’t make it a whole semester away. In her defense, it did seem pretty unlikely. Raising my hand in class made my heart race. Walking a different path around the school filled me with anxiety. I went out of my way to never have to initiate conversations with people I didn’t know. Honestly I preferred not to initiate conversations altogether.

My semester abroad ended up being a wonderful experience but I was surrounded by people in the same situation, looking for friends. It wasn’t until I backpacked alone for a year that I truly put my fear of strangers to the test. This was hard. This was lonely. Some days I had to admit I didn’t have the energy to introduce myself to someone new. I didn’t want to ask them the standard backpacking questions (where are you from, where are you going, how long are you here, are you alone, are you working here, blah), but most days I got over it. If you want conversation over dinner or someone to explore a beach with you have to introduce yourself when you travel alone.


These are total strangers I traveled New Zealand with. 


It’s important to have these people to travel with otherwise you have to ask random people to take ridiculous photos of you.

Still it’s not backpacking that I have to credit my small-talking abilities to. It’s the traveling that gave me the practice but my parents showed me how it’s done. As the saying goes, they’ve never met a stranger. At my last Toastmasters meeting I was asked to give a short, “impromptu” speech on whether or not I was the type to talk on an elevator ride. The answer was pretty obvious and the club did not hesitate to tell me so after I spoke. That’s a wonderful feeling to know that I’ve come far from my social anxiety but also that others see it too.

Small-talking is sometimes painful and I just can’t handle it. Sometimes I still struggle when I have do a networking event or introduce myself to others. But I can’t deny that being a small-talker has gotten me travel tips, free drinks, friends and even the occasional job. For all those opposed, I highly recommend you give it a try.