We did a thing! On roadtripping with a baby.

In case you’re wondering where I’m writing to you from today, it’s not a Carrie Bradshaw type of situation.  I am typing away in a back office at my place of work, topless, with my pump strapped to me, trying to extract enough milk so that my boobs don’t feel like they’ll turn into stone and fall off.  Did you know pumping is the worst?  I’m convinced that bad pumping experiences are why a lot of women ditch breastfeeding.  And I don’t blame them.


We drove to New York City with a baby, and lived to tell the tale.

So sometime, like a month or two ago, I decided we needed to go see my grandmother.  She is my last living grandparent, and though she was able to travel to make it for my wedding, she isn’t traveling much these days, and I thought it was important that Liam get a chance to hang out with a great.  That doesn’t happen for everyone.

We tossed around the idea of flying, but to be completely honest, flying just isn’t fun anymore, and we needed, at the absolute least, a stroller and a pack n’ play for Liam to sleep in, and gate-checking these items, or renting them once we got there, was a little too much for me to handle.  I just couldn’t.

So Austin rented a giant car.  I’m used to a compact (my teeny Korean car, suitable for a small family of three who still parallel parks from time to time), so this car, a Nissan Pathfinder, was like the Titanic to me.  We packed the car the night before, slept for a few hours, and executed our plan to be out of the house by 4am that Friday morning.  Really, we pulled the classic Armour, and didn’t leave until 4:20ish, but still within a reasonable time frame.  I fed and dressed the baby absolutely last before we left, loaded him up, and headed out of town.

Austin drove the first shift, and we didn’t have to stop for a few hours.  Our first stop was at a truck stop McDonald’s, which allowed for us to hop out, feed and change the baby, let him crawl around in the third row (which we flattened), and finally, I pulled the jogging stroller out and walked a few laps while Austin cleaned out snack trash, bought more coffee, and set us up to drive for another few hours.

Liam minorly freaked out for a few minutes, and we found ourselves playing, then replaying the baby version of Nina Bonita (there is an entire Spotify album that’s really good, dedicated to this Venezuelan duo and their greatest hits), but he was pretty calm as we made our way to the bottom of the Brooklyn bridge where we were staying, and while Austin laid down for just a few minutes, we played.  We finished night one with a short walk halfway across the bridge, and an early night to bed.

The next day, both of us donned workout clothes, and we walked into Manhattan with a few extra diapers, a change of clothes, and a plan to spend most of the day out.  We walked to first find coffee, to Oculus, the WTC memorial, to a late lunch to meet a camp friend, and finally, we hopped on the subway to go back to Brooklyn to see my grandmother, who was delighted to see Liam.  Liam had a rattle grasped firmly in his fat little hand, which he kept swinging.

“Gentle Liam, gentle!”

“It’s ok,” my grandmother said.  “I’m a mother too.”

The visit was amazing, and we hopped back on the subway to head back to our corner of Brooklyn, where I prepped Liam for bed, and sent Austin on a quest to find us something to eat (in the hallway, since our room was small, and Liam was asleep).  After a little bit of sleep, we prepared to head back, and the trip back felt much shorter than the trip there.  Austin took the first bit of the drive, and again, we stopped and walked around some stops, and I took over for the last few hours of the drive, built in a few extra stops, and made it home with enough time to lay the baby down for a nap, and do a walk/run before it got dark.

So, all of that to say – if you’re thinking about traveling with a little one, here’s what I would suggest.

  • Pack your food/snacks.  Pack the baby’s food/snacks.  The week before we left, I bought car snacks like waters, dried fruit, nuts, and protein bars to tide us over and keep us from having to do too much fast food.  I packed some solids I’d made for the baby in a cooler bag, along with my hand pump in case I had to pump at all (I didn’t), and it made for a healthier, cheaper trip.  On one of our stops, we opened the tailgate, and I was able to feed Liam on one of the stops.
  • Leave disgustingly early.  We woke up at like 3, got everything together, and took the baby with us last.  I dream-fed him, put him in his car seat, and he was asleep by the time we were just south of Virginia.  He slept from them until like 8 or so, which gave us a few solid hours or driving without really having to worry about a meltdown.
  • Pack the stroller to walk on breaks.  I guess this depends on if you have a baby that enjoys walking, but even for your own exercise and sanity, having the stroller so that you can do a few laps for 15 or 20 minutes while one of you throws out car trash and programs the XM is really worth it.
  • Leave yourself plenty of time.  A 9ish hour trip took about 11.  And that’s a-ok, we made it so we didn’t have anywhere to be the evening we got there.
  • Be prepped for meltdowns.  Occasionally, your child may scream like a demon because he’s been strapped in a carseat for hours and he wants to crawl around like a normal baby.  Keep. Your. Cool.  Don’t freak out, don’t rip your hair out, and don’t yell at your driving partner.  It ends.

Anyways, so we made it to NYC and back, and I’m excited, not only to our next trip home, but also for other trips.  We’re planning another trip to Fripp, a few trips home, and one big trip to Florida to see family at the end of the summer, so this definitely gives me a little more confidence in this moment.



At the beginning of the last update, I urged you all to keep Haiti, and all of the folks in the path of hurricane Matthew in your thoughts and prayers.  Unfortunately, Haiti was hit pretty hard, and I feel kind of at a loss with what to do to help from here, especially since many organizations have done a good bit of fundraising,  but it seems that Haiti continues to flounder.  I have worked with one organization in particular, Mercy Corps, and I’m planning on making a call to them tomorrow to find out what is being done on the ground to help the Haitian people.  I will keep you guys posted.


Last Saturday, we woke up in Raleigh to a nasty gray sky.  We’d been keeping an eye on Matthew reports, and I’d texted family in Florida about the storm (all good), and we were planning on some rain.  I got a text from a friend – she wanted to come over to visit and for drinks, and I started getting Liam ready for a visitor.  I fed him, pumped a little bit for his night time feedings, and starting checking outside.  It was raining like crazy, but we sort of expected that. But as the rain started coming down harder and harder, my friend texted and said she’d tried to go out to do an errand, and that it was raining too hard, and that she’d had to turn back.  Not good.

We got another text – one of the main roads through the area where we live had been flooded down the middle, and was closed off.  At this point, we still weren’t super alarmed.  I finished pumping, and put a ton of milk in the freezer, and Austin was piddling around the house, straightening up, and just doing some of our normal Saturday stuff.

Around 1:30 or 2pm, we lost power after a few flickers, and the last time, it didn’t come back.  I nursed Liam, we napped, and did some staring out the window at the pines being battered by the wind, and still, it never came back.  We started losing daylight, and the rain started quieting.  By this time, it’d gotten colder, and Austin snuck in a shower with the hot water we had left, and we made plans to go to dinner.  We didn’t really anticipate the power being out for the rest of the night, but thankfully, Austin prepares for anything, and we had light, and water, and nonperishables to snack on before and after we braved the streets to find a place with power and food.  By this time, the rain had stopped falling, and we could navigate around some of the flooded streets to find food, and we crossed our fingers that lights would be back by the time we got home.  They weren’t.

At this point, I started to get a little worried.  Remember, I’d pumped a good amount around lunch, before the lights went out, and stuck it in the freezer.  We hand’t opened the freezer, but I also had his nighttime bottle in the fridge, which Austin usually gave him, and without electricity, I had no way to really shower (the hot water we had was all that was left in the tank) and no way to heat Liam’s bottle.  So I nursed him Saturday night, and we decided that we wouldn’t open the fridge or freezer except to shove some ice we’d found at a gas station in there to keep things cold.

When I woke up on Sunday, the air in the house was really still, and it was a little chilly.  I realized the power had not come back, and texted my mom that if she was okay with it, I wanted to come down with the baby.  She had not seen him in about two weeks, and we needed electricity and hot water. I planned to only stay a day, so we decided to leave Austin at home so he could prepare for work on Monday morning, and I kind of figured I would be back on Monday evening sometime.  Austin snapped a pic of us just before we left…


…and we grabbed coffee at the McDonald’s (remember, we had no electricity) before I headed down 40 to my parents’. Full disclosure, I felt awful leaving Austin behind, especially to clean up the mess the wind had made in the yard, but I was a little excited at the thought of showering in my mom’s shower with all the hot water. I mean, I was absolutely gross, and I know my mom really wanted to see Liam.

So we arrived Sunday afternoon, and it was so nice because my parents got a chance to hang out with Liam, then my sister showed up, and then another sister showed up with her husband to hang out with us.  Austin called that evening and told me power still hadn’t come back, and the estimates from the power company were looking a little bleak.  My mother seemed overjoyed, but I really hadn’t packed enough for us, and I started making a mental list of things I would need to get together if we needed to stick around for a few days.

Liam slept in the Rock ‘n’ Play (thank you Graco, for this amazing invention), and we got an amazing night of sleep, with climate control, and a working coffee machine in the house. Still, Monday morning the power at home was out, and I made plans to take Liam to see a school mom who lives in Matthews, to go to Target to pick up a few essentials, and to shower in my mom’s fancy shower that I’d been dreaming of since I got there.

Monday night, no power, and Tuesday, no power.  Austin was getting sad not seeing Liam, but my parents were having a blast. On Tuesday morning, I woke up and Liam was not in the swing right by the couch where I was napping, and when I went to find him, my mom had him, rocking and singing songs by the white noise machine.

When all was said and done, we didn’t get power back until some time on Tuesday afternoon, and because I didn’t care to drive by myself with the baby in the dark, we waited until Wednesday to head in.

I was ready to see Austin when I got back, but I was sad to leave my parents. My dad was so cute with Liam, and my mom, with four kids, was a whiz at singing the songs and walking, and helping me bathe him to get him right to sleep. We finally made it back to Raleigh in time for some lunch with a friend, and we stuck around this time with all of our new crap in tow that we managed to collect while at home.

That was our first big adventure away from home, and the baby did awesome.  I think I did okay too.

I hope you all fared okay throughout the hurricane, and for those of you still dealing with flooding and damage, we are thinking of you, and working hard on our end to get you the resources you need!

Weekend Update!

This (last?) weekend went by entirely too fast.  I could have extended it at least by one day, but that’s never really how things work, right?

So, many weeks ago, a friend of mine, Erin, decided that she wanted to run her first half-marathon.  After discussing it in the group chat (my primary source of news and entertainment throughout the week), Erin and Liz decided that they would run the More/Shape Women’s Half Marathon in NYC.  The rest of us decided to tag along, and make something of a weekend of it and spectate the race.

Really, the weekend started on Thursday evening.  Because I knew I’d be in the airport for a good chunk of the day on Friday, I needed to put in some hours of work after my class on Thursday night, and I set about to do that.  I sent emails and worked on May’s schedule into the night, slept for a few hour, and made it up for my 5:45am Pump class.  From there, I ran home, showered, packed, and called an Uber to get me to the airport, where I proceeded to sleep through two flights.  By the time I made it to Jersey and to the house in Sayreville, I was exhausted again, and napped on the couch until folks started arriving home from work.  My aunt made us an amazing meal, and my cousin and I attempted to watch the first epi of Kimmy Schmidt before I completely passed out so hard, I had to keep myself from panicking when I didn’t realize where I was the next morning.  I lazed around on Saturday, went to the park for a walk with my cousin, and got out the door for dinner with race friends in the city.

I friggin FORGOT how annoying it is to drive into the city, btws.  A ride that was supposed to take me like 40 minutes, ended up taking well over an hour when I got stuck in traffic in the Holland tunnel.  Blah.  But we grabbed some italian, grabbed some ice cream from Big Gay Ice Cream, and headed to the hotel to hit the sack for our 5:45am wake up the next morning for the race.  After heading to the start (and spotting Sara Bareilles and Padma Lakshmi), we saw the girls off for the start, around 6 miles, and then squatted at a Pain Quotedian and met a friend of mine from camp to meet the girls at the finish.  We surprised Erin at dinner the night before with these shirts we had made, so we all wore them, and made sure we snapped pics.

Check out these shirts we made for her!
All of

We finished the day with some burgers, (a ridiculously hearty black bean for me), annd parted ways back at the hotel.

I did not leave without the parking garage losing my car and Andrew and Ryan having to find it.  I did my best not to panic and remember that if they lost the car, there were really worse things in the world, and that it could totally end up being a funny story.  Fortunately, we didn’t have to make it quite that far.

And now, I’m here sitting in the airport late, waiting for my last flight home, where I can shower and get into my own bed.

What did you do this weekend?

#whatdoyoupeen (and a serious question here at the end)

Yesterday, the world of pop culture, my world was ROCKED by photos of Justin Bieber on vacation in Bora Bora.

Should I have been probably biting my nails to the quick in prep for Sunday’s marathon?

Yep, probably.  But instead, my friend Mollie and I set about assaulting as many people has we could with photos of Justin Bieber *ahem* enjoying some time in Bora Bora, and gauging reaction.  Reactions ranged from ::eyes looking emojii:: to “leave me alone!”

I’d say, all in all, my day was a success as far as that was concerned.

Tofu SteakFor dinner tonight, I was on my own since the Austin Samps was playing volleyball with some friends.  I made a tofu steak and a teeny sweet potato.  I bought the regular sweet taters, and not the ones you get at the farmer’s market.  For some silly reason, these babies are grown smaller (and less soily) so it’s really like eating a little bite of baby potato.  I only can eat half of the ones from the farmers market.

QaloI got some more Qalo.  Mostly because Austin’s ring was starting to get a little stretched, and I had my eye on the athletics collection.  But I love this color.  I’m hoping to partner with them on a post soon.  Cross your fingers!

Fashion ShowJen posted these photos from the Headbands of Hope fashion show I did a few weeks back.  In every pic, I look like I’m having the time of my life.  ALSO, I look like my butt is huge.  Whatevs.  I squat a lot more than I have ever squatted in my life.  I generally can say, eating differently, my chest, arms, and booty are much more beefy.  I’m still shaped extraordinarily like my brother.  Tall, long, and lanky.  It comes from the Jonassaints.  My brother’s brother used to have to bend down to get into doorways.  But I’m definitely starting to pack more muscle onto my 5’8″ frame.

Ok.  So time for a serious question.  I will blow this up on social media.

I don’t think I’m listening to Spotify for most of Chicago on Sunday.  Maybe for a first few miles, just because I struggle with anxiety during that “pre-race chatter” part of a race.  BUT for those first few, I will take suggestions from some of you beloveds.  I need something that makes me smile.  Not something that was on my wedding playlist, because I’ve been known to cry (hard) when I’m being really physical (bawled during ‘Roar’ and ‘Run the World’ during a race because I appreciate what Queen Bey and Katy Cat have done for me and women).  But, all that said.

What songs would you suggest for my marathon playlist?


I’m stealing.

I know that I usually do my Here’s What posts on Fridays but I’m not feeling particularly passionate about anything (I told you guys I had a rough day at work yesterday), and I feel like, rather than force myself to concoct a list when I’m not really feeling it, why not just chat with you guys?

First, a little news!

We ordered my wedding dress yesterday, and the sketch for my save-the-dates was emailed over to me today.  After that, all I do is take them to the print shop, and they can get sent out after it’s sent to me via PDF.  If the weekend passes and I tell you that I haven’t gathered addresses, please come to my house, kick down the door, and strap me to the couch until it gets done.  But it’s getting real, and it’s exciting and scary and so cool all the same time!  I want the day to be here and I don’t all at the same time.  Eeep eep eeep eep!

Now, I’m stealing. 

I stole this over from Krystyn at Chits and Giggles, (hope you don’t mind, babe!), but I love love loved the thought behind the post.

If you could get paid do anything you want, what would you do?

I love it because that’s the question that really indicates what you’d be doing if you could do it.

So what would I be doing?

DSC_0034Some of it, I do.  I teach Zumba classes a few times as week which I love.

But if I could do anything, anything in the world and get paid for it, I would….

….Blog mostly.  Blog and travel and read other blogs, take photos and blog some more.

DSC_0035…Run. I would run and probably run faster if I thought that there would be some money attached to the deal.

…Travel.  Since I was a kid, one of the best parts of any trip is the stay in the hotel room, and nothing about that has changed.  If I got to travel around everywhere, run and blog about it, and sleep in delicious hotel beds, I would do it in a heartbeat.

So, that brings me to this.  What would you do if you got paid for it?

I know, I know, I’m so late with a post!

I’m sorry.  But if it makes you feel any better, here is a picture of my cat.

photo-8You can’t be mad at me, most especially when I’m giving you photos of my dear sweet Martin, right?

But I have a good excuse.  I’ve taken a trip down to see my sister in Orlando (she works for Disney), and I will be running in actual balmy temps for once come tomorrow!  Eep!  I’m so excited.

But with all the nasty weather in the country, a trip that should have taken me only half the day, took all day.  I slept on the plane between Raleigh and Charlotte, and thank you Jesus for my running abilities, because, due to the delays, I found myself running in heels through Charlotte Douglas, and quite hungry I might add.

I hunted the airport for something edible that wasn’t Moes or Sbarros, and came up with this, which cost me $6.38.

photo-9Needless to say, Mama was still quite hungry when she finished her expensive “dinner,” and I immediately asked my sister to find me some dinner as soon as she picked me up from the behemoth of an airport that was Orlando’s airport.

So after a harrowing day of travel, Kimmy (the youngest sister) provided me with a glass to ease my travel troubles.



And the best part?  This is the only wine glass she owns.  I’ve taught her nothing.

So don’t be mad, I promise, I will update you with all the things tomorrow.  But in the meantime, I’ve got a serious question for you. I did my 5 miles on the treadmill at the gym yesterday, January 1st, and the gym was totally dead.  Where was everyone?  When are you starting some of your New Years Resolutions?