November 26, 2014

Traveling With a Baby.

Traveling With a Baby.
Two weeks ago we took our almost 4-month-old baby to New York City for 5 days. We are new parents, so we weren't sure all the best ways to travel with him. I asked a lot of questions to those who had done it before, and I've compiled all the info that worked best for us. This entire post is about how to avoid excessive hassle (and germs!) while traveling with a baby.

For the Airport:

Check, check, check. 
It's a new era in your life, if you're traveling with children. The old habit of carrying everything on in order to avoid baggage fees just isn't feasible anymore. Make your life easier and just check everything you won't need for the plane ride. Seriously, this will save you so much hassle. I carried on my diaper bag, stocked specifically for the plane ride, and nothing else. And I mean, my baby, but then nothing else.

Check your stroller with your other luggage. 
I know some people recommend gate-checking the stroller (if you choose to travel with one), but I don't really see the reason to bring it all the way through the airport. It's just more stuff to lug. We purchased a travel bag for our stroller (which provides insurance in case the airline damages it during our travels), so we went ahead and packed it and checked it along with everything else. It was wonderful. And thankfully, the bag completely protected the stroller and there was zero damage to it during the entire trip. Money well-spent, in my opinion.

Wear your baby through the airport.
I wore my almost-4-month old in the Ergo Baby Carrier through the airport, and it was the best. It kept him calm and warm, and most of all, away from strangers. I am a bit wary of germs (I hate when people you don't know come up and touch your baby's hands and face. Like, what are they THINKING?! I don't know where their grimy hands have been! And then of course my child immediately puts his hands in his mouth... ugh so gross.) Note: You don't have to take the baby out of the carrier when you go through security, but sometimes they will still make you take your shoes off. I would recommend wearing something you can easily slip in and out of, like Keds.

We scored three seats on the plane. Everett didn't complain once.
For the Plane:

Ask for a Better Seat Rearrangement.
You never know until you ask, that's what I've learned from my husband. In our case, on both flights, the gate agents moved us so that we could have a row of three seats for the three of us, even though we only paid for two seats! I sat by the window, Stevie sat on the aisle, and we had more room to spread out a blanket on the seat between us with some toys and stuffed animals. We found that our little man loved stretching out on the middle seat & kicking up a storm (obviously, our hands were on him the whole time, making sure he didn't roll - incidentally, this is where I also decided to discreetly make some diaper changes, as well. More room!) Once you reach your gate, you can ask the gate agent if there is anything they can do to upgrade or rearrange your seat assignments so that you can be more comfy.  We found that Delta was extremely accommodating to our family - thank you!

Wait to Board.
Most airlines allow people flying with infants to board the plane first, so that you can settle in and avoid the crowds. However, why would you want to sit on that plane for 45 minutes while everyone else boards? It's just extra time in a tiny, cramped space. No thank you! My baby is a mover, and loathes sitting still, so I knew that wouldn't be a good option for us. Since we didn't carry anything on, we didn't need to board first to make sure our luggage would fit. So we waited until the final boarding call to make our way on the plane, and then 5 minutes later we were taking off. Note: If you are traveling with a partner who has some carry-on luggage, have them go ahead and board at the regular time so they can get their bag on board. But hold out and wait to board with that baby until the very last minute! You will be reeeeeeeally glad about this choice.

Feed during Takeoff/Landing.
Nurse the baby or give them a bottle during the takeoff/landing portions of the flight. Their little ears are really sensitive to all the altitude changes, so the constant swallowing helps ease that discomfort. A pacifier also works beautifully, if your child will take one.

Dressing the Part.
Dress your baby in a long-sleeved onesie, if you can. It makes for easy diaper changes, keeps them warm on the flight, and allows for a simple wardrobe swap in the case that things get messy. Make sure you have all kinds of back up onesies - I think I brought on three changes of clothes! Of course, when you're actually that prepared, you never need all of those. I also made sure to keep him in a hat, socks and shoes, and a coat, just because it was November and we were heading to NYC. Didn't want him to get too cold en route!

Stock that Bag:
Along with the many extra changes of clothes, I made sure to have my diaper bag wondrously stocked. I packed my nursing cover, a few muslin blankets, a burp cloth, a zillion diapers and wipes, pacifiers, diaper rash cream, hand sanitizer and a few comforting teethers/toys (Everett is really loving the Jellycat collection :)

My baby and his baby, Oscar.

For the Hotel:

Find A Killer Location.
It was really important to us to stay in a centrally located hotel while we were in NYC. I didn't want to stay in Times Square, because I was concerned about trying to get the baby to go to sleep amidst the lights and noise (also, who wants to stay in Times Square?) However, staying in midtown, just south of Central Park, was pretty perfect. The Warwick New York Hotel was extremely accommodating to all our baby needs, and made our first trip as a family of three extremely comfortable. It was also a super-cool boutique-y vintage-y spot with a glamorous history, so it made us feel hip (even though we're really not.) Yes, it was a super busy area, but the location made it really easy to go back to the hotel throughout the day if we needed to do a major clothing change or an impromptu nap. In years past, Stevie and I would have stayed somewhere far less posh and further away to save a few bucks, but in this new age of babies, it's worth paying a little bit more to stay centrally. That way, when you do have to head back to the hotel for the baby's 2-hour nap, at least you can still look out your window and enjoy the city a bit.

Sleeping Situation.
You can opt for a suite if you're concerned about the baby waking you up at all hours of the night. We didn't want to shell out the extra cash for a suite, but in hindsight, it probably would have made a big difference in terms of (at least Stevie!) getting better sleep, especially since this was a work trip for him. But if you are going to sleep in the same room as your baby, make sure you pack their sleep essentials. We made sure to bring Everett's white noise machine, his sleep sack and a few extra blankets to drape around the crib, just so that he didn't get distracted by the TV, etc.

Note the blankets draped around the sides. He slept like a baby.
Reserve a Crib.
Make sure to contact your hotel ahead of time and vibe them out about the baby gear. Most hotels have cribs that you can reserve in advanced, but not all hotel cribs are created equal. Some are old and rickety and not up to code. Make sure you really check out the crib when you get to the hotel, check for cracks in the wood and loose screws. I brought our own crib sheet from home, so that Everett would at least smell the comfy "home smell" in a foreign crib.

Snacks & Drinks.
Buy a big pack of bottled waters and leave them in the room. Then you can grab one to go each time you head out. This way you can stay hydrated and cut down on out and about costs. The same goes for healthy snacks. Eating out while traveling can really deplete your energy and make you feel sluggish, especially when you know you aren't making the best healthy choices. I stopped by the Fresh Market before our trip and stocked up on Kind Bars, energizing trail mix and whole grain crackers. When we arrived in NYC I found a deli and stopped by each day to purchase a fresh-cut container of organic fruit. That way I was snacking really healthy and eating lighter, cleaner meals. It made those Magnolia Bakery treats just that - a treat. Not a necessity for fuel.

We are in a honeymoon stage with our stroller. WE LOVE IT.
For Getting Out & About:

I really love babywearing. Not only was this completely essential for the airport, this was definitely the most seamless way to go places with the baby when I was by myself. I just strapped him in the Ergobaby Carrier and away we went! But keep in mind, with all that walking, you will probably get tired easily. Wear supportive shoes, especially if you will be walking the entire time.

We brought our big mamma-jamma stroller, in addition to the baby carrier, and I am so glad we did. Walking around for hours and hours can get a little bit tolling on your back, even though the Ergo is incredibly supportive. For a city like New York, where walking is my favorite mode of transport, it was really helpful to have my stroller and load it down with the essentials. I could strap Everett in (all bundled up in his JJ Cole Bundleme), hang my diaper bag on the hooks and have plenty of room in the basket underneath for whatever else I wanted to bring along. At one point, I was carrying shopping bags, a few gifts to bring to friends, his Ergobaby carrier (just in case), my coat, a picnic lunch, my SLR camera and a book (ha, as if I was going to read on this trip) all in the stroller basket. It made going to the park really fun, because we had enough gear to get out and stay out for hours and hours. And like I said, we purchased our stroller's travel bag, which provides insurance in case anything is damaged while we travel. Which made it a no-brainer to have along with us.

Pace Yourself.
Plan less activities for your day. And make flexible plans. I wish I could say that having this baby hasn't slowed us down in the least. I wish I could say that we are still livin' la vida loca, that this baby can easily go along with our schedule, that nothing can alter the vigorous way we like to travel and explore. But I would be lying. Having this baby has slowed me down more than anyone else I know that has a baby. We do everything slower. We do fewer things. And those slow, few activities really wear us out, so then we have to nap a lot (when I say "we", I am mostly referring to me and Stevie. I have already established that my child would prefer to never sleep and always play.) Don't plan on leaving your hotel at 8 in the morning to sightsee, meet friends for lunch, shop in the afternoon and then meet more friends for dinner. Because you will spend the majority of your trip (like I did) apologizing by text to everyone you have to cancel on. I'm working on not being too hard on myself about it, this is just part of traveling with a baby. Be flexible. Pace your schedule.

Lessons Learned + What I Wish I had Known.
I wish I would have known about the post-travel crash. I realized that Everett & I could run on adrenaline throughout the trip, but coming home and getting back into a routine was kind of a nightmare. He experienced what some people call the 4-month sleep regression, but it was even more than that. He stopped taking a bottle for a few days. He was mega fussy. He had some whack diapers. He was literally up every hour of ever night for 7 days straight. And it was super un-fun. It's taken a full 10 days to get back into a normal sleep routine, which has helped with his eating and the fussiness. I wish I had better answers for why this happens and what to do about it, but nothing really helped us get through it, other than time. It just took time, attempting to get back to normal. Best thing you can do? Pray. Pray and sleep the very best and most you can. Especially during the daytime, when your baby goes down for a nap. There is tons of info out there about how to cope with baby jet lag, but nothing worked for us. Nothing but prayer and sleep.

Seems like a lot of stuff, huh? It is. But we had such a blast on this trip. I feel much better prepared for the next time we travel. The bottom line is that having this baby is the greatest gift I've ever received, so if he slows me down for a few years, so be it. Traveling with him was an absolute wonder and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Happy holiday travels to all of you this week!

November 24, 2014

TASTE: Pumpkin & Cream Tartlets

Pumpkin & Cream Tartlets.
Happy Thanksgiving week! I'm sure your home is buzzing with holiday plans, presents stealthily hidden into musty closets waiting to be wrapped, kitchen working overtime pumping all kinds of toasty delicious aromas throughout the house. This is the beginning of the most wonderful time of year!

I wanted to share with you my favorite holiday dessert. I've made it every year for Thanksgiving at my parent's house, but I love it so much that I continue to make it for festive gatherings through New Years - who says pumpkin is only for Thanksgiving? That's just crazy talk. These tartlets are perfect for keeping that sweet tooth in check, because they are bite-sized bits of decadence. And seriously, seriously easy to create. They have a creamier, lighter flavor and texture than regular pumpkin pie, which provides that much-needed refreshing twist on the whole pumpkin-at-Thanksgiving thing. My personal secret is that I like to use a Ziploc bag to pipe everything beautifully into the tarts, because it makes them seem fancy. But if you need really delicious recipe and you're short on time, you can easily spoon them into the little filo dough cups and experience the same rich taste. This would be a great addition to any dessert buffet because they are just so pretty and dainty. And for real, TASTY.

- 1 can organic pumpkin (I like this Trader Joes version)
- 3 packages frozen mini filo cups (You can find these in the frozen section next to the puff pastry, 3 packages makes 45 tartlets)
- 1 3.4-oz. package of instant cheesecake pudding (I use this Jello version - haven't been able to find a good replacement for this... yet)
- 1.5 cups heavy whipping cream (divided)
- 4 tbsp. Sugar in the Raw
- 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

// Isn't this mixer a beaut? It's my mom's, but I'm hoping Santa brings me one this Christmas... //
1. Place a metal mixing bowl and metal mixing whisk in the freezer for 15 minutes.

2. Pull frozen mini filo dough shells out of the freezer to thaw while preparing the filling.

3. Once 15 minutes has passed, place the 1.5 cups of heavy cream and 4 tbsp. sugar in the mixing bowl. Mix on medium-high until soft peaks form (this could take 3-5 minutes).

4. Divide the fresh whipped cream in half by scooping half of the cream into another bowl (set one portion aside for later.) Add to one bowl of fresh whipped cream: the can of pumpkin, package of instant cheesecake and pumpkin pie spice. Mix until combined and smooth.

5. Scoop mixture into a piping bag (or in my case, a large ziplock bag with a corner cut) and pipe into the individual filo cups. Top with the remaining fresh whipped cream (I also like to pipe it on top) and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Voila!

Happy Thanksgiving. 
Let me know if you decide to add these to your Thanksgiving dessert line up this year! Would love to know how it worked out! And I especially wish you a week chock-full of indulgent treats, delicious fireside chats and most of all, ridiculous amounts of family time. Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

November 21, 2014

Everett Takes Manhattan.

Everett Takes Manhattan.
There it is. My tiny, bubble window frames that triumphant, iconic skyline. It never fails to give me a thrill in my gut, a rush to the head. This vast metropolis is comprised of anonymous multitudes who dream to be known, discovered and found. So much hope and promise pulsing through the subways, rising up the dizzying elevators, and reaching higher than Freedom Tower. I've admired this place from afar, lived in it up close, and today, for the first time in quite a while, am just a visitor. This time, though, everything is different. My arms are carrying the 15 most important pounds of my life and he has no idea what he is in for.

He stares up at me, almost reading my anticipation, feeling the sense of the plane landing. Can he tell what I'm thinking yet? I have no idea if a 3, almost 4-month old can intuit that profoundly. But if any of them could, it would be him. Ha. Thought every parent ever.

I brought my baby to Manhattan. And here is how it went.

We Came.
Last week we took our first family trip to New York City. I'll admit it. My excitement and anxiety for this trip were equally yoked in the days leading up to our departure. I mean, take a baby on a plane? With recirculated air? During FLU SEASON?! Ew. Ah. Oh.

We Conquered. (Not Without Casualties.)
I'll just go ahead and get to the punchline: the trip was sublime. My child did as well as a spirited 4-month-old can. Was he a perfect traveler? Oh no. HE'S A BABY. There were two screaming restaurant incidents that I'd like to pretend never happened. But for the most part, he behaved wonderfully and went with the flow so, so well. It was almost odd, because, as I've shared before, he's not the lowest-maintenance baby. But his plane rides were so good, they were almost uneventful. And our time navigating the city together was actually super sweet and special. It was a delight sharing it with him, watching his eyes widen in awe at the enormity and grandeur and shimmer and grit.

// The foliage was perfect. Gosh I love New York. //
// Top Left: Everett putting on his fight face as we trolled the town, Top Right: Family Selfie waiting while waiting for the elevator, Bottom Left: Us with the iconic Love statue (right next to our hotel!), Bottom Right: Post-screaming lunch with the baby, where an Uber cab ride and a trendy coffee comforted my soul. //
// Central Park was as perfect as I remember //
// I got free balloons! It was really fun to walk around with... until it wasn't anymore. I might have tied them off somewhere in the city... //
// His puffer coat was like a magical cloak of sleeping properties. He yelled every time I put it on him... and then he did that ^. //
// Narnia. //
// Breastfeeding in the park (lets normalize it, people), some cute guy snapping photos, and me with my Everett bus loaded down with practically everything we own. //

How We Played.
What did we do while we were there? Mostly, we just enjoyed the park and visited some dear friends. Ate some rad sandwiches from the deli around the corner (several times :)) Took Everett to FAO Schwartz to pick out a Christmas toy (we ended up with a book.) Had some random girls give us balloons while we meandered through the park (I know - what??) Had a few too many treats from Magnolia Bakery (thanks, Jess!) Did a bit of Christmas shopping on 5th Ave., although this time I found myself wandering through the baby sections and chatting it up with the other moms in the store. It was kind of a surreal weird moment (like, am I old enough to even have a baby??) Watched the Veterans Day parade. Drank coffee and dreamed of what it would have been like if we were still living in our little 1-bedroom on the Upper West Side. As much as I love this crazy mess of a town, I am so glad we aren't living there now.

Sound too harsh? I'll give you an example. Each time I came back to the hotel after spending a few hours outside, I had to wipe a layer of grime off of Everett's face. He literally had a gritty pacifier mark from just, I don't know, the outside air? It grossed me out. When I walked with him in the stroller, I desperately wanted to shield him from the everything-ness of walking down 6th Avenue, where our hotel was located. Just so many people shoving by, jaywalking, cursing, smoking, yelling, cabs honking, exhaust fumes and wayward bikers every which way. It was just a lot. A whole lot. Everett took it in stride, but he definitely had his moments where he was DONE.

Moments That Surprised Me.
I definitely found myself holding my breath as we rode in elevators, anticipating him screaming in an airless, lightless space, squished awkwardly between strangers, but that moment never came. He was calm. I kept him out a little bit late one evening to meet my friend Deb for dinner, and he let her hold him for a loooooong time, so happy and content. I mean, it was like 9pm! And he was just chilling, completely content to be surrounded by the ardent aroma of pasta and pizza. That's my little Italian. And walking around the park with him was honestly dreamy. The leaves were raining down on us with every cool shimmy of the breeze, and in one bend of the path there was a saxophonist crooning, "Autumn Leaves", while we were surrounded by the mesmerizing autumn leaves, and ... well, it was truly a moment I will never forget. Like one of those moments that isn't significant for any obvious reason, but stands out so strongly, you almost lose your breath when you remember it. It was just a tiny slice of our time, merely a fraction of the day's experiences, but I will never forget that bend in the path, with that jazz saxophone, and looking down at Everett's eyes, knowing he was taking it all in.

We stayed in Midtown, which was perhaps a nutty choice (since its the busiest area of town), but I'm grateful that we had such a central location and could go back to the hotel throughout the day when we needed a break. My child, who typically doesn't nap well, took two two-hour naps each day - that's how stimulated he was! (Unfortunately, he was just preparing to turn the tables on me, since we have been sleep challenged ever since we returned home from our trip. No one told me that coming home from a trip is actually the hardest part of traveling!)

Thankfully, we had a lot of friends who came to the hotel to see us - thank you all so much for making those visits so easy! It was so much fun sharing him with all the wonderful souls who were so invested in him all last year, long before he was even born. These are the beautiful friends who celebrated his gender reveal, showered me and Stevie with so much love and affection, and kindly lied to me when I kept asking if I was really as gigantic as I felt. Everett was a lot more relaxed and able to interact with everyone in the hotel room than in a crowded restaurant.

Even though he was slammed with work almost the entire time, Stevie and I had bits of time to enjoy some of the New York splendor, too. We scoured the lower east corner of the park, an area we hadn't discovered much together. We ate really really excellent takeout when Everett was too fussy to go out, but even the takeout in New York is spectacular. We got to see what it feels like to be parents, traveling with a baby, which... let me tell you what, it is DIFFERENT than being all fun and fancy free on your own. Remember these times? It's safe to say those days are over. At least for a while. But it's more than okay, we are embracing this season with with big thankfulness.

// Everett and all his friends :) //

When We Were DONE.
By the last day, Everett had taken Manhattan - and decided he'd had enough. He pretty much lost his mind in a restaurant in the Flatiron area (sorry, Jenna & Tara, for all the stares for all the wrong reasons), so I was happy to take my screaming, wriggling, huffing and puffing child into a cab and call it a day. Overall, I feel proud that we managed to make our way in the city without too many meltdowns.

I'll share more details about traveling with an infant next week. So many of you shared your tips and tricks with me, many of which worked beautifully. With the holidays coming up (and Thanksgiving right around the corner!), I know tons of you will be traveling with your kiddos, and I am excited to share about what worked and what didn't.

Thank You!
Also, many thanks to all of you who offered up such helpful advice about the 4-month sleep regression/transition that we experienced coming back from this trip. We are still in the throws of it, but thankfully the waking up every hour of the night has stopped. Living on a prayer, baby. And coffee. Lots and lots of it.

November 17, 2014

Everett Takes My Sleep.

This is a tease.
Last week, our little family took an impromptu trip to New York City. It was a work trip for Stevie, but Everett & I tagged along so that he could meet all his NYC friends (he has a lot of them!) The trip was a total success and I'm excited to share all about it... however. One very strange thing that my child picked up in the city that never sleeps is a new vigor to also never sleep.

He's been waking up every hour of every night for the past week. And that is not an exaggeration.

Sleep deprivation is a real, true, evil thing, people.

When my mind isn't an overwhelmed, exhausted mess of mush, I'll be back here.

Prayers, advice, thoughts on how to overcome this phase are more than appreciated. Mama is calling out an SOS here.

November 7, 2014

9 Holes of Golf (Sort of.)

9 Holes of Golf (Sort of.)
Stevie is having a bit of a moment. He has a baby boy.

So obviously, he has taken Everett out to do some man-ish things. Like throw the football. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. Meaning, he has put the baby in the stroller, wheeled him onto the  grass outside, thrown the football around the yard to NO ONE, and explained the basics of the game to my drooling, dribbling 3-month old son. I'm pretty sure Everett needs to be able to grasp Sophie the Giraffe for longer than thirteen seconds before we move on to toying around with pigskins. I watched from the window and howled with laughter. I mean, STEVIE.

Of course, that was a few weeks ago. His latest, greatest idea for some father-son bonding was to take Everett for a round of golf. Yes. Though, for this outing he decided he would need the help of his trusted assistant, so mommy had to tag along. I thought this was going to be the worst of Stevie's ideas for rushing Everett into adolescence (hello, golf balls flying through the air?? Safety hazard!!)  However, it was surprisingly fun. And quiet. We walked the course instead of carting, so it was excellent exercise. And we went at 5pm on one of those recent, freakishly warm weekdays, so we weren't rushed with people playing the course behind us. It was utterly calm, quiet and truly, stunningly beautiful. I kind of get why people like to play golf. I even chipped and putted a bit. And yes. Everett completely dug it. As much as a 3-month old can.

// Showing Everett how to practice his swing. Oh geez. //

// Sometimes daddy got boring, so... SELFIE! //
Another Family Date SUCCESS.
Is a golf course the best place to bring a baby? Maybe not. But its certainly not the worst. The fresh air, the setting sun and the spacious, quiet course. It was a green dream. And Stevie? Well he was simply giddy to be showing and explaining the game to our son. Whether or not the boy actually absorbed a single thing from it. It has been my mission to find some fun family dates that work for us in this new season of our life, and this was another great (unlikely!) one. Here's to making the most of the great outdoors before winter is upon us!

November 4, 2014

Halloween Shenanigans.

Halloween Shenanigans.
I have never been trick or treating before. Until Friday night.

My parents (and surprisingly, also Stevie's parents) weren't into celebrating Halloween back in the day. They didn't agree with the origins of the holiday, and so instead of encouraging us to dress up and trick or treat, we often enjoyed the day as a family in a different way. Many times, my mom would check us out of school and we would have a fun day going to the movies or a museum. My parents really made the day special so that my sisters and I didn't feel like we were missing out on something that all our friends were talking about. I love that about my parents. They really stuck to their guns and raised us in a way that felt right to them. They aren't the kind to cave into peer pressure. It is a really great example that they set.

So is it wrong that I still wanted to dress up my baby as a tiny little fox for Halloween this year?

I absolutely. Could NOT. Resist.

My parents shook their heads at me. Until I showed them these pictures.

Foxes. Are so in.
I decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to dress Everett up as a baby fox. Because. Well, foxes are VERY in for baby boys. They are all over toys, gear & clothing this fall. And since apparently I'm a mega sucker for tot trends, it was decided then and there, in that Target aisle, that we shall be a fox family for Halloween. Mad props to my stylist sister, who helped me concoct the costumes for this grand event. Though when I handed Stevie the sparkly hair paint so that he could be the patriarchal "silver fox", I'll admit he put up more than a little resistance. But I just told him I would dress as a vixen and most of the argument ended. Little did he know that I would be the most wholesome, COVERED vixen ever to tread such ground. Heh. Plus! I had already bought Everett a little fox onesie! And it can't be returned! Tags had been removed! Muahahhaa. Call me the sly fox, thank you very much.

I made our ears and tails by (loosely) following this amazing tutorial. Gosh Pinterest is full of so many goodies when it comes to costume creation. I'll admit that as the countdown to Halloween was impending and I was still unshowered, teeth unbrushed and haphazardly choking on faux fur, I might have resorted to just stapling our bits of tail parts together. Forgoing the much studier hot glue situation. Oh well, it all worked. Other than Everett loathed his ears, so they only lasted for the pictures. And only a few of them.

// Toothpaste, Gingerbreadwoman & the sweetest Turtle I ever saw. //
// Kitty cats and Dinosaurs. With quite a bit of pizazz. :) //
// In all our costumed glory. //
"Trick or Treat!"
We trick or treated in an adorable Mayberry-esque neighborhood with all of Stevie's brothers and sisters, parents, and of course, our awesome nieces and nephews. We went before the creepiness of dark was upon us, and we were already done with the thrill of candy rush by about 7pm. It was pretty perfect. I love this family that I am so privileged to be part of. And my parents and his parents? They've relaxed a whooooole lot about the Halloween shenanigans. In the words of my darling mother, "We did what we thought was best for you. And now you do what you think is best with Everett."

Well, I think a little baby fox is perhaps the best thing I've ever seen. Of course, I haven't dressed him up as Santa yet. OH THE THINGS TO COME.