In the craziness that is 2020 we finally managed to get away for a quick family vacation. Mike’s birthday coincided with my last week of mat leave and we decided to book a few nights in Half Moon Bay, a nearby beach town. This was our first time taking a vacation since my birthday/our baby-moon combo weekend in Vancouver last year. It was also Cam’s first getaway!
We stayed at the Oceanano hotel & spa, which is a great location with beautiful views and next to a good number of places to eat. Our patio faced the harbor and Mavericks Beach was off in the distance. If you don’t know, Mavericks is a huge big wave surf spot where a famous competition is hosted between November and March.
After we settled in – which took much loner than it used to, given I disinfected every surface in the hotel room – we walked across the street to Barbara’s Fish Trap. This place is a Bay Area classic. I remember when I was little, my aunt and I would go to the beach and we would always stop at Barbara’s for an order of calamari. Sadly, this time Mike and I were disappointed with our fish and chips and the calamari we spilt…
We put Cam to sleep, oddly in the bathroom because it was the only place dark enough for the little guy to doze off (we moved him next to us when we went to bed later!). Then I took full advantage of our view and rolled out my yoga mat for a patio session. Happily I managed to get out there every day to flow with a side of sea breeze.
After yoga, Mike and I had dessert and wine on the patio while we watched the sunset. Romantic!! When it started to cool off, we came in to crack open new books by the fireplace. Ah, the simple pleasures of parenthood!
Cam didn’t sleep well that night, waking up 3 times! He is usually a great sleeper so I was surprised every time he fussed and needed cuddles. He did end up sleeping better the second night so I think he just wasn’t used to a new place?
The next morning was Mike’s actual birthday! When we woke up we walked to get coffee/tea and breakfast at a cute little cafe we’d been to a few times before (once when Mike’s parents were in town and when we went kayaking last summer). Because of Covid we ate all of our meals back at the hotel, which honestly isn’t a big deal to us and is one of the things I’m actually handling okay during this pandemic; I don’t really care about eating out, I just want to see friends & family!!!!!!
Mike tried to surf after breakfast but the waves weren’t great so he was back to the hotel shortly after he left. It was a bummer Mike couldn’t surf since it was one of the main reasons we went to Half moon Bay, but we made up for it with our favorite lunch spot: Dad’s Luncheonette. We went all out and spilt a burger, homemade chips, mac n cheese, and a fresh herb salad. I cannot emphasis enough how much we love this place!
After feasting, we drove to the Ritz Carlton to walk along the Coastal Trail. I don’t know how we haven’t done this before! It is such a gorgeous walk through the golf course at the Ritz right along the ocean’s edge. On the way back to our car, we stopped at a little beach to put Cam’s toes in the ocean! It was by far my favorite part of the weekend — so fun to do a “first” with Cam, particularly when we’ve been at home most of the summer.
Going out with Cam means we have about 2 hour before it’s nap time again. Half Moon Bay worked out well for this reason, since everything we did was nearby. After our walk, we went back to the hotel for Cam’s last nap.
For dinner we ordered to-go from Half Moon Bay Brewing company and then did a repeat dessert and wine night on the patio. We came back inside as it cooled off and watched some Shark Tank, which is an inside joke for us because that is basically all we watched on our Honeymoon – from Florida to St. Martin to St. Barts – Shark Tank was on every night!
The next morning it was back to our same coffee spot but we went on a harbor walk after. Little did we know this would be our last walk for ~a week and a half because of all the smoke from the California wildfires.
On our way home, we stopped at a fruit stand on the side of the road and bought strawberries, wild flowers, and a pumpkin for Cam. It was such a nice weekend away with my little family. I can’t wait until we can go somewhere else fun!
I am officially back to work after my mat leave. Whew, what a week it has been! Before I was even pregnant, I was interested in the topic of mothers coming back to work after their leave and how, sadly, most of the time, they were suddenly at a disadvantage.
I feel lucky to work at Upwork, where initiatives are in place to try to combat women being disproportionately negatively impacted by having children. For example, the same leave is offered to both mothers and fathers. And, even more important, it is encouraged for all parents to take it. But, despite being at a supportive company, I still was nervous to return to work. As most parents are, I’m sure.
Uniquely, because of the pandemic, we aren’t sending our 5.5 month old to daycare (as we originally planned, pre-covid). Instead, we are alternating between some days where we work in shifts and others where my mom comes to help us with Cam. …I’ll cut to the chase here and say the days are intense.
I am an executive assistant. A women of a Schedule. I love clean start and end times, consistency, and strict order. Babies do not adhere to predictability. Breastfeeding seems to be the trickiest to navigate as, obviously, only I can do this. I found myself constantly counting hours in my head this week; okay he ate at this time so he’ll have to eat again then… please say I don’t have a meeting scheduled.
I’m hoping next week will be less stressful in regards to feeding times because Mike and I have finally conceded to the fact that our baby is a power napper. We just can’t bank on him sleeping for a full hour. Instead I’ve readjusted my work blocks and have accepted that 45 minutes is all we will get. (If anyone has tips on how to extend naps, I’m all ears!) Luckily Cam goes to bed pretty early and typically sleeps through the night, which gives me time to catch up on things in the evening.
Our guiding light in keeping up with eating healthy meals has been food prep. Over the weekend I prepped overnight oats and these egg quinoa power bites that we like for breakfast. We also took a few minutes each night to prep lunch for the next day. I’m proud to report that, sticking with my New Years resolution, I didn’t fret when things weren’t necessarily done my way. For example, one night Mike prepped some PB&J sammies and I thought: wow… messy. But, as quick as the thought came, I simply shrugged and put the lid on our Tupperware. The sandwiches were made. Who cares about the rest?
All in all it’s good to be back to work but I won’t lie, it’s daunting that this work-from-home-with-a-baby arrangement doesn’t have a end in sight… I’m very thankful to have flexible hours though; and besides, I can’t really complain about getting to spend more time with my cute co-worker Cam, can I?!
Of course the star of my mat leave has been Cam. I feel so fortunate to have had the past ~5 months to bond with my baby. I can’t begin to comprehend parents who only get 6 weeks of leave but we’ll save the politics there for another post…
Right now, our days typically look like this:
Between 7am – 8am Cam wakes up and eats (he is still breastfed)
9am – first nap for about 45 min to one hour
10am – feed
Play until 12pm, when he takes his second nap for about 45 min to one hour
1pm – feed
Play until 3pm, when he takes his third nap for about 45 min to one hour
4pm – feed
Around 4:30pm/5pm Mike comes downstairs and plays with Cam while I cook dinner. We usually eat aggressively early, between 5pm/5:30pm, so we can start Cam’s bedtime routine; bath, books with dad, feed with mom, bedtime at ~6pm (a note that we sleep-trained him at 4.5 months so most nights he goes to sleep right when we put him in bed …after a cuddle and a rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, of course)
Right before we go to sleep, we change him and he eats again
For the past 3 weeks or so, he’s been sleeping through the night after his dream-feed 🙌
I feel excited to go back to work, but also nervous. We’re still in the midst of the pandemic and won’t be sending Cam to daycare so days are going to be more full on than they were while I was on leave. We will have to be very organized but I am beyond thankful my job allows me to work from home, and that I will still get to spend a lot of time with Cam.
I wrote about the 4th trimester here and here and love going back and reading them. I want to write more updates about Cam – what he is loving, learning, etc. – but haven’t quite nailed down a schedule. Maybe every quarter? Stay tuned. 🙂
Almost the entirety of my mat leave – aside from the first 2 weeks way back in early March – took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. We had little physical support because of social distancing rules but, despite greatly missing our friends, family, and doing “normal” things, we’ve had some really sweet times that I always want to remember.
The things that stand out aren’t actually the momentous ones. My first Mother’s Day was lovely – filled with well wishes, nice gifts, and an enchilada (my faveee) dinner – but honestly, I look back on the evening when Mike, Cam, and I went on a walk and explored a new part of our neighborhood with more earnest feelings. That random week-day night stroll was so spontaneous. We had no idea we would stumble on a completely unknown section of our neighborhood by deciding to turn right at one street, instead of continuing straight on our regular route. It might sound silly but it was a whole new world to us. We were in the thick of summer so – even though it was later that we normally walked – it was still gloriously light out and we kept asking each other, “did you know all of these houses were back here!?” Cam had drifted to sleep from the constant roll of the stroller as Mike and I alternated pushing him and making jokes about the “hidden” neighborhood we had no idea existed.
Or the time Cam slept in late and I was able to finish a cup of coffee and an episode of Sweet Magnolias in bed, right next to him peacefully slumbering.
Or all of the Kim’s Convenience we watched on the couch eating endless quick meals like ravioli or the burritos I made and froze before having Cam.
Or the day we broke parenting rules and let Cam veg out with us one Sunday. We pulled out our couch to make it a bed, ordered take-out nachos and chicken + avo sandos, and just lounged. Cam rolled in-between us while we ate and watched a documentary. I’m sure he got more screen time than is “allowed” but he also got a relaxing afternoon with both mom and dad; family time.
Cam and I also went on a lot of walks during my mat leave. We typically would go in the morning, before it got too hot. I loved those leisurely strolls, listening to an Audible book and cruising the neighborhood.
When I was desperately trying to get Cam on more of a schedule (which didn’t work for a few months!), I would track his sleep and feeds in a spreadsheet. And then I added another tab to start meal planing. Next I added a tab for what else we still had to do for our house renovation… and on and on it went. Now we have this massive, basically living and breathing spreadsheet titled “life admin” and I’m in there literally every day.
Call it extreme but it eases this control freak’s heart; especially the meal-planning aspect. And we barely ever waste any food because everything is planned out, down to the last leaf of spinach. Double win in my book blog!
Reading about past vacations, scrolling through my sister in laws new and old posts, and catching up on my favorite rotation of bloggers has somehow kept me feeling less lonely. Particularly posts about life with new babies. It’s crazy how similar experiences are when we enter this new adventure!
Some recipe posts have been dusted off and made again too. Which, speaking of…
So sooooo many meals (and dishes!!!!) because we are basically home all of the time.
We’ve been officially remodeling since last Thanksgiving (when the first cabinets came down) but did the majority of the work in January/February of this year when my father in law came out to help and lend us his handy electrician skills. Looking back now I am relieved we got most of it in before COIVD struck.
Of course we’ve been doing small projects continuously since Camden was born (and still have a number of them to do). Happily though our kitchen is essentially complete, aside from the pesky kick-boards. (Oh, well! Who see ’em anyway?!)
With 100+ meals cooked at home since COVID, it is so nice to have our open-concept updated kitchen.
Ounces of “normalcy”
Mike and I used to have weekends booked solid for months at a times. You name it – baby showers, birthday parties, movie nights, weddings, weekend getaways, dinners with friends, hikes, coffee dates – and we had it on the books. It seemed like we were always doing everything. Just the way I liked it. Of course this was bound to change, at least a little bit, with a new baby but I didn’t expect to go almost 6 months without touching anyone aside from Mike and Cam.
Luckily, we’ve been able to safely see a few people over the past few months. Pre-COVID, these interactions would seem so everyday. Now they are cherished and have to spread thin to last us weeks of social stimulation.
We’ve visited one of my closest friends, Lauren, and her husband a few times in her backyard. Thankfully she moved about 10 minutes from us late last year and it’s been a treat having her so close during this crazy time.
Our first real “outing” was on a hard, copped up Sunday. We needed to get out. I somewhat urgently messaged her, essentially inviting myself over, “hey can we come over and sit in your backyard?”
She gracefully replied something like: “sure thing! hot tub is on too!”
Ah, to have great friends! Cam even did us a solid and actually napped so we could get in there for a quick soak.
We’ve done a few dinners back there, too. Masking up after we’ve eaten!
Lauren and I have also walked on a trail nearby and, even though right now it is hard to only have these moments, I know they have cemented our bond forever. When we are grannies we will look back on the time we spent together, 6 feet apart.
We had another epic backyard get-together to celebrate a birthday. It was the first time we’ve seen this side of our family since early 2020. Amazingly my aunt transformed her backyard into a socially distanced oasis. We ordered take-out Mexican and ate burritos poolside. Cam even got in the water!
We also crashed my uncle’s campsite, which allowed us a nice afternoon out in nature. Camping during the summer is so much fun (read about some of our past trips here, here, and here) but it sounds like a logistical nightmare with a little babe. I was all but eager when I got a text that my fam would be camping near by us in Big Basin one weekend. We quickly decided that yes, we would love to stop by and enjoy some of the great outdoors with them, even if it was only for a few hours.
It was about an hour drive and, with the car packed (even if you’re only going somewhere for a short amount of time, having a baby – during a pandemic, no less – means you’re bringing it all), Cam snugly strapped in his carseat, and our own sandwiches in a paper-bag, we met them at their campsite. It was so nice to get out, see some family, and do something new!
Note: since writing this California has been experiencing an early start to wildfire season because of a freak lightening storm. Sadly much of Big Basin was burned in the fires. It feels so strange having just been there. My heart bleeds for my home state and the destruction that has been done.
Since June 1st I’ve done at least 10 minutes of yoga every day. My goal is to get to 100 days, which will coincidentally also mark my first day back to work. I am hoping it will serve as a beacon of sorts; a reminder that I can still find time to do yoga, even while being back at work!
It’s weird to me that I thought I didn’t have time to get on the mat everyday before having a baby. For the past 12 years I’ve done yoga a couple times a week but, aside from a 30 Day Challenge here and there, have never been this consistent. It just goes to show you that you make time for things that are important to you. And, after carrying a baby around all day long, yoga is essential to me.
Netflix has been recommending Madam Sectary to us for a while. We finally gave it a try and I am so happy we did. It is 6 seasons and probably took us about 2 months to watch. I don’t know if it was because I am in desperate need for some functioning government, or if it was Dr. Henry McCord (maybe a combination of both?) but I LOVED THIS SHOW. I’ve never been so sad when a show ended. Téa Leoni, or Madam Sectary, is such a boss throughout the whole 6 seasons. And I enjoyed the family/work dynamics of the show. Gaaaaaah, it was just so good. I might re-watch it.
It’s weird going back to work but not going back to the office. This might be the dream for some, but I loved my office. It isn’t too far from my house; my company is simply amazing and provided a clean, safe, fun, snack-and-booch-filled environment; and I generally just enjoy the people I work with so it was nice to chat with them in between meetings or while grabbing a perfectly steamed oat milk latte (I know, aside from millennials, most generations are cringing at that last workplace indulgence).
All of that to say, until I can safely return to office-life, I’ll be wearing a lot more leggings to work. And this might be controversially but I’ve discovered a legging that is better than Lulu. …Lolë!
My mother in law got me a pair of Lolë leggings for Christmas years ago and they are my favorite. They fit nicely but don’t squeeze me in the way a lot of Lulus do. After probably the 50th time I went searching for my Lolës (I may have pulled them out of the laundry a few times in those early days home from the hospital….), I finally decided to buy some more! I rarely do this – unless I really love something – but I purchased 2 of the exact same leggings. They are so comfy and flattering! Plus they were having a sale…
So even though no one will be able to see me from the waist down, I’ll be wearing them, ready to rock n’ roll at work!