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Let’s Take a Trip to Asheville with a Baby — Part 2: Babyproofing the Itinerary

Monday August 12th, 2019 // Afternoon Nap

Current situation: trying to get into Nap Jail but I’m in Fussy Jail instead blaring white noise from my phone and getting stabbed by tiny sharp fingernails. 

A couple weeks ago my wife and I started planning a trip for us and our newborn. He’ll be a little more than two months old when we go. We’re nervous but know we have to rip the bandaid off some point because we want to continue our lifestyle of semi-frequent travel. 

Pre-baby we averaged one big trip a year that’s roughly 2-3 weeks and usually international. On top of that we general get two smaller trips in each year that are about a week long and are domestic. And we also have a couple long weekend trips mixed in when we can. Almost all of our vacation time is dedicated to traveling. 

Asheville is about a 7-8 hour drive from where we live in Virginia. We’ve never been and have heard great things. We’re not super outdoorsy people but there still should be plenty to do for a laid back quick trip with a baby. 

Traveling with a baby is unique. We’ve slowly been able to become minimalist travelers — we did France for two weeks last year (while pregnant) with one backpack a person. You can’t quite do that with a baby though. My wife wrote out his packing list and I swear it’s half our house. Good thing we’re driving. 

The first question when planning our trip we needed to answer was hotel or Airbnb? I documented my thought process in Part 1. We landed on an Airbnb. 

We wanted to stay somewhere we can walk to almost everything and Downtown Asheville near the South Slope Brewing District seemed to be the right spot. It just so happened there was a great looking Airbnb available for a decent price. We pulled the trigger and booked.

The things that sold us were:

  1. Close to a bunch of the good breweries
  2. Free parking
  3. Superhost on Airbnb
  4. Extra bedroom in case our friend tags along

Besides all the extra gear we need to lug down with us, the other challenge traveling with a baby presents is that we can really only do things in 2-3 hour chunks. He’ll either need to feed, mama will need to pump, we’ll want to get him down for a real nap, need to handle a blowout, yada yada yada. We don’t want to be far from our home base — not yet at least. We’re still new to this whole parenting thing and it’s just as much as a challenge for us as it will be for him.

This means we need lots of things close by. The Funkatorium, Wicked Weed, and Burial are all nearby. We can walk to one or two, head back when we need to, then walk back for dinner or shopping or exploring. Repeat the next day. Worst case scenario is we have a super fussy kid and have to grab to-go beer from Wicked Weed and takeout from somewhere and chill at the Airbnb. I could think of worse evenings. 

One day we will venture out to Sierra Nevada. It’s a drive but hopefully the large facility will lend us some privacy for a feeding and diaper change instead of some cramped stall in a downtown restaurant or coffeeshop. 

Btw made it to nap jail!!

City Bakery and Vortex Doughnuts seem to be close and should cover breakfast for us. We don’t want to do too much research to save room for spontaneity but we could still use some more baby-friendly restaurants recommendations from Asheville folks / past travelers. Leave us some suggestions below! 

Hmm I’m thinking Part 3 should be about the baby packing list. Have you subscribed to get emailed new posts yet?

– Josh // #havekidswilltravel

Sleep Evaluation of My 5-Week-Old

Wednesday July 31st, 2019 // After His Bedtime But Before Mine

It’s been a few days since I’ve written and I can feel that writing muscle atrophying. I guess I better break out the old Google Doc and do a little free writing session.

The little guy just went down to sleep. He’s learned this magical thing for the past several nights in a row called 6 hours of consecutive sleep. He was on a routine of feeding around 8:30 PM, then he’d wake up around 1:00 AM – 1:30 AM, then up again around 4:00 AM then up again around 6:30 AM.

Since last Friday or Saturday night (honestly the nights run together at this point…) we’ve put him down around 9:00 PM. Then he wakes up around 3:00 AM. Then around 6:00 AM. He’s cut out one of these overnight/early morning feedings. We aren’t strictly sticking to Babywise but we are following their guidelines loosely. Him being around that 5-6 week age mark is pretty much in line with what Babywise says will happen.

Side note: Our baby monitor is on the coffee table in front of me in my peripheral view. The dog just walked into frame and looked at the camera. You can’t really see her but her eyes look like a ghost or something because of the night vision mode on it. Kinda creepy.

The first night he did this we actually slept less than if he would have just woken up. It was quite comical looking back. He was stirring a bit so my wife woke up at 1:45 AM and then woke me up to ask if I fed him yet. I said no and went back to sleep. I don’t she knew what time it was because at 2:20 AM the same thing happened. He stirred and woke us both us. And she asked again if I had fed thinking that I had already and it was her turn. I said no but we were concerned because he hadn’t slept this long before.

Since he was stirring we figured he’d be waking up fully soon and I’d feed him. So I got his bottle ready and just sat at the end of the bed waiting. Ten minutes passed and he was back asleep. Sigh.

We decided we’d leave him because this is what we actually want and our pediatrician said we can go this long if he’ll let us. So I laid back down until 3:00 AM when he finally woke up. Usually it’s about a 30 minute process from the time he gets up until I’m able to feed, change, and put him back to sleep. This time between all the different wake ups and false alarms… yeah I was considerably more tired the next morning.

We’ll see what tonight holds. I know every night is a crapshoot with a newborn. It’s pretty crazy though that he’s sleeping so long already. Now if only I could force myself to go to sleep at 9:00 PM too then I think my own sleep would be much better off…

Speaking of which, I should probably cut myself off and hit the sack.

– Josh // should be asleep

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A 100% Father

Friday July 26th, 2019 // 11:30 PM

Kiddo is asleep. Mama is asleep. I should be too. He’ll be up anytime in the next 60-90 minutes for his middle of the night feeding. Then he’ll be down again until around 4:00 AM — give or take a half an hour.

We’re 5 weeks in. Man, time has flown. Feels like yesterday we were rushing to the hospital. Feels like last week we found out we were pregnant.

Little guy has already outgrown some of his newborn clothes. We didn’t even get him into all his newborn onesies! Everyone says it goes by fast. That you blink and they’re grown up. I believed them, truly. But living it is something else.

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Let’s Take a Trip to Asheville with a baby — Part 1: Planning

Sunday July 21st, 2019 // Midday Nap

Raise your hand if you think it’s a great idea to travel ~7 hours from home by car with a 2-month-old!

::looks around and slowly raises hand::

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Clear My Calendar and Hold My Calls

Monday July 15th, 2019 // Early Morning

Starting around two weeks before my little guy arrived I did something I want to recommend to any dad-to-be — I ceased work on anything or any task that isn’t directly related to my pregnant wife and unborn child.

I’ve kept this mindset going through his first three weeks of life (where I’m at currently) and want to share some thoughts on this experience.

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Back to Work // Missing My Tiny Companion

Wednesday July 10th, 2019 // Evening Nap

Current situation: Down to a white tee after kiddo spit-up on me. He’s fighting being put down for a nap. My wife got him to go to sleep in his rocker instead of his Snuggle Me or his pack n’ play and without a swaddle. So I’m attempting to do the same…but not as successfully.

Today was my first day back in the office. I did not want to go. But bills have to get paid and in order to keep my job I do have to go back and work eventually.

I get 20 days of paternity leave to use throughout the year. I’ve used 11 days so far leaving me with 9 to go. I know I’m fortunate to get any paid time off. However 20 days is not nearly enough.

I’m JUST beginning to get into a routine with him, or as much as a routine as you can get with a newborn. Mama and I are just hitting our stride in divvying up responsibilities and taking turns sneaking in some extra zzz’s throughout the day. And most importantly, I just don’t want to miss a moment with him.

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Nap Jail

Tuesday July 2, 2019 // Early Afternoon Nap Time

I’m currently in what my friend Lynsey defines as “nap jail”. Trapped under my newborn as he sleeps. Unable to move much besides my fingers and maybe an arm or ankle. Otherwise I run the risk of waking him up.

Mama could use a little break from feeding so the longer he snoozes the better. That means I’m in nap jail for the next couple of hours. 

We’re a little over a week in with him at this point. We’re definitely still getting the hang of everything but one thing we’ve learned for sure is that once you get caught in nap jail, it’s best to just serve your time. Otherwise it’s a diaper change, feeding session, then rock back to sleep.

We’re not perpetually in nap jail. We have a “snuggle me” that we can get him to nap in. The pack ‘n play we have is a good option as well. In order to put him down though we have to move him before he gets into that deep, deep sleep.

Once you get caught in nap jail, it’s best to just serve your time.

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Car Seat Installation Inspections in Loudoun County, Virginia

Friday June 28, 2019 // Afternoon Nap Time

A little preamble that has nothing to do with the topic of this article:

My newborn kiddo is asleep on my chest. His little hat is struggling to stay on as I struggle to stay still enough to keep him asleep. After twenty minutes scrolling through Twitter and Instagram I think I’m ready to “be productive” but it’s hard when you basically only have your thumbs free. So, I’m going to attempt to write this on my phone. Okay. On with what I want to write about…

The weeks leading up to my LO’s birth felt like they were moving at the speed of light. The to-do list was never ending as you can never be truly ready for your first kid. One item we definitely wanted to make sure we got done was to get our car seat installation inspected. Where I live in Northern Virginia, specifically in Loudoun County, there are three options to my knowledge.

Please note I’m just a guy who did a little bit of Internet research and asked around and this is what I know. Also please note #3 below will be most useful for most Loudoun County residents so feel free to skip down to there! 

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A Few Thoughts from the Days Following My Son’s Birth

Wednesday June 26, 2019 // Afternoon Nap Time

It’s day three home from the hospital. I’m in my son’s room sitting in the rocker. We moved the bassinet in here for the moment. He fell asleep in my wife’s arms when she was in the rocker. So I dragged the bassinet into here so we could gently transfer him into it and swaddle him up as delicately as possible while keeping his little eyes shut.

Over the past few days I’ve had so many thoughts running through my head. So many ideas of things I want to write about. But they’ve mostly all escaped me as I’ve been dashing back and forth between feedings, coddlings, snuggles, cries, and water refills.

Here are a few that have stuck with me. Definitely not a complete list.

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Two Values to Teach My Son About Work

Tuesday June 18, 2019 // Morning

We’re days away from the birth of my son. My wife and I are now both working from home. My office is too far from home and the hospital for me to feel comfortable being there. And since I can work from home, why not? More on this in a moment…

A value I want to impress upon my son is to work hard and strive to put a strong effort in anything he does, especially at work. It’s easy to phone it in day after day in a lot of jobs. However, I believe that if you give it a good go in your 9-5 (or whatever task/hustle/hobby) that you will:

  1. Feel much better about going to work
  2. See much better results at work and
  3. Others will see much better results with your work and you’ll be rewarded.

The rewards might not come right away. Or even with that company. But cosmic work karma usually sorts itself out. If you work hard, you’ll benefit from it in more than just a paycheck.

In conjunction with this value, I’d also like to teach him that it’s okay that work is not your #1 priority. Heck, it shouldn’t even be your #2 or #3. Family, friends and health should come above work. Always.

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