Emily & Nick

Frase1Frasewedding-11Frasewedding-25Frasewedding-30Frasewedding-35Frase2Frasewedding-49Frase3Frasewedding-219Frasewedding-223Frasewedding-224Frasewedding-233Frase4Frasewedding-264Frasewedding-283Frasewedding-284Frasewedding-286Frasewedding-310Frasewedding-346Frasewedding-371Frasewedding-380Frasewedding-400Frasewedding-414Frasewedding-464Frasewedding-474Frasewedding-488PS: Nick and Emily’s engagement photos here.

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A Foxy Shower.

DCshower3I cannot stop feeling humbled and blessed by the way that our community has reached out to embrace this little baby before he comes into the world. Of course, after he comes, he could (will?) be a screaming/pooping banshee, so maybe it’s easier to embrace him when he is still safely confined to my person.

Our life here in DC has been punctuated by so many showers, ranging from the one that my friends through for my wedding the very first year I lived here, to ones that I have gotten to throw to celebrate babies and marriages over the years. A couple weeks ago, a group of my friends here came together to throw and absolutely perfect shower for our boy. I have been able to throw showers for almost all of these women over the past couple years, and they went all out returning the favor, an endless cycle of smothering each other in love and finger foods that is just the best. While I have struggled to come up with any sort of coherent theme for the “nursery” (read: only room other than ours that currently doubles as storage, guest bedroom, and wasteland of objects that still can’t find a place in our new apartment) beyond “gender neutral gray and white so all future kids can share,” they know my love of tiny woodland creatures and organized the cutest fox themed party.  My friend Susannah also took the most beautiful photos of the day, and I tried to narrow it down to a relatively respectable number to share. DCshower2BABY FOXES. Nothing cuter. My friend Christine organized a lot of the decor and everything she does is impossibly classy. DCshower4Not shown: The deviled eggs, of which I ate approximately 20. I have zero deviled egg restraint. I wouldn’t sit down and just plow through a dozen eggs, but 24 deviled eggs? NOT EVEN A PROBLEM.DCshowerDCshower5Really appreciating the preemptive vote of confidence from that cute little pouch!DCshower6If you are capable of opening precious tiny baby clothes without making faces like that one above, TEACH ME YOUR WAYS. Because almost all of the photos were me doing weird duck faces of excitement about little onesies and bibs. I know, you are just THRILLED for the wave of attractive pics to come once I actually look at this boy. My face will probably just get stuck like that. 60-Hannah's baby showerMy friend Liz made our boy the best knit blanket! James is a tad concerned that my penchant for having everything in neutral blah colors will stunt our son’s mental development somehow, so I’m relieved that he has bold pops of color in his linens. DCshower7Les was a couple days past her due date at this point, and has since welcomed the most precious baby girl! We are pretty pleased about the posse of built in friends that our baby already has. (Although, we really need more people in our lives to have boys to give our son some rowdy buddies- please??)70-Hannah's baby showerWith the outstanding shower throwing committee! Love these ladies so much and couldn’t feel more blessed to have them in our lives.

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I keep meaning to take the time to sit down and write out a truly meaningful post on such lofty topics as the J.Crew summer 2016 collection (bad) or the lovely DC shower some friends threw a couple weeks back (good), but I keep getting distracted by life, spring, friends, and all things non-internet. So instead, here are some quick and piddly ramblings from life lately, otherwise known as repeats of recent Instagram posts.

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As I was awkwardly taking this on a sidewalk not my own, the owner of the house came out and gleefully yelled, “It’s like the city is getting married and we are all invited!” Moral of the story: trespass, and ye shall find kindred spirits.

SPRING Y’ALL. DC spring is glorious, with a rainbow of flowers and foliage that starts with Japanese magnolias, flows through cherry blossoms, and then explodes in a burst of wisteria and those pink trees that look like the world’s largest bouquet of carnations. We’ve been spending as much time outside as possible, reveling in the perfect weather and bright green fresh grass, trying to ignore the plague of seasonal allergies as best we can.

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Obviously the most important thing about this photo is that ducks mate for life, so there is nothing sadder than a solo duck, doomed to a life of celibacy and gloom. Luckily, that is not the case here.

This past weekend James’ mom and brother were in town for a bit and we enjoyed our first Tidal Basin picnic of the year! One of the perks of an early summer baby is that we won’t really be doing much travel this summer. While I usually love summer adventures near and far, I am not at all upset about spending lots of summer nights in this city, carting our kid around to all our favorite picnic places.

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Pretty soon that belly won’t fit in our one full length mirror. And obviously, grainy bump selfies can only be taken on days where outfits and hair are on point and MUST be taken in the morning, as the bump is at least 20 times bigger and less attractive by the end of the day.

34 weeks this week! But this picture is actually from last week, and reflects my intense love for the Belly Band. How have I been going so long without it? One day I just couldn’t handle my wardrobe, and I grabbed it in desperation from the pile of clothes that a friend loaned me, ignoring my dubious feelings about its tubular self and shimmying in (or at least, as much as a 33 weeks pregnant woman can shimmy). And BOOM. Hello non-maternity pants, welcome back to my life. In my zeal I might have even snapchatted a tutorial video to a non-pregnant friend, trying to convince her that she needed one for those days where pants just don’t fit like they should. Because friends don’t let friends be belittled by their pants.

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Yes indeed, French graduate students know how to party. WITH CHEESE. ALWAYS PARTY WITH CHEESE.

Last week my co-workers threw an amazing surprise baby shower at work, a truly impressive feat since I spend my life anticipating surprises and am thus very rarely surprised. They also showed their excellent taste, as the spread included a giant pot of Costco mac-n-cheese, which might just be my love language.

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I don’t always read Madame Bovary, but when I do, I make sure to do it in a well-lit window nook, and key color coordination. Oh wait- except I do read Madame Bovary all the time (what, you don’t?), and usually it is in pjs in bed. Oh well.

In non baby news, I finished chapter 1 of my dissertation and am wading through chapter 2, determined to get it mostly done before a certain interruption comes into our lives in June. Sometimes dissertation research turns into assimilating a series of fascinating, but useless, factoids, like the time I read for half an afternoon on the danger posed by wolves in nineteenth century France. But, in a truly magical moment, I did actually think of a way to tie in my impressive wolf knowledge over the weekend, so I am just giving myself one long pat on the back.

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Gimme all that bright green foliage!

Loving right now: Belly bands, scrambled eggs, An Idiot Abroad being back on Netflix, sleeping with the windows open, new sheets from Target, Barre.

Hating: Restrictive clothing, the fact that mosquitoes will soon be back, certain probable outcomes of presidential primaries, bending over, stairs, running (I think I have maybe 2 more weeks of running in me than I am calling it quits).

Ok, enough ramblings for now. Happy Monday all!

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New York for the weekend.

The concept of a “babymoon” is kind of ridiculous, as it speaks to a truly spoiled society where we feel entitled to wonderful things and experiences before welcoming into our lives something that promises to also be a wonderful thing and experience. It belies our unspoken belief that children ruin fun, so we need to squeeze in that last adventure before some kid comes and ends Life As We Know It.

But it also speaks to the fact that sometime mid-pregnancy, James and I looked at each other and were like, “Oh. Things are about to get harder now. Like good- but harder, so maybe we should do one last adventure, not before we can’t ever have fun again, but while it’s easy.” Because this kid will be an adventure in and of himself, and we plan on exploring the world with our children, but they will also be the end to the gloriously selfish existence that a married couple in their late twenties enjoys pre-children. Hashtag brunch hashtag late nights hashtag no cares.

We originally planned on heading somewhere with waves and sand, taking advantage of some airline miles to relax in the Caribbean. But then Zika swept up from South America and I panicked about maybe damaging this baby even before he shows up and I most assuredly ruin him in some way, somehow. Instead, we decided to just take the weekend to go up to New York City. We hadn’t been in a couple years, and there were lots of key tourist things that I at least had never done. Plus, what better way to exercise our last trip pre-baby than by reveling in all the things that children make more difficult? And no, I don’t mean luxurious dinners and catching shows on Broadway. I mean skimping to take the bus over the train, staying at an AirBnb on the fifth floor with no elevator, and walking everyyyyywherrrreee.

Of course, a main goal was really just to go back here for our absolute favorite brunch.Spring2016-122Spring2016-123Schiller’s – we love you. And you know it, since I rhapsodized about my Schiller’s craving to the waiter to the point where he gave me a bag of free donuts for the road as a treat. You, kind waiter man, know the way to a pregnant woman’s heart. Spring2016-125Spring2016-127Then, in a touristy moment to match my distinctly “soccer mom on vacation in the big city” attire, we took the ferry to swing by the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.Spring2016-130Spring2016-131I love a good museum, and Ellis Island did not disappoint. We were the nerds who wanted to go on the ranger guided tour, and as no one else showed up, we enjoyed an amazing private tour of everything. This also meant that we had a guide at our personal disposal for my super eager questions about what people ate on the ships/island. Spring2016-134See? A nice head-to-toe portrait of said Momstyle. Supportive shoes on point, pasty legs present, sensible comfort clothes represent. Might as well continue this cliché parade and gaze down at my bump to see if it’s still there:Spring2016-135Yep, still there. And basically doubling by the instant. Baby boy/I was growing at a nice leisurely pace… but I think that he didn’t get the memo about me needing to fit into a bridesmaid’s dress the week of his due date because he has accelerated things in a manner that can only be described as shocking. Of course, I guess I can’t blame everything on him, since I took great pains to pad that bump myself during our visit.  We enjoyed an amazing dinner at Tipsy Parson… but we also pre-gamed it at an Italian restaurant… and then post-gamed it with pizza in Times Square, since I really wanted to experience every touristy thing that I haven’t done. As I was dragging myself back to the apartment, I brashly declared to James that I was starting another Whole30 as soon as we got back to DC… but he wisely pointed out I might feel differently when I hadn’t just spent the whole day eating my way around Manhattan.Spring2016-137Spring2016-148Spring2016-140Spring2016-139On Sunday we crossed over to Brooklyn for brunch with a friend, including the fluffiest pancakes I ever did see. That smile though? Totally because he and James were making fun of me for ruining the cool Brooklyn vibe by geeking out and taking photos of our food. No shame- Five Leaves served up such a colorful and tasty brunch that I did what needed to be done. Spring2016-138Spring2016-141We walked back to Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge, whereupon I was determined to get a Brooklyn Bridge Bump Jumpshot. This proved much more difficult than anticipated, as launching yourself in the air when you are hauling around an extra person and his accessories doesn’t work so well. But even if the jumping wasn’t pretty, that bridge is such a site to see. Again, a touristy thing to do… but maybe some things are popular because they actually are beautiful and worth seeing. Spring2016-147Spring2016-142Spring2016-143After extricating James from a group of street performers who pulled him from the crowd to be in their dance number (I KNOW- I AM SO SORRY I DON’T HAVE ANY PHOTOS-I WAS TOO BUSY CLAPPING WITH THE MUSIC), we made our way to Central Park, along with the five million other people worshiping the perfect weather. Spring2016-145Momstyle numero dos. Because chambray shirts as jackets are all the rage over here in the land of Nothing Fits. Plus, this picture highlights both my enthusiasm over the stunning weather, and the strange fringe of stringy bang-like hairs that have grown along my forehead during pregnancy… not exactly what I had in mind when people talked about amazing hair growth while expecting. Spring2016-146All snark aside (not that I ever could, or would want to, leave it aside), our weekend in New York was everything we wanted. I won’t say needed, because it is a luxury to just dash away on an adventure for a couple days, to see so many wonderful things, to eat at so many delicious places.

But what we wanted was a time to hold hands on new streets, to have those conversations you only have when you are away from daily life, to laugh and explore and joke and feel perfectly giddy at the thought that this might be the last adventure like this for awhile. Not because we are sad about that, but because the chapter that is ending has been so good, even if the one that is beginning promises to be pretty great too.

And we got exactly what we wanted.


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Entertaining for the masses.


This is not a realistic goal- let’s all just accept that and then marvel at its beauty all the same. (Image via here)

I love having people over for a meal.

Entertaining has defined our life the entire time we lived in DC. Though our old place had quite possibly the world’s worst kitchen, and no dishwasher, we routinely hosted big groups of people for meals. In our new apartment, the bigger kitchen and dishwasher have us enjoying hospitality in a whole new way, ie, without the hours of miserable late night clean up afterwards.  Every week, we share a family dinner with our various siblings in the city, alternating houses and making it a priority to see each other on a regular basis. Without a doubt, this is one of the high points of my week. Starting last fall, we also host a Bible study in our home on Tuesday nights, rotating who makes dinner and enjoying the sort of community that happens best over food. And then of course, there are the Bachelor viewing parties, the impromptu Friday night feasts, the holiday parties and movie nights.

Because life around the table is life at its best.

But of course, my table can only seat six, and even that is cozy. The reality of small-space entertaining is that sometimes you can do it the way you want, with place settings and the shrugging off of people’s offers to bring things, and utter perfection in every detail. Yet if I was content to only host when we could offer those things, we wouldn’t do it as often as I crave, as often as I think our fragmented society desperately needs hospitality and community. And we love big groups, love when there are more people than chairs, love when we have to drap ourselves across every piece of furniture and balance our plates on laps, love it when people bring others at the last minute and we find ourselves with the masses in our home. While people do enjoy a nice dinner party with all the pretty trappings, no one complains when a hearty meal is served, even if they eat it on the floor. So here are some things that I have learned about big group entertaining in small spaces, on modest budgets, followed by a list of the easy big group dinners that can be rolled out with (relatively) minimal effort.


Not exactly what I meant when I said that our guests sometimes sit on the floor. But you know, still beautiful, if far beyond the realm of mere mortal entertaining. (Image via here)

Do not fear the disposable dishes. Yes, I know that they are a waste of money and not sustainable, etc. I know that nice dishes are better, and I try to use them whenever possible. But if you don’t have a dishwasher, or you are just dealing with a really big group, don’t let the stress of clean-up hold you back. If grabbing a package of paper plates frees you to invite those extra mouths, do it.

Let people contribute. When people offer to bring things, accept. I love being able to provide everything, but it isn’t always possible. Plus, people like contributing, like feeling involved in the process. Salads, desserts, drinks- all of these are easy things to request when someone offers. They take stress off of the host and let other people extend hospitality, all while receiving it.

Make meals that can sit. I forget this sometimes, and it is miserable. Find a dish that can be prepped early and give you time to collect yourself before people arrive.

Take 10 minutes to speed clean. After the prep, take 10 minutes before people arrive to turn on lots of lights (Barefoot Contessa once wrote in her cookbook that having lots of lights on makes people feel more welcome- so true!), light a couple candles, and wipe off counters. There is not always time to make sure that the whole house is clean, and reality is not a bad thing to expose to people. But a quick 10 minute spruce up communicates that your guests are worth a clean and inviting space. I love having fresh flowers and an immaculate home… but blooms are pricey and we actually live in our house so sometimes it’s messy. But I can wipe off a counter and turn on a lamp and then throw open the doors and let people in.


You will not find meals like this listed below. But this sure is a pretty spread. If you are making this, do feel free to invite me over. I can even bring my own farm animal table accents. (Image via here.)

Obviously, chili, lasagna variations, spaghetti, and pizza are always acceptable large group meals (and by pizza, I don’t just mean homemade… many a beautiful moment has happened around a box of delivery/frozen pizza). But here are some dishes that I love to make for a little more variety when I am planning on feeding the masses.

Soup and cheesy croutons. Grab a loaf of sourdough, chop it in rough chunks, toss with olive oil and cheese and roast till crispy. Set big bowls of that beside a pot of soup (get fancy and make this one, or just get practical and buy one of the awesome Trader Joe’s tomato or squash soups) and let people serve. Or pair those soups with this easy yet impressive breadAsk others to bring: salad.

Chicken pot pie. Multiply this recipe a couple times to make a giant pot of the filling, but DO NOT bake it in the traditional pie format. Instead, cut puff pastry into rectangles and bake those separately, letting guests serve a bowl of filling and top it with the pastry. This avoids that horrid soggy-pastry scenario and is just all around easier. Ask others to bring: a veggie side or salad.

Carnitas. I love any sort of taco, but my absolute favorite is to make a big batch of the carnitas meat from this cookbook. You can make it in advance and freeze it, and I usually even skip the final crisping step and no one has ever complained. I then sauté up a giant skillet of onions, peppers, and squash/zucchini and set up the table with toppings  in bowls. Ask others to bring: tortillas, quac, salsa, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, etc.

Veggie-packed enchiladas. I love these because they can be assembled early in the day and baked fast at the end. Ask others to bring: salsa, fruit salad.

Chicken Tortilla Soup. You know how much I love this one, and it is a staple for big groups, as well as being James’ absolute favorite meal. Ask others to bring: limes, avocados, cheese, sour cream.

Brinner. One of the best budget options is to do a breakfast-for-dinner group meal. We love doing waffles, pancakes, or crêpes, and I often will make the key item and some eggs and bacon. Ask others to bring: syrup, fruit, juice, Nutella, whipped cream.

What about you all? What are some big-group meals that you keep up your sleeves, or any tips for easy entertaining for the masses?

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Birth plans, birth shame, and strong mothers.

Spring 2016-90I love hearing about people’s birth plans/stories.

It’s not just something I have liked since being pregnant, though admittedly my interest has increased with a date looming over my head when I too will go through The Event. I am just fascinated by the crazy ways that tiny humans come into the world and the myriad and diverse opinions that women have over the right and best way to round out a pregnancy.

Because if you want pregnant women to get really opinionated, you should ask them about about their birth plans. (Or, you know, their favorite item on the McDonald’s breakfast menu, but that’s another post for another time. #mcgriddleforever)

There are people who are practically professional at being pregnant. They know stats, they read books, they have researched birth in every detail, and they are the most fascinating ever. I like to be around those people, since I read one book, attended one class, watched some Call the Midwife, and then frantically popped in a DVD of breathing techniques someone sent me the other night when friends were over who were a day past their own due date and we realized that none of us had ANY CLUE about how you were supposed to do that pregnant breathing thing. I like to be around the pro-preggos, because they drop little bits of knowledge that I glean like a ravenous little chipmunk, tucking into my chubby cheeks.

Recently I thought that maybe I should make a “birth plan,” you know, like think through some things I want for this birth, beyond the detailed perusal I performed of the hospital cafeteria on my last visit. Of course, the very idea of a birth plan is the most ridiculous of modern luxuries, as pregnancy and childbirth were intimately tied to a good chance that you and/or your offspring might die until relatively recently, and your options were limited. Did Ma Ingalls have a birth plan beyond “tell Pa to put down that darn fiddle and go fetch a woman to help?” Probably not.

But now! Now we have options and decisions and OH SO MANY very loudly voiced opinions. There are those who believe that natural birth, either in the luxury of a birthing center or your home is the ONLY way to go, and they will detail for you the multitudes of injustices that doctors will inflict on you in those vile hospitals, ripping a babe from your entrails to rush out on their shift. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who condemn the crunchy crowd as backward and ignorant, longing to be hooked up to machines and coddled through the process. Both sides have an arsenal of anecdotal horror stories to strengthen this argument, and I know because I have fallen prey to it too- even if I am not a pro-preggo. Battle lines are drawn and fought over birth plans.

And then of course, there are the babies, all those unborn bundles of joy, that really give zero cares about any birth plan that might be carefully typed up and discussed in advance, ready to roll in and ruin all the best laid preparations. I have had friends who planned on medicating themselves into oblivion, only to have rapid advancing labor that forced them to go naturally, and friends who wanted to be as granola as possible and eventually had to have c-sections.

Yet all these unplanned plans ended in babies.

There is something that really bothers me about the modern birthing process. I will get on Facebook or wherever and see that someone has had a baby (YAY!) and a caption will detail how this woman was a STRONG AND MIGHTY CHAMPION because she did the whole thing with no medication, laboring in full awareness of her pain for days on end before having a child.

There is nothing wrong with that.

But there is also nothing wrong with the mother who chose something different, or who didn’t have the freedom to make the choice. These women are not one bit less “strong” than the woman who chose a more painful route. I can promise you that all women probably made the choice that they thought best for their baby, and isn’t that what makes someone a strong mother? I have watched women feel like failures when they find they have to deviate from their birth plans, and that is ridiculous. When did we develop such a sense of entitlement about our right to choose our “birth experience” that we started subtly shaming others who welcome children differently? When did we start ranking the strength of women who come out with the same end goal?

So let me just set the record straight.

To the mother who labored for 3 days in her living room before having a completely unmedicated birth in a tub- you are a champion.

To the mother who induced and promptly had an epidural inserted – you are a champion.

To the mother who walked into a C-section and had doctors remove a baby from her body without pushing once – you are a champion.

To the mother who spent years waiting and sending paperwork and writing checks before holding a baby in her arms whom she never held in her womb – you are a champion.

To the mother who fosters, who loves children that still ask when they get to go back to their “real” mom – you are a champion.

To the woman who shows up at baby showers with a lump in her throat, wishing that she was sitting there and opening tiny onesies and swaddle blankets, who takes meals to new moms and listens to friends gush about feeling those first kicks – you are a champion.

Because I’m pretty sure that the impressive part about being a mother doesn’t come from how your children enter the world, but what you do afterwards. Strong mothering is a lifetime thing, one that can’t be ranked or planned.

So here it is, my 3 step birth plan:

  1. Ignore the fear that people like to thrust on you before birth. Reject any attempt at birth shaming because babies can come into this world by all sorts of ways and they can all be awesome.
  2. Have a baby. Do what needs to be done, taking to heart the advice of talented and capable people around me.Hold loosely to what I want in the interest of what I might need.
  3. Find a way to acquire a McDonalds breakfast sandwich as soon after delivering as humanly possible.

Yes, I paid attention in the one class we did, and yes, I have thought about some ideal scenarios. There is absolutely nothing wrong with researching and preparing, especially if you want a non-hospital birth that involves setting up logistics. But having a baby is about giving up the ability to live in a world of best-laid plans and ideal scenarios. Might as well start early with an open mind and humble heart, ready to greet our baby however he decides on entering this world.


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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

The past week has been one giant obstacle course of emotions around here, and not just because my preggo emotions have me in constant flux between laughing hysterically (“a puppy playing tug of war with a child!”), sobbing (“a lost sign for a puppy/cat/box turtle”), or angrily storming around (insert imagined injustices). So let’s just break it down.

The Good…

I flew to KY a week ago to spend the weekend with my family. My granny fell and broke her hip a couple weeks ago, which, while truly awful, meant that I spent lots of quality time chilling with her in the rehab center. We did puzzles, went through potential baby names (she rejected most of mine), and got to catch up on everything happening in life. On Saturday, my mom and best friend from home threw me an absolute perfect baby shower, attended by the women who defined my childhood. Friends, my friends’ moms, family, mentors- I can’t even describe how special it is to be celebrating this baby boy with those women. We played games, had a rocking devotional by my mom, shed a few tears, and our boy got some of the most amazing gifts ever. Just look at that quilt that my friend made:

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Not shown are the handmade bibs, the books with notes for our son, the adorable clothes, and the practical necessities. The shower was themed after one of my favorite French books The Little Prince, and the dedication to the theme was on point. My mom has become a Pinterest convert, which is how we ended up with this cake…

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Behold, the cake that I shoved in my face all weekend long.

…and of course I brought just a leg back home to James, adding it to his lunch without explanation. He might never recover. Brunch is my favorite, and showers are the best, so a SHOWER BRUNCH OF FOOD was perfect. I was so busy eating and socializing that I don’t really have any other pictures, except for this one of the homemade granola I squirreled back to DC.

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Not shown: The casserole made of sausage, cream cheese, regular cheese, and croissant dough. BLESS US ALL.

The picture is obviously deceptive, as it makes my weekend dining look healthy, but it was more like a binger of breakfast casserole and cake for days on end.

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Must work on my casual funny picture face.

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Other superpowers include having my lips disappear into my skin when I don’t wear lipstick.

As I am deeply loyal/dependent on my KY hairdresser, I made sure to cut my mangy locks while home. And as anyone knows, a fresh haircut is like having a new superpower. I also got to spend some time with good friends, after which my heart was so full that I had to quote my favorite philosophizing car thief of few words:maxresdefault-2


The Bad…

All those amazing gifts, the ones that made me feel like our entire world in KY came together to help us welcome this boy, wrapping their love around him in tangible pieces? Yeah, Southwest lost the bag with every. last. gift inside. (The severed cake baby leg was safe in another bag, not that it was much consolation.)

The Ugly…

I spent all week crying on the phone with various Southwest representatives, none of which were helpful, some of which were downright rude. One lady told me that if I didn’t want to lose baby gifts, I shouldn’t check them, which I realize might sound ok in theory… but how do you carry on 50 pounds of baby gifts? She then said that Southwest deemed bag tracking too expensive and unnecessary (they only scan your bag at the initial drop-off), and that maybe I just don’t travel enough to understand how things work. I cried, I pleaded, I ranted, I got no results.*

But then some more good!

Late last night, in a last ditch Hail Mary, I called the baggage people at Midway one more time. I tried to keep it together, but about 3 seconds into the conversation I started sobbing and babbling and gasping out words like “QUILT” and “IRREPLACEABLE” and “FIRST BABY EMOTIONS.” The woman, a saint by the name of Donna, was just the night shift bag worker, but she announced that she would FIND MY BAG, and off she went to personally inspect every bag in Midway, before she started contacting all other airports and getting results.

And at 2am, Donna called to tell me that my bag was in New Hampshire, after a brief trip through New Mexico. At which point I cried again and declared that I would be naming all my children after her.

And now it’s Friday, and we have pretty chill plans for the weekend, which also includes shower #3 of our three weekends of celebrations. Hoping for nothing but good for the next little while.

(*In fairness to Southwest: the service I received was so terrible, that I was ready to change my stance from Southwest-gusher, to I Will Never Fly Them Again. I was ready to cut up our Southwest cards and label all their proclamations of service as TOTAL LIES. I still think that their baggage system and many of the people I dealt with are not what they should be. But Donna was such a hero that I am in awe. Plus, they did apologize for the exceptional rudeness of the one employee who tried to victim-shame me for my lost bag and offer some vouchers, so I must withdraw the angry texts I sent to everyone in my life declaring them The Official Worst Ever.)

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