Ellis Ann is Eight Months Old!

My goodness sweet girl! It seems like time is just blowing by. I never want to compare you and your brother because you are each your own person, but man if it doesn’t seem like time is just going by so much faster with you. Between the chaos of having to keep up with both of you, I seem to have blinked and here we are with an 8 month old and a 2 year old.

You are still the sweetest snuggle bug. You’re going to bed easily at 7 pm every night now. You take a bottle and go down without a peep most nights. Some nights you’re back up at 10 or 11 for another feeding and some times you surprise us and make it until 2-4 am, but still not sleeping through the night. Daddy had his first weekend away from us. You did well but I was thankful to have Mina and Pop Pop to help out! We’re still working on eating solids, if I’m being honest it’s not going great. You are really not interested in eating and you gag on food so easily that it is really scary for us! At 30 weeks we could finally start to see your bottom two teeth peeking through, so maybe some teeth will help you start eating a little more!

Daycare is going wonderfully! You got a new teacher who you LOVE and we can tell she just adores you! At 31 weeks you started clapping and waving. I love seeing you clap for yourself and wave at us! You are ready to crawl and be able to chase after your brother, I can see it won’t be long! At 34 weeks you perfected sitting up from laying down. You are still loving swim lessons too!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at the beach this month. We celebrated Graham’s second birthday. We had family photos taken. Our house is all decorated for Christmas. We have so much to be thankful for this time of year! I am extra thankful for our family! I love you big little girl!

31 weeks – enjoying the patio

31 weeks – Ellis Ann to the rescue!

31 weeks – snuggling

31 weeks – not interested in oatmeal but still the smiliest

31 weeks – a little pre Christmas carriage ride at Reynolda

32 weeks – Thanksgiving at the beach

33 weeks – snuggly girl

33 weeks – Jumpin’ girl

33 weeks – celebrating brothers birthday

34 weeks – dinner by the tree, just a spoon for you

34 weeks – no thanks for the sweet potatoes

34 weeks – the cutest baby and all the Christmas decorations

34 weeks – Go Mountaineers!

Ellis Ann is Six Months Old!

Ellis Ann how can it be that a half a year has flown by just like that?? What a joy it has been to watch you grow! Our big milestone this month is finally getting you on a schedule. It is helping us all sleep better! We took your first big trip and spent a week at the beach. You loved the pool!! Jody and Penny came with us and boy were we glad to have their help. Traveling with two under two is no joke! Our week away, really helped us realize that you needed a bedtime routine to help you start sleeping better at night. You are going to bed around 8 now and sleeping until 3 or 4, wake up to eat and fall back to sleep for a few more hours with any luck. You’ve really perfected rolling over this month and now if we put you down on your back you roll right over to your stomach. This has also really helped at night with your sleep since you prefer to sleep on your stomach.

Absolutely everything is going straight for your mouth now. You’re drooling like crazy and we feel like some teeth have to be coming soon but still no sign of them. You had an ear infection last month that seems to be still hanging around this month. You are putting up with it really well, but I’m really hoping tubes won’t be in our future. You and Graham have really started to interact and play and I just love seeing you two together! We started swim lessons with you this month and you are loving it! You are still the happiest little joy, and go with the flow for almost everything! We love you big little girl!

21 weeks – headed to the ball game

22 weeks – vacation nap at the beach house

22 weeks – first boat ride

23 weeks – three Tar Heels testing the new stroller out

23 weeks – in the bathtub

23 weeks – playing with brother

24 weeks – first day of swim lessons

25 weeks – first trip to the pumpkin patch

25 weeks – trying out part of your Halloween costume

25 weeks – the sweetest girl napping

25 weeks – First Wake Forest football game!

25 weeks – The sweetest brother and sister

26 week/6 month old girl napping with her Pop Pop

Paris – Day 7

On our final day in Paris we tried to fit in a few last minute things, while also keeping it low key and enjoying our last bit of vacation. We went to the Museum de l’Orangerie to check out the Monet water lilies, but didn’t see much else here. We were honestly overwhelmed with all the museums we had seen. We had lunch at L’Imperial Rivoli, where I tried a Croque-Madame for the first time… When in France Right?!? We did some last minute walking around the Marais neighborhood, and checked out the Picasso Museum. I loved that we had the museum pass for this trip. We never had to wait in line for tickets, or for entry, and we didn’t have to feel bad about the museums we breezed in and out of since we had already paid for the pass. We had our last chocolate croissant, packed our bags and enjoyed one last view from our colorful balcony. It was a WONDERFUL trip!!

This wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t show us being the ONLY people in the Charles de Gaulle Airport. Always the timely traveler Sean had us at the airport hours before it even opened, which feels hard to do at an international airport the size of CDG but we managed…

Paris – Day 6

I could say this about all the days of the trip, but Day 6 was one of the best. We took the train to Versailles early that morning. We got there almost as it was opening and it really was not crowded (with the exception of the crowd you see in the Hall of Mirrors photo, which I think may always be like that). I think visiting in November also helped with the crowds. One thing I will say about our trip to Versailles in low season was that much of the furniture and other things that the audio guide mentioned seemed to be missing, possibly it was being cleaned or restored, and the famous gardens were a little lackluster with nothing in season. However, we enjoyed there not being much of a crowd and still getting to experience this famous location. We stayed a few hours and then took the train back in to Paris. That afternoon we explored Montmarte. I loved this area and would love to spend more time here. There are so many amazing shops and streets that you could spend days wandering here. We watched the sun set over Paris from the Sacre-Coeur, which I highly recommended. The view at sunset was magical. We wandered from here to the Hotel Particulier for some fancy drinks in a cozy spot off the beaten path. (Also happy to report we are still making the drink the bartender here taught us.) We finished up with dinner at Buillon Pigalle. The restaurant was a mix of tourist and locals, and the food was fantastic. This was one of our best “authentic” French meals. We are still trying to recreate the beef bourguignon.

More from our trip: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 7

Paris – Day 5

Our the 5th day of our trip we covered a lot of ground. We started with a tour of the catacombs. I cannot express how much I disliked this. Sean had booked this as something he wanted to do, and I had no clue what we were getting into. I do not like small spaces, I do not like being underground, I do not like dead bodies, I do not like there being no emergency exit. The catacombs are all of those things. That aside our tour guide was really knowledgeable and engaging. We were lucky enough to be in Paris when the Rembrandt collection was on display at the Louvre. We had reservations that afternoon to check it out. We hit the highlights of the exhibit and hit the road. The Louvre was overly crowded to the point of not being enjoyable, as it turned out our reservation was only to see the Rembrandt pieces not the rest of the museum and we weren’t sad about it because it was such a cluster. That night we had tickets to see a ballet at the Palais Garnier. I had mostly just wanted to see a show inside the famous opera house so we could see the inside. It is definitely worth seeing in my opinion. It’s gorgeous. We wound up loving the show we saw, we had amazing seats that I had purchased basically by accident, and it was great to drink champagne and feel fancy for a night.

More from our trip: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 6

Paris – Day 4

Day 4 of the trip was a museum and shopping day. We started the day with breakfast at Brasserie Le Bourbon. There were lots of business people here having meetings and eating. We enjoyed eating here. We followed that up with walking to the Rodin museum, which allowed us to take in some sights around the area. The Rodin museum was probably my favorite that we visited. I loved that it is both inside and outside, it wasn’t crowded, and you could walk around the gardens right in the middle of the city. We then went to the Museum D’Orsay, which has lots of great highlights, but we were lost most of the time we were there. It was crowded and difficult to navigate but we did manage to see some beautiful art! From here we walked to Rue Saint Honore to do some shopping. We stopped in Laduree since no trip to Paris is complete without the famous macarons. After our shopping we hurried back to change and head to our dinner reservation at Frenchie. We made a huge mistake and tried to take an Uber since we were all dressed up, we ended up sitting in so much traffic that we were late for our reservation. The restaurant staff was so great about it, but they have a strict cancellation policy so Sean was freaking out the whole drive there. The food at Frenchie was AMAZING. It is one of the best meals I have ever eaten. We had the sommelier do the wine pairing for each course also. We were lucky enough to have seats at the bar looking into the kitchen, which was a great experience. After dinner we walked to get a drink at the Experimental Cocktail Club, which was a fantastic spot our server told us about. When we were ready to head home we tried Uber again, but had no luck as our driver drove away as we were walking toward the car. We opted for the metro back, and I was not please about being in the metro late at night in high heels, but what a cool looking metro stop.

More from our trip: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 5, Day 6

Spend the Day in Reims

Paris – Day 3

On our third day of the trip we took the train to Reims to explore the champagne region. It took a little over an hour to get there and was well worth it. This was maybe my favorite day of vacation. Reims was a fun town to see and we found it very walkable. The Museum of the Surrender allows you to experience the location where the German’s surrendered World War II. The map room is still exactly as it was on the day of the surrender. We really enjoyed this museum. It is next to a local school and we accidentally went into the school looking for it. Ooops. From here we walked to the Reims Cathedral. It is absolutely beautiful, the stained glass is unbelievable! The history here is fascinating; It was built in the 13th century and was the location for all of the coronations of the French monarchs. After this we walked to Brasserie Le Gaulois for lunch. Our waitress was great and talked about how much she loved having a chance to practice speaking English, however the food was honestly not good. Kind of reminded me of the French version of Applebees. I should mention that we came to Reims on a Monday and many places are closed so we didn’t have as much to choose from. We knew that going in to the day and were fine with it, but I do wish we had been able to try some of the places we heard about. One cool thing about the restaurants in Reims was they have great champagne selections so we were able to try a few from places we weren’t able to visit. From lunch we walked to Tatinger where we had made a reservation for a tour and tasting. Most of the larger champagne houses require reservations for a tour. We enjoyed the tour and our guide was great. We did a tasting and ended up buying some to have shipped home. From Tatinger we walked to Pomery. We did a tasting here and bought a couple more bottles. After a full afternoon of champagne drinking we found l’edito brasserie to stop in for dinner. We enjoyed the food here and our server was great! It was the only restaurant of the entire trip we went to where the server spoke no English (our problem not his – for being in France and not speaking any French), but he kept apologizing to us and was just so nice! Our last stop before the train was the local grocery store. This was a great stop as we found many of the local champagnes we hadn’t been able to try for sale here.

More from our trip : Day 1, Day 2, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6

Eiffel Tower Photoshoot

One of the best things we did in Paris was to book a photo shoot with The Paris Photographer. Remember how I said I didn’t love how our wedding photos turned out. Well, it is so great that we booked these photos before even getting our wedding photos back, because we have some images that we love from this special time in our lives. A colleague of mine heard about our trip and told me about The Paris Photographer. Her sister had been married in a small ceremony in Paris and they had taken absolutely beautiful photos from the ceremony. I did some research and found that they book mini sessions that are totally affordable (the wedding packages would have been out of my price range). We booked our session with Ioana and she was so much fun! The session included these 15 images, which in my opinion is plenty. She happened to get stuck in the metro on the way and ended up being very late to the session. She was texting us updates the entire time and it was totally not her fault, but I think she felt really bad so what was supposed to be a 30 minute session ended up being nearly two hours, so we had a lot of images to choose from and I just love these photos!!

Paris – Day 2

On our second day in Paris we got up and had photos taken at the Eiffel Tower with a photographer from The Paris Photographer. I have mentioned before how I wasn’t too happy with our wedding photos, so we were SO HAPPY we did this! The photos turned out great and are such a fun memory. After our photo session we went back to our apartment to change into more comfortable clothes before heading out to explore the Jewish Quarter in Marais. We had heard about the food in the neighborhood and decided to go for lunch. The crowds were crazy and there were lots of long lines, we went to L’as du Falafel first but couldn’t even find the end of the line so we went to another spot nearby where we could be seated right away. I’m thinking it was Mi-Va-Mi, and it was really quite good. We took a little nap after lunch before heading out for the evening. We decided to head for rooftop drinks at Perruche, which a very cool spot on the top of a Printemps department store. We arrived just before closing time, but they were so great and let us come in for drinks anyway! The view from here is awesome and we really enjoyed this spot!! It was a Sunday evening so it was a little tough to find a spot to eat. Apparently lots of places close up early on Sunday. We weren’t far from Champs-Elysees so we decided to walk here from drinks in search of food. Since it is a more touristy area the shops and restaurants were still open. We browsed a few of the high end store before finding Cafe di Roma for dinner. It was definitely one of the more touristy places we ate, but there were locals there too with families and children. The pizza was good and we were happy to find a place that was open!

More from our trip: Day 1, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6

What to do about BED BUGS when travelling?!

Remember when I told you guys that we got bed bugs on our honeymoon. Yeah that was great. In all of my googling, everything said do not panic, WELL allow me to be the first person on the internet to tell you it’s fine if you want to panic. Go finishing panicking and then come back and I’ll tell you what to do to remedy the situation.

First things first, I highly recommend that you tell someone at the place you are staying. Whether it is an AirBnB, a hotel, or a fancy resort, it’s really not their fault entirely. Bed bugs can easily hitch a ride from one place to another, like from one hotel to another, or maybe even in the airline cargo area from one suitcase to another. GROSS RIGHT!? And it doesn’t mean the place you are staying is dirty. Although you may feel as though you will never feel clean again once you encounter a bed bug. Someone needs to know, so they can treat the room and prevent other guest from having the same experience.

Also, let me be the first to tell you that people who check mattresses and other areas of hotel rooms when they travel in search of bugs, may not find them. These creatures are tiny and they only come out at night. Unless you have a full blown infestation don’t expect to seem them easily. So it’s fine if you’re checking, but that’s not fail proof.

I am no expert on this, but bed bugs have a life cycle such that they only need to feed during certain times. If you encounter them during the feeding part of the cycle, you will see the blood spots on the sheets at night. A new infestation may not yet be at this stage, and thus you won’t know about them. So we were kind of thankful for the bites in some sick way.

Bed bugs are killed by heat. There is no cleaner or chemical or anything that will get rid of them besides high heat. Ever since we came across the creepy little creatures on our honeymoon, we have followed a strict protocol when we return home from traveling just about anywhere. I’m going to share our routine with you so that if you’re in the same situation you know what to do.

  1. When you return home take *all* of your clothes off before entering your home. [Could be complicated if you live in an apartment or shared living quarters]
  2. Place all of your clothes directly into the washing machine. Wash and dry them.
  3. Do not bring your suitcases in your house. Leave them in the garage, on the porch, in the yard. Not in the house.
  4. Unpack the suitcases into trash bags. [your neighbors will think you killed someone on vacation, it’s fine]
  5. Anything that can be washed and dried goes into a bag that will be taken to a wash/dry/fold service. 1)the commercial driers get much hotter than the ones at home & 2) you don’t take a chance on the creatures getting in to your house
  6. Certain things that may not be safe in the washer, are fine in the dryer only. Remember it’s the heat you’re after not the soap. Think hats, certain kinds of shoes, purses or backpacks etc. Anything that is safe in the dryer should be left on high for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Anything that can’t be washed/dried goes into a trash bag with one of these for at least a couple of days.
  8. After a few days in the bag, cook everything in this oven. We cook our suitcases, our shoes, sometimes our toiletries.

The thing is, this may seem nuts, but if they infest your home it could be thousands of dollars to have it treated and get rid of them. It can also ruin hardwood floors and other more delicate items inside like artwork. If you can prevent them do it. After encountering bed bugs once, we assume that we have encountered them on every trip since and do this routine after every trip.

And now to really up the creepy factor of this post… a few pictures.

This is what your creepy crawly friends will leave behind.

This is when the neighbors will start to get suspicious.

The bug oven.